International News Desk – At Home: Gay-pride funding costs Tourism Minister key program – In Foreign News: UK considers ?no fee? university degrees

International News Desk – At Home: Gay-pride funding costs Tourism Minister key program – In Foreign News: UK considers ?no fee? university degrees

At Home: Gay-pride funding costs Tourism Minister key program

A decision to assign federal funding to Toronto’s gay pride week has resulted in Tourism Minister Diane Ablonczy losing control of key responsibilities. Prior to the funding decision, Ablonczy had been in charge of the Marquee Tourism Events Program. The program is ?an initiative to provide $100-million of funding over two years to the country’s major festivals and tourist attractions,? according to the National Post.

Along with Toronto Pride Week, other events Ablonczy approved funding for include the Calgary Stampede ($2 million), the Shaw Festival ($2 million), and Le Festival d’ete de Quebec ($3 million).

In comparison, Toronto Pride Week received $400,000, funds that were used to ?improve access for disabled visitors and hire performers for the week’s activities.?

Although Ablonczy will retain her title as minister of state for small business and tourism, the Marquee Tourism file was pulled ?within days? of the funding announcement. Industry Minister Tony Clement now has control of the program, and according to his director of communications, Ablonczy’s office was only meant to help out ?with the first phase of the program.?

At least one Conservative MP saw things differently. Brad Trost, a Saskatoon MP, said the move was a direct result of Ablonczy’s decision to fund Pride Week. ?The pro-life and the pro-family community should know . . . that the tourism funding money that went to the gay pride parade in Toronto was not government policy,? he said in an article. ?Canadian taxpayers, even non-social conservative ones, don’t want their tax dollars to go to events that are polarizing, or events that are more political than touristic in nature.?

In Foreign News: UK considers ?no fee? university degrees

As part of a proposed plan, students in England could be eligible for a no-fee degree, although the program would bar them from applying for student loans or bursaries. The scheme is targeted at students ?living at home with their parents, allowing them to avoid debt,? as the BBC reports. The proposal would waive tuition fees, which average £3,225 per year.

Some university leaders welcome the move, but others, including The National Union of Students, have concerns about the quality of such an education. One issue is that the plan would limit poorer students to only a few universities. In practical terms, the cost to families would be similar to having a child in high school, with parents covering living expenses but no one incurring tuition debt.

James Greenhalgh, Member of the UK Youth Parliament, told reporters the plan could be beneficial to those planning to live at home anyway, but noted that ?it is frightening to think how many students would end up choosing a local university, regardless of whether it is the right option for them, because they want to avoid paying tuition fees.?

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