Laurie Throness has resigned as a candidate for the 2020 Provincial Election in the Chilliwack-Kent riding, as of Oct. 15, 2020.
The announcement came from BC Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson, following tweets earlier in the day rebuking Throness’s views.
“Yesterday Mr. Laurie Throness made statements that are not in keeping with the value of the BC Liberal Party or my own values,” Wilkinson said. “I therefore have accepted Laurie Throness’s resignation as a candidate for the BC Liberal Party in the upcoming election and we will move forward without him as a candidate.”
Throness was the MLA for Chilliwack-Kent for more than seven years.
The BC Liberal Party released a statement immediately after Wilkinson’s announcement.
It reads that: “Laurie Throness has accepted that his comments were wrong and inappropriate.”
It also says that “it was clear that he couldn’t continue to be part of the BC Liberal team,” and “The BC Liberal Party is dedicated to a diversity of perspectives, but all party members are dedicated to inclusiveness and equality – that is not up for debate.”
Throness touched on two equality issues on Oct. 14, in two separate all-candidates meetings. In one that was conducted for a business group, he likened free birth control to eugenics. In a public online Chamber of Commerce meeting, he spoke about his views on conversion therapy and inclusion.
Jason Lum is also running for the Chilliwack-Kent seat, as an independent candidate.
In a phone interview with The Progress, Lum said that he plans to keep his head down and work hard on the rest of his own campaign.
“My message has always been clear that we are offering an alternative both to the BC Liberals, and to people who traditionally vote BC Liberal and want someone who is going to be responsible with their hard earned money, and for people who are traditional NDP voters who are upset about this snap election,” Lum said.
He agrees with the BC Liberal party’s decision to cut ties with Throness.
“It was telling that Mr. Throness started his introduction (in an online debate on Oct. 14) on the defensive,” he said. “There is a cloud of distraction that follows him wherever he goes.”
Kelli Paddon is running in the Chilliwack-Kent riding for the BC NDP. She released a statement on Thursday afternoon.
“Our community has been speaking out for so long about the hurtful actions of Laurie Throness,” she said. “I’m disappointed it took so long for Andrew Wilkinson and the BC Liberals to do something so simple. I will continue to campaign hard to earn the trust of Chilliwack-Kent voters in an effort to become the next MLA of Chilliwack-Kent.”
She also brought up a BC Liberal candidate who is under similar scrutiny for her views, the Langley East candidate, Margaret Kunst.
She “is ideologically opposed to rainbow crosswalks and voted against one at the start of the campaign,” Paddon says. “Andrew Wilkinson had failed this leadership test. But the question now is will Andrew Wilkinson commit to never allowing Laurie Throness to return to the BC Liberal caucus?
“To those who have been hurt by Laurie Throness and Andrew Wilkinson’s actions, I want to say: I see you. I hear you and I will always stand up and fight for you.”
Black Press reached out to Elections BC for clarity on what will happen to votes for Throness, and whether he could still sit as an independent MLA if he wins the majority vote.
They confirmed that Throness’s name will remain on the ballot for Chilliwack-Kent, as early voting has already began. Oct. 15 was the first day voters could cast an early ballot. Several voters will have already sent in their mail-in ballots as well.
“It is too late for a candidate currently running for a party to run as an independent. The deadline for a party to withdraw their endorsement of a candidate is the close of candidate nominations. Nominations closed on October 2. The deadline for a candidate to withdraw is 48 hours before the start of advance voting (which started today),” the Elections BC communciations officer said.
“It is also too late for ballots to be changed, given that these deadlines have passed. Any votes cast for a candidate currently on the ballot will be counted for that candidate (whether cast via a write-in ballot, mail-in ballot, or at advance voting).”
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