Justin Trudeau to salute Steinbach Pride parade participants

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is expected to throw his support behind Steinbach's first Pride parade this weekend.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau waves a flag as he takes part in the annual Pride Parade in Toronto on July 3. (Nathan Denette/Canadian Press)

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is expected to throw his support behind Steinbach's first Pride parade this weekend.

Organizers for the event posted the following message on their Facebook page:

Trudeau became Canada's first sitting prime minister to march in a Pride parade when he joined marchers in Toronto on July 3.

Organizers of the Steinbach event have faced obstacles, including problems securing a permit and a lack of support from leaders in the province's third-largest city.

Many politicians have said they will not attend the march Saturday morning, and some residents of the socially conservative city have been vocal in their opposition.

Conservative MP Ted Falk, Mayor Chris Goertzen and MLA Kelvin Goertzen have said they are not going. The mayor and city council also released a written statement that they would not endorse the event.

Steinbach is in an area known as Manitoba's Bible belt, and a number of residents have cited their Christian beliefs as a reason for refusing to back the march, although some Christians have expressed support.

The media attention and opposition has galvanized support for the event. Initially, organizers expected 200 people to attend, but they now estimate 1,000 people will come, many from other locations in Canada and the United States.

The controversy has even caught the attention of Canadian indie pop stars Tegan and Sara, who also stated their support for the event.