City hall likely to cut funding for Pride 2011

City hall likely to cut funding for Pride 2011

Church Street during Pride ’09 (Alfred Ng)

Pride Toronto, which didn’t exactly have a stellar year in 2010, looks to be heading into a nasty 2011. City hall, now run by Rob Ford and a party hostile to both Pride and Queers Against Israeli Apartheid, are holding the purse strings. Of course, this isn’t just about the LGBT festival—we speculate that it’ll be a bad year for any group that’s going to the city for a handout because of the looming, and growing, 2011 budget gap—but Pride has an especially difficult hill to climb.

According to Xtra:

Ward 33’s Shelley Carroll didn’t mince words when Xtra paid her a visit in her city council office March 15. “The experiences of last year has made it so that everyone’s afraid to even talk about Pride,” she says. “That’s the sad situation that we’re in right now. That whole issue has became so explosive.”

Pride Week is at the top of the list of Toronto’s big summer tourist draws, she says. “Mayor Ford needs that community to be happy with him… Pride and Caribana can’t be ignored at this point, and the mayor will cut their funding at his peril.”

Carroll was also quick to point out that Ford has a “conservative voting bloc” on council who will vote the way he tells them to.

It’s worth pointing out that Giorgio Mammoliti, one of the mayor’s most ardent supporters (for now), ran against funding Pride last year over the QUAIA debacle. Rob Ford seconded Mammoliti’s motion to take back the festival’s grant. So the fact that council’s conservative caucus is now in charge, and that, apparently, political amnesia doesn’t kick in until the 24-month mark, means that Pride is likely to see its funding “taken away completely or reduced significantly,” according to Norm Kelly.

• Prospects grim for Pride Toronto funding, city councillors say [Xtra!]