Federal health critic calls out Ottawa for lack of help during N.L. cyberattack

·3 min read
Don Davies is the federal health critic for the NDP, and says the federal government should be more transparent with details surrounding the cyberattack impacting Newfoundland and Labrador healthcare. (Ian Christie/CBC - image credit)
Don Davies is the federal health critic for the NDP, and says the federal government should be more transparent with details surrounding the cyberattack impacting Newfoundland and Labrador healthcare. (Ian Christie/CBC - image credit)
Ian Christie/CBC
Ian Christie/CBC

A federal health critic is calling for more transparency and support from Ottawa surrounding the cyberattack that has impacted Newfoundland and Labrador's healthcare system for more than three weeks.

Don Davies, a British Columbia member of parliament and the health critic for the New Democratic Party, called the federal response to the cyberattack "totally deficient," saying more should be done to assure Canadians that medical systems are safe.

"We've had radio silence from the Trudeau government and from Liberal MPs, and that's extremely concerning given that this is a serious breach of Canadians' personal data," Davies told CBC News Friday.

"We have to retain public confidence that their personal data is safe. Particularly now, when so much of our information is being held in electronic and digital form."

Throughout the past three weeks, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Andrew Furey and other provincial officials have been tight-lipped around details of the cyberattack, with Furey saying officials are following advice to keep most information about the attack private and reveal details when necessary due to the case being an open investigation.

While nearly all systems have been restored since being taken down at the end of October, details about the motives of attackers or whether or not it was a ransomware attack is still unknown.

The idea of limiting details was echoed by Seamus O'Regan, one of the province's MPs, when asked about the federal government's response.

CBC
CBC

"I wouldn't read anything into it other than there just hasn't been much public talk of it. Because frankly that's what we've been told to do. We've been told to support the province in every way that we can, I can tell you this is something that is discussed at the highest level," O'Regan said during a stop in St. John's Friday.

"I'm not really interested in making a statement about the federal government. I am interested in making sure that we look after the patients and the people and the privacy of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians."

O'Regan added he has met with Trudeau regarding the attack on multiple occasions, along with other federal ministers.

While Davies said there is some merit to not interfering in an investigation, he doesn't believe it should be a blanket excuse to hide details. He believes more information should be disclosed to answer how the attack happened and what can be done to prevent future attacks across the country.

"[Canadians] need to understand what happened, and they need to be reassured that concrete steps are being taken not only to get to the bottom of what happened here and to fix the problem, but to make sure that our information is safeguarded," he said.

"I think to maintain that confidence, we need as much proactive disclosure and explanation as possible. I think there's a way to do that while also preserving the considerations that have been raised."

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

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