Councillor questions why traffic was allowed to drive through P.E.I. Pride parade

·2 min read
The P.E.I. Pride parade happened on July 23. Police officers interrupted the parade to allow traffic to cross at the corner of Euston and Pownal streets. (Wayne Thibodeau/CBC - image credit)
The P.E.I. Pride parade happened on July 23. Police officers interrupted the parade to allow traffic to cross at the corner of Euston and Pownal streets. (Wayne Thibodeau/CBC - image credit)

A Charlottetown councillor wants to know why police officers didn't fully close a traffic artery during P.E.I.'s annual Pride parade last month, instead choosing to stop the parade to allow traffic to pass through.

An organizer of the parade told CBC's Island Morning that all roads on the parade route were expected to be fully closed during the parade, which was on July 23. Despite that, officers allowed traffic to cross at the corner of Euston and Pownal streets.

Coun. Alanna Jankov raised the subject at Monday's council meeting, asking Charlottetown Police Chief Brad MacConnell what happened.

"I've been to many parades over the years," said Jankov in an interview with CBC News. "That just doesn't normally happen. It was extremely hot. I didn't see it as a necessary thing."

She said that roads are completely closed for other parades, such as the Charlottetown Christmas Parade and the Gold Cup Parade.

MacConnell said the officers made the decision on the ground. He said he has "every confidence" in the officers working that day, which included members of the community police section, as well as traffic enforcement officers.

"We really have to rely on the officers on the ground, keeping in mind the safety at the foremost of their decision making," he said.

Jankov said that she received messages from several constituents, inquiring about why the parade was stopped to let traffic through.

She said she'll be monitoring the next couple of parades to see whether police outright close the roads, or if they allow traffic through.

"In my opinion, I think the flow of the parade should have continued on like it does with others," she said.

"However, I'm not a police officer, so I need to respect Chief MacConnell's opinion."

Kate McKenna/CBC
Kate McKenna/CBC

Pride P.E.I. co-chair Lucky Fusca said they were "confused and disappointed" that the road wasn't completely blocked off for the parade.

Speaking to Island Morning the day after the parade, they said there was a logistics meeting involving members of the organization and a member of Charlottetown Police Services, and it was their understanding that the roads would be fully blocked.

"I'm just a little bit confused as to why that happened," they said.