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Liberal candidate should be fired: Herbert

Homosexuality 'a moral issue,' Dalton allegedly said

Liberal Maple Ridge-Mission candidate Marc Dalton Credit:

The BC NDP is calling for the removal of a Fraser Valley Liberal candidate for allegedly making “disturbingly homophobic comments.”

Vancouver-West End NDP candidate Spencer Herbert says Premier Gordon Campbell should denounce remarks that Liberal Maple Ridge-Mission candidate Marc Dalton allegedly made in an email 12 years ago and fire him as a candidate.

In the email released to the media, Dalton says he believes homosexuality is “a moral issue.”

“Most of us agree on many morals: respect, honesty, kindness,” Dalton, a teacher at Pitt Meadows Secondary School, says in the email. “There are also many behaviours and acts that most of us would not condone: rape, robbery, assault, drunken driving, pedophilia, incest and so on. There are other moral issues that large segments of our society do not see eye to eye: gambling, abortion, adultery, pornography. I believe that homosexuality fits in this category,” the email states.

“I think Gordon Campbell has some explaining to do,” Herbert says. “He said he has a thorough vetting process for candidates. He should ask this guy to explain himself and apologize.”

Liberal Party spokesperson Chad Pederson says the party is aware of the situation but can’t say what Dalton’s future as a candidate might be.

“I believe Mr Dalton will be the one to comment on that,” he says.

Dalton apologized for any hurt his past comments may have caused in an interview with Xtra West late Friday.

“They’re words I would not use now,” he says. “I did not intend to hurt anybody.

“I’ve always tried to ensure I respect diversity in our communities and honour the contribution of persons from all different backgrounds and walks of life,” he says. “If I get elected, I’m not there to judge; I’m there to serve. I want the gay community to know that. I believe fully in tolerance.”

He says it is not his intention to force his values as “a person of faith” on anyone.

He says he recognizes the contributions of the queer community to society.

Times have changed, he says, and it’s not his intention as a politician to revisit issues such as same-sex marriage.

Drusilla Wilson of the Maple Ridge Teachers Association, says the email dates back to 1997 when Dalton was circulating a petition opposing the BC Teachers Federation adopting a policy to eliminate homophobia.

The policies passed by the teachers’ federation were to create “strategies for achieving the elimination of homophobia and heterosexism in the public-school system.”

Dalton ran as a federal Conservative candidate in Burnaby-New Westminster in 2006. In 2008, he sought a federal Conservative nomination in Burnaby-New Westminster, but after a vetting process the party vetoed his nomination.

No explanation was given for the veto.

“I wonder how Mr Dalton passed the Campbell Liberal screen but not the Harper Conservatives,” Herbert says.

This incident follows the resignation of Ray Lam who stepped down as the NDP candidate for Vancouver-False Creek NDP last weekend after his Liberal opponent objected to some sexually playful photos taken at a Pride celebration four years ago.

The photos were tagged on his Facebook site. One photo shows Lam with his hand on a woman’s clothed breast, while the other shows a man and a woman tugging at Lam’s underwear while his pants are around his thighs.

Campbell was critical of the NDP’s candidate vetting process in Lam’s case. He told media that Liberal candidates must answer a “very thorough” questionnaire as part of his party’s vetting process.

Herbert says he wants to know how thorough that process is in light of the allegations that have now surfaced against Dalton.