The secret lists of our political parties.

They are like the lists Santa Claus is supposed to keep at the North Pole as to which children are naughty or nice. With millions of listings for the voters of Canada, the raw data of name and address is provided to registered political parties by Elections Canada. It soon becomes a party-specific and confidential list of voters in each electoral district as each party adds information as to who is believed to be voting for which party.

In the case of the liberal party, the list is called Liberalist and also contains information about who has registered as a liberal with the party and how much they have donated to the party.

The most reliable information gained during the election campaign is what canvassers are told when they come to your door. And people that you thought were pollsters doing surveys also provide information for the lists. Back when I had direct access to the lists, I had to go in and change my own information periodically because I rarely told survey personnel the truth and never told the truth to automated calls.

If the canvasser determines you are a vote for his or her candidate and if you have not voted prior to election day, you can count of getting phone calls and people knocking on your door on election day. Their purpose is to make sure you vote.

This effort is very serious. In my riding of Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte, had the liberals been able to find just one additional voter per poll, to go and vote liberal in the 2015 election, the liberals would have won the riding instead of the conservative.

How parties collect and use personal information has mainly been ignored across Canada. This might change though as various privacy authorities realize what information those databases contain and how easy they might be to hack. There is not that careful a screening of people gaining access to these political databases.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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