Ripped posters irk organizers
Hundreds of posters advertising Capital Pride Week events here have been ripped down in recent days, and Ottawa’s gay community is viewing it as a hate crime.
“It really seems to be a targeted hit on us,” Gord Boissonneault, the chairman of Capital Pride, said yesterday.
“Last week, we put posters in Westboro on Wellington Street and Bank Street from Ottawa south to downtown. On Friday, a woman called us and said she saw a man going from one pole to the next, tearing them down.”
On Tuesday, two volunteers re-postered in Westboro, but the posters were torn down within hours, Boissonneault said. Following that incident, committee members discovered that posters had also been ripped down on Bank Street. Capital Pride is calling these incidents hate crimes.
“In the past, we’ve been very passive about this kind of thing,” Boissonneault said. “(But) we’re not going to let this slide.
“When people ask why we have the pride parade, that’s our answer.”
Compounding Boissonneault’s frustration was his discovery yesterday that Mayor Larry O’Brien — who earlier missed Pride’s flag-raising event at city hall — will only appear for 15 minutes at a Pride Town Hall meeting tonight, instead of the two hours scheduled.
“We’ve been planning this meeting for two months now. We’ve been reconfirming and reconfirming. We’ve been trying to meet with him since he was elected.
“No more benefit of the doubt. We really think he’s snubbing our community. We’re taking this as a real slap in the face.”
Representatives of the mayor’s office could not be reached late yesterday. The annual meeting allows the GLBT community to meet with the city’s elected officials and the chief of police. However, Boissonneault said he’s pleased with how this year’s Capital Pride is going.
“On the whole, Ottawa is really supportive.”