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Saskatoon Pride Files Human Rights Complaint
Joins Regina Pride in fighting proclamation refusal

THE Lesbian and Gay Pride Committee of Saskatoon has joined its counterpart in Regina in complaining that the province's refusal to proclaim Saskatchewan Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Pride Day violates the provincial human rights code.

Saskatoon Pride Committee Spokesperson Erin Scriven says she's not sure if the complaint to the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission will be combined with that from the Regina Pride Committee or processed separately, but other individuals in the city north of Regina have also complained - some on behalf of organizations.

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"The biggest thing is our sense of disappointment," Ms. Scriven told gayottawanow.com.  "We lulled ourselves into a false sense of security ... this has jolted us all awake," she added.

The Saskatoon Pride Committee representative was referring to the 1993 inclusion of 'sexual orientation' in the provincial Human Rights Code as a prohibited basis for discrimination.

"[Those] additions were important steps but we need to keep fighting to make sure that those laws are enforced and carried through," she continued.

The announcement follows another attempt by the Regina Pride Committee to have the provincial government proclaim the province-wide Pride Day to be celebrated in that city on Saturday, June 24th.  The day will conclude the week long Pride festival in Regina and launch a similar one in Saskatoon.

Activists gathered at the legislature in Regina last Thursday in an effort to distribute rainbow Pride pins to members of the provincial assembly while entering the chamber for Question Period.

They were denied access to the building's rotunda, according to Elizabeth of the Regina Pride Committee.  They were left standing out in the rain.

They were then escourted by a security guard as they dropped off collections of pins at political party offices.  Only the Liberals allowed them in.

According to Elizabeth, New Democratic Party members of the legislature wore the pins to Question Period as did June Draude of the conservative Saskatchewan Party.

Elizabeth said that Minister of Intergovernmental and Aboriginal Affairs Jack Hillson - who is responsible for issuing proclamations - spoke that day, saying that all the government needed was more time to deal with the [proclamation guidelines] roadblock.

It was those guidelines which Mr. Hillson blamed last week for the government's proclamation refusal.  Calling them "out of date," "far from satisfactory," and "need[ing] some work," he announced that he had directed his department to perform a review of them.

Mr. Hillson continued his refusal, however, and the Regina Pride Committee moved on to launching Pride Week the next day.

"We're focusing on the celebration and the strength of our rainbow spirit, and it will surely carry us to victory," Elizabeth told gayottawanow.com just prior to the launch.

The Regina Pride Committee's complaint to the provincial Human Rights Commission will not be withdrawn, she added, nor will their claims for financial compensation and a retroproclamation from the Saskatchewan government.

In Saskatoon today Ms. Scriven concluded by stating, "It's our hope that the government will heed its words ... I don't think this has to go to a hearing ... just the government doing its homework and cleaning up its policies."