Ford finally takes yes for an answer in Pride Toronto funding controversy
Well, this proved to be a pleasant surprise at council yesterday: instead of insisting on new funding conditions for Pride Toronto, Rob Ford and his executive committee decided to proceed with the status quo—for now, at least. This ought to be good news for everybody: Queers Against Israeli Apartheid aren’t going to march in the parade this year; Pride still receives city funds; and Giorgio Mammoliti is on the record defending Israel from its critics.
From the CBC:
A city staff report in April had ruled the term “Israeli Apartheid” does not violate the city’s anti-discrimination policy, and that funding for Pride should not be contingent on the participation of QuAIA. But some councillors, including Doug Holyday and Giorgio Mammoliti, disagreed…
But after hearing assurances from Pride Toronto on Tuesday that it would escort QuAIA members from Pride-sanctioned events, Mammoliti decided against introducing such a motion.
City funds are still being held until the festival ends, so it’s actually not a sure thing quite yet. But if the parade and other Pride events go according to plan, the issue should be put to rest—at least until next year.
In addition to cheering on Ford and Mammoliti for letting this one go, we’d like to single out Peter Milczyn for earning some sanity points last night. While Milczyn stopped short of supporting QuAIA’s message, he did decry any effort to silence it. “Once you censor one group, one idea, even if you disagree with it violently, it starts a slippery slope,” he said. “Because what will be the next idea, the next group?”
It’s a shame that we’re not sure that’s a sentiment everyone at city hall can actually get behind.
• Pride likely to receive city funding after threats over controversial group [Toronto Star]
• Pride funding safe for now, city to monitor Queers Against Israeli Apartheid [City News]
• Pride funding approved by city committee [CBC]
• Executive does not impose additional restrictions on Pride [National Post]
6 thoughts on “Ford finally takes yes for an answer in Pride Toronto funding controversy”
While I agree that censorship creates a slippery slope, I disagree with your comments relating to Milczyn in this particular article. The purpose of the Pride Parade is to celebrate and embrace homosexuality.
QuAIA’s mission is solely to bring ‘Israeli Apartheid’ to light, and is using the Pride Parade as a vehicle to do so. According to your logic, I can decide that there are too many Asians in Canada and then apply to have a ‘Canadians against Asian Immigration’ float on the Christmas parade.
When a group such as this comes to light, you DO sensor it and nip it in the butt because its presence at a major parade legitimizes its cause and should have no place in popular Canadian culture. If this group wants to hold a rally at a private bar, by all means but not a parade being funded by the city and being viewed by a million people.
The irony of the situation is that Israel is the only country in the Middle East in which a homosexual does not have to fear for his/her life – unfortunately many Canadians are too blind to see this.
I agree with KOHL…as he points it is not about censorship but more about venue. IMHO opinion if the Pride committee feels that the QuAIA should be able to use the parade to further their cause then it makes sense committee allow a homophobic organization to march and further their cause.
“Nip it in the BUTT”?
I really wish people would get their idioms right. Time for a float against the increasing ignorance of our society when it comes to what should be the most familiar of sayings . . .
I’m also not sure how you “sensor” something . . .
Spelling mistakes aside, Kohl is right. QAIA have plenty of forums to attack the Israeli government but a parade to celebrate the gay rights is not the place considering that such rights are enshrined in Israel and will get you killed in Gaza.
The CBC quote is incorrect. I was there at City Hall that night and Pride didn’t make assurances that it would escort QuAIA from Pride events. Pride said that they would escort any group or individual that was promoting hatred from their events. The City Manager’s report itself (that was unanimously endorsed by Executive Committee) said that the term “Israeli Apartheid” did not violate any of the City’s anti-discrimination policies. Thus, QuAIA is actually free to walk around Pride if they want this year.
The CityManager offered an opinion about whether QuAIA were engaged in hate speech. But he is hardly the arbiter of what constitutes hate speech. Whether or not QuAIA are engaging in hate speech (and I think they are), they are nonetheless holding a broad-based community event hostage to their own narrow and highly-controversial agenda.
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