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

Fire on Kelowna’s Knox Mountain

City fire crews responding to report of smoke at the top of the hill.

Okanagan Mountain Park wildfire evacuation alert lifted

An evacuation alert remains in effect for those on Lakeshore Road

Feds say they’re willing to help with Okanagan fires

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale talks to local MP and offers help

Okanagan Wildfires: The latest on wildfires and evacuations

A Friday morning look at the major wildfires impact the Okanagan and Similkameen.

Current forest fires bring back memories of 2003 wildfire in Kelowna

Former Kelowna fire chief says plan should be to throw everything at a forest fire early

BC Wildfire update on Okanagan widlfires

Watch the media briefing on the current fire situation in the Okanagan.

RCMP help to save goats from wildfire

The fast-approaching wildfire, sparked Thursday, forced the evacuation of five homes

Vernon’s Sparrow signs with Wichita

Vernon product headed to ECHL for pro hockey

VIDEO: Near drowning captured on popular B.C. river

Search and Rescue manager says the popular pastime of floating in the summer is inherently dangerous

Matjicka pulls trick for Silver Stars

Capri Insurance Men’s 55+ Soccer League roundup

Crosswalk vandalism leaves black mark for Cowichan as B.C. Games begin

Rainbow crosswalk defaced just days after being painted

Photo gallery: BC Games Day 1

A brief look at action from the 2018 BC Summer Games in the Cowichan Valley

More space in BC parks and campsites to get away from it all

Province announces an additional 431 campsites throughout B.C. for the 2018 season

UPDATED: Anti-pipeline campers digging in as eviction deadline expires

The City of Burnaby had ordered the Kinder Morgan pipeline protesters out for violating bylaws

Most Read