Canada: Political party files complaint about homophobic robot

LAS VEGAS, NV - JANUARY 05: A Tanscorp UU smart robot is displayed at CES 2017 at the Sands Expo and Convention Center on January 5, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. CES, the world's largest annual consumer technology trade show, runs through January 8 and features 3,800 exhibitors showing off their latest products and services to more than 165,000 attendees. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

A political party in Alberta has complained to the communications watchdog, after a robot made automatic calls to ‘warn’ people that candidates had attended Pride parades.

The Wildrose Party – a conservative provincial group in Alberta – is claiming that anonymous robocalls are targeting people who had identified themselves as supporters in polling calls, ahead of next week’s municipal elections.

19-year-old Danika DeCarlo-Slobodnik, who answered one of the robotic messages at her father’s house, told the Calgary Herald: “I realized it was a robocall and figured I would listen to see what it was about.

“It said something about [Wildrose leader] Danielle Smith having marched in a pride parade, and at least three different times it mentioned that grown men were prancing around in panties in front of children.

“It was worded inappropriately and it was clearly not a factual, objective survey.”

Wildrose communications adviser Vitor Marciano said: “Our supporters are livid. The calls are homophobic, sleazy and despicable, and they are clearly being made in an attempt to suppress voters.”

He added: “We are doing nothing but live calling. If somebody gets a robocall, it is not from us.”

The Progressive Conservative Association of Alberta has also contacted the chief electoral officer to complain about calls.

The elections will take place in Edmonton Whitemud, Calgary Elbow, Calgary-Foothills and Calgary West.