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Vancouver Pride not eligible for federal government funding

Operating budget doesn't meet minimum requirements

Vancouver Pride is not eligible to receive federal government funding similar to the $400,000 that was announced for Toronto Pride two weeks ago.

Conservative Minister of State for Small Business and Tourism Diane Ablonczy announced the Toronto funding as part of the $100-million Marquee Tourism Events Program.

“Today’s funding announcement will not only benefit the festival but also the thousands of local businesses that provide services to event attendees,” said Ablonczy in a press release. “The Government of Canada is proud to show its commitment to the tourism industry, particularly during this difficult economic period.”

While the Vancouver Pride Society did look into the program, president Ken Coolen says there’s a catch to getting the money. “In order to qualify, you have to have a $500,000 operating budget,” he says. “A lot of our budget is done in kind, so we don’t have a $500,000 operating budget.”

Coolen says such funding is something the society keeps an eye on to see if it’s eligible. But Vancouver just isn’t at the Toronto level yet, he says. 

Both cities’ weeklong Pride events attract hundreds of thousands of people not only from local areas but also from the United States and around the world.

Vancouver Centre Liberal MP Hedy Fry says Vancouver Pride meets almost all the other requirements for the funding. She says she’ll be calling Ablonczy to see what can be done about the situation.

“We need to look at this as a huge boon to this city and see if we can’t qualify for it next year,” Fry says. “This is an event that can bring tourists and we should be marketing for it.”

Through the Marquee program, the federal government is investing $100 million over two years to assist marquee events across the country. It says the funding will help event organizers expand their reach and promote Canada as a must-see tourist destination.