Tory president rips release of party membership list to Environics, says leaker broke signed confidentiality agreement
Uh-oh! Someone’s got some ’splainin’ to do!
Yesterday morning’s blog post on the strange circumstances surrounding the use of an Alberta Progressive Conservative Party membership list and a flurry of activity behind the scenes in Tory circles provoked a strong reaction late in the day by the party.
Late yesterday evening, Progressive Conservative Association of Alberta President Bill Smith used the party’s weirdly NDP-orange website to issue a stinging rebuke of the “unauthorized and inappropriate use” of the 22,000-name party membership list by the Environics polling company, and to deny that the party itself had anything to do with giving the list to the pollster.
Furthermore, Mr. Smith’s statement revealed that whichever campaign released the list broke a signed “confidentiality agreement not to disclose or disseminate the membership list prior to receiving it.”
He directed his sharpest barb at Environics for using the list: “We are surprised that any public research firm would use a list that was obtained in such a manner.” He also appeared to call the conclusions of the pollster into doubt by noting that “the list in question is not at all an accurate reflection of the membership that will be participating in our leadership process.”
For the moment, it looks as if in the face of this embarrassment, the PC Party’s strategy will be to blame the pollster but go easy on the newspapers, whose support the party will continue to need, and whichever campaign leaked the list, a detail that may or may not be revealed in the fullness of time.
Mr. Smith’s statement reads in full:
“The Progressive Conservative Association is very concerned with respect to the recent use of what appears to be a private Party membership list by a public research company. Any unauthorised and inappropriate use of our Association’s private membership lists is absolutely unacceptable. The privacy of our members is of paramount importance to myself and our organisation.
“We have been able confirm that the list did not come from the Party. What we have determined is that a list was given to a media outlet who subsequently gave it to a polling firm. We are surprised that any public research firm would use a list that was obtained in such a manner. Furthermore the list in question is not at all an accurate reflection of the membership that will be participating in our leadership process.
“We will be contacting all leadership campaigns regarding this issue. It should be noted that all Leadership Candidates signed a confidentiality agreement not to disclose or disseminate the membership list prior to receiving it.
“The conduct in question does not reflect our Party’s values, our commitment to our membership, or the ideals expressed by all campaigns throughout this Leadership process.”
We await everyone’s explanations with interest.
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