Robo controversy taking away from issues

MP Report: Colin Mayes, Member of Parliament for Okanagan-Shuswap

In order to enhance their election campaign, political parties have taken advantage of current technologies.

One of the most common is the use of telephone soliciting of voter information and the candidate’s campaign identification. All parties use these technologies and there are guidelines that ensure the party that is soliciting is identified and that the information does not hamper the voter’s freedom to exercise their right to cast their ballot.

The current media hype around this practice is connected to accusations that a party has suppressed voting by giving incorrect information to voters to divert them from their voting poll station. You know, over the years, I have found that voters are not stupid.

On the contrary, they know their responsibility and know that calls coming from parties are biased towards their candidate.  I have had people from my constituency tell me that they received calls during the last election that were not supportive of me.  So what?  That’s okay.   But if the call didn’t identify the source or tried to misinform them, then it is illegal.

The party I represent has turned over all their information relating to who was phoned and the text of the message used to Elections Canada. The opposition is trying to bring into doubt that our party was not playing by the rules. The answer is, we played by the rules and have been open and transparent.

On the other hand, the Opposition parties have not turned in to Elections Canada, their call centre documents. There could have been a renegade caller from any party that did not follow the protocol and if this is the case, appropriate action will be taken.

The question you need to ask – is this the most important thing that my elected representatives should be doing in Ottawa?  The answer, I believe, is no.  We should be focused on jobs and the economy and provide policy to help seniors and families during these tough economic times.

Please do not think I am part of this mudslinging.  I am writing this column to assure you I am busy dealing with your issues.

In saying this, I will not be answering any more questions on this matter and will leave it to the Opposition to waste their time on political name calling.

Colin Mayes, MP – Okanagan-Shuswap