Last week was definitely not a good one for Emperor Harper and his Neo-Conservative government. Not only did he repeatedly embarrass himself at an international conference -- particularly by getting caught in a lie about Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff -- but here at home his cohorts have gotten in a snit over Tourism grants being given to the Toronto Gay Pride Parade. Evidently, some Conservative backbenchers -- who, apart from Saskatchewan's Brad Trost, didn't have the balls to want to be named -- took great offence to Tourism Minister Diane Ablonczy not only giving a cheque to the parade's organizers, but being photographed alongside drag queens while doing so. I guess it's official -- the Tories don't care about even trying to look tolerant anymore, they're just going to rule by prejudice.
Now look, I know that Gay Pride Parades are touchy in some places, but leave the family values crap be for a minute and pay attention. The whole point of the Tourism Events Program is to promote annual events that attract major tourism and attention to Canadian cities -- and Toronto's Pride events fit that to a T. Also, spare me the complaints about barely-clothed gays and lesbians strutting through the streets and acting kind of raunchy -- for one thing, given that most of that complaining is brought up by right-wing special interest groups who barely think gays are human, my bet is that they're exaggerating to at least some extent. For another thing, in terms of risque behaviour, you can say the same thing about virtually ANY large party in the summer -- Caribanna being a fairly good example -- yet that doesn't cause an uproar. Neither does any other large event, where -- let's be honest -- there's probably some violence, drug abuse, and sex taking place where people generally aren't looking.
In any case, the Tories have flat out stated that their problem with Ms. Ablonczy was that "The TV shots of her with transvestites inflamed some people." Do these really sound like the sort of people you'd WANT to impress? I sure as hell don't want them in charge of my life and liberty, either. Those who support this decision often cry that some so-called gay agenda is being forced down their throats at these parades -- well, personally, whenever I've done the radical thing and actually talked to gays and lesbians, I've never had any political position even talked about, never mind shoved in my face. In fact, if one is really uncomfortable with gay pride events, there's a very easy solution: don't go to them.
Unfortunately, as the new movie Bruno makes very clear, the reason why these sort of complaints are taken seriously is because putting down gays is one of the last socially accepted bigotries that we have anymore. If there was this same outcry over Black Pride, Women's Pride, Indian Pride, French-Canadian Pride, or any other sort of group, then the Tories would get thrown out of office -- and knowing some of their members, probably arrested too. Then again, if it were White Straight Conservative Christian Pride, I bet you that they would not only be welcomed openly, but that Tourism fund would give them a blank cheque. Let's face it, North America is nowhere near as welcome and tolerant as it pretends to be. You just need to be a visible minority in a big city, or in... shall we say, more rural areas... to find that out. That's it for me.