Nova Scotia NDP leadership hopeful Dave Wilson's campaign fined $100

Nova Scotia NDP leadership hopeful Dave Wilson has dismissed a volunteer after being fined $100. The volunteer, also a caucus employee, accessed party membership files inappropriately.

Wilson campaign volunteer fired after accessing party's member list inappropriately

Sackville-Cobequid MLA Dave Wilson, an NDP leadership candidate, has fired a volunteer who did not follow the rules when accessing the party's membership list. (CBC)

The campaign of an aspiring Nova Scotia New Democratic Party leader has been fined $100 for breaching rules around accessing the party's membership list.

Dave Wilson, MLA for Sackville-Cobequid, said Friday he accepts the investigation's findings and subsequent fine. 

An internal investigation revealed a Wilson campaign volunteer, who also works in the provincial NDP caucus office, accessed the party's member list inappropriately.

"An individual responsible has been removed from my campaign. It was a volunteer and it was an error in judgement on the part of that individual," Wilson said.

"I was disappointed, so I took what I felt was appropriate action."

Wilson said it was an isolated case and he only learned of the breach after a complaint was laid.

New member complained

The issue came to light after a supporter of leadership rival Lenore Zann contacted her, Zann said Friday.

The woman had received an email from the Wilson campaign — within minutes of buying her party membership. She had rejoined, after a long absence, through the party's website.

Membership information is supposed to be provided to all leadership teams at the same time to ensure fairness.

'Clean and even playing field'

Zann said she complained to the person overseeing the leadership race because she felt duty bound to report it. 

"It's the ethically correct thing to do. We're about fairness and justice and doing the right thing," Zann said.

"If it seems like there's something being done untoward, I'd like to get to the bottom of it so that it's a clean and even playing field for all three candidates."

Zann says she'd like a clean and even playing field for all three leadership candidates. (CBC)

Further discipline up to party

As for the staffer who broke the rules, Zann said any discipline decision would be up to interim Leader Maureen MacDonald.

"It's up to her discretion to decide what to do with the person who was discovered as having done it, who had access to the back end of the NDP computers," Zann said.

Calls to MacDonald and caucus spokesman Mark Laventure were not returned.

Membership swells to 3,000

According to the party, membership has grown by around 900 members since the leadership race started. There are currently about 3,000 provincial NDP members in the province.

They will all have a chance to pick a leader at the end of the month. Voting will be electronic and the results of the preferential ballot system will be announced at the party's leadership convention in Halifax on Feb. 27.

The other candidate in the race is Gary Burrill, a church minister and former MLA. 

About the Author

Jean Laroche

Reporter

Jean Laroche has been a CBC reporter for 32 years. He's been covering Nova Scotia politics since 1995 and has been at Province House longer than any sitting member.

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