Canadian media observers are offering a variety of opinions on Black Lives Matter's interruption of Toronto's Pride parade — and the Pride organization's reaction to Black Lives Matter demands.
Black Lives Matter was invited to be an "honored guest" at the parade Sunday. The group staged a sit-in during the parade for 25 minutes and refused to let it resume until the executive director of Pride Toronto agreed to sign a contract stating that Black Lives Matter's demands would be met.
One of the demands was that police not have a float in the parade. The parade went on, but the director backtracked on the agreement regarding police. Canadian media observers are offering a variety of opinions on the matter.
Conservative Globe and Mail columnist Margaret Wente called Black Lives Matter activists "bullies":
"The new bully on the block is Black Lives Matter, a tiny group of noisy activists who borrow their branding and their belligerence from the United States. They’ve proved they can bully just about anyone, including city hall, the mayor and the provincial Premier. The Pride Parade was a pushover."
Chuck Krangle, a gay Toronto police officer, wrote an open letter to Pride Toronto about its agreement with the Black Lives Matter activists:
"LGBTQ cops have struggled for decades. I am fortunate, because it is their struggles in the past, that have made my orientation an irrelevant factor in my workplace interactions. Members of police services, and their employers ... have just as much right to participate as any other group.
"Police officers are significantly represented in the LGBTQ community and it would be unacceptable to alienate and discriminate against them and those who support them. They too struggled to gain a place and workplace free from discrimination and bias."
Investigative columnist Sue-Ann Levy wrote in the Toronto Sun that Black Lives Matter should be renamed "Nobody Else Matters" and argued that the marginalized group people should be focusing their attention on is "gay Conservatives."
"They call themselves Black Lives Matter (Toronto) but at Sunday’s Pride parade they should have been called Nobody Else Matters.
"If we want to talk about a group that has been marginalized, let’s talk about gay Conservatives. Can you imagine what the left-wing media would have done if our entire group sat down in the middle of Yonge and Bloor Sts. with a list of demands? I can guarantee the politically-correct Pride organizers would not have been tripping over themselves to negotiate with us, or to even give us the time of day. The police would have pulled us away in two minutes."
Pride Toronto executive director Mathieu Chantelois says he will not exclude the police from the parade:
“Frankly, Black Lives Matter is not going to tell us that there is no more floats anymore in the parade. I will not tell you that there is no more floats in the parade because Pride is bigger than Black Lives Matter. It is definitely bigger than me and my committee. That is the kind of decision that needs to be made by the community."
The Toronto Star published an editorial arguing that "Black Lives Matter should think twice about making outsiders of allies":
"As the Star has argued before, criticisms of BLM Toronto and its methods have often been nothing more than thinly veiled expressions of racism. But it’s hard to square the group’s latest action with its stated goals. The problem is not the tactics but the target. Black Lives Matter should think twice about making outsiders of its allies in the fight for inclusion and respect."
Joshua Ostroff, a senior editor for Huffington Post Canada, addressed the people who complained about Black Lives Matter's delay of the parade:
"So instead of griping about a 25-minute delay, or complaining when people bring up issues that don't personally affect you, how about adding a little empathy to your pride instead of prejudice?
"LGBT rights have progressed because of protest and people who have benefited from those actions should look beyond themselves and consider the struggles of those still fighting because Pride is, always has been and always will be, political."