Toronto Police Agree To Not Participate In Pride Parade. Right Choice?
It was in mid January when Pride Toronto Voted To Ban Police Floats and Marchers From Its Parade. Was it the right thing to do? Opinions came from both sides, but all of that doesn't matter since the Toronto Police have agreed to agree with the ban.
The Toronto Police Service will not participate in this year's Pride parade, says Chief Mark Saunders, a move that comes a month after Pride Toronto voted to ban uniformed officers from the event.
"We understand the LGBTQ communities are divided. To enable those differences to be addressed, I have decided the Toronto Police Service will not participate, this year, in the Pride parade," Saunders said in a statement on Friday. - cbc.ca
Toronto police chief Mark Saunders discusses the decision to not participate in the Pride Parade in the following clip.
"There seems to be quite a bit of fragmentation with the LGBTQ community." That was one of the statements that stood out as to why the chief has made the statement. What I heard was, " your house is broken, fix it, we'll be here waiting once you are back together." Maybe my interpretation is wrong, but if I am right, this ban of the police force shows the rest of Toronto that the LGBTQ community does have a broken voice and maybe even a broken purpose. To uninvite a group of people, hmmm, how would we like that?
Toronto police officers will continue to provide security for the event, but will not participate in side kiosks or parade floats. Saunders said the force will continue to hold its annual Pride reception.
The decision to remove officers from the parade doesn't sit well with Mike McCormack, president of the Toronto Police Association.
"All this is doing is creating a negative environment around something that should be positive and something that should be inclusive," he said.
It's a sentiment shared by Mayor John Tory.
"I am disappointed and frustrated with the current situation," he said. "No one should feel excluded from Pride and no group should have to decide it is better if they just don't take part. This current situation is not good for a city as inclusive as Toronto."
Pride says officers 'still welcome'
"We want to be clear, members of the Toronto Police Service are still welcome to march in the Parade as members or allies of our diverse and beautiful community," Pride Toronto said in a statement to CBC Toronto. The group added that the festival must belong to everyone in the community.
During its annual general meeting in January, Pride Toronto voted to remove uniformed officers and police floats from future parades.
The demands came from Black Lives Matter Toronto, which briefly halted the Pride parade in July 2016. The organization presented Pride Toronto's executive director with a list of demands, which also included a commitment to increase diversity in hiring at Pride Toronto.
The matter was originally referred to a formal dispute resolution process that would have taken place in August. But the formal dispute process was rendered moot after Pride Toronto's vote in January. - cbc.ca
So police officers can march, just not in their uniforms and not representing the police force. That's fair, right? Ugh.
Another aspect that the police chief brought light to was that the Toronto police have not heard anything about the planning of Toronto Pride. Could this be because ...
Leadership roles vacant
Pride Toronto has been without an executive director for months. The former director, Mathieu Chantelois, stepped down in August, shortly after signing a document agreeing to a list of demands from Black Lives Matter.
With less than four months until the event, the organization does not have a festival director in place.
This year's Pride Toronto festivities run June 1-25. - cbc.ca
Should Toronto take a year off from Pride and regroup?
Will someone step up and take control?
Would someone step up faster if the police ban did not occur?
The video that follows has a handful of speakers addressing the police float ban, mentioning that a float of police officers in the parade may be triggering. A float that goes by once for 30 seconds could be triggering. Never mind the police officers along the parade route. Never mind the number of police cars blocking off streets so we can have our parade. Never mind all those images that will be there for the 3 hours or so the parade will go on. If it is the Black Lives Matter group that is worried about triggers, is it just the police or is it the non-black police officers that may be a trigger? Will the next demand be to have zero white officers along the parade routes for they may be triggers? Will the next demand be that no police should be visible from the parade route for they may be triggers? Wasn't Toronto's Pride slogan just a little while ago "You Can Sit With Us?" My, how we have grown.
I dislike this ban and that's my opinion. Not of the magazine, but mine. I'm actually livid that this happened.