The call sounded like a pre–April Fools’ Day prank to Vancouver Mayor Sam Sullivan’s spokesperson, David Hurford, except that the person on the other end of the line was actually doing phone canvassing for the mayor’s Non-Partisan Association rival, Coun. Peter Ladner.
“It’s certainly something I wouldn’t expect,” Hurford told the Straight about the call he received at his City Hall office on the afternoon of March 31.
What was even more surprising for Hurford was that the call came from a New Brunswick–based call centre company, MLHL Marketing Inc. “Let them defend why they [Ladner camp] decided to go to somebody who’s located 3,000 to 4,000 miles away as opposed to somebody in Vancouver,” he remarked.
What didn’t sit well with Hurford was the supposed claim from MLHL Marketing that the company’s client is the headquarters of the Non-Partisan Association, whose endorsement is being sought by Sullivan and Ladner to be its mayoral candidate. The mayor’s spokesperson related that the Sullivan camp has informed the NPA headquarters about this incident, noting that the membership list is a confidential document kept away from nomination contestants.
Ladner spokesperson Bob Ransford confirmed the gaffe.
“We are calling to recruit prospective members,” Ransford told the Straight. “And I guess on the list that we had was David Hurford’s name.”
Ransford also claimed that the list given to the marketing firm came “from a number of different lists that Peter had—personal contacts, people that he’s met over the years, people that are known to him as NPA supporters, and so on.
“Obviously, David Hurford is not going to be supporting Peter Ladner, so we should have cleaned up the list, and made sure his name wasn’t in there,” Ransford said.