Pride Toronto. Image credit: Wikipedia
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Toronto, May 9 (Canadian-Media): Pride Toronto, a not-for-profit organization, celebrates Pride Toronto Parade (PTP), a ten-day event during the end of June each year to celebrates of the diversity of the LGBT community in the Greater Toronto Area will continue to receive funding by the government and had become largest Pride celebration in North America, media reports said.
According to a press release Toronto Mayor John Tory had stated, "Pride is a hugely important event for our city, and one that is supposed to send a message of inclusion and equality to the world...and to focus on working with the LGBTQ and Black communities to ensure that we have a strong foundation of trust and partnership going forward. From Day One, I have been consistent in saying that I considered Pride a celebration all about inclusion and that as such, police should be welcomed in the parade. I continue to hold this view."
Last year PTP, influenced by Black Lives Matter, had halted the event for nearly 30 minutes until organizers signed off on a list of nine demands, which included a ban on police floats and booths in future parades, CP24 News reports said.
Participation of the Toronto police in the PTP, had thus become questionable and Councillor John Campbell and about half a dozen other councillors said Pride’s annual grant request should be curtailed
"They (police) are part of the fabric of Toronto. They are effectively City of Toronto employees. Why should city funding go toward an organization that is telling our police force that they are not welcome and that is exactly what they are doing. So instead of bringing people together, they are pushing people apart," Campbell, who did not sit on the Economic Development Committee, told CP24 Monday morning.
Since then, Toronto’s LGBTQ officers had been asking the city to withhold a $260,000 grant to fund the parade.
But amidst debates among Pride Toronto officials, members of Black Lives Matter, the Toronto Police union, and other Pride participants, Toronto Mayor John Tory decided to favour continued funding for Pride Toronto.
Tory had stated according to a news release, "But I support the Chief’s decision...by the current management of Pride, who have been working hard to ensure the financial and organizati onal viability of Pride 2017 and to try to find a resolution to these outstanding issues. Both Olivia Nuamah and Chief Saunders...have indicated to me that a withdrawal of City funding for Pride 2017 won't be helpful in finding a resolution...Accordingly, I will support maintaining our full funding for Pride 2017."
Pride Toronto’s executive director Olivia Nuamah told reporters on Monday she was delighted to hear about Tory’s support in funding to Pride.
At the Economic Development Committee meeting on Monday, Nuamah welcomed the committee’s vote to renew funding for her organization.
“We celebrate Pride, we appreciate Pride, we love Pride in this city. It has great benefits to our city: economic, otherwise and social…Let’s take the adult position and sit down and dialogue,” said economic development committee chair Michael Thompson (Ward 37), Globe and Mail News reports said.
The decision came less than 24 hours after Pride organizers said they would welcome police participation in the event as long as uniforms, weapons and cruisers are left at the police station.
The decision to approve the grant will be subject to final vote by full council later this month.
For this year at least, Pride Toronto said officers were only allowed to march in the parade if they leave their uniforms, weapons and vehicles behind.
But Tory, speaking to reporters, said he would not commit to supporting funding for Toronto Pride next year if a deal with the police does not materialize.
“I am not going to engage in hypothetical speculation about what happens in future years,” Mr. Tory said. “I am just saying for this year … both of the parties involved in these constructive discussions ... told me that to withdraw funding at this stage would not be helpful in their ongoing attempts to achieve a resolution to this issue,” Globe and Mail news reports said.
This year’s PTP will take place on Sunday, June 25.
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)