May 16, 2018 5:36 pm
Updated: May 16, 2018 6:00 pm

N.S. Liberals block third attempt to have officials discuss data breach

WATCH: More than six weeks after the government's freedom of information website was shut down following a security breach – opposition politicians are demanding answers. But attempts to get officials in from the legislature are being turned away. Jeremy Keefe has more.

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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.

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READ MORE: Still no timeline for fix of website at centre of N.S. data breach 40 days later

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.”

WATCH: Police will not charge 19-year-old involved in Nova Scotia data breach, close investigation

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.

© 2018 The Canadian Press

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