Christian advocacy group, Association for Reformed Political Action, (ARPA) is planning a campaign stop in Chilliwack on election day as part of its ‘Defending Our Christian Legacy of Freedom’ Fall Tour.
The BC NDP put out a media release critical of apparent ties between some BC Liberal MLAs and ARPA, citing the group’s “explicit mission to influence government on issues like anti-gay conversion therapy, LGBTQ+ rights, and abortion.”
“Homophobic and anti-choice group Association for Reformed Political Action (ARPA) is set to campaign in the communities of BC Liberal candidates Laurie Throness (Chilliwack-Kent), John Martin (Chilliwack), Mary Polak (Langley), and Margaret Kunst (Langley East) immediately before the election,” according to the NDP release of Oct. 8.
BC Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson has jumped to Throness’ defence against some of his critics, like on Oct. 2 in Hope:
“We are a party that is committed completely to being absolutely free of discrimination, and making sure all British Columbians are free of discrimination over age, income, country of origin, race, gender and sexual orientation,” Wilkinson said. “All of our candidates, including our Chilliwack candidates, are obliged to agree that there cannot be any discrimination in this province, period.”
But those BC Liberal ties to ARPA are still a problem for BC NDP Chilliwack candidate Dan Coulter, and Chilliwack-Kent candidate Kelli Paddon.
“ARPA believes that it’s not ok for people to be who they are, or love who they love,” Coulter said. “That’s discrimination and it’s wrong. The BC Liberals have close connections with this homophobic group and Andrew Wilkinson should demand that all his candidates sever ties immediately.”
Candidate Paddon agreed the party needs to “cut ties.”
“Actions speak louder than words,” Paddon said in a statement. “Andrew Wilkinson and the BC Liberals need to cut ties with this group. The BC Liberals’ support for Laurie Throness, despite his views, proves to me that the BC Liberals are not interested in representing all of Chilliwack-Kent. If elected as MLA, I will work for everyone, not the few and will be a strong voice for Chilliwack-Kent.”
The Chilliwack stop on the ARPA fall tour is set for the morning of Oct. 24 at the Yarrow Canadian Reformed Church.
The online invitation reads: “Join ARPA Canada on our 2020 Fall Tour, as we dig deeper into the challenge of defending freedom while submitting to and respecting the authorities that God has put in place over us.”
The tour focus is limits on freedoms:
“Freedoms are often tested in the crucible of national turmoil: war and terrorism, plague and natural disaster,” the invitation on Eventbrite reads. “During the COVID crisis of 2020, we have seen unprecedented limits on our fundamental freedoms: freedom of religion and conscience, freedom of expression, freedom of peaceful assembly and association.”
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