New Brunswick premier appears to backtrack on messaging about rainbow crosswalks

A fresh coat of paint seen on a rainbow crosswalk in the town of Sussex, N.B. Todd Veinotte/Global News File

The New Brunswick premier appeared to backtrack on Monday after municipalities said the province had recommended they no longer paint crosswalks in rainbow colours.

“Municipalities are allowed to paint rainbow crosswalks — and they are encouraged to do so as an expression of pride and inclusiveness,” Brian Gallant wrote in a tweet issued on Monday night.

The statement from Gallant seems to contradict with what Bill Fraser, the province’s transportation and infrastructure minister, sent in a letter to municipalities in March.

The letter recommended that the municipality’s locally designated highways follow the requirements and guidelines set out by the Transportation Association of Canada (TAC).

The requirements specify that crosswalks are to be painted white.

READ MORE: Fresh coat of paint for New Brunswick town’s rainbow crosswalk prompts controversy

The letter, written in French and provided to Global News, says that the provincial ministry will not approve any decorative pedestrian crossings on provincial roads and recommends that municipalities use other means to show commitment to inclusion.

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The province lists a few examples such as rainbow colours on sidewalks approaching pedestrian walkways, decorative floor lamps or benches.

As a result, Moncton said in a statement on Monday that they “will be reverting back to the white crosswalk markings.”

The province’s executive council office disputed the characterization by Moncton.

“The letter sent to municipalities does not ask municipalities to cease painting rainbow crosswalks in their communities,” Jeremy Trevors, a spokesperson for the executive council, wrote in a statement.

“While rainbow crosswalks are not illegal, current TAC guidelines identify a marked crosswalk as having white parallel lines across the roadway, with appropriate signage.”

Waiting for guidance

In the letter in March, Fraser says the province is waiting for guidance on rainbow crosswalks from TAC.

According to the province, TAC is currently conducting a review examining colours and patterns that do not conform to their current standards of white crosswalk markings.

Fraser writes that he’ll inform the municipalities about the results of the review once it is released.

WATCH: Rainbow Crosswalk in St. Stephen approved by council as supporters march

Click to play video: 'Rainbow Crosswalk in St. Stephen approved by council as supporters march' Rainbow Crosswalk in St. Stephen approved by council as supporters march
Rainbow Crosswalk in St. Stephen approved by council as supporters march – Oct 16, 2017

Moncton has yet to issue a statement in response to Gallant’s tweet.

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Saint John Common Council voted at a meeting on Monday night that they’ll paint a rainbow crosswalk in the Uptown area ahead of the city’s Pride celebrations in August.

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