Pride Toronto moves closer to securing annual grant amid controversy

Pride Toronto moves closer to securing funding

TORONTO — Canada’s largest Pride parade is one step closer to securing municipal funding that has been threatened by a decision to ban uniformed police officers from the annual event.

Pride Toronto has sparked controversy ever since a decision early this year to ban police floats from the colourful summer parade.

On Monday, a committee at Toronto City Hall recommended upholding a $260,000 annual grant to the event after a petition from Olivia Nuamah, the executive director of Pride Toronto. A final ruling on the fate of the grant will come in a few weeks at the city’s monthly council meeting.

Toronto Mayor John Tory has expressed his support for the funding, saying both Pride Toronto and Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders have told him cutting the grant would not help resolve the controversy around the parade.

Earlier this year, a Toronto city councillor called for the grant to be revoked over Pride Toronto’s decision to ban police floats, saying the event had become exclusionary.

The union representing Toronto police officers quickly echoed that call, saying it would be unacceptable for the city to sponsor an event that shuts out certain municipal employees.

In a statement released Sunday evening, Pride Toronto reiterated that police officers were welcome at the parade so long as they appeared as civilians rather than in an official capacity.

The organization said officers could participate in the march if they left their uniforms, weapons and cruisers behind.

Nuamah said both sides of the issue have the same goal.

“We are going to be trying incredibly hard to dampen down the vitriolic nature of this conversation, to be honest with you, to make it more about the cohesion which we all seek,” Nuamah said.

Having the mayor’s public support is “huge,” the organizer said.

In January, Pride Toronto decided to adopt a list of demands issued by the Toronto chapter of Black Lives Matter, which included a ban on police floats.

The issue first made headlines during last year’s parade, when members of the anti-racism group staged a sit-in that halted the march until Pride organizers signed a list of demands.

Black Lives Matter has argued that allowing uniformed officers at the parade could discourage marginalized communities from attending.

Saunders said earlier this year that in light of the ongoing controversy, the force would steer clear of the event, aside from overseeing security.

If the parade’s grant is revoked, the city would still provide policing, transportation and other services for the Pride parade,

Police participation in Pride events has stirred controversy across Canada recently, with several forces — such as those in Vancouver and Halifax — facing restrictions or bans for local parades.

Last week, however, the Pride committee in St. John’s, N.L., reversed course and invited uniformed police officers to march in the city’s parade.

Paola Loriggio, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

Tri-Port Midget Wild push win streak to 8-0-2 with shutout win over Grizzlies

The Tri-Port Wild posted a 10-2-2 record this season, with 55 Goals For and only 24 Goals Against

Before and After: Quatse River Dumpsite Cleanup

The area looks spotless thanks to volunteers who cleaned up the site

Future of Port Alice debated at town hall

Candidates tackled tough questions about Neucel and tourism

Toyota Expedition 3.0 ready to hit the North Island backroads

‘The 3.0 is because this is the third time we are doing this’

The Sointula Art Shed draws artists to the North Island

Current Artist-in-Residence Emma Rush performed a concert at the Athletic Hall

WATCH: Vancouver Island man catches dashcam video of near head-on crash

Video shows oncoming van cross over centre line

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

#Metoo movement causing confusion in many men, fear of missteps with women: experts

Being painted by the same sweeping brush as those alleged to have mistreated women has angered men

Liberals to dig deeper, aim higher on gender equality in 2018 federal budget

Finance Minister Bill Morneau said the budget would include measures to boost women in the workforce

Vancouver Island’s Teal Harle finishes fifth in Olympic Men’s Slopestyle skiing

‘I’ve definitely surpassed every expectation I had for the Games’ – Harle

Vancouver Island job market ever-evolving

Various sectors driving employment in region will be represented at Black Press career fair in Comox Feb. 8

Body of missing skier found

Man’s truck found in Revelstoke Mountain Resort’s parking lot covered in ‘several days’ snow’

B.C. VIEWS: Subsidy supercluster settles in B.C.

Ottawa, Victoria add to their overlapping ‘innovation’ budgets

Most Read