OTTAWA– American filmmaker Michael Moore is turning the tables on Tory claims
that he and the NDP may have broken election rules.
Last week, the Conservatives issued a statement questioning whether Moore and
NDP incumbent Tony Martin violated the Canada Elections Act by hitting the
hustings together in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.
“This canvassing appears to be a violation of the Canada Elections Act, which
clearly states that only Canadians can actively participate in a Canadian
election,” a Tory statement read.
But in a letter Monday to an online newspaper in the Sault, Moore said it was
the Conservatives who initially invited his film crew to go campaigning with
Tory candidate Cameron Ross.
The director told SooToday.com that when the Tory candidate failed to meet up
with the crew, Martin proposed they tag along with the NDP instead.
Moore, who made the popular documentaries Bowling for Columbine and
Fahrenheit 9/11, said he visited two homes alongside Martin and interviewed the
residents on their feelings toward the candidate.
Brad Lavigne, an NDP spokesman, said crews documenting candidates or the
election campaign is not new – or wrong, for that matter.
“Mr. Moore was not handing out literature or persuading people to vote one
way or another, and therefore, the claim is fairly bogus,” he said.
“Having your canvass documented by either a domestic or international
documentary filmmaker, in our judgment, in general, does not constitute a
violation of the Act.”
The Elections Act states that: “No person who does not reside in Canada
shall, during an election period, in any way induce electors to vote or refrain
from voting or vote or refrain from voting for a particular candidate…”
Canadian citizens or permanent residents are an exception to the rule.
Moore has reportedly asked Elections Canada to investigate the Conservative
The agency said it was against its policy to confirm or deny whether a
complaint had been filed.
Ian Shields, Ross’s campaign manager, would not discuss the situation.
“Not now. I may comment when the election is over,” Shields said Monday from
the campaign office.
“I have far too much to do to get myself involved in what Michael Moore is
Shields said Ross would not be commenting on the matter, either.
Moore and five technicians showed up for a candidates debate in Sault Ste.
Marie last week.
The director interviewed four of the five candidates – Ross did not join the
Moore refused to discuss the film he’s working on.