Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Conservative Party Has No Respect for Diversity

(originally posted at

Ah, here we go. Stephen Harper and his Conservatives continue to show their true, socially-regressive, colours, by revoking funding for Montreal’s Diver-Cite festival after the Toronto Pride fiasco hit home with the social dinosaurs in the Party. I use the word "revoke" here as Divers-Cite had received federal funding in the past, from the same federal Department now headed by Tony Clement, so clearly there has been an established relationship between Economic Development Canada and the Divers-Cite festival.

But, Con MP Brad Trost and the other dinosaurs in the Conservative Party have just scuttled federal funding for this important Quebec cultural event. Politically, this won’t play well in Montreal and Quebec for the Conservatives, which is a good thing, because our Federal government’s lack of participation in Divers-Cite is an absolute shame as well as being hypocritical in the extreme.

I just marched through the streets of downtown Sudbury this past weekend, accompanied by my beautiful wife, our foster son and Sudbury Green Party Candidate Fred Twilley, in celebration of Sudbury’s diverse LGBT community. In this community, the Pride March isn’t a parade in the sense of what takes place in Toronto or Montreal. Instead, it remains largely a political statement to the community that diversity is natural and normal, deserving of respect. For the most part, I believe that message resonates with Sudburians.

As a result, seeing my federal government cut funding for an important community-building event such as Divers-Cite really galls me, because clearly the decision was made based only on the Conservative Party’s lack of understanding about Canadian’s level of tolerance and acceptance. Well, I for one am complete intolerant of this attitude and I am ashamed of my government for taking this backward step.

I want to state that I realize that not all small "c" conservatives feel the same way that the Conservative Party feels. I’m sure that many small "c"’s are equally appalled, either because they know it’s not the right thing to do, or because they realize that as a result of missing federal funds, the Divers-Cite festival won’t generate as much economic activity for the Montreal economy as it might have. Again, I appeal to these small "c" conservatives to abandon Harper and his Cons, because their brand of conservatism does not represent your progressive ideals.

Sometimes our government has to do the right thing, even if it requires sticking its neck out. I would suggest that our government has just shown Canadians that it is not willing to do the right thing even when it was not required to stick its neck out in any way, given its past commitments to Divers-Cite.

I am proud to be a member of a Party which understands that our diversity is something to be celebrated.


Steve May’s Green Party blog: Toronto Pride Week Under Attack By Conservatives

Jennifer Ditchburn, "Montreal gay festival won’t get federal cash", The Toronto Star, July 22 2009.

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