The BC Liberal Party has parted ways with Chilliwack-Kent candidate Laurie Throness.
On Thursday afternoon, the party announced that after discussions with party leader Andrew Wilkinson, Throness stepped down as a candidate.
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In a statement, Wilkinson said he spoke Throness, who “accepted that his comments were wrong and inappropriate,” and accepted Throness’ offer to resign.
“The BC Liberal Party is dedicated to a diversity of perspectives, but all party members must be dedicated to inclusion and equality – that is not up for debate,” said Wilkinson. “We’ll continue to move forward with the rest of our team and continue to work hard to earn each and every vote.”
Thursday’s announcement comes after Throness faced backlash for comments he made this week comparing free contraception to eugenics.
He made the comments while weighing in on the BC NDP’s plan to provide free contraception during an all-candidates debate in his riding this week.
“The other thing that I feel about this is that it contains a whiff of the old eugenics thing where, you know, poor people shouldn’t have babies,” he said. “And so we can’t force them to have contraception, so we’ll give it to them for free. And maybe they’ll have fewer babies. So there will be fewer poor people in the future.”
On Thursday, prior to him stepping down, Wilkinson took to Twitter to speak about Throness’ comments.
“Let’s be clear, I support government providing free contraception to anyone in BC who wants it,” he wrote. “What Laurie Throness said was wrong and against my position as leader of this party. I will be making this very clear to Laurie when we next speak.”
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Throness has previously come under fire during this campaign for his anti-LGBTQ views.
Earlier this year, he was the subject of a letter written to Wilkinson by NDP MLA Spencer Chandra Herbert, who previously called out the party’s advertising in a magazine that promoted pro-conversion therapy beliefs.
Throness, who was the Official Opposition Critic for Children and Family Development, was one of 14 BC Liberal MLAs that expensed taxpayer dollars over the past 18 months on ads in a self-described “Christian lifestyle magazine” called The Light Magazine.
“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,” Chandra Herbert wrote.
“He then defended an article supporting conversion therapy as long as it didn’t include kidnapping or was too ‘coercive.’ Sit on that for a second,” he wrote. “The MLA you’ve put in charge of child care and supporting vulnerable children believes there is a place for conversion therapy.”