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....
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.