Noted impressionist and former member of the Rob Ford for Mayor campaign Fraser Macdonald asked a question via his Twitter account last week. “[Ontario Premier Dalton] McGuinty and [BC Premier] Christy Clark both skipped Pride parades. Media didn’t say a word,” he wrote. “Can you say ‘double standard?'”
I can, in fact, say “double standard” but I won’t in this instance. First, starting with the easy one, Christy Clark. Not only has the new BC Premier apparently marched in the parade before, her conspicuous absence this year was reported in dozens of media articles as per Google News. Next.
Dalton McGuinty didn’t attend Pride this year either, but has appeared often enough in the past that no one took that as a particular slight. His government has maintained their annual investment in Pride Toronto. Earlier this year, the premier told reporters that “we take Pride in investing in Pride.” Here’s a YouTube video of Dalton McGuinty presenting a lifetime achievement award at a Pride gala.
So there. Two politicians who, though they skipped their most recent pride parades, have at least made past appearances and been outspoken and demonstrative with their support for the community. And then there’s Rob Ford.
We’re continuing to see these kinds of disingenuous attempts to pretend like the gay community and their allies simply overreacted after the Mayor of Toronto opted to attend his cottage rather than go to the Pride parade. This is, quite frankly, total revisionism. The issue is not that Ford didn’t attend the parade but rather that he didn’t do as much as wave from his office window at the people assembled to raise the Pride flag at Nathan Phillips Square. He spent most of the week while Pride was in town outright ignoring a major tourist and cultural event, and snubbing an entire community.