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

Jacob Koomen takes his bike out for a spin near his home in Campbell River. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Campbell Riverite to cycle length of Island to raise funds for cancer research

Long distance rides are no big deal for 73-year-old cyclist

Comox Strathcona Waste Management expects to go to tender this summer for the regional organics compost facility in Campbell River. File photo/Black Press
Comox Strathcona compost site should go to tender this summer

The regional organics facility is on target to open for the fall of 2022

WestJet in flight. Black Press file photo
Two COVID exposures on WestJet flight into Comox

The BC Centre for Disease Control has posted advisories for two separate… Continue reading

Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Busy day for Campbell River fire crews

Three incidents in rapid succession keep crews on their toes

A bullet hole is seen in the windshield of an RCMP vehicle approximately 4 km from Vancouver International Airport after a one person was killed during a shooting outside the international departures terminal at the airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Homicide team IDs man in fatal YVR shooting as police grapple with spate of gang violence

Man, 20, charged in separate fatal shooting Burnaby over the weekend

Sean Hart, 34, unexpectedly left the Seven Oaks Tertiary Mental Health Facility in Saanich on Nov. 6, 2020 and has now been missing for six months. (Photo courtesy Penny Hart)
Mom still hopeful for Island man who left care six months ago, hasn’t been seen since

Support from community, police keeps search alive for Sean Hart six months after his disappearance

A map of Huu-ay-aht-owned forestry cutblock. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
B.C. First Nations restrict access to territory in wake of forestry standoffs

Huu-ay-aht set up checkpoints after heated and dangerous incidents on southwest Vancouver Island

RCMP are searching for Philip Toner, who is a ‘person of interest’ in the investigation of a suspicious death in Kootenay National Park last week. Photo courtesy BC RCMP.
RCMP identify ‘person of interest’ in Kootenay National Park suspicious death

Police are looking for Philip Toner, who was known to a woman found dead near Radium last week

Vancouver Canucks goaltender Thatcher Demko (35) makes a save on Winnipeg Jets’ Nate Thompson (11) during second period NHL action in Winnipeg, Monday, May 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Greenslade
Vancouver Canucks see NHL playoff hopes dashed despite 3-1 win over Winnipeg

Montreal Canadiens earn final North Division post-season spot

The B.C. legislature went from 85 seats to 87 before the 2017 election, causing a reorganization with curved rows and new desks squeezed in at the back. The next electoral boundary review could see another six seats added. (Black Press files)
B.C. election law could add six seats, remove rural protection

North, Kootenays could lose seats as cities gain more

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the shooting of an Indigenous woman in the Ucluelet First Nation community of Hitacu. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. First Nation wants ‘massive change’ after its 3rd police shooting in less than a year

Nuu-chah-nulth woman recovering from gunshot wounds in weekend incident near Ucluelet

Nurse Gurinder Rai, left, administers the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to Maria Yule at a Fraser Health drive-thru vaccination site, in Coquitlam, B.C., on Wednesday, May 5, 2021. The site is open for vaccinations 11 hours per day to those who have pre-booked an appointment. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID vaccine bookings to open for adults 40+, or 18+ in hotspots, across B.C.

Only people who have registered will get their alert to book

Most Read