Conservatives refuse to release phone records
As a small crowd of Canadians braved the cold to protest the robocall affair on Parliament Hill Monday, parliamentarians heated up the rhetoric inside the House of Commons with new accusations.
Elections Canada is now reviewing more than 31,000 complaints of robocalls, some of which told citizens to go to polls that didn't exist during last May's election.
Fiery NDP MP Pat Martin joined the protesters Monday, who were decidedly of an anti-Conservative persuasion.
"Who stands to gain from phone calls to the NDP and Liberals voters and lying to them about where their poll is? The Conservatives!" Martin said.
As for the Conservatives, their new strategy is to blame Liberal call centres.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Tories are demanding the Liberals release records of calls made on their behalf on the last election -- while at the same time saying there is no reason for the governing party to release their own.
Dean Del Mastro, the parliamentary secretary to the Prime Minister, blamed the Liberals over and over again during question period Monday.
"When those records are made public the Liberal party will in fact have fingered itself for each and every one of those calls," he said.
However, when asked by reporters if the Conservatives would release their own records, Del Mastro said they didn't need to because they are not the guilty party.
"No, because obviously our party is not behind the calls. We know that. We believe the Liberal Party has in fact made these allegations and they've made these allegations knowing full well that they've paid these companies millions of dollars to makes calls to hundreds of thousands of households across the country," he said.
Interim Liberal Leader Bob Rae said his party has agreed to release all phone records, including scripts, from last May's election.
"We're hoping to release stuff as soon as possible," Rae said, following question period.
A spokesperson from his office told CTVNews.ca that it is just a matter of contacting all the companies involved to make sure they agree to share their information.
Rae said the Conservatives are stonewalling on the robocall issue.
"They just said go and do everything you can do to obscure the issue," he said.
One Conservative backbencher even blamed Elections Canada for the issue.
"I suspect that at the end of the day, if Elections Canada has the resources to do a proper investigation, they'll find they're themselves significantly responsible," Saskatchewan MP Maurice Vellacott said in a statement Monday.
"That tech issues with marrying (Elections Canada) lists to available, electronic phone lists is part of the problem, and in a few instances there may have been malfeasance by one party or the other."
Green Party Leader Elizabeth May is calling for a full public inquiry.
On Tuesday, officials will be in Thunder Bay, Ont., to interview employees of a Conservative-linked call centre.