John Tory releases statement on Pride Toronto's decision to ban police float from parade

Jan 18 2017, 2:02 pm

Pride Toronto has agreed to ban police floats at future parades.

The motion to address demands made by Black Lives Matter during the 30-minute sit-in at the 2016 Pride Parade was added to the agenda at the onslaught of the Annual General Meeting held last night on Ryerson University campus.

The AGM, traditionally focused on electing new board members, and reviewing progress and finances from the past year, amended the agenda and introduced a vote on BLM’s demands including a ban on police floats in Pride marches and parades.

In response to the meeting, Toronto Mayor John Tory released a statement on January 18.

“One of the most important responsibilities of any Mayor of Toronto is to ensure that everyone feels respected and included, and fostering respect and inclusion is an ongoing challenge for all of us,” he said.

Tory said that the Toronto Police have had a presence in the Pride parade for more than a decade and “continue to make meaningful efforts to build bridges with the LGBTQ2S community. Also, we rely on our police service to keep Pride safe every year and obviously they must continue to do so. With respect to police participation in the Pride parade, I am hopeful that people of goodwill can find a way to resolve this issue and to ensure that we can continue to build those vitally important bridges.”

Per the majority vote, members have agreed to adopt the following eight demands:

  • Continued space, including stage and tents, funding and logistical support for Black Queer Youth.
  • Self-determination for all community spaces at Pride, allowing community groups full control over hiring, content and structure of their stages.
  • Full and adequate funding for community stages, including logistical, technical and personnel support.
  • Doubling of funding for Blockorama to $13,000.
  • Reinstatement of the South Asian stage.
  • Prioritizing of the hiring of Black transwomen, Indigenous people and others from vulnerable communities at Pride Toronto.
  • More Black deaf and hearing sign language interpreters for the festival.
  • Removal of police floats in the Pride marches and parades.
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