A former B.C. Member of Parliament's family ties to a popular Metro Vancouver holiday event has sparked an outcry on social media due to her previous comments on conversion therapy and the 2SLGBTQAI+ community.
Numerous locals have advised people not to attend Christmas Glow at Langley Gardens because the event has ties to former Cloverdale—Langley City MP Tamara Jansen.
The politician faced backlash after she made derogatory remarks about the 2SLGBTQAI+ community while she was in office. In 2021, she voted against Bill C-6, which sought to ban conversion therapy (an attempt to change a person's sexual orientation or gender identity).
Homophobic language and homophobic policy have no place in politics and no place in Cloverdale-Langley City. We are better than this. https://t.co/Deb4hPYYz8— John Aldag (@jwaldag) April 16, 2021
Surrey Pride Vice President Jen Marchbank says that Jansen was her former MP but that she has no information on whether she has changed her stance on conversion therapy.
While there are concerns that Jansen is still affiliated with Glow, Surrey Pride does not have any information on her ties to the festival.
Marchbank noted, however, that "Surrey Pride stands in opposition to conversion therapy" and that she believed Jansen was "quite sincere" in her support of the practice.
In regard to the event, Surrey Pride advises people to "do their own research to find out if any activity they're attending is supported by someone who supports conversion therapy" — whether it is Glow Langley or another local event, said Marchbank.
Glow Langley responds to backlash from Metro Vancouver locals
In response to the accusations, Glow told V.I.A. in a statement that it is a "non-political, family-friendly event and anything questionable that has been done or said by Tamara Jansen does not represent the views and opinions of Glow Langley or any of its North American Glow partners."
Daryl Driegen is the current president and chief operating officer of the annual holiday event and is no longer run by Jansen. She is no longer involved with it nor profits from it, "having had only minimal involvement years ago," Glow added.
"For years, COVID has kept us apart during the holiday season but Glow does not get involved in issues-related dialogue, as we want the event to be focused on children, families and anyone who wishes to join in coming together to celebrate the holiday season safety and without a political agenda. Politics tend to divide, and we want to foster unity.
"That said, Glow is a safe and diverse space for all, and everyone is welcome. We are saddened by information that is being communicated that is, in some cases not factual, and in all cases completely unrelated to Glow."
Thousands of visitors attend the holiday event annually to view its intricate, breathtaking seasonal displays. For the past couple of years, the event was moved to a drive-through format to keep people safe during the pandemic.