BARRIE, ON, July 4, 2016 /CNW/ - On Monday, the Ontario Provincial Police Association (OPPA) expressed its profound disappointment that Pride Toronto Executive Director Mathieu Chantelois had agreed to exclude police personnel from participating in future Pride parades.
"It was frustrating to watch a single group hijack and hold the parade hostage to achieve their goals," said Rob Jamieson, president of the OPPA. "Using an event like Pride, conducted under the banner 'You Can Sit With Us' to exclude police personnel from participating in the future flies in the face of a theme which, by Pride Toronto's own promotion, sought to 'make everyone feel connected and included'."
As an organization committed to diversity and inclusion in law enforcement, Jamieson went on to say that the OPPA is concerned over what transpired as a result of a protest during the parade.
"Hundreds of the nearly 10,000 sworn and civilian members of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) that we represent are members of the LGBTQ+ community. They work twenty-four hours a day, three hundred and sixty five days a year to serve and protect their communities and they have struggled for equality and inclusion in policing and the LGBTQ+ community for years."
"Our Board of Directors marched in the parade yesterday and saw members in full uniform holding hands with their partners and we were so proud of how far we as an Association and policing in general have come. As we continued to march in the parade, our Board was overwhelmed by the level of public support," said Jamieson.
The OPP Association will be seeking assurances from the Pride Toronto Board of Directors that they do not intend on preventing proud supporters of their movement from having floats and participating in future parades.
Despite this temporary setback, the OPPA is more committed than ever to promoting and ensuring diversity and inclusion at all ranks of the OPP.
"I am very proud that our Board of Directors marched with our members in the Pride parade. The events of yesterday will not discourage us from continuing this important work on behalf of our membership."
About the Ontario Provincial Police Association
Headquartered in Barrie, the Ontario Provincial Police Association (OPPA) is the bargaining agent for almost 10,000 civilian and uniform members of the Ontario Provincial Police.
While our members are looking out for our communities, the Association is looking out for them. As their sole bargaining agent, we represent members' interests in negotiations with the employer (the Ontario government). However, an equally important task is the promotion of healthy, safe work environments. We advocate for better tools and equipment, improved health and safety standards, and better supports for members suffering operational stress injuries, among other issues of concern. These improvements help keep our members -- and our communities -- productive and safe.
SOURCE Ontario Provincial Police Association
For further information: Josh Jutras, Strategic Communications Coordinator, OPP Association, 800-461-4282, [email protected]