• James Armstrong

Raising the Pride Flag in Vaudreuil-Soulanges


PHOTO BY JAMES ARMSTRONG

Local poet and musician Vivianne LaRiviere (right) was a member of the enthusiastic crowd that joined MP Peter Schiefke (left) and team to raise the rainbow flag August 18 in solidarity with the LGBTQ2+ community in Vaudreuil-Soulanges.

Vaudreuil-Soulanges Member of Parliament Peter Schiefke officially raised a rainbow Pride flag in front of his Vaudreuil-Dorion constituency office Friday, August 18, in an event celebrating Pride month in solidarity with the LGBTQ2+ members of the region.

In his opening speech, Schiefke said a great deal of progress had been made in the ongoing fight for equal rights for LGBTQ2+ citizens citing the legalization of same sex marriage by the federal government in 2005 as one example of a major step forward.

Schiefke credited Justin Trudeau as the first sitting Canadian Prime Minister to walk in Pride Parades across the country and for the first time in history, the Pride flag was raised on Parliament Hill in Ottawa.

“Both of these symbolic actions were long overdue. Indeed, these symbolic actions matter,” stated Schiefke adding, “We must also take concrete and tangible actions and that is exactly what we are doing.”

In November 2016, Randy Boissonnault, Member of Parliament for Edmonton Centre, was appointed as a Special Advisor to the Prime Minister on LGBTQ2+ issues.

Changes to Criminal Code

Schiefke also referred to the passing of Bill C-32 by parliament that repeals Section 159 of the Criminal Code regarding sodomy. Parliament also passed Bill C-16 that amends the Canadian Human Rights Act by adding gender identity and expression to the list of prohibited grounds for discrimination.

For the future

Schiefke’s statement that the Liberal government will be introducing legislation to pardon all Canadians that have been prosecuted for loving whom they love was met with cheers and applause.

“As Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime minister for Youth, I want to help build a Canadian society that young Canadians will be proud to inherit. I want to ensure that my kids and all children grow up in a Canada that allows them to be proud of whoever they choose to be, to feel safe to express themselves and love whomever they choose to love completely free of persecution,” he said while emphasizing there is more work to be done before persecution of LGBTQ2+ people ends.

To close his speech, Schiefke read a passage from a poem titled ‘Sometimes I Have Marched Through History’ by local poet and musician Vivianne LaRiviere. The poem makes reference to the first Pride march sparked by the Stonewall riots of June 27, 1969, in New York City following a police raid on the Stonewall Inn gay bar.

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