Toronto Pride funding in danger - here we go again!

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Doug
Toronto Pride funding in danger - here we go again!
Maysie Maysie's picture

It's amazing what a small grassroots group can do, scare some people so badly.

Go, QuAIA!

edmundoconnor

I'll be intrigued as to how (and if) social conservativism will trump fiscal conservatism, given that the extra taxes paid always outweigh the money the city, province and the feds give to it. Plus, does Ford really want to beat up small businesses (bars, restaurants, B&Bs)? I can see this being a fight that will be Kristyn Wong-Tam's calling card, given that she's been perfectly clear on where she stands on QuAIA. She makes a fight of this, the seat's hers for life, win or lose on the vote itself.

While there is a pro-Israel lobby, I don't think even the most myopic observer can deny there's a streak of homophobia about this issue. More than a few homophobes are leaping on the pro-Israeli government bandwagon as cover for their own prejudices.

Maysie Maysie's picture

Yeah I thought that too, edmund. When Tim McCaskell talked about will Nuit Blanch be under this same scrutiny, I thought that was a good point. 

And Pride brings at least tens of millions of dollars into the city, what with visitors spending money on hotels, restaurants, taxis, food, booze, etc. The amount the city grants to Pride, compared to those other dollars makes it a fiscal non-issue.

And Wong-Tam will rock this issue. Unlike her predecessor, Kyle Rae.

Doug

It looks like Rob Ford had a meeting with the major cultural institutions and events the city funds, including Pride, telling them that funding wouldn't change for them this coming year but with no guarantees as to what would happen after that.

Charlene71

[quote=edmundoconnor]

I can see this being a fight that will be Kristyn Wong-Tam's calling card, given that she's been perfectly clear on where she stands on QuAIA. She makes a fight of this, the seat's hers for life, win or lose on the vote itself.

[/quote]

Actually I don't think this issue would be a vote winner for KWT.  People that are vested in this issue are already supporting KWT.  There are lots of people in the Church-Wellesley community who are not particularly supportive or anti QuAIA, but wish the issue would just go away so they can have their party.  Taking a vocal stand (I mean more than just a "clear/firm stand") on this may alienate the large number of otherwise not very political queer voters.

Cueball Cueball's picture

This new crowd at city hall may just defund pride anyway, just because it is too much fun.

aka Mycroft

When they were trustees Pasternak and Matlow tried hard to get the TDSB to ban the Shepherd's Graddaughter and Three Wishes because the books were deemed critical of Israel.

So expect Pasternak and Matlow to push hard on QUAIA and on any other Isreal related issue they can come up with.

MCsquared

The issue of funding is important and I believe that QuAIA is just not being strategic. Its the name that rankles. Why play into it? I agree with Ellie Kirshner from NOW, why not have the same goals with a name change say "Queers against the Israeli occupation" or something similar? It would stop the matter dead in its tracks.

Unionist Unionist's picture

I'm with MCsquared here, with one caveat: How about "Torontonians Against Israeli Apartheid"? I think that would be more strategic, certainly more inclusive.

aka Mycroft

[quote=MCsquared]

The issue of funding is important and I believe that QuAIA is just not being strategic. Its the name that rankles. Why play into it? I agree with Ellie Kirshner from NOW, why not have the same goals with a name change say "Queers against the Israeli occupation" or something similar? It would stop the matter dead in its tracks.

[/quote]

You honestly think that would placate the Hasbara lobby?

genstrike

[quote=MCsquared]

The issue of funding is important and I believe that QuAIA is just not being strategic. Its the name that rankles. Why play into it? I agree with Ellie Kirshner from NOW, why not have the same goals with a name change say "Queers against the Israeli occupation" or something similar? It would stop the matter dead in its tracks.

[/quote]

First, as someone who has been involved with organizing IAW, there's no fucking way I'm going to let the opposition decide on the terms and discourse available to me.  The only way we will placate them is if we completely neuter ourselves, and this movement isn't going to roll over and do that because the opposition is telling us to.  Fuck that shit, the reason why people get so upset about "the A-word" and about BDS is precisely because it's effective.  The apartheid analysis and BDS are our most effective weapons - it's no wonder that the opposition wants us to disarm.  Why do you think people get so upset about IAW?  It's because it's remarkably effective.

Second, apartheid is a perfectly legitimate term, a term defined in international law, which is from what I can gather the most accurate term to describe the situation in all of historical Palestine - the West Bank, Gaza, East Jerusalem, and within the '67 borders of the Israeli state.  The apartheid analysis is very important, because it conveys the reality that Palestinians are oppressed within Israel as well.  The word occupation implies that everything is hunky-dory within "Israel proper" and the only problem is the military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza - something which just isn't true.

 

genstrike

[quote=Unionist]

I'm with MCsquared here, with one caveat: How about "Torontonians Against Israeli Apartheid"? I think that would be more strategic, certainly more inclusive.

[/quote]

I disagree, I think QuAIA is one of the most important groups on the Canadian left these days.  By applying a radical queer analysis to Israeli apartheid, it both counters the pinkwashing of the Israel lobby (which gets especially absurd when groups which are close allies of the likes of McVety are trying to tell queers what their politics should be), and challenges apolitical "we just want to party" attitudes within the LGBT community.

Lord Palmerston

Pasternak "won" with 19% of the vote.

MCsquared

[quote=aka Mycroft][quote=MCsquared]

The issue of funding is important and I believe that QuAIA is just not being strategic. Its the name that rankles. Why play into it? I agree with Ellie Kirshner from NOW, why not have the same goals with a name change say "Queers against the Israeli occupation" or something similar? It would stop the matter dead in its tracks.

[/quote] You honestly think that would placate the Hasbara lobby?[/quote]

Yes I do. And as long as people stick stubbornly to a name that most folk react negatively to, QuAIA will remain a fringe group whose message will not be listened to.

Unionist Unionist's picture

[quote=genstrike]

[quote=Unionist]

I'm with MCsquared here, with one caveat: How about "Torontonians Against Israeli Apartheid"? I think that would be more strategic, certainly more inclusive.

[/quote]

I disagree, I think QuAIA is one of the most important groups on the Canadian left these days.  By applying a radical queer analysis to Israeli apartheid, it both counters the pinkwashing of the Israel lobby (which gets especially absurd when groups which are close allies of the likes of McVety are trying to tell queers what their politics should be), and challenges apolitical "we just want to party" attitudes within the LGBT community.

[/quote]

Sorry, genstrike - I was kidding. It was a bad attempt at a jab. MCsquared wants to change the name of QuAIA - by eliminating the word "apartheid", because that's what drives the Israel lobby and their champions into a frenzy. I said, "Good idea - let's tell the world that all of Toronto is against Israeli apartheid!" See? Bad joke.

Of course I agree with you. Damn the internet. I should have included a sarcasm emoticon.

aka Mycroft

[quote=MCsquared]

[quote=aka Mycroft][quote=MCsquared]

The issue of funding is important and I believe that QuAIA is just not being strategic. Its the name that rankles. Why play into it? I agree with Ellie Kirshner from NOW, why not have the same goals with a name change say "Queers against the Israeli occupation" or something similar? It would stop the matter dead in its tracks.

[/quote] You honestly think that would placate the Hasbara lobby?[/quote]

Yes I do. And as long as people stick stubbornly to a name that most folk react negatively to, QuAIA will remain a fringe group whose message will not be listened to.

[/quote]

Then I think you're naive. As long as they're an "anti-Israel" group ie an organization critical of Israeli actions and supportive of Palestinian rights, the Hasbara lobby will argue that they should be denied a "platform" at any event funded by the city.

bagkitty bagkitty's picture

I think it is terribly revealing that the online survey being conducted by Toronto Pride's Community Advisory Panel only identifies a single named group and questions whether or not it should be allowed to participate (part 2 of Question 9 "Queers Against Israeli Apartheid should be allowed to participate in the Pride Parade - Strongly Agree/Agree/Disagree/Strongly Disagree/Don't Know or Not Applicable").

I think it is terrible too.

 

Stargazer

I know! I was a little upset by that as well. Clearly the agenda is to drive them off.

 

I knew unionist was kidding. I hoped others did too :)

Maysie Maysie's picture

[quote]Pride Toronto Online Survey
The Community Advisory Panel survey is now live online. It's important that your voice, your opinions and your recommendations are counted.

Please complete the survey and encourage others to do so.

Data from this will be used to shape Pride policy around Trans issues, advocacy and community support... It's really important to hear from you.

[/quote]

 

 

bagkitty bagkitty's picture

Of course the problem with public consultations via the internet is the tendency for them to get freeped. (The comments to this story in Xtra are pretty revealing).

Stargazer

Yikes,! "Jew haters"?

edmundoconnor

[quote=Charlene71]

Actually I don't think this issue would be a vote winner for KWT.  People that are vested in this issue are already supporting KWT.  There are lots of people in the Church-Wellesley community who are not particularly supportive or anti QuAIA, but wish the issue would just go away so they can have their party.  Taking a vocal stand (I mean more than just a "clear/firm stand") on this may alienate the large number of otherwise not very political queer voters.

[/quote]

Incumbency is all-powerful in Toronto politics, though. I can't see any way KWT is going to be levered out, unless something happens to totally discredit her (which I find very difficult to see). The anti-KWT crowd threw every piece of 'dirt' they could at her, and it still didn't work. I think most of the Chan vote will go to KWT next time round, and she'll defeat her challengers in 2014 with ease.

bagkitty bagkitty's picture

Oh, looks like I am the first one reporting this. (How come the Torontonians themselves are asleep at the wheel... I guess being a Central Canadian Overlord is very, very tiring... LOL)

Toronto report finds "Israeli Apartheid' does not promote hatred

Le T Le T's picture

Perhaps you could send us a weekly digest of events so that we could remain focused on extracting wealth from our Western and Maritime vassals?

 

 

bagkitty bagkitty's picture

Le T.... I would love to control the flow of information --- that way you will won't have a clue until IT happens!Laughing

Unionist Unionist's picture

[quote=Le T]

Perhaps you could send us a weekly digest of events so that we could remain focused on extracting wealth from our Western and Maritime vassals?

[/quote]

Laughing

 

Maysie Maysie's picture

Thanks for the bump, bagkitty.

Proud of Toronto Campaign (Facebook page)

[quote]
Protecting LGBTQ Programs and Services

Campaign to continue City of Toronto financial and symbolic support for Pride Toronto. By extension, this means a city government that continues supporting Toronto's lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) programs and services. This includes issues of HIV/AIDS, arts and culture, economic development & tourism, diverse community expression and much more. These programs & services build community, create jobs and save lives.

Here are our principles:
1. We want a City of Toronto that supports diverse LGBTQ organizations.
2. We want a City of Toronto that supports diverse arts and culture, including parades.
3. We want a City of Toronto that supports economic development and tourism activities.
4. We want a City of Toronto that supports Pride Toronto.

WHAT CAN YOU DO TO HELP?

Join us to Protect LGBTQ Programs & Services. Our top priorities now are:
1. Contact City councilors about benefits of Pride Toronto and other LGBTQ programs & services. On this page you will find a sample letter template. Please make it personal to how your organization fits in with Pride Toronto, LGBT, arts & culture and related issues.
2. Present to City's Executive Committee on April 20, 2011 about why Pride Toronto matters to you
3. Spread the word about this campaign.

Email us at info@proudoftoronto.com and visit our Facebook page for more information. Together, we will continue to protect LGBTQ programs and services.

UPCOMING DATES

April 13, 2011 - Expected release of City Managers report that will "advise Pride Toronto on what is required of them to meet the City's Anti-Discrimination Policy", and "whether the participation of Queers Against Israeli Apartheid (QAIA) and the signs or banners they carry contravenes the City's Anti-Discrimination Policy."

April 20, 2011 - Expected Executive Committee decision on Pride Toronto funding. Possible opportunity to make deputations / presentations to Executive Committee members.

May 17-18, 2011 - Expected City Council decision. Possible rally inside and outside City Hall.

May/June 2011 - Participate in City "Core Services Review" (2012 budget)

June 24-July 3, 2011 - Pride Week 2011!

Thank you,
Proud of Toronto campaign
[/quote]

 

NDPP

Levy Urges Jewish Leaders To Press City To Defund Pride Toronto

http://www.xtra.ca/public/National/Levy_urges_Jewish_leaders_to_press_ci...

 

remind remind's picture

wow, whart a whack load of haters replying to that article.

...think I will go have a middle of the night shower to wash the stench off of me.

RevolutionPlease RevolutionPlease's picture

QAIA have decicded to withdraw from the parade to expose Ford's true agenda.

http://www.thestar.com/news/article/975242--councillor-demands-pride-pro...

[quote]
In a news release Friday morning, QuAIA said it had made the decision to hold independent Pride Week events outside of the festival so that Mayor Rob Ford is denied a convenient pretext for withdrawing funding.

Ford said in March that the city should not provide funding to Pride if QuAIA's “hate speech” is permitted. But he has also said that funding for Pride and other festivals should be eliminated simply for the purpose of saving money.

“Rob Ford wants to use us as an excuse to cut Pride funding, even though he has always opposed funding the parade, long before we showed up,” QuAIA spokesperson Elle Flanders said in the news release. “By holding our Pride events outside of the parade, we are forcing him to make a choice: fund Pride or have your real homophobic, right-wing agenda exposed.”
[/quote]

And it's still not enough for Mammoliti.

bagkitty bagkitty's picture

Excellent tactical move on the part of QuAIA... I hope it is followed up by a statement out of PT which will say, albeit in more diplomatic language, "Fuck you, we will not pre-emptively ban anyone!" and then demand that both Ford and Mammoliti be tested for rabies and quarantined if necessary. I hope that when the asshat's motion is debated, repeated reference is made to the City's own report (see link in post #23 above) and he gets laughed out of the chamber.

swallow

[quote]The committee heard from more than 45 speakers, 26 in support of PT, during the eight-hour meeting. In the end, no motion was brought forward that would have made funding contingent on a guarantee by PT that the group Queers Against Israeli Apartheid (QuAIA) take no part in any festival events, anywhere, all week.

A city manager’s report, released in April, confirmed that the phrase "Israeli apartheid" – and by extension QuAIA's participation in Pride celebrations – does not violate the city's anti-discrimination policy. Those who oppose QuAIA's participation have argued from the outset of the controversy that it does, and that, therefore, makes PT ineligible for city funding. 

It’s good news for PT. But Ward 27 Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam warns, “Council rules supreme. So at any time there could be a motion on the floor of council for a vote in June without notice. Then we would have to open it up and go through a big debate all over again, this time without public consultation.... But it seems unlikely because council voted unanimously to receive the report. I was scared because some councillors had their knives out and had made some threats.”[/quote]

[url=http://www.xtra.ca/public/National/2011_city_funding_for_Pride_Toronto_l... Pride funding likely safe[/url]

[quote]Although the controversy over QuAIA’s involvement in Toronto Pride propelled the debate of Israeli Apartheid into the public, the group is not fundamentally about the right to march in the Pride Parade. QuAIA’s primary project is to combat pinkwashing. In the lead-up to Pride 2011, the group will launch a campaign calling on queers to join the Boycott, Divestment and Sanction of Israel movement as a peaceful tactic to pressure the Israeli government to comply with international law. It is also working to build stronger connections with other groups doing similar work internationally to help bring the issue of pinkwashing to the forefront of larger queer movements. Recent attacks on the LGBT Community Center in New York for hosting an Israeli Apartheid Week event are not isolated incidents. As the successful fight against Toronto Pride’s banning of QuAIA demonstrates, solidarity work is at the heart of queer struggles, and it is only through collective action that we can effectively defend these spaces.[/quote]

[url=http://briarpatchmagazine.com/articles/view/sanitizing-pride]Briarpatch: Sanitizing Pride[/url]

 

Roscoe

How much funding is at risk?

edmundoconnor

"In 2010, PT received a $123,807 grant and about $250,000 worth of in-kind services from the city, including garbage cleanup and policing."

From here.

Roscoe

Thats not even a rounding error in the city budget is it?

What is Toronto policy on event grants and in-kind services? Is Toronto's position on political use of city sponsored events a matter of even-handed policy or is the Pride event a political football?

In other words, does the city grant funds to other venues or events that include and activist component or is the politicisation of the Pride event the only event that Toronto city is concerned about?

Maysie Maysie's picture

I guess it depends on what you define as political.

The City's monetary and in-kind contributions to Pride are pretty insignificant, to both the City and to a lesser extent, to Pride.

The City of Toronto funds museums, which are hugely political with an enormous political agenda, and no I'm not being funny.

They also fund special events like a Canada Day event every year, enough said.

They fund Summerlicious and Winterlicious, which are basically extended advertising and marketing campaigns for upscale restaurants. Certainly not a free event open to all.

Pride brings in tens of millions of dollars into the city every year. Through tourism (hotels, cabs, restaurants) and locals spending in bars and restaurants.

If this was really about money, Mayor Tight Purse Strings Asshole Fuckwad wouldn't give a shit. It's about ideology. QUAIA is a smokescreen.

Roscoe

Very progressive ass chewing Laughing You must practice. 

 If this funding is relatively insignificant, why not find other funding and refuse to give the TPSAFs a soapbox? Make Pride a successful event in spite of the city. Leave them on the outside looking in AND, explaining why.

Maysie Maysie's picture

[quote=Roscoe]

Very progressive ass chewing Laughing You must practice. [/quote]

Years of practice, dahhling.  Cool

 [quote=Roscoe] If this funding is relatively insignificant, why not find other funding and refuse to give the TPSAFs a soapbox? Make Pride a successful event in spite of the city. Leave them on the outside looking in AND, explaining why.

[/quote]

I think they need the city for permits, garbage, po-po, etc. But that's a great idea.

swallow

The funding is insignificant for the City. Is is fairly significant for Pride. Finding other funding might well eman going cap in hand to the wealthiest donors in the LGBT communities. The Salah Bashir Pride Parade? 

The City's proposed funding cut was also, of course, an example of vicious attacks designed to shut down open debate. Sometimes those are worth standing up to, maybe? (Even though I agree with the growing community consensus for a stripped-down, less corporate, more activist and free-speechy Pride.)

Doug

It's not unusual for creepy guys with videocameras to film the Dyke March hoping to get some boobie shots. It's much more unusual for one of the to be a city councillor.

 

Giorgio Mammoliti and his camcorder want to axe city funding for Pride Week.

The city councillor says he captured an anti-Israeli group chanting the controversial phrase “Israeli Apartheid” during Saturday’s Dyke Parade.

takeitslowly

i think i am going to go tomorrow and hold a sign reading israelie aparthied.

voice of the damned

i think i am going to go tomorrow and hold a sign reading israelie aparthied

You might want to keep in mind that you would not likely be the person bearing the brunt of any blowback from that action. The rule in question is a funding stipulation, not a criminal law. So, it's not like you will personally get arrested for waving around that sign. Rather, someone will probably just take your picture, and post it on the internet or in the media. Then, some Ford flunky on council can use it as proof as to why Pride should be de-funded.

I have no problem with an Israeli Apartheid sign being waved around, at Pride or anywhere else. Just that, if you're going to make a poltical statement that could jeopardize the future of Pride(while costing you comparatively little) you might want to clear it with the other interested parties first.  

Northern Shoveler Northern Shoveler's picture

Doff the cap and move along, don't forget your place. Yes sir I understand, where is the designated protest area?

Apparently blackmail is an effective political tool guaranteed to drive a wedge in the movement as people take sides on whether or not to do  as the blackmailer says. 

edmundoconnor

[quote=Doug]

It's not unusual for creepy guys with videocameras to film the Dyke March hoping to get some boobie shots. It's much more unusual for one of the to be a city councillor.

 

Giorgio Mammoliti and his camcorder want to axe city funding for Pride Week.

The city councillor says he captured an anti-Israeli group chanting the controversial phrase “Israeli Apartheid” during Saturday’s Dyke Parade.

[/quote]

Slightly less surprising coming from a man whose rampant homophobia has been on display in the past. Mammoliti was simply aching to find someone, *anyone*, to say or shout 'Israeli Apartheid' (and unless Pride organizers had mind control over all paraders, that is simply impossible to stop). Whether he found someone is open to debate, since his recorded footage has not yet surfaced. He is the archetype of those bigots and homophobes eager to use the Israeli issue as cover for them to parade their antediluvian beliefs.

voice of the damned

Doff the cap and move along, don't forget your place. Yes sir I understand, where is the designated protest area?

Apparently blackmail is an effective political tool guaranteed to drive a wedge in the movement as people take sides on whether or not to do  as the blackmailer says. 

I'm not neccessarily saying that people shouldn't buck the funding stipulations. Just that if you do, it would probably be a good idea to consult with other people who would be effected by any loss of funding.

It's kind of like if you're an actor in a theatre troupe that gets government funding, but one of the conditions of the funding is that the word "fuck" doesn't get uttered on stage. Okay, so you think that the stipulation is prudish and absurd(and I'd agree). But, before you go on stage and let out an unscripted torrent of "fuck this and fuck that", you might want to mention your plan to the other members of the troupe to make sure the group as a whole is prepared to absorb the consequences. Otherwise, you're just being the big hero for a few seconds, while allowing the collective to deal with a blowback they weren't neccessarily prepared for.

takeitslowly

 

I never intended to march in the parade, so I don't know why it would matter or not if I hold a sign reading Israelie apartheid as an individual attending the pride event.  Pride doesn't belong to the Pride organizer. The street is public to everyone.

 

Anyways I didn't go because I had better things to do. I attended trans pride on Friday and that was enough for me. I also think its quite dangerous to hold a sign reading israelie apartheid, so it takes some courage regardless if I can be arrested or not. I remember holding such a sign 2 years ago in Pride, as an individual (not part of any organization or marchers) and I have people yelling at me, and bottles were thrown at marchers identified as queers against israelie apartheid , so yeah there are risks.

 

And as a transgender woman of color , I resent the idea that I have to risk my own personal safety in order to express my belief about human rights for Palestinians (or anyone) at a pride event. I think pride should be about feeling safe, and championing human rights for everyone, and I don't like bigots fucking with my pride and telling me what can or cannot come out of my mouth. (literally speaking)

 

I dont care about being a hero, i want to keep my pride at pride.

Northern Shoveler Northern Shoveler's picture

[quote=voice of the damned]

It's kind of like if you're an actor in a theatre troupe that gets government funding, but one of the conditions of the funding is that the word "fuck" doesn't get uttered on stage. 

[/quote]

I don't think that things like a movements day to strut its stuff needs a fucking director with a megaphone telling people what to say and what not to say.  But then I think movements should be organic not orchestrated.

Any ideas who the director is in your scenario?  IMO it is the homophobic asshole who will be directing the Pride Day if you let him.  Not my town not my parade so I am only commenting.  

Polunatic2

If the city cancels Pride funding, perhaps the organizers should consider not doing the parade next year. Let Ford explain it to the restaurants, hotels, bars, clubs, corner stores, etc.

edmundoconnor
Unionist Unionist's picture

[quote=aka Mycroft]

When they were trustees Pasternak and Matlow tried hard to get the TDSB to ban the Shepherd's Graddaughter and Three Wishes because the books were deemed critical of Israel.

So expect Pasternak and Matlow to push hard on QUAIA and on any other Isreal related issue they can come up with.

[/quote]

I'm no expert on Toronto politics, but this Matlow character seems to have the same view of workers' rights as he does of the rights of queers to support Palestinians. Can't you Torontonians send him packing or something?

[url=http://www.thestar.com/news/article/1054063]Evil powerful union boss threatens terrible things to hapless city councillor for just expressing his innocent opinion in a little tweet[/url]

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