A step away from Municipal affairs for this post…. the featured image is from this 2012 canada.com article on Robocalls.
So a ‘funny’ thing just happened…. but first a little background. On August 4, 2015 (a couple days after the Federal Election was called), I was called by an organization called the “Voter Outreach Centre”. (from 250-275-4682) From my recollection, the call went like this:
“Hi, this is the Voter Outreach Centre for Prime Minister Stephen Harper. We would like to know if we can count on your support for Stephen Harper in the upcoming election”
I gave them my answer, they said thank you, and hung up.
When I got the call I immediately thought about the robocalls scandal. But I figured I was just being overly political. The strange thing is I don’t know how they would have got my phone number as I am not on any mailing lists that I know of.
Then I got a call from Glen McGregor at the Ottawa Citizen. He has been following this issue closely since last election. He produced an article this week about this year’s calls including my experience.
So that brings me to today. I was called by CHEK to talk about the Voter Outreach Centre (I guess this is going to be thing?). Not 2 minutes after hanging up with CHEK, my wife Theresa answers the phone and it’s the Voter Outreach Centre again. (from 250-275-4682) For the record, this is what they said to her:
“Hi, this is _name of person_ with the Voter Outreach Centre. We would like to know if we can count on your vote for Stephen Harper in the upcoming election.”
Note the difference from my call? They didn’t specifically identify the Voter Outreach Centre as being a part of the Stephen Harper campaign.
They are walking an extremely fine line with these robocalls. The “Fair Elections Act” limits Elections Canada (a non-partisan “umpire” for Elections) from communicating with the public. It has been challenged in court but that won’t be resolved until after this election. It was also supposed to tighten rules on robocalls.
If you get a call from these call centres (from any party), I would highly recommend writing down exactly what they say. We just don’t know where this is going to end up. I do not like robocalling and I do not like many things about the “Fair Elections Act”. I would much rather candidates talk to me personally either in person or online or on the phone. I get to talk to enough of call centres whenever I have a problem with my media conglomerate owned phone or Internet service.