Brace yourself for more unsolicited robocalls and text messages.
With a provincial election looming, Alberta’s political parties are in campaign mode.
There’s not much people can do to prevent the calls, at least at first.
According to Elections Alberta, political parties are exempt from the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications (CRTC) do-not-call list.
“They are permitted to call for three purposes: solicit funds, to support their campaign or to sell memberships for the party,” said Drew Westwater, Deputy Chief Electoral Officer.
The rules require political parties to identify the caller.
“They must state who they are, who they’re calling, who they’re representing and have contact information for people if they have complaints about the call,” Westwater said.
There is a way to opt-out of future calls. Political parties must remove someone from their list if requested.
“They have to within 14 days remove them from the callers’ list,” Westwater said. “Unfortunately, the election campaign is only 28 days so, if they start calling during the election they still can call for 14 days after they’ve been asked to be removed.”
Generally, people don’t like receiving unsolicited calls or text messages.
Lori Williams, a political scientist at Mount Royal University said while the tactics turn many off, they do work.
“We see this every election,” Williams said. “But people wouldn’t use them if they didn’t have some positive impact.”
Williams fears that some people eventually tune out after receiving unwanted calls and messages.
“I always worry that some people just get fed up and don’t vote at all,” Williams said. “That’s, I think, the biggest damage of all that can be done if it turns people away from politics.”
Albertans can expect a double-dose of political messaging this year. After this spring’s provincial election, we go to the polls this fall for a federal vote.