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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

So much money, so little time to spend it

One really has to wonder at what the heck is going on in Ottawa these days. The Conservative government of PM Houses of Parliament__DSC3336Stephen Harper set up a fund to promote tourism and “make nice” with the arts community after seeing the unpleasant electoral consequences to which cuts to assorted arts programs on the eve of last federal election can lead.

However, after handing out $400,000 to Toronto’s gay community for its annual festival, Canada’s Minister of State for Small Business and Tourism, Diane Ablonczy, has had her hand slapped and she’s lost responsibility for administering the tourism funding program from which the money came.

Whether or not one agrees with the gay lifestyle, Toronto’s gay pride week does consistently draw many thousands of tourists to that city each year. So what’s the big deal about the feds helping to fund it? Senior members of the Conservative Party of Canada and the Progressive Conservative Party, one of its predecessors, have attended gay events for the past several years. The CPC also chose to let same-sex marriage go unchallenged when it took office—in effect, condoning the practice. So I ask again: what’s the big deal?

If this article at Macleans.ca can be believed, there does not seem to be any shortage of money to fund these so called “festivals.” Ministers of the crown don’t seem to be able to shovel the money out the door fast enough.

In the past couple of weeks alone, James Moore, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages, John Baird, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, Rona Ambrose, Minister of Labour, Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence, Denis Lebel, Minister of State (Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec), Michel Rivard, Senator and Greg Kerr, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Veterans Affairs have all announced payouts amounting to millions of federal dollars to support tourist events.

Like it or not, we live in a culturally diverse society which includes practices I find offensive, some of which our federal tax money subsidizes. So why single out this lone event against which to take a stand? I don’t get it. Who are we trying to please?

If anything, this year’s gay pride week was one of the tamest with less of the vulgarity and excess we have seen in the past. So this is not a family friendly event, so what? Many of the tourist events funded by Ottawa are not the sort of stuff to which one normally takes children.

I’m confused: one minute our party’s leaders are falling over themselves to appeal to every group they can find who might someday vote for them, and the next minute they are disciplining and publicly embarrassing a Minister of State for giving money to a gay group.

Liberals are not the only hypocrites about in our land.

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© 2009 Russell G. Campbell
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16 comments — This is a moderated blog and comments will appear when approved. Please don’t resubmit if your comment doesn’t appear immediately, and please do not post material that is obscene, harassing, defamatory, or otherwise objectionable.

  1. So being "culturally diverse" means that we accept perverts walking naked down our streets? As far as I know that is a criminal offense.

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  2. Russ:

    I don't want my tax dollars supporting people that walk around naked in contravention of the law, regardless of their sexual orientation.

    Related... I have no doubt that being naked at any festival other than the gay pride parade would guarantee a citation from the police. I wonder where the justice is... I also wonder about the mental fitness of parents who bring their kids to watch people walk around with no clothes on.

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  3. Ah, the whole fiction about non-sexual nudity being "in contravention of the law". It's a pretty popular canard of the anti-gay folks around pride time. Too bad it isn't supported by the Criminal Code of Canada. You might want to read it sometime, Harry.

    And what's so scary about a human body, anyway?

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  4. That's interesting, Harry. I don't want institutions that preach the world is less than 10,000 years old in contravention of scientific evidence to weasel out of paying taxes, but they do.

    What do you say to all the parents who take their kids to see Michelangelo's David? Is something wrong with their "mental fitness" too?

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  5. @Harry:

    I have no doubt that being naked at any festival other than the gay pride parade would guarantee a citation from the police.

    Er, no.

    Wrong.

    And I'll add my voice to those already asking; what, precisely, is wrong with nudity? Teaching your kids to be ashamed of their bodies - or, by extension, those of other people - isn't exactly conducive to perfect mental health.

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  6. Kelseigh / Joe:

    Yes, public nudity is against the Criminal Code of Canada, have a look.

    Speaking of study, perhaps Joe should spend a little time researching the historical charitable good and positive societal influences generated by various faith groups in our own land, but all around the world as well. Contrast that with the effects generated by a bunch of exhibitionists marching down the street with no clothes.

    As a matter of fact, contrast the charity of faith groups over secular society on a whole. Read the StatsCan numbers lately on giving, volunteering etc... ? Same trend in the US.

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  7. Checked your link there, Harry. Let's see, says being nude without lawful excuse is against the code. They were part of a parade, rather than randomly wandering around naked. There's your legal excuse, so no problem.

    And let's see, "For the purposes of this section, a person is nude who is so clad as to offend against public decency or order." So if there's no offence against "public decency", and in context there wasn't at Pride, nor at the events The Artful Nudger linked to, then again there's no problem.

    As to your attempt to sidetrack the discussion, what's that got to do with the price of tea in China?

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  8. Harry is an idiot who needs to learn to read. It is not illegal to be nude in public. It is illegal to be "so clad as to offend against public decency or order."

    Harry, answer Nudger's question: what, precisely, is wrong with nudity? And Joe's question: What's wrong with parents who take their kids to see Michelangelo's David? And Kesleigh's: What's so scary about a human body?

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  9. Interesting that Dave has lowered the discussion by engaging in name-calling. That's the way to encourage tolerant discourse!!

    I suppose you could conclude that Gay Pride Parade was a lawful excuse for nudity simply because Toronto's finest sat on their hands and didn't arrest those without clothes. Is that the ticket then? As long as you have enough people you're above the spirit, if not the letter, of the law?

    If you want to walk around nude in the privacy of your house, go for it. Outside on the street? I think not, civilized, productive society has some boundaries, some norms that accrue to the greater good of all. What have we gained by normalizing formerly unacceptable acts ? Ahh yes, we have freedom, freedom to engage in self-destructive behaviour. And in so doing, we find we're really slaves to our own hedonistic desires.

    Think about the monetary expense, the relational angst, the broken homes, the shattered lives, the continued need to drug ourselves into functional human beings that has resulted from casting off those old-fashioned norms.

    Why don't you read Steve Turner's creed here. I believe he's captured the essence of where we are. and more importantly, where we're headed.

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  10. Shorter Harry: "If god had wanted us to walk around nekkid we woulda been born that way!"

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  11. Sorry, Harry. I thought about it, and "I think it's icky" still doesn't come off as a convincing argument. Especially when you pass off falsehoods like that Criminal Code business to make it seem worse than it is.

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  12. Oh, and the Steve Turner thing was good for a laugh or three.

    Wait...you didn't think he was serious did you?

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  13. Good post, Russ!

    And, to Harry: there is no law against toplessness in Ontario. Gwen Jacobs proved that. Bottomless _is_ another matter, but previous court cases on the subject have tended to lean towards whether or not the nudity contravened "community standards" (it was this test which ultimately got the anti-topless law canned after Gwen Jacobs challenged it). Given that this is the Pride Parade, taking place in the Gay Village part of town, I think the law will say that there are different community standards here to be measured against than, say, a man running down Spadina Avenue on New Year's Eve (not to mention different temperature standards to boot).

    But it's worth pointing out that you're exaggerating the incidents of nudity during all of Pride Week. I used to live around the area. I've seen the same Pride Week events you have. Most of these are perfectly family friendly. And given that this festival brings a million attendees to the area, if things were as hedonistic as you would seem to suggest... well, let's just say that the number of people keeping their clothes on probably numbers in the hundreds of thousands.

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  14. @Chimera: *snickers* You, sir or madam, win a cookie.

    @Harry: I am... well, astonished at your ability to evade questions and make assumptions without any apparent proof.

    As indicated by other posters, the letter of the law indicates that if a person is nude for some inimical reason, it is unlawful. Alternately, if there are enough people like you around, they could conceivably be charged with Behaviour Likely to Cause a Breach of the Peace. Otherwise, provided that level-headed people are around, it's A-OK.

    How, precisely, will civilized, productive society come crumbling down if a few people choose to walk about naked? And appealing to tradition is just frightening. Women used to be marginalized or not present at all in the workplace; that was a tradition. People were (and, sadly, continue to be) judged to be inferior or a risk simply by the colour of their skin; that was a norm. People accused of witchcraft used to be burned at the stake. That something is "traditional", or a "norm" does not in any way correlate with "good".

    So what you're actually saying, Harry, is "I want people to do the things I like, and nothing else." Which, frankly, isn't terribly surprising.

    Additionally, "monetary expense, the relational angst, the broken homes, the shattered lives, the continued need to drug ourselves into functional human beings" -- this results from nudity? Really? Citation needed.

    Finally, Mr. Turner's little piece. I think you missed a letter. Let me fix that for you: "Why don't you read Steve Turner's screed here."

    There. Much more accurate.

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  15. The federal government gives a grant of $400,000 to an event which attracts 1.1 million people and generates $80 million in revenue for the greater Toronto area.

    The 5% Federal GST on that $80 million spent would be $4 million dollars. So the feds are getting $10 back for every $1 spent in direct GST alone. Not a bad investment for Canadian taxpayers, I say.

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