Monday, July 24, 2006

Gaily we march along with Scott and Hedy, but not Alexa

As luck would have it, one of our regular trips into Halifax for a bit of shopping and weekend fun coincided with this year's Halifax Pride festivities. The last time I attended Halifax Pride was in 2001, when it happened to coincide with my research trip to Nova Scotia. Back then, the parade lasted 13 minutes - a tiny bit shorter than the Toronto pride parade. Still, I liked the community atmosphere that prevailed over the more commercial atmosphere of larger events.

This year Pride was bigger and better - the parade lasted 20 minutes! Spectators lined the parade route on Brunswick, hanging out on the grounds of the Citadel (and thus, we could watch mini-parades while we waited, as there was a series of historical re-enactments going on at the Citadel). The atmosphere was festive, and the rain held off for the afternoon.

It is always interesting to see which politicians march, and which ones do not. When I lived in Toronto, there was an annual "will he or won't he" around Mayor Mel Lastman's participation. In Montreal it seemed as if every elected official was in the parade (if they elected dog-catchers, they would have been marching along). Not attending the parade could be interpreted as a slight to the gay community.

In Halifax, I recognized two elected MPs among the marchers: Liberal leadership contenders Scott Brison and Hedy Fry. While the NDP had a contingent, local MP Alexa McDonough was not with them. I'm not sure why Alexa was not part of the parade - maybe with all the major court battles cleared away for now, Pride is no longer seen as a major political event.

The Liberal delegates were an amusing pair, to be sure. Scott Brison was looking relaxed in a red t-shirt and jeans, marching along with an enthusiastic group of volunteers. He's the local boy, from neighbouring Kings-Hants, and openly gay, so it's not surprising that he'd feel relaxed and get a warm reception.

Hedy Fry, on the other hand, well let's just say "yikes!" I had heard stories about how Hedy dresses for Pride parades, as an enthusiastic participant in Vancouver. To be sure, she is well known for being supportive of gay causes, and managed to defeat Svend Robinson in the last election. But to be frank, she looked like a drag queen on a bad day! Her bright orange jumpsuit looked like it was made out of clingy snakeskin, and she paired it off with heels that looked to be at least 2.5 inches - not suitable walking gear, in my opinion! But she was there, and enthusiastic, so I suppose some credit is due. I'm not sure how many gay Liberal leadership convention delegates she is going to win over to her campaign, but she certainly seemed to be making an effort!

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At 4:15 pm, Blogger Idealistic Pragmatist said...

Interesting that Alexa wasn't there. Has she been there in the past?

I have to confess that it's been a good four years since I've been to Pride. I always seem to be out of town for it. Eventually they will take my card away, though, and there won't be a thing I can do about it! :-)

At 4:20 pm, Blogger Matt said...

I'm not sure what Alexa's history is with the Halifax parade, although we have seen her march (either in Toronto or Ottawa when she was leader) - although NDP MPs have been more likely to join the parade than others, in my experience.

I figure that having actually marched in the parade in Ottawa for a couple of years to promote the queer film festival, my card has now been laminated and made permanent.

At 1:47 pm, Anonymous Maurice said...

Alexa wasn't there? Oh... I remember seeing her there last year. I'm inclined to think she may have had another engagement, perhaps in Ottawa?


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