SkyscraperCity banner
Status
Not open for further replies.
1 - 20 of 51 Posts

·
Ex-mod
Joined
·
7,931 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Pride parade cash got file pulled from Ablonczy: Tory MP

Last Updated: Tuesday, July 7, 2009 | 8:29 PM MT
By Louise Elliott, CBC News

Minister of State for Tourism Diane Ablonczy is no longer responsible for the delivery of a key tourism stimulus package, and one of her caucus colleagues says it's because her office gave some of the money to a gay pride parade.

Saskatchewan MP Brad Trost, a fellow Conservative, told the anti-abortion website LifeSiteNews that Ablonczy was being punished for the decision to give $400,000 from the Marquee Tourism Events Program to Toronto's Pride Parade, which was held this year on June 28.


Trost was quoted as calling it "a very isolated decision" that was not supported "by a large majority of the MPs."

Trost was not immediately available for comment to CBC News. But Darren Cunningham, the director of communications for Industry Minister Tony Clement, says Ablonczy didn't lose control over the Marquee Tourism Events Program because of her department's decision to fund Toronto's Pride Parade with federal dollars.

"It was not in response to that, no," said Cunningham.

Instead, Cunningham said Ablonczy's office wasn't as well staffed as Clement's to handle the $100-million program while also trying to complete a Federal Tourism Growth Strategy.

Cunningham confirmed that the program is being reviewed, but he said that also had nothing to do with the Toronto parade and was simply a matter of good government practice.

Recent federal funding history for Toronto Pride Week:

* 2008 – $35,000 through the Building Communities Through Arts and Heritage Program.
* 2007 – $35,000 through the Arts Presentation Canada Program.
* 2006 – $35,000 through the Arts Presentation Canada Program.

Music festivals among events funded

The Marquee Tourism Events Program has sprinkled money across the country for jazz concerts, blues festivals and other events. In Ottawa, some of the money was put toward a free jazz concert and $1.5 million will go to the Cisco Ottawa Bluesfest.

The funding program was introduced as a component of the 2009 federal budget. A description of its intention on the program's website reads in part: "By the summer of 2009, Industry Canada will provide initial funding to marquee events that significantly promote tourism, in time to respond to the many events that bring tourists to Canada during the summer vacation period."

Toronto's Pride Week attracts tens of thousands of visitors each year. Hundreds of thousands more either turn out or tune in on television to watch the free-wheeling parade that is the week's centrepiece.

Clement now has time to handle file: staffer

In an email, Rob Taylor, Ablonczy's chief of staff, said that budget was returned to Industry Canada so that the MP from Calgary-Nose Hill and her staff could concentrate on the federal tourism strategy.

He added that the minister handling Industry Canada is also freer to handle the file now.

"The MTEP program is back with Minister Clement now that the auto file and many of the other economic stimulus programs have calmed down. He is the responsible minister and is reviewing all economic-stimulus spending."

Tracey Sandilands, the executive director of Pride Toronto, said in an email that festival organizers were pleased to have received money.

"The application process was quite stringent and ... Industry Canada were extremely thorough in checking details before final approval was granted," she wrote. "It wasn't something done in an ad hoc way at all."

She declined to comment on any political controversy swirling around Ablonczy and her caucus colleagues.

Gay rights group calls matter 'shocking'

Helen Kennedy, the executive director of the gay rights group Egale, called the incident "shocking."

She pointed out that the money was used to increase accessibility for people with disabilities who wanted to enjoy the parade, and also helped improve the quality of live entertainment at the 10-day festival.

"This minister, instead of being applauded for injecting much-needed cash into the local economy here in Toronto, is being penalized and punished," she told CBC News.

She said Trost's comments may point to an anti-gay bias.

"I would ask, is he in fact, homophobic?… Why is it troubling to him that $400,000 is being used by Pride Toronto to improve access for people with disabilities? Did he in fact make the same comments about $2 million going into the Calgary Stampede?"






Tourism Minister loses funding program after grant to gay pride week

David Akin, Canwest News Service
Published: Tuesday, July 07, 2009

OTTAWA -- Tourism Minister Diane Ablonczy has been stripped of responsibility for administering a major tourism funding program after she signed off on a grant for Toronto's gay pride week.

Ms. Ablonczy, who retains her title as minister of state for small business and tourism, was in charge of the Marquee Tourism Events Program, an initiative to provide $100-million of funding over two years to the country's major festivals and tourist attractions like the Calgary Stampede, the Stratford (Ont.) Festival and the Montreal International Jazz Festival, each of which received at least $2-million in federal support.

But within days of her June 15 announcement that Toronto's Pride Week would get a $400,000 grant, Ms. Ablonczy lost control of the file to the senior minister in her department, Industry Minister Tony Clement.

Mr. Clement was in Italy attending the G8 summit and was not available to explain why Ms. Ablonczy was relieved of responsibility for funding tourism events.

"There's no real relieving in this," said Darren Cunningham, Clement's director of communications. "Her office helped us out with the first phase of the program. The second phase of it we're doing."

Mr. Cunningham said Mr. Clement assumed responsibility for the Marquee Tourism awards "about two weeks ago."

Ms. Ablonczy did not respond to a request for an interview, despite several telephone and e-mail messages left at her riding office in Calgary and at her ministerial office in Ottawa.

Conservative MP Brad Trost said Ms. Ablonczy was removed from the file because of her decision to fund Pride Week, which its organizers say, is to "celebrate the history, courage, diversity and future of Toronto's lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, transgender, intersex, queer, questioning, two-spirited" communities.

Mr. Trost was critical of Ms. Ablonczy for making that decision.

"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," Mr. Trost said in article published Tuesday at LifeSiteNews.com. "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."

Mr. Trost attributed the decision to fund the gay pride event to his own government's "sloppiness."

Mr. Trost, a three-term MP from a Saskatoon riding, would only respond to an e-mailed question from Canwest News Service, saying: "Diane is doing a good job, but she didn't handle all details right on this file."

NDP MP Libby Davies said Mr. Trost's reaction is more evidence "of how narrow-minded and prejudicial they are."

Ms. Davies, who has participated in the Vancouver equivalent of Toronto's Pride Week, said the events are attended by both gay and straight people.

"The fact that the Conservatives would have such a terrible reaction to a funding decision is just another affirmation of their narrow-minded views and political agenda," said Davies. "The Conservatives are, in effect, cutting out a whole slice of Canadian society and saying, ‘in effect, you don't count.' It's quite outrageous."

Mr. Trost said "almost the entire Conservative caucus" and "most of the Prime Minister's Office were taken by surprise at this announcement."

Pride Week organizers used the federal funding to improve access for disabled visitors and hire performers for the week's activities.

"We have received federal funding in the past and it has always been used for the purposes for which it was allocated," Pride Week executive director Tracey Sandilands told Global National. "Pride Toronto is thrilled to have been a part of this program and we believe that the recent success of the festival shows that the grant was justified and the expenditure will prove to be worthwhile."

Some Conservative MPs disagreed with Mr. Trost's assessment of the grant.

"It's a tourism event, like any other tourism event," said Calgary Conservative MP Lee Richardson. "It attracts as many people in Toronto as the Molson Indy."

Dona Cadman, a first-term Conservative MP from Surrey, B.C., said she supports Ms. Ablonczy's decision.

"I'm proud to see this reaching out to all sectors of the Canadian mosaic," Cadman said in an e-mailed message.

"Minister Ablonczy should be congratulated for running an inclusive and responsive portfolio. I do think we need to be open, to consider funding non-core cultural groups, as long as they are not engaging in activity that is offensive to most Canadians. They filled out all the required paperwork properly and were treated the same as any other group."

But Dave Quist, a former political aide to Stephen Harper and now executive director of The Institute for Family and Marriage, said his group was disappointed that a Conservative government, just like governments before them, approved funding for the event.

"We would find the funding of Pride Week anywhere controversial," said Mr. Quist. "It's not a family-friendly event. It doesn't espouse family values that I would support, so the funding of events like that, I would have problems with."

More than a dozen Conservative MPs responded to questions from Canwest News Service about Mr. Trost's criticisms but most either did not want to comment or did not want to be identified. Two MPs, who requested anonymity for fear of being disciplined by the PMO, said the issue was discussed at a closed-door caucus meeting in June and that Ms. Ablonczy was criticized by several MPs about the grant.

Factbox: handouts to Festivals

The Marquee Tourism Festival Program is an initiative to provide $100-million of federal funding over two years to the country's largest festivals and attractions. Diane Ms. Ablonczy, Minister of State for Small Business and Tourism was stripped of responsibility for this program after giving a grant to Toronto's gay pride week. Here's a list of other grants Ms. Ablonczy approved:

• Calgary Stampede $2-million

• Toronto International Film Festival Grant $3-million

• Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival $400,000

• Le Festival International de Jazz de Montreal $3-million

• Shaw Festival Grant $2-million

• Le Festival d'ete de Quebec $3-million

• Stratford Festival $3-million

• Luminato Festival 2009 $1.2-million

• Ottawa Cisco Bluesfest $1.5-million

• Toronto Pride Week $400,000
 

·
City Of Brotherly Love
Joined
·
659 Posts
Here in Philadelphia, the city government office in charge of promoting tourism has been funding L/G/B/T community events like OutFest and Gay Pride for years. Why? Because it brings in many times the amount invested in tourist dollars that benefit the city. To put this in context, it also contributes to African American, Irish-American, Jewish, Hispanic, Italian-American, Sporting, Scouting, and other types of events as well.

The Philadelphia Lesbian & Gay Film Festival starts in a couple days (it runs about 3 weeks) and it is the largest of it's kind on the east coast of the US; and the second largest in the entire US if I am not mistaken.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13,365 Posts
Here in Philadelphia, the city government office in charge of promoting tourism has been funding L/G/B/T community events like OutFest and Gay Pride for years. Why? Because it brings in many times the amount invested in tourist dollars that benefit the city. To put this in context, it also contributes to African American, Irish-American, Jewish, Hispanic, Italian-American, Sporting, Scouting, and other types of events as well.

The Philadelphia Lesbian & Gay Film Festival starts in a couple days (it runs about 3 weeks) and it is the largest of it's kind on the east coast of the US; and the second largest in the entire US if I am not mistaken.
That's a city government though. It is able to understand how a gay pride event works. The Canadian Conservative government, however, looks at the whole country from a "We're a small town of 15,000!! :nuts:" approach, and therefore doesn't understand the concept of "tourism" or "high return on investment". They just do things that they think God likes. :|
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,644 Posts
Come to think of it I've never heard Stephen Harper so much as use the word "God" but I'm sure he has at some point...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,044 Posts
The Conservative Party isn't the party it once was. Never a fan myself but the current incarnation is just the Reform Party gone national. They really need to wrest control away from the hicks. It's supposed to be a (fiscally) Conservative party not a Socially Conservative party.

Moralizing in politics just doesn't work that well in Canada. I hate them and their leader's tacky Cosby sweaters.
 

·
The Mighty.
Joined
·
3,184 Posts
Do any parties really work for Canada? I have yet to see one.

We need a new party... and perhaps one day I will be the one to make it. Mwhaha!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,644 Posts
Do any parties really work for Canada? I have yet to see one.

We need a new party... and perhaps one day I will be the one to make it. Mwhaha!
I completely agree. The liberals are just as bad as the conservatives for other reasons. The NDP and the green party will never have a chance. For all intents and Purposes, we're pretty much two party democracy...
 

·
The Mighty.
Joined
·
3,184 Posts
I completely agree. The liberals are just as bad as the conservatives for other reasons. The NDP and the green party will never have a chance. For all intents and Purposes, we're pretty much two party democracy...
And it's pretty much picking between the lesser of the two evils. Whoever is 'better' that decade.

Worst case scenario for a democratic nation pretty much.
 

·
~ Mysterious Entity ~
Joined
·
4,858 Posts
I completely agree. The liberals are just as bad as the conservatives for other reasons. The NDP and the green party will never have a chance. For all intents and Purposes, we're pretty much two party democracy...
What makes you so sure they'll never have a chance?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13,365 Posts
The Green Party would if people actually carried out their democratic responsibilities and read party platforms and analyzed candidates before voting. They don't, though, and so they vote for the same party they have always voted for, even though they don't really agree with them.

But even at the municipal level we constantly say "We hate these politicians! We're voting them out!" but when voting time actually comes, "Only a career politician will do! I'm not voting for some no-experience hack with vision!"

America is even worse in this regard. Their elections are more like multiple choice quizzes where the voter is asked to place the X beside the incumbent candidate and when that person is re-elected, they cheer that they guessed correctly, completely blind to their moronic behaviour. The only thing worse than not having democracy is neglecting it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,638 Posts
Remember we went from the PROGRESSIVE Conservatives to just the Conservatives. The PC were never that conservative.
Its to bad that this has happened as I am very sure that many in the Con Party are actually quite offended by this. Remember 4 Con members voted for same-sex marriage. Many more are anything but homophobic.

This is made worse by Ignacious being one of the most conservative liberal leaders in recent memory. I can't stand Harper but I'd vote for him ahead of the Brit/American Liberal leader anyday of the week.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,044 Posts
It's pretty revolting when a government decides it only wants to be the government of a select few. But I suppose gays (and I guess Torontonians -at least the swishy ones) are still a relatively safe group to openly despise at least to their constituency.

I can't imagine the outrage if the same thing happened only the group was black or south Asian instead. The government would have fallen in days.

Just goes to show you, although to some degree Canada is post-gay, there's still a need for things such as Pride parades and eternal vigilance.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,644 Posts
America is even worse in this regard. Their elections are more like multiple choice quizzes where the voter is asked to place the X beside the incumbent candidate and when that person is re-elected, they cheer that they guessed correctly, completely blind to their moronic behaviour. The only thing worse than not having democracy is neglecting it.
It's really not much different than the problem we have in Canada though. People don't want to bother to take some time to actually look at or think about anything. Which is probably why we just keep getting the Liberals and the Conservatives voted in.
 
1 - 20 of 51 Posts
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top