Robocall rally

Nelsonites join robocall rally

About 30 people rallied in Nelson as part of a national movement calling for a judicial inquiry into the federal robocall scandal.

About 30 people rallied in front of Nelson city hall Sunday as part of a national movement calling for a judicial inquiry into the federal robocall scandal.

The group is asking for by-elections in ridings where voters received automated phone calls directing them to the wrong polling stations last May, or for the Governor General to dissolve parliament and order a new election.

Elections Canada is investigating numerous complaints, although it’s unclear if any come from the BC Southern Interior riding.

Some speakers aimed their comments directly at Stephen Harper’s Conservative government, while others said it didn’t matter who was to blame.

“We can’t relax until this ugly regime is gone,” retired teacher Earl Hamilton told the crowd. “They have no intention of allowing Canadians to vote freely.”

“Parliament and the legislation it’s passing is a fraud,” said JoAnn Lowell. “It doesn’t matter if the Conservatives or the Liberals did it. We have a fraudulent government.”

An organizer who calls himself Hippy said: “Regardless of who’s responsible, we have an illegitimate government. I am one very angry Canadian as a result.”

The only politician in the crowd was rural Kaslo regional director and former political science professor Andy Shadrack, who said he regards election-time behaviour as “sacrosanct.”

“I believe the Prime Minister and all MPs should be taking this very seriously, and getting to the bottom of who was engaged in suppressing the vote in the last federal election,” he said. “Doesn’t matter what party they belong to. They should be found and brought to trial.”

Southern Interior MP Alex Atamanenko wasn’t at the rally, but sent a statement calling the scandal “an affront to democracy.”

“It’s no wonder Canadians feel that Ottawa is broken,” he said.

Atamanenko says the NDP is challenging the Conservatives to turn over all relevant information on the cases to Elections Canada and the RCMP.

The party has also introduced a motion, to be voted on Monday, asking the government to increase Elections Canada’s authority.

It would further require telecommunications companies that provide contact services for voters during elections to register themselves and their clients.

“We need these proposed changes to help clean up election fraud, ensure parties follow the rules, conflicts are solved quickly and transparency is increased for voter contact service providers,” Atamanenko said.

The rally was one of more than two dozen held across the country Sunday.

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