Alison Nicholson says she was within her rights to compile and use the list. (file photo)

Loren Duncan cries foul over e-mail list used by rival during election in Cowichan Valley

Claims winner in Electoral Area E used voter lists inappropriately

Loren Duncan is taking his concerns around last week’s municipal election to the province.

Duncan unsuccessfully ran against incumbent Alison Nicholson in a tight race in the Cowichan Valley Regional District’s Area E (Sahtlam/Glenora/Cowichan Station).


But he claims that during the election campaign, Nicholson used lists of voters’ emails that she accumulated at district functions and meetings while she served as a director to contact the voters and provide information about her campaign.

Duncan said the voters were told at the time they provided their contact information that it would be used specifically to provide them with periodic news and community updates.

He said the province’s Personal Information and Protection of Privacy statutes clearly states that candidates in an election can’t use personal contact information for any purpose outside of what it was solicited for, and it gave Nicholson an unfair advantage in the campaign.

“All these lists actually belong to the CVRD and candidates can’t own them, even if they collected them themselves,” he said.

“This undermines democracy and is a big deal. The province has to step in and deal with this bad behaviour.”

Nicholson acknowledged that she did develop lists of people’s emails in her electoral area after asking them if they were interested in keeping informed of things of interest in the community.


“I managed the lists myself and used my own email address,” she said.

“I was aware that the CVRD had set up email lists for specific projects that can’t be used by directors and I’m OK with that. I don’t think I was in violation of any statutes, but this issue does flag the need for clearer protocols. It’s a grey area.”

Nicholson said she has her own complaints about Duncan during the campaign.

“He misrepresented my positions several times and made many disparaging remarks to my supporters,” she said.

“It divided the community and I’m very upset about that.”

Duncan took his concerns to the CVRD, but the district’s CAO Brian Carruthers said the district doesn’t investigate the conduct of candidates in association with a municipal election.

“I have recommended that if he has a concern with Alison Nicholson’s use of email addresses in relation to the election process, that he direct his concerns to the Office of the Privacy Commissioner or Elections BC,” Carruthers said.

Duncan said he’s in the process of taking his complaint to the Freedom Of Information and Protection of Privacy Commission.

“I don’t know how far I’m willing to go with this, and taking it to the courts is not cheap,” he said.

Duncan has to make his submission to the commission within 30 days of the election for it to be considered.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

12 poisoned eagles found in Cowichan Valley

Improper disposal of euthanized animal suspected

Reach For The Top

Popular TV quiz show once featured Chemainus students

Two of Chemainus photographer Marston’s images picked among National Geographic’s 2018 elite

Rare double honour from the 36 best Your Shots out of nearly 19,000 photos

Strong winds up to 100 km/h for parts of Vancouver Island

Wind warning in effect for north, east and west Vancouver Island into Saturday morning

Robert Barron column: Kudos to hydro crews

It would have been enough work for any hydro crew just to deal with a few houses on one street

Keep focus on helping Canadians at home, Trudeau tells MPs at start of meeting

Trudeau said the Liberals will offer Canadians hope amid issue like climate change and global tensions

Pettersson returns to lead Canucks to 3-2 win over Red Wings

Vancouver’s super rookie has 2 points in first game back after knee injury

Skaters stranded in Saint John, NB, amid storm on last day of championships

More than half of the flights out of the city’s airport were cancelled due to the weather

Call for tighter bail rules after Saudi sex-crime suspect vanishes

Mohammed Zuraibi Alzoabi was facing charges related to alleged sexual assault, criminal harassment, assault and forcible confinement of a woman

Olympic softball qualifier to be held in B.C.

Tournament is to be held Aug. 25 to Sept. 1

B.C. resident creates global sport training program

The 20 hour course teaches the science and application of interval training at the university level

B.C. VIEWS: Fact-checking the NDP’s speculation tax on empty homes

Negative-option billing is still legal for governments

May plans next move in Brexit fight as chances rise of delay

Some say a lack of action could trigger a ‘public tsunami’

Group challenges ruling for doctors to give referrals for services that clash with beliefs

A group of five Canadian doctors and three professional organizations is appealing

Most Read