Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Tory dinosaurs secretly clobber Diane Ablonczy for funding Toronto's Pride...

I wonder what John Baird and Jaime Watt will think of this!

According to this religious bigot propaganda so-called "news" site, there's been quite the backlash against federal Tourism Minister Diane Ablonczy for providing $400,000 in funding for Toronto's Pride parade (pictured with Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff taking part this year), which the propaganda site described as "notorious for its inclusion of full frontal nudity and public sex acts by homosexuals." Did the "reporter" from LifeSite actually watch the parade this year and witness the "public sex acts" on display, which were mysteriously missed by virtually all the other million or so people in attendance? Iggy looks fully clothed to me. Hmmm...

LifeSite interviews Saskatchewan Conservative MP Brad Trost, who says the decision to fund Pride came as a "shock to most of the Conservative caucus, even those inside the Prime Minister's office...The pro-life and the pro-family community should know and understand that the tourism funding money that went to the gay pride parade in Toronto was not government policy, was not supported by - I think it's safe to say by a large majority - of the MPs. This was a very isolated decision."

Trost reportedly "hinted" that Minister Ablonczy, who was responsible for the funding, lost the file as a consequence of what he called the "embarrassment to the Party...It should be noted that the file has been reassigned to a different Cabinet Minister since that announcement was made...The whole tourism program and funding for major tourism events is being reviewed...Canadian taxpayers, even non-social-conservative ones, don't want their tax dollars to go to events that are polarizing or events that are more political than touristic in nature," Trost said.

Pride Toronto brings about one million tourists to the city every year, creating a huge economic boom for the entire region. How could such an event be seen merely as "political" and not "touristic" as Trost claims?

Kudos to BigCityLib for his post on this today, inspiring Kady O'Malley to work her journalistic wonders to get to the bottom of Trost's claims.

I agree with BigCityLib that it's highly likely that Trost's comments are just the latest bone being thrown to the Conservatives' religiously bigoted base. It will be interesting to find out if Ablonczy really has been punished by Harper's PMO for giving money to Canada's biggest LGBT festival.

The Harper-ites gave Toronto's Caribana $415,000 recently, also through the federal government's Marquee Tourism Events Program. Can you imagine if such a move caused the "majority" of Conservative MPs to protest secretly in the backrooms, demanding the Minister be removed from the program because she dared to acknowledge "those people"? Or if a propaganda website, say 'WhiteSite' instead of 'LifeSite' wrote an article making a big deal about the funding "controversy", claiming that children are routinely murdered during the Caribana parade? (As far as I'm concerned, the folks behind 'LifeSite' and the KKK aren't really all that different.)

If such a funding backlash were to take place in the Conservative caucus against any other community in Canada and it got public, I would hope that 90% of Canadians would rebel against the Conservatives for being bigoted, and hopefully the old Reformatories wouldn't be so competitive in opinion polls anymore. I also hope, if this story is true, the Harper-ites pay for their bigotry.

More on this as it develops....

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UPDATE - Susan Delacourt reports that Ablonczy is still the Minister of Tourism. But the case isn't closed, as Kady O'Malley correctly points out. Brad Trost claimed in the LifeSite "interview" that the Marquee Event Funding Program file "had been taken away from Ablonczy and given to another, unnamed minister to manage, and in the most recent funding announcement, Ablonczy is no longer mentioned as the responsible minister, nor is her office listed as a contact. We’ll just have to wait to hear from Industry Canada before we know for sure whether the tourism minister is, indeed, still in charge of the Marquee Event Funding Program."

FINAL UPDATE - It's been confirmed that Minister Ablonczy is no longer taking the lead on the Marquee Event Funding Program. The Tories are claiming that has nothing to do with Ablonczy's decision to provide $400,000 to Pride Toronto in June. I don't buy it. This smacks of the kind of internal decision meant to send a subliminal message to the country's so-cons that, 'Don't worry, we gave them some money, but now the woman who did it has been punished, we still hate those people!'

Let's face it, this incident is further proof that Harper's Conservatives, including all of those dinosaur backbenchers, remain decidedly to the right of the Canadian mainstream. Most Canadians have no problem with annual Pride festivities and take a live and let live attitude, especially if such festivals create huge economic spinoffs, like Pride Toronto does. Sadly, that live and let live attitude has no place inside Harper's caucus.

20 comments:

Roy said...

Sounds like from the PMO and Clements office that they have no clue what Trost is talking about. His own response seems rather odd. You would think if one felt a cabinet minister was doing a good job they would not publicly declare that minister in question was demoted.

"Diane is doing a good job, but she didn't handle all details right on this file."

Leeky Sweek said...

The government should not be funding any parades...period.

Matt Guerin said...

Such parades and other events bring huge value-for-money in terms of economic benefit. Some communities wait all year for the profits to be made during these festivals. It would seem that such investments by our government are worthwhile. Period.

Leeky Sweek said...

If the economic benefits are as good as you say, then government money is definitely not necessary. Period.

Matt Guerin said...

It still takes money to put the friggin thing on in the first place, no? $ went to Pride Toronto to put it on. Tourists come and private businesses, etc. reap the rewards, as does the economy as a whole. It's called investing a little to earn a great big return. Something you conservatives should know something about.

Leeky Sweek said...

So...by your logic then, the government should fund all parades then. Maybe they should start a Christian Pride Parade in Toronto and get government funding for that. That's only fair, right?

BTW, from what I hear, the Calgary Stampede parade receives no federal government money yet somehow happens every year. I wonder who pays for that?

Matt Guerin said...

My understanding this program only funds events that have a budget higher than $500,000. If you can name me a parade with that kind of budget that wants funding, then great. Such an event would bring considerable tourism dollars to any community.

And by the way, you might want to do a little research (I know, education and research and knowledge hurts your little conservative brain, but give it a try, you'll be smarter, oops sorry you'll be richer...lol):

http://www.canada.com/news/Cabinet+minister+under+fire+from+funding+pride+event/1767474/story.html

"The funding for the [Pride] event came out of a government project called the Marquee Tourism Events Program, an initiative that will see $100 million invested in large-scale events over the next two years to promote the tourism sector. Events such as the Calgary Stampede and the Montreal International Jazz Festival have received funding through the program."

MERBOY said...

It's interesting that the Calgary Stampede got $2 million and PRIDE + Caribana only got about $400,000 each... all 3 events quote the same high attendance figure of just over a million people in a good year.

Leeky Sweek said...

Leave the insults behind. It only reinforces the steroetype that left-wing bloggers can't debate without name-calling. I'm looking for civilized mutually-respectful discourse on issues, not slander. You as a journalist should know better.

If the parade is to have economic spin-offs that benefit the community, then perhaps the local community-at-large should be paying for it, not the federal government. That would be fair...if the community is to profit by it, then they should invest in it. Surely, there must be businesses in Toronto, given its size, that could underwrite the parade?

Leeky Sweek said...

Merboy... that's not right. I don't think the Calgary Stampede should have received any more than the Toronto parades.

Matt Guerin said...

Fine I'll leave out the insults.

But I'll ask you to leave out the ideology and focus on the economics of tourism promotion, as well as putting on huge tourist events like Pride or the Calgary Stampede. Such events are hugely expensive and receiving some support from the federal government helps make those events happen, particularly during rough economic times when private businesses may be hurting and unable to underwrite them sufficiently.

Pride's funding went "towards improving infrastructure and services for people with disabilities during the 10-day festival, along with improving marketing and programming efforts." That stuff might not have happened without the federal funding.

Leeky Sweek said...

We are going to have to agree to disagree on this one. I still maintain community events should be sponsored by the business communities that will benefit from it. Thta is done all the time.

Ideology will always have something to do with issues like this. I am for non-governmental involvement and you are for it. That is a key point in our opposing political philosophies. And there is nothing wrong with this difference of opinion.

Time to return to work...thanks for the debate.

MERBOY said...

http://www.actionplan.gc.ca/eng/media.asp?id=1454

"The Calgary Stampede will receive nearly $2 million in funding and is just one of the marquee tourism event recipients under the Summer 2009 stream."

MERBOY said...

Leeky Sweek said...

"I still maintain community events should be sponsored by the business communities that will benefit from it. That is done all the time."

Good luck finding a major festival that doesn't have major corporate funding.

Toronto PRIDE lists over 30 non government sponsors on their website for example. http://www.pridetoronto.com/sponsor/sponsors/

If major festivals are put on all the time with absolutely no government money as you seem to think... maybe you could list a few... here are a few big ones that do...

Toronto Jazz Festival... Ontario Tourism.
http://www.tojazz.com/Page/Toronto_Downtown_Jazz_Festival_pgM136.asp

Ottawa Tulip Festival... Library + Archives Canada, Canadian Heritage, Government of Ontario.
http://www.tulipfestival.ca/en/corporate.html

Luminato... Government of Ontario, Canadian Government + City of Toronto.
http://www.luminato.com/sponsors

Ottawa Bluesfest... Canadian Heritage, Canadian War Museum, Ontario Government, City of Ottawa, National Capital Commission.
http://www.ottawabluesfest.ca/en/index.php?page=sponsors
http://www.luminato.com/sponsors

Leeky Sweek said...

Merboy, re-read my post. I never said major events were not funded by the private sector. I maintain that public revenue should not be used, that is all. That means that event organizers may have to try harder to find additional sponsors to cover their entire event.

Aside from that, I'm not sure what point you're trying to make.

Skinny Dipper said...

I think it is Conservative Party policy not to give money to those freaks of nature. Those people are a plague in Canada. Diane Abloncy's mistake was that she gave money for a parade to some people in TORONTO! Never, ever give money to Torontonians! Freaks! It's in the Conservative constitution.

(I hope you get the humour in this comment.)

MERBOY said...

Leeky Sweek said...

"Merboy, re-read my post. I never said major events were not funded by the private sector. I maintain that public revenue should not be used, that is all. That means that event organizers may have to try harder to find additional sponsors to cover their entire event."

"Aside from that, I'm not sure what point you're trying to make."

Your point was the businesses benefiting from a given festival should be the ones fully funding them... I think your making a fairly stupid point given that half of the businesses downtown would probably have to hire someone specifically just to handle all of their donations.

PRIDE generates somewhere between 80 + 100 million in Toronto... thousands of businesses get a tiny fraction of that benefit... the various levels of government on the other hand get ALL of the tax revenue generated... which do you think is easier for a festival committee (often staffed completely by volunteers I might add)...

1. Getting some major help from a few government departments and a few large corporations.

or

2. Somehow managing to convince thousands of small + medium sized businesses to give back some of what they gained?

With your way of doing things most festivals would be gone... generating zero economic benefit for cities and local businesses.

Leeky Sweek said...

Merboy, you obviously have no clue...and this coming from a "stupid" conservative.

Until you say something that makes some semblance of sense, I will call it a day. I'm too tired trying to explain Business 101 to someone of your mindset. Good day!

MERBOY said...

Leeky Sweek said...

"Merboy, you obviously have no clue...and this coming from a "stupid" conservative."

Judging by the ones in government at the moment there really isn't another kind of conservative anymore sadly.

"Until you say something that makes some semblance of sense, I will call it a day. I'm too tired trying to explain Business 101 to someone of your mindset. Good day!"

Normal businesses aren't charitable organizations and don't depend on donations at all... but I suppose viewing them as identical makes perfect sense.

Hopefully some day Conservatives will learn that not everything is a business... one would hope our current recession 100% caused by people believing in business and the infallibility of the free market will result in a few lessons. :D

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