Councillors booed at City Hall rainbow flag ceremony
With Mayor Rob Ford noticeably absent, protesters weren’t shy about voicing their displeasure.
Counc. Frances Nunziata attended the ceremony in place of Ford, who has come under fire for stating he will not be attending this year’s Pride parade – a move which many have seen as a snub to Toronto’s gay community.
As Nunziata began to read Ford’s proclamation declaring Pride week in Toronto, she was interrupted by shouts and jeers.
“I, Mayor Rob Ford, on behalf of Toronto,” Nunziata started – but she was quickly met by boos and calls of “Where’s the mayor? We want the mayor!”
Fellow councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam tried to calm angry protesters, some of whom were carrying signs saying “respect LGBTQ taxpayers” and “Mayor Ford please come to our party.”
One protester was even dressed up as Ford with a sign saying “I’m not here.”
“I think he would have done a really good job of putting out the fire had he shown up today. It would have softened things up,” Richard Warner, a PRIDE supporter, said at the flag-raising.
Ford had originally said going to the cottage with his family is a longstanding family tradition.
“My wife and my kids come first, and I’m going up to the cottage. End of the story. I don’t know what more you don’t understand. It’s very straight forward,” Ford told CityNews.
However, Ford may have softened his stance after a meeting with a high-profile Torontonian.
Ford said he was with Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke, touring the ACC on Monday morning.
When asked if he’d go to any of the Pride events, Ford said he takes it “one day at a time.”
Burke marched in last year’s Pride parade. His son Brendan, a student manager of his Ohio university hockey team, was killed in a car accident in February 2009, two years after telling his father that he was gay.
Ford wouldn’t discuss the nature of his meeting with Burke, saying it was confidential.
Pride festivities officially kicked off Friday, and culminate this Sunday with the 31st annual parade.
Click here to see the full Pride week schedule.