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City review calls for cuts to queer institutions

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City review calls for cuts to queer institutions

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HIV support, Pride, The 519 and Buddies on the block along with transit, public health and cops
The latest KPMG Core Services Review report suggests deep cuts will be made to the Community Partnership Investment Program (CPIP), totalling $43,583,706. And Ward 27 Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam is calling on community members to depute at a July 28 executive committe in a bid to guard against the cuts.

In 2010 CPIP issued grants to community groups like the AIDS Committee of Toronto, Pride Toronto, the 519 Church Street Community Centre, Casey House and Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, to name a few from the list of 864 organizations.

CPIP funds 42 AIDS prevention projects, 38 community drug prevention projects, 465 school communities (representing 685 student nutrition programs) as well as community festivals and special events. The KPMG report states, “potential savings are high” but “programs funded through these services would end. Care for the homeless may degrade. Student nutrition could be compromised through the elimination of this service.”

The consultants at KPMG have carved through each department, outlining services and programs that could be legally cut because they are not mandated by the province.

Councillor Janet Davis didn’t mince words. “They are proposing to take a slice of cheese and milk out of the mouths of 132,246 children in this city. Really? If the wealthiest city in the country can’t spend $4 million on student nutrition there’s something wrong.”

During the campaign, Ford vowed that services would not be cut and taxes would not be raised.

Just last week, Ford was the lone member on city council to vote against grant money earmarked for HIV/AIDS-related programs. The AIDS Prevention Community Investment Program (APCIP) reaches more than 250,000 people through outreach and workshops.

Alex McClelland, from AIDS Action Now, says he’s relieved that the APCIP grants are safe for this year, but next year is another story. In Toronto there are 17,000 people living with HIV/AIDS, and one in five gay men are living with HIV, he reminds.

“We are happy the grants are safe for the moment, but the fact they have been identified as fat by KPMG is disturbing because these grants are integral to the health of residents in Toronto,” he says. “I am concerned this is even a discussion that is happening. It’s fucked. Totally fucked.”


Davis says the grants are key to responding to community needs. “This is very short-sighted… The services we provide save lives, give people opportunity and help them to function effectively.”

Ward 27 Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam calls the looming cuts “surreal. KPMG is recommending we do away with everything.” She urges everyone to register to speak at executive committee as soon as possible. If people don’t get involved, “the mayor will see that as a green light to cancel programs and eliminate services.”

The city’s executive committee will debate the CPIP grants and hear from deputants on July 28, starting at 9:30am in committee room one at city hall. The meeting is open to the public. Speakers will each get five minutes to tell the mayor why the city should reconsider cutting off the funds. Alternately, you can pass your comments on to the executive committee via email at . To find out how to make a duputation click here.

Wong-Tam says HIV is on the rise, so this is not the time to cut public health. Cutting health services is driven by rightwing ideology and will cost the city dearly in the long run.

“There is not a lot of gravy here,” she says. “Now we’re being asked to do without the flesh, bone and marrow. The mayor is trying to make the city operate without a limb.”

Councillor Shelley Carroll, the former budget chief, sounds exasperated. “These things are uncuttable!… If there are cuts to the CPIP envelope, some of these agencies will shut down. Funding is already so low, they’ll just shut down. It would be a decimation of multiculturalism. These agencies serve women, newcomers and cultural groups.”

“The programs and grants on the executive agenda are the most ludicrous of the bunch,” she adds.

On July 21 several people held a rally at the KPMG offices at 333 Bay St to protest the cuts. But some activists question whether that anger was directed at the right target.

“People should not be protesting KPMG,” Wong-Tam says. “They will not be making the decisions regarding any of the cuts. They were hired to do a job as per the mayor’s instructions.”

Proud of Toronto campaign member Doug Kerr wrote on the Facebook event page for the protest that “KPMG did us a favour by exposing Ford’s lies.” Kerr says activists should really direct protest efforts at Ford and rightwing councillors. “Ford took office saying there would be tons of gravy, but there isn’t any gravy. This is all essential stuff.”

“And remember, this is just the first year, year one of four,” he notes. “How do you fight Ford Nation?”

Davis notes that KPMG has not taken into account the wealth of benefits community groups bring to the city. “KPMG is a business consulting firm. They don’t understand social infrastructure. They are simply going through, measuring and funding areas to cut because they aren’t mandated by provincial legislation. It’s a very mechanical and simplistic approach to measuring what core services are in this city.”

“My head has been spinning all week at this paper exercise. [The CSR] is a menu of cost cutting,” she says.

What would happen to the city without these services? Davis says the future is looking pretty bleak.

“Ask one of the 500 school principals what would happen to the students and their capacity to learn without the student nutrition program. Go ask the mother whose children have rotting teeth and can’t afford dental services if public health in Toronto should be helping out,” Davis says. “Those are the people speaking out. I hope the mayor will listen.”

“Cities are more than roads, fixing potholes and burying pipes,” Davis says. “They are about the health and well-being of its residents.”

“The people are the ones who should have the strongest voice in determining what should happen here,” Davis says. “It’s up to the people to speak up now.”

“He got elected saying we could cut taxes and promised Torontonians that services will not be cut, guaranteed. We’ve now got five huge documents with very little gravy.”


When Ford first took office, the city was in a comfortable position operating with a $350 million surplus, Wong-Tam says. Now there’s a $774 million shortfall.

The KPMG reports have already revealed that the city runs a very tight ship. More than 96 percent in the first three reports were determined to be essential services in the city, Davis says.

More than 13,000 residents in the city submitted feedback prior to the release of the reports, Wong-Tam says.

“The direction council wants to go runs completely contrary to what the public overwhelmingly said during the consultation period, mostly because Ford and other councillors “don’t like what the public said, so they dismiss it,” Davis adds.

“Why do we want to destroy the things that are so great about the city?” Davis says. “There’s been no discussion on new revenue sources, alternative sources of taxing or new forms of taxing. None of this takes into account public opinion. It’s as though that consultation didn’t exist because they didn’t like the outcome.”

Wong-Tam says Ford should never have repealed the vehicle registration tax and it would be equally unwise to repeal the land transfer tax.

“We should consider road pricing to deal with congestion, create a new revenue source and address an aging road infrastructure,” she says. Likewise, “property taxes should be earmarked toward the rate of inflation, like most jurisdictions.

“Most Torontonians have expressed they are willing to live with a modest and reasonable tax increase to preserve public services. These are the things that make the city a great place to live… I am prepared to fight to preserve my city.”

See the full list of programs and services in CPIP here.

See the Core Services Review report here.

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Comments

ACT's programs for gay men
In response to comments above, ACT has offered community health programs dedicated to gay and bi men since its founding in 1983. Our programs include community education and outreach in bars, clubs, bathhouses, gay events, and online, and free condoms and lube in gay community spaces. We also provide discussion groups for gay men, and programs specifically for gay men living with HIV. Last year, funds from the city helped us distribute over 270,000 condoms and 195,000 lube packs to gay men, and reach over 3,500 men, providing them with information about safer sex, harm reduction, and gay men’s health. You can find a full list of our programs for gay and bi men at www.actoronto.org/gaymen

Our groundbreaking Portuguese-speaking programs are offered in partnership with VIVER, the Portuguese-speaking HIV/AIDS Coalition. ACT provides office space for three staff, two of whom are part-time, and one of whom focuses on outreach to Portuguese-speaking gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men. To find out more about Portuguese-language services visit www.actoronto.org/portugues

With 1 in 5 gay and bi men living with HIV in our city, and the majority of new HIV infections continuing among gay and bi men, our community is facing a public health crisis. Yet proposed budget cuts and our mayor’s voting record mean that all HIV programs, including those dedicated to gay and bi men, are under threat.

ACT is proud of the communities we serve for coming together to defend HIV prevention and support programs. Our staff and volunteers are people living with HIV and people affected by HIV, and the programs and services we offer are vital to the health and well-being of our communities.

To find out how you can help our community fight back, I encourage you to visit www.actoronto.org/actnow
sickened by ACT's lies
Well isn't that convenient. After ignoring gay men for years, suddenly all gay men's prevention is being threatened -- all $471,000 of it! I remember in 1999 when asked where was gay men's prevention at ACT they haughtily announced they did not do that instead they did HIV health promotion since everyone knew how to get it anyway. This arrogant obnoxious organization has bent over backwards to spend money on every group BUT gay men and now claims almost half a million dollars annually from the city that is funnelled into gay men's prevention. How much of this cash cow is for salaries, benefits and other perks that the AIDS-ites hog in down at ACT. Disgusting! The city should cut every penny and allow gay men's HIV prevention back into the hands of gay men and out of the clutches or professional AIDS workers who have made careers out of this con.
ACT strikes back
The AIDS Committee of Toronto strikes back. http://www.actoronto.org/actnow
It's too bad that ACT's lame, ineffective HIV prevention campaigns aren't as direct and to the point as their pleas for continuing public funding.
go home asshole
Bryan Charlebois, if you were so poor why the fuck did you come to Toronto? Where were you living before and did they not have social services or hostels? How did you get here other than hitchhiking if you were poor? It is one thing for Toronto residents who are here and poor but quite another for someone to come here with nothing and demand handouts. What a self-entitled leech. Go back to where you came from.
Is Mammoliti a Nazi???
Well no one will like my story but here it is. First, you can still see those two spewing Nazis, Harper and Ford at
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dk9PRWjfSw4. I came to Toronto in Oct 2009. I was desperately poor and asked for any help available, including services from the city at the 519 Centre. I was told by an old lady at the reception desk there was nothing...repeat nothing....519 could do. She wouldn't even draw a map to the nearest welfare office. So while I do not want funding to be cut in our community I am wondering what the point of 519 Centre is if they are getting all those grants.

I then asked to volunteer at ACT Toronto and was either never responded to or given some run around about later opportunities and training. What training do you need to stuff condoms around the place? What exactly does ACT do for all the substantial money they receive? I called the City of Toronto AIDS & Sexual Health Information Line 1-800-668-2437 or 416-392-2437 where I spoke to a nurse who gave me all the medical advice I needed. And No you should never bareback regardless of Act's opinion.

I know Georgio Mammoliti reads this column daily and I don't want to give this trumped up NDP traitor (who possesses some silly diploma from Humber) any ideas but we can't allow our community to get into the business of funding to be spent on jobs for toadies and favourites while services become non-existent.

Many, if not most, charities and non-profits succumb to rationalizing funding from the public into corporate salaries and offer little to the public by way of services. It is our duty to always hold the both gay icons to scrutiny and continue to ask questions.
ACT is useless
Hear, Hear. ACT has been snouting at the pig trough for decades now. Bloated over-staffed with cling-ons who seem to be hired for life. Irrelevant programs that are ideologically driven and contemptuous of any criticism. A dead organization whose time is long long over. The Portuguese MSM program has been around for 20 years with 4 staff -- how many Portuguese MSM are in Toronto! Or is this a honey-deal for life for these staff? Root out the rot and investigate this place. And DEFUND ACT now!
De-fund ACT for failing to do the job
I agree with the last two comments. Governments should stop giving ACT money for HIV prevention since ACI is failing to do the job. Producing misleading pamphlets on how to allegedly reduce the risks of barebacking is hardly HIV prevention. All of ACT's limited HIV prevention efforts are handicapped by extreme political correctness (e.g., don't have hard-hitting ad campaigns warning people about HIV because it will be make HIV positive people feel bad about themselves, don't have ad campaigns against barebacking because it's judging people's choices).
cut aids funding to Act Toronto
I agree with Martin. Chop funding to Act Toronto. They have a whole division devoted to the Portugese community why them? Nothing for Italian community or the polish community or any other gay men's community in the city. I live in Little Portugal, there's nothing here about their services. The gay men I know ask me, who's Act Toronto, what do they do? Should tax payers be paying for Queer Tarot card readings which is one their services. When was the last time you saw ACT handing out condoms at gay bar? They used to hold an outreach program at the Gladstone Hotel Art Bar two years ago, which ran for three years which was popular and well attended, for no apparent reason they chopped it and retreated to their ivory Tower on Chuch St, now there is no outreach in the westend. With 42 AIDS organizations in the city, one of the first to be chopped is Act Toronto, who haven't done anything original in 5 years, except line the pockets of 50 well paid staff who do little. Another thing that should be chopped is Newcomer programs, how many gay or otherwise newcomer programs does the city need? Every non-profit organization and CRC's in the city is on that gravy train, getting big buck funding from city, province and federal government, cut 75% there.
Cut AIDS funding
42 AIDS organizations in Toronto?
ACT has what 50 staff? What do they all do?
Work in HIV, a job for life?
Hello, it's not a mortal disease anymore.
An easy one for Ford, cut 75% off AIDS funding for Toronto!
Funding for Gay Men's Programs at ACT.
I have just finished this article and read the plea from ACT regarding the possibility of Programs for Gay Men being put on the chopping block.

ACT wants us to speak up.. I'm confused. What Programs are we protecting? ACT doens't have any programs specifically for Gay Men. They have classified us as MSM's`` (Men Who Have Sex With Men).. I feel we are only Gay when it suits the organization that wants the funding..

It`s kind of like Pride. Once upon a time we were Gay Pride.. now we are Toronto Pride.. Oh well.

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