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Greens deny taking personal information from P.E.I. Coalition for Proportional Representation

Green MLAs Hannah Bell and Peter Bevan-Baker are shown in the P.E.I. legislature prior to question period last week.
Green MLAs Hannah Bell and Peter Bevan-Baker are shown in the P.E.I. legislature in this file photo. - SaltWire Network

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. - Green Leader Peter Bevan-Baker denies his party took any personal information from a group that wants proportional representation in P.E.I. and its supporters.

On Wednesday, Opposition MLA Darlene Compton raised the issue during question period, saying members of the public contacted the Opposition with concerns the Green party was using personal information about them that was given to the P.E.I. Coalition for Proportional Representation.

It’s an allegation Green Leader Peter Bevan-Baker said was not true.

“I categorically deny the accusations and I think (Compton) was clearly misinformed,” he said.

The allegations related to a website the P.E.I. Coalition for Proportional Representation used to collect donations in advance of a referendum on electoral reform planned for the next provincial election.

Several organizations were part of the coalition, including the Green party and the NDP.

The Green party’s president, Anna Keenan, was listed as the contact person when the website was registered.

A campaign worker in the byelection was also involved with the coalition’s campaign.

Speaking to the media, Compton said some of the people who came forward told the Opposition that during the Charlottetown-Parkdale byelection last fall Green party representatives went to their doors and identified their houses as supporters of proportional representation.

“They are concerned about how they knew that, where that information came from,” Compton said.

Those people were in favour of proportional representation and weren’t volunteering information to a political party when they gave it to the coalition, Compton said.

“There’s where the concern is.”

“We can categorically prove that none of the information contained in our database originated from the PR (proportional representation) coalition.” 
-Peter Bevan-Baker

After raising the allegations in the legislature, Compton said she will be taking the matter to Elections P.E.I. and the privacy commissioner.

That didn’t seem to be a problem for Bevan-Baker, who said considering the seriousness of the accusations the Green party will be asking Elections P.E.I. or the privacy commissioner to initiate a review.

“We don’t want these falsehoods continuing to be discussed in the public arena. We want a proper, arms-length investigation done and we will be asking for that.”

Bevan-Baker said stealing or misusing data is a serious offence.

“There’s just absolutely no basis for the allegations that (Compton) made today,” he said.  

The Guardian asked Bevan-Baker if Green campaign workers were going to houses and telling people they knew they supported proportional representation.

“I have no knowledge of that whatsoever,” he said.

Bevan-Baker said the Green party database has a full audit trail of the origins of all the personal information it has.

“We can categorically prove that none of the information contained in our database originated from the PR (proportional representation) coalition.”  

He also said there is no point of contact between the Green party’s database and that of the coalition.

Although the party and the coalition might share members, there is no sharing of information between them, Bevan-Baker said.

“There is no leaking of information or stealing or misuse of information from one group to the other.”

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