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Members’ Privacy Compromised

By Stuart Hertzog
September 26th, 2007

Fair Voting BC given access to BC Green party database

Fair Voting BC STV logo

Sometimes I wonder when I’ll be able to stop writing about things that are wrong with the Green Party of BC, and give out some accolades for things that are being done well.

I gather that I’m getting a reputation as a complainer. Tisk! Nothing could be further from the truth. I’m the nicest person you’d care to meet.…

But the latest foolishness perpetrated by the élitists on provincial council has me throwing up my hands in despair. This week I received an email from councillor Roy Ball exhorting me to become involved in Fair Voting BC, a BC non-profit society formed to promote proportional representation in this province.

I have never given this group this email address, nor did I request to be approached by them. Fair Voting BC apparently supports the STV system of proportional voting, recommended by the BC Citizens Assembly.

Invasion of privacy

Leaving aside the merits of proportional representation and whether the BC Green Party supports Fair Voting BC’s campaign, I am astounded that Sven Biggs, chair of provincial council, saw his way clear to authorise this release of the Green Party of BC’s membership list to an non-party incorporated Society.

I view this action both as an invasion of my and other members’ privacy and a dereliction of duty by both the chair of council and the membership committee chair to protect the confidentiality of members, as described under Sections 2c) and 5d) of the Structural Rules (available as a PDF) of the party.

The Green Party of BC must never give other organisations access to its membership information. It is a betrayal of trust to do so.

Canadian Association of Defence and Security Industries

My consternation is compounded by the fact that Mr. Ball is an owner of and gives as his email address Imago Machine Vision Inc. of Gatineau, Quebec, a company that makes automatic video target tracking, artillery miss distance calculators, and missile guidance systems for military and civilian use.

This is especially disturbing at a time when many people are becoming increasingly alarmed at the ability of corporations, governments, the military, and the private security industry to monitor every aspect of citizens’ lives.

Imago Machine Vision Inc. is a member of the Canadian Association of Defence and Security Industries (CADSI), a not-for-profit national business association that represents the Canadian defence and security industries.

That an owner of a listed member of CADSI sits on the provincial council of the Green party of BC has already been raised as a concern by party members. Their complaint was dismissed by a party Ombudsperson as there are no rules to govern who can or cannot sit on provincial council.

A motion to correct this deficiency will be considered at the upcoming AGM.

Step down pending investigation

Provincial Council must investigate this breach of the privacy of its members, and take steps to ensure that such an event does not happen again. Party Chair Sven Biggs must step down immediately from his post while this matter is under investigation, pending a decision by the membership regarding censure.

Here’s the full text of Fair Voting BC’s email:

From: rballgp@imagotrackers.com
Subject: GPBC: will you help with the STV campaign?
Date: September 24, 2007 12:22:12 PM PDT (CA)
To: rballgp@imagotrackers.com

I have been authorized by the BC Green Party Chair to approach GPBC members to encourage you to actively get involved with the upcoming STV – Yes campaign which is being coordinated by Fair Voting BC.

We must build strong regional teams as soon as possible if we are to guarantee beating the 60% threshold in the 2008 referendum.

In addition, please reserve your advance tickets before 5 October to get the early bird rate for the 10 November conference on electoral reform at UBC. Details at: http://fairvotingbc.com/node/24
We need volunteers for many things. Please indicate your interests

  1. join or help start local organizing committee for your constituency
  2. help to recruit other electoral reform supporters in your constituency
  3. having a lawn sign or bumper sticker
  4. learning more about STV
  5. monitoring the press & writing letters to the editor
  6. hosting private or public events (dessert parties, public forums, etc)
  7. joining an FVBC committee (for example: publicity, fundraising, school programs)
  8. making a financial contribution
  9. other (specify)

Best Regards

Roy Ball
Director BC Green Party
Director Fair Voting BC

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