Walk­ing the beat with pride

Cape Bre­ton Re­gional Po­lice to con­tinue walk­ing in Pride Cape Bre­ton pa­rade

Cape Breton Post - - Front Page - BY JEREMY FRASER

The Cape Bre­ton Re­gional Po­lice will con­tinue to walk with Pride Cape Bre­ton.

Pride Cape Bre­ton and the re­gional po­lice an­nounced on Thurs­day the force will par­tic­i­pate in this year’s pride pa­rade, sched­uled for Aug. 5 in Syd­ney.

Pa­trick MacNeil, co-chair of Pride Cape Bre­ton, is happy with the de­ci­sion to have the po­lice force in­volved in the pa­rade.

“Here in Cape Bre­ton we’re try­ing to build a new path of in­clu­sion and stay­ing tight and in close with the com­mu­nity,” said MacNeil. “Cape Bre­ton po­lice have al­ways been in our pa­rades, for our safety do­ing their job as well as walk­ing in sup­port with us.”

The news that po­lice will be al­lowed to march in the pride pa­rade in Cape Bre­ton comes af­ter some po­lice forces have cho­sen not to par­tic­i­pate in pride pa­rades in other ci­ties.

In Fe­bru­ary, the Hal­i­fax Re­gional Po­lice an­nounced the force would not par­tic­i­pate in the march, which will run through the city’s down­town core on July 22.

Mean­while, in Jan­uary, Pride Toronto mem­bers voted for the re­moval of po­lice floats in fu­ture pa­rades. The Toronto po­lice force

later an­nounced in Fe­bru­ary the force would not par­tic­i­pate in the an­nual event.

The de­ci­sions made by th­ese other com­mu­ni­ties are dif­fi­cult for MacNeil to see.

“I be­lieve that what a com­mu­nity does is what a com­mu­nity does — it’s un­for­tu­nate,” said MacNeil. “It’s hard for us to see that other places de­cided not to have the po­lice in the pa­rade, how­ever, un­for­tu­nately, there is noth­ing we can do about it.”

Pride Cape Bre­ton made the de­ci­sion to have the po­lice in the pa­rade af­ter meet­ing with the po­lice force and reach­ing out to com­mu­nity mem­bers.

“We made the de­ci­sion af­ter lots of thought,” said MacNeil. “We lis­tened to all the other com­mu­nity mem­bers that were mes­sag­ing us, some wanted po­lice, some didn’t want po­lice, some wanted to fol­low suit with other ci­ties.”

Po­lice of­fi­cers will be al­lowed to wear their uni­forms in the pa­rade, how­ever the so­ci­ety has left the op­tion open to the of­fi­cers.

Cape Bre­ton isn’t the only po­lice force par­tic­i­pat­ing in pride pa­rade events across Canada. Ear­lier this month, St. John’s Pride in­vited their po­lice force to wear their uni­forms in this year’s pa­rade in New­found­land and Labrador.

The Cape Bre­ton Re­gional Po­lice has al­ways been in­volved in the an­nual pride pa­rade, dat­ing back to when the pa­rade started 12 years ago.

Last year, re­gional po­lice Chief Peter McIsaac was the pa­rade’s grand mar­shall, along with Cape Bre­ton Re­gional Mu­nic­i­pal­ity Mayor Ce­cil Clarke.

“Our po­lice force here is re­ally strong with us, they are very big on com­mu­nity build­ing, stay­ing in­clu­sive with the whole com­mu­nity, so in the end we de­cided that we would rather have our po­lice in­cluded in our pa­rade and march this year.”

The an­nual pride pa­rade is to cel­e­brate di­ver­sity, in­clu­sion, pro­tec­tion and public safety for all ci­ti­zens in the Cape Bre­ton com­mu­nity.

“It was built from two of three peo­ple walk­ing down the street to now where an en­tire com­mu­nity comes to­gether to cel­e­brate,” said MacNeil.

MacNeil hopes other ci­ties can use Cape Bre­ton as an ex­am­ple in fu­ture de­ci­sions re­gard­ing po­lice in pride pa­rades.

“I hope that they can look at us and see that a lit­tle is­land like ours, that peo­ple think is very close-minded and kind of dis­con­nected from the world, is ac­tu­ally a light in the dark, be­cause we’re try­ing our best to stay above and in­clu­sive.”

Pride week in Cape Bre­ton will take place Aug. 4-12. A num­ber of events will take place through­out the week in­clud­ing a flag rais­ing cer­e­mony on Aug. 4 to be­gin the week. More de­tails about other events will be re­leased shortly.

In the mean­time, Pride Cape Bre­ton will be host­ing an event this week­end. The so­ci­ety has an In­ter­na­tional Day of Ho­mo­pho­bia and Trans­pho­bia event on Sun­day from 1-3 p.m. at Open Hearth Park in Syd­ney.

CAPE BRE­TON POST PHOTO

Cape Bre­ton Re­gional Po­lice Chief Peter McIsaac, left, and CBRM Mayor Ce­cil Clarke are shown as the grand mar­shalls for the Pride Cape Bre­ton pa­rade in this file photo from last year’s event. Cape Bre­ton Re­gional Po­lice will par­tic­i­pate in the pa­rade once again this year.

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