Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Toronto Pride likely to receive city funding after threats over controversial group

Great news tonight from the City of Toronto's executive committee. I was glad to email them this past weekend. I have no idea if it made a difference. I'd like to think so. Congrats to the Proud of Toronto campaign, especially Mike Went and Doug Kerr, for galvanizing the community these past few weeks...

From: Matt
To: ""
Sent: Saturday, May 21, 2011 2:28:30 PM
Subject: Please save Pride Toronto

Dear Toronto Executive Committee Members -

As a longtime Toronto resident and member of the LGBT community, I am writing to strongly urge you to continue funding for Toronto Pride.

I have been appalled by the bizarre attacks by some on freedom of expression and association with regard to the Pride parade. While we may not agree with 'Queers Against Israeli Apartheid' or QAIA in terms of their tactics or even their name, we should not deny them the right to express their positions in a public event. Questioning some of the Israeli government's policies is not tantamount to hate speech, as some have suggested.

I do not support QAIA and I'm glad they have promised not to march in this year's parade. But they have a right to participate in Pride festivities elsewhere, the same as any group, as they do not break the law. But all of this talk about QAIA is a smokescreen. To cancel funding for hundreds of thousands of people because of the actions of 20 people is ridiculous!

Toronto Pride has been an important institution for freedom and culture in our city for decades. It has brought together our LGBT community and our allies for years. It is a symbol of the freedom shared by Torontonians and all Canadians. It brings in thousands of tourists every year, fills our hotels, our restaurants, our bars, our streets, for one big celebration at the start of summer.

It is appalling that the city would find no reason to invest in this celebration. The investment more than pays for itself as the money comes back many times over in terms of revenue for the city's businesses. Like any public event of this magnitude, it also requires policing and clean-up and I'm glad the city has provided that over the years.

I hope that your committee does the right thing and continues to support Toronto Pride. Do not listen to those city councillors who have in the past said some of the most hateful things about the LGBT community, who now tell us that alleged hatred against other communities is unacceptable. Some councillors on this issue are being hypocrites. I implore you to ignore that stupidity and make the best decision for the city of Toronto and all of its citizens.

Matt Guerin
Toronto, ON

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