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

Emily Harris (centre) started the in-person Monarch Moms meet-up groups in July, when it was much easier to physical distance in outdoor spaces. Harris started the group as a source of connection for women navigating the ups and downs of having a baby during a pandemic. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Victoria new mom group navigates challenges of motherhood in a pandemic

Monarch Moms meet once a week for physically-distanced connection

Joanne Smith has been visiting Goldstream Provincial Park since she moved to Langford two years ago. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
PHOTOS: Visitors flock to Goldstream Provincial Park for 2020 salmon run

‘I wanted to come here before I move back to Australia,’ says visitor

The Takaya inspired sculpture currently in Kent Laforme’s outdoor studio. The 25,000-pound piece of Vancouver Island marble could be installed on Cattle Point. (Kevin Murdoch Photo)
Stone Takaya sculpture could soon ‘howl’ at Cattle Point

Oak Bay inviting public suggestions for 25,000-pound marble sculpture

Royal Bay students are among the list of SD62 schools that will be trained by Pacific FC coaches and staff in a new soccer academy partnership. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
Pacific FC partners with Sooke School District soccer academies

Royal Bay, EMCS and Dunsmuir Middle students to receive professional training

Police closed McNeill Avenue after a workplace death Oct. 20, 2020. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Tree-pruning community gathers in Oak Bay after tragic death

Crews met in solidarity at site of Tuesday incident

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

Advance polls are open from Oct. 15 to 21 with election day on Oct. 24. (Black Press Media file photo)
École de L’Anse-au-sable. (Google Maps)
B.C. records first COVID-19 outbreak at school, six weeks after students return to class

Three cases of the virus have been identified at École de L’Anse-au-sable

Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau is seen as she leaves media event during a campaign stop in West Vancouver, B.C., Tuesday, October 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. Green leader hopes voters see value in minority government

The Greens received nearly 17 per cent of the popular vote in 2017 yet received just three seats

Local candidates Pam Alexis, Abbotsford-Mission, and Preet Rai, Abbotsford-West, look on as NDP Leader John Horgan main streets in Abbotsford, B.C., Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. NDP takes snap election risk during pandemic in quest for majority government

Green Leader Sonia Furstenau said the election was unnecessary and irresponsible during the pandemic

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

Members of the Sipekne’katik First Nation load lobster traps on the wharf in Saulnierville, N.S., after launching its own self-regulated fishery on Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Vancouver Island First Nations back Nova Scotia’s Indigenous lobster fishermen

Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council calls for action before lives are lost

Most Read