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article imageGuelph Liberal association fined by CRTC for robocall violations

By Andrew Moran     Aug 27, 2012 in Politics
Guelph - In the latest ruling of the robocall saga from last year’s Canadian federal election, the Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has found the Liberal riding association in Guelph guilty of violating the Telecommunications Act.
Earlier this year, it was reported that anti-Conservative robocalls were being delivered in Guelph prior to Election Day. The Liberal robocalls accused Tory candidate Marty Burke of being opposed to abortion, but the calls did not identify that they came from Liberal candidate Frank Valeriote.
The Liberal Member of Parliament admitted in March that his campaign did indeed send automated messages without naming the source of the calls for one hour on Apr. 30, 2011, two days before the election.
More than a year later, the CRTC fined Guelph’s Liberal riding association for violating the Telecommunications Act. The agency said the robocalls were not in compliance with the Commission’s Unsolicited Telecommunications Rules. The Grit group will now be ordered to pay a fine of $4,900.
“We appreciate that Mr. Valeriote and the Association fully cooperated with our investigation and committed to comply with the Rules in future campaigns,” said Andrea Rosen, the CRTC’s Chief Compliance and Enforcement Officer, in a news release. “We expect political party associations and candidates who are running for office to put appropriate safeguards in place to ensure compliance with the rules.”
The CRTC’s rules state that all calls must identify who they are being done on behalf of, display the originating telephone number or alternate number where the source can be reached and call-back information.
In addition to the fine, Valeriote and the association will implement a compliance program that includes an education and training program for volunteers, record retention and appoint an Unsolicited Telecommunications Rules compliance officer.
The Liberal MP issued an apology following the ruling and noted that he accepts the CRTC’s results.
“We were unaware of certain requirements and inadvertently neglected to include some identifying features in the message, such as a phone number and address,” explained Valeriote. “When I first learned of the errors in the call earlier this year, I was fully and immediately cooperative with the CRTC; I take full responsibility and apologize for the infringement.”
Valeriote garnered 43 percent of the vote, while Burke was able to receive 32 percent in the election.
More about liberal campaign, Guelph, Canada Election 2011, Frank valeriote, Robocalls
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