Nova Scotia mayor announces he's gay, says someone threatened to expose him

(CP) - The mayor of Nova Scotia's Cape Breton Regional Municipality has come out as gay, saying he wants to protect himself from threats of exposure.

Cecil Clarke -- a likely leadership candidate for the province's Progressive Conservatives -- spoke out about his private life in an interview with CBC.

The 49-year-old politician says he didn't want to run for the Tory leadership with people thinking they could shame him or hold something over him.

Clarke said he's in a committed relationship with someone he loves and who supported his decision to speak publicly.

He described the threats against him as prompting ``a very dark time'' that brought him to a low point.

He said he was sexually assaulted as a child and thought he recovered very well from that, but hurt and pain came barrelling back after the threats.

The Sydney Mines native served in the provincial legislature as a Progressive Conservative MLA for a decade before returning to Cape Breton to become mayor in 2012.

Clarke -- who has received an outpouring of support on social media -- is expected to announce whether he will run for the PC leadership Saturday in North Sydney.