Facebook

Police uniforms, vehicles no longer allowed in Vancouver Pride parade

The Vancouver Pride Society has decided not to allow uniformed officers, police vehicles or weapons at the annual parade

There won’t be any uniformed police officers marching alongside the colourful floats in Vancouver’s Pride parade next August.

Andrea Arnot, executive director of the Vancouver Pride Society, says the group has decided not to allow uniformed officers, police vehicles or weapons in the annual parade.

She says the decision was made in September after more than a year of community consultations where members of the LGBTQ community told board members they were uncomfortable seeing uniformed officers or police vehicles at the event because of historic police oppression.

Plainclothes officers will be welcome to march with the City of Vancouver’s parade entry and Arnot notes many officers are strong allies of the LGBTQ community.

Vancouver Pride spoke with the police force about the decision in September and Arnot says they found the officers very receptive.

The Vancouver Police Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Related: LGBTQ advocates want military, RCMP to take part in apology

Vancouver Pride’s decision follows similar moves across the country after the Toronto chapter of Black Lives Matter halted the city’s parade in 2016, demanding Pride organizers agreed to a list of conditions, including a ban on uniformed police.

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

Forces in Calgary, Ottawa and Toronto were all asked to leave their uniforms at home for Pride festivities this summer.

Vancouver Pride came to a compromise with the police department this year, where the majority of the officers marching were not in uniform and no vehicles were included in the parade.

But Arnot said the move has never been about excluding police.

“When we started out with these conversations way back in 2016, our intent was not to ban the police from the parade,” she said. “It was how to have the police participate in a way that makes everyone feel comfortable and for them to show their support in a different way.”

Reaching the decision has been a long, often uncomfortable process, Arnot said, noting that the board and staff spoke to more than 300 people in the community consultation process.

“I’m really glad that we’ve been able to move things forward,” she said.

Gemma Karstens-Smith, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Ladysmith children get behind the wheel for Public Works Day

Ladysmith marked Public Works Day on Thursday with over 600 children getting… Continue reading

Ladysmith author honours late sister in new children’s book

Sarah de Vries disappeared from Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside in 1998

Chemainus ‘Mountain Man’ joins search for Ben Kilmer

Kevin Shiell has been putting his extensive outdoor skills to good use

Search for missing Cowichan man moves towards Hill 60

Volunteer searchers are moving westward

Trans Mountain pipeline: How we got here

A look at the Kinder Morgan expansion, decades in the making

Passersby help rescue occupants of home as fire breaks out in Courtenay

Coffee run turns into fire rescue for pair of men

Giant beer tanks arrive in new B.C. home city

Molson Coors tanks finish river journey and move to overland trip in Chilliwack

VIDEO: Pipeline supporters rally across B.C.

Five simultaneous events organized by month-old Suits and Boots lobby group

VIDEO: B.C. woman praises burn fund after boat explosion in 1978

White Rock woman was 16 years old when she was left with second- and third-degree burns

B.C.’s Ryan Craig, Vegas Golden Knights chase history

Local product behind bench for expansion team’s incredible championship run

CP rail workers give strike notice

Employees could walk out as early as Tuesday at 7 p.m. PT

RCMP investigating after gunshots fired in Courtenay

Comox Valley RCMP officers are investigating after gunshots rang out in Courtenay… Continue reading

Vancouver Island wife brings husband back to life with CPR, thanks to 911 dispatcher

‘The dispatcher literally taught me CPR over the phone’

Most Read