If you haven’t visited BillLeduc.ca yet, you should.
For most of the 2022 municipal campaign it was as empty as any other ‘parked’ web address – millions of “URLs” on the internet which point to nothing, like a street number on an empty lot.
This web address stands out because you may have seen it on election signs in Ward 11… or referenced in a minor political firestorm.
A recent sudbury.com article will draw you to the outrage of a man who once owned a web address, neglected it for years, found he no longer owned it, and decided it didn’t matter – until it did.
This man is a professional politician, Sudbury Ward 11 incumbent Bill Leduc. The councillor, who had nothing better to do for four years than maintain his public presence, prepared election signs, leaflets, even online advertisements, and pointed all of these to this web address he once owned.
After pointing so many online resources to the web address, including his candidate Facebook page (still pointed there!), challenger Chris Duncanson-Hales decided it was time to act. He leased the web address and created a redirect to a special page on his own website. On it he writes: “I hope your redirection to this page allows you to learn more about me and my vision for Ward 11. As for the vision of my opponent, you can try emailing him at [email protected].”
As all bullies do when called to the carpet, Bill Leduc played the victim. He claimed his “website” was “hijacked” – a complete falsehood. Why is it such a base lie? Because at some point in this campaign Bill Leduc decided not to bother making a website at all. We know that because even though he failed to secure his preferred web address, he could have designed and promoted a website at literally any other address.
There is an even darker side to all of this.
Ward 12 candidate Jeff MacIntyre (our best hope for technological literacy on council) points out in an online post that a candidate advertising a web address they don’t own is downright dangerous. “Had a bad actor been the one to purchase the domain they could have used it to collect financial data of people willing to donate to Leduc,” says MacIntyre. ” Someone could have positioned they wanted to make sure a voter was registered and asked questions about private data that could lead to identity theft.”
This is truly a scary thought, and underlines that people with the public trust – shaky as Leduc’s is – have a responsibility to secure their communication channels which goes beyond base political advantage.
MacIntyre goes on to warn that Leduc and those in his situation are very clearly liable for any damage done in their name when so carelessly directing the public to a web address they don’t own.
Mr. Leduc’s judgement has lapsed here in every measurable way – not the least being he cared so little about his own name that he left it for sale for less than a large double double. He is lucky its in the hands of someone who wants better for our community.
Richard worked his first campaign way back in 1995, and since then has never been able to shake 'the bug'. From student politics, union politics, to electoral politics, he has always found a way to make his day-job political - especially when running the local MPs office from 08-14. Lately he's moved from environmental politics and his role as Communications Director and head of government relations for Green Economy Canada to labour organizing. Richard is now a Union Representative for the largest private sector union local in Canada, United Food and Commercial Workers Local 175.