BC Liberals should fire woman who voted against rainbow sidewalk, NDP candidate says
VANCOUVER -- An NDP candidate is calling on the BC Liberals to fire a woman who voted against endorsing a rainbow sidewalk in her community.
Margaret Kunst is a councillor in Langley Township, and opposed the endorsement days after securing the Liberal nomination in the Langley East riding.
On Tuesday, Spencer Chandra Herbert, the incumbent in Vancouver-West End, said he was disappointed the BC Liberals haven't distanced themselves from Kunst in light of the vote.
"My message to Andrew Wilkinson is clear: LGBTQ people count, they matter, and taking them for granted or completely ignoring them as he seems to be doing by standing with people who oppose their rights is not OK," Chandra Herbert said.
"They selected her as a candidate, they still have time to choose somebody else that better reflects the values of British Columbians, that better reflects a stand for human rights and equality."
Asked about the issue on Tuesday, Wilkinson said he understood it to be "a vote about procedure" and said both the Liberals and Kunst are opposed to all forms of discrimination.
"She has told us that she has the same view as I do: There is no room for discrimination in British Columbia on the basis of age, gender, sexual orientation, race or religion, period," Wilkinson said.
Discrimination on any of those grounds is prohibited in B.C. under the province's Human Rights Code.
Langley Township council voted in favour of endorsing the rainbow crosswalk, despite Kunst and two other councillors voting against it.
Kunst did not provide reasons for her vote during a 25-minute council discussion on the matter.
The candidate did not make herself available for an interview with CTV News, but provided a statement saying she believes in "the equality and dignity of all people."
"That's why I voted in favour of developing an 'equity and dignity framework' that would establish general principles for handling such requests instead of handling them on ad-hoc basis," Kunst said.
The BC Liberals faced criticism earlier this year after paying for advertising in a socially conservative magazine that defends the discredited practice of conversion therapy, which treats same-sex attraction as a mental illness that can be treated.
At the time, Wilkinson said there is not room for homophobia or transphobia in his party.