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Pride planning board full with eight new faces

Financial pressures gradually easing

CAPITAL PRIDE 08. Ken James, Walter Murray, Sapphire Champagne, Joseph Jacques, Alan Chaffe, Joanne Law, Doug Saunders, Marion Steele and Daniel Génier. Credit: (Bradley Turcotte)

The Richmond Room in City Hall was overflowing with original ideas and colourful suggestions as the board of Capital Pride elected new leaders and contemplated the year ahead.

New board members include Ken James, Sapphire Champagne, Joseph Jacques, Alan Chaffe, Walter Murray, Doug Saunders and Daniel Génier. They will join longtime members Marion Steele and Joanne Law.

“I’m pleased that we have a full board and I’m looking forward to see what ideas they have for the new year,” says Steele.

Popular chair Gordon Boissonneault chose to step down from the board, declining another nomination. Boissonneault will however stay involved with Pride as a volunteer.

“I’m thrilled with the outcome, that we have 10 members on the board,” says Boissonneault. “We haven’t had a full board since I’ve been involved with Pride.”

The hopefuls fielded questions from the floor about their qualifications and what they hope to bring to the table. Boissonneault says being on the board is a very demanding process and hopes newly elected members are ready for arduous months ahead.

“These new people should be ready to hit the ground running,” says Boissonneault.

The slate were elected at Capital Pride’s Oct 24 Annual General Meeting. Also at the meeting, the outgoing board discussed the financial situation of Ottawa’s biggest gay party.

The festival has all expenses paid in full and generated a surplus of $12,004. That money will be used to pay some debts from previous years and to provide cashflow for the 2008 planners. For the first time in several years, all performers were paid and acts from outside Ottawa were brought in.

The board explained what lead to the financial success of the weeklong bash. Some of the highlights:

The number of non-gay organizations sponsoring Pride increased. Meanwhile the Lookout, the Buzz and Capital Xtra remained the lead sponsors from within the queer community.

Many third-party events were held throughout the year to help fund Pride, notably Swirl and Twirl (wine tasting) and Proud Chicks (a women’s dance) which each brought in over $1000.

“If everyone had a dinner party and charged their friends twenty dollars at the door, we could raise even more money for next year,” encouraged Boissonneault.

While other events like Hallowqueen and Touché’s Tainted Tuesdays also helped out, a contribution from the city also provided a much-needed boost.

Laura Cyr, a cultural planner with the City of Ottawa’s festivals, fairs and special events division says the $12,000 grant the Pride board received demonstrates that the city is recognizing the change.

“The jury saw the commitment and shift the Pride board is undergoing. Hopefully that momentum will keep going,” said Cyr.

Taking all things into consideration, Law, who has been involved with Pride since 1994, thinks 2008 will be the best year yet.

“Next year will be bigger, better, happier, more fun, neater,” said Law. “It’s going to be great; we’re going to have the best festival ever.”