A local resident is wondering how Burnaby Parents' Voice got his unlisted phone number and called his home with an automated pre-election message in Cantonese.
"Where did the party get my number? That's my concern," said Burnaby resident Johnny Lee. "I just don't trust the way people misuse info. ... They might use it for other interests."
Lee said he has privacy concerns because his phone number has been unlisted since 2009 and Burnaby Parents' Voice just formed this year. He said he received automated calls from other political parties, but the Burnaby Parents' Voice was particularly unsettling because it was in Cantonese, one of the languages he speaks.
"If it was spoken in English, I (wouldn't) have a problem," he said.
Burnaby Parents' Voice candidate Charter Lau said he doesn't know the details of how the party creates its phone list, and the volunteer who handled that was out of town.
"We do use a demon dialer," he said, referring to the pre-recorded election messages.
Lau said he has heard concerns from people who received calls from Burnaby Parents' Voice and that he usually apologizes.
Fellow Parents' Voice candidate Helen Ward also didn't know details on how the phone list works, but she raised concerns that she received an automated call from the rival Burnaby Citizens Association, although her phone number is listed. Ward also said someone put a BCA sign on her lawn without permission.
Gord Larkin, BCA president, said his party takes names from the voters list and uses a computer program to look up the phone numbers. They also get phone numbers from the BCA and NDP membership lists. But if someone is listed in the phone book, they could definitely get a call from the BCA.
"We call blank, sure," Larkin said. "If you're in the phone book, that's why she (Ward) got a call... That's fair game if they are in the public domain."
Larkin also said they don't tend to use the old phone lists from past elections because a lot can change in three years. As for an unlisted number, Larkin's not sure where a party would get that unless the person gave his or her phone number out to some organization.