Credits: REUTERS/Blair Gable
OTTAWA - Liberal MP Frank Valeriote has been slapped with a $4,900 fine for a robocall that broke telecom rules during the 2011 federal campaign.
The CRTC issued the violation notice Friday to the Guelph Federal Liberal Association on behalf of Valeriote, indicating robocalls made on April 30, 2011 were not within regulations.
The prerecorded call, which was paid for by the Liberals, featured a woman's voice and suggested Guelph, Ontario, Tory candidate Marty Burke is anti-choice. The recording did not state it was from the Liberal riding association and the number of origin was not revealed - both requirements under CRTC's telecom rules.
Valeriote says his campaign made an honest mistake.
"We were unaware of certain requirements and inadvertently neglected to include some identifying features in the message, such as a phone number and address," Valeriote said in a statement. "When I first learned of the errors in the call earlier this year, I was fully and immediately co-operative with the CRTC; I take full responsibility and apologize for the infringement."
Conservative party spokesman Fred Delorey says Valeriote's "dirty tricks" are "simply shameful."
"How many other Liberal campaigns broke Canadian telecommunication rules? How many used robocalls to mislead Canadian voters?" Delorey wrote on Twitter. "One can't help but wonder, without these misleading phone calls to voters, would have the election outcome in Guelph been different?
The Liberals and NDP have hammered the Conservative party for potential involvement in a robocall scheme also in Guelph during the last federal campaign.
By mid August, Elections Canada received nearly 1,400 complaints about "alleged improper phone calls" in the 2011 election. The federal agency is still investigating.
The Council of Canadians, a social justice advocacy group, is footing the legal bill for seven separate court battles designed to contest the electoral outcomes in ridings where suspicious phone calls may have occurred. All of the ridings are currently held by the Conservatives.
"These are not the Council of Canadians' legal actions. These are the legal actions of individual Canadians under the Canada Elections Act that we are fully supporting," executive director Garry Neil said.