Gay Rights Groups Question Calgary Mayor’s Tourism Comments

Some gay rights groups in Calgary are questioning remarks made by incumbent mayor Dave Bronconnier on Tuesday at a mayoral debate.

BronconnierAccording to the Calgary Herald, “During a mayoral debate at Mount Royal College, an audience member complained that Tourism Calgary, which receives funding from the city, had earlier this year promoted Calgary as a travel destination for gays and lesbians.”

Bronconnier responded: “I hear your lifestyle question and that’s not something I can condone, but Tourism Calgary, they have their marketing. Would it have been my choice for an article? Probably not.”

After objection from gay rights groups, Bronconnier clarified the comments: “Her question was why are my tax dollars going to market this. She actually had the ad in her hand. I defended Tourism Calgary’s right to market our city to all groups, including people who are gay, so it’s sort of a trumped-up matter, in my view.”

Some, like Naheed Nenshi of the Better Calgary Campaign, were troubled that the mayor would not immediately embrace the idea of gay and lesbian visitors to come to the city: “If he had thought about it for three minutes, he wouldn’t have said that, but because that was his knee-jerk reaction, to me, that is quite troubling.”

Tamrin Hildebrand, executive director of Calgary LGBT group OutLink, had other issues with the remarks: “Our current mayor said in a public debate that he does not approve of this ‘lifestyle.’ To me, lifestyle implies choice and being a lesbian was not a choice – the only choice to be made was whether or not to accept it and ‘come out.'”

Gay rights groups troubled by mayor’s remarks [calgary herald]


  1. Sebastian says

    What a creep, when have you ever heard a money grubbing politician not want to add tax revenue to the coffers? No matter where or who it comes from. Must be appealing to that “segment” of the population who want to conserve the past of only being known for the back water town of the Stampede.

  2. says

    This reminds me of a summer I worked at a Shell station in Pontiac, MI. There were two other guys working there with me. One of them wouldn’t provide any kind of service to blacks (including taking their money at the register). The other guy, thinking he was a magnanomous liberal kind of guy, said he had no problem with blacks, “the money’s as green as anybody’s – I just won’t clean their windshield.”

    I’ve become increasingly skeptical about these gay destination advertising campaigns. I think it’s all about targeting groups with disposable income – and baby were lousy with it. I get the feeling theres some butt-munch sitting at the conference table where the ad is designed saying, “their money’s just as legal tender as anyone’s – the evil ass-monkeys.”

    David B.

  3. secretagentman says

    Having been to Calgary many many times for family obligations, I can’t imagine any self respecting homo with half a brain would want to go there as a tourist. Boring as hell with no gay nightlife. Best to land at the airport and quickly drive to Banff or Lake Louise for great hiking/skiing.

  4. says

    Yeah, I’ve connected through Calgary airport myself once and was told the city is the most boring week end getaway. Edmonton, which is smaller and just north of Calgary is much more interesting. Well, if he doesn’t condone my “lifestyle” then I guess I won’t be condoning a dull, cowboy hat wearing, stampede crazed getaway either!!

  5. Frank L says

    I’d still love to visit Calgary, if for no other reason than to tell Mayor Bronconnier to go to hell.

  6. wader says

    Go Edmonton! In contrast Edmonton, which is about 2.5 hours driving time away from C-Town (and just slightly smaller if you include all the surrounding areas then Calgary) has an openly gay city councilor and the mayor has attended a variety of pride events. The night life still isn’t amazing and it’s not like Montreal where you can walk down the street hand-in-hand and not be leered at. Both are red-neck towns with small minded people. It’s no surprise that the mayor of Calgary is one of them. We’re in the only province that said they’d use the notwithstanding clause regarding the right to gay marriage (they didn’t in the end).

  7. says

    Calgary is experiencing an employment boom lately.
    there’s more available jobs than there are applicants…
    seems that the trouble is they can’t get people to move there.
    could be that it has something to do with all those Calgary rednecks!

  8. Taylor says

    I second the Edmonton claim.

    And to tell the truth, I have no problems holding my partner’s hand while I walk down the street. The only place I really don’t feel safe doing it is Whyte Avenue, the bar street where all of the University students go to party. During the day its fine… at night… with enough beer the red necks come out of the woodwork.

  9. Lady Heather says

    You know, there is a municipal election coming up. :) And Calgary isn’t so bad, except for all of the construction. I should know.

  10. says

    I love Whyte ave…My friend and I got so drunk once we started hitting on every cute guy we met. And they were all responsive (ahem…if you know what I mean). Cold city though!! Brrrrr!!! Sorry Andy, kinda off topic, I know!

  11. Sandra says

    I was at the debate and Bronco was practically running off the stage to distance himself from the outgames in his response.

    The guy cares absolutely nothing about the gay community and I will not be voting for him this time.

  12. Eric says

    I’m so glad that you this blog included this piece of news. I live in Calgary and I have not heard of this until now. Pretty sheltered eh? Thanks to you, I know who NOT to vote for the election.

    By the way, Calgary was an AWESOME place to visit. There’s just too many people moving to the city. I miss the small town charm we had. Come during the stampede and film festivals. We live 1 hour away from the mountains so skiing is awesome.