Bernier says abortion, gender identity not on People’s Party of Canada platform

At issue is former Christian talk-show host Laura-Lynn Tyler Thompson’s candidacy in Burnaby South

People’s Party Leader Maxime Bernier says his party’s policies will not include anything to do with abortion or gender identity, despite the fact its first candidate besides him is a vocal social conservative.

Bernier is defending the appointment of former Christian talk-show host Laura-Lynn Tyler Thompson to be the Burnaby South byelection candidate for the party he founded after parting ways with the Conservative party in August.

READ MORE: Bernier’s People’s Party of Canada arrives in the Fraser Valley

In an interview, Tyler Thompson said her foray into politics began in 2017 when she learned about a B.C. government policy to teach sexual orientation and gender identity in elementary schools. She campaigned hard against the policy, running for the local school board in Burnaby last fall with that as her main issue.

She finished 11th out of 13 candidates but said she got enough votes to convince her she was speaking for a “silent majority” who stay quiet so they aren’t called bigots but feel the way she does about not exposing children to an ideology at school.

“I got 15,622 votes,” she said. “The other side was extremely surprised.”

Bernier said any of his candidates is free to speak out against abortion or gender identity but their views will not be the party’s policy.

“That’s all personal belief but it is not part of our campaign,” he said. “She understands that she will fight for our platform and being sure we will be able to implement our bold reform.”

That platform is the same one he used to campaign for the Conservative leadership in 2017, including phasing out supply management for food products, reducing the number of immigrants Canada accepts and stopping all government subsidies and handouts to businesses in favour of cutting their taxes.

Bernier has marched in pride parades and is also known to be pro-choice. In 2016, he voted in favour of Bill C-16, which added gender identity and expression to be protected under the Canadian Human Rights Act.

Thursday, he would not say where he stands on the issue of teaching gender identity in schools because that is a provincial issue.

“I don’t have to have a stance on that,” he said.

Tyler Thompson said she isn’t against anybody who says they are transgender or gay or lesbian, but she feels strongly that nothing on those subjects should be taught in schools. When she said so publicly, she said, she was attacked and that is what motivates her now to campaign for the freedom to express her beliefs.

“I was having a good life and having a lot of lattes and living the dream and then I became the target,” she said. “But I’m not a bigot. I’m not a homophobe. I’m not a transphobe.”

Tyler Thompson herself has called fighting the curriculum her “hill to die on,” but said she doesn’t feel she has to bring that fight to the federal party because there are others who are now taking up that cause, including in Alberta and Ontario.

The party’s candidates for other February byelections in Ontario and Quebec are likely to be named next week. A fourth candidate, Jennifer Clarke, is named to run in Nanaimo-Ladysmith, recently vacated by NDP MP Sheila Malcolmson, but there is no byelection there yet.

Just Posted

Kelowna council gives green light to cannabis shop rezonings

Seven rezoning applications for cannabis retail stores on council’s agenda Monday

Street signs, light knocked over in crash along Highway 97

Multiple signs and a light were knocked over at the Old Vernon Road interesection

Trailer stolen from Black Mountain, Lake Country business takes a hit

Little Lakes Contracting is asking for the public’s assistance to locate a trailer

Cultural plan, with public feedback, to be presented at Kelowna council meeting

Council will be presented with an update to the 2020-2025 Cultural Plan Monday

Ben Klick headlines Westbank Country Opry

The Westbank Country Opry returns March 31

UPDATE: Garage fire next to East Kelowna house not suspicious

Garage is fully involved, say firefighters

Sources say Trudeau rejected Wilson-Raybould’s conservative pick for high court

Wilson-Raybould said Monday “there was no conflict between the PM and myself”

First Nations public art piece stolen in Nanaimo

Spindle Whorl went missing over the weekend, according to Nanaimo RCMP

RV lifestyle comes to the Okanagan

BC Interior RV Show returns to Penticton for the eighth year

Father-son duo at B.C. Children’s Hospital helps new dads fight depression

The pair teamed up to introduce the only known research-based mindfulness workshop for new dads

Mexican restaurant in B.C. told to take down Mexican flag

General manager of Primo’s Mexican Grill in White Rock: ‘I’ve never heard of anything like this’

B.C. NDP moves to provide tax credits, tax cut for LNG Canada

Provincial sales tax break of $596 million repayable after construction

COLUMN: Smart phone too powerful a tool to yank from students’ hands

Rather than ban them from schools, let’s teach kids to harness their phone’s power and use it properly

‘Cowardly acts’ towards homeless continue in Osoyoos

RCMP confirm they are investigating two incidents of assault on a homeless person

Most Read