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Doug Ford will attend York Pride parade amid flag controversy

Just days after the York Catholic District School Board (YCDSB) voted against flying the Pride flag, Ontario Premier Doug Ford says he will march in the region’s pride parade.

Speaking in the legislature during question period, Ford said that school boards “have a responsibility to ensure each and every school in Ontario is a safe, inclusive place for all children.”

“I look forward again, for my third or fourth year, going down to the York Pride parade,” he said when asked what action his government would be taking to show support. “We are going to go down there, we are going to celebrate, we are going to have fun and that’s where I stand.”

Ford appeared to indicate that his attendance at York Pride is proof that Ontario celebrates its LGTBQ2S+ community.

On March 30, trustees with the YCDSB voted 6 – 4 against flying the rainbow flag outside its building in Aurora during June’s Pride Month.

That decision was subject to immediate backlash; with advocacy group Pflag saying the school board is “unsafe” for the LGTBQ2S+ community.

In response, Education Minister Stephen Lecce issued a memo to all school boards saying they are expected to “redouble their efforts to protect (LGTBQ2S+ students and staff members) and ensure their inclusion within Ontario schools.

“It is incumbent on all school boards to ensure all students – most especially 2SLGBTQ+ students – feel supported, reflected in their schools, and welcomed within our communities,” Lecce wrote in the memo. “That includes celebrating Pride in a constructive, positive and meaningful ways to affirm that 2SLGBTQ+ students know that their educators and staff, school board administrators, and government stand with them.”

In the legislature Wednesday, Lecce said the government has expressed disappointment with the school board’s decision.

“We have affirmed through a memo just yesterday, setting out a clear expectation that all publicly funded schools—English and French, Catholic and public—will find meaningful, positive ways to celebrate Pride. That is our expectation,” he said.

However NDP MPP Kristyn Wong-Tam noted on Wednesday that Lecce’s letter “offered empty words.”

“He issued a memo to school boards without even mentioning the rainbow flag,” they said. “What will this Conservative government actually do to protect students?”

CTV News Toronto has asked the Premier’s Office if Ford will be attending Toronto’s Pride Parade this year. In previous years, the premier has opted not to show up based on Toronto Pride’s decision not to allow uniformed police officers to march. Top Stories

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