UPDATED: Well, at least he wasn’t smoking pot at the time.

Okay, is it just me, or is the current crop of NDP hopefuls in BC starting to sound more and more like escapees from a novel by a Canadianized Carl Hiassen? Not that that’s a bad thing!

Candidates gear up for Oct. 14 election

By Elizabeth Nolan – Gulf Islands Driftwood – September 10, 2008

An expected upcoming federal election was officially announced on Sunday after Prime Minister Stephen Harper asked Governor General Michaelle Jean to dissolve Parliament. Canada’s 40th general election will take place on Tuesday, Oct. 14.

Candidates for the Saanich Gulf-Islands riding are Briony Penn for the Liberals, Gary Lunn (incumbent) for the Conservatives, Julian West for the NDP and Andrew Lewis for the Green Party. […]

NDP candidate Julian West is a 12-year resident of Vancouver Island with experience in the democratic process as a Green Party candidate in the 1996 election. His web page bio lists his profession as teacher of mathematics at Malaspina University and as researcher at the University of Victoria. West has had experience researching electoral reform, having authored papers on reform in the City of Vancouver and having served as director of Fair Vote Canada and Fair Voting B.C.

Oddly, the local paper omitted this entry in West’s cv, which appeared in the June 11, 1996 edition of the Victoria Times Colonist:

Activist steps aside after being accused of doffing shorts (Tuesday, June 11, 1996)

Up-Island Green Party member Julian West has resigned from three committees after allegations that he doffed his shorts in front of teens at an environmental conference and went swimming au naturel. West said Sunday that he voluntarily stepped aside from the committees while the Green Party investigates the allegations. The Lake Cowichan RCMP also investigated.

Sgt. Ron Merchant said he received complaints that last weekend, West dropped his shorts while a group of teenagers were bodypainting, and said, ”Paint me all over.” ”This upset the young girls that were there,” Merchant said. West, who ran as the Green Party candidate for Cowichan-Ladysmith in the provincial election, is also alleged to have gone skinny dipping. Merchant said it was brought to police attention by management at Camp Imadene, on Mesachie Lake. […]

”We investigated and classified it more e as inappropriate behavior than a criminal act,” Merchant said. ”None of the kids or parents came forward to register a complaint. We’ve left it at that, though I’m sure he’ll suffer a lot of embarrassment.” West is not facing charges.

Asked about the allegations, West said, ”I’m not commenting on these things. If I comment on that, then the questions aren’t going to end.”[…]

The allegations of inappropriate behavior were also taken to Green Party leader Stuart Parker, who asked fellow party member Steve Kisby to investigate. His report is hoped for by July.

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 is a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and now teaches mathematics at Malaspina University College.

Note to Jack Layton: No, you don’t have to worry about replacing this candidate– I’m pretty sure nobody out there is going to suspect you of entering into a secret deal with the Nearly (or, as may be the case, Actually) Nude Party of Canada.

UPDATE: West has now issued a statement reiterating his initial sorriness.

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