Liberal candidate resigns after comparing NDP contraception plan to eugenics

VANCOUVER — Chilliwack-Kent B.C. Liberal candidate Laurie Throness has resigned from the B.C. Liberal Party.

Leader Andrew Wilkinson announced Thursday afternoon that he had accepted Throness’ resignation and that the B.C. Liberals would continue on in the election campaign without Throness.

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“Today, after discussions with the leader, Laurie Throness has announced he is stepping down as a candidate in the upcoming provincial election,” read a brief statement issued by the B.C. Liberal Party.

“Laurie Throness has accepted that his comments were wrong and inappropriate,” read the first of three bullet points in the statement.

“It was clear that he couldn’t continue to be part of the BC Liberal team.

“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’ name, however, will remain on the ballot and will still be listed as a B.C. Liberal candidate for those voting at the polls on advanced election days or on Oct. 24.

The Chilliwack-Kent incumbent was back on the political hot seat over conservative social views again this week by comparing the NDP campaign promise to provide free contraception to eugenics during a virtual all-candidates meeting in his riding.

Throness, who is running to retain the Chilliwack-Kent seat in the legislature, made the comments in response to the question, “Is it right for the government to provide free contraception to everyone?”

He said he didn’t support the NDP promise as a matter of priority, but also “the other thing that I feel about this is that it contains a whiff of the old eugenics thing where, you know, poor people shouldn’t have babies.”

“And so, we can’t force them to have contraception, so we’ll give it to them for free, and maybe they’ll have fewer babies so there will be fewer poor people in the future.”

“And to me, that contains an odour that I don’t like, and so I don’t really support what the NDP is doing,” though he started his answer by claiming he has no problem with contraception, “it’s not a moral issue to me.”

B.C. Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson turned to Twitter to condemn Throness’ position saying that the party supports the premise made in the NDP’s proposal.

“What Laurie Throness said was wrong and against my position as leader of this party,” Wilkinson said in a tweet. “I will be making this very clear to Laurie when we next speak.”

“Let’s be clear, I support government providing free contraception to anyone in B.C. who wants it,” the leader added in a short Twitter thread on the subject.

NDP headquarters highlighted Throness’ comments in a media release Thursday morning, with a link to video of the all-candidates exchange, and Coquitlam Maillardville candidate Selina Robinson called them “insulting” via Twitter.

“People can make their own choices about their reproductive health,” Robinson said. “What is it going to take for (B.C. Liberal Leader Andrew) Wilkinson to fire him?”

The NDP, last week, promised to provide free prescription contraception to anyone who wants it if re-elected as a matter of advancing gender equality.

Throness’ conservative social views came to light earlier in the election as a coalition of community groups called on Wilkinson to bar the candidate for running because of his support for so-called conversion therapy.

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