Source: Facebook

Queen City Pride has cancelled Saskatchewan’s annual pride flag-raising ceremony at the provincial legislature and has said members of the Saskatchewan Party were not welcome at pride month events. 

“We do not believe the current Saskatchewan government is our ally, and we do not believe it would be appropriate to allow them to take part in such an important event for our community,” said the organization in a news release on Monday.

Additionally, the LGBTQ group banned Saskatchewan Party members from participating in all pride month celebrations as a punishment for the government’s implementation of Bill 137, a pronoun consent law which came into effect last October.

The law requires parents to be notified if children under the age of 16 choose to go by a different pronoun while at school. 

The provincial government also invoked the notwithstanding clause after LGBTQ advocacy groups challenged the law in court on Charter grounds. 

According to Minister of Crown Investments Corporation Dustin Duncan, the bill is ultimately about giving parents more say over their children’s education. 

“It is the government’s belief that parents are partners in their children’s education,” said Duncan. 

However, Queen City Pride called the bill “incredibly dangerous.”

“We want to ensure all members of our community, especially our youth that have been targeted recently, feel safe, comfortable, and supported while at any of our festival activities,” the release said.

According to the release, Saskatchewan Party members will be prohibited from attending the pride month proclamation as well as parade entry,  

“We will not allow them to masquerade as allies and supporters, then put our community in danger for the other eleven months of the year,” the release continued. “We choose to be safe and show that love is love.”

Some Saskatchewan Party members have previously taken part in the Queen City Pride Festival and the party applied to participate in pride events in Regina and Saskatoon this year.

Premier Scott Moe attended the Saskatoon pride parade four years ago. 

The University of Regina Pride Centre for Sexuality and Gender Diversity filed an action against the Government of Saskatchewan last August over its initial policy on the issue, formerly known as, “Use of Preferred First Name and Pronouns by Students.” 

UR Pride argued that Saskatchewan’s policy infringed on sections 7 and 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, leading to Justice Michael Megaw of the Court of King’s Bench stopping the policy’s implementation until a final judgment on the constitutional debate was reached.

Moe’s government responded by invoking the notwithstanding clause, altering the original policy UR Pride was challenging. 

UR Pride sought to update its legal challenge to reflect these changes and introduce a claim under section 12 of the Charter. Despite the government’s argument that the court lacked jurisdiction and that the case was moot because of the new law and the notwithstanding clause, Megaw decided on February 16 that the court still had the authority to hear the case. 

The Ministers of Justice and Attorneys General of Saskatchewan and Alberta have since joined forces to protect parental consent when it comes to pronoun use by children at schools. 

The pair of ministers issued a joint statement on Tuesday, indicating Alberta’s intent to intervene in the Parents’ Bill of Rights case before the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal.

“Saskatchewan and Alberta agree that the key figures in children’s lives are their parents, and our provinces are both committed to supporting families and children so that they can work through unique needs together,” said the Minister of Justice and Attorney General for Alberta, Mickey Amery, and his counterpart in Saskatchewan, Bronwyn Eyre in their statement.

“Notifying parents and requiring their consent before a child’s name or pronouns can be changed in schools, and before classroom discussions about gender identity and other sensitive subjects occur, ensures that the parent-child relationship is respected and paramount,” added the joint statement.