October 14, 2022 – In the weeks leading up to the municipal election the two candidates vying for the mayor’s job in Qualicum Beach, Brian Wiese and Teunis Westbroek, have each altered their online campaign information, obscuring pertinent information from the voting public.
A review of campaign communications and media reports shows that incumbent candidate Wiese inflated his employment record, and misled the public about his engagement in the real estate sector in 2018 and has done so again in 2022.
Former mayor and current candidate Westbroek recently published an altered version of a press release he had previously issued to refute allegations made about him in an unsigned media release issued by the Town on September 6, 2022 at the behest of Mayor Wiese and Councillors Filmer and Harrison, each of whom are also vying for re-election.
Candidate Wiese misled public in 2018 election campaign, continued to provide false information in 2022 campaign
In the 2018 municipal election, Brian Wiese campaigned for the job of mayor of Qualicum Beach, leaning heavily on his experience as a deputy fire chief in Calgary. Wiese had no previous experience running for elected office or experience serving on any public boards.
What the voting public did not realize during the 2018 election campaign was that Mr. Wiese did not disclose his then-current occupation.
A review of Wiese’s 2018 campaign materials and media stories reveals only a single reference to Wiese’s past employment. The PQB News ran a story on September 13, 2018 announcing Wiese’s candidacy for mayor, stating “Former Calgary deputy fire chief and Qualicum Beach resident Brian Wiese has announced his decision to seek the office of Mayor in Qualicum.” This story was published without a byline identifying who wrote the story or whether it had been “submitted” by Mr. Wiese himself.
Buried near the end of the PQB News story, Wiese is quoted saying, “When I moved here, I was looking for a job that was part-time maybe even more of a hobby. I ended up as office manager for a real estate company for almost a year.” That is the only reference that Brian Wiese appears to have made about his real estate career, or “hobby” as he called it.
What Brian Wiese did not reveal to the voters of Qualicum Beach during the October 2018 municipal election — then or since — was that he was still in the real estate business at the time he was running for mayor.
According to his LinkedIn and other online profiles, during the 2018 election campaign, Brian Wiese was a manager with 460 Realty and Property Management as well as a licensed real estate agent working at Royal LePage, Parksville/Qualicum Beach. Wiese worked at this real estate “hobby” for over three years, from July 2015 through November 2018.
His 2018 and 2022 campaign materials also claim that Wiese has over 30 years of experience with the Calgary Fire Department but his posted employment history reveals, at most, 15 years of experience with that organization.
On October 4, 2018 PQB News published the responses to a set of three questions posed to all candidates. In his response, Wiese states his credentials, “I have 32 years of team building experience as a fire fighter and deputy chief,” but again omitted any mention of his then-current real estate employment.
Recently, with just over a week to go before election day 2022, Brian Wiese changed his credentials on his election website.
On October 5, Wiese’s website home page listed him as “Former Deputy Chief, City of Calgary.” On October 6, 2022, Brian Wiese’s election campaign home page was changed, omitting the reference to him being a former deputy chief of the City of Calgary.
Second Opinion QB contacted the City of Calgary but were unable to confirm that Wiese had held such a position. This apparently false information about his work history had been promoted to QB voters for over two months, from the time Wiese launched his campaign on August 2, 2022 until after advance polling stations had begun to take ballots.
Conflict of interest with real estate industry extended into all-candidates meetings
Wiese did not disclose active ties to the real estate industry in any of the three public all-candidate meetings that were held prior to the October 2018 municipal election.
The standing room only all-candidates meeting held at the QB Civic Centre prior to the 2018 municipal election was emceed by Matt Breedlove who is currently, and at the time of the 2018 municipal election, a real estate agent at Royal LePage, Parksville/Qualicum Beach where Wiese also worked at the time.
This conflict of interest was not disclosed to the public either by Wiese or by Breedlove.
Westbroek issues press release citing threatening text from Wiese, then removes statement from website
On September 6, 2022, during a closed QB Council meeting, Mayor Brian Wiese and Councillors Robert Filmer and Scott Harrison voted to send out a Town Notice reminding the public that a motion of censure had been issued in December 2021 against Councillor Teunis Westbroek regarding a reportedly intemperate remark to a staff member that occurred in 2019 (and for which Westbroek subsequently apologized).
On September 9, Westbroek, the other mayoral candidate in this municipal election, issued a press release addressing the content of the unsigned Town Notice entitled, “Westbroek responds to Council’s Political Games to Restrain Him from Seeking Office.”
Westbroek decried the use of Town resources to influence the election, alleging it was politically motivated, “coming 9 days after” Westbroek announced his candidacy for mayor, and while Mayor Wiese was also a declared candidate for mayor.
In his press release, Westbroek also cited a January 2022 text message he received from Mayor Wiese allegedly saying, “It may be best to resign and to use any excuse you need. I can only assume your lawsuit will go away and there would be no need to publicize the censure.”
To our knowledge, Brian Wiese has not issued a denial of this text message.
Westbroek’s press release rebuttal was also published on his election campaign website the same day, September 9, 2022, a copy of which is available here.
However, on October 12, 2022 Westbroek’s website showed a press release bearing the same headline and also dated September 9, 2022, but the content appeared to have been largely rewritten.
Westbroek says the new website version is a “summary of the full press release.” But, the statement repeating Wiese’s text message is now not included in this version of Westbroek’s press release.