PEI

Orlando shootings: 'Clenched hearts, stomachs, and teeth,' says P.E.I. premier

Wade MacLauchlan, P.E.I.'s first openly gay premier and Canada's first openly gay male premier, gave a moving address Tuesday evening at a vigil in Charlottetown for the victims of shootings at a nightclub in Orlando over the weekend.

'Work together for more love and less pain'

Wade MacLauchlan was one of the speakers at a Charlottetown vigil for the victims of the shooting in Orlando. (CBC)

Wade MacLauchlan, P.E.I.'s first openly gay premier, gave a moving address Tuesday evening at a vigil in Charlottetown for the victims of shootings at a nightclub in Orlando over the weekend.

"We listened to the news of the horrific attack at the Pulse gay nightclub in Orlando with clenched hearts, stomachs and teeth," said MacLauchlan, who is also Canada's first openly gay male premier.

"We responded with heartbreaking sadness, revulsion and anger."

MacLauchlan described the victims as happy, proud, loving people.

"We know that we must call on our better nature as we embrace love and struggle with pain," he said.

"We're gathered here tonight in love and solidarity. And we should leave here with a resolve to encourage all of our fellow Islanders in our province to work together for more love and less pain."

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      P.E.I. poet invoked

      MacLauchlan turned to Island poet Milton Acorn for some words of solace.

      I shout love into your pain
      when skies crack and fall
      like slivers of mirrors,
      and rounded fingers, blued as a great rake,
      pluck the balled yarn of your brain.


      I shout love at petals peeled open
      by stern nurse fusion-bomb sun,
      terribly like an adhesive bandage,
      for love and pain, love and pain
      are companions in this age.

      The vigil at Trinity United Church attracted more than 1,000 people.

      With files from Natalia Goodwin