Saskatoon mayor’s ‘lifestyle choices’ statement disappoints LGBTQ community

Saskatoon Pride Festival co-chair Danny Papadatos said it felt like pride officials had wasted their breath in conversations with Mayor Don Atchison after he read a statement released Monday.

“Any conversations that we’ve worked towards with trying to build a relationship with Mayor Don Atchison have really gone to waste,” Papadatos said.

An initial statement, released from the Saskatoon mayor’s office in the wake of the fatal shooting at a gay bar in Orlando, quoted Atchison as saying “everyone should be safe in our communities regardless of their lifestyle choices, religion or ethnicity.”

READ MORE: ‘Lifestyle choices’ removed from Saskatoon mayor’s statement on Orlando shooting

Just over four hours later, the sentence was amended to read: “members of the LGBTQ2 community, those with different religious beliefs, or ethnicity should be safe in our communities.”

People took to social media to criticize the wording, including city Coun. Darren Hill.

Richard Brown, chief communications officer for the mayor’s office, said the initial news release had a quote he wrote, which was never approved by the mayor.

Brown said his word choice was poor, he takes responsibility and apologizes.

In an interview Tuesday, Atchison also apologized.

“We’ve already said that we’re terribly sorry for what transpired. It was a mistake and that it was rectified immediately,” Atchison said.

“Heavens, I’m sure you’ve made a mistake once in your life and if you haven’t, good for you.”

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