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(Deborah Baic)
(Deborah Baic)

Tabatha Southey

Pride and prejudice Add to ...

Much like Conservative MP Brad Trost - who, in a statement to LifeSiteNews.com this week, claimed that Tourism Minister Diane Ablonczy's decision to fund Toronto's Gay Pride events had come as a shock to most of the Conservative caucus - I, too, am troubled by some of the choices that our government has made in supporting cultural events.

In fact, I'm glad that we're finally talking about this issue, because I really don't enjoy jazz music.

Our government funds many cultural events, but it always seems to me that they fund a lot of jazz festivals. What with the CBC playing so much jazz, one could easily start to believe that our government has a pro-jazz agenda.

Not that I consider myself anti-jazz, you understand, any more than the group to which Mr. Trost directed his comments is necessarily anti-gay. They're just pro-family. And I'm just pro-music.

I don't mind other people liking jazz. What people listen to behind closed doors is their own business. I accept it: Jazz happens. I just don't see why we need to use tax dollars to promote it.

I'm not saying that jazz should (necessarily) be illegal - I just don't want to see bands in the streets or hear jazz emanating from some depressing beer tent, ruining an otherwise perfectly nice city park.

In contrast to my stroll through this year's Gay Pride celebration, during which I saw exactly two sets of naked breasts (which because of a sadly underutilized legal ruling is permissible in Ontario) and one exposed penis (which is par for the course on any long walk through downtown Toronto; at least this one wasn't pissing on any public property), I'm shocked by the outfits people wear to these "jazz" events.

I just can't see how dressing that way helps their cause.

Jazz fans have just begun to reach a level of societal acceptance - not that you'd want them near your children with their Ken Burns box sets or near your stereo at a party. But with their ill-fitting Dockers, they're only setting themselves back.

My children don't need to see that sort of thing. And by "that sort of thing," I do mean those shorts, sir; yes, those shorts. They are in opposition to our values.

And can't jazz fans buy one pair of adult shoes?

Oh, I know: "It's a stereotype," they claim. They'll always tell you that most of them don't really dress like that - it's just that it's always the most flamboyantly unstylish participants that get shown on the evening news.

Honestly, if the government wants to use cultural events to stimulate the economy (just because it works), maybe they should bypass that nodding Thelonious Monk fan, smugly nursing a cranberry juice in some misguided bar, and give the money straight to the makers of Wallabee shoes.

Or let's restrict jazz to brunch. They deserve each other.

Now, I don't know what my bitching about jazz festivals can achieve here. Once, I'd have assumed that the answer was, "Nothing. Don't go if you don't get it. Go to the Stampede instead."

But then the Tourism Minister, Ms. Ablonczy, was relieved of the task of distributing the funds for the Marquee Tourism Events Program shortly after she supported Toronto's Pride events - with funds used primarily to hire entertainment and increase accessibility.

It appears that she was caught running what fellow Conservative MP Dona Cadman has since called "an inclusive and responsive portfolio," and the party couldn't let that stand.

Just shortly earlier, the Institute for Canadian Values, run by Rev. Charles McVety (the champion of that ridiculous attempt at film censorship, Bill C-10), called on "the Prime Minister to reverse the path he has chosen" of supporting "spiritually destructive … sex parades."

So maybe I'm wrong and there'll be no more jazz festivals next year.

I don't find them very inclusive. Pride, in contrast, is full of gay, lesbian, straight, bisexual and transgendered people and diverse families from across North America, with strollers and kids hoisted up on their parents' shoulders, all celebrating what is arguably the most inclusive event in Canada.

Pride is for everyone who doesn't hate gay people. Or parades, I guess.

I maintain that most Canadians don't hate gay people. And I do hate parades, but I make an exception for Pride because, with the good-natured police officers and the army recruiting booth and some members of Canada's armed forces marching and the hotels full, the bars brimming, the DJs playing and people celebrating, it makes me feel blessed to be Canadian now.

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