The decision by the organizers of the Pride Festival in the capital to ask Ottawa Police officers (SPO) who will participate in the parade not to wear their uniform has sparked strong reactions and a division within the LGBT community.
In a statement issued Friday at the end of the day, Pride in the capital also indicated that the SPO vehicles would not be welcome in the parade on August 27 and invited police officers participating in the parade to be dressed in civilian clothes .
Many people in the LGBT community in Ottawa feel that this Pride decision in the capital does not reflect the feelings of many of its members. However, the organization says that it has conducted a consultation process with the same community.
A group is organizing itself on the social networks to reverse this decision.
“We are looking at ways to get or pass a strong visual message saying that my pride includes members in uniform,” explained Rémi Chapleau, a member of the LGBT community. “If they are not allowed to wear the uniform, we will wear it.”
Mr. Chapleau wondered what motivated the decision of the organizers.
“We are talking in the press release of inclusion, security, education, great progress that we made. And then all of a sudden, in a paragraph, 25 years of sustained effort are being destroyed in order to build a strong and continuous relationship with the police who understand today, as they have for many years, members of the gay community. Why? What message we are trying to convey by doing that, “he said.
Disappointed with the Pride decision in the capital, the Ottawa Police Association says it is tarnishing good relations between the community and the SPO.
“It’s a suggestion that there’s a problem with the police. If there is a problem, tell us what the problem is. We are always available to have discussions with the public. It is very obvious that this is a political decision with Capital Pride. We go back at least 30 years, in a year of exclusion, “said Matt Skof, president of the Ottawa Police Association.
The Ottawa Police Association will not encourage its members to participate in this year’s event. For its part, in a statement last Friday, the OPS indicated that no OPS vehicles were registered And that the choice of whether or not to wear the uniform would be up to each officer.
A Pride spokesman in the capital declined our request for an interview today, saying in passing that the community needed time to reflect on his statement about wearing the police uniform at the parade.