Pride grant in limbo as Queers Against Israeli Apartheid plan to march (THE GLOBE AND MAIL) KELLY GRANT AND CITY HALL BUREAU CHIEF 05/23/12)
GLOBE AND MAIL
GLOBE AND MAIL Articles-Index-Top
Toronto Pride Week’s funding from the city is safe – for now.
Council’s economic development committee on Tuesday endorsed more
than $6-million in grants to Toronto’s 10 major arts organizations,
including $123,807 for Pride Toronto, without questions or debate.
“We appreciate the support and [we’re] glad with the result today,
obviously,” Kevin Beaulieu, the executive director of Pride Toronto,
said after the committee vote. “It certainly helps us to put on the
festival every year.”
But the Pride grant’s passage likely won’t be as smooth at city
council, where some members have already talked about withholding
Pride’s funding if a controversial group called Queers Against
Israeli Apartheid is allowed to march in the Pride Parade July 1.
Council has the final say on whether Pride receives the grant, which
supports the 10-day Pride Week festival.
“It’s been no secret to the Pride organizers that we do not approve
of this group [QuAIA] participating,” Councillor James Pasternak
said. “It’s a form of bullying and demonization and it just would not
meet the threshold of city funding.”
The North York councillor added that he would support any motions at
council that would defer cutting Pride a cheque until after the
parade, on the condition QuAIA doesn’t march.
Along with the grant, the city usually provides about $300,000 in
policing and clean-up services for the parade.
QuAIA, which opposes Israel’s treatment of Palestinians, confirmed
last week that it intends to apply for a spot in this year’s parade
before the June 1 deadline.
Mr. Beaulieu said he has yet to see an application from the group.
If QuAIA applies and a complaint is filed, a new third-party dispute
resolution panel will determine whether the organization is allowed
in the parade.
Critics of QuAIA take offence at the term “Israeli Apartheid,” which
they consider an unfair comparison to apartheid-era South Africa.
Toronto’s city manager concluded last year that the words “Israeli
Apartheid” in and of themselves do not violate the city’s anti-
discrimination policy. Pride’s grant is contingent on complying with
After the city manager’s ruling last April, council asked staff to
revise its anti-discrimination policy. A report on the new policy is
expected in June.
“We’ve told the city manager to plug this hole,” Mr. Pasternak
said. “We’re not expecting another apologetic document. We’re
expecting a firm statement that the term Israeli Apartheid is
After igniting a firestorm of controversy during the election summer
of 2010, QuAIA’s leaders opted to skip the parade in 2011, saying
they didn’t want to provide Mayor Rob Ford an excuse to deprive Pride
“This year, especially since the theme is celebrate and demonstrate,
we thought we should be back,” Tony Souza, a QuAIA member, told The
Globe and Mail last week. “We´re a legitimate group just like anybody
else and the city manager´s report says we´re not a hate group, we
don´t speak ill of anybody else.”
Pride’s grant was the smallest of the 10 approved at the economic
The rest of the more than $6-million went to the Art Gallery of
Ontario, the Canadian Opera Company, Caribana, the Toronto
International Film Festival and five other major arts organizations.
Council, which already set aside the grant envelope in its 2012
budget, still has to vote on the allocations.
The amounts are unchanged from 2011. (© Copyright 2012 CTVglobemedia
Publishing Inc. 05/23/12)
Return to Top
MATERIAL REPRODUCED FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY