Premier François Legault will walk in Montreal Pride parade for first time
QUEBEC — Premier François Legault has confirmed he will walk in Sunday’s massive Montreal Pride parade.
Saying he believes it is important to show he is the premier of all Quebecers, Legault announced he will make his first appearance at the event and will walk alongside other politicians, including Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
It will be the first time the leader of the Coalition Avenir Québec participates in the event and a personal first for Legault, who has been a politician for 20 years.
CAQ MNAs have attended the parade before, but never the leader. The party has been criticized for not sending the leader in the past.
Quebec premiers traditionally participate in such events.
“Last year I was on tour in the Outaouais (so could not attend), but I said if elected premier I would be the premier of all Quebecers, so I will be there,” Legault said Wednesday, arriving at his office for the first meeting of the Quebec cabinet since the summer break.
“I will respect my promise. There is still work to do in Quebec to fight against homophobia, so I think it’s important the premier be there to support equality in all its forms.”
Rumours had swirled earlier in the morning that Legault might cancel after news emerged of a petition signed by about 200 people against his appearance.
Legault’s staff immediately dismissed that talk, as did Legault himself.
“I think the vast majority of the people organizing, and I would think the majority of the LGBTQ community, want me to be there,” Legault said.
“So it’s only a very small number of people who signed a petition based on facts that were not true.
“I think I have to be the premier of everybody, and there is still a lot of work to do to ensure we reduce the number of people who have homophobia — make sure all Quebecers, gay or not, are treated equally in Quebec.”
Legault will be accompanied by a few cabinet ministers, including Chantal Rouleau, who is responsible for Montreal, and Sonia LeBel, the justice minister who is also responsible for LGBTQ issues.
Prime Minister Trudeau is a regular at the Montreal parade and is expected to attend this year, as will Green Party Leader Elizabeth May, New Democratic Party Leader Jagmeet Singh and Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet.
Absent will be Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer and Maxime Bernier, leader of the People’s Party.
The Quebec government already supports Montreal’s Pride events with an annual contribution of $1.6 million. The Pride festival, which opened Aug. 8, draws about two million people to Montreal.
It will be the 38th Pride parade in the city’s history and runs a total of 2.7 km. The parade starts at 1 p.m.