Following Friday morning’s announcement from Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders, Mayor John Tory released a statement supporting Saunders’ decision.
Chief Saunders said the Toronto Police Service will not be taking part in this year’s Pride Parade, a decision made after Pride Toronto voted to remove police floats.
Tory said he respects Saunders’ decision, adding that he is disappointed and frustrated with the situation.
“This current situation is not good for a city as inclusive as Toronto. We know that diversity strengthens us as a city and pushing people apart weakens us as a city,” he said.
With respect to the police service’s decision, Tory said he remains hopeful.
The mayor’s full statement is below.
I respect Chief Mark Saunders’ decision to have the Toronto Police Service step back from the Pride Parade this year.
I am disappointed and frustrated with the current situation. 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. We know that diversity strengthens us as a city and pushing people apart weakens us as a city.
I have proudly participated in Pride for years and I want to thank the police for everything they have done to support this important event. I also want to thank police for how far they have come in their relationships with the LGBTQ2S communities. Our police officers should be commended for the bridges that have been built and that they are continuing to build.
I’ve confirmed with the Chief that this decision will have no impact on the service’s ongoing outreach to LGBTQ2S communities. That’s important and the only way this issue will be resolved one day, hopefully very soon.
With respect to police participation in future Pride parades, I remain hopeful that the parties involved can find a way to resolve this issue as soon as possible and to ensure that we can continue to build those vitally important bridges.