Manitoba’s premier has apologized after Pride Winnipeg accused her of using the rally as a photo-op and snubbing the parade. Despite the apology, Pride says the premier won’t be welcomed back.
Premier Heather Stefanson was among the leaders to speak at the 2022 Pride Rally outside the Manitoba Legislature on Sunday. However, Pride Winnipeg says after her speech, the premier left the event and did not walk in the parade.
Barry Karlenzig, the president of Pride Winnipeg, said the organization has a policy in place expecting all speakers at the rally to walk in the parade – something he said the premier’s office confirmed three times.
“Not only has she gone back on her word to our board, but also to our 2SLGBTQ+ community. We will not allow this to happen again,” Karlenzig said in a news release.
Pride Winnipeg called for an apology from the premier for what it called a, “gross lack of respect for our community.”
“Pride Winnipeg will not allow the current government to utilize the annual Pride Rally as a photo op, or to take up space in our community events without walking alongside us to truly show full support for our community,” the organization said in the release.
On Thursday morning in a statement, Stefanson apologized for not being at the march. She said this was due to a scheduling conflict and miscommunication between her staff and Pride organizers.
A spokesperson for the premier’s office told CTV News she had attended two other events that day – the ‘LOVE YOU Run for Women’ event and a meet-and-greet community event at the Maples Community Centre hosted by the Maples Seniors Indo-Canadian Society.
CTV News has asked for clarification on when the premier attended these events. The rally was scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. with the parade beginning at 11 a.m.
“I hope this mistake is an opportunity to forge a new path forward based on respect and shared goals to build a more inclusive and prosperous Manitoba,” Stefanson said in a statement, saying she was proud and honoured to take part in the rally.
“Senior staff have already been in contact with Pride Winnipeg’s executive, and I look forward to meeting with them to build a better relationship.”
However, Pride Winnipeg said it will not be inviting the premier to speak at any 2023 Pride events, including the rally.
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