Been waiting for more info since the news dropped. It's speculated that it got scrapped due to internal conflict but others think it's from the Protests against RCMP last year.
The 2019 Edmonton Pride Festival has been cancelled by organizers, citing “the current political and social environment” in an email to groups involved with this year’s event.
“It is with heavy hearts that we inform you that the board of directors has voted to cancel the 2019 Edmonton Pride Festival,” reads the email from the board of directors of the Edmonton Pride Festival Society.
According to two members of the society, who wished to remain anonymous out of fear of reprisal for the decision, cancelling the festival was made after they couldn’t meet the demands of LGBTQ groups within the community advocating for marginalized members and people of colour.
The two organizers said “a number of demands couldn’t be approved because they would fundamentally change the structure and the mission of the society while jeopardizing its not-for-profit status.”
They said they could no longer run a pride festival without creating further divisions within the community.
Shades of Colour and Organization For All LGBTIQ+ Refugees in Canada both list seven demands on their Facebook pages that include additional space for people of colour at Pride and better representation on the Edmonton Pride Festival Society’s board.
Victoria Guzman, a co-organizer of Shades of Colour, disputed that notion, saying “all the demands were negotiable.”
“We were totally willing to have an open dialogue,” she said.
While the original email leaked on Wednesday referred to the political environment, the organizers said that was “politics within the community and not provincial politics.”
LGBTQ issues have been a point of contention during the election period after several UCP candidates have been caught expressing homophobic statements and the party’s education plan has been questioned over its protection of gay-straight alliances in schools.
This year’s festival was scheduled to run June 7-16 in various locations across the city and included the well attended and popular Pride Parade.
Last year’s parade was stalled almost immediately after it started when dozens of protesters blocked the route.
Brandishing signs with messages such as “No justice, No pride” and “Racism is a queer issue,” demonstrators called on the Edmonton Pride Festival Society to hear their concerns.
“We’re only here because it’s been denied so many times,” said protest spokeswoman Alexis Hillyard at the time.
Since last year’s protest, the two sides have been in consultation with the hopes of coming to a resolution.
“I need to iterate that it is the Pride festival and parade that won’t happen this year. Pride will still happen in Edmonton,” said the society organizer.
The decision to cancel was made this week before the society is committed financially to their partners, leaving them in debt for future programs.
Both sides have said they would be willing to work towards creating an inclusive Pride in future years.