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Mitchel Raphael on the ins and outs of Pride parade positioning


 
Mitchel Raphael on the ins and outs of Pride parade positioning

Photograph by Mitchel Raphael

Does Mulcair really know?

At Toronto’s Pride parade, NDP revellers were spotted wearing stickers showing a beard that read “Bears for Mulcair.” In gay slang, “bear” refers to a larger, hairy guy. NDP staff say that leader Thomas Mulcair pretends not to understand what the phrase means, “but he knows.” Also on display were paper cut-outs of moustaches, in memory of Jack Layton, including one held up by his widow, Toronto MP Olivia Chow. The NDP float was an homage to the late leader, with boards on the vehicle that recalled the chalk messages scrawled over the grounds of Toronto City Hall after his death. Layton attended the first Pride festival in 1981. An announcer on the NDP float noted this was the first Pride parade he’d missed in decades. Layton and Chow always scheduled their vacation around Pride so they could attend.

Bob Rae’s bum view

As interim Liberal Leader Bob Rae and his wife, Arlene Perly Rae, walked through the crowd before the Toronto Pride parade, Perly Rae was given a same-sex dating service brochure. She joked she was taken and that “I already have a gay boyfriend, [Ontario MPP] Glen Murray.” Murray represents Rae’s Toronto riding provincially and was Canada’s first openly gay big city mayor when he served in Winnipeg. Perly Rae continued to walk and then quipped, “There’s my first naked man of the day.” Bob Rae replied, “Don’t get too excited,” to which his wife joked, “I’m not excited and neither is he.” As the Raes arrived at their parade waiting spot, the Liberal contingent was lined up behind the Viagra float. But the lineup of groups in the waiting area isn’t necessarily the order they follow in the parade, and in the end the parade marshall instructed the Liberals to file in behind a bunch of leathermen. Several wore fetish gear showing off their bare buttocks. “What a view,” joked Rae as Canadian Leather Man 2004, Paul Ciantar, cracked a huge whip. The Grits maintained a healthy distance between themselves and the leathermen, said former Liberal MP Rob Oliphant. When asked if the two groups should just merge, Liberal Zach Paikin, 21, who ran to be the party’s policy chairman, joked: “Hey, we need all the support we can get.” The NDP marched behind a veterinarian group, but were placed in front of a very small group holding a banner for the Communist Party of Canada. “We remind them who they are,” quipped one of the banner holders.

The Liberal contingent included leadership hopeful Deborah Coyne, who didn’t want to be photographed too much—which seemed rather un-leadership-like. One marching Liberal quipped that every article about Coyne mentions she is the mother of Pierre Trudeau’s only daughter, Sarah Coyne. “If that’s so important, then it makes Margaret Trudeau three times more qualified to run,” said the Liberal.

Flowers tossed at Jason Kenney

Tory Sen. Salma Ataullahjan, the first woman of Pakistani origin appointed to the Senate, held one of the better receptions on the Hill in honour of the Canada-Pakistan Parliamentary Association. Hoping to promote Pakistani culture, she brought a sitar player, Khurshid Anwar, and a traditional dancer whose routine included throwing flowers at the feet of Immigration Minister Jason Kenney. Kenney said he had slipped away from a cabinet meeting to avoid the “rubber chicken.” He then joked that one of the tasty dishes served at the event was the Chinese vegetables. There was a food mix up and Ataullahjan joked someone somewhere was enjoying curried vegetables at their reception. Ataullahjan said the success of the gathering has galvanized her to create future events that will highlight more politically sensitive causes, including ones dealing with cases of extreme violence against women in Pakistan.


 
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