Pride Toronto receives a $250,000 federal grant to commemorate a controversial milestone and strengthen ties with the police

Pride Toronto received a federal grant of US$250,000 to commemorate a controversial milestone in Canadian LGBTQ history and hopes to improve relations with the police-although most of its members continue to oppose the participation of uniformed police officers in the country’s largest pride parade , CBC News has learned.

After being resisted by the community, the organization and federal officials re-established the contract, so some taxpayers’ money could be spent on projects carried out by Pride Toronto before the grant was granted in 2018.

At the same time, members of the organization were not told where the funds were going, and high-profile projects—including getting famous artist Kent Monkman to create paintings commemorating the Shuangling community—failed.

“They have been keeping secrets and this is a problem,” said Tom Hooper, a historian and community member, who obtained documents outlining the process.

“If they are not accountable to me as a member of our community and a historian, who should be accountable to Pride?”

These revelations raised the question of why Pride Toronto, which banned uniformed police from participating in the parade in 2017, was willing to compromise on this issue after the Toronto black life protests in the summer of last year. It also raises the question of why in a year when non-profit organizations face a deficit of nearly $700,000, taxpayers’ money was used to pay for previous programming.

Tom Hooper said that Pride Toronto’s grant application amounts to revisionist history. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

Since signing the agreement with the Canadian Heritage Department, Pride Toronto has changed its leadership. It acknowledged to CBC News in an email statement that “there is more room for improvement in communication with members.”

Provide funds to pay for grants before Pride Toronto applies

Access to information records obtained by Hooper and reviewed by CBC News shows that federal finance officials told Canadian Heritage that they will transfer $250,000 to cover the cost of the project before Pride Toronto submits the grant application.

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Finance declined to comment on why this was done.

The Canadian Heritage Committee awarded a grant to Pride Toronto in November 2018. The initial grant was to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the promulgation of the Criminal Law Amendment Act, which in 1969 legalized homosexual behavior between men 21 years of age and older.

Pride Toronto’s proposals include holding an opening party to commemorate this anniversary, developing an educational website, and establishing a national committee of police chiefs and LGBTQ community organizations from across Canada to improve the relationship between the two groups.

Black Lives Matter Toronto’s sit-in protest during the 2016 Pride Parade resulted in the prohibition of uniformed police and their vehicles from participating in the parade. (Mark Brink/Canada Press)

The document states that Pride Toronto is “specifically aimed at celebrating police service” and one of the stated goals of the project is to “further improve the relationship with police service”.

The grant application defines this anniversary as the legalization of homosexuality in Canada, but Hooper stated that this amounts to revisionist history, as the police’s repression of the LGBTQ community continued for several years after 1969 — the most famous being 1981 The city’s bathhouse raided when 200 policemen raided four gay-friendly establishments and charged 286 men, most of whom were not convicted.

Watch | footage of the 1981 raid report on the bathhouse:

Archival video of the bathhouse raided by Toronto police in 1981. Lawyer and activist Clayton Ruby condemned the raid. 0:33

“If decriminalization really happened in 1969, we would not have carried out these large-scale bathhouse attacks in 1981,” Hooper told CBC News.

“According to the Criminal Law, more than 300 men have been arrested for homosexuality.”

Hooper said that these bathhouse raids were the background of the establishment of Pride Toronto 40 years ago.

Pride applied for funding a few weeks after inviting the police to return to the parade

On October 15, 2018, Pride Toronto made a controversial decision to invite uniformed police officers to return to the parade. Only a few weeks later, they applied for funding and received part of the funding for the police inclusion project.

According to the resolution, the decision caused non-profit organizations to face the whirlpool of membership and made this decision-at least in part because the board believes that the “joint statement on police participation in the 2019 Pride Parade will promote fundraising” was passed by the board.

According to its 2018 audited financial statements, at the time, Pride Toronto had a deficit of nearly 700,000 Canadian dollars, and it planned to partially solve this problem by obtaining new grants.

But in January, members of Pride Toronto voted to continue to allow uniformed officers to participate in the parade, which made Pride and the Ministry of Traditional Cultures Canada scramble to redesign the project.

Pride says that police participation is not a condition of funding

In a statement, Pride Toronto told CBC News that police participation was not a funding condition in the Canadian Heritage Donation Agreement, and no funds were withheld after its members voted to keep uniformed police out.

After the project’s new plan failed, Pride Toronto told CBC News that it was granted a license to use part of the grant for past programming expenses.

The organization’s new executive director, Sherwin Modeste, said: “We are seeking permission to turn deliverable grants into important milestones and activities completed by the organization during the 2018 holiday season.” “Funding partners Knowing that we are asking for these expenses.”

The show includes a security campaign called “Until We Are Safe,” which was launched in May 2018 and was driven by the arrest of serial killer Bruce McArthur, as well as an educational campaign to explore 35 years of AIDS. The pride theme of activism, the event was launched in June—a few months before the grant application was submitted in November.

Until We Are Safe is a proud Toronto community engagement activity aimed at improving the safety of the LGBTQ community. The website (above) was launched in May 2018. (

The grant also funded new initiatives such as youth conferences, support for the operational adjustment of indigenous and two spiritual communities, and plans to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots in New York City in 2019.

The Canadian Department of Heritage told CBC News in a statement, “In the project’s work schedule, Pride Toronto established an advisory group that determined the need to adjust the project’s deliverables to accommodate the community’s concerns.”

Modest was not an executive director at the time. In November 2020, nearly a year after Olivia Nuamah, the former head of Pride Toronto, left the organization, he was hired for this position.

In an email sent to Hooper in February 2019, despite receiving the first $140,000 grant check in December 2018, Nuamah denied that the non-profit organization received any information related to the 50th anniversary of decriminalization. Financial rewards.

When CBC News asked Nuamah about her response to Hooper, she replied via email: “If you have a report, you will see the activity we report.

Olivia Nuamah became the executive director of Pride Toronto in November 2018, when the organization applied for a federal grant from the Canadian Heritage Commission. She left the non-profit organization in January 2020. (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation)

When Hooper later discovered through an access information request that Pride Toronto was one of 10 organizations that received a total of $2 million from the federal government to commemorate the anniversary, the historian decided to dig deeper.

“It’s not for me,” Hooper said.

He obtained more than 400 pages of information records from the Canadian Department of Heritage, especially the information records related to the donation-another 300 pages were detained on the grounds of confidential exemption from the Privy Council of the Queen of Canada, including Prime Minister Justin Te Justin Trudeau and his cabinet.

After the police-free vote in January 2019, Canadian Heritage plans to call Pride Toronto on February 4 to “discuss the impact of changes and pressures within the organization on projects funded by the Canadian Memorial Program.”

In the two months after that call, the focus of the project has shifted to creating indigenous resources and highlighting two spiritual narratives.

Pride tells Ottawa that it has “fully executed the art contract”

As part of this redesigned project, Pride Toronto claims to have signed a contract with Kent Monkman to create “7 works depicting the 2 Spirit community.” The “2019 Pride Guide” published on May 1, 2019 published the “New Series of Paintings” in its entirety.

Seven days later, in the project update sent to Canadian Heritage, Numa wrote that the organization “fully executed its contract with Kent Monkman.”

But the representative of the Kerry Artist Studio told CBC News that Munchman had been discussing a project with Pride Toronto, but these negotiations never reached any contract and ended more than a week before Nuamah reported to the Canadian Department of Heritage. .

Pride Toronto included Kent Monkman’s “new series of paintings” advertisements in its 2019 Pride Guide, although Monkman has never signed a contract for this work. (Proud of Toronto)

Nuamah also wrote in the report-this is a contractual obligation to obtain the next part of the grant funding-the non-profit organization has reached an agreement with the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) to match the government’s funding for the Monkman project.

AGO stated in an email statement that they “have no recollection or record of participating in the project.”

In an email, Nuamah told CBC News that when the artist went directly to AGO and proposed to collaborate with the gallery to complete the work, she was preparing to finalize a plan with Monkman.

Nuamah said that she submitted the report to the Canadian Department of Heritage because she tried to figure out how Pride provided financial support to AGO to continue working, but then “everything is over, we are all moving forward.”

She said: “It was reported to Canadian Heritage when it happened. We started looking in another direction, and then I left Pride Toronto.”

Pride Toronto stated in a statement to CBC News on the matter that it was unable to obtain funds to provide Monkman with the commission required for the project.

After reviewing the record of his visit request, Hooper said that he inquired about Pride Toronto through a letter to the board of directors, and inquired about the whereabouts of the funds at the 2020 annual general meeting, but did not provide any information.

Sherwin Modeste became Executive Director of Pride Toronto in November 2020 (Submitted by Pride Toronto)

Pride Toronto told CBC News that since Modest became an executive director, he “prioritized the introduction of many new policies and practices, including transparency. [Pride Toronto’s] Partnership and grant procurement. ”

Pride Toronto provided CBC News with a copy of the final report of the Canadian Heritage Project.

The report confirmed that although the title of the project is “Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Criminal Law Amendment”, no grant was used to commemorate the anniversary.

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