House essay: New rules for robocalls? by Evan Solomon

Feb 9, 2013

Source: CBC News

The return of robocalls.

This time, in Saskatchewan, where after denying it at first, the Conservatives finally admitted this week that they were behind controversial robocalls from an unidentified caller.

The voice on the pre-recorded message claimed that proposed changes to the province's 14 ridings would favour urban areas over rural areas, and would damage "Saskatchewan values."

The call purpoted to be from a research company, but it was really paid for by the Conservative Party of Canada.

Liberal MP Ralph Goodale, the only non-Conservative MP in Saskatchewan, raised the issue with the CRTC — because not identifying who is behind the calls is against Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission rules.

"The bigger issue is a political party, in this case the Conservatives, deliberately trying to interfere with what is supposed to be an independent, arm's length, non-partisan protest for establishing constituency boundaries," Goodale told CBC Radio's The Morning Edition on Wednesday.

Oh, how the worm turns on Parliament hill.

Just remember the Conservatives repeatedly attacked Liberal MP Frank Valleriote's use of anonymous robocalls in the last election.

Something Valeriote admitted to.

During question period last November, Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre said, "we know that only one party has been found guilty of illegal robocalls. I have always been very frank, but I do not want to be frank like that member over there. In fact, I do not think anybody in the House of Commons wants to be that frank. The member needs to know how to follow the rules and frankly we will do anything we can to teach him what those rules are."

Where does the buck stop when it comes to robocalls? — which, by the way, all parties use because the technology is effective.

Does it need to be regulated?

Do the rules around the use of robocalls need to be tightened?

What do you think?

© CBC News