Canadians seek public inquiry into robocall allegations: poll
Global News :
Sunday, March 11, 2012 5:30 PM
OTTAWA – Canadians want to see an independent judicial inquiry established to get to the bottom of the robocall allegations rocking Ottawa, according to an Ipsos-Reid poll done for Global News.
A full 75 per cent of respondents said they want to see the government establish a special, independent commission of inquiry, with full judicial powers, to find the truth about what happened in the past election and to make recommendations about the rules for future elections.
The poll comes as Canadians in 27 cities took to the streets in rallies denouncing fraudulent robocalls and demanding a full public inquiry into the allegations.
“We want to make sure there are real consequences for this electoral fraud and we call on the government for a public inquiry into what happened and who is responsible,” said Chris Majka, who was taking part in a rally in Halifax, N.S.
The results of the poll suggest people in Atlantic Canada are the strongest supporters of a public inquiry at 81 per cent. Albertans had the smallest appetite for a public inquiry at 67 per cent.
Defeated Liberal MP Anthony Rota has been calling for public inquiry since news of the robocalls first broke. He lost to Conservative candidate Jay Aspin by just 18 votes.
“I think there should be some kind of inquiry,” he said at the time. “It’s important to identify what was done, who did it and to punish them to the full extent of the law, as soon as possible.”
Elections Canada is currently investigating 31,000 reports of robocalls, but is focused on the riding of Guelph where the agency has linked a cell phone registered to “Pierre Poutine” to fraudulent robocalls directing voters to a non-existent polling station.
The Liberal and New Democrats are accusing the Conservatives as being behind the calls. The Conservatives deny the allegations and point the finger back at the Liberals. There is no hard evidence linking anyone to the calls as of yet.
Nearly two-thirds (57 per cent) of Canadians believe Elections Canada will be able to figure out who did the deed, according to the poll.
Still, only 18 per cent of respondents felt “strongly” that the federal agency will figure out the mystery, suggesting that most feel they will never know the full story if the investigation rests solely with Elections Canada.
That feeling seems to be strongest in Quebec and Ontario where only 56 per cent believe Elections Canada will get to the bottom of the allegations. Respondents in Atlantic Canada were the most confident in the federal agency’s ability, with 65 per cent believing Elections Canada would unravel the mystery surrounding the calls.
With reports of the robocalls growing from a trickle to a flood, questions have been raised recently about the agency’s ability to conduct the investigation.
The agency already has access to as much money as it needs to aid its investigation and can request more personnel and support from organizations like the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
On Monday, parliamentarians will vote on a motion that would give Elections Canada greater investigative powers. The motion would give the chief electoral officer the authority to request all documents necessary to ensure the parties are complying with the Elections Act.
The Conservatives have said they would support the non-binding motion, but have not yet made it clear if they would implement the changes within six months.
The poll was conducted from March 6 to 8, 2012 and has a margin of error of +/- 2 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
Sunday, March 11, 2012
Posted by Brent Fullard at 5:57 PM