NEWS

PM Trudeau To Join Other Dignitaries At Toronto's Pride Parade Today

Assembly of First Nations Chief Perry Bellegarde will be there for the first time.

06/25/2017 09:17 EDT | Updated 06/26/2017 10:16 EDT

TORONTO — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will march in Canada's largest Pride parade today.

Trudeau, who became the first sitting prime minister to march in a Pride parade during last year's event, will be joined by other dignitaries including Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and Assembly of First Nations Chief Perry Bellegarde and more than 150 groups and organizations.

Toronto Star via Getty Images
PM Justin Trudeau walked in Toronto's Pride Parade on July 3, 2016, the first sitting PM to do so. He was accompanied by Ontario's Kathleen Wynne, the first openly gay elected Premier in the country.

Toronto's long-running Pride festival draws huge crowds to the downtown area each year to celebrate the city's LGBTQ community.

But uniformed police officers will be absent from the march this year, after parade organizer Pride Toronto barred police floats from participating earlier this year.

Mark Blinch / Reuters
Revellers hold a giant pride flag during the "WorldPride" gay pride Parade in Toronto, June 29, 2014.

In January, organizers decided to adopt a list of demands issued by the Toronto chapter of Black Lives Matter, which included a ban on police floats.

The issue first came to widespread public attention during last year's parade, when members of the anti-racism group staged a sit-in that halted the march until Pride organizers signed a list of demands.

Roberto Machado Noa via Getty Images
Black Lives Matter Toronto partakes as honored group in the Pride Parade 2016. They will later stage a sit-in halting the parade for 30 minutes.

Black Lives Matter has argued that allowing uniformed officers at the parade could discourage marginalized communities from attending.

Parade organizers say that officers are welcome to attend the parade, so long as they don't bring their uniforms, weapons and cruisers along.