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City may pull $260,000 in funding from Pride Parade over ban on uniformed police

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Chief Mark Saunders wouldn’t be allowed to march in his uniform at this year’s parade if Pride Toronto gets its way. (Chris Young/Canadian Press)

Toronto’s city council is set to decide whether or not it will pull more than $250,000 in funding away from Pride Toronto based its decision to ban police participation in the annual Pride Parade.

According to CBC News, Councilman John Campbell is scheduled to introduce a motion calling for the city to not give $260,000 to Pride Toronto this year because he argues it’s not living up to its “core value of inclusivity.”

The councilman tells CBC he has support from several other city councilors.

In 2016, Black Lives Matter Toronto brought the parade to a standstill until Pride’s leadership agreed to a list of demands — including that police officers not be able to march in the parade in uniform and the force not have floats or vehicles in the parade.

CBC reports that following discussions with the LBGT community, Pride Toronto agreed to keep uniformed officers out.

Campbell’s call for police inclusion may have limited support within the city council, but Mayor John Tory isn’t backing the idea, CBC reports. Tory, and several councilors, is forcefully in favor of maintaining the funding and has repeatedly said he wants to see police march in the parade, but pulling city funding wouldn’t help ongoing talks between the police force and Pride Toronto.

CBC reports the city’s administrative staff is recommending the funding continue, calling the parade a signature event in the city.

Pride Toronto contends it will be in attendance for the city council’s decision, but if it’s determined police won’t be allowed to participate, police can travel south of the border to New York.

CBC reports New York City extended an invitation to Toronto police to march in its parade. Police Chief Mark Saunders said his officers won’t be in uniform at that event, but can attend “if they want to — and I hope they would.”

No matter the council’s decision, CBC reports police have confirmed it will still provide security during Pride festivities.

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