NDP candidate for North Vancouver-Lonsdale, Bowinn Ma, introduces NDP Leader John Horgan during a campaign stop at Seaspan Shipyards in North Vancouver B.C., on Friday, October 9, 2020. A provincial election will be held in British Columbia on October 24. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Liberal candidate apologizes for comments made about NDP politician in viral video

Jane Thornthwaite said she’s sorry for commenting on Bowinn Ma’s looks during roast for a retiring politician

A British Columbia Liberal candidate is apologizing for comments she made about a New Democrat politician in a video that was posted online.

Jane Thornthwaite said Sunday that she’s sorry for commenting on the physical appearance of Bowinn Ma during a recent online roast for retiring politician Ralph Sultan.

The event was hosted by the Liberals in September and attended by the party’s leader, Andrew Wilkinson.

In a Sunday statement on Twitter, Ma says Thornthwaite “sexualized” her interactions with Sultan at a public event the two attended.

Thornthwaite acknowledged that her comments “fell flat and were inappropriate,” and said she apologizes “unreservedly.”

In her own post on Twitter, Thornthwaite added that she reached out to Ma to apologize to her directly.

“I have huge respect for all women who push through glass ceilings. I’m one of them. So is Bowinn Ma,” Thornthwaite said.

“I commit to doing better moving forward.”

Both women were members of the last legislature.

Thornthwaite was first elected in 2009 and represented North Vancouver-Seymour, while Ma was elected in 2017 in the riding of North Vancouver-Lonsdale.

In her statement, Ma said if society wants more women to enter politics, there must be a commitment to “creating environments that respect them.”

“As a woman who has worked in male-dominated industries my whole life so far, I am sadly no stranger to casual sexism,” she said.

“Like many women in these situations, I found myself making choices about the way that I act, dress, or carry myself to avoid sexist interpretations read into my interactions.”

New Democrat Leader John Horgan praised Ma in his own statement on the issue, calling her a role model.

Other prominent NDP candidates including David Eby and Melanie Mark called for the Liberal party to issue an apology.

Wilkinson issued a statement on Sunday afternoon, apologizing to Ma for Thornthwaite’s “inappropriate” comments.

“I understand why many people are upset, and I continue to be committed to doing everything I can to make sure women are welcomed, encouraged, and treated with respect in politics and public life,” he said on Twitter.

Neither Thornthwaite nor Ma could be reached directly.

Green party Leader Sonia Furstenau also condemned the comments.

“This is appalling,” she said on Twitter. “If women are not warm in the workplace, we are castigated as rude. If we are friendly, we get this.”

A video highlighting Thornthwaite’s comments was first published on Twitter on Saturday by Mo Amir, who hosts a B.C. political and pop culture podcast.

READ MORE: NDP launches platform with $1,000 COVID relief payments

READ MORE: B.C. parties pitch costly child care programs in pandemic

Nick Wells, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

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

BC LiberalsBC NDPBC politicsBC Votes 2020

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

Just Posted

The Dupras family has been regulars at the Babine River and have seen plentiful grizzlies over the years. (Jay Dupras photo/Lakes District News)
A family’s close encounter with a grizzly on Babine River bridge

Photo-enthusiasts let the bear access the bridge for photos putting others at risk

Stikine provincial election candidates (clockwise from top left): Nathan Cullen, NDP; Darcy Repen, Rural BC Party; Rod Taylor, Christian Heritage; and Gordon Sebastian, BC Liberals.
‘Where is Annita McPhee?’: Cullen under fire from opening salvo of all-candidates forum

Four Stikine candidates spar during online debate from Prestige Hudson Bay Lodge in Smithers

(Wet'suwet'en Access Point on Gidimt'en Territory Facebook screenshot)
Ceremony a right at proposed CGL pipeline drill site: BC Union of Indian Chiefs

Indigenous land defenders cannot be criminalized and targeted, argues UBCIC

(File graphic)
Man dies in Gitlaxt’aamiks (New Aiyansh) after being taken into police custody

IIO and BC Corners Service conducting independent investigations

Dan Stuart (Christian Heritage Party - BC photo)
Strong values underpin Christian Heritage Party candidate

He’s also suspicious of the COVID-19 pandemic

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry presents modelling of COVID-19 spread in B.C., March 25, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. sets another COVID-19 record with 203 new cases

up to 1,766 active cases in B.C., two more deaths

Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson speaks during a drive-in car rally campaign stop at a tour bus operator, in Delta, B.C., on October 17, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. Liberal Leader maintains confidence as campaign tests party identity

Liberal campaign has been disrupted by controversy

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
British Columbia man dies during ski trip near glacier west of Calgary

Kananaskis Public Safety and Alpine Helicopters responded around 2:30 p.m.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrives on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, following a week-long break for the House of Commons. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
One crisis after another for Trudeau since last federal election one year ago

It has been a year of unprecedented calamity and crisis

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

Rio Tinto Alcan’s aluminum smelter at Kitimat competes against producers in the Middle East and Russia that have no carbon tax. (Rio Tinto)
B.C. carbon tax highest in Canada, export industries unprotected

B.C. NDP, B.C. Liberals say they’re looking at exemptions

(Pixabay)
Vancouver teacher suspended after swearing, touching students and complimenting underwear

McCabe touched students, including rubbing their backs and necks, touching their hair and hugging them

A glimpse of some of the 480 (approx) cars written off as a result of the acid spills along the Trail highway in 2018. Photo: Trail Times
2 years after huge highway acid spill, Kootenay Ford dealer’s frustration grows with ICBC

Trail AM Ford owner Dan Ashman says he just wants fair compensation from ICBC

Most Read