BC Liberal ad from Oct. 4, 2019 in The Light Magazine, a Christian publication out of Langley that frequently publishes homophobic and transphobic content. (Lightmagazine.ca)

BC Liberals barred from Vancouver Pride Parade if Chilliwack-Kent MLA isn’t ousted

Society that runs the annual parade says failure to do so shows the party is tolerant of homophobia

The Vancouver Pride Society says the BC Liberal Party is no longer welcome at the annual pride parade unless it expels Chilliwack-Kent MLA Laurie Throness from caucus or, at the very least, removes him from his role as Child Care critic.

The move Thursday came a day after NDP MLA Spencer Chandra Herbert similarly demanded Throness be ousted from caucus for his advertising in a Langley-based conservative Christian publication that frequently publishes homophobic and anti-LGBTQ content.

Throness was one of 14 BC Liberal MLAs who spent thousands of taxpayer dollars to advertise in the magazine. After the practice came to light, a number of MLAs apologized. In a Tweet on June 30, party leader Andrew Wilkinson himself said “there is no room in the BC Liberal Party for homophobia, transphobia, or any other form of discrimination. Going forward, we are taking immediate steps to ensure our advertising decisions reflect those values at all times.”

Throness, however, doubled down and said the magazine aligns with his “Biblical Christian” values.

The magazine has published articles critical of SOGI-123 in schools, one article called medically assisted dying “barbaric,” and an October 2019 piece in the same edition as a BC Liberal ad criticizes a proposed ban on conversion therapy.

• READ MORE: NDP wants Chilliwack-Kent MLA removed from BC Liberal caucus for alleged homophobia

Several others BC Liberals, including Chilliwack MLA John Martin, who advertised in the publication, have been silent.

Asked to comment on the situation by The Chilliwack Progress, Throness declined.

The Vancouver Pride Society threat to kick the BC Liberals out of future pride parades came Thursday in a letter to the party. While Wilkinson implied the party would no longer advertise in the publication, Throness seemed to defy his leader.

“This is incredibly concerning as it suggests that the BC Liberal Party, and caucus, are at the very least tolerant of homophobia and transphobia,” the Pride Society’s statement said.

“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.”

• READ MORE: VIDEO: Liberal bill outlaws conversion therapy for kids, non-consenting adults

Conversion therapy is pseudoscientific practice that aims to turn LGBTQ people straight.

“Conversion therapy is premised on a lie, that being homosexual, lesbian, bisexual or trans is wrong and in need of fixing,” Justice Minister David Lametti said in March after tabling the bill to ban the practice in the House of Commons.

In the statement from the Vancouver Pride Society, it said they use a “parade entrant matrix” that all entrants are scored against.

“These recent events have led us to re-score the application and find that the BC Liberal Party no longer meets the minimum requirement for participation.

“Vancouver Pride has requested that MLA Throness be sanctioned and that action minimally include removal from their role as Child Care Critic but ideally, expulsion from caucus. We encourage the BC Liberal Party to take the necessary action to make it clear to all that their organization does not tolerate homophobia and transphobia.”

– with a file from Canadian Press


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