British Columbia

'Marginalized' gay B.C. Liberal campaign manager quits

The campaign manager for B.C. Liberal candidate Mary Polak has stepped aside because of what he says are concerns with anti-gay sentiments from voters in the riding of Langley.

Mary Polak says dispute is about B.C. Liberal information being passed to the NDP

B.C. Liberal campaign manager quits

CBC News Vancouver at 6

8 years ago
Todd Hauptman says he quit over hateful attitudes toward gays 2:08

The campaign manager for B.C. Liberal candidate Mary Polak has stepped aside because of what he says are concerns with anti-gay sentiments from voters in the riding of Langley.

But Polak told reporters Tuesday afternoon she met with Todd Hauptman, who she called her campaign manager and friend, before his resignation about B.C. Liberal information being passed to the NDP.

"I met with Todd this morning to discuss with him concerns about a close friendship that he had with a member of the NDP campaign in Langley and it had come to my attention that there was information disclosed to the other campaign," she said.

"I told him that I wanted him to remain as campaign manager but that we were going to have to figure out a way to address the security of information on the campaign."

Polak said she was surprised to hear of Hauptman's resignation in the media after their meeting.

"I can't say that I completely understand it. We have known each other a long time. We're friends and I care about him very deeply," she said.

"I have to say it's a day when I'm feeling fairly hurt but at the same time I'm quite sure ... that this was a very difficult decision for him and one he struggled with as well."

'The best course of action'

Hauptman, 26, who is gay, resigned Tuesday morning, just one week ahead of election day.

B.C. Liberal candidate Mary Polak says she wanted Todd Hauptman to stay on as her campaign manager. (CBC)

He told CBC News Polak has been supportive on a personal level, but said she failed to stand up for the gay community when recently asked about her fight against the inclusion of books promoting gay families while she was a member of the Surrey School Board.

"My friend Mary missed an opportunity and I had to reconcile with who I truly am and my fundamental beliefs, and who I'm working for," he said.

"And ever since last Tuesday, I've struggled, but I feel this is the best course of action."

Hauptman announced his resignation in an impassioned letter addressed to British Columbians.

"Today, I am asking politicians of all stripes — including Mary — to speak up for the gay community ... I have had enough of being marginalized and I am tired of politicians making endless excuses for political gain," he wrote in the letter.

"While I can say without hesitation that Mary has always shown me respect and love ... I have been conflicted beyond words these past weeks. You see, the very base of voters who will likely help Mary get re-elected in just one-week's time are made up of individuals who hold hateful attitudes towards the community I am a part of.

"It is knowing this that I simply cannot in good conscience support a campaign made up of people who think of me as less of a person because I am gay.  It is for these reasons that — after considerable thought and deliberation — I have decided to step down from Mary’s campaign effective immediately."

Hauptman goes on to say he struggled with the decision for some time, but couldn't ignore his feelings or convictions any longer.

"How can I live a life of integrity if I won’t speak up for myself and my community? How can I be in a position of leadership and influence and yet not do what I know to be right? The answer is, I cannot," he writes.

"Some of you will only take away from this letter that I am gay; but know that I am many other things. I am a Christian. I am the recipient of a kidney transplant. I am a passionate, thoughtful person who cares for others. I am a loyal friend. I am educated. I am an active member of my community. I am the same Todd I have always been."