03/25/2015 06:19 EDT | Updated 05/25/2015 05:59 EDT

Alberta Wildrose party says leadership candidate made robocalls despite ban

CALGARY - The Alberta Wildrose party is investigating one of its leadership candidates for making robocalls contrary to a party directive.

The party's executive committee issued a statement on their website Tuesday night.

It said a robocall was made to party members on Tuesday and pointed out that the committee banned robocalls last week.

The committee said a leadership contender's campaign has been temporarily sanctioned and has been told to cease all calling for the duration of the campaign.

It did not say which of the three leadership candidates the calls came from.

Brian Jean, a former northern Alberta Conservative MP, Wildrose MLA Drew Barnes and former Strathcona County mayor Linda Osinchuk (OH'-sihn-chuk) are running to lead the party.

Jean’s campaign team says it isn’t being investigated and Drew Barnes's campaign manager had no comment.

A Mount Royal associate professor of policy studies says he’s surprised to hear the practice appears to have popped up again within the party.

“The Wildrose was dinged in 2013, about this time, for making robocalls with respect to campaigns and leadership," said Bruce Foster.

"They got a fine from the CRTC, so my thought was since they had this bad experience almost two years ago, that robocalls would be broached very carefully, particularly those who are competing to become leader."

Foster says it’s a common enough practice and typically it will be used by someone who feels the need to get their message across quickly.

“The very mention of robocalls tends to set off alarms ethically,” he said. “It carries with it an underhanded attempt to get ahead of your competitor and get your name into the party, that’s the danger."

About 24,000 Wildrose members began voting on Monday and a new leader to replace Danielle Smith is to be announced on Saturday.