Ottawa-based advocacy group Democracy Watch announced it will launch a private prosecution against the Conservative Party for its role in the 2011 robocalls scandal, which misled some Canadians to go to wrong polling stations in key ridings. The group decided to take action after government lawyers refused to press charges. At time of writing, Democracy Watch is focusing legal efforts on one individual in at Conservative Party Headquarters who booked calls that gave voters across the country incorrect polling station locations, even after Elections Canada warned all political parties not to engage in such activities during the 2011 campaign.
“The Commissioner of Canada Elections and Director of Public Prosecutions have clear evidence that the Conservatives made election robocalls that misled voters, which is a clear violation of the federal elections law, but they won’t prosecute. So Democracy Watch will, to ensure the violators are held accountable for their wrongdoing,” said Duff Conacher, co-founder of Democracy Watch and visiting professor at the University of Ottawa, in a media release dated July 23.
So far, the robocalls scandal has resulted only in the conviction of Michael Sona, who was sentenced to nine months in jail in a case that Conacher said was based on relatively weak evidence. His offence was putting out a robocall aimed at preventing 6,000 voters in the Guelph region from casting their ballots, resulting in 150-200 people being successfully tricked, according to a CBC article dated Nov. 19 2014.