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Statement from Chief Mark Saunders,
2018 Pride Parade Participation

Broadcast time: 12:10
Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Office of the Chief

On multiple recent occasions, I have expressed my sincere commitment to the cause of strengthening and renewing the relationship between the Toronto Police Service and our city’s LGBTQ2S community. As we have heard from the community itself, we have been through challenging times and it is a personal priority of mine as Chief to build an even more constructive, trusting relationship for the future.

With this very goal in mind, I had hoped to see our civilians and uniformed officers invited back to march in the 2018 Pride Parade. My hope was that it would demonstrate a shared commitment to progress and healing. In particular, I think of the many members of the Toronto Police Service who identify as LGBTQ2S and who wish to meaningfully participate in unity and inclusion.

That being said, I am conscious of the need to avoid any setback that might undermine the principle objective of coming together and restoring confidence. In light of the concerns expressed in yesterday’s letter to me, I will be withdrawing the application we have made to the organizing committee of the Pride Parade. My hope is that this move will be received as a concrete example of the fact that I am listening closely to the community’s concerns and I am committed thoroughly to building a better, stronger relationship between us. Much more work is needed, of course. But hopefully this moment moves us forward in an important way.

I strongly believe that we should be working toward a time when this issue is no longer a point of controversy and where the participation of our members in the Pride Parade is accepted and welcomed. The Toronto Police Service will work hard over the course of the next year toward that end and, ideally, the 2019 Pride Parade will offer an opportunity to demonstrate that progression.

Kevin Masterman, Corporate Communications, for Chief Mark Saunders