Robocall is a term for an automated phone call that uses both a computerized autodialer and a computer-delivered pre-recorded message. The implication is that a "robocall" resembles a telephone call from a robot. Robocalls are often associated with political and telemarketing phone campaigns, but can also be used for public-service or emergency announcements.
Robocalls are made by all political parties in Canada. Recent controversy has surrounded their usage. Elections Canada and the RCMP are investigating claims that robocalls were used during the 2011 Federal Election in an attempt to dissuade voters from casting their ballot. This was done by automated and live callers claiming to be from Elections Canada and sending them to the wrong polling stations (in hopes they would become frustrated and give up). While Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party of Canada has denied any knowledge or involvement, Elections Canada traced the calls to Racknine, an Edmonton-based firm with links to the Conservatives. A Conservative party staffer was also let go soon after the scandal was reported. In the wake of the scandal many bloggers and some mainstream reporters began referring it as "Robogate", in reference to tactics used to gain political advantage in the Watergate scandal of the Nixon administration.