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Thousands flood downtown Vancouver for 2018 Pride parade
Tens of thousands of people flooded the streets of downtown Vancouver for the 40th annual Pride parade Sunday, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and several of his cabinet members.
Trudeau was joined by Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould and Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan as they led a rainbow-coloured procession behind them. Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson also joined for a brief period of time in what will be his last parade as mayor.
The prime minister also spoke at a Pride breakfast earlier on Sunday, during which he called for greater acceptance of those in the LGBTQ2+ community, a message he repeated at the parade itself.
"It's really important to continue to march in Pride," he told CTV News at the parade.
"We know that far too many homeless youth are from the LGBT community. We know that rates of teenage suicide within the LGBT community are four time as much as in other communities and eight times as much where the kids don’t have supportive parents, so there's a lot of work we need to do to come together to support the LGBT community."
Sunday was Trudeau's fourth time participating in Vancouver Pride and his second as Prime Minister.
While the mood of his visit was celebratory, it wasn't without controversy.
The federal government's $4.5-billion buyout of the Trans Mountain pipeline from Kinder Morgan brought out protesters, though the prime minister appeared to shrug the criticism off.
When asked about seemingly impending tariffs on cars by the United States which could devastate the Canadian economy, Trudeau said "we're going to continue to work with them and try and ensure that they don't happen," but offered few details about what those negotiations might look like.
The parade comes just a day after thousands descended on the very same streets for the finale of the Honda Celebration of Light.
While the busy BC Day long weekend is good news for the region's tourism industry, those trying get through the city's downtown core by car ran into delays caused by road closures and heavy traffic.
The cost of hotels in the area also skyrocketed ahead of the long weekend, with last-minute travellers facing rates as high as $1,100 a night.
With files from CTV Vancouver's Breanna Karstens-Smith and The Canadian Press.
Happy Happy #VancouverPride I’m queer, non-binary, in a loving partnership and damn proud! Let fear go, let love in, and let’s continue to make space for the most marginalized in our community. #Pride2018 pic.twitter.com/ShUP8TmVvy— Joshua M. Ferguson (@joshuamferguson) August 5, 2018