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'They need this protection': Trudeau gov't re-offers $1.5M for enhanced Pride security in Canada

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Women and Gender Equality and Youth Minister Marci Ien raise the pride flag during an event on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa, Monday, June 3, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Women and Gender Equality and Youth Minister Marci Ien raise the pride flag during an event on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa, Monday, June 3, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
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For the second year, the federal government is offering up to $1.5M to Pride organizations across the country to fund enhanced security measures, amid a continued rise in anti-LGBTQ2S+ hate.

Pride organizations will be able to use this funding to offset increasing costs for event insurance, additional security and emergency planning resources, as well as training for staff and volunteers.

Minister of Women and Gender Equality and Youth Marci Ien announced the re-offering of funding on Monday at the Pride flag raising on Parliament Hill.

"This should give us great pause," Ien said, backed by LGBTQ2S+ parliamentarians of various political stripes, as well as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

"These are not the kinds of funding announcements that we want to make ever, but we need to make them, because communities have been clear they need this protection. Hatred is on the rise."

The raising of the Pride flag is a gesture that has become an annual tradition over the last nine years, under the Liberal government.

In his remarks noting the kickoff to Pride month, Trudeau spoke about how progress on LGBTQ2S+ rights, once thought to be "locked in," are now being challenged by some politicians' efforts to undermine them, such as the ability for transgender youth to access gender-affirming care.

The prime minister also voiced concern about the alarms the LGBTQ2S+ community are sounding about being targeted by hate speech and hate crimes that undermine their sense of safety at big celebrations such as Pride festivals.

"The fact that governments have to step up to invest in more security in these recent times for Pride parades across the country… it reminds us how vigilant we need to be, how unapologetic in our celebrations," Trudeau said.

Fierté Canada Pride will once again be responsible for distributing the funding to local event organizers who apply for assistance. Funding will be allocated to festivals that seek it, based on their size.

The same amount of funding was first offered in 2023, after the national association of Canadian Pride organizations sent the federal government an "emergency funding proposal" asking for $1.5 million to help cover increased safety and security costs. 

Last year, according to Ien's department, 50 Pride groups across the country tapped into this funding to boost safety measures at local festivals and parades, instead of facing potential cancellations due to concerns for attendees’ safety.

The 2024 federal budget provided $3 million over two years for Pride security funding, leaving another $1.5 million in the government's coffers for continued security support during the 2025 Pride season.

This is on top of $12 million allocated over five years for projects aimed at combatting the hate underpinning the need for enhanced security measures.

Last month, the U.S. State Department issued a global security warning to Americans travelling overseas to be aware of and exercise increased caution regarding the "increased potential for foreign terrorist organization-inspired violence," at LGBTQ2S+ events, echoing a warning from the FBI and U.S. Department of Homeland Security that cautioned the risk of Pride events and venues being targeted. 

In his remarks at the flag-raising, Sen. Rene Cormier, co-chair of the Canadian Pride Caucus, called on the federal government to name a "special envoy" to advance LGBTQ2S+ rights worldwide, noting there are still more than 60 countries where homosexuality is criminalized.

"Pride season is a reminder of the work that still needs to be done, as our communities continue to face inequality and violence, both here in Canada and globally," Sen. Cormier said. 

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