Ford suggests he will participate in Pride if police are allowed back
Chris Herhalt and Kayla Goodfield, CP24.com
Published Friday, June 8, 2018 3:20PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, June 13, 2018 2:51PM EDT
Premier-designate Doug Ford suggested live on CP24 Friday that he may participate in Toronto’s Pride Month if they reverse their decision to exclude police services from marching.
“Yeah, I really look forward to Pride and having our police back into the parade and being inclusive,” Ford said. “I look forward to their answer on having police back in the parade.”
Uniformed officers were banned from the parade after Black Lives Matter members temporarily stopped the event in 2016, demanding that police be excluded from marching. The group cited concerns it had over the police’s treatment of the black community and other minority groups.
This spring, police applied and later withdrew a request to appear in the parade.
The exclusion of uniformed police officers found more support this year, after charges were laid against alleged serial killer Bruce McArthur. Many in Toronto’s gay community have accused the police of mishandling missing persons cases in the Gay Village.
Multiple LGBTQ groups demanded the police stay out of the parade this year, saying the relationship between law enforcement and their community “cannot be mended through a parade.”
Ford said his position is about fairness.
“Well, I just look forward to making sure it’s all inclusive and having our police . . . that were excluded.”
The parade is scheduled for June 24.
Executive director Olivia Nuamah said Pride Toronto is working to ensure they are moving in the “same direction” as officers.
“We are having on-going conversations with the police,” she said. “We have decided what our way forward is going to be. We are going to get heavily involved in talking to one another.”
“Post this parade, we are both happy with that position and so I suppose it’s important that Ford knows that both Pride Toronto and the Toronto Police Service are working together to resolve our issues to reach exactly what he wants to see, which is inclusivity in our parade.”
Speaking with CP24 on Friday evening, Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders said there is an opportunity for the provincial government to work with officers and Pride Toronto towards “better solutions.”
“I’ll stay in my lane and I’ll figure out what we need to do to develop our relationship with the LGBTQ community – we are actively doing that – the LGBTQ community is working with us and Im looking forward to that finish line,” he said.
In 2014, Ford called the parade an event where “middle-aged men with pot bellies” would run down the street “buck naked.”
When he ran for mayor that same year, he said he would march in the parade.
On Friday, he indicated he would focus on commonalities between his party’s priorities and those of the LGTBQ community.
“We have a diverse group, a diverse team. I know people from the LBGT community — they want lower taxes, lower hydro rates, lower gas, and proper governance. I’m going to make sure I serve that community as I would serve any other community.”
Ford will be sworn in as Ontario’s 26th premier on June 29.