03/16/2012 06:26 EDT | Updated 05/16/2012 05:12 EDT

Robocalls Could Have Been Mistakes, Tory MP Says


Phone calls directing voters to the wrong polling stations in the last federal election could have been mistakes, and people should stop jumping to conclusions, Conservative MP Dean Del Mastro says.

Del Mastro, who has been leading his party's defence in the controversy over live and automated election phone calls, said nobody has come forward to say they didn't vote because they first went to the wrong polling station.

"So where are these people? Where are these people? Where are these people saying that I got the call, I went to the wrong station, and then I didn't vote?" Del Mastro said on CBC's Power & Politics.

"There haven’t been any. No one has stepped forward and said that."

"Some of these things, as I've already indicated, could have well been mistakes. I don't understand why folks jump to these things and run to a conclusion that they have no evidence of."

CBC News reported Thursday that an analysis of reports from 31 ridings across Canada showed a pattern indicating those who got misleading or fraudulent calls sending them to the wrong polling location had also gotten calls from the Conservative Party trying to find out which way they would vote.

Elections Canada opened an investigation last May into misleading calls in Guelph, Ont., in which an automated message claiming to be on behalf of the election agency directed voters to the wrong polling station. It's illegal under the Canada Elections Act to impersonate Elections Canada or to try to interfere with somebody's right to vote.

The election agency has since gotten 31,000 contacts, the majority of which were sent through internet forms organized by advocacy groups, about the controversy. More than 700 Canadians complained about specific allegations of wrongdoing related to the calls.

Del Mastro said his party supports a request by Chief Electoral Officer Marc Mayrand to appear before the procedure and House affairs committee to discuss the investigation. That won't be decided, however, until at least March 27. MPs are back in their ridings next week so the committee won't meet again until then.

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