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Martin apologizes for robocalls remarks

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OTTAWA — Manitoba NDP MP Pat Martin has issued a written apology to a Conservative voter-outreach company.

The apology appeared on Martin’s website Tuesday, about six days after he made comments on national TV about Responsive Marketing Group in connection with the robocalls issue.

"I did not intend to impugn any notion of illegal behaviour to RMG. In that sense, my statement was ill-advised," Martin wrote.

RMG is a Thunder Bay, Ont.-based firm that made calls for the Conservative Party of Canada during the federal election last spring.

A media story in February quoted employees of RMG as saying they worried they were making calls in which they gave people incorrect locations of polling stations.

In a Feb. 29 statement, RMG denied that was the case and said the only calls RMG made were to Conservative supporters. Calls made to let people know their voting station had changed were made in instances where the voting station had, in fact, been moved.

Elections Canada confirmed more than 100 polls were moved prior to election day.

Martin is also being sued by Racknine Inc., the Edmonton telephone marketing firm whose services were used to misdirect voters in at least one riding.

Racknine has co-operated with Elections Canada and CEO Matthew Meier has said the company was unaware its technology was being used for such calls. Racknine has helped track the identity of "Pierre Poutine," the alias adopted by the person who set up the calls using a disposable cellphone.

Racknine is suing Martin and the federal NDP for $5 million for defamation, alleging the party and Martin made defamatory statements about Racknine’s involvement in the robocall scheme in February.

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