The curious case of Saanich-Gulf Islands
This past July, Green party activists circulated a letter in the riding of Saanich-Gulf Islands, urging members of their party to support either the NDP or the Liberal candidate in the riding. The intent was to prevent splitting the vote in the hope of defeating the Conservative MP, Natural Resources Minister Gary Lunn.
That plan failed as the Liberals, NDP and Green party all fielded candidates.
Fast forward to this week when it was revealed by the Liberals that the NDP candidate in the riding, Julian West, had gone skinny-dipping in front of teenagers 12 years ago. West was not charged for his actions. Although he admitted being embarrassed by the incident, he said nothing inappropriate occurred and he planned to continue his campaign.
Then, today, West decided to drop out of the race saying he feared his past would be a distraction to the national NDP campaign.
But his late resignation means his name will remain on the ballot as the NDP candidate because the deadline for nominations was 5:00 yesterday afternoon.
West could have withdrawn his name yesterday and given his party a last minute chance to replace him. But now his name stays on the ballot although voters will know he is not running.
So, with no NDP candidate actively campaigning in the riding, will NDP voters go elsewhere?
One place might be the Green party. Saanich-Gulf Islands had the highest percentage of Green voters of any riding in the country in the last election. The Green and NDP votes combined to take 36.4 per cent of the vote. Conservative Gary Lunn got 37 per cent.
This race on Vancouver Island just became a whole lot more interesting.
— Sharon Musgrave
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