2 min

All in the name of “regional fairness”

I’ll give you three guesses what I spent my day yesterday working on – and the first two don’t count. That’s right – it was all about Divers/cité not getting their Marquee Tourism Event Program funding, though they had been virtually assured of it.

But this was a story that had the whole Press Gallery abuzz, and how could it not? There were so many angles to cover and try and decode – though I really have to commend the team at Maclean’s for their excellent coverage.

  • Paul Wells looks at how ridiculous it is that they announce the funding three days in advance when the aim of the programme is to bring in tourists from abroad – which is pretty much impossible to do if you only have three days of additional funding. Yesterday it was funds for the Ottawa Chamber Music Festival being announced, again days before it is due to begin. (Black and Blue's Robert Vezina had choice words in my interview with him).
  • Kady O’Malley draws the links between Charles McVety et al’s writing campaign to stop the funding of “sex parades” and the fact that all festivals funding now announced is conspicuously “family friendly.”
  • On a Calgary talk radio show, Tony Clement says that it’s not homophobia, just regional fairness, because Quebec is getting so much of the funding.
  • In The Canadian Press, Pablo Rodriguez calls bullshit on that talking point.
  • The Bloc’s Carole Lavallee similarly isn’t buying it, links this to the cuts to cultural funding and adds “this Conservative government is once again taking an axe to everything that doesn’t pass through its ideological and sanctimonious filter.” Oh, snap!

Elsewhere, the Liberal Party’s national director embarks today on his 23 trip – that is, he’s departing today (the 23rd) in support of Michael Ignatieff (the would-be 23rd Prime Minister) from Kingston, to travel the 23 locks along the Rideau Canal to its finish in Ottawa. Along the way, he’ll get Liberal supporters to pledge multiples of $23, or sign up 23 new members, or volunteer 23 hours, or so on. Rossi had success with similar undertakings when he was with Ontario’s Heart and Stroke Foundation, so he’s no doubt hoping that he’ll be as successful this time around.

As well, the EI “working group” met again yesterday, and well, nobody’s talking. But I will reiterate that we shouldn’t be holding our breath for results.

That Toronto woman trapped in Kenya? It looks like she’ll be able to take a DNA test so that her DNA and that of her ex-husband will be compared to their 12-year-old son in Toronto. It may take a couple of weeks to get results (hey, this is real life – not CSI), but at least it’ll keep her out of a Kenyan jail or from being deported to Somalia in the meantime.

And finally, for as much as we may bitch and moan about how dysfunctional our Parliament is, at least we don’t end debates with all-out brawls, like they did in South Korea. Ouch!