Comox Valley Common Sense is still a hot issue for some Valley residents, as the majority of people attending Tuesday’s council meeting left as soon as discussions on the matter ended.
Coun. Ronna-Rae Leonard announced at Monday’s council meeting that Elections Canada is investigating the Comox Valley Common Sense organization.
“I personally have contacted Elections Canada regarding this matter because there is something significant that I feel has to be investigated,” said Leonard. “In fact, Elections Canada has forwarded to the commissioner for investigation so it does have some merit.”
Leonard also moved that the City request the organization to disclose “the source of that organization’s contact information used during the 2011 Courtenay civic elections.”
Cards were mailed out during municipal elections in November endorsing seven candidates each in Courtenay and Comox. Leonard was not endorsed.
Leonard’s motion said some members of the public raised concerns “regarding a lack of transparency and access to private information by a campaign organization named Comox Valley Common Sense.”
Coun. Manno Theos said he hasn’t heard any concerns from the public, and mentioned the Internet is a resource base for anyone able to use a computer.
“This, to me, is simply a non-issue,” said Theos, who was endorsed. “It’s a very odd issue to be talking about.”
Coun. Doug Hillian countered, saying the production of mailing lists is not so simple as looking up contact information online.
“The production of mailing lists is a little more sophisticated than looking up people’s addresses on the internet and it’s a fair amount of work, it takes a fair amount of organization,” said the unendorsed Hillian. “I’m not sure why it would be a problem for anybody to ask that question.
“The organization has the ability to either respond to it or not, but I’m not sure why it would be incumbent on us at this table to protect them from having the question asked of them.”
Coun. Jon Ambler said the question should be asked of the organization, but wasn’t sure if it was the City’s duty or Elections Canada’s duty to ask it.
Coun. Bill Anglin agreed the organization needs to be asked where it got the contact information, but said it is not the city’s place to ask it. He suggested leaving the issue to Elections Canada.
Common Sense endorsed Ambler and Anglin.
The motion was defeated.