The BC Liberals have removed Nechako Lakes MLA John Rustad from caucus following online comments questioning the science of climate change.
Rustad has been an MLA since 2005, and was serving as the BC Liberals’ critic for forestry.
He will now sit as an Independent MLA but could make the decision to join another political party.
Earlier this week Rustad shared a social media post title ‘A Clear Case of Hot, Hotter…Hoodwinked’ claiming “the case of CO2 being the control knob of global temperature’ is getting weaker every day.”
The post points to data that has been disproven.
“Politics is a team sport and British Columbians expect their elected officials to work cooperatively on the important issues facing our province,” BC Liberal leader Kevin Falcon said in a statement.
“Following a pattern of behaviour that was not supportive of our caucus team and the principles of mutual respect and trust, I have removed MLA John Rustad from the BC Liberal Caucus effective immediately.”
The BC Liberals have faced challenges in the past with outspoken caucus members.
Former MLA Laurie Throness resigned as a BC Liberal candidate following an outcry over comments Throness made at an all-candidates debate during the 2020 provincial election campaign comparing the NDP’s free birth control plan to eugenics.
Since becoming BC Liberal leader in February, Falcon has promised to ensure party MLAs respect the party’s core principles.
“Like any team, our caucus operates on a foundation of mutual respect and trust. While a diversity of perspectives are encouraged and a source of strength, they cannot exist without that important foundation in place,” Falcon said.
Earlier Thursday, the BC NDP sent out a press release claiming Rustad has regularly questioned the science of climate change.
This spring, Rustad amplified tweets saying that actions to address climate change were too expensive.
The NDP press release also notes in April 2021, Rustad suggested that excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is not a pollutant and in 2019, he criticized the BC NDP law requiring all vehicles to be sold after 2040 to be zero emissions, falsely stating the province would run out of electricity.