Prime Minister Trudeau delivers remarks at the Flag Raising Ceremony for Pride Month.
It’s a great privilege for me to be here for the third straight year to raise the Pride flags on Parliament Hill.
It’s also really important that this be open to everyone, and I see a whole bunch of MPs from different parties. I see Green Party leader Elizabeth May, a whole bunch of Liberals, including cabinet ministers, a handful of others as well. We’re going to get a group picture with all MPs up on stage afterwards, so if you could slowly make your ways to the edges that would probably be better - the MPs. And we can celebrate as we always do that this goes beyond partisanship because over the past years we’ve made some significant progress as a country on recognizing and celebrating the rights, not just of LGBTQ2 communities, but of all Canadians.
We’ve moved forward in significant ways because respecting each other’s rights is foundational to a country that understands that differences should and can always be a source of strength, never a source of weakness. That we are stronger and more resilient when different identities, different communities come together around a shared vision of a stronger future, of a better neighbourhood, of a better country for us all, and that is truly what we are celebrating.
But specific to the LGBTQ2 community, we’ve made some incredible advances over the past year. Now, trans-Canadians have full protections under the Human Rights legislation. That is something that we’ve added. And I was reminded that last year at this ceremony, I made a commitment that we would move forward on expunging the criminal records of those convicted of offences just because of who they loved and that, I can tell you, we’re receiving royal assent for C-66, that piece of legislation, tomorrow. So it took one year to get that through.
And of course, many of you will remember last November we formally apologized for decades of institutional discrimination by the Canadian government, by various organizations like the Armed Forces and the police against LGBT community members, and this is something that we continue to know we have a lot more work to do, because we do have a lot more work to do, and for everything that government can and should be doing in support, in changing legislation, there is a lot more that each and every one of you in your communities across the country can do of promoting...not just tolerance, because when you think about it, tolerance...use tolerance in a sentence. “I tolerate you.” That doesn’t sound very warm and fuzzy. That’s not what we should be aspiring to as a country. When you say “I tolerate you,| it’s, “I agree that you have a right to exist, just don’t get in my face too much about it.” We shouldn’t be talking about tolerance. We should be talking about love and acceptance and friendship and respect. That’s what we should be aiming for and that’s what we should be building and that’s something each and every one of us as citizens that we can and should do.
And if you’re looking for inspiration, you’re seeing us around here and all these politicians and these big buildings, they can make real changes happen. Well, I want to introduce you to someone that Randy mentioned, someone who’s been an inspiration for me. With the quiet actions that he’s taken that led to a real concrete change in his community. Now, if you know your geography, you know that Owen Sound isn’t perhaps the most...the first place you think of when you think of diversity and tolerance and acceptance. But my friend here, Ryan Brown, has proved that it is. He stepped up and realized that Owen Sound didn’t have a Pride Parade and decided that he needed to organize it. And he wasn’t too sure of how it was going to happen, but he got a few organizations involved and suddenly it snowballed and more than 1,000 people walked through the streets of Owen Sound, 25 different floats, local leaders of all different levels coming together to show that pride is something we all can and must be involved in, that it goes beyond identity politics, it goes beyond partisan politics, it’s something that each of us need to share that message that we are there for each other in respect, in acceptance and indeed in love, like your t-shirt says.
So thank you so much Ryan, give me a hug. And Ryan and I are going to raise the Pride flag while Randy raises the Trans flag and we’re going to make history for the third year in a row on Parliament Hill.