MPP who helped condemn ‘Israeli apartheid’ is co-marshall of parade
June 25, 2012 | Joanne Hill - Correspondent
TORONTO – As co-marshall of this year’s Pride Parade, Ontario MPP Cheri DiNovo says she will focus on the positive aspects of the celebration and not on the anti-Israel messages of one group.
In 2010, DiNovo was one of the members of provincial parliament who voted unanimously to condemn the term “Israeli apartheid,” so the Jewish Tribune asked how she felt about leading a parade in which a group – whose name and messages bear that very phrase – will also be marching.
“I’m going to be far away [from Queers Against Israeli Apartheid]; I’m going to be at the front of the parade and what I’m going to be standing for is inclusion and joy and hope,” said DiNovo. She said she didn’t want to comment directly on the group because, “I honestly think it gives them more of a megaphone. Let’s take the focus off that: it’s a small sidebar to what is a joyous event and I want to focus on the joy.”
DiNovo said she was nominated for the position of co-marshall of the Pride Parade in recognition of her 40 years as an activist for LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) rights, including the recent passage of Toby’s Act, which added protection from discrimination based on gender identity and gender expression to the Ontario Human Rights Code.
Joining DiNovo as co-marshall at the front of the parade this Sunday will be Ontario Education Minister Laurel Broten. According to media reports, Broten was chosen for her role in having Bill 13, the anti-bullying act which also covers gay-straight alliance clubs in schools, passed.
Broten was unavailable for an interview, but said in a statement that “our focus at Pride will be to celebrate accepting schools in Ontario – where every kid, regardless of religion, race, gender or sexual identity are welcome and respected. The Pride Parade is a celebration of the lives, stories and vibrant culture of Ontario’s pride communities. Pride reminds us of Ontario’s diversity and unique identity.”