TORONTO -The robocalls scandal shows the need for a wider clean-up of our electoral system, says the Green Party of Canada. “First of all, we need to have a public commission of inquiry into the robocalls scandal and get to the bottom of it. But we also need to look at wider issues including the investigative power of Elections Canada, the increasing use of negative election tactics, and whether more teeth need to be added to the Elections Act,” said Green Leader Elizabeth May, MP for Saanich-Gulf Islands.
Green candidate in the ongoing Toronto-Danforth by-election Adriana Mugnatto-Hamu agreed, “The robocalls scandal involves such a volume of complaints and is so widespread, it should now be turned over for a full public inquiry. Then we need to make sure that Elections Canada can handle any future complaints.”
The Green Party is suggesting that the resources and powers of investigation for Elections Canada be expanded and rules added to the Elections Act to specifically prohibit impersonation of any government body or political party in phoning or communicating by any means with voters.
“It is sad that this is what we have come to in Canada. This scandal shows that we can not afford to be complacent. We must act to protect the most fundamental right of voting,” said May.
The Greens have also suggested a ban on TV advertising by political parties and third party groups to reduce the increasingly negative tone in elections. “Negative advertising is proven to turn people off voting. Now the robocalls are adding to the lack of confidence in our political system. This is an alarming trend that we must turn around,” said Mugnatto-Hamu.
In addition, to better engage voters, leaders’ debates should be taken out of hands of the media consortium and handled by an independent body that would ensure the inclusion in debates is based on fair rules.
“Above all, Canadians object to unfairness. What we need to do now is restore Canadians’ faith in our electoral process and take action to restore fairness and transparency in our elections,” said May.