Criminal charges unlikely in robocalls scandal, report says

The person or persons responsible for thousands of misleading robocalls during the last federal election will likely never face criminal sanctions, and the penalties available under the Canada Elections Act are such that they provide little deterrence.

Those are two of the revelations contained in a discussion paper released this week by Elections Canada looking at “improper telecommunications with electors” connected to the 2011 federal election.

The paper notes provisions of the Criminal Code “may be of limited assistance in dealing with inappropriate communications.”

It is unlikely the misleading robocalls would meet the test for a criminal conviction for mischief or for making harassing calls, for example. And a criminal conviction for personation requires “the personation must be of a real person,” the paper states. “The offence would not be applicable to a call or caller represented as ‘Elections Canada,’ nor to a fictitious character such as Pierre Poutine.”

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