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Elections Canada reaches out for more robo-call complaints with online form

A Toronto man casts his ballot in the federal election on May 2, 2011.

Chris Young/Chris Young/The Canadian Press

Canada's election watchdog is inviting more complaints about fraudulent calls made during the 2011 ballot and has set up an online form to receive them.

Elections Canada has already received more than 31,000 "contacts" from Canadians about allegedly misleading calls designed to discourage voting.

Now it's created a web form to collect more.

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"Elections Canada invites electors who believe that fraudulent calls interfered with their right to vote, or who have information about such calls, to use the complaint form available from its website home page to provide details," the watchdog said.

"The information provided will be used solely for this matter and, where appropriate, will help to guide the investigation by the Commissioner of Canada Elections."

The Liberals and NDP have been collecting complaints themselves and Elections Canada said it would ask anyone doing so to instead direct people to the new web form.

As The Globe and Mail reported Tuesday, Elections Canada's hunt for the identity of the political operative behind robo-calls designed to misdirect voters in Guelph has led the watchdog to records at PayPal Canada, a company that handles online payments and money transfers.

Investigators for Elections Canada have used a court order in an attempt to get PayPal to hand over information sought for their probe into the southwestern Ontario riding.

They have been trying to unmask the person behind the alias "Pierre Poutine," whom the election watchdog alleges was connected to the Conservative campaign in Guelph and used an off-the-books scheme to discourage opposition voters from casting ballots last May.

"PayPal has been served a production order in regards to the Elections Canada investigation," company spokeswoman Martha Cass said Monday.

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Production orders are court orders to turn over documents. The company said it is co-operating with the probe but declined to elaborate.

"PayPal is working to support this investigation, but also adheres to a strict privacy policy to protect the confidential information of our users. As a result, we cannot provide additional comment on this investigation," Ms. Cass said.

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About the Author
Parliamentary reporter

Steven Chase has covered federal politics in Ottawa for The Globe since mid-2001, arriving there a few months before 9/11. He previously worked in the paper's Vancouver and Calgary bureaus. Prior to that, he reported on Alberta politics for the Calgary Herald and the Calgary Sun, and on national issues for Alberta Report. More

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