Toronto Mayor favours continued funding for

Toronto Mayor favours continued funding for "Pride Toronto" LGBTQ march

India Blooms News Service | 09 May 2017

Toronto, May 9 (IBNS/JEN): Pride Toronto, a not-for-profit organisation which celebrates Pride Toronto Parade (PTP), a ten-day event during the end of June each year to celebrate the diversity of the LGBTQ community in the Greater Toronto Area, will continue to receive full funding of the government.

PTP has become the largest Pride celebration in North America.

 

Toronto Mayor John Troy endorsed the celebration saying, "Pride is hugely an important event for our city, and one that is supposed to send a message of inclusion and equality to the world."

“I will support maintaining our full funding for Pride 2017. Pride is an important city event, and one that must reflect the diversity and vibrancy of our city,” Mayor Tory said in a statement.

Mayor Tory further reiterated, that  the Toronto Police Chief, Mark Saunders, has decided in the prevailing circumstances, to withdraw police from marching in this year’s parade – and to focus on working with the LGBT and Black communities to ensure that we have a strong foundation of trust and partnership going forward.

While speaking to reporters, the Mayor said he would not commit to supporting funding for Toronto Pride next year if a deal with the police is not brokered.

“I am not going to engage in hypothetical speculation about what happens in future years,” 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.”

"But I support the Chief’s decision and the steps that have been taken by the current management of Pride, who have been working hard to ensure the financial and organisational viability of Pride 2017 and to try to find a resolution to these outstanding issues."

Tory in his official statement continued saying that, both Olivia Nuamah ,executive director of Pride Toronto and Police Chief Saunders informed him about constructive discussions being taken place between them to address this matter and the underlying issues which gave rise to it.

They also indicated to the Mayor that withdrawal of City funding for Pride 2017 won't be helpful in finding a resolution.

According to Olivia Nuamah's statement, she said, “Police are not banned from the event," adding that LGBTQ+ officers and their allies can participate provided they don’t bring their “uniform, weapons or vehicles.”

The incidence of exclusion of Toronto Police taking participation in Pride Parade started last year when Toronto was 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.

Meanwhile, City councilor John Campbell and about half a dozen other councilors said Pride’s annual grant request should be curtailed in the event of banning the Toronto police to participate in the pride parade.

"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 the reporters.

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, and Toronto Mayor John Tory decided to favour continued funding for Pride Toronto.

Pride Toronto’s executive director Olivia Numah told reporters on Monday she was delighted to hear about Tory’s support in funding to Pride and at Monday’s economic development committee meeting, she welcomed the committee’s vote to renew funding for her organisation.

The Economic development committee chair Michael Thompson (Ward 37) in his statement said, “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.”

Today’s decision came in less than 24 hours after Pride organisers 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.


(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)


 

Photo :   Pride Toronto 

Toronto Mayor favours continued funding for "Pride Toronto" LGBTQ march

India Blooms News Service
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