'Despicable': Mandel calls for investigation into alleged robocall impersonation
Published Sunday, April 14, 2019 12:20PM MDT
Last Updated Sunday, April 14, 2019 6:02PM MDT
The Alberta Party is calling for an investigation after a supporter allegedly received a fake message of endorsement of UCP Leader Jason Kenney from a Stephen Mandel impersonator.
Ardrossan resident Bob Wispinski told CTV News he received a robocall at his home Saturday evening that left him angry.
“It said, ‘Hi, I’m Stephen Mandel of the Alberta Party and as you all know, we’re having an election on Tuesday, and if you believe in Alberta, Jason Kenney has all the answers,’” Wispinski recalled.
He said the caller promised Kenney would deliver on the pipeline. The call was not recorded.
“At the end, it said, ‘I’m Stephen Mandel and I support Jason Kenney of the UCP.’”
He said the voice sounded just like the Alberta Party leader’s.
“Whoever did it did a good job.”
When Wispinski called the number back, he said he connected with a private resident who appeared to have no knowledge of the robocall.
He then alerted the party’s Fort Saskatchewan-Vegreville candidate, who he knows personally and who alerted Mandel and Strathcona-Sherwood Park candidate Dave Quest.
Mandel called the alleged message “the thing that broke the camel’s back” in a campaign already characterized by attacks by the competing parties.
“It’s gotten to the point where these kinds of points become justifiable because of the nastiness of these campaigns,” Mandel said.
"Where is the morality in politics? It's getting so despicable."
The party said it doesn’t have an idea of who is behind the alleged robocall, but that it would submit complaints to RCMP and Elections Alberta.
“We just want this stuff to stop. There’s two days left in the campaign. Maybe for two days we can be civil,” Mandel said.
“There has to be some sense that as politicians, we have respect for one another. And you might not like what some people stand for, and that’s your choice, but say it in a way that’s somewhat respectful.”
His party is unsure how many people received a call like Wispinski allegedly did. Two others told CTV News they received a robocall from someone purporting to be Mandel and who said he would support Kenney. Several others have said they've received an automated message from Stephen Harper, endorsing the UCP.
The United Conservatives and New Democrats have denied invovlement in Wispinski's allegations.
"I know nothing about this. I've only heard the rumours about this," NDP Leader Rachel Notley said Sunday while speaking in Calgary. "Obviously it shouldn't happen and I think people should use due diligence."
The UCP said it first heard of the situation following Mandel's conference Sunday morning.
"We would of course expect this alleged call and associated phone number(s) to be reported to the propr authorities, and that all laws and regulations will be fully enforced," a statement read.
The party added that it was fully focused on its platform, rather than "smear and fear tactics" like others.