Nearly 24 hours after being ousted from the B.C. Liberals, Chilliwack-Kent MLA Laurie Throness broke his silence and said he will continue to seek re-election as an Independent candidate.
Throness said his comment comparing free birth control to eugenics amounted to the use of an incorrect word.
“I want to apologize to all concerned for the damage done to my MLA colleagues and the Leader,” Throness said in a statement issued early Friday (October 16) afternoon. “Andrew Wilkinson is a good man who has dealt kindly with me on a personal basis throughout the summer and even yesterday. He should be our Premier.”
Throness’s latest controversial statement came from a Rotary Club all-candidates Zoom meeting in which he was expressing his concerns with the NDP’s position on birth control.
“It contains a whiff of the old eugenics thing where, you know, poor people shouldn’t have babies so, we can’t force people to have contraception so we’ll give it to them for free and maybe they will have fewer babies so there will be fewer poor people in the future,” he said in the video.
During a radio interview with Mike Smyth on CKNW radio on Friday morning, Wilkinson said his exchange with Throness was a 30-second phone call during which he accepted Throness’s resignation as Liberal candidate.
— Andrew Wilkinson (@Wilkinson4BC) October 15, 2020
“It became clear that he was not prepared to play on a team,” Wilkinson said. He confirmed that if Throness won the Chilliwack-Kent riding, he would do so as an Independent.
“Enough is enough,” the Liberal leader concluded.
Wilkinson delivered a formal statement on Thursday, October 15, a day after the controversy emerged.
“Yesterday, Mr. Laurie Throness made statements that are not in keeping with the value of the B.C. Liberal Party or my own values,” Wilkinson said. “I therefore have accepted Laurie Throness’s resignation as a candidate for the B.C. Liberal Party in the upcoming election and we will move forward without him as a candidate.”
The Liberal Party released a similar statement soon after, saying that “Laurie Throness has accepted that his comments were wrong and inappropriate.”
“It was clear that he couldn’t continue to be part of the B.C. Liberal team,” the party statement reads. “The B.C. Liberal Party is dedicated to a diversity of perspectives, but all party members are dedicated to inclusiveness and equality – that is not up for debate.”
During the Chilliwack Chamber of Commerce all-candidates debate on Wednesday (October 14) evening, Throness clarified his position on conversion therapy and inclusion during his opening remarks, vehemently opposed to his opponents painting him as a strong advocate for conversion therapy.
“That’s just wrong,” Throness said of the allegations. “In fact, I’ve never made a statement about conversion therapy, and I decry and oppose any course of practice to change another’s identity.” Throness went on to use his opening statement to tout his championing of “the dignity and worth of every British Columbian.”
Spurred on by “messages of support” amid the backlash he’s recently faced, Throness went on to say that “Chilliwack-Kent voters deserve a viable small ‘c’ conservative MLA who is unafraid of the freedoms of speech and religion, who embraces the thousands of social conservatives in this riding as well as social liberals.”
Statement by Laurie Throness
This week I used an incorrect word to explain my concerns about an NDP platform proposal…
“I will inform voters that if they vote for me, I will sit as an Independent in the House and continue to speak from my heart and my conscience,” Throness concluded. “I’m in it to win it.”
Though he is currently listed on the ballot as a Liberal, if elected again, Throness would technically be the first Independent MLA in Chilliwack-Kent riding history. Chilliwack city Councillor Jason Lum is also running as Independent.
More to come.
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