Bertshci takes a stand against claims of robo-calls in Ottawa-Orléans
It was a small crowd that gathered on Parliament Hill Monday to protest their anger over the robocalls controversy that has been buzzing throughout Canada over the past two weeks. Some who gathered came from Orléans, where the riding was won by Conservative MP Royal Galipeau in the last election. His defeated opponent, David Bertschi, said he knew about these complaints for months.
Former Ottawa-Orléans candidate and lawyer, David Bertschi, speaks out about the alleged robo-calls. (Photo: Archives)
"We even filed a complaint with Elections Canada, April 19, after several supporters we reported being harassed by people posing as volunteers on our team," said former Ottawa-Orléans candidate and lawyer David Bertschi.
The robo-call scandal broke after it was revealed that Elections Canada was investigating an incident in Guelph, Ont., of voters receiving phoney and sometimes harassing election phone calls and told to go to polls that didn't exist during last spring's federal election. As more Canadians learned about the scandal, more admitted to receiving similar calls, resulting in dozens of ridings being investigated and over 31,000 individual cases.
Reached by telephone, Elections Canada was unable to confirm or deny the filing of the complaint for reasons of confidentiality.
However, in its report on the 41st general election of May 2, 2011, the Chief Electoral Officer of Canada confirmed that "the Commissioner is currently considering several complaints about nuisance calls urging voters to abstain or not to vote for a particular party or falsely informing them of a change of address of their polling place. "
Conservative MP Royal Galipeau brushed off the accusations.
"These are accusations made by sore losers. Three times the Liberals lost the riding, they are frustrated and do not want to admit their defeat. "
In the election on May 2, Galipeau won with almost 4,000 votes ahead of Liberal candidate.
According to Elections Canada records, Galipeau would have spent $15 000 to seek the services of Responsive Marketing Group (RMG) during the last election.
This company specializes in telephone solicitation and is suspected of having made fraudulent calls to voters Liberals and New Democrats.
"I do not know what this company did for Mr. Galipeau, but we definitely need an investigation by Elections Canada to shed light on what happened. I did not hesitate to congratulate Mr. Galipeau when he won the confidence of voters, but these accusations cast a veil over our democracy. This is a very serious story, "says Bertschi.
The member for Ottawa-Orléans ensures he has nothing to be ashamed of and never heard of phone calls like this beig made in his constituency.
"I knocked on over 10,000 doors during the campaign, my wife also. We never heard any complaints. After all events I've attended, I'm sure if people had any doubt they would have come to tell me."
With files from Benjamin Vachet