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An Alberta legislature member who left the Opposition NDP caucus over a computer hacking investigation says he will remain in the house as an Independent and not seek re-election in 2023.

Thomas Dang says in a statement that Albertans are facing a number of crucial issues, including inflation and climate change, and his predicament is distracting the NDP on those problems.

Dang is a second-term member representing Edmonton-South.

He left caucus in December 2021 when the RCMP began investigating a hack of Alberta’s COVID-19 vaccine website.

Dang later admitted to using his computer to follow up on a tip from a constituent about possible loopholes that were allowing access to people’s private health information on the website.

He later said that when he ran into roadblocks trying to breach the vaccination site, he used Premier Jason Kenney’s birth date and vaccination dates, both publicly available, which allowed him to breach the site’s privacy safeguards.

Dang is charged under the Health Act with illegally attempting to access private information and is to be in court Wednesday. He could face a fine of up to $200,000.

Dang said in his statement Thursday that he believes the NDP under leader Rachel Notley is the best option for Albertans.

“Given the lengthy nature of the investigation and proceedings into my actions related to the security test I performed on the government of Alberta’s COVID-19 vaccination records website, I believe my continued candidacy for the Alberta NDP distracts from the important work ahead,” wrote Dang.

“For that reason, I am stepping aside.

“I want to thank the constituents of Edmonton-South for putting their faith in me for the last seven years – it has been the honour of my lifetime to represent them and fight for them and all Albertans.”

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