Thursday, July 09, 2009

The Conservative gay sponsorship scandal

First off, props to Dalton McGuinty:

"I can't speak for my colleagues in Ottawa, whatever their political stripe, but I can say that we take pride in investing in Pride," Premier Dalton McGuinty told reporters in Windsor.

"It's one of the single largest tourism draws to benefit our province, it generates millions and millions of dollars, it awakens more and more of the world to the fact that we have a tolerant, accepting society here in Ontario and here in Canada," McGuinty said yesterday.
Now, back to Ottawa. The Conservatives really seem to want to have their gay cake on this, just as long as no one sees them eating it.

I can understand how different segments of the Conservative Party might have different views on this thing.

*The small government Cons say government funding for any parade or festival is crazy, although I doubt they'd get to aggrieved over, say Stampede funding.

*The more business-savvy Cons say the tourism marketing program pays for itself in taxes spent by tourists attracted, and gay dollars and hetero dollars spend just the same.

*And the so-Cons say eww, scantily clad gays, get away before you threaten my marriage.

Personally, I think the government's policy on this is right. Funding tourist events like this makes good sense by getting both tax payback and economic spinoffs. And you can't run a program like this on ideology, so they're right to be funding gay pride parades across the country as well as stampedes in Calgary and what not. Fund all (with sound business plans, of course) or fund none is the right approach.

If the Harper government could have just left it at that, and defended that policy "we don't screen events based on ideology, but on business fundamentals and economic impact" then I'd have said bravo. But as I said, they want to have their gay cake but not be seen eating it too.

That's because they still insist on pandering to the so-Cons in their tent, like MP Brad Trost. By leaving his comments on the program and his characterization of the view of the PMO and the Conservative caucus unchallenged, the government lends them credence. And if moving Diane Ablonczy from the file really was jsut coincidence, by saying nothing they just make the conspiracy theory all the more plausible.

And in the end, by trying to play both sides, all they're going do is piss off them both while getting credit from neither. The goodwill from the gay community for funding all these parades evaporates when you let Trost go unchallenged and let it seem Ablonczy was canned for a photo-op with drag queens. And the so-Cons won't be satisfied with a backbencher mouthoff when you're still funding pride parades accross the country.

These guys need to pick a side and defend it. Either back-up Trost or shut him down. Their silence is deafening, and its dumb.

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Old School Liberal said...

You are so wrong and so totally off-base here, Jeff.

The conservatives would never try to eat gay cake. They'd be far too afraid of catching "the gay".

petronius bonho said...

Some of my best friends are conservatives (!) and even they feel Harper blew it here (pardon the pun). It's a summer street party for god's sake! If sexy bikini clad girls and boys are the criteria to reject govt funding, they should also have a look at the chin picnic pageant of bulges and boobs, beach volleyball tournaments or even caribana's in your face flaunting of 'exotic' sensualities. If it's homo imagery they don't like, well we all know about the stampede and those leather chaps.

This 'scandal' just gives us a peek into the true colours of Harper's party after they've been low-key for so long on any social issues. We all know that old school tories were hijacked long ago by this extremist sleeper cell of christian sectarians, now they're just waiting to pounce on our nation of moderates to have their way. Harper must be so conflicted over this.

My conservative friends hate Harper and would rather support the libs than be associated with fundamentalist yahoos who care more about dogma that freedom.