NEW GLASGOW – While the domain name looks harmless, its contents reveal a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
A Progressive Conservative sign with blue tape obscuring some of candidate Pat Dunn’s website adorns Victoria Street in downtown New Glasgow. Dunn had to use a different website after the domain name votepatdunn.ca was bought and is being used to oppose him and his campaign for Pictou Centre. JOHN BRANNEN – THE NEWS
A website negative of the PC party and Pat Dunn has sprung up as the race for Pictou Centre heats up. The site under the domain name www.votepatdunn.ca tells readers to ‘Vote PC.... think twice’.
Dunn, the PC candidate for Pictou Centre, said the site used to be registered to him and was used during the 2009 election campaign.
“We registered both the votepatdunn.ca and patdunn.ca sites around the same time in 2006,” said Dunn. “After the election however, the votepatdunn.ca domain expired and we kept the patdunn.ca.”
The site www.prtag.com, which aggregates a list of expired domain names, listed votepatdunn.ca up for grabs on May 14, 2010. The site was subsequently registered again under Go Daddy Domains, Inc. on Aug. 27, 2013.
The site, which only features a homepage, talks about Dunn’s and NDP candidate Ross Landry’s spending during the 2009 election campaign.
“The other two parties called to let us know because they thought the site might have been hacked but we assured them it wasn’t,” he said.
Liberal candidate for Pictou Centre Bill Muirhead said he’s heard of the site but has been too busy campaigning to give it much thought.
“It’s nobody from my office, you can be sure of that,” he said.
NDP candidate Ross Landry noted that when he heard that Dunn’s domain had been bought, he ensured that his own web house was in order.
“A few weeks ago, I made sure that domain names associated with my campaign were in our possession,” he said. “You’ve got to make sure you’re on top of things like that.”
Landry said because he’s running a blog and using Facebook, it’s important to be vigilant and make sure others aren’t distorting the message.
Unfortunately for Dunn, some of his old campaign signs bearing the votepatdunn.ca link were distributed before the nature of his former campaign site was known. Pieces of blue tape now cover the ‘vote’ portion of the link leaving patdunn.ca.
“We’ve fixed the ones out there with tape and corrected the rest of the old signs before they went out,” said Dunn. “We’ve got a situation now though, where people are ripping the tape off the signs.”
He believes a local individual may be behind the votepatdunn.ca site, though that’s all he’s saying for now.
“The most annoying part is that they’re using my name, our info and distorting the message. This is one of those unfortunate parts of politics.”
Dunn said he’d press on, take the high road and try his best to ignore the site.
“I’m going to spend my time on the doorsteps and keep campaigning.”
It’s not the first instance of bad digital etiquette during this election campaign.
The group Anonymous accused the NDP of using bots and paid tweeters to fill Twitter with partisan posts. NDP President David Wallbridge stated that the party doesn’t employ any bots and has repeatedly advised NDP campaigns to keep their social media activities classy, clean and above board.
On Twitter: @NGNewJohn