TORONTO — The election for the Conservative leadership will now happen over the Pride weekend. Conservative members will gather in Toronto to elect their next leader on June 27, 2020. At the same time 1000s of members of the LGBTQ2 community will be celebrating the annual Pride Festival. Organizers said this wasn’t done on purpose.
Conservative leaders have consistently refused to participate in Pride parades, including Stephen Harper and defeated leader Andrew Scheer. Canadians will now have the opportunity to see if any Conservative leadership candidates will partake in the Pride event. It is expected that Libéral Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will be marching as he often does. He was the first Prime Minister to march in a Pride event in Canadian history in 2016.
Lisa Raitt, co-chair of organizing committee for the Conservative Party leadership race, told CTV News Channel that the Pride event “wasn’t part of the decision-making process” and that organizers wanted to hold the vote “as quickly as possible.”
Pride Month lasts all of June, but Toronto’s Pride Festival is scheduled for the weekend of June 26 to June 28. Pride organizers say well over 1 million people attend the annual celebrations, including the parade.
Last month, Andrew Scheer announced that he was stepping down as the party’s leader. Scheer has been criticized in the past for not participating in Pride parades and for his lack of clarity on where he stands on issues such as same-sex marriage.
The Conservatives struggled to win over voters in Toronto and the surrounding 905 region the 2019 election, with the Liberals winning the vast majority of seats.
Other considerations, such as the availability of hotel rooms, were factors in choosing the date, Raitt said. The Conservatives will need to book early as most hotels are sold out as the date gets closer.
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