04 January 2006

Connie won't answer for possible privacy violations

With a hat tip to Marks'Random Campaign Musings for providing the links, comes the story of Connie incumbent Cheryl Gallant (Renfrew-Nippising-Carlton) who apparently had her staff pluck birth dates from passport applications to build up a database for her constituency birthday card mailing list.

The Privacy Commissioner has been asked to investigate.

**Ms. Leslie White, a mother of four and a part-time teacher, is now worried the entire content of her passport application is being kept on file in her MP's office.

"The principle is really bothering me: that my information has been gathered without my knowledge. I don't know how it's going to be used."

Only feeding her concern was a letter she received from Ms. Gallant's office in December that contained the following words in the address section: "Caution: Supports SSM -- NO MAILOUTS."

At the MP's invitation, Ms. White had earlier mailed in a survey seeking opinions on same-sex marriage, which she supports, a position not shared by Ms. Gallant.***

Gallant has refused to answer media inquires, including the chance to participate in an editorial board meeting with the Ottawa Citizen. All other candidates in the Citizen's market have already participated or have agreed to do so.

In a related matter, it was laughable to hear Loyola Hearn complaining to CBC television recently that local media weren't covering this election campaign. Alone of all candidates in St. John's South-Mount Pearl in last year's election, Hearn refused to participate in any forum with other candidates. He refused media interviews and appears to have been a reluctant participant in the handful he's done so far this year.

It was only after some public pressure that he participated in two candidate fora last year. He appeared on a local cable television show notorious for being puffy and lightweight. Hearn also participated in a CBC radio panel with his other candidates. But while the Liberal and New Democrat showed up in the studio, Hearn phoned it in. Literally.

Meanwhile, the Mount Pearl Chamber of Commerce is still waiting for Hearn's response to their invitation to participate in an all-candidates debate...

from the June 2004 general election.

Ducking interviews is nothing new for Connies.

Gallant, though, has a reason to duck.

It appears she may well have broken the law.