Pride Toronto declines offer to livestream AGM

Pride Toronto (PT) has issued a clampdown on media ahead of the Sept 23 annual general meeting.

Appended to a statement on the PT website announcing six contenders for the board was a message forbidding attendees from shooting video or taking photos at the event.

“No filming or photography will be permitted during the meeting, due to the privacy concerns of our members and volunteers,” it reads.

It also asks media to contact PT in advance to arrange photos or interviews.

PT executive director Tracey Sandilands did not respond to messages left for her.

Xtra offered to livestream video of the AGM, making it accessible to those who are housebound or have other commitments that evening. The event would be streamed online in real time and archived online after the event. Viewers watching from home would be able to comment and interact with the proceedings.

In an email response, interim PT co-chair Margaret Ngai declined the offer.

“Due to the nature of the subject Pride Toronto is involved in, we usually try to respect the privacy of our members and volunteers who would like to remain anonymous. Therefore, we are not allowing any photography or videography (or any visual records) at the AGM. The only exception will be any media interviews that are arranged through our media committee with the consent of the participants,” she wrote.

No one from the board agreed to an interview.

Asked if audio recordings will be permitted, Ngai said yes, with one caveat.

“Audio will likely be okay, as we don’t generally require members to identify themselves when they have questions or comments on the floor. I would ask, if that happens, to please be respectful and remove that section of audio before making it public,” she wrote.

Four of the six board applicants agreed to answer questions at an all-candidates style debate hosted by the Pride Coalition for Free Speech on Sept 8: David Demchuk, Martin Kuplens-Ewart, Roy Mitchell and Mark Smith. That event was livestreamed on and video is available online.

UPDATE, SEPT 22: PT cochair Margaret Ngai sent the following clarification to Xtra late last night:

“An Annual General Meeting is NOT a public meeting. It is a private member meeting, and as such, we request any media and recordings that are registered with and allowed by our Media Committee to only identify any attendees that have provided explicit consent. As you are well aware, many members of our communities cannot, for a variety of reasons, publicly acknowledge their ties with activities related to the communities. Pride Toronto value our promise of privacy to our members and volunteers.”

The Pride Toronto AGM is open to the public, although only members will be able to vote. It will be held on Sept 23 at 6:30pm at the Church St Public School, 83 Alexander St (at Church).


Marcus McCann

Marcus McCann is an employment and human rights lawyer, member of Queers Crash the Beat, and a part owner of Glad Day Bookshop. Before becoming a lawyer, he was the managing editor of Xtra in Toronto and Ottawa.

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