UPDATE 2:50 p.m.
The BC Liberal Party has announced Chilliwack-Kent candidate Laurie Throness is stepping down after remarks comparing universal access to contraception to eugenics.
“Laurie Throness has accepted that his comments were wrong and inappropriate,” the BC Liberals said in a statement Thursday afternoon. “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.”
ORIGINAL 2 p.m.
Controversial B.C. 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.
The Chilliwack-Kent candidate 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.”
Throness said 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.”