Coun. Kerry Jang at NDP rally as posted on Flunging Pictures Flickr page
The unscrupulous use of private information continues by Vision Vancouver, who have opted to share their database with "other progressive organizations" (aka BC's NDP party). CityCaucus.com has received several separate reports from people who joined Vision Vancouver but stipulated they did not want their private information circulated to third parties. These people are all getting contacted by the BC New Democrats throughout Vancouver.
In an email to people who have had no personal connection with the Councillor previously, Jang signed off on the following message:
...I am supporting Jenn McGinn because of her outstanding dedication to the people in her community. She listens to people and understands the issues that matter. Her community experience makes her a tireless advocate for the people of Vancouver-Fairview.
Our city is at risk and we need leaders like Jenn. On May 12th, please vote for Jenn McGinn...
Dr. Kerry Jang
Councillor - City of Vancouver
Professor of Psychiatry, UBC
Jang has been an unabashed ally of the NDP, appearing at news conferences with NDP MLA Adrian Dix & MP Don Davies, and even giving a warm hug to NDP leader Carole James at a Vancouver appearance. While it is no surprise he's supporting the NDP, it is a surprise to many who signed up for Vision (reportedly 16,000, at zero to 10 dollars per membership) with the understanding their private information would be kept confidential.
CityCaucus.com readers will recall this issue was raised earlier by us. We pointed out the sneaky tactic of placing the following opt out clause outside the bottom margin in microscopic type on their membership form:
I understand Vision Vancouver occasionally reaches out to new supporters by exchanging lists with other progressive organizations, but I do not want my contact information shared with these organizations.
An email message we received from one offended individual who was receiving the Jang/Jenn screed offered the following:
We have never been contacted by any NDP candidates previously and all our phone numbers are unlisted. We still have the message recorded on my daughter's voice mail. We were Vision Vancouver members until Gregor Robertson won the nomination, then we all rescinded our memberships because we felt the party had shifted from centre to left.
Even people who assert they checked the box beside that line are getting peppered with NDP communiques during this provincial election. Because we feel that Vision Vancouver are skirting the rules around peoples' private information, we contacted Vision Vancouver by email on April 9th requesting at a minimum that they remove this membership form and replace it with a new form with a more clear, "opt in" message, placed in the body of the page above the margin.
To date we've heard nothing. Shortly we'll be taking up the matter with BC's Privacy Commissioner. The Jang communications will just be added to the complaint.
UPDATE: In a coincidence, Vancouver Courier columnist Mark Hasiuk appears to have blogged this story at the exact same time (just after 2pm today). I guess a lot of people are getting Kerry's cold calls.