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Jane Thornthwaite

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Jane Thornthwaite
Member of the British Columbia Legislative Assembly
for North Vancouver-Seymour
Assumed office
May 12, 2009
Preceded by Daniel Jarvis
Personal details
Born 1958/1959 (age 58–59)[1]
Political party BC Liberal
Residence North Vancouver, British Columbia
Occupation Politician, dietitian, activist

Jane Thornthwaite (born 1958 or 1959) is a Canadian politician and activist who was elected as a Member of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia in the 2009 provincial election. She was elected as a member of the BC Liberal Party in the riding of North Vancouver-Seymour. While her party formed a majority government in the 39th Parliament, Thornthwaite was not included in the cabinet but was appointed to several committees.

Prior to her election to the legislature, Thornthwaite worked as a registered dietitian and nutritionist for her own consulting business.


Thornthwaite was raised in West Vancouver, attending Hillside Secondary School and also in North Vancouver, attending Windsor Secondary School. She graduated from the University of British Columbia with a degree in health education. As a registered dietitian and nutritionist,[2] she operated own business in North Vancouver, called Jane Thornthwaite Nutrition Consulting between 1984 and 2005. Thornthwaite was an advocate for organic food[3] and for labelling food products containing Genetically modified ingredients,[4] as well as consumer awareness about livestock practices.[5] Also, in that time, she raised three children of her own.

In 2005, Thornthwaite stood as an independent[6] in the North Vancouver School District election. She received the most votes, making her one of four candidates elected from the District of North Vancouver.[6] The school board, facing declining enrollments, had to close schools, though there was resistance from the community. Balmoral Junior Secondary School was specifically identified as a school that ought to be closed, though the board refused and kept it open (until 2009) due to public pressure.[7] Thornthwaite, along with another board member, issued a public statement criticizing the board's decision to enter into a public-private partnership to deliver courses specializing in dance, figure skating and other related disciplines.[8] In the November 2008 election, Thornthwaite was the only board member seeking re-election.[9] Entering her second term, Thornthwaite was elected chairperson of the board.

Provincial politics

In March 2009, long-time Member of the Legislative Assembly Dan Jarvis suddenly announced his retirement and endorsed Thornthwaite to replace him as a candidate in the upcoming provincial election, a recommendation later supported by the party's election readiness committee.[10][11][12] In the election, Thornthwaite faced substance abuse counsellor Mo Norton for the NDP, software developer Daniel Quinn for the Green Party, and Gary Hee for the BC Conservatives. The electoral district was considered one of the safest BC Liberal ridings in the province[12] and the 50-year-old Thornthwaite easily won, with her BC Liberal Party winning a majority government. Thornthwaite stayed on as chair of the school board until July 2009.[13]

As the 39th Parliament, Thornthwaite was appointed to three committees but was left out of Premier Gordon Campbell's cabinet.[14] In all four session she served on the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services which travelled the province listening to public input, and provided recommendations for the provincial budget priorities. She served on the Select Standing Committee on Children and Youth in the first two sessions. She was appointed to the Select Standing Committee on Education in the first, second and fourth sessions and the Select Standing Committee on Legislative Initiatives in the third and fourth sessions but neither committee held a meeting.

On February 22, during the 2010 Winter Olympics, Thornthwaite was arrested for drunk driving.[15] She was driving home after attending receptions at the Northern House and Sochi House when at 1 am she was stopped at a road block near the Ironworkers Memorial Second Narrows Crossing. She twice registered a blood alcohol content of 0.11 in road-side breathalyzer tests and taken into custody.[16] The next day she issued a public apology stating "Drinking and driving is dangerous and completely unacceptable; I know that and make no excuses for what I did. I know what I did was wrong and I will take full responsibility for my actions. I intend to work hard to regain the trust of my constituents in light of this serious mistake and I want to apologize to everyone for my actions."[17] Party leader Gordon Campbell, who himself had faced similar charges in the past, stated that Thornthwaite should not resign her seat[18] and party caucus leader Ron Cantelon stated that she would not face disciplinary actions by the party.[19] A lawyer from Vancouver was assigned to act as a special prosecutor to review the incident[20] and recommended the charge of "operating a motor vehicle while having a blood-alcohol level over .08".[21][22] While she stated an intent not to not fight the charges at the time,[23] she pleaded "not guilty" at the May 12 court hearing and the judge set a trial date for April 2011.[24][25] At the trial, Thornthwaite argued that, while she did consume alcohol, she was not intoxicated.[16] The prosecution and defense agreed to a plea bargain requiring Thornthwaite to plead guilty to "driving without due care and attention" in violation of the Motor Vehicle Act, which came with a $500 fine and one-month of community service but allowed her to avoid a criminal record.[16][26]

Thornthwaite's support for the Harmonized Sales Tax, as well as her drunk-driving charge, made her a target for recall.[27][28] The FightHST group collected 6,903 signatures from her riding in support of repealing the HST[29] and placed Thornthwaite on their list of 18 BC Liberals to investigate for potential recall.[30] In the subsequent HST referendum her riding voted 60% in favour of keeping the HST, though the final province-wide result was 55% against keeping it. Early in the BC Liberal leadership election, Thornthwaite endorsed George Abbott, citing his potential for broad appeal saying "He doesn't have the rhetoric, he doesn't have the partisanship,"[31] and citing his willingness to quickly visit her riding and meet with her.[32] Christy Clark won the party leadership, and became Premier, but did not include Thornthwaite in her cabinet.[33]

Animal welfare

Thornthwaite has long been active in animal welfare activism. When entering university, she had originally intended to pursue a career in veterinary medicine. In early 2012, she announced plans to introduce legislation to ban puppy mills in British Columbia, stating that "I would like to have some sort of regulatory standard for breeders so puppy mills or unscrupulous breeders, who are not treating their animals humanely, are put out of business."[34] Pet industry groups have expressed support for her initiative, and Thornthwaite introduced Bill M-214, the "Standards of Care for Breeders of Companion Animals Act", on April 23, 2012.[35]

Electoral history

B.C. General Election 2013: North Vancouver-Seymour
Party Candidate Votes % ± Expenditures
Liberal Jane Thornthwaite 13,186 50.92 $111,404
New Democratic Jim Hanson 8,524 32.92 $86,982
Green Daniel Scott Smith 1,897 7.33 $350
Conservative Brian R. Wilson 1,206 4.66 $9,255
Independent Jaime Alexandra Webbe 1,081 4.17 $3,800
Total valid votes 25,894 100%
Total rejected ballots 89 0.34%
Turnout 25,983 66.99%
B.C. General Election 2009: North Vancouver-Seymour
Party Candidate Votes % ± Expenditures
Liberal Jane Thornthwaite 13,426 59 $57,237
New Democratic Maureen Norton 6,212 27 $17,589
Green Daniel Quinn 2,116 9 $350
Conservative Gary Bickling Hee 931 4 $1,186
Total Valid Votes 22,685 100
Total Rejected Ballots 100 0.4
Turnout 22,785 61


  1. ^ Thornthwaite pleads to lesser charge than drunk driving Seyd, Jane. North Shore News [North Vancouver, B.C] 13 Apr 2011: 1.
  2. ^ "All-candidates meetings". North Shore News. North Vancouver, British Columbia. November 6, 2005. p. 14. 
  3. ^ "New documentary reveals the perils of processed foods". WestEnder. Vancouver. May 26, 2005. p. 30. 
  4. ^ Gillett, Leslie (February 10, 1997). "What's in that spud? Genetically altered food concerns nutritionist". The Province. Vancouver. p. B3. 
  5. ^ Thornthwaite, Jane (May 24, 2000). "Groceries can be humane". Cowichan Valley Citizen. Duncan, British Columbia. p. 6. 
  6. ^ a b Seyd, Jane (November 23, 2005). "NV school board gets three new trustees". North Shore News. North Vancouver, British Columbia. p. 5. 
  7. ^ Steffenhagen, Janet (December 7, 2007). "Trustees advised to close schools; Report says Balmoral junior secondary should be first to close its doors due to declining enrollment". The Vancouver Sun. Vancouver. p. B5. 
  8. ^ Weldon, James (May 20, 2007). "Two NV trustees object to Pro-Merita program lease". North Shore News. North Vancouver, British Columbia. p. 1. 
  9. ^ Neufeld, Scott (October 31, 2008). "In Profile: District of North Vancouver school board candidates". The North Shore Outlook. North Vancouver, British Columbia. p. 8. 
  10. ^ "Retired Liberal MLA Dan Jarvis endorses Thornthwaite as his successor". The North Shore Outlook. North Vancouver, British Columbia. March 26, 2009. p. 1. 
  11. ^ "Thornthwaite to run as Liberal candidate in North Vancouver-Seymour". The North Shore Outlook. North Vancouver, British Columbia. April 7, 2009. p. 1. 
  12. ^ a b Seyd, Jane (April 8, 2009). "Liberals pick Thornthwaite for Seymour". North Shore News. North Vancouver, British Columbia. p. 1. 
  13. ^ McManus, Kelly (June 12, 2009). "Thornthwaite steps down as school board chair". The North Shore Outlook. North Vancouver, British Columbia. p. 1. 
  14. ^ Pi, Daniel (June 10, 2009). "Rookie MLA Yamamoto earns seat on cabinet". The North Shore Outlook. North Vancouver, British Columbia. p. 1. 
  15. ^ Hunter, Justine (February 24, 2010). "B.C. MLA facing impaired driving charges". The Globe and Mail. p. S7. 
  16. ^ a b c Seyd, Jane (April 14, 2011). "'Time to move on,' MLA says after avoiding criminal record". The Vancouver Sun. p. A11. 
  17. ^ "Special prosecutor approves impaired-driving charges against MLA Thornthwaite". The Vancouver Sun. April 29, 2010. Archived from the original on March 21, 2014. Retrieved December 1, 2011. 
  18. ^ "MLA charged with drunk driving need not resign seat, premier says". Times Colonist. February 25, 2010. p. A8. 
  19. ^ Horner, Neil (February 25, 2010). "MLA didn't cross line: Cantelon". Parksville - Qualicum News. Parksville, British Columbia. p. 7. 
  20. ^ "Criminal Justice Branch Announces Appointment of Special Prosecutor" (PDF) (Press release). Ministry of Attorney General (British Columbia). April 9, 2010. Retrieved December 2, 2011. 
  21. ^ "Special Prosecutor Approves Charges" (PDF) (Press release). Ministry of Attorney General (British Columbia). April 28, 2010. Retrieved December 2, 2011. 
  22. ^ Mercer, Katie (April 13, 2010). "May 12 court date for MLA". The Province. Vancouver. p. A13. 
  23. ^ Hunter, Justine (February 24, 2010). "Drunk driving MLA 'really sorry'". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved December 1, 2011. 
  24. ^ Seyd, Jane (June 30, 2010). "Thornthwaite pleads not guilty; MLA will go to trial for impaired driving". North Shore News. North Vancouver, British Columbia. p. 4. 
  25. ^ Seyd, Jane (June 26, 2010). "MLA's impaired driving trial set for next April". The Vancouver Sun. p. A2. 
  26. ^ Seyd, Jane (April 13, 2011). "MLA avoids criminal record after pleading guilty to minor offence". The Province. Vancouver. p. A23. 
  27. ^ Bell, Bill (August 28, 2010). "What three letters trump HST? DUI". North Shore News. North Vancouver, British Columbia. p. 6. 
  28. ^ Seyd, Jane (September 26, 2010). "Recall campaign could target MLAs Thornthwaite, McIntyre". North Shore News. North Vancouver, British Columbia. p. 1. 
  29. ^ Alldritt, Benjamin (August 13, 2010). "MLAs targeted for recall vote; Anti-HST campaigners plan to force North Van reps from office". North Shore News. North Vancouver, British Columbia. p. 1. 
  30. ^ Seyd, Jane (September 15, 2010). "HST to go to provincial referendum; Fight-HST organizers vow to go ahead with recall campaigns". North Shore News. North Vancouver, British Columbia. p. 1. 
  31. ^ Seyd, Jane; Kerry Blackadar (February 2, 2011). "MLAs make leadership choices". North Shore News. North Vancouver, British Columbia. p. 1. 
  32. ^ Alldritt, Benjamin (December 10, 2010). "Two North Shore MLAs pick leader candidates". North Shore News. North Vancouver, British Columbia. p. 3. 
  33. ^ Hoekstra, Greg (March 14, 2011). "North Van MLA nets new cabinet position". The North Shore Outlook. North Vancouver, British Columbia. p. 1. 
  34. ^ "MLA wants law to target puppy mills". Times-Colonist. Jan 13, 2012. Retrieved January 31, 2012. 
  35. ^ "Votes and Proceedings of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia". Legislative Assembly of British Columbia. Retrieved 22 May 2012. 

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