3 min

Not funding Toronto Pride isn’t ideological – really!

As they often try to do when they’re looking to keep something under the radar, the Conservatives released the list of just who will be getting funds as part of the Marquee Tourism Funding program. And guess who wasn’t on that list? Toronto Pride – or any other Pride Festival in Canada for that matter. Not that this should be a surprise, given the way that Diane Ablonczy had the tourism file stripped from her portfolio after she gave Pride funding last year, and several social conservatives went running to pro-life websites (though Nancy Ruth denied that this was as big of a deal in caucus as it was made out to be).

What is especially galling, however, is the way in which the Conservatives are trying to explain this away. Oh, it’s just us trying to be fair to everyone, and we’re only giving two allotments to each city, and we want to spread the wealth, so not everyone’s going to get the funding a second time around. But then Tony Clement said that it was a new application process this year, so that didn’t guarantee the same results. Except this was contradicted by Tracey Sandilands, the executive director of Pride Toronto, who told Power & Politics that it was the same process as last year, which made it all the more baffling why they would be denied this year, unless it was a decision based on ideology. Not that the Conservatives’ pet apologists aren’t trying to make their other excuses, like the Queers Against Israeli Apartheid debate, though the fact that it’s had zero register in Ottawa makes me sincerely doubt this as a possible excuse for their possibly denying the funding (and if that was the case, it would go along with their ideological bent as the party has strong backers in the Christian Zionist ranks). Suffice to say, their excuses don’t hold water.

During Friday’s Question Period, Libby Davies took the lead for the NDP and asked after The Lancet’s editorial condemning the Canadian government on the issue of abortions abroad. Rona Ambrose quoted World Vision facts on child mortality as her defence. The problem with this? World Vision isn’t exactly a credible source when you consider that they have an explicitly religious mandate that goes along with their foreign aid programs. Considering the position of most religions on the issue of abortion, it’s hard to consider their advice as unbiased or scientific. (Carolyn Bennett later picked up on that point, as did Nicole Guay).

Davies also asked after the issue of releasing Tommy Douglas’s files from CSIS. Dave MacKenzie said it was before the courts, but reminded the House that CSIS is arm’s length and the files predated their existence.

Michael Ignatieff has been sworn in as a member of the Privy Council, and can now be addressed as “The Honourable Michael Ignatieff.”

CBC Radio’s Alison Crawford sits down with Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin to talk about her 10 years as Chief Justice, and it’s a worthwhile listen.

Careful not to leave any moral panic untended, the Conservatives plan to unveil their legislation to tighten the federal pardon system on Tuesday.

Funding for rural broadband internet access seems to be in place, which I’m sure is great news for queers in the more remote parts of this country.

And finally, some video of Senator Nancy Ruth’s now-infamous (and widely misquoted) comments has come to light. CBC had some of it here (it’s at the 59:15 mark) – but if anyone can find the source video online and pass along the URL, I would be ever so grateful.

Up today – Bill Siksay’s Private Members’ Bill, Bill C-389, on gender identity and expression, comes up for its first hour of debate, and I will be in the House to cover it.
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