Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Pride and (anti-Israel) Prejudice

After the hullabaloo over funding for last year's Toronto Pride parade (the sticking point: the participation of the Big Lie crowd, LGBT wing, a.k.a. QuAIA), Xtra reports that the province has just coughed up its share of the dough for this year's extravaganza, while the city has yet to come through:
Pride Toronto (PT) can breathe a sigh of relief after being given $400,000 by the province, but the organization is still waiting for word on cash from the City of Toronto.

The latest funding, announced on March 3, is part of the province’s Celebrate Ontario grant.

“This definitely relieves some of the pressures going into the 2011 festival,” says PT fundraising director Ryan Lester. “There’s always a fear the funding doesn’t come through. It’s an annual application. As with all our public sources of funds, there’s some uncertainty. But we’re happy this grant has come through. It’s a big one.”

It is one of the largest grants PT receives, Lester says. The next largest funding source is the City of Toronto’s Tourism Toronto grant at $125,000, which is still up in the air.

The Celebrate Ontario grant is aimed at “improving the visitor experience to Ontario. So they are increasing the quality or number of toilets onsite, security, entertainers, for example. It allows festivals to provide better customer service all around,” Lester says.

The Celebrate Ontario grant is up $100,000 from last year. Lester says PT was eligible for a maximum of $300,000.

PT has received the Celebrate Ontario grant for the past three years.

“We’ve received the maximum we’ve applied for each year,” says Lester...
That's our pathetic "progressive" province for you--plenty of quality toilets, with no strings attached. As for those knuckle-draggers in charge of our city...

Meanwhile, at city hall, Ward 27 Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam told Xtra Councillor James Pasternak stood in council March 8 to make a statement condemning the term “Israeli apartheid.” Calling it “shameful discourse,” his statement specifically addressed Israeli Apartheid Week, which runs this week.

“It is an offensive and repugnant event that uses the suffering under the old apartheid regime in South Africa to demonize the state of Israel and its supporters,” Pasternak says, in a copy of the statement obtained by Xtra. “This event and the rhetoric of its organizers are undermining the peace process.”

Wong-Tam says Pasternak is “setting the tone for the motion to defund Pride Toronto to hit the floor” in the near future.

Also, the week of March 1, Mayor Rob Ford repeated his election pledge to the Canadian Jewish News: “Taxpayer dollars should not go toward funding hate speech." He said Pride Toronto will not be funded if Queers Against Israeli Apartheid is allowed to participate.

Wong-Tam says she is a "lonely" progressive voice on council.

“There is a very good chance we will lose the vote on council,” Wong-Tam says. “I think the community needs to start talking about this now.”

Last year PT received $123,807 from the city.
I say give 'em the cash and let 'em march--but only if they agree to make Muammar Gaddafi (who may not be officially gay, but who sure has the kind of wardrobe that would allow him to pass for it) the Grand Marshall.

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