BC Liberal hopefuls must show there’s no room for discriminatory views: NDP

THE NDP pointed out on Thursday that this week, former two-term BC Liberal MLA Marc Dalton voted against a federal bill restricting conversion therapy.

It said that this is the latest reminder of the BC Liberal Party’s longstanding support for candidates with discriminatory views.

The BC Liberals’ own election review attributed the party’s choice to allow anti-2SLGBTQ+ candidates to a belief “that alienating socially conservative Christian voters will make it impossible to assemble a winning coalition.” The report noted “a fundamental tension” between social conservatives and moderates within the party.

Although several BC Liberal leadership candidates have made vague comments about inclusion, none have said whether candidates like Laurie Throness, Margaret Kunst, or Dalton would be allowed to run under their leadership, said the NDP.

Laurie Throness recently called on leadership candidates to embrace social conservatives: “About 1/3 of BC Liberal members are social conservatives. So-cons in general feel marginalized and disrespected. This presents a huge opportunity for leadership candidates. Embrace social conservatives, offer policies to gain their support – and win.”

CKNW’s Mike Smyth recently asked Kevin Falcon if Kunst would be allowed to run under his leadership. Falcon dodged the question and instead committed to “protecting the Christian community for their beliefs” and said “that means protecting other people that may have beliefs that may not be the most popular thing.” (2021-05-18 CKNW)

In his 2018 leadership run, Michael Lee promised to allow free votes to restrict abortion.

NDP MLA Bob D’Eith said: “It’s disturbing that the BC Liberals supported candidates with harmful views because they thought it would help them win. Andrew Wilkinson proved that it’s not enough to say you oppose discrimination if you don’t follow through. Anyone looking to lead the BC Liberals should be clear if candidates like Marc Dalton, Laurie Throness, and Margaret Kunst are welcome under their leadership.”