On June 15, one week before Toronto Pride Week, Diane Ablonczy, minister of state for small business and tourism, announced  the federal government of Canada was funding the homosexual event with a $400,000 grant under a new Marquis Tourism Events Program. The program is designed to assist major Canadian tourist events and the grant money will be used to improve the Pride event’s website and access for the disabled.

In making the announcement, Ablonczy pointed to the supposed economic benefits of the event. The minister said, “Today’s funding announcement will not only benefit the festival, but also the thousands of local businesses that provide services to event attendees … The Government of Canada is proud to show its commitment to the tourism industry, particularly during this difficult economic period.”

Pro-family leaders, as well as pro-family MPs, expressed their outrage at the announcement.

Brian Rushfeldt, executive director of the Canada Family Action Coalition, told LifeSiteNews.com the event is “not a gay parade, it’s a sex parade … People are marching down the street nude and doing all kinds of things.” Each year, photos of the event in Xtra!, a homosexualist newspaper, show nudity on display, as well as simulated sex acts and other lewd activities.

Rushfeldt said during economically troubled times, it is outrageous that “we give that kind of tax money, taxpayers’ money, to such an event.” He asked, “What does the public benefit from it?”

Jeff Gunnarson, a spokesman for Campaign Life Coalition, questioned the economic benefits of celebrating the homosexual lifestyle. “How can homosexual behaviour be good for the economy?” he asked. “Homosexuals do not produce children … This ‘economic stimulant’ is short-sighted and will cost the economy more in the aftermath; that is, higher medical costs with fewer children to pay for it.”

Three Conservative MPs told The Interim they expressed their concern to the minister and her staff. While none would go on the record, one MP agreed to be quoted anonymously. He said, “This is a travesty. Taxpayer money should not be going to this freakshow.”

According to a spokesman for Ablonczy, the money was provided to Toronto Pride Week because it qualified for funding under the program’s guidelines. The spokesman would not go into any more detail.

Organizers claim that 1.5 million people participate in the 10-day event and that it generates more than $90 million in tourism revenue.

CTV reports that Pride Week performer Carlotta Carlisle said the Conservative government’s funding announcement  not only “recognizes” the financial impact of the homosexual festival, “but it’s also showing that they’re still supportive of our community.”

The announcement came at a time when gay pride celebrations in Cornwall, Ont. have been cancelled for 2009 and similar events in Calgary have been postponed from June to September. Pride Calgary president Sam Casselman told Xtra! That, “Part of the reason we delayed Pride was because we don’t have the money … We’re just finding it so hard to find sponsors this year.”