B.C. NDP accuses B.C. United of ‘data mining’ through Red Cross site

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The B.C. NDP have accused political rival B.C. United of using a Canadian Red Cross wildfire donation page to harvest people’s personal information for partisan purposes.

The official Opposition denied the allegations and said the NDP is turning a legitimate fundraising drive into political theatre.

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B.C. United party Leader Kevin Falcon and opposition MLAs shared a link Thursday calling for wildfire donations through a specialized micro-site that includes the party logo.

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In a news release, NDP MLA Ravi Parmar said collecting donations this way would give the party access to the donor’s personal information including their name, address, cellphone number and email address.

The micro-site includes a privacy disclaimer that says: “In making your donation you are consenting to the Canadian Red Cross disclosing your donation information to B.C. United.”

Parmar, MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca, called the donation page a “despicable data-mining scheme.”

“Kevin Falcon and his party are exploiting this crisis and the generosity of British Columbians to harvest their personal information,” he said. “We shouldn’t need to tell Kevin Falcon that the worst wildfire season in our history isn’t an opportunity to help himself or his party.”

B.C. United House Leader Todd Stone disputed that characterization, saying the NPD’s “baseless partisan attack” overshadows a genuine attempt to raise funds for displaced wildfire victims.

He stressed that the privacy disclaimer is standard practice on all Canadian Red Cross micro-sites, allowing participating organizations to personally thank donors. The party is talking to the Red Cross about removing the disclaimer and taking away the ability to access donor emails, said Stone, who represents Kamloops-South Thompson.

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A spokesperson for the Canadian Red Cross B.C. and Yukon branch, said in a statement that no personal donation information has been provided or will be provided to B.C. United.

“The donation information that will be disclosed for this third-party fundraiser is the summary of total donations, which only includes the dates and dollar amounts. No names or personal contact details of individual donors would be provided.”

Any personal donor information collected by the Canadian Red Cross is solely for tax purposes, the statement said.

In a cheap attempt to score political points, Stone said, the NDP has diverted attention and resources from the Canadian Red Cross and those impacted by wildfires.

“It’s distasteful to suggest the Red Cross is in the business of data-mining on behalf of any third party,” he said.

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