Tory MPs seeking $355K from voters who launched robocalls case

Seven Conservative MPs are seeking a combined $355,907 from a group of voters who went to court and lost their bid to overturn election results in their federal ridings because of misleading robocalls.

OTTAWA — Seven Conservative MPs are seeking a combined $355,907 from a group of voters who went to court and lost their bid to overturn election results in their federal ridings because of misleading robocalls.

A document recently filed in Federal Court says the Tories are asking for a “modest fixed amount” in legal fees plus disbursements.

The Conservative MPs — Joyce Bateman, Kelly Block, Lawrence Toet, Jay Aspin, John Duncan, Ryan Leef and Joe Daniel — say they are asking for far less money than they could have sought.

But the Council of Canadians — which bankrolled the voters’ Federal Court case — balked at the request.

“This is an outrageous amount to request, given that the judge found that voter suppression did occur and that the Conservative party database was the likely source of the call lists,” Garry Neil, executive director of the Council of Canadians, said in a statement.

Each of the applications included a $1,000 security against costs, he added.

“The total figure arrived at represents only a small fraction of the actual costs incurred by the respondent parliamentarians, to which they were otherwise entitled,” the court document says.

“The total figure has been further reduced, as the respondent parliamentarians have claimed only for costs related directly to the preparation of written submissions and the attendance of counsel, while forgoing all other costs for purposes of the calculation.”

“Seeking over $350,000 is shameful, given the applicants were serving the public interest in this case.”

A Federal Court judge concluded last month that fraud was a factor in the misleading calls, but not enough of one to justify overturning the result.

The ruling cleared the Conservative party and its candidates of any effort to mislead voters, but said the most likely source of information used to make the misleading calls was the party’s voter database.

In his nearly 100-page ruling, Federal Court Judge Richard Mosley also chided the Conservatives for holding up the robocalls court case, accusing them of engaging in “trench warfare in an effort to prevent this case from coming to a hearing on the merits.”

He also took the Conservative party to task for making “little effort to assist with the investigation at the outset.”

“While it was begrudgingly conceded during oral argument that what occurred was ’absolutely outrageous,’ the record indicates that the stance taken by the respondent MPs from the outset was to block these proceedings by any means,” Mosley wrote.

Initially, the results in seven federal ridings were contested, but the one in Don Valley East was later dropped because the woman challenging the result didn’t actually live in the riding.

The Conservatives argue that since Daniel was awarded costs when the court challenge against him was dismissed, all seven applications should be awarded costs.

The other six ridings in question were Vancouver Island North in British Columbia; Yukon; Saskatoon-Rosetown-Biggar in Saskatchewan; Elmwood-Transcona and Winnipeg South Centre in Manitoba; and Nipissing-Timiskaming in Ontario.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Dashcam captures hair-raising near miss on Highway 2

Paramedic says his emergency driving training kicked in to avoid collision

Skip The Dishes launches alcohol delivery in 3 Alberta cities

Some Alberta residents can now get their beer and wine delivered through… Continue reading

Updated: Red Deer mourns loss of philanthropist Gary W. Harris

Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre stands as lasting legacy to businessman’s generosity

Your community calendar

Feb. 19 A Liberation of Holland event is being held at the… Continue reading

David Marsden: Hospital unfairness makes me ill

The provincial government clearly isn’t without money. If it was, it wouldn’t… Continue reading

Gardening: Succulents are popular house plants

Succulents are easy to distinguish form other plants as they have thick,… Continue reading

Passengers leave ship docked off Japan after quarantine ends

YOKOHAMA, Japan — About 500 passengers left the cruise ship Diamond Princess… Continue reading

Quebec premier calls for federal ultimatum to end rail blockades within days

OTTAWA — Quebec’s premier says he wants Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to… Continue reading

Canada’s laws don’t apply to chiefs who oppose pipeline

Re: “Blame the chaos on Trudeau,” David Marsden, Opinion, Feb. 15. I… Continue reading

We should be getting more dairy and eggs at lower prices

The last time the federal Conservative party selected a new leader, three… Continue reading

New highway to B.C. proposed

The Howse Pass shortcut to British Columbia is worth taking another look… Continue reading

Most Read