Big turnout for Montreal Pride, Conservative Party noticeably absent
Published Sunday, August 19, 2012 6:29PM EDT
Last Updated Sunday, August 19, 2012 6:38PM EDT
MONTREAL—What a better way to cap the 6th edition of Montreal Pride than with a colourful parade of thousands through the heart of downtown under a clear Sunday sky.
The theme of this year's parade is our flag, our pride. Comparisons between gay rights in Canada and those in other countries were rampant—on the edge of many lips were conditions in Jamaica.
"The tolerance that you have here in Canada compared to what exists in Jamaica is really, I mean the difference between night and day,” said one man.
Mayor Gerald Tremblay pointed to Montreal's Charter of Rights and Responsibilities, which calls for openness, inclusiveness and respect of human dignity.
"Today is a unique opportunity to show the world, not only Montrealers, Quebecers and Canadians, that we care about people,” said Tremblay as he mingled and kissed babies.
Marchers made their way east over two kilometers of Rene-Levesque Blvd. between Guy St. and Sanguinet St.
"It's to make people understand that we are human beings with feelings and a heart," said one woman.
Retired Montreal Impact player David Testo, one of the few openly gay athletes in professional sports, "came out" last fall.
"I wanted to stand up and be a leader and be a role model for the other ones who might be struggling with the same thing,” said Testo on Sunday.
The U.S. native now calls Montreal home and is the honourary co-president of Montreal Pride.
"This is where I feel the most comfortable. I come from a little place in North Carolina where they don't have this type of event and community. So for me, it makes sense to be here," he said.
Politicians of every party and every level of government were marching in the parade, with one notable exception—no one was carrying the colours of the Conservative Party of Canada. Those present all agreed: human rights and gay rights must be respected.
Liberal MP Justin Trudeau said that much progress had to be made.
“There's still work to do. There are still kids being bullied in schools, because of their sexual orientation,” said the Papineau MP.
Leader of the official opposition Thomas Mulcair, took a shot at his opponents across the aisle.
"We're celebrating diversity and that's why you see all political parties here today, unfortunately except the same one that's never here, which is the Conservative Party," said the Montreal-based leader of the New Democrats.