One really has to wonder at what the heck is going on in Ottawa these days. The Conservative government of PM Stephen 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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