Borderland Pride welcomes mandate letter for Minister of Diversity and Inclusion

Press Release

On Friday, Borderland Pride welcomed the mandate letter for Canada’s Minister of Diversity and Inclusion and Youth. This portfolio is held by MP Bardish Chagger.
“We are thrilled to see the federal government’s ongoing support and concern for LGBTQ2 individuals elevated to a full ministerial mandate,” stated Douglas Judson, co-chair of Borderland Pride.
In the previous Parliament, a secretariat on LGBTQ2 issues was created within the Privy Council Office.
Former MP Randy Boissonnault was named the Prime Minister’s Special Advisor on LGBTQ2 Issues to head this secretariat in the previous Parliament.
Boissonnault’s secretariat provided support to Borderland Pride’s first Pride festival in 2018.
“After the election this fall, Borderland Pride wrote to Prime Minister Trudeau to encourage the government to ensure that this role continued to be a defined, appropriately-resourced, and suitably represented role in the government,” stated Judson.
“While much was accomplished for LGBTQ2 people in the previous Parliament that Canadians can be proud of, there continues to be work to do to secure equal opportunity, safety, and inclusion for LGBTQ2 people and their families–especially for trans people, Indigenous LGBTQ2 people, LGBTQ2 youth in rural and remote communities.”
Borderland Pride’s Nov. 10 letter caused a ripple effect across the province, and was echoed by letters to the Prime Minister issued by other LGBTQ2 organizations, including Thunder Pride in Thunder Bay, and Toronto-based Start Proud and the 519 Community Centre.
“The Minister’s mandate reflects a number of priorities which advance the inclusion, safety, and wellbeing of LGBTQ2 people–including LGBTQ2 youth and families,” stated Judson.
“We are particularly pleased to see a commitment from the government to amend the Criminal Code to ban the harmful practice of so-called ‘conversion therapy.'”
The mandate letter also includes several other commitments in support LGBTQ2 issues. Minister Chagger has been directed to:
•Continue the work of the LGBTQ2 Secretariat in promoting LGBTQ2 equality, protecting LGBTQ2 rights, and addressing discrimination against LGBTQ2 communities;
•Provide additional investments to LGBTQ2 organizations to hire staff, expand services, and reach more people (this includes hotlines and other support services for LGBTQ2 communities, including those that provide sexual health information);
•Work with the Minister of Health, and in partnership with Canadian Blood Services, to build on existing progress to implement a behaviour-based model of donation that eliminates the blood ban for men who have sex with other men; and
•Consult civil society representatives of LGBTQ2 communities to lay the groundwork for an LGBTQ2 action plan that would guide the work of the federal government on issues important to LGBTQ2 Canadians.
The Minister’s mandate letter is available on the Prime Minister’s website, at https://pm.gc.ca/en/mandate-letters/minister-diversity-and-inclusion-and-youth-mandate-letter?fbclid=IwAR10qC-Gxgk5kZ8IH8_89sqFkX7THJuhEiCcK1hTPH4JbOYL6BwEkpkpht4.
Borderland Pride is the LGBTQ2 Pride organization for the Rainy River District in northwestern Ontario, Canada and Koochiching County in northern Minnesota, USA.
It is based in Fort Frances, Ontario and International Falls, Minnesota and organizes the only Pride march in the world that crosses and international border.