Kamloops-South Thompson MLA Todd Stone said he was unaware his office advertised in a magazine featuring anti-LGBTQ and pro-conversion therapy articles, vowing a more active role in reviewing publications.
BC Liberal MLAs spent taxpayer dollars on advertisements in The Light Magazine, which describes itself as a free monthly Christian lifestyle magazine covering topics such as health, stress, marriage, family, managing finances, being single, faith and culture.
An article from Press Progress shows two B.C. Liberal caucus ads in which Stone was included among a group of MLAs. One from last October, wishing people a happy Thanksgiving, ran next to an article on sexual temptation and a few pages away from one on conversion therapy. Another ad wishing people a happy and blessed Easter followed an article that opposed sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI).
“I was very concerned to learn that advertising dollars from my constituency budget has been recently used to co-sponsor ads in The Light Magazine, a publication that has featured a variety of content that does not align with my personal beliefs, and I’m accountable for that having happened,” Stone told KTW.
He said he will no longer be advertising in the magazine and will be taking a much more hands-on approach in the future to ensure publications his office does advertise in are consistent with his values.
Stone told KTW he does not support anything that causes discrimination against anyone, noting he does not believe in, nor has he ever supported, conversion therapy.
Conversion therapy is the attempt to change a person’s sexual orientation from homosexual or bisexual to heterosexual.
“I’m a longtime supporter of the LGBTQ community and Pride events in Kamloops and across B.C.,” Stone said.
Asked why he wasn’t aware of the nature of the publication beforehand, Stone said MLAs advertise in a broad range of publications, often in joint ventures, that come through caucus communications and which are managed by his constituency assistant.
Noting the Easter advertisement, Stone said he had not heard of The Light Magazine aside from an email from caucus communications asking if he would like to co-advertise in the publication expressing the well-wishes, which he said seemed fine on the surface.
Stone said he was as shocked as anyone to learn the magazine ran content contrary to his personal beliefs.
“Would I have liked to have known that ahead of time? Yes. Should I have known that ahead of time? Yes,” Stone said. “All I can say is I regret that this happened and I’m taking steps to ensure that it never happens again.”