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NDP candidate West drops out

The NDP candidate in Saanich-Gulf Islands has dropped out after a 12-year-old story resurfaced over the weekend.

Over the weekend Julian West released a statement apologizing for skinny dipping in front of minors at an environmental conference in 1996 when he was a provincial Green Party candidate.

Details have since emerged suggesting his questionable behaviour went well beyond that, with him inviting young people to paint his naked body.

Today West released a second statement. "This morning I resigned as the NDP candidate in the riding of Saanich-Gulf Islands," he said. "After thinking about it, I have determined that I do not want to continue as a candidate and I have informed the party of that decision. I do not want my candidacy to detract from the campaign or from the issues that should be front and centre in this campaign.

"I'm going to return to my private life now, and I sincerely hope the campaign will be focussed on the issues."

West was one of three green candidates challenging Conservative natural resources minister Gary Lunn in the riding.

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