B.C. Liberal campaign manager steps down citing concerns about anti-gay voters
The campaign manager for B.C. Liberal candidate Mary Polak has resigned and made public concerns regarding anti-gay sentiments in Polak’s Langley riding.
Todd Hauptman stepped down on Tuesday (May 7), CBC News reports.
In a letter addressed to British Columbians, the 26-year-old gay man wrote that he has “had enough of being marginalized” and is “tired of politicians making endless excuses for political gain.”
“I have been conflicted beyond words these past weeks,” he states in the letter. “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.”
He continues: “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.”
In the letter, Hauptman notes that Polak always showed him “respect and love.” However, CBC News reports Hauptman called attention to a decision that Polak made as a member of the Surrey School Board, when she took a position against including books that promote gay familes. Hauptman said Polak recently had an opportunity to clarify her stance on the issue, but did not do so.
The loss of a campaign manager is a blow to the Liberals exactly one week before the provincial election scheduled for May 14.
Update: Polak has claimed that Hauptman was close friends with a member of the B.C. NDP and that he shared "strategy information" with that person. According to CKNW, Polak said she is "very disappointed" over Hauptman's resignation and that she wished he had stayed on as campaign manager.
The full text of Hauptman's letter appears below.
To My Fellow British Columbians:
Today is about to become a day that I will no doubt remember for as long as I live.
As many in the political community know (and in the community of Langley where I reside) I am the campaign manager for incumbent BC Liberal candidate Mary Polak. I also happen to be gay.
Today, I am asking politicians of all stripes - including Mary - to speak up for the gay community. We live in a day and age where we must be willing to embrace our fellow human beings, regardless of their sexual orientation. I have had enough of being marginalized and I am tired of politicians making endless excuses for political gain.
While I can say without hesitation that Mary has always shown me respect and love, and was a source of strength and encouragement when I 'came-out,' 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-weeks 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.
Those who read this may be shocked or even angry at me for making this decision so late into the election. To them I say, please know I have wrestled with this decision for sometime and simply cannot ignore my 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. Every human being ought to be loved, cherished, treasured, treated with respect and made to know they are valued. Moreover, all human beings ought to be the recipient of these virtues simply by being a person; that is to say, they are not virtues that can be earned, nor are they only reserved for some and not others.
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.
With Deep Respect,
May 7, 2013 at 1:53pm
Mary Polak? Didn't her whole schoolboard career depend on being anti-gay?
May 7, 2013 at 2:05pm
What about Gabby Kalaw? Is he anti-gay?
May 7, 2013 at 2:12pm
It has always be fishy to me for the BC Liberals to not include anything LGBT that is commercially prominent and mainstream on the Tourism BC website.
Then, having only three organizations as LGBT resources in the BC Newcomers Guide really shows that the party does not have much of a relationship with various queer communities in BC.
On top of it all, considering the BC Liberal's record on school homophobia -- how they have done nothing, the party is simply not in support of human rights, particularly for people who identify with LGBTQ or people who would benefit from queer visibility and sexual diversity.
May 7, 2013 at 3:21pm
Wow, Mary what a class act. Seems to me the logical thing to have done was to be generous, express your regrets at this young man's decision and pretty much leave it at that. This young man was ever so generous with his parting thoughts about you and your response which should have been to thank him, express you regrets at his decision and pretty much leave it at that. But nope, you had to ensure through your neo-con roots to cast aspersions on his departure, wow again, what a classless, thoughtless, heartless act you are.
May 7, 2013 at 3:47pm
Todd Hauptman, good for you, what a class act!
May 7, 2013 at 5:18pm
Was Hauptman that naive as to work for Polak, knowing her activites on the Surrey School Board? Does this help the Langley NDP?
May 7, 2013 at 7:27pm
She's got my vote.. Why elect a yes yes person. about time we had someone thats got an opinion on something
As soon as one states an opposing thought they are labelled racist bigot or whatever
May 7, 2013 at 8:59pm
Anyone remember the B.C. Human Rights Commission?
It was respected around the world for its work and leadership in the field of Human Rights.
Gordon Campbell got rid of it immediately after being elected.
The head of the Commission was fired while she was out of the country at an international human rights conference.
A humiliation and embarrassment for B.C. in front of a global gathering of human rights agencies.
This is the way the B.C. Liberals operate and Hauptman and Pollack are long time supporters.
So why is Hauptman surprised by his treatment?
Did he really think he would be treated respectfully by supporters of the Langley B.C. Liberals?
Looks like he has found out now.
May 8, 2013 at 8:28am
re: the update
Polak has pretty effectively neutered any effect this resignation might have on her campaign with this claim that Hauptman was sharing info with the NDP. True or not, all the homophobes in Langley will just say "these gays, they're all NDP anyway..." and vote for her. Probably guaranteed a win.
May 8, 2013 at 10:50pm
Most people can see Polaks statement for what it really is - dumping dirt to muddy the issues. We aren't all that stupid to believe her.