British Columbia

Vancouver Pride threatens to ban B.C. Liberal Party from parade over ads in controversial magazine

The Vancouver Pride Society is threatening to ban the B.C. Liberal Party from this year's Pride Parade because one of its MLAs is continuing to place ads in a Christian magazine that includes articles opposed to transgender rights and promoting conversion therapy.

Society says MLA Laurie Throness still buying ads in Christian magazine with homophobic, transphobic articles

The Vancouver Pride Society is demanding that Chilliwack-Hope MLA Laurie Throness be removed from the Liberal caucus or at least removed from his role as childcare critic for the opposition. (John Lehmann/B.C. Liberal Caucus)

The Vancouver Pride Society is threatening to ban the B.C. Liberal Party from this year's parade after an MLA placed ads in a Christian magazine that includes articles opposed to transgender rights.

The organization says in a statement that MLA Laurie Throness has continued to buy advertisements in The Light Magazine, which has "published articles elevating anti-trans and pro-conversion therapy rhetoric targeting LGBQAI2S+ people." 

Vancouver Pride says it learned in recent news stories that the party and some of its MLAs featured in advertisements in the publication.

"Despite being reassured by the B.C. Liberal leader that that was no longer going to happen, they continue to invest in this magazine," said Michelle Fortin, co-chair of the Vancouver Pride Society.

"We've basically said to the Liberals until you take action and stop investing in that kind of publication, and until you deal with MLA Throness, you will not be allowed into the parade."

Fortin says registration for the parade closes on Monday and the party needs to respond before then if it wants to participate in this year's virtual parade on Aug. 2.

In an email to CBC News, a spokesperson for the B.C. Liberal Party said it will be responding to the society in the coming days "to reaffirm our opposition to all forms of homophobia and transphobia, and respectfully ask that they reconsider."

"Our understanding is that no B.C. Liberal MLAs are currently running ads in the publication in question, and that the caucus has updated its advertising protocols to ensure consistency with our values," reads the statement.

Party did not meet Pride standards, society says

Fortin said the society had yet to hear directly from the party as of Friday morning.

The society demanded in its statement that Throness be removed from the Liberal caucus or at least removed from his role as childcare critic for the opposition.

She says the decision to exclude the party from the parade was based on the Vancouver Pride Society's minimum requirements for participants.

"The biggest piece is that you can't actively participate in promoting homophobia and transphobia," said Fortin.

She says the B.C. Liberal Party did not meet that requirement by paying for ads in The Light Magazine. 

This Thanksgiving greeting from the B.C. Liberal Party caucus appeared in the October 2019 edition of The Light Magazine. (The Light Magazine)

The Light Magazine, which is based in Langley, B.C., is described on its website as a free Christian lifestyle magazine that discusses topics such as health, marriage, family, finances, faith and culture. 

Past issues have promoted controversial views on topics ranging from transgender rights to medically assisted dying and conversion therapy.

"In 2020, a B.C. Liberal Party that still thinks it's OK to support transphobic or homophobic messaging... It's appalling," said Fortin.

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