OTTAWA – The first day of July, also known as Canada Day, is a holiday Canadians spend going to the beach, setting off fireworks, and taking down pride flags nationwide. The federal government maintains it is “totally a coincidence” that Pride Month decorations come down the same day Canadians celebrate their country.
Throughout the month of June, rainbow flags wave outside public institutions across Canada, including on Parliament Hill. On the first day of July, those flags are immediately taken down and, ironically enough, shoved in the back of a closet somewhere.
“It really is just an unfortunate coincidence that Canada Day marks the end of Pride Month,” says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, whose government only outlawed conversion therapy six months ago.
Despite Trudeau’s words, queer advocates have argued that taking down pride flags on Canada Day is an apt metaphor for how LGBTQ2IA+ people continue to be overlooked and mistreated by this country. Federal MPs claim they cannot see the connection.
“It is so important to spend this day celebrating Canada’s universal health care system,” says Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos, while conveniently forgetting how hard it is for trans people to access gender-affirming care.
To make matters worse, several observers claim to have seen Conservative Party leadership candidate Pierre Poilievre popping a bottle of champagne while replacing a rainbow flag with a Canadian flag outside the House of Commons.
“I have nothing respect for the gay community,” said Poilievre, who voted against marriage equality in 2005.
Indeed, while the government maintains there is no connection between Canada Day celebrations and taking down pride flags, suspicions were further raised when the rainbow flag on Parliament Hill was lowered right in the middle of an enormous fireworks display.
“I swear all the applause was for the fireworks,” said the Prime Minister, wiping his brow. “I swear.”