Kamloops MLA apologizes for ads placed in anti-LGBTQ+ mag

MLA sorry for magazine ads

The MLA for Kamloops-South Thompson says a Christian magazine that he advertised in — one that has published anti-LGBTQ+ and pro-conversion therapy articles — does not reflect his personal beliefs.

Todd Stone and the BC Liberal Party are the subject of a June 29 story in PressProgress; the article shares how 14 BC Liberal MLAs expensed more than $1,700 over the last 18 months on ads in Light Magazine. The money for the ads came from the MLAs' constituency office, which is funded by taxpayers.

In the October 2019 issue, a BC Liberal "Happy Thanksgiving" ad featuring Stone's photo (along with other Liberal MLAs) appears opposite an article about "sexual temptations" and what they could lead to: "orgies and the like." A few pages later, a story titled "Conversion therapy, & Canadian freedoms at risk: Bill M 218-2019" appears.

"I do not support discrimination of any form and I’ve been a long standing and very proud supporter of the LGBTQ+ community in Kamloops, including instilling in my three daughters the importance of acceptance, tolerance and inclusivity," Stone tells Castanet.

Stone says he was "very, very concerned" when he learned that advertising dollars from his constituency budget had gone to the ads (his office co-paid for another ad in the Easter edition, he says).

"This is a publication that features a variety of content that doesn’t align with my values, my personal beliefs. I’m accountable that this happened and I unreservedly apologize."

Stone adds no further advertising will be done in the Light Magazine; right now, his staff is reviewing all of their advertising to ensure this doesn't happen again. 

When asked about the process of approving ads, Stone says that if a publication has regional reach, caucus members in Victoria will send an email to constituency offices, recommending the advertising opportunity.

"There’s usually a one-line description of the nature of the ad, not so much the nature of the publication but the nature of the ad," Stone says.

"Nobody, clearly on the caucus end or in my office, myself included, actually took a look at the publication itself to understand what content is typical in that publication. That’s the main fail point in my mind. And so, both on the caucus side and in my office, we’re going to change our protocols here so there’s no guessing whatsoever as to what the nature of the publication is, and we will ensure any advertising we do moving forward is in publications that are in alignment with my values and personal beliefs," he explains, noting this type of incident has never happened during his seven years in office.

BC Liberal Party leader Andrew Wilkinson also issued a statement today: "There is no room in the BC Liberal Party for homophobia, transphobia, or any other form of discrimination. Going forward, we are taking immediate steps to ensure our advertising decisions reflect those values at all times."

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