City send­ing mixed sig­nals to com­mu­nity

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - EDITORIAL -

Pride P.E.I. has ev­ery right to be up­set with the City of Char­lot­te­town for deny­ing a spon­sor­ship re­quest from the lo­cal or­ga­ni­za­tion. It wasn’t a big re­quest – just $500 – that the city has pro­vided in the past. The money is im­por­tant to P.E.I. Pride Week ( July 26-Aug. 1) and would sig­nal that the city is in­deed friendly to the LGBTQ com­mu­nity.

The ex­cuse of­fered by the city in re­cent days is a weak one. A spokesper­son says the city didn’t re­ceive a re­quest and thus didn’t make a do­na­tion. Tyler Mur­naghan, chair of Pride P.E.I., pro­vided a let­ter that he sent to the city on March 25, just as coun­cil was con­sid­er­ing its bud­get. The let­ter ap­par­ently didn’t reach the right desk.

Mr. Mur­naghan was told at that time the city didn’t have any funds. So, some­one did get the let­ter and gave a rea­son why fund­ing was turned down. These are tight fi­nan­cial times so Pride P.E.I. was dis­ap­pointed but un­der­stand­ing. Like many small or­ga­ni­za­tions, Pride P.E.I. re­lies on the sup­port of gov­ern­ment and busi­ness to host its events and grow its an­nual fes­ti­val.

When news came to light that Dis­cover Char­lot­te­town was advertising at the Hal­i­fax Pride fes­ti­val - to get out word that the P.E.I. cap­i­tal is LGBTQ-friendly, the is­sue quickly re-sur­faced here.

Dis­cover Char­lot­te­town is a sep­a­rate en­tity from the city and is not funded by the P.E.I. cap­i­tal. But it uses an ac­com­mo­da­tions levy gath­ered in the city to pro­mote Char­lot­te­town so it can be viewed in many ways as com­par­ing ap­ples to ap­ples.

The con­nec­tion was close enough that Pride P.E.I. de­cided to go public and call out the city. It asked how Char­lot­te­town could ad­ver­tise that it sup­ports the lo­cal gay com­mu­nity while at the same time cuts off funds in sup­port of Pride Week here. Char­lot­te­town ap­par­ently is the only Cana­dian cap­i­tal city to not pro­vide fi­nan­cial sup­port to their Pride or­ga­ni­za­tion this year.

If the city is short of funds to as­sist Pride Week, then why doesn’t Dis­cover Char­lot­te­town make a $500 advertising com­mit­ment to the pa­rade here, as it has done in Hal­i­fax? It would re­move the con­tra­dic­tion in the minds of the public that the city says one thing and does another – when it deals with its gay com­mu­nity.

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