3 min

Brad vs. Diana

It’s quite something when Toronto Pride has the whole of the Parliamentary Press Gallery talking. But it’s not the festival itself – rather the suggestion that the government’s giving $400,000 to the festival (ostensibly to improve access for the disabled, to improve the outdoor venues and to bring in Kelly Rowland) has cost the Minister of State for Small Business and Tourism the file that gives out such donations.

Saskatchewan backbencher Brad Trost told the religious pro-life site LifeSiteNews that the caucus was up in arms over this suggestion, which another Conservative caucus member told The Canadian Press was pure fiction – that perhaps five of two hundred caucus members stood up to object. Hardly a caucus revolt.

(Shameless plug – my story for Xtra.ca is here).

But while you digest all of the various aspects that the combined Press Gallery dug up (and it was pretty impressive in all), I have to give snaps to Maclean’s Paul Wells, who recounted the rather bizarre tale of just what has happened with the whole Marquee Tourism Events Program all along – that money comes in at the last minute, but that it can’t possibly generate additional tourists because there simply isn’t the time to get the word out, for example. Now, granted, in my interview with the Director of Montreal’s Divers/cité, she pointed out that no one thought that the department could have possibly gotten the money out the door in time for this summer’s events, and yet they did, so they should be commended for that. And as Wells points out, Ablonczy’s job in this case was very much to shovel bags of money out the door, and she did. But he puts it best when he said “But it turns out that not all Marquee Tourism Events are created equal. Diane Ablonczy has learned that lesson. So have we all.” Truer words were not spoken.

Elsewhere, this story about a judge forgoing the legislated prohibition against conditional sentencing for sexual assault offences in the case of a serial bum pincher reminds me of Bill C-34, which would see mandatory inclusion on the sex offender registry. Laws like C-34 tend to treat all sexual offences as created equal, but cases like this serial bum-pincher prove that’s not the case. Here, it’s a man with a problem – in this case, mental health issues and a diagnosis of frotteurism. Does he necessarily deserve to be locked up or placed on a sex offender registry and a national DNA database? You wouldn’t think so, but that may be what ends up happening.

Also, the verdict is in for this year’s Stampede fashions, and apparently Elizabeth May won. Quite a change after last year – though May jokes it was because she was humiliated last year. (Couldn’t find a photo – sorry).

The “expert” consulted by The Canadian Press said that Layton came a close second, but I think he should have lost a whole lot more points for that stupid bandana he insisted on wearing. (And no, it’s not stupid because it’s got a party logo on it – though that doesn’t help. Just the fact that he’s wearing a frigging bandana around his neck is the style crime).

Harper and Ignatieff came in third and fourth, which I get. Harper, though he may represent a Calgary riding, is still a transplant from suburban Toronto, who never did quite fit into the cowboy mode. (Not that most of the accountants playing cowboy in Calgary do either, but that’s beside the point). But really – check the paunch. I mean, Harper has done pretty well in shedding the pounds over the past few months, but this was not the most flattering look.

And Ignatieff? Not really western enough, apparently, and he didn’t even wear a hat. I’m sure one could make a “Just Visiting” crack here, but it seems a little too easy – and obvious.

(The Canadian Press’ video is here).

Up today: Michael Ignatieff is off in London to deliver the annual Isaiah Berlin Lecture for Liberal International and Canada Club. He’ll be there for four days, to also meet with several UK political representatives to talk about such issues as the global recession, Afghanistan, the G8 and so on.