MacKay and Gladu will march in Toronto Pride; O'Toole will not
OTTAWA -- Conservative leadership candidates Peter MacKay and Marilyn Gladu are both planning to march in the Toronto Pride parade on June 28, the day after the party will vote to elect its new leader.
Fellow candidate Erin O’Toole, however, will not take part unless police are also allowed to march in uniform.
In a statement released on Twitter Tuesday, O’Toole said he is willing to march in any Pride parade that allows uniformed police to participate, something Toronto Pride declined to allow last year. Police were only allowed to march if they did not wear their uniform.
“In my view, its regrettable position is incompatible with the principles of inclusivity and the equality of all Canadians,” O’Toole said in his statement, released Tuesday.
MacKay, striking a different tone in his Tuesday announcement, said on Twitter that he plans to apply to march "either as [the] Party's leader, or as a private citizen."
"Pride Parades are important. We live in a world where sexual orientation and gender identity are still used by tyrants and bigots to belittle and oppress," said MacKay in the statement he tweeted out.
"I hope all Conservatives will consider joining me."
Fellow Conservative leadership hopeful Marilyn Gladu's team also confirmed to CTVNews.ca that she plans to march in the parade.
The move comes in contrast to outgoing Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer, who has never marched in a Pride parade. He came under heavy fire for his refusal to take part, and was repeatedly questioned about his stance on LGBTQ rights and same-sex marriage during the fall election campaign.
At the time, in defence of the decision not to participate in the parades, Scheer's spokesperson Daniel Schow pointed to the Conservative party's "proud history of fighting for the rights and protection of all Canadians, including those in the LGBTQ community, at home and abroad."
Still, MacKay was heard criticizing Scheer for his handling of this issue shortly after the election. He told a panel in Washington in Oct., 2019 that conversations about women's reproductive rights and same-sex marriage "hung around Andrew Scheer's neck like a stinking albatross."
Pride parades are important. pic.twitter.com/5D43zwOrDY— Peter MacKay (@PeterMacKay) January 28, 2020