June 25, 2019
Andrew Scheer’s refusal to march in any Pride event this summer is a clear message that he is dismissive of the real challenges and obstacles faced by LGBTQ2 Canadians. His lack of support is not a mere policy choice. It is a complete abdication of leadership from a politician who is seeking to represent all Canadians.
Participating in a Pride parade is not simply a walk at a fun summer party. The roots and history of Pride are in protest against discrimination, violence, and oppression. Today, while these remain challenges for LGBTQ2 individuals, Pride provides an opportunity for us to pause and reflect on how far we have come from and how much more work lies ahead. Pride is a public statement of equality, acceptance, and love. Mr. Scheer’s refusal to engage with LGBTQ2 Canadians provides tacit encouragement to his base to continue to discriminate against us.
I will hold as a lifelong point of pride that I am part of Canada’s first government to have a Prime Minister march in a Pride parade. We are also the first government to have a Prime Minister raise the Pride and Trans flags on Parliament Hill. As the first openly gay MP elected from Alberta, it is an honour to serve as the first Special Advisor to the Prime Minister on LGBTQ2 issues.
Our Government is committed to ensuring equal rights at home and abroad for LGBTQ2 individuals. Our LGBTQ2 friends and family face disproportionately higher rates of mental health issues, including suicidal ideation, depression and anxiety, homelessness and economic instabilities, loneliness, social isolation, and sadly, harassment and violence.
Pride season and the over 125 Pride events that Canada will host are a reminder to us all that there is more to do. Children, teens, adults and seniors who have yet to come out and share who they are with the world look to political, sports, business and faith leaders for cues on who will be accepted and loved in our society. The Prime Minister understands this at his core. Mr. Scheer is oblivious or indifferent. Both leave LGBTQ2 conservatives and others without another possible champion. I had hoped that 14 years after Mr. Scheer voted against equal marriage, that he would have a change of heart and embrace all Canadians. We see once again this year, that that is not the case. While we press forward, Andrew Scheer remains stuck in the past.
So our Liberal Government will step in a fill that void with positive policies, historic funding, and a promise to all LGBTQ2 individuals and our allies, here in Canada and abroad, to continue to do more.
It is what Pride season and building a just society demand us to do.