The NDP threatened Wednesday to sue Premier Christy Clark for alleging without proof that the party illegally hacked into a B.C. Liberal Party website.
NDP Leader John Horgan said the party has consulted a lawyer and will consider legal action against Clark unless she retracts the comments and issues a full public apology.
“This is extremely troubling,” he said. “The most powerful person in the province thinks it’s OK to just make stuff up. That is just absolutely wrong and it brings, I think, disrepute to the office.”
Clark made the allegations during a Facebook Live interview with Vancouver Sun columnist Vaughn Palmer on Tuesday.
“We saw them try to hack into our website the other day,” she said, referring to the NDP.
She later added that “hacking into websites is illegal.”
Horgan insisted Wednesday that there is no truth to Clark’s claims. “She made this up,” he said. “I know nothing of any hacking involving my office, involving the NDP.”
Clark, who was in Victoria Wednesday to meet with B.C. Liberal candidates on Vancouver Island, was unable to provide reporters with any evidence to support her allegations and instead accused the media of making too much of the issue.
“For me, I don’t want to get distracted by all the horse race, inside baseball politics that you guys [in the media] like to talk about, because I think people want to hear me talking about ideas and they want to hear me talking about what my plan is,” she said.
Horgan said Clark needs to take responsibility for maligning him and other members of the NDP.
“I find it troubling that the premier of British Columbia believes it’s OK to make unfounded allegations and then make the case that it was ‘insider baseball’ that she doesn’t want to talk about,” he said. “She created the ball diamond, she threw the first pitch and it was a complete fabrication.”
The B.C. Liberals first announced the alleged hacking Monday, claiming that over the weekend their “opponents” gained access to supporters’ feedback on the party’s Vancouver Island platform. The hackers also obtained the supporters’ names, email addresses and postal codes, the B.C. Liberals said.
Emile Scheffel, the party’s communications director, released a statement late Wednesday saying the party has traced the hack to an IP address at the Legislative Assembly in Victoria. But, like Clark, he offered no proof linking it the NDP.
The controversy overshadowed Clark’s press event to introduce B.C. Liberal candidates running on Vancouver Island in the May 9 provincial election.
The B.C. Liberals hold two of the 14 MLA seats on the island and one of them — Don McRae of Comox Valley — is retiring from politics. Clark hopes to expand the party’s toehold by unveiling an Island-specific platform in the coming months.