Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and his partner join Trudeau at the Montreal Pride Parade
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and his partner Matt Barrett were cheered from the rafters as they marched in the Montreal Pride Parade on Sunday.
The carnival was in full swing out on the streets, the sun was shining, the music was pumping and tens of thousands of people lined the Pride route.
Varadkar and Canadian Premier Justin Trudeau had met earlier to discuss trade - but cut loose on the parade route, opening the top two buttons of their shirts and rolled up their sleeves to show a more relaxed vibe.
In a serious moment as he addressed the crowd, Varadkar said more needed to be done for diversity.
“We need to stand up to homophobic bullying in workplaces an schools, we need to make more advances in the area of sexual health; that is a key priority for me at home and internationally,” he declared.
“Countries that are progressive, open and diverse, like Canada and Ireland have a responsibility to other people in other parts of the world where equality and equal rights are under threat and the clock is being turned backwards.”
“We need to use our voices to stand up to communities who face real threats and real dangers,” he said.
The first head of state to ever march in a Canadian Pride event, Varadkar walked the route with his partner Matt, waving and smiling at those roaring support along the way.
Asked if he was having fun, the Taoiseach smiled, replying yes. “The sun is shining,” he added – raising his hands.
Quebec native Patrick Pitre - who has family roots in Co Galway- said he was blown away that the "prime minister" of Ireland was marching in the parade in Montreal.
"It's fun," he said simply.