Over the past several years, UFCW Canada has consistently worked on building broad national partnerships with a variety of community and social justice organizations, including the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Two-spirited and Queer (LGBTQ) community. At least 10 to 15 percent of our membership are also members of the LGBTQ community so we owe it to them to ensure that their voice is heard in their respective Local Unions, and that the UFCW Canada voice is heard in their communities.
This year, one result of our outreach initiatives to the LGBTQ community is our partnership with Egale Canada. Egale Canada is a prominent LGBTQ human rights organization that advances equality, diversity, education, and justice. It is known for its involvement in all of the key legal cases affecting the LGBTQ community. To strengthen our partnership with Egale, I have been given the privilege to sit on Egale Canada’s Human Rights Trust Honorary Advisory Board; together with the Honourable Madam Justice Louise Arbour; Paul Moist, National President of CUPE, and Canadian icons such as Rex Harrington and Mark Tewksbury. This new Board position will provide me the opportunity of further promoting and protecting the rights and welfare of our LGBTQ sisters and brothers, including those within our union, as well as build long-lasting and significant ties with the larger LGBTQ community.
Pride Week is one of the biggest and unique opportunities for UFCW Canada members to interact, celebrate, and march alongside LGBTQ members. It is an annual celebration of parades, marches, festivals, street fairs and exhibitions held in various cities across Canada. As many of you are already aware, each Pride event showcases activism, fun, optimism and solidarity among LGBTQ members and community at large. Moreover, it is a great opportunity to counter the homophobia and transphobia that plagues many sectors of our society.
UFCW Canada is loud, proud, and visible to its many thousand LGBTQ members. Several Local Unions across Canada are already involved in Pride activities in Vancouver, Calgary, Winnipeg, Hamilton, Toronto, and Montreal. Last year, I marched for the first time with Executive Assistant Louis Bolduc and FTQ President Michel Arsenault at the Montreal Pride Parade. This year, I plan to take part again, this time with my Executive Assistants Victor Carrozzino and Louis Bolduc, National Human Rights Department Director Naveen Mehta, and members of the UFCW Canada Human Rights, Equity and Diversity National Council Committee members.
Participate and make Pride happen in your respective Local Unions and communities. Get involved with Egale Canada and continue to build genuine equity and support their national initiatives.