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Quebec Liberals launch robo-call complaint

Quebec Liberal Party Leader Jean Charest responds to questions at a news conference Sunday, September 2, 2012 in Quebec City.

Jacques Boissinot/The Canadian Press

The Quebec Liberal Party has issued an alert denouncing what they claim to be fraudulent robo-calls to voters in the Quebec City area.

The Liberal Party said that a complaint has been filed with the provincial police.

"All of these calls are fake and obviously come from an organization or individuals wishing to harm the Liberal campaign," the party said in a statement.

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The alleged robo-call campaign is reminiscent of similar tactics that were used in the last federal election.

According to Liberal staff, the fraud complaint to police revolves around two types of calls.

The first issue involves robo-calls urging voters to call the Liberal Party of Quebec at a false number.  The number leads to an automated voice message which asks voters, in English first, to leave their details, including name and telephone number.

In the second type of call subject to the complaint, canvassers posing as Liberal volunteers made repeated harassing calls to voters in the city of Laval, just north of Montreal.

The Liberal Party only got word of the alleged fraudulent activity Monday morning and is trying to determine how extensive and geographically widespread it might be, said spokesman Michel Rochette.

So far, the robo-calls appear to be concentrated in the Quebec City region, particularly the riding of Taschereau, where the race is very close, he said.

Besides the provincial police and Quebec's elections authority, the phone company has also been alerted, he said.

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Over the past few days, a separate set of allegedly fraudulent calls – live calls this time – have been reported by voters in two ridings in Laval, Mr. Rochette said.

Callers falsely claiming to be Liberals repeatedly and annoyingly called voters to urge them to get out and vote, he said.

"We hope the police will act as quickly as possible," he said.

The PQ said it was not aware of the robo-calls and had nothing to say on the matter.

The CAQ also said it had no knowledge of the robo-calls.

Quebec's Directeur-général des élections du Québec confirmed Monday that it received a complaint from the Liberal Party regarding robo-calls.

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The matter has been handed over to the agency's legal affairs department, said spokeswoman Corinne Brunelle.

It's too early to say if a full-fledged investigation will be launched, she added.

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