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Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante has requested an independent investigation into Sunday’s abrupt cancellation of the Montreal Pride Parade after meeting with festival organizers on Monday.
The mayor’s office told CTV News on Monday evening that the mayor called for an investigation to rebuild trust with Montreal and shed more light on the circumstances that led to the decision at the last minute.
More details about the process are expected to be released in the coming days.
A day after the parade was abruptly canceled hours before the start of Montreal Pride, organizers didn’t have much to say about how poorly they managed the festival’s marquee event.
And now, there are concerns about how the shameful mistake could damage the city’s reputation.
Simon Gamache, the head of the organization that runs the week-long festival, said Sunday the parade had to be canceled because there were not enough volunteers to ensure it could proceed safely.
The board of directors said on Monday it had set up an internal “postmortem committee” to investigate why the parade had to be canceled but declined requests for media interviews.
“Montreal Pride will issue a news release on the results of its 2022 festival later this week,” festival spokesperson Nathalie Roy wrote in an email to CTV News.
The effect of the cancellation of the parade may be permanent: Professor
According to Professor Robert Soroka of the John Molson School of Business, such a tragic end to the festival could have a lasting impact on the city’s market ability to host large events.
“Clearly, there is going to be a settlement with the City of Montreal. One would guess that there is a lot of discussion right now in the mayor’s office about what they could have done or what they should have done to avoid that happening,” They said.
“Montreal’s reputation as an event or host city has also been compromised. It’s not just the Pride Parade… it’s compromised, it could be other events where sponsors will question whether Montreal can support it.” It has more implications than just this particular week – the long event.”
He said that the sponsors of the parade were equally hurt because they “didn’t get the bargaining advantage” to support the parade’s cause and promote their brand.
Lotto-Québec, one of the festival’s major sponsors, said it still plans to support the Montreal Pride Festival next year.
Organizers ‘forgot’ about safety: report
In the past 24 hours, Gamache, who is less than a year into his new role, told other news outlets that the organization “forgot” to hire the paid volunteers needed to provide security along the parade route.
The festival received over $600,000 from the City of Montreal and over $1.1 million from the government of Quebec for this year’s event, which also included concerts and other events. After the parade was cancelled, thousands of fans were still able to watch the closing performances, including a show by Brazilian headliner Pablo Vittar at the Olympic Stadium.
Still, losing the first Pride Parade in two years due to the pandemic was a huge blow not only to tourists but also to the merchants of Montreal’s Gay Village.
“My team was there all day yesterday and some of them were crying because they were looking forward to this great great day,” said Gabriele Rondi, executive director of the Société de Development Commercial (SDC) du Village. ,
Jonathan Savage, one of the thousands of tourists who came to watch the parade in Montreal, was also upset.
He said, “I’ve never seen anything like this. I feel sorry for the people who spent all this money preparing it.”
The festival organizers were to meet with city officials on Monday to explain what went wrong. With the city being a major source of funding for the festival, officials would like to know how a big event could be canceled in such a short time, not even calling the mayor’s office ahead of time. can go.
Mayor Valerie Plante said she was shocked like everyone else to read about the cancellation in the news on Sunday.
One person with experience in organizing annual parades in Montreal is Kevin Tracy of the United Irish Societies of Montreal, which is responsible for the St. Patrick’s Day parade. He said he pays for private security for the parade route and has had to increase security personnel over the years to make sure it goes smoothly.
“And that’s part of our budget. We also have cadets from John Abbott College of Police Technology and we also have a large number of marshals. We easily have over 60 marshals to handle the parade route,” he said.
the celebrants attended anyway
Tracy said she wondered why the Pride Parade was abruptly canceled because planning such an event involves about a dozen groups working together, including paramedics and police, as well as parking and sanitation considerations. Are included.
“And, you know, if we need help, I think it’s probably a phone call or two away,” he said.
“So I wouldn’t knock the police or anything with the city of Montreal in terms of my plan, they’ve always been extremely helpful to us.”
The head of the Village Merchant Association also wondered what the impact would be on the community, which has struggled with closures and low foot traffic over the past two years.
Rondi said, “Pride Sunday is always a very busy day for our merchants, so, of course, at first, everyone was very sad.”
Rondi said the true colors of the village were shown on Sunday as hundreds of people flocked to Saint-Catherine Street and held pop-up parties to the sound of upbeat music.
“It was beautiful to watch.”
With files from Daniel J. Rowe and Vanessa Lee of the Canadian Press and CTV Montreal