Julian West’s recurring nightmare

Gerald Caplan clearly hasn’t been keeping up with his naked news, as Colby Cosh notes over at the National Post. “Somehow or other, some women in BC recalled [ousted NDP candidate] Julian West’s cavorting nude—12 years ago,” Caplan wrote on The Globe and Mail‘s website. (Those women were teenagers, incidentally.) “I guess it made a lasting impression on them, and obviously it was an amazingly stupid stunt for Mr. West to have pulled. But 12 years ago? And was this worse than Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz’s verbal idiocies, not to mention his failure to properly regulate meat products? … The world’s not a fair place.”

Leah Jones, one of the women in question, explained the true gravity of the situation to CTV News yesterday: “We were doing face-painting and he decided he wanted to get his legs painted, and some of the girls were painting his legs, and he took off his underwear and he had a partial erection and said why stop there girls.”

Icky, most certainly, though not enough for police to have filed charges. So I don’t think it’s enough to empirically deem him unfit to run for office—but Gulf Islands–Saanich is hardly a throwaway riding, so I’d understand if the NDP had pushed him had he declined to jump. But worse than Ritz’s bons-mots? Quite obviously yes, as Cosh says. If Ritz played some part in causing the listeriosis scandal, then obviously we’re in a whole different league. But until we know, I think it’s abundantly clear which of the two is less able to regulate meat.

In any event, this is all history repeating for West. A Times-Colonist report at the time of the incident explained his decision to step down from three Green Party committees until an internal investigation wrapped up, even as his friends stood up for him… after a fashion.

[Fellow Green Steve] Kisby said West was caught off guard because he was the only one naked.

“It was one of those things that happen. I’ve done it myself.”

West, for his part, declined comment. “If I comment on that, then the questions aren’t going to end,” he told the reporter, brimming with youthfully optimistic hopes of redemption.

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