Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made a return appearance at Toronto’s gay pride parade on Sunday, CBC News reports.
Last year, Trudeau became the first sitting prime minister in Canada to attend a “pride” parade. The event in Toronto is the largest such spectacle in Canada and was one of the first in the world.
Trudeau was joined at the parade by Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, who is openly lesbian, Toronto Mayor John Tory and Assembly of First Nations Chief Perry Bellegarde.
Bellegarde told The Canadian Press: “If there is discrimination, if there is intolerance, if there’s racism toward our two-spirited people, that has to end.”
Toronto’s parade has been the subject of heated controversy this year: not because it is a celebration of the gay lifestyle but because the local chapter of Black Lives Matter demanded that the Toronto police force not participate in the event. BLM insists the force uses racially-biased policing. The Toronto police was not invited to join the parade this year.
For his part, Trudeau has actively promoted LGBTQ issues since becoming prime minister. He appointed a special advisor on LGBTQ issues who reports to him on “areas of concern” to the community. He plans to introduce legislation in the House of Commons that would retroactively pardon anyone — dead or alive — who received a criminal record solely on the basis of their sexual orientation.
Just last week, the Canadian Senate passed Bill C-16, which protects “gender identity” from “hate speech.” Many critics say the legislation is half-baked and ill-considered, arguing that choosing one’s gender should not be something enshrined in law and that it puts women and girls at risk from sexual predators who are expected to exploit the law to use female change rooms.
It was Justin Trudeau’s father, Pierre Trudeau, who removed homosexuality from the criminal code when the elder Trudeau was justice minister in 1967.