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'I'm disappointed:' Nenshi responds to Calgary Pride's decision on police participation

Mayor Naheed Nenshi will participate in Calgary's annual pride parade, despite disappointment in a decision to exclude uniformed officers in the parade

Mayor Naheed Nenshi isn't happy about a Calgary Pride decision to exclude uniformed officer's from this year's parade.

Helen Pike/ Metro

Mayor Naheed Nenshi isn't happy about a Calgary Pride decision to exclude uniformed officer's from this year's parade.

Calgary's mayor isn't pleased police won't be able to visibly march in the Pride Parade this year. 

On Wednesday, Calgary Pride announced a decision they came to in conjunction with police that will ultimately change the force's visibility at this year's parade. Uniformed, armed officers will only be welcome if they are on shift serving and protecting, but as for a visible float decked out with officers in full regalia – that won't be allowed.

Many politicians, some who haven't participated in pride in the past, took to Twitter and social media, along with Calgarians, to complain about the move by Pride. 

Mayor Naheed Nenshi has added his voice to the mix stating he's disappointed in the LGBTQ organization. 

"I really believe that understanding diversity is about understanding inclusion," said Nenshi. "I'm troubled by the discussion in the Pride statement that talks about historical oppression.

"Blaming current people for historical oppression would be like saying: 'previous mayors of Calgary have refused to proclaim Pride Week, therefore the current mayor of Calgary isn't invited to the parade.' I have a challenge with that." 

Although he's challenged with the group's rationale, he's taking cues from Calgary police, who have publicly said they will continue to work on the relationship they've built with the LGBTQ community. 

"I know they feel they want to be there and want to support LGBTQ communities in this visible way," said Nenshi. "While I'm disappointed I also understand that this has come after a lot of discussion, a lot of thoughtful discussion on all sides, and this is where we've ended up." 

In Toronto, this year's decision to exclude uniformed police from their pride parade came up against council, and there were some who wanted to pull more than $260,000 in funding, but ultimately that cash was given to the group. 

Nenshi said he's not entirely sure how much, if any, cash Calgary contributes to the Pride festivities, but noted it's a different situation. 

"This was arrived at after much discussion with the police service," Nenshi said. "We've got to understand that while we're only looking at the tail end of the decision that was made there was a lot of conversation...that lead us to this place." 

The mayor said he plans to make his disappointment about the decision known, he would have liked to be part of the conversation from the get-go.

"I encourage all sides to come to something that's truly respectful and that truly respects the human rights and needs of our LGBTQ community, but also acknowledges and honours the tremendous strides the women and men of the CPS make every day in ensuring diversity in our community," said Nenshi.

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