B.C. NDP MLA Spencer Chandra Herbert is calling on BC Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson to toss Chilliwack-Kent MLA Laurie Throness from the party’s caucus.
In a letter to Wilkinson, Chandra Herbert raised concerns over Throness’ continued advertisements in a Christian magazine criticized for homophobic content.
Two weeks ago, Wilkinson announced the BC Liberals would no longer advertise in Light Magazine after concerns were raised about articles in the publication.
The magazine has published multiple editorials opposed to SOGI 123, a provincially-supported program to help educators make schools inclusive and safe for students of all sexual orientations and gender identities.
The publication has also published editorials in support of conversion therapy, a discredited practice that seeks to turn homosexual people straight.
“It has been 12 days since your MLA defended conversion therapy and indicated that he will defy your direction. I have been disappointed to see no action from you during that time,” Chandra Herbert writes to Wilkinson.
“If there is no room for homophobia and transphobia in your party, you will eject Laurie Throness from your caucus. Failing that, you will act and remove this MLA from his role as Children’s critic.
Throness has not yet responded when asked for comment.
The BC Liberals announced two weeks ago plans to review their advertising spending after placing holiday greetings in the free monthly magazine that publishes articles widely seen as anti-LGBTQ2.
“Laurie Throness went to media and insisted he will not stop advertising in this homophobic magazine. He then defended an article supporting conversion therapy, as long as it didn’t include kidnapping or was too ‘coercive,’” Chandra Herbert writes.
The federal government has committed to banning conversion therapy and making the practice against the law.
The B.C. Greens introduced legislation to ban the practice. Manitoba and Ontario have already banned conversion therapy.
The proposed B.C. legislation would have prohibited the practice of conversion therapy for anyone under age 19 but the province does not have the power to make the practice a criminal act.
Chandra Herbert also raises concerns over Throness’ past public statements including a refusal to support adding gender identity or expression to the list of protections in the B.C. Human Rights Code and a criticism of SOGI 123, claiming it would cause “mental health issues” and “self-harm.”
The letter also expresses an appreciation to Wilkinson for reviewing the caucus advertising policy.
“Since your statement, some of the BC Liberal MLAs who placed ads apologized, and I thank them for acknowledging the harm caused by homophobic and transphobic practices like conversion therapy,” Chadra Herbert writes.
“Most did not. You committed that none of your MLAs would support this magazine again. But words are easy. Action is what counts.”