Mayor Rob Ford will not be attending this year’s Pride Parade but unlike in years past, it’s not due to a scheduling conflict.
“I’m not going to go to Pride Parade. I’ve never gone to a Pride Parade so I’m not going to change the way I am,” Ford said Wednesday.
Pride Toronto responded on Twitter, saying they thanked Ford for his RSVP and they would host “another successful event in his absence.”
The head of World Pride said it’s concerning anytime someone, especially the mayor, appears to be unsupportive of the gay community.
Kevin Beaulieu said it’s important to have political leaders support everyone they represent.
“I think Pride [attendees] generally care a great deal about whether or not the symbolic head of their city and their civic representatives come to show support,” Beaulieu said.
He’s also concerned about a homophobic slur Mayor Ford is heard using in the most recent video of him ranting and appearing drunk in an Etobicoke resident.
Last year, Ford said he would not attend the parade as it conflicts with an annual Canada Day weekend at his family cottage.
He was responding to a question from a University of Toronto student during a mayoral candidates’ debate at the school’s Scarborough campus.
Ford was asked if he planned to attend World Pride, which replaces this year’s Pride events and is hosted by Pride Toronto. The 10-day international event promotes LGBT issues on a global scale. Toronto was chosen as the host by InterPride, an international association of pride coordinators, in 2009.
Ford did not comment on other World Pride events during Wednesday’s debate.
Ford has not attended Pride events, including the parade, in the past. He has also voted against funding for Pride. Last year was the first time since he took office in 2010 that Ford took part in a city hall flag-raising ceremony to launch Pride Week.
— Pride Toronto (@PrideToronto) February 6, 2014
// With files from Kevin Misener, 680News
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