Vancouver Province, July 12, 2011: With the November municipal elections not too far over the horizon, we’re getting into the political silly season again. In Vancouver, some people say it never really ends. The latest evidence is news that the usually more conservative Non-Partisan Association is calling for public funding of Vancouver’s annual gay pride parade.
The parade is a popular, even identity-building event for many and also a huge tourist draw for the city. But it still should not receive cash from city taxpayers. Municipal governments should not be funding the activities of private cultural groups, period. Taxes should only be collected and spent to provide basic services for citizens.
Even the $7 million in public spending on the city’s 125th birthday party needs be questioned. When city services are being cut, why are we spending public funds on parties? There’s nothing free about “free” concerts in parks, especially when the vast majority of taxpayers don’t attend.
The gay pride parade is also an event most Vancouverites will not attend — and probably shouldn’t given its frequent nudity, open drug use, displays of feigned sex acts and R-rated language. If the parade organizers get funding, then all other groups will quickly have their hands out. Events such as the parade and other cultural and artistic festivals should support themselves.
What do you think? Email a brief comment, including your name and town to: [email protected].