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Leaked Video Shows BC Liberal Candidate’s Sexist Speech Objectifying Female NDP Candidate

‘This video has completely derailed the BC Liberal election campaign’

Political watchers in British Columbia say Andrew Wilkinson’s election campaign has gone completely off-the-rails after a leaked video showed a BC Liberal candidate sharing sexist and derogatory anecdotes about a female BC NDP candidate.

The leaked Zoom video, which was first surfaced by Vancouver podcaster Mo Amir,  shows BC Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson and several MLAs participating in a “roast” in honour of retiring BC Liberal MLA Ralph Sultan on September 17.

As with most retirement parties, Sultan’s colleagues shared old stories and funny anecdotes about the soon-to-be-retired 87-year-old MLA during the “virtual roast.”

But at one point during the roast, Jane Thornthwaite, who is currently a candidate for the BC Liberals in North Vancouver–Seymour, began sharing bizarre anecdotes revolving around the physical attractiveness of the BC NDP’s Bowinn Ma.

“Bowinn is, you know, a very pretty lady, and she knows that she’s got it,” Thornthwaite said, adding that Ma “knows how to get Ralph going.”

Wilkinson and several other BC Liberal candidates are visible in the video laughing along to Thornthwaite’s comments throughout her speech:

“So I go to an event, and one of them was the (Capilano University) student union luncheon and both Bowinn Ma and Ralph were stuck on the couch together, very, very close together, for almost the entire time. We were supposed to be networking and all this, but Bowinn knows how to get you. She knows how to get you. And there’s these big couches, but Ralph would be sitting on one couch, say the middle of the couch, and Bowinn would be right up, right next to him, cuddling, cuddling … and Ralph would be enthralled by her.”

Thornthwaite also claimed that BC Liberal MLA John Yap said he had experienced “exactly the same thing.”

“My friend John Yap … he said I experienced exactly the same thing. I was walking down the hall with Ralph, we were talking about something very very serious, and then all of a sudden Bowinn came around the corner and … Ralph’s gone, he’s paying attention to Bowinn.”

According to Amir, an unnamed BC Liberal supporter contacted him and asked him to share the video clip because they found it sexist.

“I’m usually a BC Liberal supporter but I attended an event that included some talk about Bowinn that bothered me,” the unnamed source said in an email Amir posted on Twitter.

“I’m sharing it with you because we need more young women in politics and this kind of thing needs to be called out,” the email added.

“Bowinn doesn’t deserve to be treated this way.”

The video sparked disbelief and condemnsation from political watchers and election candidates from multiple political parties, describing Thornthwaite’s comments as “sexist” and “disgusting.”

In a statement tweeted Sunday, Ma rejected Thornthwaite’s “sexist interpretations” of her “speaking closely with an elder who is very hard of hearing” and criticized Wilkinson for condoning the speech.

“The video of BC Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson watching on as a multi-term BC Liberal North Shore MLA sexualized my interactions with another multi-term BC Liberal North Shore MLA is a deeply uncomfortable characterization of my efforts to extend kindness across partisan lines,” Ma wrote.

“Young women deserve a province that encourages them to take on leadership roles without fear of sexism,” Ma added. “If we want more young women and people of colour to enter politics, we must commit to creating environments that respect them.”

Thornthwaite’s response to the video didn’t make things better, however.

In Thornthwaite’s first tweet responding to the video, the BC Liberal candidate did not offer any apology, but instead tweeted that whe has “huge respect for all women who push through glass ceilings.”

That response only generated further criticism:

Later in the day, Thornthwaite made a second statement admitting her speech was “inappropriate” and adding: “I unreservedly apologize for making these comments.”

 

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