'Robocalls' protest kicks off in downtown Vancouver
Published Sunday, March 4, 2012 1:09PM PST
A group of 250 demonstrators took to the streets of downtown Vancouver on Saturday to demand accountability for the so-called "robocalls" scandal.
The protest was the first in a series planned across Canada. Participants directed their anger towards Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his party, following more allegations that misleading phone calls were placed to voters in dozens of ridings during the 2011 federal election.
Although Elections Canada has launched an investigation after receiving more than 31,000 complaints, many demonstrators want a full, independent inquiry.
New Democrat MP Libby Davies is one of them. At the protest, she called what happened possible election fraud and said it raises concerns about the integrity of the country's election process.
Davies told CTV News she received reports about several mysterious phone calls made to people in her East Vancouver riding.
"People were really upset that they felt like they'd been deliberately sent to the wrong polling stations and given bad information," she said.
Mission resident Astrid Dimond said someone using a number associated with the Conservative party called her and told her to go to a fake polling station. Her neighbour Bruce Edwards said he received a recorded phone call that also gave wrong information.
The Liberal party counts about 100 similar concerns from several constituencies.
At a social housing announcement Friday, Conservative MP Wai Young denied her party was involved.
"It is very disappointing that the media and everybody is jumping on this smear campaign," she said.
The Conservatives say opposition parties are being sore losers.
"They're not talking about the fact that Vikileaks was done with government resources out of the Liberal Party of Canada's headquarters and supported by the leader," Young added.
But Davies disagrees that outcry against the "robocalls" scandal is simply an attack on the Conservatives.
"I don't think they can just write it off as a smear campaign. This is about what appears to be systematic calling that was designed to deliberately confuse people and to suppress people's votes," Davies said.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Bhinder Sajan