NEWS

Group's participation in Pride Parade could threaten city grant

05/23/2012 08:57 EDT | Updated 07/23/2012 05:12 EDT

The possible participation of the group Queers Against Israeli Apartheid in this year's Pride Parade could threaten more than $100,000 in city funding.

The parade on July 1, which will be the culmination of Toronto's Pride Week Festival, could include the controversial group. If that happens at least one city councillor says the festival should be denied the $123,807 grant which was approved by the city's economic development committee on Tuesday.

"I think I'm looking for some leadership from Pride to finally say 'No' to this kind of bullying and demonization," said Coun. James Pasternak.

"We don't pull funding just for the fun of it," he said. "If Pride feels that supporting QuAIA is more important than a cultural grant then that's their decision."

The festival's executive director Kevin Beaulieau says no conclusions about QuAIA participation have been made. The group has not made a formal application yet to march in the parade.

But Beaulieau says the grant is important to the festival and he hopes Pride can deal with issue internally.

"Everyone has to have faith in the process that we established that there will be a fair hearing and everyone will have an opportunity to make their case," he said.

Last year the city manager ruled QuAIA doesn't violate Toronto's anti-discrimination policy but Pasternak says that doesn't matter.

"We [city council] turn down opinions and recommendations from staff all of the time," he said.

Coun. Josh Colle agrees the inclusion of the group could affect the funding.

“We should be open to demonstration and protest and issues anywhere in Toronto streets, but I don't know if we should be funding that protest and demonstration," said Colle.

City Council will have the final say on Pride's grant next month.

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