Toronto Life - The Informer

Insider intel on the politics and personalities shaping the city. Sign up for Preview newsletter for weekly updates



Is Rob Ford going to attend Pride after all?

We wonder what Brian Burke said to the mayor yesterday.

Mayor Rob Ford missed the beginning of Pride Week yesterday, sending council speaker Frances Nunziata in his stead to the raising of the rainbow flag at Nathan Philips Square. Anyone who’s watched Nunziata govern a council meeting can predict how well things went from there—heckling, followed by shouting, followed by more heckling and shouting. But later in the day, something unexpected happened: Ford appeared to equivocate on his earlier stance that he wouldn’t be attending Toronto’s Pride Parade after a meeting with Toronto Maple Leafs general manager and prominent gay rights supporter Brian Burke.

From the Globe and Mail:

Wearing a Leafs jersey bearing his last name, the mayor appeared briefly outside his office to account for his absence, explaining that he’d been too busy meeting Mr. Burke, who marched in the Pride parade last year mere months after his openly gay son died in a car crash.

“I had prior commitments this morning,” Mr. Ford said. “I had a meeting, a very important meeting, as you know, with Mr. Burke and that’s pretty well it.”

For his part, the mayor didn’t rule out his attendance at a future Pride event, but didn’t exactly sound thrilled at the prospect.

“We’ll take it one day at a time,” he said. “I’m very busy.”

If Ford does indeed relent and shows up at Pride, our sincerest kudos to him. Politically this is looking more and more like an own goal for the mayor, and if he can summon up the nerve to walk into a potentially hostile situation because he’s the mayor and that’s what a mayor does, then seriously—bravo. We don’t know what might be changing Ford’s mind—but we suspect it might have something to do with the prospect of a wedgie from Brian Burke or the realization that gays and lesbians are taxpayers too (one heckler at yesterday’s ceremony sported a sign that read “You Can’t Hide From Us 4Eva, Respect LGBTQ Taxpayers”).

Regardless of what’s prompted the mayor’s (possible) change of heart, we truly hope he shows up in the village during Pride. If not, well, there was a bunch of other conservatives at the flag-raising yesterday, some of whom may very well be sharpening their knives for 2014.

After meeting with Leafs’ Burke, Ford opens door to going to Pride [Toronto Star]
Toronto mayor too busy meeting with Leafs GM to attend Pride event [Globe and Mail]

Images: Brian Burke—Damien D.; Rob Ford—Shaun Merritt

  • robert mordush

    if he does not wanna go then so be it.if i was mayor i would not go either.i hate the colour purple.

  • nic

    Please do not give into the gay mafia and their perverse agenda and obscene lifestyle. Morality over politics will always win the day in the end.

  • jb

    I am pleased you will not attend the pride parade,since
    this represents a small percentage of the population
    who cares what the think

  • nicsabttm

    nic loves bathroom sex.

  • Lola

    It’s irresponsible for him not to appear. He is a leader and represents every member of the GTA. It’s called human rights and equality and he more than anyone has to show his support.

  • CEE

    What is pride really? Come on… Canada has equal rights, rights to marry, full benefits for your spouse. Wat is the purpose of pride than a bunch of corporate banners trying to get the gay $$$?! Its a total waste of time annd effort.. just make it a big street party and scrap the parade – a long drawn out, awwfwul disorganized parade where the floats are 5 miles apart and boring!!!

    When did Pride stop being fun?!

  • Straight, not narrow

    Gay mafia? Are they marching this year?

    Pride may represent a “small percentage of the population,” jb, but a large percentage of us have gay friends and family. Who cares what you think.

    If the mayor came out as a homophobe I’d still think he was a pinhead, but I’d respect him a little more for not being a hypocrite with this “I’ve got no problem with gays, I’m just REALLY busy this week” BS. And now probably a waffler too. Nobody’s going to be happy with him by the end of the week, not me or jb. Could he handle this any worse? Can’t wait to find out! :)

  • nicsabttm

    In 2010, nearly 1,000,000 people attended the parade, and 1,200,000 watch on tv…But CEE finds it boring. CANCELLED.

  • Tobias Bushey

    The sentiment towards the mayor is not fair, and is being emulated by gay people towards others at least once as I had become targeted in the same way. On fathers day I had to decline a BBQ with a friend of a friend, a gay couple whom I met individually. I am not comfortable with homosexuality, and I am unsure to what degree people in general have reconciled the mere notion. I do not hide this however I try to avoid gay people so as not to get in an unnecessary argument over the colours of their flag. I also do not agree in every case about it being anything besides a learned option. The more education about homosexuality, the greater the percentage of such a choice being made exists. Certainly for some it is such a strong reality for them and I respect that. However, would it have been such a strong reality if they learned about it from someone else and not just protected their own self realized interest? The flag should be changed. It either shifts meaning from various peace flags, or just superimposes the idea of gay to anything similar, such as spectrum study in science class or to the rainbow itself – all in the minds of negatively inclined individuals we have to deal with in our daily lives. The parade has to be moved. It has to. Putting it so close to Canada day is disrespectful to the sanctity of all people who wish to celebrate our country and spend time with our families. This is much like enjoying a walk on a ravine trail and hearing some Motörhead speeding along a road nearby with a modified noisy muffler. Put it at the beginning to mid June, maybe we can call them junebugs and if that is complimentary, everyone will have fun and have respect for one another.

  • Why?

    Does it matter Really if he is there or not? Its Canada Day weekend. Isn’t that what should be celebrated? Its Beaver weekend not Bear weekend. Who cares? I been to pride with my gay/lesbian friends and honestly From the 1,000,000 attend maybe like 30ppl care if he is there its a drunkn orgy and parties…Am I lying?

  • Caitie

    I, for one, don’t want Captain Buzzkill there. Let him stay in the boonies where he belongs. He should’ve never been elected mayor of a diverse, multicultural city like Toronto. Shame on all the voters who wanted dollars over dignity. We will now have to pay the price for years to come.

    Also, Ford + the abundance of water guns at Pride leaves open the very real possibility of our mayor in a wet T-shirt. And, well, that’s something no one needs to see.

  • Gio

    And Caitie…

    For you not to recognize that Toronto, the diverse and multicultural city is what it is because of the so-called “boonies” too…you are just as ignorant as the man you are criticizing. No, Toronto is not bound by what’s south of Bloor St. And no, the boonies are not Scarborough, Etobicoke and North York. They haven’t been for a very long time. Get with the program. It’s 2011, not 1999.

  • ah123

    I hope not. He don’t like us, we don’t like him. Let’s not create any false illusion by having him do some token appearance only because his advisers and bro told him to. Toronto is already kind of like the two solitudes: downtown and suburbs. So what difference does it make when a divisive mayor stays true to who he is? I at least give him credit for coherence since I despise hypocrisy more. So let him go to the cottage in peace and not distract from Pride. I don’t plan on going to Pride myself, but if he does show to score cheap political points, I will go and boo.

  • Katie

    In response to Why? I celebrate Canada Day AND also attend the Pride parade…lots of people do…YOU don’t have to, & that’s fine too! Most people don’t care if Mayor Ford isn’t at the parade. It’s just a small number of people that are making an issue out of this.

  • Caitie

    FYI, I was referring to his Muskoka cottage as the boonies, not the GTA. All the boroughs that make up this city contribute to it’s diversity and I welcome it. I just don’t appreciate those who do not.

  • Tobias Bushey

    So much ignorant generalizations.

  • Gary

    It would have blown over if the Mayor had attended the Proclamation of Pride Week on Monday(An official City Event)
    Now the media will hound him all week.
    I can understand plans on a long weekend. He always has something else on his schedule when anything comes up that has to do with the LGBT Community.
    At a city council meeting when Councilor Kristyn Wong-Tam read an Invitation for everyone to attend Pride the mayor thought it was a good idea to use this time for a photo op in the Council Chambers (which the speaker Frances Nunziata called him on )

  • BG011

    I’d love to tit F@C& the big busty mayor ;)

  • Kaylee

    Interesting how some in the gay community have become so intolerant themselves that they are dictating to the Mayor what he “must” do. Get over yourselves — you are no less important than any other community in Toronto — and conversely, you are no more important than any other. Why should Mayor Ford go, just so he can be ridiculed? Absurd.

  • Tobias Bushey

    What single most important message does gay pride want to demonstrate, and is it being overshadowed and lost in the political armtwisting?

  • Kirs Krajewski

    I’d rather be chastised than homophobic like Him.