Politicians react as Queen City Pride bars Sask Party

REGINA – Political leaders reacted Monday afternoon at the Legislature to news that Queen City Pride is barring Sask Party participation in Pride Month celebrations, as well as cancelling their June 1 provincial flag raising at the Legislature.

A news release from the organization pointed to the “actions of the current Government” as the reason, in reference to Bill 137 — the Parents Bill of Rights legislation passed in the fall that requires parental consent for name changes for those under 16. Queen City Pride has accused the Sask. government of making the lives of youth “incredibly dangerous” with passage of the bill.

The member of cabinet who introduced that bill last fall, Education Minister Jeremy Cockrill, was asked by reporters about the Queen City Pride decision. 

“Obviously disappointing,” said Cockrill. He said the focus of Bill 137 was “to make sure that parents were included in important decisions, important conversations in their children’s lives.”

“Certainly, I’m not a resident of the city of Regina. Quite frankly, I don’t even know when the parade was supposed to happen this year, but obviously, it’s too bad… Obviously when we have large provincial events it’s something we hope everybody is able to attend.”

Cockrill, who added he hadn’t seen Queen City Pride’s statement but learned about it that morning, reiterated to reporters he felt Bill 137 was “meant to include, not exclude.”

“I spent many days here at the legislature in front of many of you folks as well as in the house participating in the hours of debate we had on that particular bill. I understand for many it was a challenging topic. At the end of the day, though I feel quite comfortable with the fact that we’ve legislated the ability for parents to get involved in important conversations and decisions in a child’s life. I’m comfortable where we ended up.”

Cockrill also referred to the province’s Coat of Arms motto Multis e gentibus vires (From Many Peoples Strength), and said this was “something that I think this government takes quite seriously. We recognize that there’s people of all different faiths, there’s people of all different orientations that come for many many different countries around the world, and we’re better problems because it, quite frankly. I don’t know if any of my colleagues were planning to attend Queen City Pride this year but I guess it’s unfortunate that they can’t now.”

When asked if he was an ally to the LGBTQ community Cockrill responded as an MLA he strove to “represent absolutely everybody in my community. Whatever they believe, whatever, however they identify, wherever they came from. I know in my community I strive to represent everybody, so I’m hoping if I’ve got 20,000 constituents I am an ally to 20,000 constituents. Those are the people that I have the honour of representing and certainly I try and do that job each and every day.”

However when Cockrill was asked if there was a Pride parade in his constituency, he responded “I’m actually not aware of one.” When asked if he would agree to participate in one, he said “I would certainly review it as part of my calendar requests.”

Opposition Leader Carla Beck responded to the Queen City Pride decision by blasting the Sask Party. She pointed to the Sask Party’s participation in past Pride parades and characterized the party as having said “one thing when they’re in the Pride parade, and then we see something very different when it comes to things like the pronouns emergency session we had last year.”

“You know, this is a concern that we continue to hear from people that the government likes photo ops, they like announcements, but completely stop listening and respecting what they hear from groups like Queen City Pride.”

Back was also asked about NDP participation in Pride parades in the province, and she said they participate “in as many as we can usually.” 

“I don’t have our full itinerary, but I know that you’ll see our MLAs and our candidates out as we have been for years supporting Pride, supporting inclusion, supporting respect for all people in this province.”

More from 620 CKRM