Jewish Tribune, May 29, 2012 , Joanne Hill – Correspondent
TORONTO – City Councillor James Pasternak will attempt to make city funding
of the Pride Parade contingent upon the non-participation of the Queers
Against Israeli Apartheid (QuAIA) group.
In June 2011, City Council passed a motion by Pasternak which directed City
Manager Joe Pennachetti to update Toronto’s anti-discrimination policy.
Pennachetti is on holiday and could not be reached for comment but Jackie
DeSouza, director of strategic communications for the City of Toronto, said
Pennachetti might be presenting his updated policy to City Council in the
first week of June.
Pasternak said Pennachetti’s updated report isn’t necessary for council to
vote to delay or withhold funding of the parade.
“He has not come back with his report; however, it’s my feeling that
because council supported that motion 36-1, council has spoken,” said
Pasternak. “Council finds that the phrase ‘Israeli apartheid’ and the use
of it does violate the [anti-discrimination] policy and it can’t be funded
through our cultural grants program.” According to the policy, he said,
“you can’t target people based on their national identity.”
Furthermore, he added, “the cultural grants spending envelope is not
[intended] for demonstrations.”
The Pride Parade will be held on Sunday, July 1. Participants are required
to register by June 1. Anyone who objects to any of the registered
participants may lodge an appeal through Pride Toronto’s dispute resolution
process within 30 days of the date the list of registrants is made public.
Pasternak confirmed that the city’s economic development committee has
approved a grant for Pride Toronto in the amount of $123,807. He said city
council will address the issue of Pride and QuAIA when it meets next week.
“My intent is to block the funding on June 6 and wait until after the
parade to make sure they [QuAIA] didn’t march,” said Pasternak. “We believe
that QuAIA is not there to support the Palestinian people; it’s there to
bully and demonize Israel, its supporters and the Jewish community.”