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British Columbia B.C. Liberals to go to authorities after alleged hacking incident

B.C. Premier Christy Clark during a press conference in Vancouver last year. The provincial government is planning to go to the police in light of what they say was a hack of their party website on the weekend.

John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail

The BC Liberals say they are planning to go to the police in light of what they say was a hack of their party website on the weekend, and may bolster their cyberdefences as a result of the situation.

Party spokesman Emile Scheffel said Monday activity logs alerted the Liberals to the weekend intrusion and the party was told a journalist was sent a document containing suggestions for the Liberals' election platform in Vancouver Island. In an e-mailed statement, Mr. Scheffel said that document "certainly was not available" to the public through the party's website. "We are investigating the incident further, including any additional security measures that may be necessary," he wrote. He noted the party is "in the process of putting together a police report based on the information we have."

The allegations, initially detailed by Mr. Scheffel in a series of tweets, come as all major B.C. parties are ramping up for the May 9 provincial election in which the Liberals are angling for a fifth straight majority government after first being elected in 2001.

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In those initial postings on social media, Mr. Scheffel denounced unnamed "opponents" he accused of dirty tricks. However, he did not respond to a Globe and Mail query asking to elaborate on who he was blaming for the hack.

The BC NDP suggested the Liberals had mistakenly posted the material they now allege was hacked, leading to "unfounded allegations" about being hacked.

"If [B.C. Premier Christy Clark] spent less time making wild claims against her opponents and more time working for regular British Columbians, she wouldn't have this embarrassing problem," Raj Sihota, the provincial director for the BC NDP, said in a statement.

Ms. Clark's office declined comment on the situation, referring media queries to the Liberal Party.

This is not the first time in the lead-up to the election that B.C.'s major parties have seen their secrets unveiled.

Last week, the BC Liberals leaked materials from the BC NDP's climate-action platform ahead of the document's release by NDP Leader John Horgan as part of their criticism of the proposed program.

The leak of the plan Mr. Horgan will be touting on the campaign trail included speaking notes and vital talking points framing the argument for the plan. Despite the leak, the plan, which would see the carbon tax increase more quickly than the Liberals are proposing, won some praise from the scientific community.

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Earlier, the details and media strategy of an NDP plan to end the grizzly bear trophy hunt were also leaked to the Liberals ahead of the announcement.

In a statement issued Monday afternoon, Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver described hacks as "gutter politics at its worst" that erode trust in democratic institutions and systems of government.

"As B.C. Greens, my team and I are steadfast in our commitment to an honest, principled approach to politics that puts people at its centre, not dirty tricks and power," Mr. Weaver wrote.

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