Thursday, July 09, 2009

Gay pride editorials 

I think Canadian arts organizers can say bye bye to all those other grants which had been given to gay organizations across the country, now that these are also going to be on the Religious Right target list. This government has never cared a nickel about Canadians who don't vote for them, like all those artsy types with their galas and all that.
Here's a round up of today's editorials on the Cons anti-gay agenda. Basically, the editorial writers cannot believe that the Cons still think this way -- they keep asking Harper to straighten things out.
But he won't.
Because they actually do think this way.
The Saskatoon Star Phoenix editorial demands an explanation for Brad Trost's anti-gay pandering:
Either Mr. Trost was ignorantly counting on his comments made to an interest group website not getting wide publicity or he felt that he had the backing of the Conservative caucus in making pronouncements that once again shine a bright beam into the dark corners of the party's ideological anteroom, but surely this isn't what Prime Minister Stephen Harper wants as he contemplates the likelihood of a fall election.
. . . Ms. Ablonczy did nothing wrong in treating the Pride Toronto application like any other, instead of flagging it for the attention of the likes of Mr. Trost, who seem to think the Conservative MPs only represent a segment of the population when they get to Parliament, not all Canadians. Most citizens of this country have long accepted that gays are part of the mainstream society, as the popularity of events such as the pride parades across Canada demonstrates.
. . . it's time that Prime Minister Harper explains what's going on . . . At a juncture, when the Saskatchewan government is trying to tiptoe its way around gay rights and a racially motivated attack on a black man in British Columbia is making headlines, the last thing Canadians need is for their governing Conservatives to be seen regressing to the days when a Reform MP justified putting "ethnics and gays at the back of the shop."
The Toronto Star ignores all the lying about how Ablonczy's removal wasn't connected to the Pride dustup:
Apparently without fear of reprimand, a member of Prime Minister Stephen Harper's cabinet can produce an economic statement filled with fictitious forecasts (Jim Flaherty), tell Toronto to "f--- off" (John Baird), leave a classified document behind at a TV studio (Lisa Raitt), get caught on tape describing cancer as "sexy" and dissing a colleague (Raitt again), and make bad jokes about listeriosis (Gerry Ritz).
But let a minister dare to hand out a cheque to the organizers of Toronto's annual Pride Week and . . . she is cut off at the knees.
Tourism Minister Diane Ablonczy is the victim here. She has been publicly humiliated and stripped of responsibility for distributing funds from the government's $190 million Marquee Tourism Events Program after Pride Week received a $397,500 grant.
A major fixture on Toronto's calendar, Pride Week clearly fits the program's criteria as "an annually recurring world-class event that is well established (and) generates significant levels of tourism and aims to attract a significant amount of international media attention to Canada as a tourism destination."
Pride Week has also evolved from a form of political protest to a celebration, with mainstream politicians joining the parade. But social conservatives in Harper's caucus, who have not evolved themselves, cried foul over Ablonczy's grant to Pride Week.
. . . It says much about Harper that he felt obliged to kowtow to caucus members who have not yet entered the 21st century.
And the Globe and Mail also editorializes about the Cons homophobia:
What appears to have irked some Conservatives is that Ms. Ablonczy treated the pride funding as just another announcement, rather than flagging it to colleagues and higher-ups as potentially controversial. But Pride Toronto is one of the biggest annual tourist draws in the country, with last year's festival reportedly earning $91-million in tourism revenue. It was previously named the country's best festival by the Canadian Special Events Industry. There is no suggestion that there was anything improper about its funding application, which met all criteria laid out in the MTEP guidelines.
When gay Canadians were fighting for civil rights, Mr. Trost's claim that Pride is "more political than touristic in nature" might have been valid (although it was certainly a cause worth fighting for). But now that those rights have been achieved, and gays and lesbians widely accepted into mainstream society, Pride is much more a celebration than a protest. Its centrepiece parade is not to everyone's taste, but it nevertheless draws hundreds of thousands of revellers, many of them heterosexual. Insofar as this year's event had a political focus, it was mostly to draw attention to the terrible human-rights abuses faced in other countries - abuses that the vast majority of Canadians would condemn.
The Conservatives have come a great distance in setting aside concerns that they will allow the social conservatism of some party members to dictate government policy. Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who has shown little appetite for pursuing that agenda, would be wise to make clear that it is Ms. Ablonczy, not Mr. Trost, who speaks for the government.
And Kelly McPharland at the National Post notes:
One of the more peculiar tendencies of Stephen Harper's government is its need from time to time to engage in ill-conceived, self-defeating, politically senseless demonstrations of its ideological virility, as if seized by the need to let the world know that -- polite as it has learned to behave while running the country -- it still has some pretty stupid ideas.. . . Mr. Harper was never going to win a lot of votes in left-wing Toronto, but if he'd set out to deliberately offend the city and supply his critics with material to use against him, he couldn't have done a better job. All the billion-dollar subsidies to transit systems, and the tight-smiled photo-ops with Dalton McGuinty, are a waste of time if the Prime Minister is going to insist on feeding the misconception that Tories are troglodytes...
But Kelly, its NOT a misconception.

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