A Statement on Mississauga Pride 2020Published on July 02, 2020
MISSISSAUGA — I’m proud to join you today, on behalf of Premier Doug Ford and the Government of Ontario, and to stand with Mississauga’s vibrant lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, two-spirited, and queer communities, and against homophobia, transphobia, biphobia, and all forms of discrimination.
Though we aren’t able to celebrate together due to COVID-19, I want to extend my sincere appreciation to Nathan Whalen and the team at the Rainbow Sauga Alliance, for your commitment to host virtual pride events throughout July. I know that this will help to bring hope and joy – and most of all, a real sense of community – to people who need it most at this difficult time.
Pride Month is an opportunity to celebrate our shared values of fairness, equality, and justice, our rich traditions of tolerance and diversity, and our shared commitment to building a more accessible and inclusive community, with respect for all Canadians, including those LGBTQ2S+ people who have been forced to flee their homelands, and have turned to Ontario to build better, safer lives.
Almost three decades ago, in 1991, Canada became one of the first countries in the Western world to admit refugees on the basis of sexual orientation, under the leadership of Progressive Conservative Prime Minister Brian Mulroney – the father of my colleague, Minister Caroline Mulroney. Since then, Conservatives like our friend, the former Minister of Foreign Affairs, John Baird, have been strong advocates, standing up against the persecution of LGBTQ2S+ communities around the world.
He took the lead in helping gay and lesbian refugees flee violent persecution in countries like Iran, and make their way through the underground “Rainbow Railroad,” to begin new lives in a safe and supportive environment in Ontario, and all across Canada, because no one should ever experience discrimination or violence because of their gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation.
Today, our government is working to expand access to inclusive and gender-affirming services for our LGBTQ2S+ communities, including our child welfare programs, the Youth-in-Transition Worker Program, the Youth Mentorship Program, and many more. We have held workshops across the province to help frontline staff to better support LGBTQ2S+ children and youth in Ontario.
When we learned about systemic discrimination against students from minority communities throughout the Peel District School Board, my colleague, Minister of Education Stephen Lecce, took immediate action, appointing a new supervisor, Bruce Rodrigues, who previously helped to develop equity programs for LGBTQ2S+ and racialized students in the Waterloo Catholic District School Board. I’m confident that he will work to ensure our schools are welcoming, inclusive, and respectful for all students and staff.
While this is encouraging, I recognize that there is more that we must do, and we will do it, together. Ontario stands with you. We want you to have the best possible chance of finding your place in our great country, and we will continue to stand up for the unifying message of Mississauga Pride: Love is Love.
MPP Rudy Cuzzetto speaking at the Mississauga Pride 2020 kick-off event at Mississauga Celebration Square
MPP Rudy Cuzzetto with MP Sven Spengemann, Mayor Bonnie Crombie, and members of the Rainbow Sauga Alliance
Office of Rudy Cuzzetto, MPP