Premier Christy Clark is photographed during her annual year end interview in her office at the provincial legislature in Victoria, B.C., Friday, December 16, 2016. It’s not the apology B.C. New Democrat Leader John Horgan has demanded, but Clark now admits she jumped to conclusions when she blamed the Opposition for hacking her party’s website. (The Canadian Press/Chad Hipolito)

Premier apologizes for accusing NDP of hacking

Christy Clark said NDP hacked BC Liberal Party website, but private information was left unprotected

Premier Christy Clark has apologized for her claim that NDP operatives hacked the BC Liberal Party website, after a party official said the security breach came from a computer inside the B.C. legislature.

“Earlier today I called the leader of the opposition, and I apologized to John [Horgan] for comments that I made earlier this week,” Clark told reporters at the legislature Friday. “It is further proof of the fact that when we jump to conclusions and we make a mistake, we should own up to it, and I have no problem saying sorry, because I made a mistake.”

Horgan wasn’t available, so Clark left a voice mail message apologizing to him.

Clark alleged earlier this week that an attempt to get into the party database and copy information about party supporters and a developing Vancouver Island election platform was an illegal act by the NDP.

NDP leader John Horgan denied the allegation and demanded an apology from Clark, saying his party has consulted a lawyer and may sue if the apology wasn’t forthcoming.

Independent Delta South MLA Vicki Huntington issued a statement Friday morning saying a member of her staff stumbled on “sensitive personal information” that was posted on the BC Liberal Party website.

“No username, password or encryption device was required to access that information, which was a spreadsheet that anyone in the public could view,” Huntingon said.

In an interview on a Kamloops radio station Thursday, Clark tried to clarify her statement.

“We know that someone with very strong technical knowledge, someone with malicious intent, hacked the BC Liberal website,” Clark said. “We know that it came from the legislature. I guess people can draw their own conclusions about who in the BC legislature mint want to hack the BC Liberal website and distribute the information that they received from it.”

Asked by CHNL radio host Jim Harrison if she had jumped to conclusions about the NDP being involved without direct evidence, Clark said: “Yeah, you know, I was really mad about it. I jumped to the conclusion that almost everybody else jumped to.”

Horgan, stung last week by a leak to the BC Liberals of a strategy document for his carbon tax plan before he announced it, threatened legal action.

“You can’t stir the pot, pour it all over yourself and then blame someone else for it,” Horgan said of Clark.

Clark said Horgan’s “feelings are hurt” and he should focus on public policy issues.

“If Mr. Horgan really feels like he needs an apology, I’ll see him on Tuesday, and I’m sure we’ll have the opportunity to raise that directly with me in the legislature.”

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