CITY OF TORONTO TO CUT FUNDING FOR TORONTO'S PRIDE PARADE
The Canadian Civil Liberties Association, which also, in most cases, does not usually get involved, in such debates, also wrote a letter to Toronto's Mayor David Miller, on April 20, 2010, objecting to the threat to Pride funding. In the letter, which is quoted below, it clearly stated that such an action would be against the rights of the participants. According to the CCLA, “In activities such as parades, art exhibitions and theatre performances, points of view on controversial subjects may be expressed that may make individuals from specific communities uncomfortable. Freedom of expression is central to such activities, however, and these considerations alone should not preclude public funding.”
What the CCLA did, was merely to remind the mayor, David Miller, of article 19, of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The one on freedom of speech and the right to hold an opinion.
Buckling under the pressure, the Pride Parade organizers, has also announced that all groups, participating in this year's Pride Parade and Dyke March, must also have the pre-approval of their signs, in order to march in the parade. I think that its decisions are based on the long term preservation of the parade. But it was a weak decision nonetheless. And one that also hints, at its own prejudice, against other groups, within that subculture itself. It is a well know fact, that there is racism, exclusionism and other not so talked about issues, within the LGBT community and this latest decision by the Pride committee, just brings those other issues to the surface. Rather than stand up to the City of Toronto, whose own decision, is based, not on the promotion of the rights of all, but of only a selected few. By trying to cencertized what the participants of the pride parade can say, it is also, without a doubt, also infringing upon their rights, to state their opinions clearly, on those issues, that they also hold to be of interest, to both themselves and the public in general. Another view that has also been held, in regards to this, is that the decision that was made by the Pride Committee, was also made, because of the pressure from some jewish groups, such as the "Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies", whose president, Avi Benlolo, also claimed, that "any criticism of Israel, is also the first step towards violence against the jewish people". This statement is not only blatantly irrational, unrealistic and oportunistic, on his part, but it is also a bold lie, again on his part, that is also used, as a cover up, for its own actions, against any such future criticism, by anyone. And by also claiming that the group, Queers Against Israeli Apartheid statement, is political and also therefore, antisemitic. It is the kind of rhetoric, that also calls to mind, the proverbial saying, of the pot calling the kettle black. Is every criticism, about the actions of that group, in particular, antisemitic? Is the public, also not merely responding to its own statements or actions, in like manner? Are they supposed to be prohibited from making statements of their own?. Who gives them, or anyone else, the right, also, to decide, what others can or cannot say about them, politically? Who owns the right to freedom of speech? As idiotic as this may also sound, but also definitely relevant, to this topic.
According to one queer activist, “The City of Toronto is saying that criticizing the Israeli government is a violation of their anti-discrimination guidelines,” says Ayden Scheim, a Jewish queer/trans activist. “Invoking human rights to suppress political speech is offensive to those of us who actually care about legitimate human rights issues.”
But it is only the naive among us who do not yet know, that the city of Toronto has only the interests of a select few, and not those of the general public. Among which is its own private agenda, on most of those issues, that also directly affect us all.