Edmonton Pride Festival rejects UCP’s application to march in Pride parade

Pride Parade makes its way through downtown Edmonton Saturday, June 7, 2014. Eric Szeto, Global News

The Edmonton Pride Festival has rejected Alberta’s United Conservative Party (UCP) application to march in the Pride parade.

The festival said the application “did not meet expectations” laid out by the organizers.

“We believe that everyone deserves to believe and live how they want to, but this organization, when they applied, did not show the selection committee enough, I would say, commitment to LGBTQ2S+ causes,” Clayton Hitchcock with the festival told 630 CHED’s Ryan Jespersen.

LISTEN: Clayton Hitchock speaks with 630 CHED’s Ryan Jespersen

Applicants for the parade are scored on criteria as set out by the festival, including how connected the group is to the LGBTQ2S+ community, any policies they have in place that include all segments of the community, any future plans to be more inclusive and how sincere the application seems.

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According to the festival, the committee that reviews applications felt the criteria wasn’t met by the party.

“They applied, we took that application in good faith and when we set it against the criteria, there were other applicants who deserved to be in the parade more,” Hitchcock said.

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According to the committee, the UCP did not include any direct action about how to include all segments of the LGBTQ2S+ community, the content was sparse compared to other applications and since there are no current UCP policies regarding LGBTQ2S+ in place, the committee could only look at past policies of the Wildrose and the Progressive Conservative party, as well as ideas and opinions that have been shared publicly by UCP members.

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There was also some concern that the party was trying to turn the festival into a political issue.

“It looks like they’re trying to say: ‘We tried to be inclusive, we tried to be a part of this and you said no,’ and that’s not what it is,” Hitchcock said.

In a statement sent to 630 CHED, party spokesperson Janice Harrington said the UCP is disappointed in the decision, but will still support the festival.

“We had intended to make a good showing, including our leader, Jason Kenney,” she said. “But we will still show up and participate in any way we can.”

Edmonton’s Pride Festival runs June 8 to 17.

– With files from Kevin Robertson, 630 CHED

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