Pride Toronto has been denied any funding this year from the federal government. The festival, which had previously been supported with federal tourism programs, brought in an estimated $100 million in tourism dollars last year, most of which was subject to GST/PST.
This denial of funds is not much of a surprise considering the Conservative’s attack on gay festivals last year. Diane Ablonsky was removed from her position immediately after announcing that she had allocated $400,000 to Pride Toronto to help make the festival events more accessible to people with disabilities. Immediately after, the Tories cut funding to Montréal’s Divers/Cité festival and the Black and Blue festival.
Don’t think that these cuts were across the board, mind you. The federal government has still allocated $100,000,000 over two years to support tourism in Canada. Industry Minister Tony Clement touted the program as representing “every corner of Canada,” but I guess gays aren’t in one of those corners, since not a single gay cultural event is represented.
Here are a few of the things that are:
- Burlington’s Ribfest will get $98,610
- The Gatineau balloon festival will be receiving $170,000
- The Ontario Plowmen’s Association will receive $255,460
- The Norfolk Horse Show will get $171,000
- Old Home Week will receive $134,888
And let’s not forget the Calgary Stampede, which will receive $1,001,625. That’s only $80,000 less than the second balloon festival being given federal funds this year, the Saint-Jean-sur-Richeliu balloon festival, at $1,082,100.
Well, I sure hope some of those balloons are rainbow-coloured, because that’s about as gay as it’s going to get this year.