A number of groups in BC are calling on BC Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson to remove Laurie Throness as a candidate in the riding of Chilliwack-Kent.
Throness – the riding’s incumbent candidate who served as Official Opposition Critic for Children and Family Development – was the subject of a previous letter written to party leader Andrew Wilkinson earlier this summer by NDP MLA Spencer Chandra Herbert, who called out the party’s advertising in a magazine that promoted pro-conversion therapy beliefs.
Throness was one of 14 BC Liberal MLAs who expensed taxpayer dollars over the past 18 months on ads in a self-described Christian lifestyle magazine called The Light Magazine.
The Light Magazine’s past articles have included advocacy for conversion therapy and anti-trans positions, typically framing them as parental rights issues.
“As you know, in the past I have expressed deep concern about anti-LGBTQ views from MLAs in your caucus. I remain concerned and am writing to ask you for action,” Chandra Herbert wrote at the time.
“Your critic for the Ministry of Children and Families Laurie Throness went to media and insisted he will not stop advertising in this homophobic magazine,” he continued.
In response, Wilkinson tweeted at the time that “there is no room in the BC Liberal Party for homophobia, transphobia, or any other form of discrimination.”
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Now, with the deadline for official candidate declaration just a day away, the groups in the new letter state that it’s time for Wilkinson to act on his words and remove Throness from the party.
In the letter, the groups state that they “represent a wide section of people in British Columbia who advocate for and promote safe, positive, and welcoming communities for people of all sexual orientations an gender identities.”
The purpose of the letter is to “express our disappointment with the space you continue to provide for homophobia and transphobia in your party.”
And while the groups note they were “encouraged” by Wilkinson’s tweet in response to the situation over the summer, “we are deeply disappointed that Laurie Throness remains in the BC Liberal Party.”
The add that Throness has recently “publicly defended conversion therapy, which causes harm and trauma to LGBTQ+ children and youth.”
“It is our view that there should be no space for views like these in a major political party seeking to govern.”
Removing Throness from the party, they state, “would show … that you don’t tolerate homophobia and transphobia. We urge you to back up your statements with actions and demonstrate that discrimination has no place in the BC Liberal Party.”