Controversial BC Liberal candidate Laurie Throness has compared the NDP’s proposal for free contraception to eugenics, the practice of selectively mating people with specific desirable genetic traits.
He made the comments in an Oct. 14 online constituency all-candidates forum.
Burnaby-Lougheed NDP candidate Katrina Chen had announced Oct. 11 the NDP would make prescription female contraception products free if re-elected. This proposal, she said, would cost about $60 million a year.
Chen said while condoms are relatively cheap or free and vasectomies are covered under MSP, women must currently bear the costs of contraception they need.
Of this proposal, Throness said, “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 there.”
Leader Andrew Wilkinson’s Oct. 15 comment, following other defences of candidates’ sexist or homophobic comments, was to tweet, “Let’s be clear, I support government providing free contraception to anyone in B.C who wants it.”
Minutes later, Wilkinson tweeted, “What Laurie Throness said was wrong and against my position as leader of this party. I will be making this very clear to Laurie when we next speak.”
NDP Coquitlam-Maillardville candidate Selina Robinson said she was “flabbergasted and horrified” by Throness’ comments, and she said Wilkinson should fire him.
“He’s from a different century,” Robinson said. “We are in the 21st century and we recognize that people have choice.
“Voters will decide, but Mr. Wilkinson is saying it's perfectly acceptable for this kind of attitude, these kinds of beliefs to sit around his table. I find that very challenging.”
Throness said in the forum call that he would continue to speak out on issues reflecting concerns of his constituents of a “traditional bent.”
“While I support the rights of the social liberals, I also want to support the rights of social conservatives, Throness said. “That’s who I am.”
“I also want to make sure that my people are not left out so I will defend them as I see the need arise.”
Throness has long been criticized for alleged anti-LGBTQ comments, the latest being his defence of so-called conversion therapy. That’s the practice of forcing someone to undergo therapy to change sexual orientation or gender identity.
Wilkinson has found himself defending that, saying discrimination of any form has no place in the B.C. Liberal Party, that he has family members who are gay or lesbian.
He offered the same defence when asked about Langley East candidate Margaret Kunst, a former Langley Township councillor Kunst who came under fire after voting against a rainbow crosswalk in her community.
This past weekend, Wilkinson was again in the spotlight after comments made by Liberal candidate Jane Thornthwaite led to his making a public apology to NDP candidate Bowinn Ma.
North Vancouver-Seymour candidate Thornthwaite, in a retirement roast Zoom call, starts talking about Ma, the NDP candidate for North Vancouver-Lonsdale.
“Bowinn is a very pretty lady, and she knows that she’s got ‘it’,” Thornthwaite says as the rest of the group giggles.
“Many of us were embarrassed to the point of being appalled,” Wilkinson told reporters Oct. 13. “This episode should never have happened.”