Joan Crockatt drops out of Calgary Pride Parade after controversy

Joan Crockatt, the federal Conservative candidate in Calgary Centre, will not march in this year's Calgary Pride Parade due to controversy around her participation.

Conservative candidate's voting record on transgender rights stirred anger

Conservative candidate Joan Crockatt has dropped out of this year's Calgary Pride march due to controversy surrounding her voting record on trangender rights. (CBC)

Joan Crockatt, the federal Conservative candidate in Calgary Centre, will not march in the city's pride parade this year because of a controversy surrounding her participation.

"I do not want my participation to divert attention away from the efforts of organizers of this event," she said in a Facebook statement

Crockatt's participation in the march was called into question because Crockatt voted against Bill C-279, a controversial piece of legislation aimed at bolstering transgender rights by adding gender identity provisions to both the Criminal Code and the Canadian Human Rights Act. 

The bill eventually died when Parliament was dissolved for the election.

Despite Crockatt's voting record, parade organizers approved her participation in the event, but transgender rights advocates questioned the decision given that Calgary Pride has a new rule in place this year. It requires participants to sign a declaration of support.

'Complete misrepresentation'

Calgary Pride said it had not looked at Crockatt's voting record and later cited a discussion between Egale Canada and Crockatt to justify the candidate's inclusion in Pride.

Egale said using that conversation as a justification for voting against Bill C-279, and therefore Crockatt's inclusion in the parade, was a "complete misrepresentation."

Crockatt says she will "mark Pride in another way this year, and continue to discuss issues of importance to the community with as many people as I can at the doors. I wish organizers my very best."

Crockatt's son, Scott Crockatt, is the director of marketing and sits on the board of Pride Calgary.

Craig Sklenar, the director of government affairs for Calgary Pride, says Crockatt withdrew of her own accord.

"Joan has made her decision and we respect that," he said.

Crockatt declined an interview with CBC News. She did participate in the march last year.