Eight days out from the provincial election, B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson is under fire from within his own party for taking too long to cut ties with Chilliwack-Kent candidate Laurie Throness and for undermining the chances of other Liberals running in the election.
On Twitter, B.C. Liberal membership chair Nicole Paul said “I am pleased to see Laurie Throness will no longer be a candidate or caucus member; this is action that any reasonable leader would have acted on months, if not years, ago.”
Throness resigned from the party Thursday after making comments comparing free contraception to eugenics at an all-candidates debate.
The two-time MLA has also faced criticism in the past for alleged homophobia and for defending an article that supported the discredited practice of conversion therapy.
“[Throness] has made comments as far back as two years ago,” Paul told CBC. “I’m disappointed in the lack of proactive action that could have been taken on this, and made it so that it wasn’t an election issue.”
Paul, who also served as the party’s youth leader, said the diversity of the B.C. Liberals membership proves the party values inclusiveness. But she fears all Liberal candidates have now been tainted by the scandal.
The BCLP doesn’t have a Laurie Throness problem. We have a problem in the leadership of the party and their lack of willingness to stand up for diversity, inclusion and the values of BC Liberal members – not just the interests of a small group of constituents.
“We have a lot of really good candidates … who support a woman’s right to choose, the LGBTQ community, the BIPOC community — people who would be great representatives. And these are the one’s who will be most affected … and the ones the B.C. Liberal Party needs the most right now.”
Despite no longer being affiliated with the party, Throness will still appear as a B.C. Liberal candidate on the ballot.
“The deadline for a party to withdraw its endorsement of a candidate is the close of candidate nominations which was Oct. 2.,” said Elections BC’s Andrew Watson.
Watson said Throness will also receive all the write-in and mail-in votes submitted for the B.C. Liberals in Chilliwack-Kent, despite his ousting.