“What Would Be Their Specific Need To See?”

The privacy concerns over Prime Minister Harper's Jewish New Year cards continues as the issue has been raised repeatedly in question period and is drawing regular media coverage.  The issue could be defused by simply answering the question of where the list came from, yet when a Conservative spokesperson was asked if Canadians could see their personal information in party databases, he responded with "what would be their specific need to see?".


  1. It’s our right
    I think this serves as a perfect example of how government views Canadians.
    They apparently believe that they are the reason that we, the people, exist. To serve and take direction from them, the government.

    It is the citizens who should determine what the government does.
    In this case, it is our personal information in question, and we have paid (directly and in-directly) to have it collected into a data-base. We should be able to view and edit this information without restriction.

    And here is me thinking that we only had to worry about the Bush administrations secretive agenda!

  2. Dwight Williams says:

    One answer comes to mind.
    “To find out the answers to these questions, sir:

    How did you learn what the recipients chose to not tell you?

    Why did you choose to learn what the recipients chose to not tell you?”

  3. Hmm..since this is a CPC database, not a government database, would they not be subject to PIPEDA? Aren’t organizations subject to PIPEDA under an obligation to provide access to personal data when requested?

  4. I am no fan of Mr Harper or of his government, but I think this is a tempest in a teapot. Governments (or political parties, usuall government parties rather than opposition parties…)for years have been sending out Christmas cards. Governments and notably some opposition parties, including the Conservatives, for years have been accused of not understanding various ethnocultural communities (so criticized for praising members of those communities who turn out to be supporters of terrorists or other bad things). So when they try to look more closely at the public to accommodate their cultural or religious beliefs, why criticize them?

    I understand the historical nervousness of Jews about lists being made of Jews by people in government, but I suspect that the Conservative party is also making lists of other people to whom to send cards for *their* holidays, to get more political mileage, they hope, than the generic Christmas/holiday card.

    It may be more or less compelling marketing, but it\’s not malicious or improper.

    It is not clear to me that collecting names for political sucking-up (which is what holiday cards are doing) is a commercial use of personal information to which PIPEDA would apply.