Canada in brief: Feb. 29, 2012


May 2 voters misdirected
Even as MPs unanimously passed a motion calling on politicians of all stripes to give Elections Canada and the RCMP any information on fraudulent calls received during the last election, anecdotes revealing potentially more suspicious calls emerged across the country.

On Monday, the Liberals and NDP accused Conservative-affiliated firms of being involved in a scheme to deliberately discourage voters from casting ballots in the May 2 election. In some cases, the parties said, callers were misdirected to the wrong location to vote. Live and automated calls allegedly falsely impersonated Elections Canada or an opponent’s campaign.

According to CBC news, the conservatives have strongly denied any involvement or co-ordinated effort asked for Liberals in Kingston are poring through their campaign notes compiling a variety of complaints, such as late-evening calls to elderly residents in seniors retirement residences or calls on election day and advance polling days informing residents that the polling station marked on their voting card had been changed to a much more distant and incorrect site.

Massive fire in Iqaluit
According to CBC news, the RCMP in Iqaluit say two people are still unaccounted for after Sunday’s fire at a townhouse complex in the city, but no bodies have been recovered from the ruin, which remains unsafe for investigators.

Police believe the two people missing were inside the building, but they have not been named.

On Monday, Nunavut’s coroner told CBC News two people had died in the fire, which the RCMP statement seems to corroborate. However, the senior fire investigator might not be able to comb through the building’s remains for at least a week because the ruins are covered in ice and still unsafe.

Poutine Scandal in Guelph
The staff at a small poutine resturant found themselves suddenly in the middle of a national scandal. On Tuesday afternoon the phone was ringing off the hook at Pierre’s Poutine on Macdonell Street in Guelph, as reporters began chasing the latest strange twist in the so-called “robocalls” scandal.Citing records obtained from the provincial courthouse in Edmonton, the Globe and Mail reported the allegedly fraudulent election-day calls included a disposable cellphone registered in the name of “Pierre Poutine.”

According to The Record, business owner Pierre Lachapelle said he went to the restaurant after learning a television crew was outside filming the front of the business.

“If they’re using my name, that’s insane,” he said. “I don’t know anything about it at all. It gets me baffled.”

–All compiled by Amanda Steiner

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