British Columbia

NDP calls for B.C. Liberal MLA to be tossed from caucus over alleged homophobia

A letter from NDP MLA Spencer Chandra Herbert to the leader of the B.C. Liberals cites 'anti-LGBTQ views' of MLA Laurie Throness as grounds for him to be thrown out of caucus. It also calls for him to be removed as critic for the Ministry of Children and Families.

Letter to Opposition leader cites 'anti-LGBTQ views' of Laurie Throness as grounds for removal

MLA for Chilliwack-Hope Laurie Throness, in the news before for alleged homophobia, is in hot water again, this time for his views on free contraception. (John Lehmann/B.C. Liberal Caucus)

Calls are mounting from the B.C. NDP for the B.C. Liberals to remove a member of its caucus and strip him of his title as Opposition critic over alleged homophobia.

NDP MLA Spencer Chandra Herbert has formally penned the request in a letter to Opposition Leader Andrew Wilkinson, urging the ouster of B.C. Liberal Laurie Throness, the MLA for Chilliwack-Kent.

"In the past, I have expressed deep concern over the anti-LGBTQ views from MLAs in your caucus," wrote Chandra Herbert, the MLA for Vancouver-West End. "I remain concerned and am writing to ask you for action."

The letter cites recent criticism of thousands of public dollars spent on advertising in Light Magazine, which has published views condoning conversion therapy. 

It's a condition of being part of our caucus that there's no room for discrimination of any sort, including transphobia or homophobia.- B.C. Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson

It acknowledges that two weeks ago the B.C. Liberals vowed to discontinue the advertising, insisting there is "no room in the B.C. Liberal Party for homophobia, transphobia, or any other form of discrimination."

But Chandra Herbert insists that commitment was not enough, saying Throness has since continued to defend conversion therapy and is not fit to serve as critic for Children and Families.

"[That ministry] develops policy on child care, on how we treat young people," Chandra Herbert told reporters Wednesday. "So, if Andrew Wilkinson wants to follow up his words and actually act, he would remove this man from this position and not let him set the course for the B.C. Liberal Party on issues that involve children."

The letter goes on to call conversion therapy a discredited, abusive practice where LGBTQ people are taught to hate themselves and convert to something they are not, leading to self-harm, depression, and suicide.

'No room for discrimination of any sort'

When asked for a response Wednesday, the Liberals repeated their earlier comments.

"Discrimination of any kind has no place in our caucus," said B.C. Liberal MLA  and caucus chair Jackie Tegart. "This issue has been discussed and agreed to by all members and will be adhered to."

A letter from an NDP MLA to the leader of the B.C. Liberals cites the alleged 'anti-LGBTQ views' of MLA Laurie Throness, top row, third from left, as grounds for him to be thrown out of caucus and removed as the critic for Children and Families. (Mike McArthur / CBC)

The Opposition leader proceeded to read a similar statement. 

"It's a condition of being part of our caucus that there's no room for discrimination of any sort, including transphobia or homophobia," said Andrew Wilkinson. 

When pressed on whether the party was still comfortable with Throness in its caucus, Wilkinson replied again with the same answer.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Provincial Affairs Reporter covering the B.C. Legislature. Anything political: tanya.fletcher@cbc.ca

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