UCP won’t be marching in Pride parade, application rejected
The United Conservative Party will not be marching in this year’s Edmonton Pride Parade, despite the party and its leader saying they’d like to participate.
People who were interested in joining the parade had to fill out an application and answer six questions to demonstrate how engaged and welcoming they are of the LGBTQ2S+ community.
Dana Marsh, a spokesperson for the Edmonton Pride Festival Society (EPFS), said the UCP’s application was rejected because its answers were vague and did not highlight any action it takes or will take to be inclusive.
To determine “the sincerity” of the application, the committee also looked at policies introduced by the UCP. But since there were none, it looked at those introduced by the Wildrose and Conservative party before they formed the UCP, as well as ideas and opinions publically shared by its members.
“This choice by the committee is not based in politics, but on the fact that the application submitted by the UCP did not meet [the selection] criteria,” Marsh told CTV News.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE AND DISPERSAL— Edmonton Pride (@YEGPride) May 3, 2018
Re: United Conservative Party Application to March in the Edmonton Pride Festival Parade pic.twitter.com/mCgi5wUfqn
Jason Kenney was criticized by the LGBTQ2S+ community before, most recently in November when he rejected Bill 24, a legislation strengthening rules for gay-straight alliances in schools.
Kenney said he supports such alliances, but called the bill overbearing.
He has not commented on the application’s rejection publically but the party’s executive director said they are disappointed in the decision.
“We made our application in good faith,” Janice Harrington said. “Jason Kenney was intending to be there for this event. However, we will still have members there to participate in any way we can.”
Marsh said each year the event grows bigger and does not have space for everyone who wants to participate.
“As the organization entrusted by the community to foster our pride in who we are, we must make sure that those who are given the privilege of marching with us are true allies to the community,” she said.
The NDP and Alberta Party had their applications granted and will be marching this year.
EPSF said the UCP is invited to attend the parade and apply again in 2019.
With files from Dan Grummett