RCMP will not participate in Halifax Pride parade
Halifax Pride says RCMP will be encouraging officers to volunteer with festival out of uniform
Nova Scotia RCMP officers taking part in the Halifax Pride festivities this year won't be doing so in uniform.
A news release from Halifax Pride said the decision was made mutually after the community identified challenges with including police in the Pride parade.
Instead of marching in the Pride parade in uniform, Halifax Pride said RCMP would encourage officers to volunteer with the festival and "explore alternative ways to engage with the 2SLGBTQ+ community."
'Barrier to participation'
Halifax Pride said it and the RCMP recognize police participation in uniform can be a "barrier to participation."
"After much reflection and consideration about how this decision could impact the community and our employees, we agreed to remove RCMP uniform presence in the parade," said Assistant Commissioner Brian Brennan, the RCMP's commanding officer for Nova Scotia, in the Halifax Pride news release.
Adam Reid, Halifax Pride's executive director, said the organization sees RCMP bowing out of festivities in uniform as "a positive step towards building relationships based on mutual understanding and respect for community concerns."
'Allies to the community'
He said the discussion around police presence in Pride events is contentious and divided.
"We're grateful the RCMP has taken steps to understand all the issues and act as allies to the community," said Reid.
Nick Voutour, a spokesperson for Halifax Pride, declined a CBC News request for an interview, saying "our team feels the statement speaks for itself ... it's for this reason we've chosen not to take media requests on this topic."
Halifax Regional Police announced in February it also wouldn't be marching in uniform in the parade for the same reason.
The parade is on Saturday, July 22, and weaves through downtown Halifax.