Mercedes Allen

Canadian Minister Tries to Salvage a Little Pride

Filed By Mercedes Allen | July 09, 2009 4:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics

Canada's Minister of State for Small Business and Tourism, Diane Ablonczy, recently saw the Marquee Tourism Events Program (an economic stimulus package designed to encourage major tourism events such as the Calgary Stampede and the Montreal International Jazz Festival) taken from her portfolio and turned over to Industry Minister, Tony Clement.

The spin from the reigning Conservative government, of course, says that this is because Ablonczy is just too busy, while Clement, who is looking at forecasts of a serious surge in unemployment in an economic crisis, has nothing better to do than administer the program.

This all happened silently, a few weeks ago, without fanfare... shortly after Ablonczy announced a nearly $400,000 grant to the Toronto Gay Pride festival.

If that sounds fishy to you, you probably won't be too surprised that word of the change in administering the program only leaked out after BigCity Lib noticed that Conservative backbencher Brad Trost ran over to the right-wing website to brag that Ablonczy was being demoted for making the grant.

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.

But it was still a fair decision to fund the event. Pride Toronto in fact met all of the requirements, and being that it has estimated over 250,000 in annual attendance, it is a noteworthy tourist festival -- not to mention a huge photo-op for rival party leaders. Says organizers:

Pride Toronto went through the same stringent application process as all other recipients and Industry Canada was extremely thorough in checking details before approval was granted. We are proud of the fact that we were successful when judged objectively against the criteria for the grant. The $397,500 that was awarded to Pride was allocated for specific items such as improved access for disabled people, infrastructure spending and top calibre entertainment.

Naturally, everyone from bloggers to the MSM are decrying the decision as politically based and catering to the far right wing base that the Conservative Party re-emerged from, while flying the Reform banner.

What's more is that there are two more Pride events with applications for funding in, and not decided upon yet. What are the chances...? The Conservatives, after all, are making like the decision to remove the file from Ablonczy's oversight had nothing to do with the decision to grant money to Toronto Pride.

Meanwhile, the Toronto Star is reporting that the grant "sparked a crisis at the highest levels of the Harper government" and that Ablonczy's attendance of the event only inflamed matters.

It was seen as a poke in the eye" to social conservatives, said one senior insider, noting the Prime Minister is wary of alienating a key part of his base.

And Tourism Minister Diane Ablonczy, who was reportedly pulled into a private meeting and raked over the coals by several MPs for the decision, has learned what moderates in the Alberta Conservative Party have already found out: governance is slowly being turned over to the churchies and exceptions will not be tolerated.

(Crossposted to DentedBlueMercedes)

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The governments recent actions in demoting the honourable minister is wrong-headed in my opinion and rather short-sighted! This government is not even supported by a majority of eligible voters but by a bare majority of those that did vote. Regardless, they are constitutionally required to represent ALL Canadians, not just those that support them. We are hearing about one scandal after another that this goverment and its prime minister is embroiled in. We'll like not hear the last. Stay tuned for more!

...'a poke in the eye to social conservatives'?
And what would it have been if Toronto Pride had been denied the funding because it was for a parade for LGBTs? Answer: 'An act of bigotry'.

Wow...What wankers.

My home province of Saskatchewan is also playing fast and loose with the BS: they're trying to get it through the courts that if you're a marriage commissioner you can refuse to marry same-sex couples.
Thhhbttt!!!! (Sorry, that's the only response I can think of that sums up my feeling for this 'poke in the eye'.)