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Canadian Pride event cancelled due to ‘current political, social environment’

Reiss Smith April 11, 2019
People holding Pride balloons at Edmonton Pride

Edmonton Pride 2018 got off to a late start following protests. (Facebook/EPFS)

Edmonton Pride, in Alberta, Canada, has been cancelled following anti-police protests and calls for improved inclusivity.

“In light of the current political and social environment, it has been determined that any attempt to host a festival will not be successful,” the event’s board of directors wrote in an email published by CBC on Wednesday (April 10).

“It has always been the goal of the Edmonton Pride Festival Society to host a safe and enjoyable event that is as reflective and encompassing of the entire community as possible; however, given current events, we do not feel that this is attainable for this year.”

“It has always been the goal to host a safe and enjoyable event.”

—Edmonton Pride Festival Society

Edmonton Pride was set to begin on June 7, with the parade scheduled to take place on June 8.

Edmonton Pride 2018 stalled by protests

The cancellation comes amid calls for a ban on police and military involvement in the parade and for improved minority representation.

At last year’s event protestors blocked the parade route for 30 minutes brandishing placards reading “no justice, no pride” and “racism is a queer issue.”

Organisers had been in discussions for a “well-funded QTIBPOC (queer, trans, indigenous, black and people of colour) space at Pride,” which reportedly fell flat.

People carrying a rainbow flag at Edmonton Pride
Edmonton Pride 2018 (Facebook/EPFS)

Shades of Colour, a local LGBT+ group, wrote in a statement: “We are calling this decision for what it is: namely, a disavowal of deep systematic problems in the framework of EPFS.”

They called the move “an attempt to dismiss, target, and put out of play the efforts put on the part of QTIBPOC to point towards alternatives on how this organisation carries out its activities.”

Alberta elections set to return conservative government

Edmonton will vote in local elections on April 16, following which the right-wing United Conservative Party is expected to take control of the Alberta Legislature.

The party’s leader, Jason Kenney, has pledged to repeal protections for gay-straight alliance groups in schools, effectively handing teachers the right to out LGBT+ children.

Another party candidate, Mark Smith, was forced to release a statement clarifying that he “does not believe that homosexuality is akin to paedophilia” after remarks he made in 2013 resurfaced on Twitter.

More: Alberta, Canada, Edmonton, edmonton pride, Pride

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