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BC Liberal leader continues to defend Langley candidate over new evidence of anti-LGBTQ+ stance

FILE - A rainbow crosswalk in Vancouver at the corner of Davie and Bute Streets is shown in this file photo. The Logy Bay-Middle Cove-Outer Cove town council in Newfoundland voted Tuesday evening to create two brightly-coloured crosswalks in the community of about 2,000 people.
FILE - A rainbow crosswalk in Vancouver at the corner of Davie and Bute Streets is shown in this file photo. The Logy Bay-Middle Cove-Outer Cove town council in Newfoundland voted Tuesday evening to create two brightly-coloured crosswalks in the community of about 2,000 people. Rebecca Lau / Global News

BC Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson once again defended his party’s candidate in a Lower Mainland riding over her opposition of a rainbow crosswalk in her community.

At an announcement in Vancouver on Wednesday, Wilkinson was asked whether he still supports Margaret Kunst, who is running in Langley East, after Global News obtained a copy of a questionnaire she filled out as a council candidate in 2018.

“I have gay members of my family. I have lesbian members of my family. I love them. I respect them,” Wilkinson told reporters. “Our party position and the position of the government of British Columbia is there should be no discrimination.”

Read more: B.C. election: Liberals promise money for integrated police, mental health teams

In the lead-up to B.C.’s municipal election in 2018, the Langley chapter of the Association of Reformed Political Action Canada, which encourages Reformed Christians to get involved in political issues, asked local candidates to fill out a questionnaire on topics important to them.

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Kunst, who was running for a spot on the Township of Langley council, was asked about her stance on rainbow crosswalks as a symbol of support for the LGBTQ2 community.

According to the material obtained by Global News, the question read: “Langley Township has painted a rainbow crosswalk within the last few years. Would you support the painting of such crosswalks?”

Her answer: “No, I believe our Canadian Flag represents freedom and inclusivity for all in Canada.”

Click to play video 'City of Chilliwack rejects rainbow crosswalk' City of Chilliwack rejects rainbow crosswalk
City of Chilliwack rejects rainbow crosswalk – Sep 4, 2019

 

The surfacing of the questionnaire follows recent news that Kunst was one of three Township councillors to vote against such crosswalk between the local RCMP detachment and the school board office.

Wilkinson was asked whether he still supported her as a candidate, and at the time, said he’d understood that the vote had been about “procedure” on the project and not about gay rights.

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Click to play video '‘Today John Horgan chose politics over people’: BC Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson on election' ‘Today John Horgan chose politics over people’: BC Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson on election
‘Today John Horgan chose politics over people’: BC Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson on election – Sep 21, 2020

 

On Wednesday, Wilkinson did not answer specifically when asked again whether he continues to support Kunst in light of the questionnaire, only indicating that all BC Liberal candidates agree discrimination is not acceptable.

The party did not return a request for comment from Kunst herself.

Read more: NDP MLA wants Laurie Throness removed from BC Liberal caucus over ‘anti-LGTBQ views’

The BC Liberals have faced questions before over anti-LGBTQ opinions.

In July, Wilkinson announced the party would no longer advertise in Light Magazine, a free Christian lifestyle publication, after concerns were raised about its articles.

Read more: BC Liberals reviewing policy after advertising in social conservative magazine

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The magazine has published multiple editorials opposed to SOGI 123, the provincial program to help educators make schools more inclusive and safe for students of all sexual orientations and gender identities.

Laurie Throness, the MLA for Chilliwack-Kent at the time, insisted he would continue to advertise in the magazine, but eventually stopped. He is running for re-election on Oct. 24.

On Wednesday, BC NDP incumbent Spencer Chandra Herbert slammed Wilkinson’s response to Kunst’s questionnaire answers.

“Was his candidate lying to him or was Andrew Wilkinson lying to British Columbians?” he told reporters from Vancouver’s West End.

“Andrew Wilkinson has aligned himself with Laurie Throness, a candidate that actively opposes LGBTQ human rights, that has spoken against action to ban conversion therapy.”