What's up with Brad West and the B.C. Liberal leadership race?

    1 of 7 2 of 7

      In 2017, some were shocked when the business agent for Ironworkers Local 97, Doug Parton, threw his support behind B.C. Liberal Leader Christy Clark.

      After all, the NDP was created through a merger of the Canadian Labour Congress and the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation. And unions provided a financial lifeline throughout the B.C. NDP's history until corporate and labour donations were outlawed by John Horgan's minority government in its last term.

      But now, some might wonder if another person with a history in B.C.'s labour movement might be tempted to hook up with the B.C. Liberals.

      Brad West is the China-bashing populist mayor of Port Coquitlam. He also spent many years with the United Steelworkers union.

      In 2019, West earned $115,223 while engaged in political activities and lobbying, according to the union's LM-2 filing with the U.S. Department of Labor.

      In addition, West is a former constituency assistant to Mike Farnworth, the longtime NDP MLA and current minister of public safety and solicitor general in Horgan's majority government.

      The United Steelworkers union paid the salaries of senior NDP campaign staffers during the 2017 election campaign, making it the party's largest donor that year.

      So what evidence exists that West—who's often associated in the public's minds with the New Democrats—might be tempted by the B.C. Liberals?

      You have to follow his Twitter account for a clue.

      If you look at the URL surrounded by a red rectangle, you'll see a website.

      If you click to this website, this is what you see...

      Note the URL: draftbradwest.ca. That's different than the stated link on West's Twitter feed: www.bradwest.ca.

      Apart from the draftbradwest.ca URL, there's nothing on the site.

      Googling "Draft Brad West" results in this coming up. Note that the website is www.bradwest.ca, the same URL that's on his Twitter feed.

      According to the WHOIS database, the draftbradwest.ca website was created on February 13 and expires on February 13, 2022. That's eight days after the next B.C. Liberal leader will be elected.

      The draftbradwest.ca website registrant's name, organization, street address, city, state or province, postal or zip code, country, and phone number have all been redacted for privacy.

      Now, here's the biggest surprise—a partial screen shot of a message urging that West be drafted as B.C.'s next premier. It's since disappeared.

      There's no indication, of course, that West is going to enter the B.C. Liberal leadership race. Nor is there any proof that he played any role in this showing up on the website or being subsequently removed.

      So we're not saying that West is seeking to play politics in a bigger sandbox.

      We're just wondering what's up with Brad West and the B.C. Liberals. That's all. Hence the headline on the top of this article.

      And how did it turn out that the bradwest.ca website linked to draftbradwest.ca through his Twitter feed?

      Update #1

      After this story appeared, West put out the following tweet:

      Update #2

      The www.bradwest.ca site is now a dead link.

      After this story was posted, www.bradwest.ca became a dead link and no longer connects to draftbradwest.ca.

      Update #3

      More screen shots from a website not created by Brad West.

      Clearly, someone wants Brad West to lead the B.C. Liberals—even if it's not Brad West—as these side by side screen shots indicate.
      Screen shots

      Update #4

      I was struck by the word "woke" at the bottom of the first column of the passage directly above. 

      It's a term used by right wingers to disparage the left. And in this instance, it was applied to "special interests who want to shut down resource jobs, take away your police, and tax you into following their narrow view of the province".

      Talk about red meat for the right!

      For fun, I started googling the names of right-wing political operators and commentators to find out if any of them are using the term "woke" as an adjective. I wondered if this might provide a clue as to who might have written the now-deleted plug for West.

      It turns out that many people on the right in B.C. have an affinity with this word—so that avenue of exploration isn't likely to yield anything conclusive.

      Here are just a few examples:

      "Horgan's narc-like attempt to bring prop rep as 'lit' and 'woke' didn't have much street cred with 'the youths' either."

      — former B.C. Taxpayers Federation director Jordan Bateman

      "The woke, politically correct mob wins again, thanks to their pathetic, spineless friends in corporate Canada (especially Quebec)."

      — former B.C. Taxpayers Federation staffer Aaron Gunn

      Coincidentally, both King and Zubyk responded over Twitter to the story above. You can read what they wrote below:

      Memo to Brad Zubyk: sometimes it's fun going down rabbit holes. That's because you never know what you might discover.