The City of Surrey claims to actively support diversity. And it's lighting Civic Plaza in the colours of the Pride flag until June 29 in recognition of Pride Month.
But B.C.'s second-largest municipality still has not flown the Pride flag at Surrey City Hall.
Surrey Forward mayoral candidate Jinny Sims says that's not good enough.
If elected, her party promises that this will change if it's elected.
“Our diversity is our strength,” Sims said. “We are a city that should be celebrating our differences, embracing those from all communities.”
The party news release noted that Toronto city council became the first local government to endorse Pride events in 1991.
“Frankly, it’s embarrassing that in 2022, Surrey has yet to embrace the PRIDE event and our LGBTQ2SIA+ community," Sims stated.
She also cited a paper posted on ScienceDirect.com on the relationship between LGBT inclusion and economic development.
University of Massachusetts economist M.V. Lee Badgett, Leiden University law professor Kees Waaldijk, and Rutgers University women's and gender studies professor Yana van der Meulen Rodgers determined that an additional point on the eight-point Global Index on Legal Recognition of Homosexual Orientation is associated with a real GDP per capita increase of approximately $2,000.
"In combination with the qualitative evidence from previous studies and reports, our quantitative results suggest that LGBT inclusion and economic development are mutually reinforcing," the researchers noted in the abstract. "Also, a back-of-the-envelope estimate suggests that about 6% to 22% of the finding could reflect the costs to GDP of health and labor market stigmatization of LGB people."
To Sims, inclusion is not only about morals and values—it's also integrally linked to a city's success.
"We must combat the idea that Surrey is not open to all who wish to be a part of our community,” Sims said.
In the meantime, Surrey Pride Festival will be held in Central City Plaza on Saturday (June 25) from 4 to 9 p.m. It's accessible by hopping off the SkyTrain at Surrey Central Station.