Federal Tourism Minister Diane Ablonczy has given up responsibility for overseeing a major stimulus fund that sparked controversy in Conservative Party ranks after it gave $400,000 to a Toronto gay pride celebration in mid-June.
Conservative MP Brad Trost, a critic of the Pride Week grant, is suggesting that the Harper government stripped Ms. Ablonczy of responsibility for the fund as a punishment.
If you want more of what Trost said, it's here - on Lifesite News - a "backdoor source" for the PMO to signal to the religious right wing without most of the population picking up on it. (I had seen the Lifesite article a couple of days ago, but I consider Lifesite so biased that I waited for a more credible source to pick up the story as well)
Trost's statements in the Lifesite article are telling - as they give us a pretty good idea how much influence and/or control the fundagelicals have in Harper's government:
Speaking to LifeSiteNews.com from his riding office in Saskatoon today, the 36-year-old Conservative said, "The pro-life and the pro-family community should know and understand that the tourism funding money that went to the gay pride parade in Toronto was not government policy, was not supported by - I think it's safe to say by a large majority - of the MPs. This was a very isolated decision."
Trost also hinted that Minister Diane Ablonczy, who was responsible for the funding, lost the file as a consequence of the embarrassment to the Party. Protesting more than once that there was no "official connection," he said, however, "it should be noted that the file has been reassigned to a different Cabinet Minister since that announcement was made." He added, "The whole tourism program and funding for major tourism events is being reviewed."
Trost claimed that "almost the entire Conservative caucus" including "most of the Prime Minister's Office were taken by surprise at this announcement."
"It shouldn't be deemed to have been a change in Party policy," he said, adding, "Most of the caucus is still strongly pro-traditional marriage."
Ablonczy was one of the few reasonable members of the Reform/Alliance band. You can pretty much guarantee that she will be quietly banished to the backbenches. If Harper could afford to lose the vote in the House of Commons, I'm sure he'd turf her out of caucus as well - he hasn't exactly shown himself willing to forgive mistakes.
From the Toronto Star:
But in his criticism of his colleague, he did not mention his government funds Saskatoon's Pride parade. The Saskatoon Diversity Network received $9,000 from Canadian Heritage this year for last June's Pride Festival.
So ... Trost's interview was for what purpose, precisely?