BC Liberals officially banned from participating in 2020 Vancouver Pride Parade

Jul 21 2020, 11:27 pm

The BC Liberals won’t be a participant in the the 2020 Vancouver Pride Parade, organizers confirmed on Tuesday.

In an email to Daily Hive, VPS Executive Director Andrea Arnot said the VPS “informed the BC Liberals today that they will not be eligible to participate in the 2020 Vancouver Pride Parade.”

Arnot added the VPS “looks forward to hearing about their accountability plan to ensure all of their caucus members understand the harms of conversion therapy, as well as, that any forms of homophobia or transphobia have no place in Canadian society, especially not with elected officials.”

The news comes after VPS said over the weekend that it had sent a letter to the BC Liberals demanding that BC Liberal MLA for Chilliwack-Kent, Laurie Throness be sanctioned and, as a minimum, be removed from his role as Critic for Children and Family Development, though they would prefer “expulsion from caucus.”

Failure to do so, they said: “will result in the party being barred from participating in the annual Pride parade.”

Throness was one of 14 BC Liberal MLAs, including party leader Andrew Wilkison, that 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.

“At a time when the federal government is exploring not just banning, but criminalizing conversion therapy it is shocking that we are having to hold the BC Liberal Party to account for the actions of one of their members,” said VPS in a release.

Adding that the anti-trans and pro-conversion therapy rhetoric targeting LGBQAI2S+ people can impact the community’s health and wellbeing.

“BC Liberal Party Leader, Andrew Wilkinson, gave assurances that these advertisements would not continue, however, MLA Laurie Throness continues to advertise in The Light Magazine, elevating homophobic and transphobic views,” said VPS. “This is incredibly concerning as it suggests that the BC Liberal Party, and caucus, are at the very least tolerant of homophobia and transphobia.”

VPS uses a scoring system to evaluate who participates in its parade. The recent events have led to a reevaluation of the party’s score and it “no longer meets the minimum requirement for participation.”

The demands echoed the call from BC NDP MLA Spencer Chandra Herbert, who issued an open letter asking if Throness will not be ejected from the caucus, he at least be taken off the file responsible for the “wellbeing of vulnerable children.”

With files from Peter Smith

Eric ZimmerEric Zimmer

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