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Tories reject funding for Montreal's gay arts and culture festival

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Tories reject funding for Montreal's gay arts and culture festival

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Decision comes soon after Tory MP suggested Tourism Minister was punished for funding Pride Toronto
The federal Conservative government has rejected a funding request by Montreal's gay arts festival, just weeks after a Tory MP suggested the Tourism Minister was punished for funding Pride Toronto.

In May, organizers of Montreal's Divers/Cité applied for $155,000 under the Marquee Tourism Events Program, and bureaucrats confirmed that the application met all of the criteria. During this month's Pride Toronto funding fiasco, Divers/Cité's director told Xtra.ca that she was optimistic her festival would still receive funding. She also defended the Tories, claiming that the federal government was treating gay events fairly.

But Divers/Cité learned today that their recent funding request was denied by Industry Minister Tony Clement's office, despite having met all of the criteria, reports the Canadian Press.

Divers/Cité's marketing director Paul Girard says he was told too many events applied for funds under the $100-million tourism program, and that the government had to say no to some events.

Clement took over responsibility for the tourism funding program last month. Tory MP Brad Trost suggested that Tourism Minister Diane Ablonczy lost the file as punishment for her decision to give $400,000 to Pride Toronto — a claim Clement's office has denied. Clement has since promised to "review" the funding program to ensure that Canadians are getting "value for taxpayer money."

In a story published on a rightwing news website on Jul 6, Trost said that the Pride funding came as a shock to most of the Conservative caucus and the Prime Minister's Office.

"The pro-life and the pro-family community should know and understand that the tourism funding money that went to the gay pride parade in Toronto was not government policy, was not supported by — I think it's safe to say by a large majority — of the MPs," said Trost. "This was a very isolated decision."

While pressure mounted against the Tories, Divers/Cité director Suzanne Girard came to the government's defence. She claimed that the Montreal gay arts festival has received steady support since the Tories came into power. Divers/Cité has received regular funds from Canadian Heritage and Economic Development Canada, so Girard was optimistic the festival would also receive money from the new Marquee Tourism Events Program.

Today, she told the Canadian Press she was shocked.

"They changed the rules as they went along," she said. "I feel like I've been had."

Montreal's Black & Blue festival also applied for tourism funding, but organizer Robert Vezina told Xtra.ca earlier this month that he wasn't getting his hopes up.

Black & Blue has not received any funding since the federal Conservatives came to power, despite getting funding from the previous Liberal government.

"Every time that the civil servants approve funding, it still has to be signed by the minister, so he has the authority to reverse the decision by the civil servants, and that's exactly what the Conservative minister did to us," Vezina told Xtra.ca. He has been told that Black & Blue — a gay event — is not "family oriented enough" and does not meet the Conservatives' funding criteria.

Despite the claim that money in the tourism program is limited, the Tories have found plenty of cash for other festivals. Today, Clement's office announced two large grants under the Marquee Tourism Events Program: the Calgary Folk Festival will receive $155,000 and Les FrancoFolies de Montreal gets $1.5 million.

— with files from Dale Smith

Divers/Cité.
Jul 26 - Aug 2.
diverscite.org.

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Comments

GET OVER IT !
typical 'Red Federal Liberal' party political crap that so many gay's in this country allow themselves to be brain washed into thinking that everything Conservative is evil. The federal Liberal Party said that if the Tory party was in power gay marriage would be over turned - didn't happen. They also said that gay rights would be stepped upon - hasn't happened. How much taxes do you people want to pay ? If the Federal Gov't gave everyone that wants money a cheque, we'd be bankrupt by now and there'd be no money for anything, ie: healthcare nation wide. Stop crying and raise the money yourself. In these tough times, why should the tax payers of Canada (we are all tax payers btw) pay for parties for the gay community. RAISE YOUR OWN MONEY IF IT MEANS THAT MUCH TO YOU !
conservative? alliance? reformed?
Just a reminder that Stephen Harper was a founding member of the Reformed Party, then joined and led the National Citizen's Coalition, then became the leader of the Canadian Alliance Party - which succeeded the Reformed Party - then continued on to merge that party with the old Progressive Conservatives to form the new Conservative Party. Don't be surprised when a Reformed/Alliance person leads a government that wishes that gays didn't exist.
Who cares?
Who cares? It's not like this is funding for HIV/AIDS research or drug addiction treatment, Both of which have been funded by the Cons and both of which benefit our community more than this... and really, How many people were actually going to go to this thing anyway? But aside from that, Ron does have a point. Why would the cons start funding projects and festivals and queer other ''things'' when the vast majority of queer events, publications and performances repeatedly bash them? It's like funding a liberal add campaign also keep in mind that they did the same thing with the CBC. This isn't so much Homophobia as it is partisanship.
Re: It's called payback
The intolerance of the left knows no bounds? How about the sheer & utter stupidity of the right wing? You beak off about lefties booing a conservative minister off the stage - what else would we to the most homophobic & intolerant political party in the country? Crawl back into your closet with the other idiots of your political ilk - and stay there.
If it talks like a Tory....
Surprise, surprise!! The Tories denied funding to Montreal's gay festivities. It was only a luck break that Toronto got its funding. The Tories are: fundamentalists, right-wingers, capitalists, Bible-thumpers and most of all, rogues. Hopefully, Montrealers will learn the lesson to NEVER trust a Tory, and when election time comes, support the Liberals or the NDP. Tory is as Tory does. Nuff said!!
It's called payback.........
Maybe Montreal gay activists shouldn't have declared war on the Conservatives a few years ago by booing off the stage the Conservative cabinet minister who showed up to help open the Outgames. That attempt to reach out to gays was viciously rejected by idiot hateful queer leftists and the conservatives have never forgotten it. You actually think the Conservatives are ever willingly going to give a dime now to queer loony-left socialist morons? The intolerance of the left knows no bounds.
more fake outrage by straight taxpayers
great, just after the toronto pride fiasco where i was reminded first-hand how homophobic canadians are - by reading the comments section on all major newssites - this again. montreal gets screwed over, and yet "taxpayers" are still in a rage over gay events. so sad.
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