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Politics

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer to again be no-show at Pride parades

Conservative Party of Canada Leader Andrew Scheer speaks in Toronto, Tuesday, May 28, 2019.
Conservative Party of Canada Leader Andrew Scheer speaks in Toronto, Tuesday, May 28, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Cole Burston

For the third time since winning the Conservative Party leadership, Andrew Scheer won’t be marching in Pride parades this year.

His office confirmed the news first reported by the National Post on Thursday that Scheer is not scheduled to attend any of the upcoming parades that celebrate acceptance and the rights hard won by the LGBTQ2 community over the course of decades of discrimination.

READ MORE: Premier Doug Ford will not attend Toronto Pride parade due to exclusion of police participation

Scheer, who was elected leader of the Conservative Party in May 2017, also did not attend any Pride parades that year or last year, which was also the position taken by former Conservative prime minister Stephen Harper before him.

“I can confirm that there are no events planned at this time,” said Daniel Schow, press secretary to Scheer, in an email.

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WATCH: Doug Ford says he won’t attend Toronto Pride parade in solidarity with uniformed police officers

Doug Ford says he won’t attend Toronto pride parade in solidarity with uniformed police officers
Doug Ford says he won’t attend Toronto pride parade in solidarity with uniformed police officers

In an interview with the Globe and Mail last year over his decision not to attend, Scheer said he has supported the LGBTQ2 community by actions like calling on the government to condemn the persecution of LGBTQ2 individuals by Russia but does not think marching is necessary.

“Not everybody marches,” Scheer said in that interview. “There are other ways that I’ve chosen to show support for the community.”

Scheer’s brother-in-law, Jon Ryan — formerly an NFL punter, now with the CFL’s Saskatchewan Roughriders — was one of two grand marshals at the Queen City Pride Parade in Regina last year.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Green Party Leader Elizabeth May regularly attend Pride parades across the country.

After winning the NDP leadership race in fall 2017, Jagmeet Singh also marched in the 2018 Pride parade in Victoria during his first year as leader. His predecessors, Tom Mulcair and Jack Layton, had both done so as well at parades across the country.

READ MORE: NFL’s Jon Ryan, brother-in-law to Andrew Scheer, to be grand marshal of Regina Pride parade next month

Scheer’s decision comes as Ontario Premier Doug Ford faces criticism for his decision not to attend Pride parades.

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Ford said he would not participate unless uniformed police officers are also allowed to attend the celebrations.

“We are disappointed that for the first time since 2013, the sitting premier of Ontario will not be participating in the Toronto Pride Parade,” Pride Toronto said in a statement earlier this week. “Premier Ford is the elected leader for all Ontarians … we all must bring more openness to these important conversations for this community if we are going to move forward.”

Pride organizers barred uniformed police from marching in 2017 because of concerns over racial profiling.

READ MORE: How police caught serial killer Bruce McArthur, according to the agreed statement of facts

Their 2018 decision to do so was based on concerns over how police handled the disappearances of gay men from Toronto’s Church-Wellesley Village, which had prompted whispers for years that a serial killer might be responsible.

Bruce McArthur, 67, pleaded guilty to eight counts of first-degree murder earlier this year and was sentenced to life in prison.

He will not be eligible for parole before serving 25 years.

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