Chilliwack-Kent MLA Laurie Throness watches the results on election night. The ex-Liberal’s tumultuous campaign and the narrow margin for victory ahead of the mail-in ballot count leaves the future of the riding’s seat in limbo for at least the next week. (Facebook/Laurie Throness)

Chilliwack-Kent MLA Laurie Throness watches the results on election night. The ex-Liberal’s tumultuous campaign and the narrow margin for victory ahead of the mail-in ballot count leaves the future of the riding’s seat in limbo for at least the next week. (Facebook/Laurie Throness)

B.C. VOTES 2020: Future for incumbent Throness uncertain as riding awaits results

Chilliwack-Kent candidate hopeful, resigned waiting on final count

On a sunny Monday morning, Chilliwack-Kent incumbent Laurie Throness drove the roads of the riding, picking up his campaign signs.

Like the rest of the residents throughout Chilliwack, Agassiz, Harrison Mills and Harrison Hot Springs, for Throness, it all boils down to a waiting game as the mail-in ballots are counted.

Throness and his campaign staff figure there are roughly 5,000 mail-in ballots still to be counted, discounting the ones that haven’t been returned. In Chilliwack-Kent, there were 7,650 mail-in packages requested, according to Elections B.C. data.

By the time election night counting stalled out toward midnight, four hours after the polls closed, NDP candidate Kelli Paddon held the lead over Throness by 195 votes, 5,199 to 5,004.

Throness said he had “high hopes” concerning the yet-to-be-decided results. He said the mail-in packets yet to be counted were quite possibly from older voters favouring the former Liberal who voted early on in the campaign before independent candidate Jason Lum declared his candidacy on the final possible day of candidate nominations, Oct. 2.

RELATED: Ex-Liberal Throness presses on as an Independent

Throughout the province, the earliest requests for a mail-in ballot streamed in as early as a day after the election was called on Sept. 21.

“I’m hopeful, that’s all I dare say,” Throness said. “Anything can happen in politics. I’m also resigned to whatever the people decide. They are the boss, and I love that they’re the boss.”

In the event he is not re-elected, Throness, who has been MLA since 2013 in the Chilliwack-Hope and then Chilliwack-Kent riding, added he’s happy to move on to something new.

Throness has faced widespread criticism throughout the 2020 campaign. During a Rotary Club all-candidates meeting via Zoom, the ex-B.C. Liberal expressed his concerns about the NDP’s campaign promise of free birth control, saying it “contains a whiff of the old eugenics,” going on to suggest providing free contraception is akin to an unforced measure ensuring the poor don’t have more babies, which would create more poor people. It was this comment that ultimately triggered Throness’s resignation from the B.C. Liberals. Throness has since apologized for the “damage done to my MLA colleagues and [B.C. Liberals leader Andrew Wilkinson].”

Prior to this, in late summer, the Vancouver Pride Society (VPS) banned the B.C. Liberals from the 2020 Vancouver Pride Parade if Throness was not removed from caucus or as child care critic. The VPS criticized Throness after he and 13 other B.C. Liberal MLAs advertised in Christian magazine “The Light.” The VPS stated the magazine has hosted homophobic and transphobic content, and members of the B.C. Liberals – including Wilkinson – have since apologized. Throness offered no comment other than the magazine aligned with his biblical Christian views.

RELATED: Throness defends himself on conversion therapy during Chilliwack-Kent meeting

During the all-candidates debate a few months later, Throness slammed his opponents for trying to paint him as a strong supporter of conversion therapy.

“That’s just wrong,” Throness said in his opening remarks on Oct. 14. “In fact, I’ve never made a statement about conversion therapy and I decry and oppose any course of practice to try to change another’s identity.”

Further on the issue of LGBTQ rights, Throness said he was for “equality for all,” stating he doesn’t rule out legislation designed to further improve the recognition of rights and quality of life for LGBTQ individuals.

Throness blamed his portrayal in the media as one of the factors that has significantly hurt his re-election chances.

“I have always been a tolerant person, but I’m labelled as intolerant. The media is a bit of an echo chamber and once an opinion is baked in, I can protest as much as I like [and it won’t help]. I think that hurt me a lot in the election.”

Moving forward, if elected, Throness said he would conduct himself responsibly in Victoria.

“I always feel that the constituents are the boss, and I will be guided by what they tell me. I’m not going to be impetuous in what I say; my words will be carefully chosen.”

RELATED: BC VOTES 2020: Claws come out during Chilliwack-Kent debate

Throness also stated his lengthy political record stands as a testament to the “enduring power” of social conservatism in the riding and perhaps the province as a whole.

Election results won’t be finalized until after Nov. 6., when those mail-in ballots are counted.

Across B.C., a total of 478,900 mail-in ballots were returned to Election BC, as of Friday, Oct. 23. There are roughly 3.5 million registered voters in the province.

– With files from The Progress


Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:
news@ahobserver.com


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

AgassizBC Votes 2020chilliwackElection 2020Harrison Hot Springs

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Swoop Airlines. (Contributed)
COVID-19 case reported on Abbotsford-bound flight last week

Affected flight landed in Abbotsford on Nov. 16

The Abbotsford Pilots and all other junior teams in B.C. have been paused from competition after new restrictions put in place to battle the spread of COVID-19.
Abbotsford Pilots, PJHL grounded after new restrictions

Games won’t played until after Dec. 7 at the earliest, minor hockey limited to local competition

Last year’s Realtors Care Blanket Drive collected 192 bags of warm clothing and blankets for the Abbotsford-Mission area. The 2020 version is collecting only cash donations. (File photo)
Annual Realtors Care Blanket Drive adapts to pandemic

Campaign across the Fraser Valley asks only for cash donations in 2020

Abbotsford’s Chase Claypool celebrates with teammates after scoring a touchdown on Sunday. (Karl Roser/Pittsburgh Steelers)
Abbotsford’s Chase Claypool scores 10th touchdown

First wide receiver since 1960 to record 10 touchdowns in 10 games, Steelers still unbeaten

Former BC Lion Angus Reid was the keynote speaker at the 10th annual National Philanthropy Day lunch in Abbotsford on Nov. 16.
Three awards presented at National Philanthropy Day lunch

Event in Abbotsford honours those who have made a difference

People wearing face masks to help curb the spread of COVID-19 cross a street in downtown Vancouver, on Sunday, November 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. reports 17 COVID deaths, 1,933 new cases as hospitalizations surge over the weekend

There are 277 people in hospital, of whom 59 are in ICU or critical care

An aerial shot of Cedar Valley Lodge this past August, LNG Canada’s newest accommodation for workers at the project site in Kitimat. This is where several employees are isolating after a COVID-19 outbreak was declared last Thursday (Nov. 19). (Photo courtesy of LNG Canada)
Forty-one positive COVID-19 cases associated with the LNG Canada site outbreak in Kitimat

Thirty-four of the 41 cases remain active, according to Northern Health

7-year-old Mackenzie Hodge from Penticton sent a hand-written letter to premiere John Horgan asking if she’d be able to see her elf, Ralph under the new coronavirus restrictions. (John Horgan / Twitter)
Elf on the shelf an acceptable house guest, B.C. premier tells Penticton girl

A 7-year-old from Penticton penned a letter asking if she’d be allowed to see her elf this year

Workers arrive at the Lynn Valley Care Centre seniors home, in North Vancouver, B.C., on Saturday, March 14, 2020. It was the site of Canada’s first COVID-19 outbreak in a long-term care facility. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Rapid tests ‘not a panacea’ for care homes, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

B.C. lacks capacity for daily tests of thousands of workers

(Delta Police Department photo)
Cannabis edibles found in Halloween bag lead B.C. police to illegal lab

Delta police arrested a man and a woman while executing a warrant at a residential property Nov. 20

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A woman being arrested at a Kelowna Value Village after refusing to wear a mask on Nov. 22.(@Jules50278750/Twitter)
VIDEO: Woman arrested for refusing to wear mask at Kelowna Value Village

RCMP claims the woman was uncooperative with officers, striking them a number of times and screaming

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

B.C. Liberal MLA Shirley Bond questions NDP government ministers in the B.C. legislature, Feb. 19, 2020. (Hansard TV)
Cabinet veteran Shirley Bond chosen interim leader of B.C. Liberals

28-member opposition prepares for December legislature session

Most Read