Blunder is bad press for BC Liberals as election nears
By Mercedes Deutscher, News Editor
BC Premier Christy Clark found herself and her party in trouble after hastily accusing the BC NDP of hacking the BC Liberal website earlier this month.
It started on February 6, when Emile Scheffel, Director of Communications for the BC Liberal party, revealed that the governing party’s website had been hacked over the previous weekend, and that an investigation was underway.
According to Scheffel’s twitter, information from a document regarding grassroots supporters had allegedly been stolen through the website.
“Dirty tricks by our opponents are in stark contrast to the constructive feedback gathered for our first-ever #VanIsle platform,” Scheffel tweeted regarding the incident.
The BC NDP was quick to retort, insisting that the document had been mistakenly published by a staff member of the BC Liberals.
Clark was quick to join in accusing the BC NDP of hacking the website, and began making direct accusations toward the opposing party on February 7.
“Hacking into websites with malicious intent is against the law. They haven’t exactly admitted that that’s what they have done,” Clark told The Vancouver Sun and The Province in a Facebook interview.
Clark followed up her statement on February 8, and told The Globe and Mail that “whether or not they would admit to doing it, I don’t know, but I’m not spending a whole lot of time thinking about whether or not and how the NDP is going to conduct the campaign.”
BC NDP leader John Horgan was outraged by the accusations, and the party began to look into legal action regarding the accusations.
“I believe that the premier should do the right thing and apologize to the BC NDP,” said Horgan to CBC. “The premier just wants to distract from the issues she is weak on.”
By the end of the week, on February 10, independent MLA Vicki Huntington revealed that she had access to the leaked documents, but was able to access them without hacking, adding leverage to the claim that the information had been leaked from the inside.
Furthermore, Huntington revealed that security surrounding the BC Liberal website was weak, and that the information was found while her staff was researching donations to the BC Liberals.
“No passwords were used, no usernames, no encryption devices. Just the clicking of the mouse and they found a number of documents, one of which contained personal information that was obviously publicly accessible on their website,” explained Huntington to Global News.
Clark was quick to backtrack on her accusations toward the BC NDP and apologized for her actions, yet Horgan suggested that the whole scandal was meant as a distraction.
“They’ve got a throne speech coming up next week and a budget the week after,” Horgan said to Global News. “They should have been focused like lasers on those events to set themselves up for the ensuing election campaign.”