N.S. Liberals block attempt to have bureaucrats discuss web breach

HALIFAX — Liberals on the Nova Scotia legislature’s public accounts committee have again blocked attempts to have officials from the Internal Services Department appear to discuss what the government maintains was a breach of the province’s freedom of information web portal.

Progressive Conservative committee member Tim Houston moved a motion Wednesday to have senior bureaucrats appear before the committee, but was voted down by the Liberal majority.

It was the third time the Tories have tried to get witnesses to appear on the issue.

Liberal member Gordon Wilson says it’s important the province’s auditor general Michael Pickup conclude his investigation of the matter before any potential examination by the committee.

But Houston says there’s nothing preventing the committee from hearing testimony and he believes the Liberal government simply doesn’t want to talk about the state of security around its computer systems in public.

A 19-year-old man was arrested after a dramatic raid on his family’s home on April 11, after it was alleged he downloaded 7,000 documents from the public website, but police dropped the case earlier this month saying there was no criminal intent and “no grounds to lay charges.”

Both the Opposition Tories and NDP say the onus has shifted to the government to take responsibility for what the auditor general has warned were lax security measures around the portal.

The web portal is still not back in operation after being taken down six weeks ago.





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