After being rejected in 2014, the controversial men’s rights group applied once again to march in this year’s parade. Pride Toronto has rejected the application and further participation of the group from future years’ parades.
For years Canadian Association for Equality has faced criticism for its anti-feminist views, misrepresentation to the Canada Revenue Agency and sexist viewpoints, which many people believe do not fit the mandate of Pride Toronto, which “celebrates our diverse sexual and gender identities, histories, cultures, creativities, families, friends and lives.”
Undeterred by its rejection in 2014 (being told that the group’s activities did not fit the values of the 10-day LGBTQ celebration), CAFE has taken another stab at its application, stating in this Toronto Star article, “Either you include everyone or you have very valid reasons for not including someone.”
However, once the group’s application came to light, several complaints were made to the Pride Toronto arbitrator, going back as far as May 27. Pride Toronto’s executive director Mathieu Chantelois told Xtra Toronto, “We take these complaints very seriously, our Dispute Resolution Process… has now been activated to look into this matter thoroughly and promptly.”
CAFE has gone on record saying it is deeply hurt and offended by Pride Toronto’s exclusion of them from this year’s events, as the group stands for “equality, diversity and inclusion.” Having had the opportunity to walk the parade in 2013, the group doesn’t understand its dismissal in 2014 and now again in 2015. Last year, although CAFE was asked to not participate, it still walked alongside another group and took part in the events.
I had the opportunity to chat with Andrea Houston, executive assistant to NDP MPP Cheri DiNovo and queer and human rights advocate, who told me, “On a general principal, I dislike everything they [CAFE] stand for but, I know my opinion is not a popular one. I don’t think we should ban them.” We discussed how banning CAFE comes down to a basic human rights issue. “Once Pride Toronto bans one group, then you have to evaluate all groups taking part.” Andrea explained that if it were to be banned, CAFE would be the first group to be banned from Pride Toronto.
Unlike CAFE’s dismissed involvement in the parade last year, this year’s decision was a more formalized one, rendered through Pride Toronto’s Dispute Resolution Process. To date, CAFE is the first organization to be officially rejected or banned in any way since the process has been set up in 2011.
What is your take on this matter? Should a men’s rights group be able to participate in Pride Toronto, or does it not fit the mandate of the festival events.