Deputy Tory leader apologizes for comparing Pride parades to St. Patrick's Day
TORONTO -- The newly appointed deputy Conservative party leader Leona Alleslev has apologized for comparing gay Pride parades to St. Patrick’s Day.
Alleslev made the comments in a radio conversation about the Conservative leader’s stance on same-sex marriage. Unlike other federal party leaders, Tory leader Andrew Scheer has never marched in a Pride parade.
“Have we asked anybody if they marched in a St. Patrick's Day parade?" Alleslev said on CBC Radio’s The House on Saturday morning. "I think that that's obviously his choice and we live in a country where that's his choice.”
Following the interview, Alleslev apologized in a series of tweets Saturday afternoon.
“I did not intend to make erroneous and hurtful comparisons -- I apologize unreservedly,” she wrote online. “Pride parades represent a wonderful celebration of the LGBTQ community and are an important symbol in the fight for LGBTQ rights.”
Before the apology, her radio remarks quickly took heat online.
“As a gay Canadian of Irish descent, I would like to ask @LeonaAlleslev to please, for the love of God, stop,” wrote Michael Connolly, a former NDP MLA in Calgary.
The NDP’s Charlie Angus also took to Twitter to condemn the original comments, writing that it is appropriate to ask politicians about their presence at Pride parades.
“It would be fitting to ask a Conservative leader why he refused to march in a St. Patrick's Day parade (150 years ago),” he wrote. “(In) 2019 Andrew Scheer needs to say why he refuses to celebrate Pride. @LeonaAlleslev better hope her party doesn't take 150 years to figure this no-brainer out.”
Echoing that sentiment, Toronto-based writer Jesse Hawken wrote on Twitter: “This comparison would work if there was still widespread and institutional discrimination against the Irish in Canada”
In her series of tweets, Alleslev said she has “always stood unequivocally in support of LGBTQ rights.”
“I am committed to being a strong progressive voice focussed [sic] on breaking down barriers to equal opportunity and ensuring that people from all communities can find a home in the Conservative Party like I did,” she wrote.