MARCH 4 2012 03:29h

Canadians demonstrate against robocalls

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia, March 3 (UPI) -- Hundreds of Canadians rallied in Vancouver Saturday, protesting Conservatives' alleged use of misleading and harassing robocalls in the last election cycle.

"There isn't a more important issue than this in Canada right now," the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. quoted rally organizer Sarah Bueller of OpenMedia.ca, as saying

"We can fight on every issue but if we can't trust the ballot box this is going to turn into something very shortly that isn't Canada."

Elections Canada said it is looking into more than 31,000 reports of automated calls made to voters in the last federal election. The agency said it is investigating allegations voters in Guelph, Ontario, were told to go to polls that didn't exist.

"I think people are really shocked," Jamie Biggar of Leadnow.ca said. "Systemic election fraud is a different thing -- people are really concerned about the integrity of Canadian democracy."

Conservative Member of Parliament Dean Del Mastro said his party doesn't know whether former staffer Michael Sona, who resigned last week, had anything to do with the robocalls. Del Mastro said his party doesn't know who was responsible for the calls.

"The allegations of what happened there [in Guelph] are serious. There seems to be an awful l said Del Mastro said.

"We don't know what happened in Guelph. We don't have any information about what happened in Guelph. But what we can say is that the allegations that have come forward and the evidence that we've seen which is all public -- we have no more information than anyone else on this -- is troubling."