Pride festivals are usually a highly anticipated event all over Canada. Unfortunately, that won't be the case for one Canadian city. Edmonton cancelled their 2019 pride festival over safety concerns amid the political and social climate. The Alberta city feels that if they held a pride event this year, it would not be a success in the state of the current political and social environment.
This cancellation was announced yesterday on April 10th, 2019. Yesterday morning, the Board of Directors in Edmonton voted to cancel the event for 2019. This decision was due to a number of reasons including current political and social environments as well as overall safety concerns.
Every year, the Edmonton pride festival is run and organized solely by volunteers. This not-for-profit is now realizing that it may be challenging to continue operating in 2019. The Board of Directors has stated that safety has always been a top concern for the festival.
A public statement from Edmonton Pride read, "It has always been the goal of the Edmonton Pride Festival Society to host a safe and enjoyable event that is as reflective and encompassing of the entire community as possible, however given current events, we do not feel that this is attainable for this year."
As this news is shocking, the Edmonton Pride Festival Society is already anticipating a lot of follow up questions. In order to bring to light their reasonings, the organization has publicly stated that they will be answering questions in the following weeks.
This is not the first time that the pride festival in Edmonton has encountered challenging obstacles. Last year, the parade was blocked by protesters for more than half an hour. These demonstrators were upset that police officers were allowed to march in the event and as a result, blocked the downtown route.
During the protest, demonstrators handed out papers to the audience calling for the organizers of the event to uninvite the city police, RCMP, and military members.
The 2019 festival in Edmonton was previously set to take place on June 7th, 2019. The following day, the pride parade was going to hit the streets of Edmonton.
According to the Edmonton Pride website, the theme for this year’s event was “Building Bridges from Stonewalls” as a way to mark the 50th anniversary of The Stonewall Inn in New York City. During this notable part of history, police raided The Stonewall Inn only to have members of the LGBTQ2S+ community fight back against their unjust treatment.