HALIFAX — Nova Scotia-raised actor Lenore Zann expected her
adversaries might use parts of her colourful acting career to tarnish
her budding political ambitions.

But Zann believes a topless
photo of herself that was leaked to the media by a Liberal campaign
worker has only damaged her political opponents, despite an apology
from the party's leader.

"Even with an apology, it's too late.
They did it," Zann said yesterday in an interview from New York,
where's she was auditioning for a role on Law and Order.


"I just hope now that they will lay this little dead horse to rest. They tried flogging it and it didn't work."

The digitally blurred image featuring a bare-breasted Zann – which
aired Wednesday on a TV newscast – was taken from the actor's
appearance on The L Word, an American-Canadian television melodrama about a circle of lesbian friends and lovers.

The incident happened the same day that NDP Leader Darrell Dexter
announced that Zann, whose acting career includes a lengthy list of TV
and film appearances, will be the party's next candidate in Truro-Bible
Hill, where she grew up.

Liberal Leader Stephen McNeil, who has
said he wants to run a positive campaign, moved to distance himself
from the matter yesterday, saying the campaign worker that sent the
photo was not given permission to do so.

"It was not authorized
by me, it is not endorsed me, and it will not be tolerated by me as
leader of this party," McNeil told reporters after a meeting with
campaign workers.

McNeil said the unidentified party volunteer who sent the photo is not from the Truro-Bible Hill riding and acted alone.

The worker has not been let go and will be given a second chance, he said.

Still, McNeil stressed repeatedly that his entire campaign team has
been warned that similar tactics will not be tolerated in the future.

"Anyone associated with my campaign had better understand that now," he said.

Zann said McNeil called her yesterday to apologize for the incident.

She said she's not ashamed of the roles she's taken as an actor.
However, Zann said she had cautioned her party that someone might try
to use certain aspects of her career against her.

"It's right
there for the picking for someone who's looking for that kind of thing,
but the stupid part about it is that it's no secret," she said.

"It was just shocking, though, that it was the Liberals that did it.
... I was very saddened because I had held actually some respect for
the Liberals."

Dexter said he was already aware of Zann's work, including roles that required nudity, and that it didn't concern him.

"(Zann) is an extraordinary actress. She has been an ambassador on
behalf of this province and on behalf of the town of Truro throughout
her acting career," Dexter said. "I think she deserves the respect of
her political opponents."

Dexter said McNeil had also contacted him to discuss the matter.

An uncontested nomination meeting for Zann will take place next Tuesday in Truro.

The NDP has never held the riding of Truro-Bible Hill.

Tory incumbent Jamie Muir, who has held the riding since 1998, has said he will not be running in the next election.

Latest From ...