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MLA acknowledges White Rock Pride-Star of the Sea Parish reconciliation

Trevor Halford speaks in Legislature on positive outcome of discrimination case
Trevor Halford, BC Liberal MLA for Surrey-White Rock spoke in the Legislature Thursday (Oct. 6) on the positive outcome of talks between White Rock Pride and Star of the Sea Parish earlier this year. (File photo)

Surrey-White Rock MLA Trevor Halford made a special statement in the B.C. Legislature Thursday (Oct.6) acknowledging the June settlement of differences between the White Rock Pride Society and the Star of the Sea Parish.

Halford noted the Catholic parish and the Archdiocese’s statement of commitment and apology to White Rock Pride and the LGBTQ+ community “acknowledging and apologizing for those instances where their actions have caused members to feel unwelcomed and excluded.”

Halford told MLAs that the issue, which became a complaint before the BC Human Rights Tribunal alleging discrimination, had started in April of 2019 when the society had attempted to rent the Star of the Sea Community Centre for a dinner dance fundraiser.

The society was told no, he said, because “their values did not align with that of the facility.”

READ ALSO: White Rock Pride Society files human rights complaint against Star of the Sea Church

Halford credited society president Ernie Klassen for his leadership in seeking a solution to the issue.

“The parties met over the course of several months and discussed each other’s perspectives, beliefs and experiences in an open-minded and respectful manner,” he said.

READ ALSO: Catholic parish, diocese issue apologies to White Rock Pride Society

“These discussions were aimed at repairing the relationship between White Rock Pride and the parish, together with fostering mutual understanding and respect.”

Klassen has been a champion for Pride and for the community, Halford said, and had stated that the agreement had been a huge step forward in creating an inclusive and diverse society.

He noted that both parties have also committed to “various actions and consultations in the spirit of reconciliation, growth and collaboration.”

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