Councillor proposes to stop Pride funding

Funding should be cut until inclusivity happens, Campbell says

Toronto’s Pride Parade is known for its rainbows and lively colours, but it may be about to turn grey. Coun. John Campbell is proposing a motion that will end city council funding for Pride.

Later in April, Campbell is presenting a motion that could leave the Pride organization with only $800,000 from government grants to help cover the parade’s usual annual cost of about $4 million.

The city provides $260,000 for the parade every year.

Pride Toronto is a 10-day event that happens at the end of June. The parade has been in place since 1981.

Campbell’s says he’s proposing the cut because police are being banned from participating in the parade. He said the ban destroys the parade’s message of being inclusive.

“I am planning to bring forward a motion that would ask for the funding to be suspended until the Pride organization re-affirms its commitment to inclusivity,” Campbell said. “They haven’t done [that] because they have excluded the police from the parade.”

Last summer, Black Lives Matter protested against the participation of police in the parade. Due to the protest, organizers banned police from participating this year.

Socio-legal expert Denize Meshari, an assistant professor at York University, isn’t surprised Black Lives Matter does not want police officers attending the festivities.

She says there has always been a rift between the members of the black queer community and law enforcement.

“Historically, the relation between police and queer black people has been horrific,” Meshari said. “During the Stonewall rebellion, police committed many brutalities against them just because of their sexual orientation.”

Campbell said organizations need to listen to certain rules in order to receive funding.

“If we just go ahead and rubber stamp the issue and give out the grant to the Pride organization, then essentially council is saying we are okay with what happened,” Campbell said. “I am not okay with it.”

Council will make the final decision on the issue later this month.

The parade costs over $4 million each year. It take place this year from June 23–25.