Sunday, January 23, 2011

Toronto Pride Met Federal Test But Got Nothing: CBC

Here's your Sunday dose of shame:
Toronto's 2010 Pride Week festival passed the test for federal stimulus funding before it got passed over, The Canadian Press has learned.

Federal bureaucrats declared the festival a good candidate for stimulus funding before federal Industry Minister Tony Clement ultimately announced the bid was rejected.

Toronto Pride, the organization that runs the 10-day gay and lesbian festival, was successful a year earlier in scoring a $400,000 grant under the Marquee Tourism Events Program, or MTEP.

For 2010, organizers asked for $630,000 to pay for initiatives that would bring in more high-profile performers, improve facilities, boost marketing and better train volunteers.

A team of civil servants at Industry Canada studied the lengthy application, which included an independent economic impact study.

The study concluded federal help in 2009 increased visitor spending by $6 million, with 200,000 more tourists pouring into Toronto than the year before.

Another 275,000 people were projected to attend if the festival got a second year of funding, bringing total attendance close to 1.5 million.

Industry Canada officials who reviewed event applications were satisfied Toronto Pride week, one of the three largest gay and lesbian events in the world, was a good bet for a second year in a row. The marquee program wanted applicants who would bring in more tourism and also attract international media attention.

"The Tier Advisory Committee had reviewed the proposed project and the Committee is satisfied it meets the eligibility criteria and program objectives of the MTEP," an internal project summary notes.
 If there's any Conservatives out there that would like to explain this away without using the words "LIEberal," "CBC propaganda," or "Rob Ford," please, give it a shot. I really want to believe that our federal government isn't purposefully ignoring the Pride Festival, despite all its benefits and the fact that its fully eligible, because of personal views and outright discrimination. I really do.


  1. I can't speak for anyone but myself, but I think that public funds should probably not be spent where political advocacy is one of the main goals. Especially where there is polarizing and divisive elements to it. I would like to hear a good defense as to why taxpayer money should be used in that way.

    If the response includes the comment that the vast majority of the event does not include political advocacy, then the next question is whether the proponent would be agreeable to ensuring that the advocacy portion was separate from the festival itself.

  2. So then you'd be willing to campaign against the Calgary Stampede? After all, there's some serious divisions over that...

    I would seriously disagree regardless of the level of political advocacy, which I'm unaware of because, quite frankly, never been to a Pride Parade. But the fact is that if you're going to offer money to celebrations and events for everyone, which includes performances by musicians and other artists, and is in general a celebration of a group, culture, or whatever, than you have to offer them to all, or to none. Which means if you support the latter, than you need to get government out of funding Canada Day celebrations, ethnic celebrations, any sort of religious holidays, including some civic holidays, and on it goes.

    So, you tell me: should government fund any of these celebrations, which undoubtedly bring in money, or no? Because they are all grouped together, and there is always some sort of division over all of them. Follow your logic to this conclusion, and then tell me.

  3. Volkov,

    I'm not sure I understand your concern.

    If you are suggesting that any festival (e.g. Stampede), includes political advocacy... I would like to know to what are you referring? I can't recall any political advocacy coming from that event.

    Whether the Canadian government should fund any of these at all seems to be a horse that has left the barn long ago. All levels of government have clearly decided that festivals and events are a way that Canadian's enjoy themselves and celebrate those things we wish to celebrate. We see their effects as positive from a whole array of perspectives (cultural, social, spiritual, economic). In general, we as a society have decided to fund them. I think the question hinges on the use of public funds for political advocacy.

  4. As I said, the issue of political advocacy is not one that concerns me. I was more concerned about all these divisions and concerns of how awfully divided opinion is, etc.

    I don't really care if someone advocated something political. I mean, celebrating Canada Day is technically political. I wouldn't want to stop that, would you?

    I mean, if there's obvious political partisanship going on, sure, I see the need to stop it. But if you mean there's simply people there that are Liberals or whatever and they're being represented, then we should cancel Remembrance Day 'cause there's Liberal MPs and candidates laying reefs there, you know?

  5. I hear you.

    I thought that the Gay Pride Parade was advocating for political rights of LGBTQIA etc. people. I also thought they had included advocacy in support of Palestinian political ends and repressing involvement by other political advocates.

    Wasn't that one of the issues?

  6. Pride does originate out of the need to press LGBT rights, but the same could be said for almost any celebration, from First Nations to Hindi. It's supposed to promote awareness of the community that was so often ignored in its history.

    But, it also represents simply a celebration of that same community, of how far they've come since decades before, and that, hey, they're mostly-accepted people now. It's political, I guess, but not necessarily political advocacy.

    And the Palestinian stuff, well, that's just some idiots using Pride as a means to an end. The same thing happens when neo-Nazis piggyback on Church or nationhood celebrations.

  7. Ok, Tomm, so YOU don't think the feds should fund any festivals w. a sig. advocacy component; channel-changing msg. rcvd.

    But Volkov's q. was, What was the CPC Gov't likely reason for this, and is it defensible?

    And the person who MADE the decision -- or pretended to (as w. the Census decision, the Potash, the...) --

    "Clement told reporters at the time that the decision had nothing to do with the nature of Pride week but rather with the limited number of events being approved for each major Canadian city."

    So, they had $1-B in slush money to spend to turn Toronto into a temporary police state for several weeks last summer, but not an extra 2/5th of 1 Mil. for a celebratory festival to help it heal from that a couple weeks later.

    So why don't I believe him? Oh, that's right, because he'll say anything to try to slough off responsibility and disguise his boss's true reasons for doing things.

  8. Dr. Dawg connects the dots:

  9. celebratory festival ?

    With naked guys walking around? Hmm.

  10. Whigwag,

    I don't speak for the CPC. I can only speak for myself.

    If you want me to speculate on why the Agricultural Fair was funded and not the Gay Pride Parade, I would point to two possible reasons. Again, I am speculating. The first is that they decided to fund one major activity in Toronto. The Agricultural Fair and the Gay Pride Parade, for sake of argument, were the two front runners. The Gay Pride Parade SHOULD lose points for their political advocacy stances. The Ag Fair is obviously an economic, culture, and social fair without the political baggage. From what I understand it is also quite large with a lot of history.

    Secondly, neither of us know what occurs behind closed doors. I recall the Gay Pride Festival defending the political advocacy aspects of its role in society. Why should taxpayer dollars support political advocacy, especially when it is controversial and polarizing?

    With respect to your bringing in the G20 and what Clement may have said, I just can't contribute very much. If Clement indicated that a choice was made, what makes you think a choice wasn't made? With respect to the G20, these are unlinked events, they just happened to occur in the same city. Are you suggesting that hosting the G20 WAS the festival for Toronto? I don't think so.

  11. To be fair, Whig Wag has a point - the federal government was more than willing to commit to setting up what they new before would be a very contentious event that, frankly, wasn't even worth the money they spent on it. It doesn't make sense in light with funding events like the Pride Festival, considering that, political advocacy concerns aside, it actually brings in money and it doesn't require riot police and barricading, with 10-feet tall barbed-wire fences and rubber bullets, half of downtown Toronto.

    There's a disconnect there that makes me question whether or not ideological or political base concerns were factored in to the decision. I don't see any other excuse as to why the government wouldn't fund Pride.

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  13. The Calgary Stampede is a big political schmoozefest for the oil patch and business lobbyists on the BBQ circuit.

    Both Vancouver and Toronto's Pride Week events bring in many millions of dollars to local businesses. Quoting Pride Toronto's website: "Pride Week in Toronto is the third largest Pride celebration in the world and the largest festival in Canada."

    To add insult to injury it was the 30th Anniversary of Pride Toronto last year, plus in 2009 it won the bid to host the upcoming World Pride event in 2014.

  14. I didn't know the latter parts. Wow, that really is insult to injury. I'm surprised there isn't the biggest stink possible about this.

  15. @ Tomm - um, no, I wasn't suggesting the G20 was the festival, dummy: I'm suggesting that if they could pull an extra half billion plus out of their slush-fund ass to hurriedly put together an extra G20 meeting in To. that wasn't even slated to have been held that year, then they should jolly well be able to pony up an extra $400,000 to compensate the city for putting it through all that grief, even if they did exhaust its normal quota of festival funds on the other two less-offensive-for-their base festivals (on Ag & the Arts).

    Plus, of course, it's pretty suspicious that they wouldn't fund all three of these major festivals, with the money for the Pride coming from less going to each of the other two (which got, what, winfalls of about $1.2 & $2.6M, each?)

  16. "Both Vancouver and Toronto's Pride Week events bring in many millions of dollars to local businesses. " agreed....
    Nice blog parties in toronto .