Keeping with the Pride theme this month in Calgary, we would like to take you back to 1980, when Mayor Ross Alger wrote to Gay Information Resources Centre (GIRC), president Bob Harris.
Mayor Alger declined Harris’ request to formally declare June, 27, 1980 Gay Pride Day in Calgary. Unlike other politicians in his day who tended easily to casual homophobia, he wrote, “I fully respect the rights and freedoms of your organization and its members.”
Obviously, a political hot potato at the time. Alger in 1979 dodged Harris’ previous request for a proclaimed Gay Community Day on November 24th by alleging a crowded calendar, booked up into December of that year. Mayor Alger’s Executive Assistant, John Gray, was on the record saying “if GIRC resubmits its request at a later date the mayor’s office will be pleased to consider it.”
Alger’s diplomatic letter on April 2, 1980 was the conclusion of that consideration. Ross Alger died in January, 1992 from cancer. His obituary in the Globe and Mail praised him as “a gentleman politician who never stooped to low blows.”