Kelowna's top cop apologizes for lack of consultation with LGBTQ+ community on new program | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kelowna's top cop apologizes for lack of consultation with LGBTQ+ community on new program

Kelowna RCMP Supt. Kara Triance apologizes about the lack of consultation with the Kelowna Pride Society and the LGBTQ+ community prior the rollout of a new safety program.
February 23, 2021 - 2:30 PM

Kelowna’s top cop has put a safety program aimed at the LGBTQ+ community on hold and apologized for not consulting with them before launching it this week.

Kelowna RCMP announced yesterday, Feb. 22, it would be rolling out the Safe Place program, which offers members of the LGBTQ+ community places to shelter if they are feeling unsafe, and shows that a business is a welcoming place where they can seek help and safely wait for police to arrive and assist them. The businesses are identified as safe spaces using stickers that are placed on business windows.

This morning, the Kelowna Pride Society criticized the RCMP for not consulting the LGBTQ+ community before the program's launch and this afternoon Kelowna RCMP detachment commander Supt. Kara Triance issued an apology.

“We deeply regret a misstep and a failure in that process. We moved ahead too quickly with the release of this program in Kelowna," Triance said at a hastily called news conference. "This is a provincial program that has been underway for five years in consultation with the provincial LGBTQ+ community and the connections that were built through that program were ones that I brought from other communities that I’ve worked in and I really deeply apologize for how (we rolled out this program)."

She says the pride society has accepted her apology and RCMP will be meeting with society members tomorrow, Feb. 24.

The program will be paused until further consultation is conducted.

Triance said there are a few businesses that have already put stickers on their windows to show their support for the LGBTQ+ community, but she did not say how many businesses were involved in the program or how many were interested. No more stickers would be issued by the RCMP until areas of concern from the Pride Society are addressed, she said.

In a previous interview with iNFOnews.ca, Pride Society general manager Dustyn Baulkham said while the concept of the program is a good idea, it was done without proper consultation from those in the LGBTQ+ community.

READ MORE: Kelowna Pride concerned with lack of consultation on RCMP's new LGBTQ+ program

“The problem is we don’t know enough about it, and sometimes when programs are launched without proper consultation, and understanding the needs of the marginalized community, it can do more harm than good," he said. "If we don’t know what the vetting process is like, or training, someone that’s in duress, there can be a lot of harm that happens if they go into a place that they think is safe."


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