Premier Stefanson remains banned from speaking at Pride rally

Manitoba’s premier will not be allowed to speak at this year’s annual Pride rally, but says she will be walking in the parade.

“I have been invited to walk and I will be walking,” Premier Heather Stefanson said while answering questions at a government news conference Tuesday.

Stefanson added this will be the first Pride parade she has marched in.

Stefanson was banned from speaking at the annual Pride rally following last year’s event after she gave a speech but did not march in the parade. At the time, Pride Winnipeg accused the premier of snubbing the parade and using the rally as a photo-op. 

READ MORE: Pride Winnipeg says premier snubbed parade, not welcome back next year

Stefanson said she has apologized for last year’s event.

“It was wrong and we recognize that. I’ve been working very closely with the community since then to make sure that we get things back on track here in Manitoba,” she said. “I’ll be very proudly walking in the Pride parade this year.”

Stefanson said Families Minister Rochelle Squires will speak at the rally on behalf of the government.

Barry Karlenzig, the president of Pride Winnipeg, said Stefanson’s ban from the rally lasts one year meaning next year the premier would be allowed to speak at the rally.

“Our statement last year was that the premier was not invited to speak at this year’s rally, but she was invited to walk. She and her caucus have accepted that and are working with us,” Karlenzig said during a government news conference Tuesday.

“That sign of walking and showing solidarity is a step forward.”

This came as Stefanson, alongside Karlenzig, announced Tuesday new government support for 2SLGBTQ+ initiatives. The province is expanding the Manitoba Status of Women Secretariat to create a new gender equity secretariat to coordinate a ‘whole-of-government approach’ to 2SLGBTQ+ issues.

The province also announced a new gender equity grant which will provide $250,000 to Pride Winnipeg annually for permanent staffing.

Karlenzig said this initiative is a step forward. 

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