Definitely not seeing eye to eye: Supporters and opponents of the Surrey RCMP’s raising of the Pride rainbow flag above its main entrance Monday. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)

Definitely not seeing eye to eye: Supporters and opponents of the Surrey RCMP’s raising of the Pride rainbow flag above its main entrance Monday. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)

Surrey RCMP raises Pride flag amid din of protesters

There were about 30 protesters on either side, and 20 Mounties doing crowd control

It might not have lived up to its “huge public protest” billing, but the chaos outside the entrance of the Surrey RCMP detachment building leading up to the force flying the rainbow Pride flag on Monday morning featured dueling placards, stern cops and verbal abuse aplenty.

There were about 30 protesters on either side, and 20 Mounties doing crowd control.

homelessphoto

Photo by Tom Zytaruk

An organization vehemently opposed to SOGI 123 in public schools arrived with signs in hand after warning the Surrey RCMP on Friday that it will face a “huge public protest” if it flies a “political” LGBTQ+ rainbow Pride flag at its Newton detachment building on Monday morning, which it did. Those in support of the flag raising also came, with their signs in hand, resulting in shouting matches, name-calling, sloganeering and a hearty rendition of O Canada.

Whistles were blown, attempts to speak were met with “blah, blah, blah,” and people on both sides shouted out about their respective rights while trying to silence the others. It was shrill.

Kari Simpson, director of CultureGuard, sent a letter to RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki, Deputy Commissioner Jennifer Strachan and Assistant Commissioner Dwayne McDonald, officer in charge of the Surrey RCMP, urging “immediate reconsideration” of the planned flag-hoisting.

“The pride flag represents a sex activist political movement that is hostile to free speech, to parental rights, and to freedom of assembly,” Simpson wrote to the RCMP brass, “and is currently targeting children with an extremist transgender and sexual orientation agenda through the public education system.”

Simpson claims raising this flag runs contrary to the RCMP’s Code of Conduct prescribing that its members act with “impartiality.”

“The RCMP has a duty to remain neutral,” Simpson wrote in her letter.

“If the event proceeds, I will organize a protest,” she wrote to the police. “I will also publish information concerning one of the invited groups that will not bode well for the RCMP.”

Sergeant Chad Greig, of the Surrey RCMP, said that “as Canada’s national police service, it is important that the RCMP lead by example in promoting diversity and inclusion. The Pride flag represents equality and inclusion and displaying of the flag is a reflection, acknowledgement and support for a community within a larger community.”

homelessphoto

Surrey RCMP Sergeant Chad Greig. (Submitted photo)

Greig said that during June the RCMP “celebrates Pride Month and shows support for LGBTQ+ rights, culture and communities.

“All RCMP employees are encouraged to participate in local events, parades, festivals and other commemorative activities being held to mark the occasion,” he said. “We are aware of a group’s intent to protest the Surrey RCMP’s Pride event in Monday and respect their right to a lawful democratic protest.”

The flag will fly for one week.

homelessphoto

Kari Simpson. (File photo)

READ ALSO: Surrey school lesson telling kids to pretend to be gay draws fire

READ ALSO STRONG, PERSEVERING AND PROUD: Surrey Pride celebrates 20 years with biggest party yet

READ ALSO: A Surrey Mountie’s tale of reconciling her family’s history with the LGBTQ+ ‘purge’

Meantime, the City of Surrey rejected a request from Martin Rooney, president of the Surrey Pride Society, to fly the Pride flag at city hall to commemorate the 5oth anniversary of the decriminalization of homosexuality in Canada. “If you are willing and able to participate, your organization will receive a $750 honorarium,” he wrote. “This can be used to purchase a flag (if necessary) or to cover costs of the ceremony/gathering and whatever else you might decide to do with it.”

Surrey’s General Manager Laurie Cavan responded, in a letter, that based on the city’s “current flag policy and practice,” it “will not participate in this opportunity as described in your correspondence. We look forward to working with you on the various Pride initiatives that we have held in the past and have planned for 2019.”

READ ALSO: Surrey Pride Society raises the flag at SFU campus

READ ALSO: Surrey School District refuses to rent Bell Centre for Parents United Canada rally

Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum is expected to proclaim June 24 to July 1 “LGBTQ+ Pride Week” at Monday night’s city council meeting.

Simpson said that now the RCMP has flown the Pride flag “they have a responsibility to fly all of our flags, whether we’re Christian, whether we’re Muslim, whether we’re Sikh or Jewish. Communities are protected as well, whether you’re Romanian, Croatian, all Canadians. So if we’re going to fly one flag, we’re going to fly everybody’s flag, or we’re going to fly the Canadian flag only, which represents everybody.”

Rooney said he attended to “simply support the RCMP. We understand the request to fly the flag came from internally so we are here to totally support the RCMP in flying the Pride flag.”

Meantime, McDonald had this to say “about our raising of the Pride flag at the detachment.

“The RCMP, and particularly the Surrey RCMP, are supportive of an inclusive and diverse population and it’s important for us to embrace all cultures in our community,” he said.

“There’s been a lot of people who have attended – people that support the Pride flag and those that are opposed to it. I think that’s important in a democratic society,” he told the Now-Leader. “We recognize there is different viewpoints but as I said before, I think it’s nice to have this level of public input in decisions of policing in the city, but again I think it’s important for us to embrace inclusivity and diversity. I think this is a positive moment in time for policing here in the city where we allow everyone to express their opinion.”



tom.zytaruk@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Tom on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A coal-fired power plant seen through dense smog from the window of an electric bullet train south of Beijing, December 2016. China has continued to increase thermal coal production and power generation, adding to greenhouse gas emissions that are already the world’s largest. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
LNG featured at B.C. energy industry, climate change conference

Hydrogen, nuclear, carbon capture needed for Canada’s net-zero goal

Victoria’s Royal Jubilee Hospital took in two COVID-19 patients from Northern Health as part of a provincial agreement. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria hospital takes in two COVID-19 patients from Northern Health

Royal Jubilee Hospital takes patients as part of provincial transport network

An aerial shot of Cedar Valley Lodge this past August, LNG Canada’s newest accommodation for workers. This is where several employees are isolating after a COVID-19 outbreak was declared on Nov. 19. (Photo courtesy of LNG Canada)
52 positive COVID-19 cases now associated with LNG Canada site outbreak

Eight cases still active, 44 considered recovered

An aerial shot of Cedar Valley Lodge this past August, LNG Canada’s newest accommodation for workers. This is where several employees are isolating after a COVID-19 outbreak was declared last Thursday (Nov. 19). (Photo courtesy of LNG Canada)
41 positive COVID-19 cases associated with the LNG Canada site outbreak

Thirty-four of the 41 cases remain active, according to Northern Health

Motorists wait to enter a Fraser Health COVID-19 testing facility, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, Nov. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Another 694 diagnosed with COVID-19 in B.C. Thursday

Three more health care outbreaks, 12 deaths

A demonstrator wears representations of sea lice outside the Fisheries and Oceans Canada offices in downtown Vancouver Sept. 24, demanding more action on the Cohen Commission recommendations to protect wild Fraser River sockeye. (Quinn Bender photo)
First Nations renew call to revoke salmon farm licences

Leadership council implores use of precautionary principle in Discovery Islands

Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps poses for a photo with his parents Amanda Sully and Adam Deschamps in this undated handout photo. Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps was the first baby in Canada to be diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy through Ontario’s newborn screening program. The test was added to the program six days before he was born. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Children’s Hospital Eastern Ontario *MANDATORY CREDIT*
First newborn tested for spinal muscular atrophy in Canada hits new milestones

‘If Aidan had been born any earlier or anywhere else our story would be quite different’

(Pixabay)
Canadians’ mental health has deteriorated with the second wave, study finds

Increased substance use one of the ways people are coping

An RCMP officer confers with military rescuers outside their Cormorant helicopter near Bridesville, B.C. Tuesday, Dec. 1. Photo courtesy of RCMP Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey
Good Samaritan helped Kootenay police nab, rescue suspect which drew armed forces response

Midway RCMP said a Good Samaritan helped track the suspect, then brought the arresting officer dry socks

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

People line up at a COVID-19 assessment centre during the COVID-19 pandemic in Scarborough, Ont., on Wednesday, December 2, 2020. Toronto and Peel region continue to be in lockdown. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
COVID-19 vaccine approval could be days away as pressures mount on health-care system

Many health officials in regions across the country have reported increasing pressures on hospitals

(Needpix.com)
Pandemic has ‘exacerbated’ concerns for B.C. children and youth with special needs: report

Pandemic worsened an already patchwork system, representative says

Most Read