Guelph Liberals fined for robocall infraction in ground zero for misleading calls probe

Andy Radia
Politics Reporter
Canada Politics

Sixteen months after the federal election, there's finally been a ruling on the robocall scandal in Guelph.

No, they haven't caught the infamous Pierre Poutine — this is about a different robocall scandal involving the Liberal Party.

On Friday, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) announced that they have fined the Guelph Federal Liberal association $4,900 for violating federal robocall rules.

"The Notice of Violation involved Robocalls made on April 30, 2011, which did not comply with the Unsolicited Telecommunications Rules.," notes a press release by the CRTC.

"The violations involved a pre-recorded message sent by the Association that failed to identify on whose behalf the call was made; provide necessary call-back information; and display the originating telephone number or an alternate number where the originator could be reached."

According to PostMedia News, the Liberal robocall recording was about Conservative candidate Marty Burke's position on abortion.

[ Related: Is it time for an official inquiry into the robocall scandal? ]

In a statement issued by the Liberal Party on Friday, Liberal MP Frank Valeriote says he accepts the CRTC's findings.

"We were unaware of certain requirements and inadvertently neglected to include some identifying features in the message, such as a phone number and address," he said.

"When I first learned of the errors in the call earlier this year, I was fully and immediately cooperative with the CRTC; I take full responsibility and apologize for the infringement."

Guelph, of course, is ground zero for Elections Canada's probe into alleged misleading election day robocalls telling voters that their polling stations had moved.  There have been some media reports suggesting linkages between those calls and the Conservative party, so as you might imagine, Tories across the country are basking in today's ruling.

Fred DeLorey, Director of Communications for the Conservative Party, took to Twitter shortly after the CRTC announcement.

"One can't help but wonder, without these misleading phone calls to voters, would have the election outcome in Guelph been different?"

He wasn't fnished.

"How many other Liberal campaigns broke Canadian telecommunication rules?" he wrote in another one of seven Tweets blasting the Liberals.

"How many used robocalls to mislead Canadian voters?"

As they say in fencing combat…Touche!