Robo-call firm used for town hall

Okanagan Coquihalla MP Dan Albas contracted Rack 9 for last year's telephone town hall meeting

Dan Albas wants everyone to know that though he had dealings with Rack 9 Media, he did not hire them to do robo-calling for his campaign.

The robo-call scandal, where automated calls were made in some areas harassing voters or misinforming them of polling station locations, proved to have a long reach when the Okanagan Coquihalla MP’s name showed up on a list of elected officials who had been in touch with Rack 9.

Albas admits that calls were made from his campaign to the company at the centre of the robo-call scandal. Those calls, however, were to arrange the telephone town hall meeting he hosted during the 2011 campaign, not to book their automating calling service.

“I tried to address the issue up front by making a statement so that people could know that a media story done nationally was not factually correct,” said Albas. “My purpose in using Rack 9 Media was to facilitate greater interaction and to make myself more available and accountable as a candidate to people throughout the riding.”

Rack 9 was chosen, according to Albas, simply because they were a Canadian company offering the service. This technology, Albas said, is relatively new and, while common in the U.S. is less so in Canada.

“I wanted to use a Canadian company and Rack 9 is based out of Edmonton,” said Albas.

Nor, Albas said, has he tried to hide the connection to Rack 9. The $4,683.65 price tag for the town hall meeting is listed on the statement of his campaign expenses, though it does not show clearly in the online version at Elections Canada. There is, however, a reference stating “see attached” in the amount of $33,563.03, a list of expenses not posted individually. That list, Albas points out, includes a line item for Rack 9.

The telephone town hall was an invaluable tool, according to Albas, and, judging from the feedback he received, was appreciated by the constituents. But, he continued, the concept of robo-calls should be reviewed, not just in terms of the political arena, but also sales and marketing.

“I do believe we need to have a good look at the concept of robo-calls in general, and not just political ones. There is an increasing amount of robo-calls related to sales and marketing. We need to look at increased regulation in this area or at least a general review,” said Albas. “We can’t have a situation where anonymous interests influence our democratic process. That’s something we need to show zero tolerance for.”

Albas stops short of supporting the call for a public inquiry, however.

“We need to wait for Elections Canada to complete their investigation and learn all the facts involved,” Albas said. “If there were wrongdoings, then we should support Elections Canada in their efforts to root it out. If that means calling the RCMP in, that’s completely at their discretion. Elections should always be fundamentally fair, open and as democratic as possible.”

 

Just Posted

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross. (Photo by Peter Versteege)
BC Liberal leadership candidate condemns ‘senseless violence’ of Okanagan church fires

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross says reconciliation isn’t about revenge for past tragedies

(Black Press file photo)
EDITORIAL: Curtailing attempts at scams

The true total of losses from all scams and frauds could be much higher than the figures on file

Penticton Indian Band Chief Greg Gabriel speaks to the Sacred Hearts Catholic Church burning down early Monday morning, June 21, 2021. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Penticton band chief condemns suspicious burning of 2 Catholic churches

Both Catholic church fires are deemed suspicious, says RCMP

(Drive BC photo)
Vehicle incident closes Highway 3 east of Osoyoos

Drive BC says to avoid the area until the road is clear

Osoyoos chef Murray McDonald was ecstatic upon realizing he scored the $1 million guaranteed prize in the June 2, 2021 Lotto 6/49 draw. (Contributed)
Osoyoos chef ecstatic after bagging $1 million Lotto 6/49 win

Chef Murray McDonald was at home and ready to doze off to sleep when he got a text from his wife

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Chilliwack secondary school’s principal is apologizing after a quote equating graduation with the end of slavery in the U.S. was included in the 2020-2021 yearbook. (Screenshot from submitted SnapChat)
B.C. student’s yearbook quote equates grad to end of slavery; principal cites editing error

Black former student ‘disgusted’ as CSS principal apologizes for what is called an editing error

A coroner’s inquest will be taking place at the Capitol Theatre in Port Alberni for the next week. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Teen B.C. mom who died following police custody recalled as ‘friend to many’

Police sent Jocelyn George to hospital after intoxication had gone ‘beyond the realm’ of normal detox

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2020, file photo, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. Nassib on Monday, June 21, 2021, became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. Nassib announced the news on Instagram, saying he was not doing it for the attention but because “I just think that representation and visibility are so important.” (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
Nassib becomes first active NFL player to come out as gay

More than a dozen NFL players have come out as gay after their careers were over

Photograph By MICHAEL POTESTIO.KTW
Former Kamloops security gaurd wants job back after kicking incident caught on video

Rick Eldridge quit when a video surfaced of him kicking a man outside a facility for homeless

People participated in a walk to honour the 215 children found at a former Kamloops residential school, as well as residential school survivors. (Twila Amato/Black Press Media)
Kelowna marks National Indigenous Peoples’ Day with walk to remember Kamloops 215

“Let’s speak the truth and deal with the truth, and heal.”

COVID-19 daily cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day moving average to June 17, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections drop to 90 on Sunday, 45 Monday

Pandemic spread dwindles as 77% of adults receive vaccine

A home on Cameo Drive sustained major damage due to an early morning fire Monday, June 21. (Roger Knox - Morning Star)
UPDATE: Fire sparked during Vernon home renovation

Heavy black smoke from Cameo Drive home, no one inside

The new Civic Memorial Park will incorporate pieces of the 80-year-old arena it replaces. (Artists rendering)
Pieces of Civic Arena reclaimed for new Vernon park

City centre space to incorporate wood from the historic arena

Most Read