After it was revealed that the BC Liberal party had been repeatedly advertising in a publication that supports conversion therapy and various anti-LGBTQ issues, one NDP MLA is calling his colleagues out.
According to a Press Progress report, 14 BC Liberal MLAs expensed taxpayer dollars over the past 18 months on ads in a self-described “Christian lifestyle magazine” called The Light Magazine.
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“That MLA colleagues, who I thought I had good relationships with, would spend thousands of dollars supporting a magazine that is actively homophobic,” West End Cole Harbour NDP MLA Spencer Chandra Herbert wrote on Twitter in response, “and that campaigns against mine and families like mine’s existence is deeply troubling.”
While much of The Light Magazine’s content is fairly innocuous, past articles have included advocacy for conversion therapy, and anti-trans positions, typically framing them as parental rights issues.
Since then, BC Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson has taken to Twitter to denounce “homophobia, transphobia, or any other form of discrimination,” within his party.
“Going forward, we are taking immediate steps to ensure our advertising decisions reflect those values at all times,” he said.
There is no room in the BC Liberal Party for homophobia, transphobia, or any other form of discrimination.
Going forward, we are taking immediate steps to ensure our advertising decisions reflect those values at all times.
— Andrew Wilkinson (@Wilkinson4BC) June 30, 2020
Despite the tweet, which did not include an apology, some of Herbert’s fellow party members have joined the chorus against the BC Liberals.
“Mr. Wilkinson, you chose an anti-[Sexual Orientation Gender Identity] critic for [Ministry of Children and Family Development]”, Nick Simon, the NDP MLA for Powell River-Sunshine Coast, wrote on social media. “Your party’s been using public money to pay a surrogate to promote intolerance and hate.”
— Nick Simons (@NicholasSimons) June 30, 2020
Conversion therapy refers to any treatment, counselling, or behaviour modification that aims to change someone’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.
Professional and medical associations have denounced the practice, claiming that it doesn’t work and can be painful and invalidating for individuals subjected to it.
The federal government introduced a bill to ban the practice in March, though many municipalities have taken it upon themselves to stop the practice within their jurisdiction.