Organizers of the York Region Pride Parade in Newmarket say they were not told ahead of time that Premier Doug Ford would be marching with them Saturday.

Gillian Barker says she first knew the premier would join them only when news outlets started calling her organization this afternoon.

“We found out about it when the news media started asking questions – It was a surprise and we’re not sure how that happened.”

She said the group is expressly non-political and did not want her group associated with any politician.

When asked if she was happy Ford came, she said “I don’t really have a comment on that.”

“The people who are here, those are the ones we celebrate. These are the ones with the shared values, about inclusivity, kindness, love, building strong families. These are the people we celebrate, this is why we’re here,” she said.

Ford marched in the York Region Pride Parade as unlike Toronto, it is a pride event where police officers were allowed to be present in uniform.

“I think both parades are great, I chose this one the police are marching in it and that's it. But I wish everyone all the best at the other parade,” he told CTV News Toronto.

After winning office last June, Ford suggested to CP24 that he would march in the Toronto Pride Parade, a global draw for the LGBTQ community that brings tens of millions in tourism revenue for the city, only if Pride Toronto reversed its decision to prevent uniformed Toronto cops from marching in the parade.

Uniformed officers were first barred from marching in Toronto’s parade in 2016, when Black Lives Matter activists temporarily stopped the parade and refused to let it continue unless Pride Toronto leadership agreed to prevent cops from marching.

The relationship between the LGBTQ community and Toronto police was further strained by the Bruce McArthur serial homicide investigation, where most in the community said police did not treat the missing person’s cases that formed the start of the probe seriously enough.

The Newmarket event on Saturday stretched on Main Street South from Ontario Street to Water Street. Some people in the crowd booed Ford, but he shrugged that off.

“That’s alright, that’s bound to happen, but we have a lot of supporters out here and a great riding and we just look forward to serving the people of this riding,” Ford said.

Attorney General Caroline Mulroney and Health Minister Christine Elliott, who represents Newmarket, were seen marching with Ford in the parade as well.

Toronto’s Pride Parade is scheduled for June 23.