Hosting Shelly Glover campaign launch was 'a serious error in judgment,' Habitat CEO says

The head of Habitat for Humanity Manitoba says allowing a Tory leadership candidate to hold her campaign launch on its property on Friday marked “a serious error in judgment.”

CEO Sandy Hopkins says he didn't mean to imply endorsement of Tory leadership hopeful

Shelly Glover thanks a supporter for backing her bid to become the next leader of the Progressive Conservatives. She spoke Friday at her official campaign launch at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore location on Archibald Street. (Ian Froese/CBC)

The head of Habitat for Humanity Manitoba says allowing a Tory leadership candidate to hold her campaign launch on the charity's property marked "a serious error in judgment."

The apology from CEO Sandy Hopkins came one day after Shelly Glover officially threw her hat in the ring to lead the Progressive Conservative Party of Manitoba and become the province's next premier.

Glover, a former federal cabinet minister and retired Winnipeg police officer, made her announcement at an event Friday in the parking lot of the charity's ReStore on Archibald Street.

Hopkins said in a statement allowing that news conference to happen "was a serious error in judgment on my part, and for that, I sincerely and deeply apologize."

He said Glover's campaign representatives approached his organization this past Wednesday requesting permission to hold her campaign launch there.

"My initial thought was to say no, and in hindsight, this is what I should have done. I deeply regret allowing this event to proceed," Hopkins said.

He added it wasn't his intention to imply endorsements for Glover's leadership bid from him or the charity.

CBC News approached Glover's campaign office for comment on Sunday morning, but didn't immediately receive a response.

Habitat for Humanity Manitoba CEO Sandy Hopkins says he deeply regrets allowing Shelly Glover to host her her campaign launch on the charity's property on Friday. (Jeff Stapleton/CBC)

Under rules set by the Canada Revenue Agency, registered charities aren't allowed to participate in partisan political activity "that involves direct or indirect support of, or opposition to, any political party or candidate for public office."

Habitat for Humanity builds houses for low-income, working families using mortgages without down payments or interest.

Glover used Friday's event to pick a side in the debate over COVID-19 vaccine requirements, saying she's opposed to mandatory immunizations for workers.

Her stance stands in contrast to those of public health officials and both her opponents in the leadership race: MLAs Heather Stefanson and Shannon Martin.

That race got underway after former Premier Brian Pallister announced last month he would step down before his term ended.

The party will select its new leader on Oct. 30.


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