Toronto police union asks city to withdraw Pride funding due to participation ban on officers

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      Toronto's police union is asking the City of Toronto to withdraw funding for the city's Pride parade, due to officers being prevented from participating in the event.

      The city's police union head delivered a letter to the mayor from the police force's LGBTQ Internal Support Executive Committee.

      "We, as city employees, would feel completely devalued and unsupported by our employer should they fund this event at this time," the letter, addressed to Toronto Police Association union president Mike McCormack states. "How can we possibly feel appreciated by our employer while they sponsor an event that its own employees have been disinvited from participating in as full, equal, and active participants in their role as city employees." 

      The City of Toronto is scheduled to provide Pride Toronto with a $260,000 city grant.

      At the 2016 Toronto Pride parade, Black Lives Matter Toronto blocked the procession until Pride Toronto's executive director signed a list of demands.

      In January, Pride Toronto voted to remove all uniformed police officers and police floats from all future parades.

      On February 10, the Toronto Police Service announced they would not be participating in this year's parade. Halifax police all announced in February that they would withdraw from their city's parade.

      In February, Black Lives Matter Vancouver launched a petition to ask the Vancouver Pride Society to remove all uniformed and armed police officers from the parade. The group had previously requested police officers to be removed from the 2016 parade as well.

      The Vancouver Pride Society is working with both BLM Vancouver and the Vancouver Police Department to establish a solution.

      The VPS has condemned any discriminatory, anti-black, or hateful speech directed at BLM Vancouver and is calling for respectful discussion.

      You can follow Craig Takeuchi on Twitter at @cinecraig or on FacebookYou can also follow the Straight's LGBT coverage on Twitter at @StraightLGBT or on Facebook.