GUELPH, Ontario, March 14, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A Guelph Member of Parliament with the Liberal Party is under fire in the federal “robo-calls” controversy after he admitted to placing automated calls attacking his Tory opponent without identifying that they came from his campaign.
Frank Valeriote, a self-professed Catholic who journeyed to the Vatican last month for Toronto Archbishop Thomas Collins’ elevation to the College of Cardinals, used the call to attack Tory candidate Marty Burke’s “anti-choice” views.
The call, which featured a woman identifying herself as Lori or Laurie McDonald of Guelph, attacked Burke for his “extreme views” on the right to life of the unborn.
Burke believes “that under absolutely no circumstance should a women have the right to choose” to have an abortion,” the woman said. “Government should not be able to force their beliefs on to me.”
“The race in Guelph is very close. Vote strategically on Monday to protect our hard earned rights from the Conservatives and Marty’s extreme views,” she added.
Burke was endorsed by Campaign Life Coalition, the nation’s largest pro-life group, which had placed calls to its supporters in the riding urging them to get behind his campaign.
Valeriote apologized this week for omitting any mention that the call originated from his campaign, which is required by Elections Canada regulations.
But he did not respond to an inquiry from LifeSiteNews about how he justifies attacking the pro-life stand while professing to be a Catholic.
“This man claims to be Catholic and has his photo taken with the newly-installed Cardinal and yet is afraid to stand up on pro-life principles. In fact, it’s the exact opposite. He placed himself solidly in the pro-abortion camp,” said Mary Ellen Douglas, national organizer for Campaign Life Coalition. “Why is he doing this? He wants the Catholic vote but he doesn’t want to respond as a Catholic.”
The Conservatives have accused the Liberals of breaking the law, but Valeriote says the incident was merely an oversight.
He and Liberal leader Bob Rae downplayed the campaign misstep, saying it is incomparable with the allegations being investigated by Elections Canada that robo-calls were used to send voters to the wrong polling stations.
A Valeriote staff member told the Globe and Mail that the call attacking Burke was funded to respond to “lies that were being spread about Frank’s position” on abortion.
Frank Valeriote, MP (Guelph)
40 Cork Street East
Guelph, ON N1H 2W8
Phone: (519) 837-8276
Fax: (519) 837-8443
House of Commons
713 Confederation Building
Ottawa ON K1A 0A6
Phone: (613) 996-4758
Fax: (613) 996-9922