Is election tampering the new norm in Canadian politics? – Bruce Hyer MP

Bruce Hyer MPOTTAWA – Bruce Hyer the MP for Thunder Bay-Superior North is calling for the RCMP Integrated Technological Crime Unit to investigate the cyber-attack on the March 24 election for Leader of the Official Opposition. On Saturday, online voting at the NDP Leadership Convention was brought almost to a standstill by an orchestrated “distributed denial of service” (DDoS) attack by as-yet unknown hackers.

It has been reported that up to 10,000 different Internet Service Provider (ISP) addresses were involved in this attack on the company which provided the online voting option for the New Democrats.

“It’s clear that some unknown party orchestrated a deliberate cyber-attack on the vote server, in order to derail the election,” said Hyer. “This is not likely to be just some 14 year-old sitting in their mom’s basement. This was an organized attack using over 10,000 infected machines. It was an attack on the democratic process to elect the Leader of the Official Opposition, and it broke the law. Along with our own Party investigation, I want the RCMP Integrated Technological Crime Unit to investigate this crime, before anyone gets the idea that crimes against our democratic process will be shrugged off.”

Voters were unable to cast their ballots online for hours when thousands of computers involved in the attack assailed the vote server run by Scytl Canada, the company hired to run the NDP Leadership election. Computers from Canada and around the world were used to slow the server down, but were unable to break in or crash it. The integrity of the vote was preserved.

“Is election tampering the new norm in Canadian politics?” asked Hyer. “This is what happens when you create a poisonous political environment through the demonizing of opponents; when it is no longer about ideas and vision; when it is instead about division, attacking, silencing, and smearing. We have to change this hyper-partisan culture in Ottawa, one which is getting worse every year.”

Under Section 430 (1.1) of the Criminal Code, computer crimes such as “hacking or unauthorized use of computer systems” and “denial of service attacks” can result in 5 to 10 years behind bars, depending on severity.

The attack delayed the election of Official Opposition Leader Thomas Mulcair until 9pm Saturday, hours later than expected. “Two things have become obvious from this,” said Hyer, “First, we have to be wary about online voting. And second, our poisoned federal political culture has to be fixed …before our elections are.”