The Globe and Mail reported that the Conservative government was under fire yesterday for refusing to fund Toronto’s Gay Pride Parade.
“Why does ideology trump economics in this Conservative government?” Brampton Liberal MP Navdeep Bains asked. He was criticizing the decision to cut funding to Toronto’s gay pride parade; last year Ottawa gave the event $400,000 in funding under its marquee tourism program.
The parade has a spin-off economic effect in the region, creating 650 jobs and $18-million in tax revenue. The Harper government, however, has decided that for the second year of the program it will fund just two big events in Toronto – the Luminato arts festival and the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair.
Is that ideology a socially or fiscally conservative one, because it could be either or both? The Grits are trying to scare Canadians into thinking the Tories are a rabidly socially right wing party, but it appears the Tories are more interested in being fiscally responsible (at least in this instance).
More questions. If the Conservative government is ideological this year, why weren’t they last year when they gave $400,o00 to Toronto’s pride event? And isn’t it ideological to believe in automatically giving money to Pride — either social liberalism to subsidize the celebration of the gay lifestyle or economic interventionism to support narrow special interest group events with taxpayer dollars?
I’d also add that if the Toronto Pride events create that many jobs (650) and bring in that much in revenue ($18 million in revenue would mean a benefit of more than $100 million in increased economic activity), local governments and the private sector might have an interest in propping up the special interest celebration. Of course, that assumes that these numbers are legit. I haven’t ever seen a critical eye cast toward the dollar amounts that Pride organizers themselves provide. It also assumes that much of that money wouldn`t be spent otherwise, which is a dubious proposition.
For me — and I guess the government — an event that has that kind of economic benefit doesn’t need federal taxpayer funding. It should be able to stand on its own two feet.