Sorry Black Lives Matter, but count Mayor John Tory in as a supporter of having Toronto Police take part in next year’s Pride Parade — whether you like it or not.
In fact, Tory has penned a letter of support to the Toronto Police Association, although he has been mostly silent on the issue since Sunday’s egregious “shut it down” move. As part of its protest, Black Lives Matter (BLM) forced Pride Toronto organizers to sign a list of demands, including banning police as revellers and participants in future parades.
The letter, obtained by the Toronto Sun and written to TPA President Mike McCormack, offers assurances there are efforts ongoing to solve the crisis sparked by BLM’s latest disruptive, pathetic stunt.
“I for one appreciate both the support for Pride and all that it represents coming from the police officers who march as well as the professional way in which they have kept Pride and it’s participants safe all these years,” wrote Tory.
He expresses his belief this issue will get sorted out.
“I am confident Pride and it’s supporters, including me, will be successful in seeing this participation continue in the years to come.”
Now, it’s not a tersely written missive condemning BLM or those behind the scenes who have been trying to move away from police being a Pride partner. But McCormack said it didn’t have to be.
“We see this as 100% support from the mayor toward the Toronto Police and our members and the other police services and members who come to celebrate the parade,” he said. “We appreciate Mayor Tory’s letter because our members are very proud to participate in Pride and many were hurt by the events of this week.”
One down, one to go.
Next needs to be a letter from Pride Toronto, expressing support and gratitude toward TPS and TPA members and other police services, including Hamilton, Peel and the OPP.
Although hopeful, McCormack said that show of support had not come as of deadline Tuesday.
What is out there from Pride Toronto is a Facebook posting in essence saying police are not a slam dunk to be parade participants in the future — something BLM asked for in demand No. 8.
“Law enforcement are critical to ensuring a safe festival for ensuring a safe parade,” it said in the posting. “Toronto Police will continue to lead security planning for future parades and we thank them for their efforts. We have had, and will continue to have, discussions with the police about the nature of their involvement as parade participants.”
It also said “this August, Pride Toronto will host a public town hall to gather feedback about the 2016 festival. In advance of the meeting we invite you to share your thoughts by contacting co-chairs of Pride Toronto.”
Many TPA members, including the “hundreds” who are members of the LGBTQ community, “were not impressed,” said McCormack.
He said his phone has been ringing off the hook with calls from members expressing outrage.
“We certainly are reading this Facebook posting as we are on the bubble when it comes to being included in Pride,” said McCormack. “It’s pretty sad since the whole idea of the parade is supposed to be about inclusion. We certainly all have bigger things to worry about in our city than exclusion.”
Can you imagine if the roles were reversed and Toronto Police are were talking this way about their taking part in Pride. McCormack has been patient and not taken the suggestions of some to pull all police volunteer support.
“Police officers supporting the parade is important to them,” he said.
Time will tell if Pride Toronto will end this crazy game of chicken and accept they dropped the ball on this.
But with Tory officially entering the fight by offering his support for police, it would be wise for the organization to act soon.
It will be interesting to see how this shakes out.
Will it be common sense or BLM’s bully tactics that win?