Tony Clement’s Gay Pride

Not into Greek

May 11th, 2010 | By Coco Cabrera | Category: Featured, Politics

Supporters of Conservative Industry Minister Tony Clement deny that the Minister refused to fund Toronto’s Gay Pride Parade and Toronto’s Caribana because of homophobia, racism, or a clever combination of the two.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, the party insider made the Minister’s motivation very clear.

“The Marquee program is designed to support large festivals in Canada that draw an international tourism audience; and while Pride and Caribana are bigger than most Canadian festivals and are responsible for millions of foreign tourism dollars entering the city, the fact is gays don’t vote Conservative and blacks don’t vote in large numbers. Also, both events are in Toronto and we are in the process of punishing voters there whenever we can.”

The insider went on to point out that many progressive festivals across Canada did receive funding including “Canada’s largest Ribfest”, which is expected to draw tens of  foreign visitors, and “Whoop It Up Days” in Lethbridge, the perennial favourite of many dozens of people.  The Calgary Stampede, a large gay event in Alberta,  also received funding.

Some Party workers are insulted at the suggestion of rampant homophobia in the Conservative Party of Canada.

“It is absurd to suggest the Conservative party of Canada is homophobic”, whispered one deeply closeted gay Conservative. “Homosexuals play key roles in the Party –   it is gay men that schedule the minister’s lives, advise them on policy, explain to them what a Lady Gaga is and act as a companion to the Prime Minister’s wife when she insists on attending cultural events.”

“Tony is very nice to me and I’m gay” said the party insider.  “Just because he doesn’t think I should have the right to get married or donate my kidney to my sister who is dying doesn’t mean he’s not awesome to work with!”

The issue of cutting funding to the annual Caribana festival is no less contentious.  It is North America’s largest street festival and draws hundreds of thousands of visitors from the United States. Unfortunately for Caribana organizers, data shows that the majority of tourists who come to celebrate this Caribbean festival are black.

Clement has a long relationship with Ontario’s black community. In 1985, while a student at the University of Toronto, he created a club solely for the purpose of bringing South African ambassador Glenn Babb to speak on campus. None of the established university clubs, including the campus Progressive Conservatives, would sponsor Babb because he was a passionate advocate of Apartheid.

One of Clement’s supporters suggested that this was a very special decision for Tony.  “Tony worked very hard to ensure that that advocates of Apartheid were heard in this country. For Tony to be able to deny funding to the largest event in Canada that celebrates black culture shows that he’s consistent.”

There is some good news in the Marquee debacle.  With eligibility criteria changed to exclude many gay and black oriented events, the government spent only 39 million  of the 50 million dollars budgeted for the program. The eleven million dollars in savings will be redirected toward the construction of a Gazebo in Tony Clement’s riding in preparation for the upcoming one-day G8 summit.

Yesterday, URNews mistakenly reported than Minister Clement “is into Greek” .  The item should have read that Minister Clement, who was born Tony Panayi, “is Greek”.   URNews apologizes for the error.

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