Robo-campaigning a "scourge"

Letter to the Editor

Robocalls and robotexts have become a scourge on our political landscape. I can deal with a call that begins with something like, “This is a message from Elizabeth May of the Green Party.” But that era of full disclosure seems to have passed.

Over the last week, our home phone line has received two instances of the same robocall from the Conservative Party of Canada using voice recognition to make it seem as though you are talking to a live person.

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This is deceptive at best and just plain dishonest no matter how you slice it. The purpose is to keep us on the line as long as possible so the party can deliver its message. I feel for our seniors who are by far the largest cohort of people still using landlines and less likely to spot the technological trickery.

Smartphone users aren’t spared the creeping barrage of political messaging either as evidenced by Sarah who has been frantically texting Canadians asking whether the Conservative Party can count on their support – yes or no.

As you might recall from the robocall scandal that co-opted the CPC voter database a few years back, any kind of response, positive or negative, is recorded and can then be potentially be weaponized to suppress specific voters.

Political parties aren’t subject to the same privacy laws as other entities in Canada and that needs to change.

As the federal Green Party candidate for Brandon-Souris, I am advocating within my own party to voluntarily adopt strict privacy rules on the data we gather on Canadians. As an MP, I will champion legislation to end the double standard.

Sarah the texter, and the friendly but artificial voice on the phone trying to sell me on the CPC message need to be put on a tighter leash. We shouldn’t stand for them weaseling their way past our defences with sophisticated lies.

Bill Tiessen, Crystal City

Green Party candidate for Brandon-Souris

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