Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer mingles with Conservative Party supporters in Kelowna, during his transnational Canada Day tour on July 1, 2019. (David Venn - Capital News)

Scheer skips out on Vancouver Pride, Central Okanagan LGBTQ2+ community responds

‘This is not divisive politics’: KPS board of directors

Vancouver’s Pride celebration saw Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Green Leader Elizabeth May and NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh walk several blocks together to stand up for human rights and marginalized communities.

Noted by the Kelowna Pride Society board of directors, however, was the absence of Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer

Kelowna’s Pride events concluded a few weeks before Scheer’s Canada Day visit in Kelowna. During his visit to the Okanagan the Conservative Party Leader did not confirm he would or would not participate in a Pride event if he were to be elected Prime Minister.

“As prime minister I’ll continue to support the LGBT community as I have,” Scheer told reporters on July 1. “There’s a lot of different ways to support the community, there’s a lot of different ways to show the support for equality for all Canadians and so I will show my support by doing things like standing up for the rights with people who are persecuted because of their sexual orientation and making sure they have a path to come to Canada.”

READ MORE: Three federal leaders march together at Vancouver Pride

Ahead of Trudeau’s historic apology for state-sponsored sexual discrimination on November 28, 2017, Scheer addressed the House with a statement about the Conservative’s disdain for the mistreatment of people who were suspected of being homosexual.

“In this country, we deplore and condemn injustice towards the innocent, the oppressed and the persecuted,” Scheer said. “We all have a duty, here, today, to ensure that Canada is the best for everyone, no matter who they are.”

READ MORE: Fatal stabbing victim’s father said he fears RCMP will sweep investigation ‘under the rug’

Kelowna Pride Society board of directors, which includes co-presidents Rick Andre and Blake Edwards, Vice President Duell Donaldson, directors Kristina Malekow, Davina Kula and Jeffrey Simon and general manager Dustyn Baulkham, said that Scheer’s absence at Pride is exactly why the event is still needed — to show that being gay is not about divisive politics, but rather, about human rights.

“This is allowing people to live without fear because of their gender identity and gender expression,” the board said in a statement to the Capital News. “It is imperative that leaders use their privilege to show acceptance and inclusion.”

According to Scheer, going to Pride is not the difference-maker in whether or not a party or political leader supports the LGBTQ2+ community. He said the Conservatives will continue to fight for the human rights of Canadians whether he will attend Pride or not.

– With files from the Canadian Press



David Venn
Reporter, Kelowna Capital News
Email me at david.venn@kelownacapnews.com
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