The rainbow Pride flag could be seen flying outside Halifax Regional Police (HRP) headquarters on Thursday, but police say that doesn’t change their stance on participating in this summer’s parade.
“Halifax Regional Police will not be registering to march in the parade this year, but will continue to support the festival as we did last year by providing security along the route, safety planning, and through volunteering,” HRP spokesperson Const. Carol McIsaac said in a statement to Global News.
This will be the second-straight year that HRP will not have uniformed officers in the parade, which is set to take place on July 21.
Police say individual officers can still march in the parade while off duty.
Pride officials and HRP were previously in talks regarding officers rejoining the parade. Police voluntarily bowed out after Pride organizers in Toronto said they would ban uniformed officers and police floats.
That move was the result of Black Lives Matter protests during Toronto’s Pride parade two years ago.
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Halifax Pride executive director Adam Reid says the organization understands HRP’s decision, but expects them to “explore other opportunities to engage in the festival.
“We appreciate this commitment to ongoing dialogue and engagement. We feel it is the only way to ensure we can meet the needs of the community,” Reid said in a statement.
Const. McIsaac says that’s exactly what they plan to do.
“We continue to work closely with several 2SLGBTQ+ community stakeholders to build stronger relationships that we believe will improve confidence, trust and safety in our community,” Const. McIsaac said in the statement.
Const. McIsaac said the Pride flag flew outside police headquarters on Thursday to mark International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia.
“Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia often lead to harassment and violence directed at members of the 2SLGBTQ+ community. As a police service, we need to demonstrate that we recognize this is a real and important issue,” Const. McIsaac stated.
The Halifax Pride festival runs July 19-29.
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