By Jonathon Van Maren
It is one of the absurdities of British Columbian politics that the provincial Liberal Party also happens to be the most right-of-centre party on offer to voters. Not so long ago, this meant that social conservatives could vote for local candidates that reflected their views, and that many socially conservative MLAs could comfortably serve in the Liberal caucus. It was a broad tent party in which everyone could be united in their general agreement on fiscal responsibility and the incompetence of the New Democrats.
These days, of course, it is almost impossible to actually have a broad tent party that includes social conservatives (although I note that Erin O’Toole is thus far doing his very best, with some good results.) Former members of the BC Liberal Party have told me that there is now very little room for unwoke views on a range of issues, and that includes traditional Christian doctrines that are now considered to be hateful by today’s progressives. Party politics these days are as much about purges as they are about coalitions.
That brings me to Laurie Throness, the MLA for Chilliwack-Kent (my former hometown.) Back in July, LGBT activists bayed for his head when it turned out that he and several other MLAs had run ads in a Christian publication. Scrappy investigative journalists such as Paul Henderson of the Chilliwack Progress, who regularly distinguishes himself by managing to be shocked and outraged at the fresh discovery that there are still Christians who believe what Christians have always believed, soon discovered that the Christians publishing this magazine believed what the Bible had to say about sexuality. Which is to say, they were Christians.
As you can imagine, progressive folks believe that such people need to be driven out of politics. In the name of tolerance, you understand. The LGBT crowd even threatened to kick the BC Liberals out of the Pride Parade if they didn’t discipline the MLAs who dared to disagree with their preferred pelvic activities (remember the good old days, when the state had no business in the bedrooms of the nation?) At the time, Throness was not kicked out of caucus, and the disappointed mob eventually dispersed.
But now Throness is out for good, and in the middle of an election to boot. In a bid for more votes, the governing NDP has promised free prescription birth control for everyone. During a virtual all-candidates meeting in his constituency, Throness noted his discomfort with the proposal (which the NDP has referred to a priority.) “The other thing that I feel about this is that it contains a whiff of the old eugenics thing where, you know, poor people shouldn’t have babies,” he said. “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.”
These comments triggered immediate outrage, despite the fact that progressives regularly advocate for both birth control and abortion on the precise grounds that these things reduce poverty and crime (the unsaid bit is that in the case of abortion, this works by eliminating potential poor people and potential criminals.) I’ve heard this case made while debating Canadians hundreds of times. It is also simply a historical fact that the birth control pioneers, from Planned Parenthood’s Margaret Sanger to “Canada’s Mr. Birth Control” A.R. Kaufman, were proponents of contraception for explicitly eugenic reasons. Kaufman, who helped secure laws to protect the sale and distribution of contraceptives in Canada, was a member of the Eugenics Society of Canada and advocated both birth control and sterilization as a method of solving social problems, including poverty.
Throness’s comments were, from a historical perspective, utterly uncontroversial. A brief overview of Canada’s birth control advocates would prove to anyone interested that they were, almost without exception, supporters of eugenics. Regardless of how birth control is viewed now, that is how it was viewed at the time–as a tool to reduce certain populations. Additionally, Throness was accused of “comparing” birth control to eugenics by journalists and politicians who apparently struggle not only with history, but basic literacy. Throness said that the proposal “contains a whiff of the old eugenics thing.” A “whiff” is not the same thing as a direct comparison, and any historically educated person would realize that his comments were entirely accurate.
But this history (like most inconvenient facts) is now forgotten, and B.C. Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson announced that Throness had resigned due to comments that “were completely wrong” and “not in keeping with the values of the B.C. Liberal party…It was clear that he couldn’t continue to be part of the B.C. Liberal team. The B.C. Liberal party is dedicated to inclusiveness and equality—that is not up for debate.” Just so nobody could be confused by how big a fan he is of birth control, he tweeted: “Let’s be clear, I support government providing free contraception to anyone in B.C. who wants it.” The NDP, for their part, swiftly followed up by demanding that Wilkinson fire Langley-East candidate Margaret Kunst, who dared to vote against installing a rainbow crosswalk in her community.
Wilkinson didn’t bother to explain what free birth control had to do with the values of “inclusiveness and equality.” Nobody needed to, because these buzzwords are now what you say when you wish to say nothing but still gain generic approval from the press.
Fortunately for voters in Chilliwack-Kent, Throness—who has also come under fire in the past for attending pro-life rallies—will remain on the ballot. Although he will still be listed under the B.C. Liberals (due to the fact that the deadline for candidate registrations has passed), he has stated that if elected, he will sit in the B.C. Legislature as an independent. Laurie Throness is precisely the sort of politician we need more of in this country—especially if social conservatives are to actually have a voice in the political arena. Voters in Chilliwack-Kent have an opportunity to ignore the bigots in the NDP and the spineless leadership of the BC Liberals and elect a principled man with genuine values who will finally be free to speak his mind. The fact that progressives react to statements of historical fact like a hen that just had a bucket of water chucked on it shouldn’t stop anyone.
Please check out his Facebook page here.