Chilliwack-Kent MLA Laurie Throness watches the results on election night. The ex-Liberal’s tumultuous campaign and the narrow margin for victory ahead of the mail-in ballot count leaves the future of the riding’s seat in limbo for at least the next week. (Facebook/Laurie Throness)

Chilliwack-Kent MLA Laurie Throness watches the results on election night. The ex-Liberal’s tumultuous campaign and the narrow margin for victory ahead of the mail-in ballot count leaves the future of the riding’s seat in limbo for at least the next week. (Facebook/Laurie Throness)

B.C. VOTES 2020: Future for Throness uncertain as Chilliwack-Kent awaits results

Chilliwack-Kent candidate hopeful, resigned waiting on final count

On a sunny Monday morning, Chilliwack-Kent incumbent Laurie Throness drove the roads of the riding, picking up his campaign signs.

Like the rest of the residents throughout Chilliwack, Agassiz, Harrison Mills and Harrison Hot Springs, for Throness, it all boils down to a waiting game as the mail-in ballots are counted.

Throness and his campaign staff figure there are roughly 5,000 mail-in ballots still to be counted, discounting the ones that haven’t been returned. In Chilliwack-Kent, there were 7,650 mail-in packages requested, according to Elections B.C. data.

By the time election night counting stalled out toward midnight, four hours after the polls closed, NDP candidate Kelli Paddon held the lead over Throness by 195 votes, 5,199 to 5,004.

Throness said he had “high hopes” concerning the yet-to-be-decided results. He said the mail-in packets yet to be counted were quite possibly from older voters favouring the former Liberal who voted early on in the campaign before independent candidate Jason Lum declared his candidacy on the final possible day of candidate nominations, Oct. 2.

RELATED: Ex-Liberal Throness presses on as an Independent

Throughout the province, the earliest requests for a mail-in ballot streamed in as early as a day after the election was called on Sept. 21.

“I’m hopeful, that’s all I dare say,” Throness said. “Anything can happen in politics. I’m also resigned to whatever the people decide. They are the boss, and I love that they’re the boss.”

In the event he is not re-elected, Throness, who has been MLA since 2013 in the Chilliwack-Hope and then Chilliwack-Kent riding, added he’s happy to move on to something new.

Throness has faced widespread criticism throughout the 2020 campaign. During a Rotary Club all-candidates meeting via Zoom, the ex-B.C. Liberal expressed his concerns about the NDP’s campaign promise of free birth control, saying it “contains a whiff of the old eugenics,” going on to suggest providing free contraception is akin to an unforced measure ensuring the poor don’t have more babies, which would create more poor people. It was this comment that ultimately triggered Throness’s resignation from the B.C. Liberals. Throness has since apologized for the “damage done to my MLA colleagues and [B.C. Liberals leader Andrew Wilkinson].”

Prior to this, in late summer, the Vancouver Pride Society (VPS) banned the B.C. Liberals from the 2020 Vancouver Pride Parade if Throness was not removed from caucus or as child care critic. The VPS criticized Throness after he and 13 other B.C. Liberal MLAs advertised in Christian magazine “The Light.” The VPS stated the magazine has hosted homophobic and transphobic content, and members of the B.C. Liberals – including Wilkinson – have since apologized. Throness offered no comment other than the magazine aligned with his biblical Christian views.

RELATED: Throness defends himself on conversion therapy during Chilliwack-Kent meeting

During the all-candidates debate a few months later, Throness slammed his opponents for trying to paint him as a strong supporter of conversion therapy.

“That’s just wrong,” Throness said in his opening remarks on Oct. 14. “In fact, I’ve never made a statement about conversion therapy and I decry and oppose any course of practice to try to change another’s identity.”

Further on the issue of LGBTQ rights, Throness said he was for “equality for all,” stating he doesn’t rule out legislation designed to further improve the recognition of rights and quality of life for LGBTQ individuals.

Throness blamed his portrayal in the media as one of the factors that has significantly hurt his re-election chances.

“I have always been a tolerant person, but I’m labelled as intolerant. The media is a bit of an echo chamber and once an opinion is baked in, I can protest as much as I like [and it won’t help]. I think that hurt me a lot in the election.”

Moving forward, if elected, Throness said he would conduct himself responsibly in Victoria.

“I always feel that the constituents are the boss, and I will be guided by what they tell me. I’m not going to be impetuous in what I say; my words will be carefully chosen.”

RELATED: BC VOTES 2020: Claws come out during Chilliwack-Kent debate

Throness also stated his lengthy political record stands as a testament to the “enduring power” of social conservatism in the riding and perhaps the province as a whole.

Election results won’t be finalized until after Nov. 6., when those mail-in ballots are counted.

Across B.C., a total of 478,900 mail-in ballots were returned to Election BC, as of Friday, Oct. 23. There are roughly 3.5 million registered voters in the province.

– With files from The Progress


Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:
news@ahobserver.com


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

AgassizBC Votes 2020chilliwackElection 2020Harrison Hot Springs

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

(Black Press - file photo)
WEATHER: Enjoy the sun today, prepare for a week of rain

Clouds and rain to arrive by evening, Environment Canada forecasts

RCMP are looking for “an unknown man who wrapped his arms around” a female youth in Clayton Feb. 26. (Black Press file photo)
Youth assaulted by unknown man in Cloverdale

Mounties looking for ‘tall and thin’ Caucasian man in his 40’s with short dark brown hair

St. John Ambulance is looking for financial support in its bid to install 1,000 publicly accessible AED devices throughout British Columbia. The stands which hold the defibrillator also contain naloxone and first aid kits. Cost to equip and install each stand is around $8,000. (stock photo)
St. John Ambulance aims to install 1,000 publicly accessible AEDs across B.C.

First of two defibrillators planned for Crescent Beach already in place

Framed photos of Travis Selje and other items fill the top of a dresser in his bedroom. (Photo: Tom Zillich)
Crown says defence case epilepsy caused fatal Surrey crash fails on balance of probabilities

‘She very clearly had some form of control over that vehicle,’ Crown argues

The Alzheimer Society of BC is hosting a number of webinars next month to help people prepare for financial and healthcare needs. (Contributed photo)
Alzheimer Society invites White Rock residents to series of educational webinars

Planning Ahead: Do it Now! webinar to be held March 10

Abbotsford’s Kris Collins turned to TikTok out of boredom when the provincial COVID-19 lockdown began in March 2020. She now has over 23 million followers on the video app. Photo: Submitted
Internet famous: Abbotsford’s Kris Collins is a TikTok comedy queen

Collins has found surprise stardom alone with a phone

A Vancouver restaurant owner was found guilty of violating B.C.’s Human Rights Code by discriminating against customers on the basis of their race. (Pixabay)
Vancouver restaurant owner ordered to pay $4,000 to customers after racist remark

Referring to patrons as ‘you Arabs’ constitutes discrimination under B.C.’s Human Rights Code, ruling deems

Approximate location of the vehicle incident. (Google Maps)
Vehicle incident blocking Coquihalla traffic in both directions

Both directions of traffic stopped due to vehicle incident

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Judith Uwamahoro is Black, approximately 4’7″ tall, 80 pounds and has short black hair and brown eyes. (Surrey RCMP handout)
UPDATED: Lower Mainland 9-year-old located after police make public plea

Judith Uwamahoro went missing Friday at around 4 p.m. in Surrey

Five-year-old Nancy Murphy wears a full mask and face shield as she waits in line for her kindergarten class to enter school during the COVID-19 pandemic on Tuesday, September 15, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Variant of concern linked to COVID-19 outbreak at three Surrey schools

Cases appear to be linked to community transmissions, but schools will remain open

BC Ferries experienced heavy traffic on Feb. 27 following cancellations the day before due to strong winds and adverse weather. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries sailings fill up quickly after Friday cancellations due to high winds

Waits expected on Swartz Bay-Tsawwassen route, Horseshoe Bay-Departure Bay route

Nanaimo children’s author and illustrator Lindsay Ford’s latest book is ‘Science Girl.’ (Photo courtesy Lindsay Ford)
B.C. children’s writer encourages girls to pursue the sciences in new book

Lindsay Ford is holding a virtual launch for latest book, ‘Science Girl’

Pig races at the 145th annual Chilliwack Fair on Aug. 12, 2017. Monday, March 1, 2021 is Pig Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Feb. 28 to March 6

Pig Day, Canadian Bacon Day and Grammar Day are all coming up this week

Most Read