Tuesday, February 23, 2016
Toronto Gay Pride Parade no joy for taxpayer
Justin Trudeau is coming, the first sitting prime minister to do so.
So is Kathleen Wynne, Ontario’s first openly gay premier.
So is John Tory, our gay mayor, and in John’s case I mean gay as in irrepressibly happy.
Yes, the Big Three are joining the parade, Pride Toronto announced Tuesday. And all three are bringing money.
City Hall’s gift is $160,500, Queen’s Park’s $270,000 and Ottawa’s $140,200.
So, dust off your Speedo. The parade is July 3. I go every year and it’s a blast. C’mon down. You helped pay for it.
Meanwhile, St. Patrick’s Day Parade organizers also made an announcement Tuesday. They want “gingers” — redheaded lads and lasses — to join their march down Yonge St. on March 13.
Justin, and his great hair, won’t be there. Neither will Ms. Wynne, but John Tory is sure to show. The guy never met an event or a parade he wasn’t in.
In this case, though, the mayor won’t bring any money. The St. Patrick’s Day parade gets no government grants. Nor does the iconic Santa Claus Parade or any other procession in this town, other than that calvacade of kooks at City Hall.
Nor should they. A parade ought to stand on its own feet, so to speak.
Is Pride a special case?
Well, you could argue that we rebuffed, shunned and bashed the LGBT community for eons — so we owe them. But that would make them “victims” — and they shed that mantle years ago.
To their great credit, Pride Toronto brass have recruited blue chip sponsors, including TD Canada Trust, Molson, Manulife, Air Canada, Trojan condoms and, bluest of all, Viagra.
They’ve even put the bite on Maple Leaf Gardens Loblaws, supermarket to the Gay Village.
The St. Patrick’s folks hit up various unions — in the same spirit of self-reliance and private funding.
So why does Pride also get tax money. Beats me. They claim it regularly draws a million people and up to $700 million for the economy. If you live nearby, you know that is utter bunk.
Mostly what such grants do is simply add to our humongous public debts, which for Queen’s Park alone is $300 billion.
Don’t blame Pride. Who could resist? Our leaders fling grants like Mardi Gras beads.
A sampling: The Canadian Opera Company gets a whopping $1.5 million from the city, the National Ballet $1.25 million, the Toronto Symphony $1.22 million.
Good grief, can’t they check for loose change in the pockets of all those mink coats?
The province spent $200,000 to help the Bata Shoe Museum celebrate its 20th birthday. Yes we did. We also gave $270,000 to the Honda Indy, even if you didn’t buy a ticket.
The Shaw Festival got $247,500, the Great Canadian Cheese Festival $45,000, the Fringe Festival $90,000, the Taste of Asia Festival $67,500, the Toronto Triathlon Festival $56,250, the Digital Dreams Festival $270,000, the Salsa on St. Clair Street Festival $90,000, etc., etc.
Piece of cake. Put “festival” in your title and they give you money.
The pit is bottomless. You’ll be tickled to hear Queen’s Park gave $45,000 to something called the Huntsville Girlfriends’ Getaway Weekend. I kid you not. Now you know where your girlfriend disappeared to in November.
Well, tell her not to put away those white vinyl cowboy boots just yet. Pride is around the corner.
I’d suggest you take a subway to the big parade — but our leaders never seem to have the money to spend on transit.
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