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BC NDP criticize Liberals for standing by candidates accused of anti-LGBTQ+ views

FILE: BC Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson answers questions from the media following the speech from the throne in the legislative assembly in Victoria, B.C., on Tuesday, February 13, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

NDP candidate called out Liberal Leader for aligning himself with candidates who have been anti-LGBTQ

Spencer Chandra Herbert says Andrew Wilkinson shouldn't stand with 'a small minority who back homophobia'

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — An NDP candidate has denounced the BC Liberal leader for continuing to stand by two candidates who have been criticized for their LGTBQ+ views.

Two candidates from the Liberal party have been met with calls for their removal over accusations of being anti-LQBTQ+. Margaret Kunst has opposed rainbow crosswalks, while Laurie Throness has been said to defend the use of conversion therapy.

RELATED: BC NDP demands Liberal MLA Throness resign over ‘anti-LGBTQ’ views

NDP for Vancouver-West End Spencer Chandra Herbert said Wednesday the candidate’s vote against a rainbow crosswalk in Langley wasn’t “a process issue,” and Coun. Kunst’s stance represents a deeper problem.

“We’ve learned this week that that wasn’t true. That she opposed rainbow crosswalks because she opposes their existence,” he said.

“Andrew Wilkinson claimed it was a process issue, so my question today is: was his candidate lying to him, or was Andrew Wilkinson lying to British Columbians?”

Wilkinson stuck by Kunst despite her vote.

RELATED: NDP calls for Liberals to fire Langley candidate who voted against rainbow crosswalk

By continuing to support the candidates, Chandra Herbert argues Wilkinson is choosing to stand with people who are making life more dangerous for the LGBTQ+ community.

“Andrew Wilkinson needs to answer for this,” he said, “and I’m calling on him to do the right thing.”

He said Wilkinson shouldn’t be standing by a “small minority who back homophobia,” but with British Columbians who support human rights, though Chandra Herbert didn’t specify how.

The Liberal party was accused of homophobia earlier this year after Throness and other candidates bought advertising in a conservative Christian magazine that defended conversion therapy.

Last week, an open letter signed by the Board of Chilliwack Pride Society, the Tri-Cities Pride Society, members of the Chilliwack Metis Association, and other groups and residents said they’re “deeply disappointed that” Throness is still in the party.

RELATED: Pride groups call for removal of B.C. Liberal candidate in Chilliwack over LGBTQ views

However, Wilkinson didn’t drop Throness from the party, saying that all candidates understood that any discrimination is unacceptable. He claimed concerns over Throness advertising in the homophobic and transphobic publication were dealt with.

The federal government is reviewing a bill to ban conversion therapy in Canada.