MLA should be removed from Liberal caucus over anti-LGBTQ views: NDP

Jul 15 2020, 3:59 pm

The provincial NDP is calling for the resignation of BC Liberal Laurie Throness, MLA for Chilliwack-Kent.

Throness was the subject of a letter written to party leader Andrew 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 currently serves as 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.

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.

“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.

“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 adds, “the MLA you’ve put in charge of child care and supporting vulnerable children believes there is a place for conversion therapy.”

This a contrast to other members of the BC Liberals who were quick to echo their leader’s sentiments, including MLAs Jane Thornthwaite, Tracy Redies, Todd Stone, and Joan Isaacs, all of whom apologized for appearing in the ads.

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.

Last year, the BC Green Party announced it was tabling legislation to ultimately ban the practice of conversion therapy in the province.

Other grievances brought by Chandra Herbert include Throness’ refusal to support adding gender identity or expression to the list of protections in the BC Human Rights Code, claiming SOGI 123 would cause “mental health issues” and “self harm,” and his online defence of anti-trans Trustee Barry Neufeld.

The NDP is asking that if Throness will not be ejected from the caucus, he at least be taken off the file responsible for the “wellbeing of vulnerable children.”

Daily Hive reached out to Laurie Throness for comment and will update accordingly. 

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