Thursday, May 26, 2011

Toronto Under Ford - Pride 'won't get a penny' Until After Event

On Tuesday, May 24, Toronto's city council held a special executive meeting to debate funding Pride this year.

Last year not only saw mismanagement of the event by Pride Toronto executives, the organization also exhausted any reserve budget and left Pride Toronto about $109,000 in the red. That was the far more interesting story that came after the event. Before and during last year's Pride it was all about Queers Against Israeli Apartheid.

For a group that I feel had a lot more to say about Israel and Palestine than any issues central to queer expression and equality, QAIA sure created a big fuss. In the end there was much friction between the group and the Jewish Defense League as the Parade moved along its time honoured (tired?) route, but nothing more serious than that.

Queers Against Israeli Apartheid succeeded in pissing off several city councilors, including noted blowhard Giorgio Mammoliti, who has at various times mused about how nice it would be to arm bylaw officers and how great a red light district (preferably on the Toronto Islands) would be, with the intent of keeping illegal brothels out of his own riding (all the better to visit them discreetly). The red light district idea would win me over if not for the fact that Mammoliti was a strong critic of same sex marriage during his time as an Ontario parliamentarian in Bob Rae's NDP government.

Now Mammoliti says, “Some of us will be watching carefully, and we’ll determine later whether or not (Pride) should get funds."

I would actually approve if the city pulled Pride's funding. Let them go insolvent I say. Board members showed extremely poor judgment by picking Sandilands to run the show. Thankfully, Toronto's queer media never let her out of their sights for long. Even though Pride laid off six staff members in July 2010, they still paid Sandilands' partner some $40,000 for consulting and newsletter work. Two of Pride's board members even approved her for the work.

With that kind of stupidity and nepotism I say throw them all out. Let Pride go back to the people - local Village businesses will fund a smaller celebration, but it will be ours. Not TD Bank's Pride, not Trojan Condoms Pride,
our Pride. And if Pride Toronto holds rights to the name, let them have it. We have enough creative queers in this city to come up with something that would really rock your rainbow coloured socks.

Instead we get a grandstanding politician and promises of 'conditional' funding - how sad.

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