Former Non-Partisan Association councillor Alan Herbert is raising questions about council candidate Ronald Leung's views concerning gay marriage, Public Eye has learned. In an interview, the openly-gay Mr. Herbert said he spoke with Mr. Leung at a reception last Wednesday for mayoral candidate Sam Sullivan. And during that reception, he says Mr. Leung told him he is opposed to gay marriage and would never attend a pride parade.
"Mr. Leung is entitled to his opinions," explained Mr. Herbert. "This is a free country. But the question is: do we want a man like that to represent us at Vancouver city council - representing a city which is pluralistic in its population and which prides itself worldwide for tolerance. And my question to the NPA is will they remove him from that slate?"
When asked about those accusations, Mr. Leung acknowledged he did speak with Herbert at the Four Seasons Hotel. But Mr. Leung says "He was quite intimidating...And then he asked me, 'You're anti-gay?' I said, 'No. What do you mean by anti-gay?'" That is how our conversation started. And every time I opened my mouth and tried to say something he cut me off. It wasn't a real conversation" - a recollection not shared by Mr. Herbert, who denies he ever intimidated Mr. Leung.
When directly asked whether he supports gay marriage, Mr. Leung responded "This question has already been settled by the federal government a few months ago. It is the law in Canada. And I follow every law of the land." But what are his personal views?
Said the former Fairchild Radio AM 1470 producer and program host "I don't know what I said during those debate programs in my radio job. I'm not working with the radio anymore. And I don't think my personal point of view on this issue has any relation to my job as a city councillor."
"I enjoy working with all people in the country. And I respect the rights of every Canadian. And I also have told many people that I don't think, as a city councillor, I will be making any decision that's detrimental to the rights of anyone - including the gay community."
And as to Mr. Herbert's claim that he wouldn't attend a pride parade? Referring to their earlier conversation, Mr. Leung said after the former councillor harangued him, Mr. Herbert asked him to attend the gay pride parade. "And I said, 'I won't go to any parade with you.'"
But Mr. Herbert remembers the conversation differently. And he says he will stand by his statements.