Manitoba

RCMP 'reassessing' permit for Steinbach's 1st Pride Parade

Manitoba RCMP say they are “reassessing” their decision not to issue a parade permit to Steinbach's first Pride Parade planned for July 9.

City of Steinbach does not officially endorse Pride Parade planned for July 9

Winnipeg's Pride Parade took place earlier this month, and organizers in Steinbach are planning their first Pride Parade in July. (Gary Solilak/CBC)

Manitoba RCMP say they're "reassessing" a decision not to issue a parade permit to the Steinbach Pride march.

"While a permit was initially declined for safety reasons, we are re-assessing the request. Our primary concern was and remains the safety of event participants," said RCMP in a statement on Wednesday.

RCMP confirmed police will take part in the parade.

"Our officers will be there to ensure security and are looking forward to walking alongside participants on July 9th," the RCMP said.

The City of Steinbach is not endorsing the Pride Parade although a statement from Steinbach councillors said the LGBT community is welcome in the city.

"Council believes that all people, including those who identify as LGBTQ, deserve to be treated with love and respect at all times," the statement read.

"Steinbach residents will decide for themselves whether they wish to attend this event."

Jonathan Niemczak, president of Pride Winnipeg called the council's statement "neutral" and criticized councillors for not offering words of encouragement. Niemczak and others from Pride Winnipeg will be in Steinbach for the parade helping out on the ground.

"To me, being neutral is not acceptable in this day and age," said Niemczak.

"It just didn't feel like they were really excited to have this event in their city."

In contrast, Niemczak said both Brandon and Winnipeg politicians are very supportive of Pride events.

He said the letter written by Steinbach councillors "came off as a very empty, a very hollow statement."

Conservative MP Ted Falk, Mayor Chris Goertzen and MLA Kelvin Goertzen have said they are not attending the Steinbach parade.

Deputy Premier Heather Stefanson said she attended Winnipeg's Pride event but wouldn't be going to Steinbach's first Pride parade.


Full statement from Steinbach city councillors:

Steinbach is a welcoming community to all. Our residents and our faith institutions have proven this many times by accepting newcomers to our city from all over the world. From a small Mennonite settlement in 1874 to the third largest city in Manitoba today, Steinbach residents are appreciative of our city's many accomplishments.

Council believes that all people, including those who identify as LGBTQ, deserve to be treated with love and respect at all times. Council also recognizes the importance of respecting the rights of individuals and organizations who hold different beliefs from those in the LGBTQ community. Everyone in our city has the right to express their views in a peaceful and respectful manner.

Council has not officially endorsed the July 9 Pride March. Steinbach residents will decide for themselves whether they wish to attend this event. Steinbach is a safe community for all.

Let's continue to foster a caring and respectful community.

with files from Sean Kavanagh and Jillian Taylor

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