Candidates state their position on homosexuality
By Brad Lister
The truth came out Friday when the Homophile Association of London Ontario released the results of their survey to municipal candidates on gay issues.
The survey was sent to all municipal candidates in the Nov. 10 election to gage the views and attitudes of people running for London city council towards the gay, lesbian and bisexual community.
"We were happy to see how many responded, a good healthy chunk of people," said Dan Wilson, chair of the political action committee. He added HALO was, however, discouraged over the reasons candidates did not fill out the survey.
"We had candidates calling trembling, saying they couldn't be honest and still get elected in the city," Wilson said.
With 80 per cent offering support on equality for the hiring of gays and lesbians the numbers were fairly positive, Wilson said. "It was a solid response. Some were a qualified 'yes' but for the most part they were very supportive."
Mayor Dianne Haskett, however, was one of the candidates who did not fill out the survey. Campaign spokesperson Mike Mitchell said he could not say why the survey was not filled out. He added Haskett made a statement indicating she would meet with the gay and lesbian community after the election.
Grant Hopcroft, also running for mayor, filled out the survey and was supportive of the issues presented by HALO. Lily Hopcroft, a campaign volunteer, said Grant has always felt it was necessary to answer all surveys and stay connected to the community.
Although a number of candidates did not respond to the survey out of fear that being honest about their feelings would hinder public support, Lily said Grant was not worried.
Ward two candidate Ivan Kasiurk said it was important for him to fill out the survey because people should know exactly what you think. "If [other candidates] don't answer then they shouldn't get elected," he said.
Like Hopcroft, Kasiurak was not worried about answering the survey truthfully. "I can be honest I'm not afraid to say anything. I speak what I feel." If the public does not want to elect him on the basis of his answers then that is the democratic process, he added.
Wilson said the survey is in no way an endorsement of any of the candidates by HALO. He added the organization felt members of the gay and lesbian community are smart enough the responses from the candidates could speak for themselves.