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Toronto police won't march in Pride Parade

Toronto police will not march in this year's Pride Parade, one of the biggest events in North America. The police chief, Mark Saunders, says he knows the LGBTQ community is divided and his decision will enable those differences to be addressed.

Saunder's decision follows a vote at the general meeting last month of Pride Toronto.  Members voted overwhelmingly to adopt a list of demands made by the local representatives of Black Lives Matter.   That group had disrupted last year's parade  by staging a sit-in for half an hour on the parade route, which brought the parade to a halt.

Their demands included:  no police floats in Pride marches and parades.  In addition there was a demand for more money for certain events as well as more representation for marginalized groups.

Saunders says his force will not take part in the parade.

"'If we can eliminate any type of distraction, it's a good thing and it allows everybody, the community and us, to focus on the real issue at hand, and the real issue at hand right now is that there are segments within the community that feel marginalized," Saunders says.

Saunders does say his decision will have no impact on the police force's ongoing outreach program to LGBTQ communities.

But the police union is unhappy with the decision, calling it political pandering.

Mayor John Tory also weighed in  saying it's not what he wanted to see. But he still hopes some other resolution can be found.

WBFO’s comprehensive news coverage extends into Southern Ontario and Dan Karpenchuk is the station’s voice from the north. The award-winning reporter covers binational issues, including economic trends, the environment, tourism and transportation.