A question of civic pride

Post by Sean Bickerton in


The Pride Festival has become one of Metro Vancouver's largest events

Two weeks ago I called on the City of Vancouver to grant civic status to the annual Pride parade, the largest event in our city's calendar.

For me this was and is a simple question of civic pride, as well as one of fairness and equity. With 640,000 spectators, Pride is not only the largest event in Vancouver, it's the largest parade in all of Western Canada!

Pride also generates millions of dollars for local businesses and is a major driver of tourism. We all benefit from that massive injection of money into our local economy each year.

Other smaller events already enjoy civic status - the privately owned Grey Cup Parade, for instance, and the Celebration of Light fireworks competition, which attracts just one-half the spectators that Pride does on any given night.

So what does civic status mean? In a nutshell, events granted civic status aren't billed for policing and sanitation services.

During the Stanley Cup playoffs the city picked up the bill not just for police and sanitation, but for the entire cost of the fan zones and giant screen broadcasts of the game. If fans hadn't rioted that night, the city was also going to cover costs for a parade as well.

So why all the controversy over my call for civic status for Pride?

The response was all the more surprising when my proposal would actually save the city money. Right now the city spends more than $600,000 a year on "Car Free Days." If my proposal was implemented, we could cut that budget by more than 25% and still provide police and sanitation services for all of the parades and major street festivals around the city.

Police and sanitation are core city services after all. It's the Mayor's job to ensure safe, clean streets, not the job of the Pride Parade. I believe our city would benefit greatly if we focused more on the efficient delivery of core services.

Parades and street festivals are the original 'car-free days' after all. They aren't some government make-work project. They were created by local neighborhood organizations and help increase business for local merchants, unlike the city's ill-conceived "car free days" program that arbitrarily shuts down streets, disrupting traffic and hurting business.

I marched in the early years of the Pride Parade in 1984 and 1985 as VP and then President of Gays and Lesbians of UBC. It was intimidating to march back then. More than a few spectators lined the route to jeer, not cheer participants, and gay-bashing was more common.

What a long way we've traveled since those dark days. Canada is now one of only five nations in the world to grant that most basic of all human rights, the right to love and marry the person of your choice. Because of this, Vancouver's Pride has become an international symbol of hope in a world where many gay men and women are subject to daily discrimination, arrest, violence and even the death penalty, all just for loving the person they choose.

That unique worldwide distinction, taken for granted by those who live here, is why Pride should have civic status. What began as a march for basic rights by a disenfranchised minority thirty years ago has been transformed into a celebration of the enlightened society that now embraces our centrality to the cultural and economic vitality of this great city and nation.

In fact, the reason my partner Tom and I now call Vancouver home is because we were able to marry here. Even after twenty years together in Manhattan, the experience of getting married in 2006 was so magical, and the reaction of so many here so positive, that we moved our home and software business here from New York within months.

However you look at it, Vancouver's unique Pride Parade deserves the same civic status granted other important events. It's a matter of civic pride.

- Post by Sean Bickerton. Sean is a city council candidate for the Vancouver Non-Partisan Association (NPA). If you're an elected official or candidate seeking a nomination and want to write about urban issues, please send your 450-500 word submission to CityCaucus@gmail.com.

Follow @SeanBickerton on Twitter, or visit SeanBickerton.com.


You're spot on Sean. This is a public day, no matter if it attracts 100,000 people or 600,000 people. Gay rights are important to the vast majority of Vancouverites. The city pours millions of dollars into events and projects, pride should not be neglected anymore.

Gregor is always in attendance and will gladly solicit votes from anyone who comes to see the parade. But when it's time to open the city purse, all of a sudden there's better things to do.

Shame on Tim Stevenson for turning your heartfelt request into something that's political. Showing the gay community respect and sharing in it's pride should NEVER be about politics.

"640,000 spectators"

It's funny, that estimated number just keeps getting bigger and bigger, depending on who is quoting it. Simple math and physics show that nowhere near that number of people can or do attend the parade. It's simply physically impossible.

According to various studies, the more realistic estimate is 150,000, not 640,000. And that 150,000 errs very much on the high side. A more realistic estimate is 90,000.

You do yourself a disservice by inflating the numbers.

Here's an old story about this very topic:


Sean, when is first aired, I was taken aback that the city did not provide these basic services.

The Pride Parade has been around for as long as I can remember.

To think Robertson and VV can come up with $34,000 for a private 'city staffer' (X2) party, yet cannot contribute to Pride, is shameful.

Now, I have to ask this - $600,000 for 'car free days' is a significant drop in the bucket. What does that money cover off?

Next weekend, July 23 is Kits Music Days. Sad to say at this point, the businesses from Balsam to Macdonald have not been able to raise enough funds to cover off stage rental costs. We are not covered by the Kits BIA annd even thought the CITY shut down this area, nothing was alloted entertainment wise for it. We had performers lined up and a fashion show planned, but have had to pull the plug - which also effected two food trucks coming to set up in the area.

So, lots of little shops who cannot afford to lose a day's business are going to be negatively impacted.

I had to laugh, I came home the other day to find photo copies of the posters the BIA put out taped to the outside doors of my complex.

I wanted to rip them down and toss them. I find it disingenous that the BIA advertise that this area is part of the festivities when it is not.

Hi Jack, I read the Courier article you cited, which had CTV, Global, CBC, Vancouver Sun and Province all confirming the number of spectators for the parade at between 600,000 - 700,000. The only contrarian was a Surrey high school teacher who has never actually attended the parade, so I'll side with the facts reported in multiple credible media reports.

Sean - while the mainstream media certainly did quote 600,000 people attending, they merely quoted the numbers given to them by the parade organizers.

As the Courier correctly points out, simple math shows unequivocally that it is impossible to fit that many people along the route.

It's no secret that the organizers of this event, and most other events, greatly inflate the attendance figures. Accept it and move on. Arguing that you believe those numbers makes you look silly.

So Jack:

If I am reading your response correctly, you are against the City providing Civic Status of the Pride Parade over a bun toss on the numbers?

Or, do you take issue with the Pride Parade itself?

To me, it looks like the latter of the two.

I'm not against the city providing civic status to the parade. In fact I don't have an opinion one way or another. It could easily be argued that the parade brings in lots of revenue and should therefore be granted status. It could also be argued that special interest groups shouldn't expect taxpayers to fund their events. As I said, I don't particularly care too much one way or another, as I don't see this as a major issue.

That said, what I do take issue with is organizers of the Pride parade, the Celebration of Light, the Olympics, or any other event distorting attendance numbers to ridiculous proportions, in order to sell more advertising, obtain more funding, or any other reason. It's dishonest, and when the numbers are inflated to the degree that the Pride's numbers are, it insults our intelligence.

Organizers are free to give an "optimistic" estimate, but to multiply realistic estimates by a factor of 6 is taking it too far. As I said, it's an insult to our collective intelligence.

(And by the way, your not-so-subtle suggestion that perhaps this is an anti-gay rant wasn't lost on me. That sort of knee-jerk reaction to any questions about the Pride parade also does the community a disservice)

I agree with Jack on this.
I don't believe any parade should have civic status except something like B.C. Day, or Canada Day.

Parades are wonderful, fun and enjoyable but taxpayers should not have to cover all the costs.

For the life of me I can't figure out why the Grey Cup is a civic status event.

It's obviously a hold over from many.many years ago.


Then the definition of 'special interest groups' needs to be better laid out.

I don't watch football, never have, never will - yet my tax dollars are going to support a Grey Cup parade - a one off at this point.

In the meantime, I am open to the idea that many others will enjoy it and more power to them. I would not deny them the pleasure.

I agree with chris(one of many) and Jack on this one...

a Civic Holiday is in my mind ....BC Day,

I'm making this comment without reading the article I must admit...but to me from the responses listed I really don't need to read it...

Civic is civic...

Very well put Jack.

I am all for Pride Parade, and cultural celebrations in our city. But, I don't appreciate wanna-be politicians twisting the facts to get certain demographics on their side.

Then I take it you won't be voting Vision this November....

Sorry for being an H(honest)-Hole here but I am not sure about the city granting civic status to the Vancouver Gay Pride parade.

When I see pictures like this from last year's parade........ http://tinyurl.com/3tmd8rj ........ this is not an event that can be compared to the Grey Cup Parade or the Celebration of Light fireworks and I would question any financial support by the city of Vancouver. This is not a "family" event.

Would I support closing the parade down? Not at all but until the organizers put in a solid effort to clean the parade up and we see several years of results I would not like to see subsidization of the event by the city.

3 days after this photo was taken, I was walking around my neighborhood and what did I see, this man walking around,I had never noticed him before...I recognized him by his sandals...some things in life one is not meant to see....and this mans bits are a few of those things...

Considering what the Vision gang is spending money on these days at city hall - providing a bit more support for big tourism draws like this makes sense to me. I think its a good idea to use the car free fund too. My taxes are high enough. I went to a few of these car free days and they look more like business free days. None of the store owners I talked to were that happy about them.

@ Sean,

I think you would make a good councillor based on things I've seen and heard, but all this sponsoring parades stuff should be wayyyy down at the bottom of the "to do" list.

We already have the fireworks, the Santa Parade and pay for policing for Greek Days and various neighbourhood celebrations like Car Free Days. Do we underwrite any other costs for these? Someone could post a list--that would be helpful...

There are a few things I agree with with regards to the comments from others on the Pride Parade:

1) Not a family oriented event.

The parade is for adults, because of the nudity and some extravagent behaviours by some participants. If the Pride Parade organizers want tax money, they need to clean it up. If they want to continue the parade in its current state, they can pay for it.

2)I understand that the Pride Parade organization has experienced quite a bit of in-fighting over the years over money and organization.

If this event were to be considered for funding, I know I would want to see the books. Quite frankly, the week before the parade is well attended by people who patronize the eateries and drinking establishments in town. Since people already are here to celebrate and spend money, why underwrite the Parade? The gay community is strong and the parade is well known among the cognescenti in many countries.

3)There is no way that 600K+ spectatorsthat attend that parade. I have both observed and taken part in the parade, and what you are saying is that virtually EVERY citizen in Vancouver (our population) is attending? No.

Now, in consideration of the above, I also want to state that the city should not be sponsoring the Grey Cup Parade OR any more festivities involving the Canucks---unless their wealthy owners kick in substantial amounts of money to offset policing, garbage collection, etc.

Unlike the Pride Parade, we are subsidizing professional sports teams here?!(hello, BC Place). Why? Their fans are already attending the games. Often, we have to clean after the games as it is, after the usual booze, brawls, and baboon behaviour.

These owners should be paying US, for cleaning up their messes. So, for me, and especially at this time, with the city apparently struggling with taxation issues (hello! cut the effing grass and cover the graffitti, Mayor! And let's have a chat about affordabiltiy, too while we're at it) parades for professional sports or non-profits, funded by the taxpayer, are a complete non-starter.

I'm a bit confused by those throwing out the rationale that the Pride parade shouldn't be a civic event because its not "family friendly". First, because I've seen other families there when I've gone with my own; Second, where does it say in the city charter that only families are deserving of civic support?

Should the city not help fund SRO's because they're not "family friendly"? Is the Granville Entertainment District on a Saturday night "family friendly"?

From what I understand, civic designation means the city will pick up the garbage afterwards, not put money into the parade itself. Sounds reasonable to me.

Bob (H)

For the sake of debate Bob, let me play devil's advocate.

What is your definition of Civic Event..

How does nudity on a public street represent the Gay Movement? I don't understand.

Ask yourself, is public nudity legal?

Lets be honest, it is the nudity that renders this event a not family friendly event..

Any definition I could find, defines Civic Event as National Day, Thanksgiving, Canada Day...

Just because an event brings financial gain to a city, or organizers..or votes to politicians..why should it allow laws to be ignored.

Nor do I believe we should be spending so much on car free day..but that is a different conversation.

As a child I remember there was a celebration called Emancipation Day...the abolition of slavery..there was never any nudity..it was a family event..why is this event not celebrated?

Would you consider it a Civic Event?

It holds great meaning for me..why can't I celebrate it with a parade, and have the city proclaim it a Civic Event...??

I'm not trying to down play anyone's rights, I'm just trying to display both sides of this conversation..

Family event for me, means EVERYONE is included..especially if it is everyone's taxes that pay for it..

Civic Event, to me means something very different..

Why is everyone so afraid of a little nudity?

Dear god--the human body exposed! My goodness me, what a horror.

640,000 people? Really? That's about 30% of the population of the entire Lower Mainland crammed into a 2-km parade route through downtown city streets. Physically and mathematically impossible.

Maybe someday we'll be liberated and progressive enough to celebrate Straight Week, with a big parade and lots of Straight folks celebrating their sexuality.

Something we can all learn from the LGBT crew.

After all . . . equal is fair, right?

I appreciate the comments and take all of them in good faith. To address the issues raised:

1) If the numbers are exaggerated, they are exaggerated for all events, because it's the same reporters covering all events and estimating attendance.

2) Even if Jack and others are the only people in the world who are right about pride attendance despite the fact they don't actually go to the parade themselves, that would mean the police department and city are billing the parade ten times too much for policing and sanitation costs and so my proposal would only require 1/10th the funding - $4000 instead of $40,000. Given the $600,000 car-free days budget that should make my suggestion very affordable and the overall savings to the city even greater.

3) No one is calling for the city to contribute to the costs of the parade - all of those costs are raised by volunteers. What we're discussing is police and sanitation services that I believe it is the job of the city to provide.

So having conceded on the attendance numbers, I expect all remaining objections raised by Jack et al to now fall away, and civic status for the parade to be endorsed.

I would suspect that policing and sanitation are the largest part of the costs.

640,000 people - I am thinking that is a 400,000 person stretch.

There are lots of great community events that deserve help. Pride is just one of them. Given we do not have enough money to mow the lawns in the parks, equity should prevail (Car Free Day included) and there should be no funding given OR, there be a some sort of civic service allowance given to each event as seed money for sanitation and security.

Hi Fred, that parade already exists. In Rio and New Orleans t's called Carnivale.

@ Sean - I don't think the numbers were at the heart of the issue. I think you have raised a good issue on what should and should not be given civic status and what criteria we should use. I am an ardent sports fans but don't think the Grey Cup should be given civic status based on some of the comments here. I would be interested in hearing your (Sean's) criteria for granting civic status.

I personally think a better idea would be to approach the City with a business case for these events. An event will bring $X into the community and we would expect you (the City) to cover $Y costs. As long as X is greater than Y I dont see why the City would object ;)

Sean Bickerton,

Your response to those of us that took the time to voice an opinion I find an absolute insult.

As a politician you should perhaps learn when to remain quiet, and just listen.

I personally find that for my efforts, I now feel discriminated against and alienated.

You have lost any chance of getting my my vote..based on your response to this one post...it speaks volumes.

@ Sean:

Does the Parade fall around the same time as the National Out Games?

I understand the city will be seeing an influx of 7,000 - 10,000 persons coming here as participants and support.

The city is making money off of these events. If they don't want to help out on costs, then they should not be able to profit from it either. Or a percentage should be kicked back.

I agree the nudity needs to be dealt with by the organizers and restore the parade back to the family event it once was. I used to love attending it, but must admit, haven't the last couple of years as it has 'gotten' out have hand.

And I say this as someone with family members and friends in the community.

I can agree with that, Julia.

If you want to plan and budget for these events, then budget for them annualy.

@ Sean, OK, one pot of dollars that pays for police and sanitation. Don't cherry pick or make it into a "STIR" type program, where you keep "adding on".

George, you've got your back up over nothing. Sean simply conceded that the numbers could be inflated, but in conceding that, he also argues that (if that is the case) then the cost to pride for policing should be way down.

He made no comment about your question about having emancipation day or the allegation that pride is not a family event. Clearly you have a different definition of what family friendly is. I'm sure you consider the fireworks competition to be family friendly, even though not a night goes by where there isn't a stabbing or alcohol-fueled fight.

If you want to have your emancipation day parade, by all means: Organize it, advertise it, prove that it draws in crowds... If you actually get off your butt and do all that, I'll be right behind you demanding civic status for that event as well.

No Paul,
you are cherry picking my comments...my point of Emancipation was to point out that others have dealt with oppression... let's not be silly, Emancipation Day no longer is Celebrated under that tile, it has evolved...that is my point...how does nudity enter into the Pride Parade?

Do blacks walk around in shackles to celebrate emancipation from slavery was my point..my family has both bi racial and gay members... so my point comes from a position of understanding the subject..

As to whether or not my back is up I believe is between myself and Sean..he purposely ignored the Elephant in the room while pandering for his votes...IMO or am I not entitled to one...

Paul T

I've just taken a moment to reread your post after my blood pressure came down...

So what I understand from you is you will support an Emancipation event, not based on subject matter, freedom from oppression, but on numbers and $$$$.. therefore based on your opinion it is about money...and what, politics?

If that is the only way you could support my cause, if that was my point...no thanks...

But just to be clear...Emancipation Events are always family friendly history is shared,songs, food, everything honoring the freedom that came after people overcame oppression and slavery, no nudity needed ...

Your theory of violence at the Celebration of Lights is ridiculous...lets talk Gregor's riot if that is your argument..that was advertised as family friendly...

Not afraid of nudity---in fact, I quite like my own and significant other's. But public nudity?


Personlly,I really don't want to see someone's else's bare pelt (see pic above)in public, either parading down Denamn or standing over the salad bar.

I happily accept that we already have an outdoor public space in the city (Wreck Beach) where, if you want to go naked in public with other like-mindeds, it is allowed. Fill your boots there, so to speak. Everyone going down to Wreck Beach knows that it will be a comfortable (save for the rubber-neckers with tele-photo lenses), acceptable and accepting exerience. It feels safe.

But there are things we call "community standards". I know, boo, hopelessly antidiluvian, but here's a question:

What exactly is the guy in the pic submitted by another poster "celebrating" in the parade? Is he really celebrating freedom---or is he merely an exhibitionist, revelling in his ability to showcase his shvantz in public, on that one day?

And because I wasn't explicit enough in my previous post, there are also some parade peeps who do like to push the "simulating sex" envelope thing, which I think is wholly unecessary in public, regardless of sexual orientation. Dry humping is not public entertainment, in my eyes, sorry.

While it is pretty much accepted in western countries that a naked human body is not in itself indecent, the circumstances of its exposure, and any offence caused to others, may be deemed offensive or disorderly.

It is also recognised that there are large numbers of people who are, for various reasons, offended by and even distressed with displays of public nudity.

To accommodate these apparently conflicting principles, the courts usually will intervene only if there is either evidence either of intent to cause offence or to behave indecently, or where such offence is a likely outcome.

Yes, the exact standards of "decency" are subject to local community standards, which vary with time and place, and circumstances.

In general, public nudity with any perceived sexual element can be prosecuted, as will one which is considered to be exhibitionist in character, or which involves exposure to children.

So, basically, I have heard from several friends in the community and they are split. Some claim the parade is held to mainly celebrate their sexuality and put it out there in "people's faces" , so to apeak, (which is a silly approach I think). Others say it is to celebrate their community as a whole.

SO, which is it? And if indeed some in the parade do breech "community standards" each year, are we giving a "pass" to a certain group, where we wouldn't allow that identical behaviour in other parades? Are we afraid to speak out because we will be deemed to be homophobes? Are we being patronizing (and stereotyping) to think that "oh, well, those 'colourful' gay people..."

That last attitude seems to me to be far more problematic and damaging, when one talks about thetrue emancipation of any minority group in the bigger community.

I laugh at the notion of 'decency' with respect to the human body. How mature are we as a society?

Mature enough to hear about rape, war and murder daily on the news. Watch footage of bombs being dropped, dead bodies after a 'successful' missile attack.

But a penis? Now you've gone too far.

do you know what is used to commit rape....don't tell anyone..it's a penis...

do you know what is behind war and bombs...


those that hold the power, usually men with penises...what a ridiculous argument boohoo...

uhh, what George? Your argument is that because wars are typically fought by men and men have a penis therefore seeing a penis in public is bad?

And my argument (that you seem to have never even come close to addressing/understanding) is ridiculous?

No George. Emancipation is not something I don't support. Dur.

The idea of having a parade to recognize that part of our history is what I'm telling you to go out and make happen.

The pride parade didn't rely on the government to tell us that we should do it. It relies on a dedicated group of volunteers who work hard to put it together.

As a society that type of effort should be rewarded, not punished by forcing them to raise even more money to cover policing and sanitation. Two things that a city should be providing!

I was talking to my gay friend about the parade and its content over the weekend. Even he is embarrassed!

There are endless public events that are organized by various groups. Next Saturday, the Kits BIA is holding a big festival on 4th. Max and I have talked about it in earlier posts. The event gets planned and the city tells them how much policing, and sanitation is required. The organizing group must comply before they will get the event permit. Thousands of people will likely enjoy the event just like thousands enjoyed Greek Day on Broadway.

The city will not contribute 1 dollar to these events.

How is this type of celebration any less worthy than a Pride Parade that gets thousands of dollars in sponsorship from companies that want to appear to be gay friendly.

What about the Vaisakhi Parade? Don't they deserve policing and engineering services? How about the Boy Scouts or the Santa Claus parade?

Making the business case is tough - especially when there is no clear way to measure ROI. Also tough when the event is in its infancy and that is usually when money is the tightest.

I simply cannot justify the inequity.

ah but once again you do not address the elephant in the room..but the "we" in your answer spoke volumes...

you jumped into a conversation I was having with Sean..a politician..and you've made it an agenda...

exactly my point!!

What does public nudity have to do with Pride..or the city coffers paying for the clean up of an event that absolutely does not want me to attend?

The "we" was in reference to us as a society. All of us. Pride is about tolerance and acceptance. All of us in society should be accepting of what Pride stands for.

As for nudity, sure there are some people who feel the need to expose themselves. The parade organizers do not condone that activity. If the police want to arrest them, have at it.

I guess I do have trouble being expected to tolerate public acts of simulated sex and nudity...

No I don't tolerate that behavior...from anyone...why the Pride community expects me to is beyond me..

Nor would I tolerate my child throwing a tantrum in a public place...so if you are tying to imply that I don't tolerate, you're barking up the wrong tree...

Some things can't be justified..this for me is one of them..

I don't do the victim card well I'm afraid..

Well then we've got to the root of your issue. You're not against public funding. You're against pride because a few people (not representing the majority) ruin it for you.

I'm also against the grey cup parade and the Surrey-fest that is the fireworks, but I accept that a large number of people want it and I support the good parts of it.

You don't have to like or want everything the city does. But a large number of people enjoy this, denying civic status just seems harsh and unwarranted.

No Paul...

a Civic Event is Canada Day BC Day Thanksgiving, etc...public nudity and simulated sex acts that prevent me from bringing my children... paid for by city taxes is NOT a Civic event..

you can spin it any way you want Paul..it just furthers my point that you are making it an AGENDA..

..but I guess that is the in your face stuff..as I said I have several family members from the gay community and they will not attend ..because they are embarrassed..

Funny how you managed to create a divide with this conversation Paul..exactly what you CLAIM is not the intent.. so much for tolerance and equality,intolerance swings both ways my friend...

I must tolerate your opinion, but my opinion doesn't count...illegal I should not have to tolerate..nor do I have to tolerate bad behavior...nor should I expect my tax dollars to pay for it.

Again my question is what does nudity have to do with being proud of being Gay?

Funny we are exactly were I started with my "private comments to Sean"

Interesting how that happens..feel better?

I don't, because if nothing else Paul you have managed to confirm to me that Pride isn't about being Proud or Gay at all, it is about $$$ and agenda's..political agenda's...not a family civic event at all..

Good grief!
This is a very mean spirited comment.
This is not about a persons sexuality.

The real issue is how many parades, events, neighbourhood gatherings can the taxpayers of Vancouver pay for?

Policing and sanitation are probably some of the biggest costs for events.

It's all well and game to say these events bring money into the City.
The problem is that the money goes to limited individual businesses. Bars,restaurants, hotels,etc.

You are saying that the costs of policing and sanitation should be borne by taxpayers . I ask how can they be expected to absorb all the extra costs due to events?

The average taxpayer is not getting one cent from events.

@chris (one of many):

Back in March, the City approved a budget of $600,000 for 'car free days'.
Taxpayer monies from all sources and all individuals.

As Julia pointed out, there are many groups that market directly to the gay and lesbian community because they have huge disposable income. That light bulb went on about a decade ago.It was not lost on business. Especially when Canada allowed gay marriage. The more money this community spends, the more money goes to the tax base and the better for us all.

So, if the Grey Cup Parade which itself panders to a certain group of fattendees can receive our tax dollars for policing and sanitation costs, as well as other parades, then why not this one. What if the Jewish community stood up and said they didn't want the Santa Parade to take place because it went against their beliefs?

We don't get to pick and choose where tax monies get alloted to. (Although I and many others would love the opportunity)

I do not look at this as a politcal agenda. I look at it as a group standing up for itself - just like everybody else.

And I would venture to guess that this request isn't new.


See my remarks about respect and thoughtfulness for all of the community, versus self-absorbed and selfish entitlement.

And, if you are going starkers, please warn us in advance.


@ Julia;

I understand after speaking with someone who worked on the planning of 'Greek Days', they had a $150K operating budget. I also understand each food truck/kiosk paid $800 for the privledge of being there.

Other street fairs charge food trucks/vendors anywhere from 10 - 20% of their total earnings, as space rental.

Hi Max

Earlier on I posted that I couldn't understand why the Grey Cup was a civic event.

I'm not against any parade, I just don't see why tax payers have to fund out money for them.

There are a lot of pressing needs in this city and many of them are being neglected.

The only parade I can see being granted civic status is something such as B.C.Day, Canada Day.

Greek Days, Festival of Lights etc all pay for policing and sanitation.

It's why they raise money and work with donors and volunteers.

Thank you Gerry McGuire for this clarification...


But it still doesn't make this parade less worthy than others.

But hey, Councillor Setvenson is welcome to step up to the plate and be the hero.

Then people can blame him for bringing this about instead.....

Max, if you want... I can find out but $150,000 sounds extremely steep. I know the new Broadway BIA budget is $150,000 for the entire year. One day event would normally run about $75K to put on. $800 a day for a food cart - perhaps... don't know.

Point is... these events are expensive for those that put them on. Sure, people love them but they are not free. City support would be greatly appreciated, across the city.

There was no attempt to be mean or rude. The simple fact is, the city can spend money on riot-causing public celebrations for the Vancouver Canucks or booze-fueled grey-cup parades, but they can't find the budget to give an event like Pride civic status.

The arguments against giving the parade that status are trivial at best or homophobic at worst. As I said in my first comment, even if the number of attendees is only 100,000 that's still one of the largest events in the city. There's no good reason not to cover policing and sanitation costs.

The arguments against giving the parade that status are trivial at best or homophobic at worst.

Paul...this comment alone shows your true colors...this is NOT about homophobia, notice you are the ONLY one that has brought that into the mix, and yes that is mean and a low blow...

so what you are saying is if someone does not want their taxes to pay for this event then they are homophobic?

For the record Paul..I have participated in the decorating, and traveling on a Float, in the Pride parade, my pictures are all over the internet, I stopped when the event became too much nudity and simulated sex acts...

So to be clear...I'm not homophobic, but you are definitely a sh*t disturber with a very low tolerance level, for those of us that have a different point of view...

Shame on you...

"I personally think a better idea would be to approach the City with a business case for these events. An event will bring $X into the community and we would expect you (the City) to cover $Y costs. As long as X is greater than Y I dont see why the City would object"

The problem with that approach is that the organizers would need to present a business case using the ridiculous made up attendance figures of 650,000, which would be a complete lie and therefore fraudulant and illegal, or be honest about the attendance numbers - around 90,000 - which would cause most of the sponsors to drop out. A conundrum indeed...

And just like the attendance figures are grossly exagerated, so too are the economic benefits. If you break down the numbers further, you find that the vast vast majority of parade attendees are locals, not visitors. And as anyone who as attended the parade can attest to, the shops remain pretty much empty. People are downtown to watch the parade, not to shop. Store owners sit forlornly in their shops watching the crowds outside their store. We saw the exact same thing during the Olympics.

George, I never said YOUR argument was homophobic. I said at WORST the arguements were homophobic. YOUR arguments are best described as trivial. I can count the number of nude people on both hands. In comparison to the hundreds of participants that are not nude.

Again, if the city has the money to fully fund a grey cup parade and booze-fueled, riot-inducing "fan zones", than surely we have enough money to pay for the policing and sanitation costs for this public event.

As for your allegation that Pride is about $$$$, well that's your opinion. I've gone to pride since I was 19 y/o. I can tell you, I don't go for commercial reasons or because I believe in public nudity. I go because I'm gay and I appreciate the struggle people before me have gone through to make sure I have the freedom to be part of society as a gay man.

Now I'm trivial, so you've stooped to name calling, lack of tolerance for others opinions...keep going you are making yourself look more ridiculous and discriminatory..

Paul have you ever gotten off your butt and worked to produce the Parade or do you just go hang out...until you've put in the efforts I have..you can't really offer an educated opinion..

This is about $$$$ and votes..and with your crappy attitude it gives everyone reading this more reasons not to endorse the cost!!

There is nothing to be proud about your behavior here Paul absolutely nothing and several people have told you so...stop behaving like an entitled child...it does nothing to further your cause.. again my comments were for Sean and you have turned it into something very ugly..

Proud of yourself?

George, you need to take a breather on this one.

boohoo you can't seriously think I'm going to take advice from you boo...really?

Well actually sir, your initial comment was that apparently civic only has something to do with statutory holidays... "a Civic Holiday is in my mind ....BC Day,"

Your comment directed at Sean Bickerton was immediately ugly, linking your lack of support for the Pride Parade with your unwillingness to vote for him. You also posted it on a public forum not in a direct email to him.

And yes I have put an entry into the parade and will be doing so again this year. I appreciate your previous support for the parade and am saddened that you no longer believe it is worth your while. Our opinions differ on that.

But one man's opinion on something should not be the only reason why many others are denied funding for a public event.

The amount of money required to police and cleanup the parade is hardly a drop in the bucket to the city budget. It's so miniscule, it probably can be found in the mayor's own slush fund.

It's a small gesture that would go miles in showing real tangible support to a large section of the community in Vancouver.

@ Paul T - Given you think the rationale thus far for not making Pride Parade a civic event is "trivial at best"; I would ask you the same question as I did Sean:

What criteria would you use to determine what events received Civic status and why?

I don’t think you (or Sean for that matter) can use the argument “because they did” as it assumes there was a valid reason to give, as an example, Grey Cup Parade, civic status.

I would have been more impressed if Sean had given us a clear rationale on what defines a civic sponsored event and why he felt Pride Parade met those criteria. As soon as he abandoned the numbers, I felt it determined into “because other parades get civic money”.

Given the fiscal budget crunch municipalities are under and the taxation fatigue most people feel, I think we need to question the status quo (read Grey Cup Parade) before we start adding things to the public teat.

Sure George, keep ranting then.

"The amount of money required to police and cleanup the parade is hardly a drop in the bucket to the city budget. It's so miniscule, it probably can be found in the mayor's own slush fund."

This is the essence of my concern with Sean’s original post.

We have too many groups wanting their "drop". Add them up and guess what, the bucket is now empty (or full depending on how you read the metaphor). Rather than handing out more, I personally think we need to rationalize what we have and be clearer on the formula for handing out "drops".

Ahhhh, now that argument against funding any public event is an intriguing one. That is definitely a discussion that should be had. However, I think you'd find a great deal more resistance to that than there is here to adding Pride to the list of civic events.

There definitely should be more conversation on the benefits of having ANY EVENT publicly funded. But that is not quite the topic being discussed here.

Sean`s concern is that the city DOES declare certain events as civic events. Since it does that, pride should not be left off the list.

``I personally think we need to rationalize what we have and be clearer on the formula for handing out drops.``

Now THAT is something I will agree with on a long term basis. Again, a different discussion, but in theory I like the idea.

“Sean`s concern is that the city DOES declare certain events as civic events. Since it does that, pride should not be left off the list.”

The difference between Sean and you and I is that he is running for a position where he could help to change that list or at least the criteria which generates the list. If Sean was just Joe Q. Public responding to a column on CC, then he could get away with “if they have it why not me?” However, he is posting here as an NPA candidate which to me means he should offer a broader, more well reasoned rationale as he wants to us to put him in to a position of great responsibility within the City of Vancouver.

Thank you Paul.
The real issue has to be 'what is a civic event?'

There really aren't that many of them (Grey Cup parade (?).

The public purse has limits and maybe it shouldn't be subsidizing anything.

Including car free days.

Fix the sewers.streets, parks, community centers, etc.

Thank you Paul...

Thanks chaps. I enjoy a good debate.

See boo, this is how you discuss public policy. You could learn a thing or two on how to listen to others from the people who post here.

By calling people homophobes, shameful, disrespectful, discriminatory, etc? Ok.

Paul T, :-)

Who pays for the police escort/protection for the monthly critical mass bicycle rides????

sadly boohoo,

you concentrated on the words, you didn't listen to the discussion...

we listened,debated and in the end could see everyone had some good points..

Honest discussion...passionate yes...but without passion and emotions, how can we have powerful debate...

Thx Paul T, I think you brought great debate it's been a pleasure..enjoy your day, hope the weather is good!


Words matter. If you can't get your point across without crying victim and lobbing petty insults, I'm not interested.

As am I with you boo and you're inability to be honest...but you are doing your job like a good little conversation mining expert/troll...

For someone not interested in what I have to say, you sure hang on my every word, even managing to get involved with the conversation...

You see boohoo you have made it personal with me...we all see it,the different conversation subjects don't matter...

I seem to be under your skin...and that brings me great pleasure! It means I'm effective...thanks for the compliment...have a great day :-)

Disagreeing with you does not equal being dishonest. I've never lied--unless you have evidence of that claim you'd like to share? Regardless, you're a sad story if you derive pleasure from a perception you're irritating other people.

And this is the difference between Visionistas and normal people. Normal people know how to debate something. Sure it can get passionate, especially when there is a misunderstanding, but the trick is to try to hash something out and continue listening.

The Visionistas are never seen to be debating an issue. They listen to HRH Joel Solomon and then go off extolling the virtues of that plan. Patting each other on the back for their bold and dynamic views.

On a civic level, it's never good to have just one captain of the ship. It's a collaborative effort and different views need to be heard.

Ahh yes, I'm a visionista. Never mind the fact that I've called for an end to political parties as they currently stand--no, why let that fact get in the way.

Paul, passionate debate is good. Personal insults have no place in passionate debate. But as you've just shown, whenever someone on this site try to have a passionate debate or even present an opposing argument they are just dismissed as 'visionistas' or some other simplistic, stereotypical, generalization. Why is that?

The funding of parades is a good question, I don't care if it's for pride or the grey cup or santa--they should either be an approved function by the city and therefore policed and maintained with city dollars, or a approved function but make it up to the organizers to pay for police/maintenance. Clearly, it's a slippery slope trying to define what's important or 'civic' enough to fund through tax dollars.

This is the first real opinion we've heard from you boo, except for your opinions on teachers unions...interesting.

Correct me if I'm wrong Cope supports the concept of Wards, right?

Vision/Cope at this point in time are the same thing, pretty much...Right?

Do you all know that Robertson and Solomon were married in a 'symbolic' marriage during Pride last year??


Perhaps it's the first time you've read things I write without your blinders on.

You don't get what I'm saying. Cope, vision, NPA--they're all the same. They just differ on semantics and how to play in the sandbox. Their platforms (as far as i can tell) are nearly identical. If not, I'd love to see some evidence to the contrary.

I have no idea what this has to do with this topic though.

Speaking of wards could someone remind me who led the charge against them the last time there was a referendum?

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