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

Facebook

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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

BC Ferries hybrid ships arrive in Victoria on Saturday

The battery-operated vessels will take over smaller routes

Hydro pole fire closes portion of Metchosin Road in Colwood

Motorists are advised to avoid the area of Metchosin Road near Royal Bay

Esquimalt arsonist sentenced to two years in jail, thanks police, defence lawyer and taxpayers

Wei Li was convicted of intentionally lighting his rental property on fire in October 2017

Strong winds expected in Greater Victoria Friday evening

Winds are expected to ease Saturday morning

VIDEO: The Victoria byelection leads a selection of today’s news stories

A selection of Greater Victoria top stories for Jan. 17

Theft victim confronts suspects with baseball bat on Vancouver Island

RCMP in Nanaimo seek to identify of two people alleged to have used a stolen credit card

Closed mills, housing surge support a positive forecast for lumber industries

B.C. lumber producers have closed mills accounting for 18% of province’s capacity, RBC report says

VIDEO: Missing cat reunited with Vancouver Island family after three months

‘It was like one day she was there, the next day she was gone,’ said owner

Kelowna’s ‘Baby Mary’ finds biological parents after more than 30 years

Geneologist and DNA test helped her connect with her biological parents

Clerk bruised, traumatized after armed robbery at Nanaimo liquor store

Few details on male suspect in Wednesday incident, says Nanaimo RCMP

One last blast of winter tonight for parts of the Island before temperatures on the rise

A snowfall warning is in effect Friday including east Vancouver Island.

POLL: Has the recent snow had an impact on your daily life?

Old Man Winter had Greater Victoria in his icy grip this week.… Continue reading

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Jan. 14

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Most Read