PA Pride bans local MLAs from official Pride Month activities over support for Bill 137

Herald file photo. Participants wave pride flags during the 2023 Pride Parade in Prince Albert.

Prince Albert Pride has banned local MLAs who supported Bill 137 from participating in official Pride Month activities.

PA Pride Chair Chelsea Bleau said they made the decision as a show of support to Queen City Pride and other provincial pride organizations who have also banned local MLAs for supporting the bill.

“Prince Albert Pride has been very clear that Bill 137 is an attack on the rights of Two-Spirit and Trans young people,” Bleau said in a press release. “Our Pride Month activities need to be a safe and affirming space for the 2SLGBTQIA+ community and our allies, especially youth. Having MLAs attend our events who are actively trying to roll back our rights is not something we are willing to do.”

The government passed Bill 137 in October 2023. Since then, it’s been the subject of court challenges from UR Pride in Regina, who say it violates the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The provincial government invoked the notwithstanding clause to pass the legislation.

Prince Albert Pride Advocacy Committee member Troy Parenteau said PA Pride has been vocal in condemning Bill 137 and the use of the notwithstanding clause, with he said suppresses charter rights and avoids judicial review. Parenteau said it wouldn’t make sense to allow people who supported those moves to participate.

“Pride organizations are first and foremost human rights organizations,” Parenteau said in a press release. “To accept anybody that would use the notwithstanding clause to hurt and harm children flies directly in the face of that.”

According to the Pride Prince Albert Press Release, Saskatchewan Party MLAs Joe Hargrave and Alana Ross, Saskatchewan United Party leader Nadine Wilson, and Premier Scott Moe have all been banned from official Pride events.

The Daily Herald sent requests to speak with Hargrave and Ross but did not hear back by press time. A spokesperson for Nadine Wilson said she would provide a statement at a later date.

Bill 137 prevents children ages 15 and under from charging their preferred name or pronouns at school without parental consent. Groups who support the Bill, like the Saskatchewan Pro Life Association, say it will safeguard students from undue pressure at school by peers, teachers, or third-party presenters. However, PA Pride says the bill is transphobic, and may put students at high risk of abuse if they are outed. The organization has called on MLAs to denounce it before participating in official Pride events.

“If you can’t be bothered to stand up for our rights, when you’re literally voting for them, then you are part of the problem,” Bleau said. “Celebrating pride is especially important this year, when our own provincial government is fueling transphobia and putting a target on our backs for political gain.” Pride Month begins on June 1.