Understanding the Dispute Resolution Process (DRP)

The only lasting effect of the Community Advisory Panel (CAP) and its reports is the Dispute Resolution Process or DRP. Since 2011, the DRP is the only way for you to get a group or organization you don’t think should be allowed to appear in a Pride parade or march banned from parades and/or marches.

In the context of Black Lives Matter vs. Pride Toronto, this means all of the following are impossible:

  • BLM can decree that cops can’t appear at Pride anymore.

  • Pride Toronto can do that.

  • In the words of Mathieu Chantelois, variously the Pride Toronto “membership” or “the community” can do that.

None of that is true.

Do you want the cops banned from Pride? Do you want Black Lives Matter banned from Pride? Ostensibly, on paper, the only way to get a group banned is to go through the DRP. But there’s so much more to it than that.

DRP documentation

Pride Toronto has made it impossible to file a complaint under the DRP.

See also: My pages about the DRP.

2017 DRP documentation

For 2017, Pride Toronto sneakily rewrote the rules almost completely.

DRP rulings

DRP complaint against Black Lives Matter Toronto

On 2016.07.30, I filed a complaint under the Pride Toronto Dispute Resolution Process against Black Lives Matter Toronto, accusing this activist group of violence, discrimination, hate speech, and violation of the contract it signed with Pride Toronto.

In 2017, I filed a court application to force Pride Toronto to actually carry out its Dispute Resolution Process.

Has anyone been banned from Pride under the DRP?

Not QuAIA, not the cops, not Black Lives Matter. None of those groups has been banned. God knows we tried to get QuAIA banned, but QuAIA was always the most protected group by Pride Toronto and that was never going to happen. In particular, my complaint under the DRP was dismissed, and Xtra proceeded to lie about it. (Xtra refused to correct its story, and journalist Marcus McCann never interviewed me.)

No, there was exactly one group banned under the DRP: The Canadian Association for Equality (CAFE), a tiny, innocuous, pro-gay men’s group.

  1. Queers, transgenders, and LGBTs have consistently lied about CAFE, maligning it as a “men’s-rights group,” which, to those cohorts, means “misogynist.”

  2. And CAFE was banned after a complaint was filed after the deadline (in fact, days before the 2015 Sunday Pride parade).

  3. And CAFE wasn’t given a hearing. There was no due process whatsoever.

  4. And the “arbitrator,” the aptly named Paul Bent (no relation), sided with complainants’ feelings.

  5. And complainants’ identities were kept secret, a prejudicial decision given that there was no hearing.

  6. And CAFE was banned forever, despite the fact the DRP allows for a maximum of a two-year ban.

Here is the relevant documentation from that fiasco (or skip →).

Pride Toronto DRP:
Decision banning Canadian Association for Equality

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Pride Toronto has had numerous community members share their concerns about the Canadian Association for Equality’s (CAFE) application to march in this year’s Pride Parade. These complaints activated Pride Toronto’s Dispute Resolution Process (DRP). The DRP is a mechanism to review and resolve complaints about a group’s participation in, or exclusion from,the Pride Parade, with a goal of providing a fair and impartial opportunity to weigh opposing views through a third-party arbitrator appointed by the Pride Toronto Board of Directors.

Pride Toronto takes all complaints very seriously and respects the result of the DRP to decline CAFE’s application to participate in this year’s Pride Parade as the group does not adhere to Pride Toronto’s mission, vision and values. This decision, based on a thorough reflection of all views, will prevent CAFE from participating in the 2015 Pride Parade and all future parades and events organized by Pride Toronto.

Pride Toronto thanks all involved for their patience and for respecting the DRP. We would like to put this arbitration behind us, and to focus on the incredible work and beautiful stories of our2015 Grand Marshals – along with over 175 organizations – who will Come Out and Play! at the Pride Parade, Sunday, June 28, to celebrate our community.

The following was provided by the DRP arbitrator Paul Bent to Pride Toronto in his decision:

Given the number of complaints received in regards to the Canadian Association for Equality (CAFE)’s intention to participate in the Pride Parade, after careful consideration, I have decided it would be appropriate for Pride Toronto to revoke CAFE’s permit to be included in the Pride Parade this year.

My decision is based on balancing of interests: I considered CAFE’s response that inclusion,diversity and equality are values the organization shares with Pride versus the numerous complaints filed against CAFE’s participation arguing that CAFE, as an organization and through its affiliation with men’s-rights groups, contravenes Pride Toronto’s vision to, “create a safe space to engage communities in the celebration of their sexuality.”

I must give the complaints of members of the LGBTTIQQ2SA community precedence when they indicate the participation of CAFE could directly undermine the participation of queer, lesbian and trans women in the Pride Parade. Consequently, I determined that the Pride Parade is not the right venue for CAFE given Pride Toronto’s vision to create a safe space for people of all genders and sexual orientation.

The full DRP can be viewed online at Pride Toronto’s website [actually, it cannot].

Canadian Association for Equality response to DRP decision

The Canadian Association for Equality is extremely hurt and disappointed to announce that Pride Toronto has revoked our permit to walk in the Pride Parade this Sunday.

Here’s all we were told:

It has come to our attention that the work of your organization may contravene the spirit of the mission, vision, and values of Pride Toronto and World Pride. For this reason, please be advised that your permit to march in the World Pride Parade on Sunday, June 29 has been cancelled. We regret that this information has come so close to the parade day.

This was sent to us four days before the parade, even though we had paid for our registration months ago and had walked without incident last year. CAFE values equality, diversity and inclusion. Now Pride is telling us we are not welcome, violating these values we thought we shared.

CAFE hoped to resolve the situation amicably. We sent Pride an Official Response and provided all of you with contact information for Pride, encouraging supporters to send letters…. This resulted in a meeting with Kevin Beaulieu, Pride’s Executive Director. Following that meeting, CAFE sent a thorough response to Mr. Beaulieu. Pride dismissed what we had to say and refused to reconsider their position.

CAFE has released the following media advisory:

TORONTO, ONTARIO (June 28, 2014) – The educational charity Canadian Association for Equality (CAFE), whose programs focused on the well-being of boys and men are routinely opposed by some feminists, has had their permit to walk in Sunday’s Pride parade revoked.

CAFE will nevertheless host a public Pride Party tonight in the Village and will participate visibly in World Pride Sunday.

“As a transwoman I’m troubled that Pride would become my oppressor,” said Genna Ross, Chair of CAFE’s LGBT Committee and advocate for transgendered people and the disabled.

CAFE walked in 2013 without incident and was approved for 2014 months ago. Pride’s Dispute Resolution process prevents cancellation of permits after June 21 and grants groups [an] opportunity to respond to complaints. Those procedures were abandoned.

Among provocative groups walking in Pride, including Queers Against Israeli Apartheid and OECTA, only CAFE was barred.

“Pride has abandoned its own values of equality, inclusion and diversity,” said Ross.

CAFE is pursuing an amicable resolution with Toronto Pride.

Earlier in 2016 and in July 2016 (I asked twice), CAFE executive director Justin Trottier refused to tell me why his group did not file a human-rights complaint against Pride Toronto. Nor did he tell me what other actions, if any, CAFE took.

Who actually banned CAFE?

That would be the former executive director, a jovial and cherubic backstabber named Kevin Beaulieu, who resigned from Pride Toronto in 2014. Beaulieu and his reputation were not remotely harmed by his role in undermining, and in fact defying, Pride Toronto’s own procedures.

Who runs the DRP?

Apparently nobody. And that’s apparently been true for at least a year, if not longer.

  • The DRP is supposed to be an external body. Its first convenor was gay-rights lawyer Doug Elliott, who now fulminates that he wants to use the process to get Black Lives Matter banned forever. I’d say that can’t happen if it weren’t for the fact that it already did happen to CAFE.

    Doug Elliott quit the DRP in 2013, a fact that Pride Toronto kept secret. When I asked fact-checking questions via E-mail, Elliott confirmed he resigned, then told me to stop bothering him. Fortunately, Sue-Ann Levy of the Sun was on the case.

  • You’re supposedly able to E-mail dispute-resolution requests to disputeresolution@PrideToronto.com. In my direct experience, mail sent there gets ignored.

  • The DRP request form lists this postal address:

    Chair, Pride Toronto Dispute Resolution Process
    2300-200 Front Street W
    Toronto, ON M5V 3K2

    That’s an office shared by several law firms, including the confusingly named Roy O’Connor LLP. Peter Roy of that firm states (2016.07.12): “Our former partner Douglas Elliott was associated with Pride Toronto Dispute Resolution. Douglas is a well-known member of, and advocate for the gay community in Canada…. Roy O’Connor LLP does not carry out any work for Pride Toronto.”

What happens when you file a complaint against Pride’s main sponsor alleging transphobia?

A complaint I filed in 2015 (PDF) against Pride’s chief sponsor, TD, was simply ignored.

So then:
The DRP is a sham, but it’s all we’ve got

The DRP has proven itself to be a sham. In functional terms, the DRP does not exist. But, as it stands, the DRP is the only process by which Black Lives Matter, or anyone, could petition to get police out of the Pride parade. Then again, the DRP is also the process by which complainants could petition to ban Black Lives Matter. I would expect both groups to receive applications for banning.

In all likelihood the DRP will have to be scrapped altogether (let’s quit pretending) or will have to be run externally with its own budget and ironclad power. But at this stage, people, especially journalists, at least have to start admitting the DRP existed, even if it does not exist anymore, and was the only way to ban a group from Pride.

Updated: 2017.06.04