Canadian Coast Guard in Montréal Pride Parade
"The Canadian Coast Guard is an integral part of the LGBTQ2 community because it's about Canada, our neighbours, our families, and we are committed to supporting our community, which is the very reason for our existence."
—Julie Gascon, Assistant Commissioner for the Canadian Coast Guard, Central and Arctic Region.
Led by Commissioner Jeffery Hutchinson and Assistant Commissioner Julie Gascon, the Canadian Coast Guard, Central and Arctic Region, took part in the Montréal Pride Parade for the first time on August 20, 2017. Several members of our organization, some wearing their uniforms proudly, marched in the parade. Everyone enthusiastically proclaimed "Safety First – Pride Forever" during this celebration of inclusion and diversity.
Over 100,000 spectators lined a roughly 3-km stretch of René-Lévesque Boulevard and warmly applauded the marching participants.
Commissioner Hutchinson and Assistant Commissioner Gascon were in the front row of the Canadian Coast Guard delegation. They went to meet people, greeted them, gave them high fivesand took selfies. Commissioner Hutchinson says that one of the Canadian Coast Guard's key priorities is to remove barriers that may stand in the way of anyone dreaming of joining its ranks. "Diversity is our strength and our differences make us better," he said.
For many of us, seeing people applaud the Canadian Coast Guard in the name of pride, acceptance, compassion and support was a memorable experience. It's clear to us that our participation led people to see our organization in a modern and inclusive light while changing how our own members see the world.
The reception, applause, and appreciative greetings from the spectators made the Central and Arctic Region's first presence in the Pride Parade a success—to such an extent that we are looking forward to doing it again next year and even planning to put more emphasis on it.
As we often say, "If you like to serve, you can," and "At the Canadian Coast Guard, if you can serve, we welcome you."
Terri-Ann F. Hurst
Canadian Coast Guard