THE BC NDP said on Thursday that homophobic and anti-choice group ARPA (Association for Reformed Political Action) is set to campaign in the communities of BC Liberal candidates Laurie Throness, John Martin, Mary Polak, and Margaret Kunst immediately before the election.
ARPA’s “Defending Our Christian Legacy of Freedom” tour will stop in Langley on Friday, October 23 and then in Chilliwack on election day. ARPA’s explicit mission is to influence government on issues like conversion therapy, LGBTQ+ rights, and abortion.
BC Liberal MLAs have multiple connections to ARPA:
* ARPA is encouraging supporters to “engage in political action” in the BC election and affirms that the BC Liberal party “has no official position on conversion therapy.”
* The BC Liberals invited ARPA leaders to the Throne Speech in 2020.
* Throness, Martin, and Marvin Hunt participated in ARPA’s “God and Government” convention, at which Throness gave a presentation called “Hope for Social Conservatism in British Columbia.
* ”Kunst completed a questionnaire for ARPA in 2018, promising to oppose rainbow crosswalks in Langley Township. This directly contradicts BC Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson’s claim that her opposition was “procedural.”
* Last week, ARPA Advocacy Director Mike Schouten defended Throness on conversion therapy, calling him “courageous and dedicated.”
* ARPA thanked Throness for speaking against SOGI in the legislature in 2018.
* Mary Polak spoke at an ARPA event against assisted dying in 2018 where she talked about how her and the other “pro-life” members of the caucus were able to influence decisions made by Health Minister Terry Lake (video, 52:00 min).
* Michael Lee did a meet and greet with ARPA members in 2017.
BC NDP candidate Nicholas Simons said: “After refusing to remove a candidate who defends conversion therapy and after bringing in another candidate to the BC Liberals who is ideologically opposed to rainbow crosswalks, Andrew Wilkinson should at the very least instruct his candidates to cut all ties to this homophobic group. Does this group speak for the BC Liberals? Silence is not a position when it comes to the extremely harmful practice known as conversion therapy. People are tired of empty words and gestures. They want to see the BC Liberals categorically denounce groups like this.”