Tuesday, April 21, 2009

And now the explanation!

Former NDP Candidate Ray Lam


Naughty candidate pokes holes in B.C. NDP's vetting process
Tuesdday's Globe and Mail
April 20, 2009

VANCOUVER — “We obviously go through all the Facebook pages, we go through all the information on the Internet. … We've got a process that looks through everything that's there.”– NDP Leader Carole James, to reporters on Monday.
No, the NDP did not look through everything on Ray Lam's Facebook pages.
Mr. Lam, the 22-year-old candidate in the riding of Vancouver-False Creek, stepped down last weekend after the contents of two photos from his Facebook page were reported in the media.
In one, Mr. Lam's hand was on an unidentified woman's breast; the second photo showed an unidentified man and woman with fingers on Mr. Lam's bulging underwear. He resigned as the NDP candidate, saying he did not want to be a distraction in the campaign.
The NDP has spent about $50,000 on a vetting process that was intended to ensure that incidents such as this did not happen. Potential candidates were required to fill out a nine-page disclosure statement listing 25 questions. The NDP developed the form based on experiences from recent federal elections, in which NDP candidates resigned during campaigns, and a review of the recent U.S. primaries and election.
Instructions ask for “complete disclosure of any matter associated with them which could be even remotely considered to adversely affect the interest” of the B.C. NDP. Question No. 14 asks aspiring politicians to state whether they belong to Facebook and to provide details.
An external research agency reviewed the completed forms, as well as searched for any additional information about the potential candidates. About 140 vetted forms were submitted to the party's executive council, NDP president Jeff Fox said Monday.
The party did not see Mr. Lam's compromising photos during the vetting process. Party officials did not have access to all of Mr. Lam's Facebook site. “We read information that was available to us,” Mr. Fox said. “If we had [access to the entire site], I think we would have acted differently. But we didn't. So we acted on the information that was available to us.
“The lesson here is, if you do not want to see it posted on the front page of The Globe and Mail, then do not put it on your Facebook site.”
The Liberals have also replaced a candidate who was previously vetted by the party and had won a constituency nomination. Joe Cardoso, 53, was nominated in November as the Liberal candidate for the new riding of Boundary Similkameen. His nomination was rejected as a result of his failure to disclose a letter-to-the editor he wrote in 2005 criticizing Liberal Leader Gordon Campbell, party spokesman Chad Pederson said.
The Liberal Party would not release a copy of its candidate disclosure statement. Mr. Pederson refused to elaborate on the reason for the secrecy. An internal candidate selection committee, made up of volunteers and party staff members, reviews the disclosure forms to ensure the potential candidate meets the party's criteria.
Mr. Cardoso said he was required to fill in a questionnaire about one inch thick, agree to a criminal background check and provide five character references. The party also has an appeal tribunal, made up of two lawyers and a party official. Mr. Cardoso said he appealed the decision to revoke his nomination but the tribunal upheld the decision. Mr. Cardoso is now running as a Conservative Party candidate in the riding.


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