Staff and board members of Fierté Canada Pride (FCP) would like to issue the following statement regarding police violence in K’jipuktuk (Halifax) this week.
We are thinking of our colleagues at Halifax Pride who have been impacted by the violence that took place on August 18th, 2021 in K’jipuktuk when Halifax Regional Municipal police forcefully evicted unhoused people from encampments in downtown Halifax, along with their members and community. Halifax Pride’s response to the situation, by cancelling events and hosting space for those impacted by police violence, is an example of how every Pride across Canada can respond to police violence in their community.
“This violence happened because people were being forcibly removed from their homes, with no viable plan in place to provide them with safe housing elsewhere. It represents a policy failure at multiple levels. Housing is a human right, and the NS PPWG defers to the expertise of the local organizations working tirelessly on this issue – noting that many possible solutions are discussed in a recent report of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, called ‘Keys to a housing secure future for all Nova Scotians’.”
The City co-opting Pride imagery and symbols for use on social media during Halifax Pride month this August, without supporting unhoused people, is both counterintuitive and hypocritical to all that Pride stands for. We need to recognize that unhoused queer and trans people started and continue to lead Pride movements across Canada and the world.
It is important that we name what many Black, Brown & Indigenous people have known forever: that police and state violence overwhelmingly impacts Black, Brown, Indigenous and People of Colour. This type of police violence and lack of municipal support for people living in poverty and who are unhoused is what causes the high rates of homelessness, poverty and violence that queer and trans people experience, particularly queer and trans Black people, People of Colour and Two-Spirit people.
This situation is a clear example of why many Prides across Canada are limiting or barring police participation in Pride celebrations entirely. Liberation for queer and trans people is linked directly with liberation for all people in poverty. We echo calls from Halifax non-profit organizations that are demanding tangible and substantial investment into addressing homelessness in Halifax and Nova Scotia.
We stand by Halifax Pride, and all Member Prides at FCP who challenge and oppose police and state violence. Furthermore, we urge all Member Prides at FCP to support and highlight the work being done by Black, Brown & Indigenous groups in their communities who have been opposing this type of violence for much longer than the mainstream Pride movement has been discussing these issues.
Demands from other groups:
- Wellness Within is demanding the resignation of Halifax City Council and Police Chief, the defunding of Halifax police, and for the city to provide immediate permanent housing to each person impacted by the forced eviction.
- VoteHousing is urging the City of Halifax to stop the forced eviction of people living in encampments.
- YWCA Halifax is demanding a wide range of responses.
- Dalhousie Legal Aid Services is calling on the Mayor and Council to halt the evictions and draw up a housing transition plan that is “lawful, orderly and humane.”
- NS PPWG calls on the Board of Police Commissioners to “launch a full and independent investigation into the Halifax Regional Police response to the evictions of August 18, 2021”