Chilliwack-Kent – After a seven year run as Chilliwack-Kent MLA, Laurie Throness resigned from the BC Liberal caucus following the backlash to his remarks on contraception.
On Friday, Throness clarified his intentions to remain in the hunt for another term as MLA for Chilliwack-Kent:
This week I used an incorrect word to explain my concerns about an NDP platform proposal to provide free contraception. I want to apologize to all concerned for the damage done to my MLA colleagues and the Leader. Andrew Wilkinson is a good man who has dealt kindly with me on a personal basis throughout the summer and even yesterday. He should be our Premier.As MLA I have always sought to speak from my heart and my conscience. Now, a great many have reached out with messages of support, urging me to continue to do that. It is vital to deliver our riding for free enterprise. Moreover, Chilliwack-Kent voters deserve a viable small ‘c’ conservative MLA who is unafraid of the freedoms of speech and religion, who embraces the thousands of social conservatives in this riding as well as social liberals, and who advocates for free-market and affordable government solutions to public policy issues.So I will continue. I am still on the ballot as a BC Liberal. I will inform voters that if they vote for me, I will sit as an Independent in the House and continue to speak from my heart and my conscience.I’m in it to win it.
On Thursday , BC Liberals Leader Andrew Wilkinson announced that Throness will no longer be running as a Liberal in Chilliwack-Kent in the upcoming BC election. Wilkinson noted that when he made contact with Throness for his latest comments, that’s when he resigned.
Throness received backlash for comparing the NDP’s plan to provide free birth control to eugenics, saying “it contains a whiff of the old eugenics thing where 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.”
Throness has also been in past controversy over his approval of conversion therapy tied into his religious beliefs. That therapy tries to convert gays and lesbians back to being “straight”.
The irony is that Throness’ name will still be on the October 24th ballot as well as the mail in and advance poll ballots. What happens if he still wins? He would have to sit as an independent or if another party invites him.
The Jason Lum Campaign issued a statement: We just learned of the recent announcement by the BC Liberal Party regarding the resignation of Mr. Throness as a candidate in Chilliwack-Kent. We understand Mr. Throness will still be on the ballot, however it is unclear at this time the full implications of this decision. Lum’s Campaign has released this statement: “Jason will continue to work hard and share his positive vision for Chilliwack-Kent. He has consistently shown that he has the background, and proven experience to be the best representative for this riding.” Lum is well known as a successful small business operator and entrepreneur. His background and extensive knowledge of local issues make Lum the clear choice to unite voters, regardless of traditional party affiliation, who are looking for strong, accountable representation in Victoria.
What about Green Party candidate Jeff Hammersmark, who paused his campaign the day after the candidate list was finalized. He told FVN that hew is mulling over his plans but would not say if he will re-start. His initial pause was in part, to aid Jason Lum in his bid for the Chilliwack-Kent seat. He later said he is still the Green Party candidate.
Throness was previously the party’s candidate in the electoral district of Chilliwack-Hope in a by-election in 2012, following the resignation of Barry Penner, but was defeated by Gwen O’Mahony of the New Democrats. He defeated O’Mahony in the 2013 general election, capturing 49.15% of votes cast compared to her 36.01% share of the vote. He won the riding, again as a Liberal in 2017.
Throness began his political career with former BC Social Credit cabinet minister Harvey Schroeder in the 1980’s. In the 1990’s Throness went to Ottawa to work for Chilliwack Reform MP Chuck Strahl. His son Mark Strahl, is the current Chilliwack-Hope MP, filling the shoes of his father.