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Toronto Mayor Pretends Pride Week Doesn’t Exist

Toronto Mayor Pretends Pride Week Doesn’t Exist

As Mayor of the largest and most diverse city in Canada, you would think Rob Ford would have a little more common sense about getting on the wrong side of people. However, if there’s something nobody has ever accused Ford of, that’s common sense.

So when  he announced last week that he was not going to attend the Gay Pride Week Parade in Toronto’s downtown this Friday — Canada Day — because he “always goes to the cottage that weekend”, it wasn’t exactly a shocker.  Ford has conspicuously refused to attend any Pride or LGBT events in Toronto whatsoever since taking office last year.  But with Pride Week being the largest LGBT events in the world and spanning 9 days, you would think Ford would be able to attend at least one event to support this enormous initiative in his community – not to mention tip his hat to the huge economic boon the festival brings to his cash-strapped tax coffers. But Ford is repeatedly dodging the question about whether he will attend any of the events, saying “his family comes first”. When asked directly if he was homophobic, his answer was unintelligible.

So far, he’s been a no-show for the opening flag-raising event, instead sending a representative who was booed vociferously by the annoyed crowd when she spoke the words “I,  Mayor Rob Ford…” on his behalf.

Ford has been criticized for his anti-gay comments before, such as in 2006 when then-Councillor Ford argued against a $1.5M AIDS prevention strategy, saying that AIDS was already “very preventable. If you are not doing needles and you are not gay, you wouldn’t get AIDS probably, that’s the bottom line.”

Ford needs to tread carefully. The LGBT community in Toronto is nothing if not vocal – and it’s not a community he wants on his bad side. If, as his actions seem to indicate, he is less than positive towards LGBT individuals, he may be in for a long few years of “no comments” about his increasingly divisive actions.

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87 comments

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2:32PM PST on Jan 10, 2012

I have often wondered if Shakespeare's famous quote applies here: "Methinks that he doth protest TOO MUCH" - Just what is Ford trying to hide? That applies to both Rob & Doug...

11:20AM PDT on Sep 5, 2011

Ignore it and it will go away. Good case.

1:56PM PDT on Aug 3, 2011

Don I.: There are no gay agenda!

1:30PM PDT on Jul 10, 2011

@Darcy H,
Nobodies pretending an entire group of people doesn't exist. Mayor Ford IS dealing with it in the way he feels he should. Mayor Ford has chosen the correct way of dealing with the Gay Pride Parade, according to his beliefs. Staying true to his beliefs trumps his need to support an agenda he may not agree with (as it should). How many of your group supported Mayor Ford when he was elected? I suspect not very many did, ... yet, you feel it's mandatory that he supports your agenda. That's a bit two-faced if you ask me.

It's homosexuals like you, with your in-your-face attitude that turn most people against your type. Because you and your kind feel the whole world needs to agree with and accept the gay agenda, doesn't mean it's going to happen. I have a nephew and niece (they are not from the same family) who are homosexual, and even they don't support the Gay Pride movement and the in-your-face attitude it represents. Even though they are gay, their family and relatives still love and support them every bit as much as those who are not gay. Because people don't agree with or support the your agenda, doesn't mean they hate you.

9:46AM PDT on Jul 10, 2011

Congratulations Rob Ford for not attending the parade that you obviously do not support .To do so would compromise your beliefs.remember when it all started ? First there were a few gays then more and more and now gay pride MONTH? At this rate it will soon be mandatory.

1:27PM PDT on Jul 3, 2011

You can't just pretend like an entire group of people don't exist. We aren't going to magically go away. We're here. Deal with it.

6:41PM PDT on Jul 1, 2011

Rob Ford is a welcome breath of political incorrectness in a surprisingly uptight town. The Pride absolutists are welcome to the presence of George Smitherman, the establishment puppet Ford upset with his victory last year (and who was likely there). They tend to inflate their attendance records anyway, and now this frowning upon absentee officials? Political incorrectness means getting away from such compulsory attendance.

Rob Ford should be judged on his burgeoning track record as mayor -- not on his selection of associates, as the author of this judgmental article would have it.

5:00PM PDT on Jun 30, 2011

Don I, you, Toronto Mayor Tom Ford & Kieth R have the totally wrong idea if the Toronto Pride celebration is "totally for the gay agenda" as you so aptly put it. Unfortunately, the media is partially to blame for putting a bad spin on the Pride Celebration & Parade. The news will usually shoot pics or video's of the drag queens, leather men or the scantily dressed, which in the SF Pride Parade which I just watched and witnessed last weekend are far and few between.

The majority of the contingents in the Pride parades are groups, individuals, organizations, churches, companies and countless others who have contributed their efforts and volunteered their time to many different LGBT and AIDS causes. Not all the people who march are gay, for the Pride parades often salute those from the hetro community who have done great things for the LGBT community.

Most of the funds spent for the parades come from donations that various LGBT groups and individuals tirelessly raise throughout the year. Many of the staff, organizers and security individuals volunteer their time for the parade and festival. Not to mention the thousands of dollars brought in by people traveling from outside the City spending their dollars at hotels, restaurants, and various stores and shops.

So if this Mayor would give one moment to look at all the things the Pride weekend does for the community as a whole...I think he'd be very surprised!

5:38AM PDT on Jun 30, 2011

Thanks for the article.

4:31AM PDT on Jun 30, 2011

He has a right - and they constituents have the right to not reelect him.

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Kristina Chew Kristina Chew teaches and writes about ancient Greek and Latin and is Online Advocacy and Marketing... more
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