Mayoral candidate Jinny Sims says it’s time to raise the Pride flag at Surrey Town Hall

The City of Surrey claims to actively support diversity. And it lights up Civic Plaza in the colors of the Pride Flag until June 29 in recognition of Pride Month.

But B.C.’s second-largest municipality still hasn’t flown the Pride Flag at Surrey City Hall.

Surrey Forward mayoral candidate Jinny Sims says that’s not enough.

If elected, his party promises that will change if elected.

“Our diversity is our strength,” Sims said. “We are a city that should celebrate our differences, embracing those of all communities.”

The party’s press release noted that Toronto City Council became the first local government to approve Pride events in 1991.

“Frankly, it’s embarrassing that in 2022 Surrey has yet to embrace the PRIDE event and our LGBTQ2SIA+ community,” Sims said.

She also cited an article published on ScienceDirect.com on the relationship between LGBT inclusion and economic development.

University of Massachusetts economist MV Lee Badgett, Leiden University law professor Kees Waaldijk, and Rutgers University women’s and gender studies professor Yana van der Meulen Rodgers determined that a additional point on the global eight-point index on legal recognition of homosexual orientation is associated with an increase in real GDP per capita of about $2,000.

“In combination with qualitative evidence from previous studies and reports, our quantitative results suggest that LGBT inclusion and economic development are mutually reinforcing,” the researchers noted in the summary. “Furthermore, a rough estimate suggests that around 6% to 22% of the results could reflect the costs to GDP of the health and stigmatization of LGB people in the labor market.”

For Sims, inclusion isn’t just about morals and values, it’s also integrally tied to a city’s success.

“We have to fight the idea that Surrey is not open to everyone who wants to be part of our community,” Sims said.

In the meantime, the Surrey Pride Festival will be held at Central City Plaza on Saturday June 25 from 4-9pm. It is accessible by getting off the SkyTrain at Surrey Central Station.

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