Montreal

Legault plans to attend Pride Parade despite calls to stay away

Quebec Premier François Legault is planning to attend the Montreal Pride Parade for the first time Sunday. Not everyone wants him there.

Petition argues Quebec premier is no friend of diversity

Quebec Premier François Legault plans to attend the Montreal Pride Parade. (Ivanoh Demers/Radio-Canada)

Quebec Premier François Legault is planning to attend the Montreal Pride Parade for the first time Sunday, even though some members of the LGBTQ community say he isn't welcome.

Legault said Wednesday he would follow through on a commitment he made to go if he became premier.

"I'll respect my promise and I think it's important," he told reporters, confirming an announcement his office made last week.

"We still have a lot of work to do for equality of people and making sure that there's no or less homophobia in Quebec."

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante and Chantal Rouleau, the minister responsible for the Montreal region, are also slated to attend, according to organizers.

A spokesperson for the organization, François Laberge, said Pride Montreal always leaves it up to elected officials whether they want to participate or not. 

"Our position has not changed on this subject: Every year, we invite all elected officials as well as party leaders from the three government levels," he said in a statement. 

The Montreal Pride Parade routinely draws thousands to the streets. (Graham Hughes/Canadian Press)

A petition launched last week accused the premier of not being an ally of the LGBTQ, while an op-ed in Le Devoir also said he should not attend.

"Do not walk with us, François. This is not your space," the petition states.

"You are an enemy. And you bring fear and pain to the members of our community."

Sam Kaizer, who launched the petition, said the parade is meant to celebrate inclusion and diversity. 

He said Legault's position on immigration and religious symbols flies in the face of those values. 

"We wanted to emphasize that the march is for people are either members of the community or who are allies and we don't want to blur the line by just allowing anyone to show up," he said.

Legault said, despite the petition, the "vast majority" of parade organizers support his presence at the event.

"And I would think the majority of the LGBTQ, they would want me there," he said. "It's only a very, very small number of people who put down the petition with facts that were not true."

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