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Sask Pride Proclamation Becomes Political Powder Keg
Pride Committee set to cast rainbow into question period today

THE Pride rainbow is set to land in the Saskatchewan legislature today in the latest development in that government's continuing refusal to proclaim the province-wide Pride day this year.

The Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Pride Committee of Regina, on behalf of organizations across the province, will be distributing rainbow Pride pins to members of the legislative assembly (MLAs) as they enter question period at 1:15 PM Central Standard Time (GMT-7).

Previous News
Saskatchewan to Review Proclamation Guidelines
Pride Committee Takes On Saskatchewan Government
The Pride Committee is not the least bit satisfied with the offer yesterday from Minister of Intergovernmental and Aboriginal Affairs Jack Hillson - who is responsible for issuing proclamations - to provide input in a pending review of proclamation guidelines with a view to possibly obtaining a Pride proclamation next year.

They want Saskatchewan Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Pride Day - scheduled on June 24th in Regina - proclaimed this year.  They want it now.

"We want them to do the right thing and grant our proclamation now," Duncan Campbell of the Pride Committee told gayottawanow.com

Mr. Campbell called the government's rationale for the refusal a "smokescreen" and said, "They are fully aware that the [proclamation] guidelines are discriminatory and will not stand up to a Human Rights Commission review.

"They don't want to be perceived as taking responsibility or embracing this issue ... they want to be forced into doing it through a Human Rights Commission ruling," he continued.

The Pride Committee point man told the Regina Leader-Post yesterday that in proclaiming Petroleum Week and Soil Conservation Week but not Gay Pride Week the government sends the message that "we aren't as important as oil or dirt."

Gays and lesbians in Canada's grain province found a new ally yesterday, however, in a political pride twist.

MLA June Draude of the Saskatchewan Party, who caused all the fuss in the legislature last month over government funding for the recent gay and lesbian film festival, condemned the NDP-Liberal coalition government's Pride proclamation refusal.

It turns out, for the meantime anyway, that the opposition party isn't anti-gay.  They're just anti-porn.

The Attorney General stood in the House and claimed the reason for refusal was the 'lifestyle' clause in the guidelines.

  - Duncan Campbell
 
Saskatchewan Attorney General Chris Axworthy also joined in yesterday by defending the refusal.

"In the matters of substance, we have done the things that are needed in order to protect," he told the Leader-Post, referencing, as did Mr. Hillson, the amendments made to the Saskatchewan Human Rights Code in 1993 to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

And it is those amendments which make declaring Pride Day the law, the Committee says.  The proclamation guidelines are just policy, they say, and subordinate to the elements of the Saskatchewan Human Rights Code.

"The Attorney General stood in the House and claimed the reason for refusal was the 'lifestyle' clause in the guidelines," Mr. Campbell told gayottawanow.com, saying basically that if proclamations are at the government's discretion then the discretion exists to ignore the clause.

And Mr. Hillson revealed yesterday to gayottawanow.com that he doesn't believe being gay or lesbian is a choice, anyway.

Mr. Duncan said that the Pride Committee will enthusiastically provide input to the pending review of the guidelines, but insists that the Saskatchewan government comply with the provisions of the Human Rights Code and do the right thing.

This year.  Now.