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Former BC Liberal MLA says outgoing leader Wilkinson threw her under the bus

Last Updated Nov 14, 2020 at 12:01 pm PST

Jane Thornthwaite (Courtesy: BC Liberal Caucus)
Summary

Former BC Liberal MLA is criticizing the outgoing party leader for throwing her under the bus

Jane Thornthwaite lost her seat in last month's election after making sexist comments about an NDP MLA

But Thornthwaite adds there is a double standard between the treatment of men and women in the party

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — The former BC Liberal MLA who lost her seat in last month’s election after making sexist comments about an NDP MLA, is criticizing the way the outgoing party leader handled the scandal.

Two weeks before the provincial election, a video emerged of the nine Liberal party candidates laughing at disparaging, sexist, and misogynistic comments about NDP opponent Bowinn Ma during a virtual “roast” of long-time MLA Ralph Sultan.

In an Op-Ed published in the Vancouver Sun Saturday, Jane Thornthwaite says while Andrew Wilkinson publically said she made a “fool” of herself, she says he told her the opposite privately.

“I received no negative feedback from the roast prior to it becoming public: In fact a senior staffer messaged me after the roast. ‘Great Job Jane. You were good. This is fun to watch,'” Thornthwaite’s Op-Ed reads.

RELATED: Video of BC Liberal candidates laughing at sexist comments about NDP candidate leaked

Thornthwaite goes on to say that listening to Wilkinson throw her under the bus exposed a double standard between the treatment of men and women.

“Different standards existed for female colleagues and staff, depending on how useful we were perceived to be. Clearly this was my moment to be told I was now useless to the team.”

Thornthwaite added that Wilkinson never called a male Liberal candidate, who also sparked controversy during the campaign, a fool.

Former Liberal candidate for the Chilliwack-Kent, Laurie Throness, resigned from the BC Liberal caucus after making controversial remarks comparing the NDP’s free birth control plan to “a whiff of eugenics” – the practice or advocacy of improving the human species by selectively mating people with specific desirable hereditary traits.

RELATED: B.C. candidate Laurie Throness resigns from Liberal caucus after eugenics comments

He was also at the centre of a controversy after advertising in a publication that supports homophobic and transphobic ideologies.

Wilkinson said he didn’t need to fire Throness because as soon as they talked he voluntarily resigned.

But the lack of consequences for Throness indicates a double standard, according to Thornthwaite.

“I hope that whoever steps up to lead our B.C. Liberal Party recognizes the critical importance of instilling the right culture to ensure renewal and rebuilding,” she says.

“We will not be able to attract more women or diverse voices to the B.C. Liberals while MLAs or staff are bullied or marginalized based on gender.”

Thornthwaite adds she’s not trying to deflect from the comments she made about Ma, again offering an apology to the Vancouver-Lonsdale MLA.

“I made a terrible mistake. This is not who I am and is not reflective of the decades I’ve spent advocating for women in politics. I want to apologize again to Bowinn Ma and to everyone hurt by my words.”