Aug 11

The Pride is Back: once again, it’s about more than just a parade

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/macdonaldfraser/status/99267683404623872″]

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.

Jul 11

The annotated Rob Ford: notes on the mayor’s interview with CP24 (VIDEO)

The mayor was on CP24 this past Friday for a rare sit-down interview. Unfortunately, the journalist sitting down with Rob Ford was one-time mayoral candidate and aspiring softball pitcher Stephen LeDrew, who didn’t give the mayor much in the way of challenging questions.

Still, Ford’s statements on a variety of important issues are notable for the number of outright falsehoods and misperceptions they contain. Standing on the shoulders of giants like The Grid’s Edward Keenan, who ran a Fact Check column relating to this interview on Friday afternoon, I’ve put together an edited version of the mayor’s interview, pointing out the moments where he departed from the truth.

I call it the annotated Rob Ford. You can watch it below.

Some notes:

First, this is a six-minute edit of a twenty-minute interview. The editing process by its very nature removes context. To be objective, readers should also watch the full version of the interview at CP24 before they make any conclusions.

00:00:35 — The top three priorities identified by Toronto residents comes from Page 4 of KPMG’s summary of the Core Service Review Public Consultation process. Note also that the item given the least priority was “Fair and affordable taxes.”

00:00:55 — The KMPG report lists “Detailed analysis of services to identify efficiency and effectiveness opportunities” as “Out of Scope” on page four of the introductory document. The report does note that an efficiency study could take place at a later date, as a separate report.

00:01:22 — The KPMG report to the Public Works & Infrastructure Committee lists Solid Waste Management Services as having a net budget of 0 on page 12.

00:01:25 — Council voted to send an RFQ out to tender for solid waste collection (and a few other services) west of Yonge Street at the May Council meeting. The quotations will come back to Council for approval, probably early next year.

00:01:29 — Edward Keenan, writing for The Grid: “The right to strike in Canada is considered a constitutionally protected right (as it is in every other large democracy in the world), and contracting out garbage collection does not take away anyone’s right to form a union, bargain collectively or go on strike.”

00:01:42 — See note for 00:00:35.

00:02:17 — Quote is from the Toronto Star. David Rider recently dredged up the quote and discussed its ramifications.

00:02:43 — In fact, most of the grants Ford dismisses as unjustifiable are for programs that help needy people. They include organizations like the Rexdale Women’s Centre, the Crime Prevention Association of Toronto and the New Canadian Community Centre. The Toronto Star’s Daniel Dale has a partial list.

00:03:00 — The City of Toronto’s own website for the Toronto Atmospheric Fund is probably the best resource for information on the fund, its history and the benefits it brings to Toronto.

00:03:28 — Per KPMG’s report to the Public Works & Infrastrucutre Committee on page 39: “Consider reducing snow plowing and snow removal standards on residential streets.”

00:03:48 — The only scenario in which Ford’s claim makes sense is if we include some of the new off-road recreational paths that are to be added as part of the plan, but those serve an entirely different purpose than on-road bike lanes. The Agenda Item History for the 2011 Bike Plan is available online and details which lanes were added and which were removed. The Plan does float the idea of new lanes, notably on Richmond or Adelaide Street, but those are only being studied at this point.

00:04:09 – See page 17 of the 2011 Bike Plan Staff Report for details on traffic levels on Jarvis Street before and after installation of the bike lanes. You can also read my FAQ on Jarvis Street.

00:04:33 — It’s not true at the moment, at least. If Ford enthusiastically supports separated bike lanes on Richmond Street, for example, his statement would have more weight.

00:04:44 — It really isn’t true. See note for 00:03:48.

00:04:55 — As per “Mayor Ford votes against all community grants” in the Toronto Star.

00:05:15 — Ford skipped both the traditional Pride flag-raising kicking off the event, which took place steps from his office. He was touring the Air Canada Centre at the time. He also skipped an earlier flag-raising held by the Parents & Friends of Lesbians & Gays, which was presided over by Leafs GM Brian Burke.

00:05:40 — Per the Toronto Star’s “Ford expected to plow surplus into 2011 budget” by Robyn Doolittle: “Mayor Rob Ford is planning to use the city’s one-time surplus to help balance his 2011 budget, avoiding unpopular service cuts and delivering on a property tax freeze, say members of the executive and budget committees.”


Jul 11

A gentle reminder of City Council’s recent commitment to cultural funding

Given that some of the chatter surrounding the big Pride/Mammoliti/QuAIA story has bled into general debates about the city’s funding for cultural events, with some asking why Pride can’t be self-sufficient and operate without an annual city grant, I though it worth a second to refer back to a council vote that took place on May 18, 2011. With unanimous support — including from Mayor Rob Ford — council approved a report titled “Creative Capital Gains: An Action Plan for Toronto.”

Here’s an excerpt:

The City’s investment achieves greater leverage when the City provides support that would otherwise go wanting. The City is in the best position to understand, evaluate, and facilitate support for a myriad of events and organizations across the entire city. The City’s investment can also be the initiator for a whole stream of additional funding from a wide variety of other sources. Often, the City’s support can come via in-kind services or the waiving of fees or other charges. Although highly leveraged by funding from other sources, the City’s investment in culture is tremendously important. To maintain and build significant competitive advantage, the City needs to bring its commitment to culture to be more in line with that of other global creative capitals.

We recommend that the City keep pace with international competitors by making a firm commitment to sustain Toronto’s cultural sector and to position Toronto as a leading, globally competitive Creative Capital.

We care deeply about the future of our city. We recognize that in a time of necessary fiscal restraint, the City must think carefully about its investments in order to ensure they are working for the good of all taxpayers. This report details how targeted investments in the cultural economy can generate significant returns for the people who live and work here, and come to visit our great city. Toronto can create jobs and wealth, attract and retain talent, build stronger neighbourhoods, and build a prosperous city through culture. We have an opportunity to capitalize on our strong economic position relative to many of our competitors by recognizing that culture is the fundamental driver of Toronto’s future prosperity. The stage is set. The curtain has gone up. We must act now.

via Creative Capital Gains: An Action Plan for Toronto | PDF Report.

So if any councillor starts making noises about why should the city fund cultural events, point them to this report. They probably voted for it.

Jul 11

Despite what Mammoliti says, there’s no reason to defund Pride

So Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti is making the media rounds, talking excitedly about the great footage he shot at the Saturday Dyke March that will, he says, make for a slam-dunk case for withholding this year’s Pride funding.

What’s on the tape? The Toronto Star’s Robyn Doolittle has the details:

The 17-minutes of tape, which Mammoliti plans to edit down, shows about 30 parade marchers expressing pro-Palestinian opinions. Some carry a “Free Palestine” banner. Others call for a boycott of Israeli products. Others chant “End the occupation.” Some are not marching in the parade, but are standing at the sidelines.

via Pride funding in jeopardy after Mammoliti video gets rise from City – thestar.com.

Quick sidebar: I love that he plans to “edit down” his footage. He should use iMovie. Add some transitions — star wipes — and background music. Really make a show of it.

So, okay, he’s got footage of 30 or so people doing politicized things as part of a Pride event. Is that enough to justify withholding Pride funding? I’d argue that it isn’t. In fact, I would argue that the City of Toronto, as an agency that entered into a good faith agreement with Pride Toronto to provide money and services for the week-long event, has no grounds to even consider withholding funding for Pride 2011. Money was committed and Pride Toronto displayed Toronto’s logo as an event supporter. The only condition of the deal — that no participant violate the City’s anti-discrimination policy — was most assuredly upheld. To renege on the deal at this point isn’t just bad politics — it’s bad business.

But let’s ignore all that and focus on Mammoliti’s arguments. To have even a shred of credibility on this issue, he needs to prove a couple of things. First, that Pride Toronto was derelict in their duty by allowing these participants to march. Second, that Queers Against Israeli Apartheid broke their word and participated in an official Pride event, despite promises that they would not.

Based on the facts we have at hand, neither appears to be true. The group that marched on Saturday was “Dykes and Trans People for Palestine.” QuAIA’s actions were limited to dropping a banner at the Sunday Pride parade, something they seem to be very proud of. While the group that marched on Saturday did express solidarity with QuAIA, it’s ludicrous to the point of insanity to expect that any event organizer can or should be held accountable for the behaviour of every single person in attendance. That would be like holding the Leafs responsible for the behaviour of their fans at hockey games.

Jul 11

Giorgio Mammoliti: Toronto’s Michele Bachmann?

Matt Taibbi has an awesome feature in this month’s issue of Rolling Stone detailing the unlikely political career of Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann. The whole article is online, and I highly recommend you read it — there are some echoes of Municipal Election 2010 on page three of the article, when Taibbi writes about the difference between “being mocked and being taken seriously” — but the reason I’m pointing this out today is for the article’s reference to a time wherein the famously anti-gay Bachmann was caught hiding in some bushes outside a gay rights rally:

Bachmann’s obsession with gay culture led her to bizarre behavioral extremes. In April 2005, after the State Senate refused to even vote on her constitutional amendment, she hid in the bushes outside the State Capitol during a gay-rights rally. A photo shows Bachmann, only the top of her Stepford head visible, crouched alone in an extreme catcher’s squat behind the Capitol shrubbery. She later insisted she wasn’t hiding at all, but resting because her heels hurt.

via Michele Bachmann’s Holy War | Rolling Stone Politics.

Here’s the photo.

Sounds like a ridiculous only-in-America scenario, but then this weekend Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti was discovered playing the same kind of paranoid witch-hunt game, when revellers at Saturday’s Dyke March caught him standing, stone-faced, holding his camcorder while the parade marched down Church Street. He was on a mission, apparently, to discover and capture anti-semitic elements who might appear in the crowds at the parade.

The Toronto Star’s Chloé Fedio:

Giorgio Mammoliti and his camcorder want to axe city funding for Pride Week.

The city councillor says he captured an anti-Israeli group chanting the controversial phrase “Israeli Apartheid” during Saturday’s Dyke Parade.

“I see this as cockiness, I see this as a slap in the face to City Hall and I see this as a slap in the face to taxpayers in this city,” Mammoliti said after the parade. “This councillor does not want them to get funded this year. I will be seeing whether the mayor agrees with me.”

via Councillor urges end to Pride funding after filming Dyke March – thestar.com.

This whole Queers Against Israeli Apartheid battle is so very tiring. City Council voted last year voted to withhold funding to Pride Toronto until after the parade, to ensure compliance with their anti-discrimination policy. The idea was that this measure would keep QuAIA out of the parade. City staff later ruled that, in fact, QuAIA didn’t violate their anti-discrimination policy, which threw a wrench into the whole deal. But then QuAIA promised to not march in this year’s parade. A promise which they appear to have kept, despite members of some other groups apparently picking up their cause.

I’m sure Mammoliti has some lovely video of someone saying the words “Israel Apartheid” at the Dyke March or waving a Palestinian flag, but none of that even begins to disqualify Pride from receiving their city grant. Unless parade organizers are found to have knowingly allowed a group to participate in the parade whose message violates the City of Toronto’s anti-discrimination policy, council has no grounds to withdraw committed funds.

What’s worse is that, at the heart of things, the City and Pride Toronto have a business relationship. The City provides a small amount of grant funds and in-kind support to allow for Pride Week events and, in turn, the city gets a ton of return on investment in the form of tourist dollars and cultural activity. It’s a win for everyone.

Councillor Mammoliti’s actions — and, to be fair, this is not even in the top five most ridiculous things he’s ever done — threaten that business relationship. If the councillor and the mayor want to kill Pride, they should just be honest about it.

“Grassroots Community”

The Star’s David Rider has more from our favourite councillor in his (very good) article about the fall-out from Ford’s decision not to attend Pride. Talking to Rider, Giorgio defends the mayor’s absence:

“I haven’t heard from anybody in the grassroots community say that the Pride community is right,” said Mammoliti (Ward 7, York West). “If anything they’re saying that they’re irritated by what the Pride community is saying.

“Some people chose to make it political and the reality is we have bigger things to talk about, like where are we going to get our money for 2012, to deal with our $700 million deficit?”

via Ford and the ‘family values’ case for gay rights | Toronto Star.

Okay, two questions:

First, who are the ‘grassroots community?’ Can I be included with the grassroots community? Why do their opinions matter more than others?

Second, if we’re looking at ways to improve the city’s overall fiscal condition, large cultural events that boost the desirability of Toronto to outsiders are surely not a bad place to start, right?

Jul 11

Mayor Rob Ford skips every Pride-related event

The Toronto Star’s Daniel Dale makes it official:

Mayor Rob Ford will not be making a surprise appearance at the Pride parade on Sunday.

Ford’s spokesperson, Adrienne Batra, told CP24 that Ford would remain at the Muskoka cottage where he is spending time with his family.

Ford said on June 22 that he would miss the parade for the cottage gathering. Pride officials, councillors, former mayors and Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke, a gay rights advocate, were among the people who had urged him to reconsider.

Ford is the first Toronto mayor to miss the parade since June Rowlands in 1994.

via Ford to skip Pride parade – thestar.com.

Not only did the mayor miss the parade — forgivable, given his commitment to a family tradition — but also dozens of other Pride events that took place over the past week, ranging in complexity from a pub brunch on Bay street to a flag-raising taking place a short walk from his office. His only concessions to this major cultural event — an event that draws a hundred million dollars of economic activity — was his scrawled signature on the mayoral proclamation and a lone message posted to his Twitter account, which is managed by assistant Tom Beyer. (Who did, in fact, attend the parade.)

The bottom line: thousands of people came to the city over the past week to spend money and experience Toronto, and yet the mayor, for no good reason, did not publicly welcome them. Even if you can look past the social ramifications of the mayor snubbing the LBGT community, this just feels like bad manners.

Most of the apologist arguments on this issue were pretty weak — Pride is nothing but a dog pile of debauchery so why should the mayor attend? or Why are so-called open-minded, pro-choice liberals trying to force the mayor to do something? — but one school of thought stood out as particularly ignorant. Best espoused by the Toronto Sun’s Peter Worthington, it went like this:

Why would anyone in the gay community want Ford at their parade?

If a million citizens turn out to watch the goings-on, participate and relish the get-together, surely that’s more significant than having a reluctant mayor in attendance.

I suspect he was invited simply and only so he could be booed.

vía No reason for Ford to attend Pride parade | Toronto Sun.

The answer to “Why would anyone want Ford at the Pride parade?” is really simple. It’s because, love him or hate him, he is the Mayor of Toronto. And with that title comes the responsibility to represent all the people of Toronto. Even if you take issue with the person sitting in the chair, you respect the office. The office means something.

You see it at council meetings, when classes of students drop in to the gallery. When the mayor approaches those groups — and, to his credit, he always does — the kids go nuts. They may not understand the procedural slog that is city government, but they get that this man, handing them business cards for some reason, is an important guy. He runs the whole city.

It wasn’t important that Rob Ford attend a Pride event. That’s getting too granular, too specific. It was important that the Mayor of Toronto attend a Pride event.

Sue-Ann Levy, of all people, sums things up nicely in her latest column:

But he and his advisors allowed the fiasco to escalate by ignoring suggestions for him to stop in at safe events, like an awards ceremony Wednesday evening, and even to hold a private event in his office.

Clearly they don’t understand the fine nuances of being a mayor of all the people of this city.

A true leader doesn’t shrink from one powerful group just because they didn’t vote for him.

He does the right thing.

via Rob Ford blows it on Pride | Toronto Sun.

A commenter to Levy’s column responds with “fag fest is over.” Which brings up the other sad part of this whole thing: Ford hasn’t even made a token gesture to disavow the notion that he agrees with the homophobic horde that is gleefully championing his time at the cottage.

Jun 11

Ford skips Pride kick-off at City Hall, was at hockey rink

The Toronto Star’s Daniel Dale:

Council speaker Frances Nunziata read Ford’s proclamation of Pride Week in place of the mayor, whom she later said had “other commitments” she could not identify. Her speech was interrupted by Dan Fraser, a 48-year-old corrections officer who is gay, and his friend Richard Warner, a gay 55-year-old retail salesperson, who stood in a crowd of more than 200 in Nathan Phillips Square.

“Where’s the mayor?” Fraser shouted. “We want Ford. Forget it, Frances. It’s a disgrace. It’s an absolute sham.”

via Ford’s representative booed at Pride event – thestar.com.

After the backlash Ford received last week when he announced he would be going to his cottage instead of attending the Pride parade, breaking a thirteen year tradition, I half-expected that he would make a half-hearted appearance at City Hall today, reading the proclamation for Pride Week and raising the rainbow flag.

It would have been a redemptive move. Some would have criticized him for only attending due to political pressure, but it would have been better than nothing. An indication, at the very least, that the mayor does rebuke those who would call him homophobic.

Instead, the mayor doubled down on his snub, coming up only with the feeble excuse that he was not able to attend this morning’s festivities because he was taking part in a walkthrough of the Air Canada Centre with Leafs GM Brian Burke:

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/TOMayorFord/status/85407177455566848″]

The association with Burke is, I guess, supposed to suggest a kind of solidarity, given that the Leafs GM is a major supporter of PFLAG. But that line of thinking is so ridiculously idiotic that it’s hard to comprehend. A tour of the Air Canada Centre — a building the mayor has been in probably hundreds of times, including one time in 2006, when he told a sports fan in attendance that she could go get raped and shot in Iran — is exactly the opposite of the kind of event that should preclude the Mayor of Toronto from attending the kick-off to one of the most important cultural events the city holds.

UPDATE: After I published this story, the Toronto Star updated their article to include comments from Ford, who wore a Leafs jersey upon emerging from his office after being MIA all morning. He told reporters that he would take things “one day at a time” when considering whether to attend other Pride events or the Pride parade itself. I still hope he does.

Jun 11

Scenarios wherein the mayor is not a homophobe

So Rob Ford confirmed yesterday that he will not be marching in this year’s Pride parade due to a previous commitment to be at the cottage with his family on the long weekend. This comes on the heels of the mayor’s conspicuous absence at a string of Pride- and LGBT-related events, some of which took place within shouting distance of his office at City Hall.

This will be the first time a Toronto mayor has missed the parade in more than a decade. June Rowlands was the last Toronto mayor to not march.

And, sure, if he was missing the parade but had committed to make an appearance at another Pride event, I’d cut him some slack. It’s nice to be out of town for the Canada Day weekend. But it is impossible to separate the mayor’s refusal to attend the Pride parade with his continued and apparently deliberate snubbing of any event put on by the LGBT community.

Is the mayor homophobic? He’s making it difficult to conclude otherwise. Not only does his voting record include bombshells like voting against accepting provincial money for HIV screening programs and hanging banners for the International AIDS Conference, he has also expressed support for “traditional marriage”, backed an anti-gay candidate in a council race, openly expressed the retrograde opinion that HIV is a gay disease and — this one bothers me the most — couldn’t be bothered to leave his office for twenty minutes to raise a flag on the roof of City Hall for Parents & Friends of Lesbians and Gays alongside the General Manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

It’s a lot to take in, and the mental gymnastics necessary to avoid landing on “backwards homophobe” are daunting. But we — the collective we — hate labels, naturally, so let’s try. Let’s try and come up with scenarios where the mayor is not a homophobe.

Scenario #1: This is all just a big misunderstanding

You know how it is. Sometimes you’re just going about your duties as a politician in Toronto and one thing leads to another and — through no fault of your own — suddenly people are calling you a homophobe. And, yes, you can see how some might come to that conclusion but really it’s just a big misunderstanding.

Put it this way: Maybe Rob Ford and the LGBT community are like the principal characters in the John Cusack romantic comedy Serendipity. They’re meant to be together — they yearn to be together — but a series of unfortunate coincidences keeps them apart. Eventually, though, after years of confusion and near-miss chance encounters, they’ll meet in a park with falling snow and kiss and kiss and kiss.

Let’s give the mayor the benefit of the doubt. Maybe there is a remote possibility that his schedule has just not allowed him to attend events like the aforementioned PFLAG flag raising or the “Proud of Toronto” event or the coming reading of the Pride proclamation. You might find that hard to believe considering that, within only the last couple of months, the mayor has found time to attend events as varied as McHappy Day celebrations, an ice cream party thrown by Ivanka Trump and the grand opening of the studios for the Sun News Network. He’s also continued to find time to coach high school football in Etobicoke.

So, yes, hard to believe. But stranger things have happened.

Scenario #2: The mayor buys into the Post-Mo theory so whole-heartedly that he sees no reason to attend Pride-related events

Bear with me on this one, as it sort of hinges on the mayor being a bit of an intellectual who reads alt-weekly newspapers. But let’s consider that Rob Ford read Paul Aguirre-Livingston’s “Dawn of the New Gay” cover story in The Grid a couple of weeks back and has now fully embraced the notion that Toronto has moved past all this LGBT stuff and Pride is an unnecessary relic; a boozed-up and needlessly decadent spectacle that’s no longer politically relevant. The struggle is over.

Sure, this requires ignoring that gay bashing hate crimes still happen in Toronto. And that GTA area publicly-funded school boards are banning both Gay-Straight Alliances and, seriously, rainbows. And that local commenters are currently flooding newspaper comment boards with anti-gay slurs in support of the mayor’s decision to go to his cottage. But still. Let’s chalk that kind of thing up to omelettes and eggs.

Maybe Rob Ford is a visionary. Ahead of the curve. Maybe what he’s saying is that all of us — gay, straight, whatever — should head to their cottages during Pride, celebrating inclusivity with collective exclusivity. Let’s be together alone.

Note that some of you — especially those that are not savvy enough to hold stake in a multi-million dollar family business — will have to go to cottages in your imagination.

Scenario #3: Something about secret agents and robots

I won’t bore with you the details but consider for a minute that the mayor is currently leading a double life, spending half his time undercover working against rogue elements seeking to subvert the gay agenda….

Wait, no, this is dumb. No one will believe this.

I’m spent. I can’t justify these decisions Rob Ford has made, and it doesn’t make sense that the mayor of a city like Toronto — the Toronto I know — would make the choices he’s made. About the only thing I can say in his defence sincerely is that I think Ford is a man who doesn’t do well in situations that might be awkward and uncomfortable. He craves control and familiarity. These aren’t necessarily bad qualities for a person to have, but the way those qualities are influencing his behaviour as mayor are justifiably disappointing to a wide cross-section of the city he was elected to represent.

There’s nothing here to be proud of.

Jun 11

Proud of Levy

From Sue-Ann Levy’s latest, discussing Councillor James Pasternak’s desire to rewrite Toronto’s anti-discrimination policy:

Pasternak said he’s asked the new anti-discrimination policy ensures “no public funds or city-permitted space” is given to a group involved in Israeli Apartheid.

via No hatred at Pride this year | Columnists | Opinion | Toronto Sun.

I would think Queers Against Israeli Apartheid would very much support such a policy.

On a serious note: Levy’s column is problematic — it always is — echoing the repeated falsehood that the City of Toronto could withhold this year’s Pride funding if QuAIA did march (on what grounds?), and pushing the viewpoint that it would be simple for Toronto to craft an anti-discrimination policy that would rule out groups like QuAIA.

But she ends with a quick appeal to Mayor Rob Ford, asking him to march in this year’s Pride parade. To “be the mayor of all the people.”

Levy is never more sympathetic than when she does stuff like that. That she does so while followed by a Toronto Sun comment section that tells her to “Keep convincing yourself’s your normal and one day you’ll believe it but it won’t make it true [sic]”  and to “Give it a rest, dyke” makes her stand all the more appealing.

Still, though, she’s wrong about almost everything else almost all of the time.

Jun 11

Ford to skip another Pride event

Xtra’s Rob Salerno:

Toronto city councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam told the audience at the Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Trans Youth Line Community Youth Awards Gala Friday night that Mayor Rob Ford’s office has confirmed that he will not attend the ceremonial raising of the pride flag at City Hall on June 27.

Ford will be sending council speaker Frances Nunziata in his stead, Wong-Tam says.

Wong-Tam did not give a reason for the Mayor’s absence.

via Ford won’t attend Pride flag ceremony.

I think any narrative that says Rob Ford is a homophobe is overly simplistic and mostly wrong, but he’s sure making it easy for opponents to tag him with the label.

To be fair, the mayor skips a lot of public events compared to his predecessor. But given Pride’s importance to city tourism and its status as a marquee event for Toronto, the continued lack of action seems troubling.

As mayor, he’s found time to attend numerous events relating to football.