Robocall deserves more than roboreply

Maybe it was just a matter of time before the robocall scandal surfaced in the Yukon. All things - good and bad - eventually wend their way north. Housing booms, fresh vegetables and, as it turns out, even voter-suppression tactics.

Maybe it was just a matter of time before the robocall scandal surfaced in the Yukon.

All things – good and bad – eventually wend their way north.

Housing booms, fresh vegetables and, as it turns out, even voter-suppression tactics.

Nevertheless, reports that the “polling place switcheroo” also happened here came as a bit of a surprise.

Somehow, the small and close-knit Yukon riding didn’t seem like it would have been a likely candidate for such an unsavoury scheme.

The news broke this week after a disgruntled voter posted his experience on the Facebook page of Yukon Conservative MP Ryan Leef.

Just days before the federal election last May, Bob Nardi says someone called his place to say their polling station had changed from the Hidden Valley school to the Hootalinqua Fire Hall.

As long-time area residents, the family didn’t fall for it.

But, like thousands of other Canadians, they didn’t think anything more of it either until the misleading-robocall controversy hit the front pages a few weeks back.

Several more Yukoners have since shared similar stories. Others may have reported directly to Elections Canada.

The race for the territory’s lone riding was definitely a squeaker. Leef managed to unseat Liberal heavyweight Larry Bagnell by just 132 votes.

A few ballots not cast may have made a difference.

That’s serious. Tampering with democracy is not only morally wrong, it’s against the law.

So far, the Yukon’s MP has not been available for comment.

His Whitehorse office worker says on Leef’s Facebook page that his boss is “currently away from the office and unable to check emails or his Facebook.”

The generic response goes on to say: “He is definitely not ignoring anyone. Mr. Leef strives to respond to every single comment, question, wall post, email and letter. I apologize for the delay, but rest assured, your questions will be addressed.”

Meanwhile, Leef’s campaign manager, Michael Lauer, has jumped into the Facebook fray.

First he provided an insightful explanation about how the Conservatives conducted their Yukon campaign and then finished it off with a nasty swipe at the voters who have spoken up about the misleading calls.

Trying to discredit your opponents is common political practice. It diminishes what was said and also serves as a deterrence to others.

But in this case it also does a disservice to Leef, who promised voters he’d rise above gutter politics.

Yukoners deserve to know what he has to say about this most serious issue.

His Facebook page says he’ll be back at his desk in Ottawa first thing Monday morning to do a radio interview with CBC Yukon.

Let’s hope he has more to offer up than a roboreply.

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