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The Vancouver police (VPD) have confirmed they will be marching in this year’s Pride Parade for the 21st consecutive year.
Previously, pioneers of the Vancouver Pride Parade were petitioning to keep the VPD out of the parade.
This petition comes after members of the Black Lives Matter Vancouver chapter pushed last year for the VPD to voluntarily withdraw all uniformed officers from the parade. The chapter is also asking police not be allowed to march in the 2017 parade, saying “having the Vancouver Police Department on the ground to perform a civil service is understandable however having the institution participate on a float in the organized festivities of the actual parade is inappropriate and insulting to those who came before us to make Pride celebrations possible, some of who even died for the cause. Embracing the institution in an event that originates from protest against its actions makes us justifiably uncomfortable.”
Representatives from the VPD have been meeting with members of the Vancouver Pride Society (VPS) and other community groups to address the concerns raised.
This year, there will be a number of changes for the police department to march in the parade.
VPD members and volunteers will walk as part of the City of Vancouver entry, which will include city staff and members of Vancouver Fire & Rescue Services. Most VPD members will walk in t-shirts, while about 20 per cent will walk in uniform. No marked police vehicles will be in the parade.
The VPD will also participate in VPS-facilitated listening circles, before the parade and year-round.
“Our members and volunteers look forward to participating in the Pride Parade each year, and we’re pleased that we can keep that tradition going,” said Staff Sgt. Randy Fincham, VPD spokesperson. “Supporting Vancouver’s LGBTQ2S+ community goes beyond just the parade. We will continue to enhance our existing outreach, education, and awareness efforts year-round to help the community thrive and feel safe.”