EMSB denies breach of voter privacy in school board election

MONTREAL – The English Montreal School Board is denying that it provided a confidential list of phone numbers to one of Angela Mancini‘s candidates.

The school board elections at the EMSB have been particularly hard fought this year.

Our own Global reporter, Domenic Fazioli says he got a call from a candidate on his private cell number.

If it came from a school list it would be a major breach of the political process.

READ MORE: Quebec school board election candidates face off in debate series

Montreal Gazette cartoonist Aislin drew this to depict the on-going mudslinging between the two EMSB candidates running for chair of the school board. Aislin / The Montreal Gazette

“My phone number was given out when it shouldn’t have been given out,” he said.

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Fazioli was shocked to get a phone call on Sunday asking for his support for an incumbent EMSB commissioner.

The problem is he says he only gave his cell number to his child’s school in case of emergency only.

“The man made it clear that there’s a list from the EMSB and they were calling probably other parents like myself on their work numbers on their cell numbers,” said Fazioli.

“I think that’s unacceptable.”

It’s an allegation the EMSB’s central parents’ committee is taking very seriously.

“It is of concern, parents give these numbers to schools for a very specific reason so they can be reached in emergencies,” said Andrew Ross, Vice-Chair of the EMSB’s Central Parents’ Committee.

“They’re not supposed to be used to partisan politics they’re not supposed to be used for an election campaign.”

The call in question was apparently made by a volunteer working for Patricia Lattanzio, who’s running alongside EMSB chairperson Angela Mancini.

“I’m not sure how that number got into our hands,” said Mancini.

She insists the private cell number was not taken from a confidential school list, but rather from sources who may have already had the private information.

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“We will do everything we can from our end as most candidates will to ensure that we’re not calling private numbers that we’ve been given,” said Mancini.

WATCH: Quebec school board election debate: EMSB

Anne Lagacé-Dowson, who is running against Mancini says she’s deeply disturbed that confidential numbers may be used for political purposes.

“If they did use that list that’s a very big no no,” she said.

“If that’s the case it’s very upsetting because there’s one word to describe that and that’s cheating. Those numbers are confidential. They’re given to the school in case of a health emergency.”

READ MORE: Quebec’s English school boards try to get the vote out

Lagacé-Dowson says her volunteers are also struggling to find phone numbers since the school board voter lists only have names and addresses.

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“It’s a real struggle because phoning people is a good way to get a hold of voters – especially on voting day,” she said.

EMSB voters will head to the polls on November 2, and all sides hope voter turnout will be at an all-time high.