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Pride Winnipeg says premier snubbed parade, not welcome back next year

Manitoba's premier has apologized after Pride Winnipeg accused her of using the rally as a photo-op and snubbing the parade. Despite the apology, Pride says the premier won't be welcomed back.

Premier Heather Stefanson was among the leaders to speak at the 2022 Pride Rally outside the Manitoba Legislature on Sunday. However, Pride Winnipeg says after her speech, the premier left the event and did not walk in the parade.

Barry Karlenzig, the president of Pride Winnipeg, said the organization has a policy in place expecting all speakers at the rally to walk in the parade – something he said the premier's office confirmed three times.

"Not only has she gone back on her word to our board, but also to our 2SLGBTQ+ community. We will not allow this to happen again," Karlenzig said in a news release.

Pride Winnipeg called for an apology from the premier for what it called a, "gross lack of respect for our community."

"Pride Winnipeg will not allow the current government to utilize the annual Pride Rally as a photo op, or to take up space in our community events without walking alongside us to truly show full support for our community," the organization said in the release.

The premier apologized Thursday for not being at the march, saying she didn't realize there was a requirement to be in the parade.

"I was never told that it was a requirement of speaking at the rally. I would never want to disrespect anybody out there and I am truly sorry if I have disrespected that," Stefanson told reporters on Thursday.

She said she missed the parade due to a scheduling conflict and miscommunication between her staff and Pride organizers.

A spokesperson for the premier's office told CTV News Stefanson had attended two other events that day – the 'LOVE YOU Run for Women' event from 7:45 a.m. to 8:45 a.m., and a community event at the Maples Community Centre hosted by the Maples Seniors Indo-Canadian Society from noon to 2 p.m.

The rally was scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. with the parade beginning at 11 a.m. Stefanson said she didn't want to attend part of the parade and leave early as she felt that would be disrespectful.

"I participated in the rally – I did participate, and I participated because I genuinely support the two-spirit LGBTQ+ community," she said. "I'm apologizing to all Manitobans. I'm apologizing to those who were offended as a result of this. I think it was a miscommunication. I want to ensure that we try and build back that relationship."

Stefanson said her office has reached out to Pride Winnipeg and will be meeting with the organization to resolve this.

However, Pride Winnipeg said it will not be inviting the premier to speak at any 2023 Pride events, including the rally. Top Stories

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