For immediate release: July 12, 2017
K’jipuktuk (Halifax, N.S. ) - After the community identified challenges with police inclusion in the Halifax Pride Parade, and in the spirit of hosting a festival where all voices are heard, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) will not register in the Pride parade on Saturday, July 22, 2017. Instead of marching, RCMP will encourage its employees to volunteer with the festival and explore alternative ways to engage with the 2SLGBTQ+ community.
“We recognize that there are those in the RCMP who will want to march in uniform in the parade. We also recognize that there are those for whom police participation in the pride parade is a barrier to participation,” says Adam Reid, Halifax Pride executive director. “Halifax Pride and RCMP understand this is a sensitive issue and we are taking steps to address it collaboratively. We see this as a positive step towards building relationships based on mutual understanding and respect for community concerns.”
Earlier this year, a community working group and an online survey facilitated by Halifax Pride found half of the 2SLGBTQ+ community members surveyed viewed police presence during the festival as a barrier to participation.
“After much reflection and consideration about how this decision could impact the community and our employees, we agreed to remove RCMP uniform presence in the parade,” says A/Commr. Brian Brennan, Commanding Officer of the Nova Scotia RCMP. “We have and will continue to work closely with Halifax Pride to strengthen our connections with the community as we strive to be inclusive of all the communities we represent and serve. Our employees are more than welcome to participate as civilians in any way they choose."
Halifax Pride continually has discussions with all community partners about the various ways they participate in the festival, and supports the decision by the RCMP for its members to participate through volunteering.
“We continue to listen to the needs of our community and work hard to prioritize the voices of our most marginalized members,” says Reid. “The discussion around police presence is contentious and divided and we’re grateful the RCMP has taken steps to understand all the issues and act as allies to the community.”
About Halifax Pride
The Halifax Pride Festival will take place July 20-30, 2017. The annual parade will take place in the opening days of the festival, on Saturday, July 22th. This year will mark Halifax Pride’s 30th festival. Halifax Pride is one of the premier Pride festivals in Canada.
Contact: Ellen Davis