While Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff won’t be at the Toronto Pride parade tomorrow – he’s on a visit to China – he left a statement on the Liberal website:
“During this week, Canadians from all corners of our country come together to celebrate the achievements of the Gay Rights Movement, remember the discrimination that the community has endured, and honour the fierce pride that blossomed in the face of oppression and fear.
“Pride Toronto is a world-class event that celebrates the value of diversity, a principle that is at the very foundation of Canadian identity. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Gay Pride Parade and from the start, Pride Week has acted as voice for the underrepresented and repressed.
“Stephen Harper’s Conservative government has tried to silence Pride by cutting support to this event. The Liberal Party will govern for all Canadians – and not use funding cuts to discriminate against Canadians.
“I would like to acknowledge and congratulate the countless Pride Week organizers who have worked tirelessly to make Pride Week a success. As one of North America’s largest tourist events, this is an occasion for visitors from around the world to come to Toronto and celebrate.
“On behalf of the Liberal Party and our Parliamentary Caucus, I wish all revelers a memorable Pride Week.”
Added Liberal Tourism Critic Navdeep Bains:
“I am pleased to see this week’s Pride Week Festival, and in particular Sunday’s Pride Parade, are going ahead – despite suffering ideological cuts by the Harper Government,” said Liberal Tourism Critic Navdeep Bains. “Thankfully, the city and province have continued to fund this important event, while the Harper Government has chosen to pander to their radical right wing base.”
NDP Leader Jack Layton will be at the parade, but it was his party’s queer issues critic Bill Siksay who made their party’s Pride statement:
As Pride celebrations take place across Canada, I and my New Democrat colleagues are proud to stand in solidarity with members of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and transsexual communities.
Canada has led the world in ensuring the full equality of gay and lesbian citizens and our full participation in society. New Democrats are proud to have been front and centre in this achievement and we will remain vigilant to prevent any backsliding on these victories.
However, challenges remain.
Transsexual and transgender Canadians need explicit human rights protections. That is why I have tabled a Private Member’s Bill (C-389), An Act to Amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code (gender identity and gender expression), to add gender identity and expression to the list of prohibited grounds of discrimination in the Canadian Human Rights Act and to the hate and sentencing provisions of the Criminal Code. This bill passed second reading in the House of Commons this spring. That was an historic moment because it was the first time trans issues had been debated in the Canadian Parliament. The bill now proceeds to the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights for the next step in the legislative process.
LGBTT people around the world suffer prejudice and discrimination, even to the point of violence and death. We stand in solidarity with brothers and sisters in other countries whose attempts to celebrate Pride and win human rights protections are often frustrated or subject to violence.
Our work is not yet done. New Democrats will continue pressing issues of concern to LGBTT Canadians. Pride festivals give us the opportunity to celebrate our accomplishments and look to the future.
And while the Greens didn’t put up a statement, leader Elizabeth May will also be marching in the parade.