NDP wants Lower Mainland MLA removed from BC Liberal caucus for alleged homophobia

BC Liberal leader, some MLAs apologize for Christian magazine ads but Laurie Throness doubles down

Chilliwack-Kent MLA Laurie Throness’s unapologetic support for a Christian magazine that runs anti-LGBTQ articles has led to a request by a prominent NDP MLA to have him removed from the BC Liberal caucus.

In a letter sent to BC Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson Wednesday morning, NDP MLA Spencer Chandra Herbert said if Throness is not removed from caucus, at the very least he should be removed from his role as opposition critic for the Ministry of Children and Family Development.

“Your Critic for the Ministry of Children and Families Laurie Throness went to media and insisted he will not stop advertising in this homophobic magazine,” Chandra Herbert wrote to Wilkinson. “He then defended an article supporting conversion therapy, as long as it didn’t include kidnapping or wasn’t too ‘coercive.’

“Sit with that for a second: the MLA you’ve put in charge of child care and supporting vulnerable children believes there is a place for conversion therapy.”

He went on to explain how conversion therapy has no basis in science and can be quite destructive as a homophobic and transphobic practice, something Wilkinson himself did not deny.

BC Liberal ad in the Oct. 4, 2019 edition of The Light Magazine.

Chandra Herbert says it’s been 12 days since the leader tweeted that such views had no place in the BC Liberal party, yet Throness has defied that directive.

“If there is no room for homophobia and transphobia in your party, you will eject Laurie Throness from your caucus. Failing that, you will act and remove this MLA from his role as Children’s critic.”

See below for the full letter.

The controversy started when it came to light that Throness and several other MLAs, including Wilkinson, used taxpayer dollars to advertise in “The Light Magazine,” a Langley-based Christian publication that frequently runs articles that express antipathy towards the LGBTQ community in various ways.

• READ MORE: Controversy over MLAs buying ads in B.C. magazine that opposes trans rights

At least three MLAs expressed dismay and apologized when they were asked about the advertising in the religious publication. Party leader Wilkinson similarly backed away from the advertising, suggesting in a Tweet there was no room for homophobia, transphobia, or any discrimination in the BC Liberal Party.

BC Liberal MLA Todd Stone apologized for his constituency office’s connection to the magazine, and made it clear he did not support its messaging.

Several others, including Chilliwack MLA John Martin, who advertised in the publication, have been silent.

Throness, however, doubled down and told CTV News Vancouver that he will continue to advertise in the magazine as it aligns with his “Biblical Christian” values.

“Biblical Christians follow their Lord in their sexual practice. They don’t attack other people, they don’t condemn other people, because Jesus did not condemn other people,” Throness said.

“They withdraw from sex outside of a marriage between a man and a woman. That has nothing to do with intolerance, it has everything to do with following their conscience and following their Lord.”

And while he said one article in the magazine he supports is against “coercive conversion therapy” – kidnapping LGBTQ individuals to make them straight – he opposes a bill that would prevent conversion therapy because it “infringes upon Canadian freedoms” such as the “freedom of religion.”

Wilkinson did not immediately respond to Chandra Herbert’s letter.

Throness declined to comment on the matter when contacted by The Chilliwack Progress.

NDP MLA Spencer Chandra Herbert’s full letter to BC Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson on July 15, 2020:

Leader of the Official Opposition,

Two weeks ago, we learned that the BC Liberal caucus spent thousands of public dollars advertising in Light Magazine, a publication that promotes homophobic, transphobic, and extreme anti-abortion views.

On behalf of my colleagues in the BC NDP caucus, I am writing first to thank you for your new commitment to ensure ‘there is no room in the BC Liberal Party for homophobia, transphobia, or any other form of discrimination.’

As you know, in the past I have expressed deep concern about anti-LGBTQ views from MLAs in your caucus. I remain concerned, and am writing to ask you for action.

Since your statement, some of the BC Liberal MLAs who placed ads apologized, and I thank them for acknowledging the harm caused by homophobic and transphobic practices like conversion therapy. Most did not. You committed that none of your MLAs would support this magazine again. But words are easy. Action is what counts.

Your Critic for the Ministry of Children and Families Laurie Throness went to media and insisted he will not stop advertising in this homophobic magazine. He then defended an article supporting conversion therapy, as long as it didn’t include kidnapping or wasn’t too ‘coercive.’

Sit with that for a second: the MLA you’ve put in charge of child care and supporting vulnerable children believes there is a place for conversion therapy.

Again – conversion therapy is a discredited, abusive practice where LGBTQ people are taught to hate themselves and convert to something they are not. It leads to self-harm, depression, and suicide. It is discriminatory. It is homophobic. It is transphobic. No science supports this abuse, and neither should the BC Liberal party’s lead on children and family issues.

It’s just the latest in a series of anti-LGBTQ views your MLA has shared:

– He refused to support adding gender identity or expression to the list of protections in the B.C. Human Rights Code.

– He has criticized SOGI 123 and claimed it would cause ‘mental health issues’ and ‘self-harm.’

– He defended Chilliwack School Trustee Barry Neufeld, calling him ‘a really great and good person’ after he was widely criticized for comparing gender transitioning to child abuse.

Beliefs like this should have no place in a political party – but even less so in the MLA you have entrusted with the well-being of vulnerable children.

It has been 12 days since your MLA defended conversion therapy and indicated that he will defy your direction. I have been disappointed to see no action from you during that time.

If there is no room for homophobia and transphobia in your party, you will eject Laurie Throness from your caucus. Failing that, you will act and remove this MLA from his role as Children’s critic.

I look forward to your response.


Spencer Chandra Herbert

MLA, Vancouver-West End

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

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

BC politics

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

Just Posted

NDP headquarters on election night, Oct. 24, 2020. (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)
ELECTION 2020: Live blog from B.C. party headquarters

BC NDP projected to win majority government – but celebrations will look different this election

North Coast BC NDP MLA Incumbent is seen with her wife Andrea Wilmot and their son Lua, as well as their dog Duncan. Preliminary results on election night Oct. 24 show Rice is in for a third term. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Jennifer Rice is North Coast MLA for third term

Preliminary election results show NDP Majority government

B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau outlines her party's climate action platform at Nanaimo's Vancouver Island Conference Centre earlier this month. (News Bulletin file photo)
Green leader Furstenau declared victor in her home riding on Vancouver Island

Cowichan Valley voters elect freshly minted party leader for her second term

John Horgan has been re-elected the MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca. (File-Black Press)
Horgan trounces challengers to be re-elected in his Vancouver Island riding

MLA has represented constituency of Langford-Juan de Fuca and its predecessors since 2005

Poppy donation boxes have been delivered to restaurants, cafes, stores and places of businesses in Prince Rupert by the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 127 for the 2020 National Poppy Campaign. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
National poppy campaign restricted by COVID-19

Prince Rupert Royal Canadian legion expects less donations to offer vital assistance to local vets

NDP Leader John Horgan celebrates his election win in the British Columbia provincial election in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan celebrates projected majority NDP government, but no deadline for $1,000 deposit

Premier-elect says majority government will allow him to tackle issues across all of B.C.

FILE – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets Premier John Horgan during a press conference at the BC Transit corporate office following an announcement about new investments to improve transit for citizens in the province while in Victoria on Thursday, July 18, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Trudeau congratulates Horgan on NDP’s election victory in British Columbia

Final count won’t be available for three weeks due to the record number of 525,000 ballots cast by mail

Comedic actor Seth Rogen, right, and business partner Evan Goldberg pose in this undated handout photo. When actor Seth Rogen was growing up and smoking cannabis in Vancouver, he recalls there was a constant cloud of shame around the substance that still lingers. Rogen is determined to change that. (Maarten de Boer ohoto)
Seth Rogen talks about fighting cannabis stigma, why pot should be as accepted as beer

‘I smoke weed all day and every day and have for 20 years’

Provincial Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau speaks at Provincial Green Party headquarters at the Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe in Victoria. (Arnold Lim / Black Press)
VIDEO: Furstenau leads BC Greens to win first riding outside of Vancouver Island

Sonia Furstenau became leader of BC Greens one week before snap election was called

NDP Leader John Horgan elbow bumps NDP candidate Coquitlam-Burke Mountain candidate Fin Donnelly following a seniors round table in Coquitlam, B.C., Tuesday, October 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan, NDP head for majority in B.C. election results

Record number of mail-in ballots may shift results

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

The Canadian border is pictured at the Peace Arch Canada/USA border crossing in Surrey, B.C. Friday, March 20, 2020. More than 4.6 million people have arrived in Canada since the border closed last March and fewer than one-quarter of them were ordered to quarantine while the rest were deemed “essential” and exempted from quarantining. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Majority of international travellers since March deemed ‘essential’, avoid quarantine

As of Oct. 20, 3.5 million travellers had been deemed essential, and another 1.1 million were considered non-essential

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Friday October 23, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada’s top physician says she fears the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths may increase in the coming weeks as the second wave continues to drive the death toll toward 10,000. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns severe illness likely to rise, trailing spike in COVID-19 cases

Average daily deaths from virus reached 23 over the past seven days, up from six deaths six weeks ago

Most Read