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"Events that are more political than touristic in nature"
July 8, 2009 8:07 AM   Subscribe

Canada's Tourism Minister, Diane Ablonczy, was stripped of responsibility for a Marquee Tourism Events Program budget of $100 million, after she gave $397,500 to Toronto's Pride Week festival, which attracts a million tourists to Toronto every June. The story was broken by backbench Conservative MP Brad Trost in the blog LifeSiteNews.com, who stated that most of the Conservative cauacus was shocked at the award, and that Ms. Ablonczy was stripped of the budget as punishment. Pride Toronto's response. The Tories run damage control.
posted by Quiplash (71 comments total)

 
Oh, and here's what was said when Diane Ablonczy launched the Marquee Tourism Events Program earlier this year.
posted by Quiplash at 8:14 AM on July 8, 2009


Only the TD Canada Jazz festivals got less money.
posted by Rat Spatula at 8:15 AM on July 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


can we call him "Back-bench Brad"?
posted by Rat Spatula at 8:19 AM on July 8, 2009


Too proud about their bigotry to take filthy gay money, I guess.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:25 AM on July 8, 2009


The Edmonton Fringe Fest got more than Pride Toronto?! There's no way in hell the Fringe Fest is better for tourism than Pride.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 8:26 AM on July 8, 2009


can we call him "Back-bench Brad"?

More like Brokeback-bench Brad, amarite?


/tasteless
posted by Pollomacho at 8:29 AM on July 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


They represent only the Nation of Morons and the sooner we can elect that other guy, the better. I mean, really.
posted by sporb at 8:35 AM on July 8, 2009


Sad to see the wingnut contagion is spreading northward quickly.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:36 AM on July 8, 2009


There's no way in hell the Fringe Fest is better for tourism than Pride.

Better for Edmonton than Pride for Toronto, perhaps (according to some tortured logic).

And the Fringe takes place in Alberta's only NDP riding. Hurr!
posted by hangashore at 8:39 AM on July 8, 2009


I love reading the comments on the Globe article:

All Availing Rights issues about the Gay Society aside...you CANNOT fund one Secular society, with CANADIAN TAX Dollars, and not others. So what about a Heterosexual Day? Or Israely day? Or Hindu Day? Or Mormon Day? Or Catholic Day? or Jewish Day, Etc...Etc..Etc...

You Can't!? There isn't enough money to cover everyone, period. So you can't pick or choose! As a government body, they should STAY out of supporting one or the other, else they will create a BIOS society, where one is more privledged than the other.


I picture a BIOS society being full of cyborgs and/or computer nerds.
posted by Paid In Full at 8:45 AM on July 8, 2009


Duh. Everyone knows that homo money isn't worth as much as nice, moral heterosexual money.

I am simultaneously relieved (misery loves company!) and dismayed that conservative politicians for our neighbor to the north are as eye-rollingly dumb as they are here.
posted by rtha at 8:47 AM on July 8, 2009


This is a nice complement to the outrage over Toronto asking for streetcar funding under the infrastructure stimulus program. Regardless of how well a proposal fits with program mandate, funding anything that benefits the Conservatives' political opponents is treason.
posted by anthill at 8:48 AM on July 8, 2009


I really hope this costs them. This is the first real slip that has received nation-wide attention where Harper's pro-neocon agenda has shown through.

It's like something just under the surface of the water, we all know it's there but everyone is hoping that we are just imagining it, and now it's bubbled up and we have to face it.

I hope everyone that voted Conservative to 'punish the Liberals' wakes up this morning, reads this story, and realizes that no matter how they tried to justify it, they voted for the suppression of equal rights when they gave these clowns a minority.

May the backlash be swift and merciless.
posted by WinnipegDragon at 8:54 AM on July 8, 2009 [4 favorites]


[rolls eyes]

When are we going to get some decent politicians in this country?
posted by orange swan at 8:56 AM on July 8, 2009


Not a good week for Harper and the Tories. The PM is taking some heat from Catholics for pocketing the host at a Catholic funeral.
posted by rocket88 at 8:57 AM on July 8, 2009


With respect to the streetcars, it's a bigger disrespect since Kitchener-Waterloo got instant cash money for their LRT. The key to getting money from the Torries is to have an MP in power who barely won, it would seem.

This story is ridiculous. What the fuck, Canada? We can do better.
posted by chunking express at 9:05 AM on July 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure that I see the bigotry, and am confused by the immediate branding of them as crazy or rightwing.

The claim is that tourism funds went to a politically active group. The other groups don't appear to be politically connected in any way (let me know if this is incorrect). The question then becomes: is Pride Week actually politically active? I don't think it's a definitive yes, but I wouldn't completely dismiss the concern. If there were

If they're equating the very gathering of homosexuals with political activism, I grant you its bigotry. But I wouldn't be surprised to find political activism going on within the event. If there is activism directly tied to it, I don't see how they are bigoted. If there isn't any, why doesn't someone simply make that point? If there are other funded groups with ties to a politically active community, why not point them out as well?

I've yet to see the actual issue addressed: whether or not tourism money was applied to a politically active group.
posted by FuManchu at 9:06 AM on July 8, 2009


Sad to see the wingnut contagion is spreading northward quickly.

It's important to note that Canada's Conservative minority government, while populated by a host of parochial Mike Harris retreads from Ontario (notably the incompetent Jim Flaherty), is an Alberta-based (Harper is from Alberta) movement.

Alberta conservatism is heavily influenced by American neo-conservatism, mainly because of the presence of big oil in Alberta, and the American expats and interests in Alberta that work in the industry. It shouldn't be a mystery why George W Bush chose Calgary as his first post-pres public speaking venue.

Tom Flanagan, who has been a key architect of the neo-conservative movement in Canada (and has been a mentor to Harper), is an American and Milton Friedman disciple.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:10 AM on July 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


On re-reading the lifesitenews article, this sentence by the reporter pretty firmly puts him into the bigot category, yea: "Toronto Gay Pride parade, which is notorious for its inclusion of full frontal nudity and public sex acts by homosexuals..."
posted by FuManchu at 9:12 AM on July 8, 2009


The PM is taking some heat from Catholics for pocketing the host at a Catholic funeral.

Oh, that dirty pecker.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:14 AM on July 8, 2009


Picking on the Edmonton Fringe is uncalled for. It's one of the largest theatre festivals in the country, the largest Fringe-type event in NA, attracting about half a million people every year. The money goes mostly to keep ticket prices low, so that new and experimental theatre is accessible. Experimental theatre, just the thing for advancing the Tory conservative social agenda...

Stealing from one arts festival to pay for another is exactly the calculation the Conservatives want people to make. People who do are carrying water for Harper. Fact is, we should support both.
posted by bonehead at 9:14 AM on July 8, 2009 [3 favorites]


Sorry, I left my monocle and ivory cigarette holder in my other jockstrap. I mean, come on... one of the events is "Clam Slam 2009"

The Pride Week events list certainly doesn't contain anything overtly political. It seems plain that the accusation that the event is "political" is spurious. The Calgary Stampede is "political" too, except ranchers are not pariahs.
posted by Rat Spatula at 9:15 AM on July 8, 2009


Pride and the Stampede may have more in common than you think.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:17 AM on July 8, 2009


FuManchu: Yes, you have a point. Of course one doesn't have to dig too far to see them fund political groups that further their own twisted agenda.

But really, the overarching issue for Canadians is that the Harper Conservatives are so amateur and so narrow-ideologically driven that they aren't afraid to fund an event and then decry the event in the same breath.

Toronto Pride is huge. The tourism benefits are obvious and it is a worthy candidate for funding from this program.

Harper is an uncomfortable person, suffering from obvious personality disorders. This is only amplified with all this amateurish messing around with the economy, with culture, with IP and copyright, with resource management and with climate change.

Enough.
posted by sporb at 9:18 AM on July 8, 2009


Harper was born in Ontario.
posted by sporb at 9:18 AM on July 8, 2009


Ah, yes, the Tories under Harper: resource extraction for Jesus! No need for any other industry in Canada, and certainly no need for any cultural event that doesn't promote the traditional family of a man and his property.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 9:20 AM on July 8, 2009 [6 favorites]


wait, how could this be? i was told right here that canada was a shining beacon of liberalism and my country was a steaming cesspool of screwed up politics
posted by pyramid termite at 9:20 AM on July 8, 2009 [6 favorites]


The Prime Minister's Office states he ate the wafer.
posted by Quiplash at 9:22 AM on July 8, 2009


The Prime Minister's Office states he ate the wafer.

THAT'S EVEN WORSE!!!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:24 AM on July 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


Your country is a steaming cess pool of screwed up politics. There really isn't any comparison between Canada's level of lameness and what counts for politics in the US.
posted by chunking express at 9:24 AM on July 8, 2009 [3 favorites]


Isn't eating the cracker the second-worst thing he could have done? He's not Catholic, so it's verboten, no?

One thing I don't see discussed much is the "fundy Catholic" phenomenon. On road trips across Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri and so on, you can find low-power AM stations which are ostensibly Catholic but sound very holy-roller.

Is this a thing in Canada? Do Harper and his cohorts enjoy significant support from the Catholic church?
posted by Rat Spatula at 9:25 AM on July 8, 2009


He's not Catholic, so it's verboten, no?

Uh...Yes he is.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:34 AM on July 8, 2009


Yea, I'm gonna stop my contrarian defense. There's a whole lot of crazy behind this one issue.

Sys Rq, the Star article says: "Neil MacCarthy, a spokesperson for the Archdiocese of Toronto, explained that Harper should not have accepted the communion given that he isn't Roman Catholic."

Just a tip guys: don't consume other people's deities when you're in their church.
posted by FuManchu at 9:38 AM on July 8, 2009


Damn. I was sure he was a convert to Catholicism.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:42 AM on July 8, 2009


As an incredibly lapsed Catholic, my understanding is that non-papists can go up for communion and accept a blessing in lieu of noshing on the body of Christ. He should have had the sense to decline the host, and, if given it anyway, pocketing it and discreetly returning it to the proper authorities for disposal would be preferable than eating it.

In regards to Catholic political support, this Wikipedia article actually has a brief but decent little run down on regional religious/political affiliation in Canada. It's also important to note that Catholicism is practiced by more Canadians than all of those kooky forms of Protestantery combined. I could be wrong, but I think regionalism plays a greater part in Canadian politics.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:45 AM on July 8, 2009


On preview: Macleans piece on Harper's evangelical faith.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:46 AM on July 8, 2009


This is the first real slip that has received nation-wide attention where Harper's pro-neocon agenda has shown through.

That's funny, given that social conservatism has always been a pillar of the paleocon agenda and not so much the neocon. But of course that's fine when anything associated with conservatism is tossed around as a slur, without regard to substance or meaning.
posted by Krrrlson at 9:47 AM on July 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


While watching "Shame" which was posted yesterday I couldn't help but think that while this is shocking by today's standards this is essentially how gays are still treated today.
posted by caddis at 9:48 AM on July 8, 2009


Maybe his wife converted from Catholicism?
posted by Sys Rq at 10:04 AM on July 8, 2009


that's okay, I was just as sure Jack Van Impe was Canadian.
posted by Rat Spatula at 10:12 AM on July 8, 2009


"Shame The Intruder"
posted by caddis at 10:14 AM on July 8, 2009


I picture a BIOS society being full of cyborgs and/or computer nerds.

All checking out each other's hard drive.
posted by dirigibleman at 10:23 AM on July 8, 2009


Alvy Ampersand: I could be wrong, but I think regionalism plays a greater part in Canadian politics.

In fact, you are wrong. Well, you're both wrong and not wrong.

In terms of influence on government action at a first degree - by which I mean interest group lobbying and the like, and exclude second-order effects based on who wins elections - regionalism plays a greater part. Done and done.

The real question is what affects peoples' voting patterns. And there, it's been a long-standing fact that region and religion play about the same role for a voter (in the aggregate, obviously). Catholicism is liberal (perhaps Liberal), Protestantism is [C/c]onservative. This has been controlled against regions (so it's not just that protestants live in areas that are conservative, etc). However, there are exceptions. In Newfoundland (possibly PEI, sample size is small there) the affiliations of the religions are switched. And furthermore, in Quebec, religion plays less of a role in determining voter behaviour. This is due to other issues being more determinative - language, separatism, etc etc.

I should not that there is not a good consensus, or even good theories, on how this all is. It's common knowledge that religion doesn't play a huge role - common but wrong. There have been very good studies on the subject, but how it happens is still unknown. There'll be a bit of issue swinging (religion creating opinions on a given issue, which has a political party affiliated), some socialization (aka a random flicker of history), and a whole bunch of other things. In the last two elections the evangelical vote has been even stronger in this vein than one would expect from just its location on the end of the protestant spectrum - I'm sure nobody's surprised by that. And, of course, these are not the only two determiners - ethnicity increasingly plays a large role as a solid determiner - but they are the strongest.

Just asked a polisci prof for a brief overview, was about to write how AA was correct but decided to double-check. The above is roughly correct, all errors mine and not his.
posted by Lemurrhea at 10:24 AM on July 8, 2009


So technically, I'm a little wrong, but also sorta right, right? Right...?

Damn those double-checking poli-sci profs!

posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:40 AM on July 8, 2009


People who aren't Roman Catholic receive communion and believe that communion wafers concecrated by a Roman Catholic priest is just as sacred as a Roman Catholic would. Those people in Canada are often called Anglicans.

So theologically-speaking as an Anglican he could have taken Roman Catholic communion, no big deal. Harper is a member of the Christian and Missionary Alliance of Canada, which is not a denomination on its own with dogma and set beliefs, just a rough organization of evangelical groups, so we don't really know what his theological standpoint is.

Regardless, the Roman Catholic priest should not have offered it to him. It is Roman Catholic dogma that dictates that non-papists not receive communion, not anyone else's. It was a mistake on the part of the priest not Harper.
posted by Pollomacho at 10:42 AM on July 8, 2009


Except that the Roman Catholics specifically request that no one other than a Roman Catholic who has been baptized and confirmed take part in communion and to do so is an affront to the Roman Catholic Church, not that I have not affronted them, but then I am not a politician.
posted by caddis at 11:00 AM on July 8, 2009


You fucking Tory bastards.

I'm in my forties. I was raised on CBC television and radio and various school propaganda. I was given a dream of a country that was free, where people are equal, where there is a social support system that endeavours to give everyone the opportunity to try to achieve their dreams, a country of peace and tolerance and diversity.

And then we elect shitweasels like the federal Tories and the BC Liberals, and we flush all that good stuff down the sewer.

Angry. Thank god for home renovations. Must. Go. Smash. Things. Now.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:15 AM on July 8, 2009 [4 favorites]


Regardless, the Roman Catholic priest should not have offered it to him. It is Roman Catholic dogma that dictates that non-papists not receive communion, not anyone else's. It was a mistake on the part of the priest not Harper.

Yes, and since it is the Catholic belief that non-Catholics shouldn't receive communion, as a matter of respect, non-Catholics in Catholic churches should refrain from receiving communion. There are no Catholic ID cards, so it's not really the priest's mistake since it is not the priest's job to check everyone's Catholic credentials and figure out who is and is not Catholic. Basically priests rely on people attending the mass to be respectful and not receive communion unless they're Catholic.

That said, if you look at the video, you'll see that it looks like Stephen Harper meant to shake hands with the priest (presumably because not being Catholic he was a little confused by what was happening -- the priest approached him. Harper doesn't appear to be in line for communion). So he's confused, goes to shake hands, the priest hands him a host. Then he's confused and doesn't know what to do with it. He's basically in a no-win situation at this point since it's both disrespectful to eat it and disrespectful to pocket it. His best bet would have been to return it discreatly, but that would be hard and awkward.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 11:16 AM on July 8, 2009


Please understand, my pointing out that his communion gaffe was just his behaving awkwardly and making a mistake and then not knowing what to do about it is in no way meant to indicate that I think the federal tories are anything other than assholes destroying our country. Of course they're assholes destroying our country. But the communion thing was just a silly misunderstanding he didn't know how to fix after the fact.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 11:20 AM on July 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


Hey, what's a metafilter thread without a few tangents? ;-D
posted by Quiplash at 11:39 AM on July 8, 2009


Wingnuttery; it's not just for "somewhere else" any more. Canada's Prime Minister is presently attending a meeting of the world's G-8 leaders in Italy and here at home, our media and our "loyal Opposition" are going bonkers over "did he eat or stuff in his pocket" a communion wafer, the rabid coverage complete with slow-motion replay -- his right hand highlighted as though in a spotlight -- to rival the Zapruder film.

A few weeks ago, we had just committed to the biggest publicly-funded financial bailout of a private corporation (GM) in our history and the aforementioned howlers were ablaze with news that the Communications Director of our Minister of Natural Resources had left a tape recorder behind (six months earlier!) in a women's washroom on which the Minister could be heard characterizing one of her cabinet colleagues as a bit of a media wuss and calling the shortage of cancer-diagnostic medical isotopes (because of the forced shutdown of our ancient reactor that produces the things) a "sexy issue" that would assure her of lots and lots of high profile coverage.

In very short order, the Minister's Comm Director fell on her sword and the Minister tearfully apologized on national TV.

Prior to that, as our Finance Minister capped several months of utter fiscal ineptitude by finally admitting that we are about to incur the deepest deficit ever (these are Conservatives, remember, for whom over-the-top spending is supposed to be akin to eating crushed glass) -- when a few months earlier he had forecast "probably even a small surplus" in fiscal 09-10. And what were our media and Parliamentarians punditting about? Actually, they were wildly busy climbing up one side and down the other of a Liberal Member of Parliament -- a former Indian beauty queen -- because of allegations made by two Filipina ex live-in caregivers that they had been mistreated and emotionally abused by the MP's family while in their employ.

Even with the House on summer break, there may not be any kids playing in the sandbox at the moment, but that hasn't stopped the neighbourhood cats of all stripes from continuing to use it as a litterbox.

The lunacy goes on.
posted by Mike D at 11:42 AM on July 8, 2009 [3 favorites]


Here's a video of Stephen Harper not eating the host. I would say he was more at fault than the priest in this case. He stuck his hand out as if to receive the communion, albeit incorrectly, and then chose not to eat it. Perhaps he was too embarrassed to cross his arms and receive a blessing? Or perhaps he is just ignorant as to the customs of this particular sacrament. Whatever the case, not really a big deal.
posted by ageispolis at 11:56 AM on July 8, 2009


Oops, I see the penguin beat me to it.
posted by ageispolis at 11:59 AM on July 8, 2009


And then there was the firing of the person who was responsible for making sure that the reactor that provides medical isotopes for a good part of the world was safe to operate. She wanted to shut it down for a month or two for maintenance that would bring it back up to code.

The Harper [spit] government in its infinite wisdom canned her ass and kept it going. Consequently, it now needs to be shut down for six months or more for huge repairs — and, indeed, it's so broke that it may never be fixed.

Fucking Harper and his fucking goons. [spit]
posted by five fresh fish at 12:02 PM on July 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


Angry. Thank god for home renovations. Must. Go. Smash. Things. Now.

:)
posted by caddis at 12:07 PM on July 8, 2009


While we're on the subject of the ever-expanding list of the Harper government's travesties:

Worst record in the G8 on climate change! Woot!!!
posted by gompa at 12:30 PM on July 8, 2009


"I was sure he was a convert to Catholicism."

He is now!

Just kidding. Please don't send forth the inquisition Benedict.
posted by Mitheral at 12:58 PM on July 8, 2009


Harper's staff almost certainly would have briefed him on how to behave at a Catholic ceremony - and if they didn't, they should have. This is basic protocol stuff, and indeed, precisely what protocol is for.

Add to that the fact that virtually every priest who knows there are non-Catholics in the congregation will announce the "rules" before distributing communion, and there's no excuse for what Harper did.
posted by LN at 1:05 PM on July 8, 2009


Consequently, it now needs to be shut down for six months or more for huge repairs — and, indeed, it's so broke that it may never be fixed.

October or likely even longer.
posted by chugg at 1:20 PM on July 8, 2009


Ah, Tories. They drag our political discourse into the gutter, undermine the workings of our Parliamentary democracy, eradicate the transparency in government they so earnestly campaigned for. And the longer it goes on, the more apparent it becomes that Canada is being run by a bunch of dumbass n00bs. WhereTF is Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition when we need them to bring down a motherfucking House? IGGY! COME ON!! They should have been turfed 6 months ago!


He should have had the sense to decline the host, and, if given it anyway, pocketing it and discreetly returning it to the proper authorities for disposal would be preferable than eating it.

well, not disposal. After the host has been blessed, that there is a piece of Jesus. You can't just dispose of him. Someone else would have to eat him, or he would have to go in the tabernacle with the other surplus pieces of Jesus. Harper was just caught in an awkward moment. I'm sure it's all good; I hear Jesus forgives.
posted by emeiji at 1:20 PM on July 8, 2009


or he would have to go in the tabernacle with the other surplus pieces of Jesus

My very Methodist sister-in-law once asked if Jesus wasn't pissed that we kept locking him in that little box.

I love her.

</aside>
posted by elfgirl at 2:04 PM on July 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


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...

WHAT
posted by moonlet at 2:31 PM on July 8, 2009


"Gaybortions for some, tiny Canadian flags for others!"
posted by Rat Spatula at 2:37 PM on July 8, 2009


Sad to see the wingnut contagion is spreading northward quickly.

The Conservatives in Canada look like dinosaur elephants, or elephant dinosaurs. It's as if they didn't see the entire neocon universe collapse right under their pasty white noses.

Y'all should hope that they suffer a similar obliteration soon.
posted by rokusan at 2:37 PM on July 8, 2009


well, not disposal. After the host has been blessed, that there is a piece of Jesus.

He probably just had a big breakfast and thought to save a bit of christ to nibble later.

Alternate theory: voodoo rituals. That'll teach that longhair.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 5:38 PM on July 8, 2009


The question then becomes: is Pride Week actually politically active?

In a word, no. It used to be, and sure there are (increasingly fewer) consciousness-raising-type groups in the parade and wandering about afterwards, but the event is no longer political. I've mentioned before, but I have a bit of a grudge against Pride ever since they stopped having the parade end on the lawn of the provincial legislature. On the upside, they (finally) included trans people this year in a big and splashy way.

IGGY! COME ON!

Iggy knows that he is likely to lose what tenuous grasp he has on Liberal power if he does anything to jeopardise the seats they currently have in the Commons. Rae is waiting in the wings--quietly, yes, but he's fairly obviously going to be next. Admittedly, he'll just be a placeholder until Trudeau the Younger has time to cut his teeth on national politics a bit more, but still.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 9:49 PM on July 8, 2009


Except that the Roman Catholics specifically request that no one other than a Roman Catholic who has been baptized and confirmed take part in communion and to do so is an affront to the Roman Catholic Church

not true - policies vary from diocese to diocese, but at my father's funeral, the priest explicitly said that non-catholics were welcome to partake in communion if they wanted to

frankly, it's not as if they have some kind of magic wand they can wave over you to see if you're not catholic

harper was probably saving his for a black mass ...
posted by pyramid termite at 11:16 PM on July 8, 2009


Nothing so structured as that. Harper's just a stupid dick who thinks that if he apes the neocon dinosaurs in the USA, he'll get the same recognition and power that they bask in.

Think about that. It's fucking terrifying. My country is being run by a short-fingered vulgarian who thinks that GWB makes a good role model. And who somehow has the Cheneyesque ability to make checks and balances--the GG, for fuck's sake!---melt away.

The next election can't come soon e-fucking-nough, and unfortunately the timing is in Michael "I'm a grandstanding twat who will be turfed out if I force an election" Ignatieff's sweaty hands.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 11:25 PM on July 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


The Conservatives are 'reviewing' funding for Pride events. Quote from the article:

"The federal cabinet minister now responsible for giving Pride Week any new money said the government is reviewing the program to see what "value for money" it gives taxpayers.

Industry Minister Tony Clement told reporters that it's "appropriate" to review the Marquee Tourism Events Program after its first year, a review he suggested had nothing to do with its controversial sponsorship of Toronto's gay pride parade.

"We always want to make sure that we have value for taxpayer money," he told reporters at the G8 summit.

A Conservative MP suggested in an interview published this week that the program was pulled from the junior minister for small business and tourism, Diane Ablonczy, because she provided $400,000 for Pride Week — to the shock and dismay of her Conservative caucus colleagues and the social conservatives that back the party.

Clement, asked whose "values" the government was looking after and whether it was a question of "social values," said the government is looking to ensure "value on behalf of Canadians. Value in terms of a monetary value because we put money in and we expect that this will be helpful to our economy.
"

There is absolutely no question that urban centres (mor elikely to vote NDP or Liberal than Conservative) do gain "monetary value" from Pride events, especially the biggest cities like Vancouver, Montréal, and Toronto. The Conservatives' have a significant portion of their elected seats from rural Canada and Alberta, neither or which is known for its open-mindedness towards the GLBTQ population. (Alberta was the last province in Canada to enact same-sex marriage, with then-provinical-premier Ralph Klein moaning all the while about he was "forced" to do it, his hands were tied, don't blame us, etc.)

The Conservatives can't break through from minority to majority government without a breakthroughs in the more liberal Ontario and Québec ridings, especially the urban centres. But if they are seen to be supporting events like gay pride festivals, they risk losing their hardcore conservative voters in the rural ridings. Which may explain some of their schizophrenic behaviours on so-called "family values" issues.

Thank God the whole Canadian same-sex marriage issue was so legally locked down that the Tories couldn't fiddle with it; even so, Stephen Harper mused openly about enacting a very rare Charter of Rights and Freedoms override to tear that law down. I shudder to think what would happen to this country if they formed a majority government.
posted by Quiplash at 10:22 AM on July 9, 2009


The next election can't come soon e-fucking-nough, and unfortunately the timing is in Michael "I'm a grandstanding twat who will be turfed out if I force an election" Ignatieff's sweaty hands.

Ignatieff's strategy is incomprehensible to me. Drifting steadily to the right, supporting Bill C-15 and expansion of the tar sands, and failing to oppose just about anything as Opposition. Whatever this next election brings, it won't be an improvement.
posted by mek at 1:46 PM on July 9, 2009


There is absolutely no question that urban centres (mor elikely to vote NDP or Liberal than Conservative) do gain "monetary value" from Pride events, especially the biggest cities like Vancouver, Montréal, and Toronto.

Based on anecdata from contacts in the sales offices of every major downtown Toronto hotel, Pride is a guaranteed period of at least two weeks of 100% capacity. It is responsible for more room nights than something like the three largest conferences in Toronto combined. That is leaving aside the usual residual spending from Torontonians heading downtown for Pride, the usual tourist spending (restaurants, shopping), the insane amount of money that flows through PRISM (the company that puts together the major dance parties alongside Pride), the capacity (and then some) crowds at the bars and clubs during the week, the enormous amount of money spent on security, Paid Duty Officers, etc (all of which goes into their pockets and then recirculates around the GTA)... the list goes on. For the Tories to even pretend to have to review the financial impact of Pride to the city is to lay shockingly bare their disgusting prejudices.

Ignatieff's strategy is incomprehensible to me. Drifting steadily to the right, supporting Bill C-15 and expansion of the tar sands, and failing to oppose just about anything as Opposition. Whatever this next election brings, it won't be an improvement.

Iggy knows that he is unelectable as PM. (Yes yes, we don't elect the PM directly, but the face of the leader of the party matters, and Iggy has zero connection to the average Canadian). I posited above that he also knows Bob Rae is the next leader of the party, and can almost certainly pull off a majority win. Perhaps not a Chretienesque win (aka 'bootfuck the Tories'), but a significant majority nonetheless. Iggy's ego, unfortunately, won't allow him to step aside.

Really I'm just waiting for Trudeau the Younger to usher in a new era of red across the country.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 2:05 PM on July 9, 2009


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