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Monday, June 28, 2010

Georgio Mammoliti and Rob Ford to put forward motion demanding Pride Toronto return funds provided by City

Following Pride Toronto's flip-flop regarding allowing the participation of the contentious anti-Israel group "Queers Against Israeli Apartheid," Councilors and mayoral candidates Giorgio Mammoliti and Rob Ford will be putting forward a motion in July to retroactively defund Pride and require them to repay funding the event received from the City of Toronto.

Rob Ford told Eye On A Crazy Planet: 
"Unfortunately, there is no City Council meeting until after the Parade has taken place. I will be seconding a motion at the next Council meeting to make Pride Toronto pay back the money that the City has provided them."
Georgio Mammoliti put forward the original motion in May, seconded by Councilor David Shiner, to require that City funding be conditional on Pride prohibiting participation by QuAIA. In a narrow vote, 23 to 21, the motion was forwarded to the City's Executive Committee for a recommendation and was withdrawn when Pride agreed to ban the term "Israeli Apartheid" from the event.

But with its last minute reversal, done in a time period in which there will be no City Council meetings until this year's Pride festival is over, many councilors feel betrayed and angry about the apparent dissemblance by the Pride Committee.

This time the Pride Committee, with its repeated flip-flops about allowing QuAIA to participate, may have pushed their luck too far. Councilor Mammoliti's proposal, if passed, will not only require Pride to return the funds, but will end City funding for future Pride events.

It is possible that the vote may break down the same way it did in the earlier vote. But this time things may be different. Councilors who wanted to defer this matter in May may not want their implied support for the anti-Israel group "Queers Against Israeli Apartheid" to be an issue used against them in in the rapidly approaching fall election.

The Mayoral candidates seem to agree. All the major ones have taken strong positions against participation in Pride by "Queers Against Israeli Apartheid" with the exception of five foot-one Joe Pantalone, who, as Deputy Mayor and ideological compadre to the unpopular retiring incumbent, stands about as much chance of winning the election as he does of making the starting line-up of The Chicago Bulls.

Councillor Mammoliti's proposal, to be put forward in July reads:

1. That City Council directs the City Clerk to advise the Pride organizers that the City of Toronto’s 2010 funding and support be revoked and returned retroactively to the City because Pride did not invoke the City of Toronto’s anti-discriminating policies by allowing Queers Against Israel Apartheid to participate in this year’s Pride Parade.

2. The City of Toronto rejects any and all future applications from Pride for funding and support.

On his website, Ford is quoted as saying:

“Something has gone seriously wrong with the organizers of Pride to make such an irresponsible decision,” added Ford. “We took them at their word that there wouldn’t be any hate groups in the parade, and they’ve now gone back on that. City Council can’t stand for this."
When Mammoliti and Ford's motion comes up for a vote next month, we'll see whether Council lets itself be manipulated by Pride Toronto or not.

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