Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS People march in a previous Calgary Pride parade in Calgary. Calgary Pride says it’s encouraging police officers to take part in its annual parade in September, under some conditions. The group says police can participate as long as it’s without uniforms, firearms, vehicles or institutional representation, such as floats.

Calgary Pride: Police can participate in parade, but not in uniform

CALGARY — Uniformed police officers will not be marching in Calgary’s annual Pride parade in September.

Calgary Pride said Wednesday that it encourages police to take part, as long as it’s without uniforms, firearms, vehicles or institutional representation, such as floats.

“We acknowledge the historical oppression and institutionalized racism faced by queer/trans people of colour and Indigenous persons, and the potentially negative association with weapons, uniforms, and other symbols of law enforcement,” the group said in a news release.

“We also recognize the oppression of the gender and sexually diverse community at large, the discrimination faced by members of law enforcement who identify as part of the (gender and sexually diverse) community and the challenges they may have encountered as a self-identified (gender and sexually diverse) community member in the workplace.”

Calgary Pride said it also wants top brass at the Calgary Police Service, including Chief Roger Chaffin, to have formal diversity and inclusion training.

As in past years, the group said police will provide security at the Sept. 3 parade, which attracts more than 60,000 spectators.

“We believe banning (the Calgary Police Service), and other law enforcement agencies from participating in Calgary’s Pride activities deters from engaging in meaningful discussions on how law enforcement agencies can best support Calgary’s gender and sexually diverse community,” Calgary Pride’s release said.

“We welcome the participation of Calgary Police Service, and other law enforcement agencies in a manner that demonstrates allyship and understanding.”

The Calgary Police Service said it will have an entry in the parade, but will respect the request that no uniforms be worn.

“We are obviously disappointed with the decision that police will not be allowed to march in uniform, but we are not going to allow it to undo decades of progress between law enforcement and the LGBTQ community in Calgary,” Chaffin said in a statement.

“We have a far better relationship with the LGBTQ community now than we did even ten years ago and we want to keep that forward momentum.”

VOICES, a group that describes itself as “Calgary’s coalition of two-spirit and racialized LGBTQIA and their chosen allies,” said it had collaborative discussions with Calgary Pride and Calgary Police.

LGBTQIA is an abbreviation that refers to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex and asexual people.

“What we have here is a symbolic step which does not eliminate police violence and misconduct, but rather opens up a discussion and first steps towards creating a community that is safe for all and the one that truly honours the history of what Pride marches are meant to be,” the group said in a statement.

Law enforcement involvement in Pride events has stirred controversy.

In January, Pride Toronto organizers agreed to a list of demands from the city’s chapter of Black Lives Matter, including a ban on uniformed officers and police floats in the parade.

The issue first came to widespread public attention during last year’s parade, when members of the anti-racism group staged a sit-in that halted the march until Pride organizers agreed to a list of conditions.

Pride Winnipeg invited police to march in its parade in June, but without cruisers or uniforms. Halifax police opted out of last weekend’s Pride parade, citing the national debate on the topic.

In Vancouver, officers will be allowed to march as part of the city’s contingent Aug. 6, alongside city municipal staff and other first responders. But no marked cruisers will be included and most of the marching officers will wear T-shirts rather than uniforms.

In St. John’s, N.L., the Pride committee reversed course and invited uniformed police officers to march in the city’s parade, which was held earlier this month.

Just Posted

WATCH: Finishing touches being put on Servus Arena

The finishing touches are being put on Red Deer’s newest arena. The… Continue reading

Suspect in police chase in court

RCMP opened fire twice while trying to arrest suspects in vehicle chase in October

New temporary beds will immediately help Red Deer homeless

The 20 new temporary beds approved for Safe Harbour’s warming centre cannot… Continue reading

Red Deer RCMP are seeking man posing as a police officer

Suspect is large, in his 30s, with red hair and beard

Update: “Someone knows something” – police

Motorist dies near Ponoka after loose tire collides with vehicle near Ponoka

Red Deer police seize rifles and shotguns from storage locker

A man and a woman facing nearly 200 charges after 29 firearms seized last month

Notley criticizes MLA who fired staffer after sex harassment complaint

Notley says if Jason Nixon was her house leader he’d be out of a job immediately.

Red Deer needs to find a solution to syringe debris: city manager

City will consider the problem during the 2018 operating budget talks

WestJet Christmas video turns children’s wishes into reality

This year’s annual video took a new spin on the 12 days of Christmas

VIDEO: Replay Red Deer Dec. 10

Watch news highlights from Red Deer and Central Alberta

VIDEO: B.C. to end geographic area rent increases, close fixed-term lease loopholes

Both clauses allowed landlords to raise rents above the max annual allowable rent increase

UPDATE: Train hits hydro pole, causes outage near Deltaport

No injuries reported but traffic in and out of Deltaport is blocked

A Red Deer daycare coordinator wins provincial award of excellence

Nicole Morrell is a coordinator at Johnstone Daycare

Holiday shopping season picking up in Red Deer

With 18 shopping days left until Christmas, Red Deer businesses are cautiously… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month