Former BC Liberal candidate Laurie Throness says he’s staying in the race for Chilliwack-Kent, a day after parting ways with the party.
In a statement, Throness says he’s “in it to win it,” and that he will sit as an independent if elected.
Throness resigned from the party Thursday after intense public backlash over comments he made at a Wednesday all-candidates debate comparing free birth control to eugenics.
BC Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson declined several times to say if he would have fired Throness if the candidate had not resigned.
In his Friday statement, Throness apologized for using an “incorrect word” in his position on contraception.
“As MLA I have always sought to speak from my heart and my conscience. Now, a great many have reached out with messages of support, urging me to continue to do that,” Throness said.
“It is vital to deliver our riding for free enterprise. Moreover, 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, and who advocates for free-market and affordable government solutions to public policy issues.”
Throness has long been a controversial figure as a member of the BC Liberals’ social conservative wing.
He has faced criticism in the past for speaking at a pro-life rally on the grounds of the B.C. legislature, and the party faced calls to drop him over the summer after he defended conversion therapy and continued to advertise in a Christian magazine hosting anti-LGBTQ2 content.
Read more: B.C. election 2020 — Chilliwack-Kent
Ballots are already printed for the riding and will list Throness as a BC Liberal candidate.
Throness said he will make clear to voters on the campaign trail that he is no longer the Liberal candidate.
Throness’s departure from the BC Liberals shook the race for what was widely expected to be a safe Liberal seat.
Chilliwack city councillor Jason Lum is running as an independent and could become just the second person in modern B.C. history to win as an independent.
The NDP is running Kelli Paddon, a policy manager for the non-profit Community Living BC.
More to come…