TORONTO - The Pride Toronto statement did not fool Toronto Police Association president Mike McCormack.
And he’s not going to bite or back down.
“It’s a cynical effort by Pride Toronto to save their public funding,” McCormack told the Toronto Sun.
He was responding to a statement from Pride that had a lot of people shaking their heads in amazement.
“LGBTQ+ police officers and their allies are not banned from the parade. We welcome and encourage their participation to add to Pride this year as members of our community.
“LGBTQ+ police officers and their allies can march in the Parade with community groups, with the City of Toronto, or even create their own group. We are simply requesting that their participation not include the following elements: uniform, weapons, and vehicles.”
McCormack said TPA members were insulted.
“Where’s the comprise?” he said. “Nothing has changed from Pride’s original position. Any member can show up in blue jeans and a T-shirt?”
A police officer, he says, wears their uniform and all of the appropriate equipment that goes with it.
“Paramedics, firefighters and soldiers are all there in uniform and are also very important to the parade,” he said.
McCormack wonders which group will be the next target of Black Lives Matter, who the Pride organizers caved to.
“It’s the shaming of police officers,” he said of banning officers or suggesting they come but not in uniform. “This is what we do. We are in policing.” It’s particularly troubling, he added, since the “struggle” gay officers went through internally back in the day is also part of this story.
“It was not easy for them. This is their parade too. It’s breaking down barriers and empowering officers and allows them to feel comfortable.”
But they should not be excluded or asked to not be who they are. “It’s supposed to be inclusive at the parade,” he said.
That it clearly isn’t, he said, the TPA is standing for its members.
“They can have their parade but it should not be aided with public money if police or any group is not welcome. We don’t support the funding in the current climate.”
He hopes Mayor John Tory and city council see through what this really is.
“They are just trying to secure their funding,” McCormack said. He also hopes they don’t give it to them.