Civic political parties should be aware of CRTC rules regarding telephone canvassing
A few weeks ago the NPA started taking some heat on Twitter after they started robo-calling to help identify supporters for the upcoming election. If you live in Vancouver and you're not familiar with "robo-calls", you will be soon.
They are automated calls coming from a central telephone bank that can be blasted out to thousands of people at one time. If you're on the receiving end of these robo-calls, you may simply refer to them as telephone canvassing.
When the NPA started their robo-calling, a few top Vision Vancouver operatives slammed them. But now it appears Vision Vancouver has also started their own mass robo-call campaign. In fact, it appears they started calling local residents starting sometime after 6 pm on Sunday evening.
According to a series of tweets sent out by campaign headquarters, they phoned well over 20,000 people yesterday to participate in a townhall forum with their leader Gregor Robertson.
While I don't get too fussed with the concept of robo-calls, I did find the timing of last evening's call to be rather interesting after I read a tweet from NPA candidate Mike Klassen. He states:
Looks like @VisionVancouver teleforum tonite broke CRTC rules stating no calls after 6pm Sunday http://www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/archive/2008/dt2008-6.htm#m4 #vanelxn
After clicking on the link Klassen provided, I found this section from the CRTC rules regarding mass automated telephone canvassing:
4. A person using an ADAD to make unsolicited telecommunications where there is no attempt to solicit, shall comply with the following conditions:
(a) such telecommunications shall not be made to emergency lines and healthcare facilities, whether such telecommunications are made by random dialing or otherwise;
(b) subject to paragraph (c), such telecommunications are restricted to 9:00 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. on weekdays (Monday to Friday) and 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on weekends (Saturday and Sunday); the hours refer to those of the person receiving the telecommunication;
(c) such telecommunications are restricted to the hours set out in or pursuant to provincial legislation that governs an activity where the hours set out in the provincial legislation are more restrictive than those set out in paragraph (b), provided that the telecommunication is made for the purpose of that activity. The hours refer to those of the person receiving the telecommunication;
Therefore, if the Vision Vancouver mass calling started after 6 pm, did they in fact break CRTC rules governing this type of activity?
While a breach of CRTC rules may not appear to be a major issue, I would caution all three political parties in Vancouver to be careful. There is a reason why CRTC has restricted calls on the weekends after 6 pm- tt's because people hate getting these types of calls.
I have received at least three messages from Vancouver residents who claim they received a robo-call during the "no go" zone from the Vision party. It's something we will continue to investigate in the days to come. Stay tuned.