UCP executive director Janice Harrington said the party is asking about dating apps for the same reason it questions potential candidates about their social media habits — there’s a potential for bad behaviour with services such as Tinder or The dating question was also motivated by the 2015 data breach of Ashley Madison, an online site used to facilitate extramarital affairs, which led to the leak of some user information, she said.“The questions that we are asking are to inform us about any potential risk a candidate may face in today’s kind of environment, where opposition parties are more than willing to do some digging and use personal information against people,” said Harrington.
Strathmore-Brooks MLA Derek Fildebrandt, who sits as an independent after being barred from running for the UCP, said the question could lead to closeted LGBTQ individuals having to reveal their sexual orientation by disclosing whether they utilize services aimed at gay individuals, such as Grindr.“If someone wants to be a candidate for the United Conservative Party and is not ready to come out as gay, then that seriously jeopardizes their privacy,” he said.“And frankly, I don’t know what business it is of any political party or anybody …
what dating sites they are on.“People are entitled to still have a personal life.”Harrington said she was upset by Fildebrandt’s suggestion that the dating app question could be used to out a closeted individual, saying that was the furthest thing from her mind when the questionnaire was put together.
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The dating app and website query were not part of the candidate vetting process of the UCP’s legacy parties, the Progressive Conservatives and Wildrose.
Harrington said she is not aware whether other Canadian political parties ask for similar information from their prospective candidates.
She noted that the information in the questionnaire is only shared with the UCP’s nominations committee.“It’s not shared broadly by any means,” said Harrington.
Fildebrandt said much of the UCP’s vetting queries are “entirely reasonable.”The 42-page UCP candidate questionnaire requires a wide range of disclosure, from employment history to past legal issues.
The United Conservative Party doesn’t want to get burned by Tinder.
The party is moving into intimate new territory as it vets prospective candidates, with the party’s questionnaire asking those interested in running to list all dating apps or websites they use and provide their online handles or IDs for the services.
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