Prime Minister Stephen Harper is ignoring questions in Parliament about why his Conservative MPs rejected a request by Elections Canada for more power to verify financial returns.

The federal elections watchdog doesn’t have the power to demand that political parties provide documentary evidence to back up their financial reports after each campaign.

And when the elections commissioner requested that he be given the same powers as his provincial counterparts, the governing majority on the procedure and House affairs committee balked.

The committee report, released last week, is being used by Opposition MPs to demand greater transparency from the Harper government amid growing allegations of electoral fraud.

The prime minister was repeatedly asked in the House why his party turned down the Elections Canada request, but he responded instead by attacking the Liberal party for its use of automated calls in the last election.

Elections Canada has reacted to the growing scandal by posting a complaint form online where those who believe they may have received a fraudulent phone call during the spring 2011 campaign can state their case.