MONTREAL — Pride Montreal, the organization that runs the city's annual celebration of LGBTQ communities, is conducting an internal investigation after it abruptly cancelled the official Pride parade on Sunday.
"Pride Montreal will release its review of the 2022 festival later this week," Nathalie Roy, a spokesperson for Pride Montreal, said in a statement Monday. The group said it couldn't make anyone available for an interview.
The decision to cancel the signature event came hours before it was to begin Sunday. The festival's executive director, Simon Gamache, cited security concerns stemming from a lack of volunteers to ensure the event could go ahead safely.
Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante said Sunday she was not informed of the labour issue before organizers announced the cancellation. The weeklong festival, which included concerts and other events and ended Sunday, received $600,000 from the City of Montreal.
Festival organizers were expected to meet with city officials Monday afternoon to explain what went wrong, according to city spokesperson Marikym Gaudreault.
This year's festival also received more than $1.1 million from the Quebec government, and the provincial Tourism Department said in an emailed statement that it learned of the parade's cancellation through media reports Sunday morning. It declined to comment on whether the poor organization of this year's parade would affect future funding.
"It's important to mention that although the event was cancelled, the majority of the other activities on the Montreal Pride Festival schedule took place," the statement said. The department said it has asked to meet with the parade's organizers to address the situation.
Meanwhile, one of the festival's major sponsors, Loto-Québec, said the surprise cancellation will not affect its support of the Montreal Pride Festival next year. "Loto-Québec has been supporting Montréal Pride for several years," Renaud Dugas, a spokesperson with the organization, said in an emailed statement Monday.
"Last week, several activities took place on the Loto-Québec stage and at the Casino de Montréal, to everyone's delight."
TD Bank Group, the festival's official presenter, said it supported the decision to cancel the event and would "continue celebrating 2SLGBTQ+ communities." The bank, however, declined to comment on if it would fund the event in the future.
"TD provides unwavering support to 2SLGBTQ+ communities, and Pride Montreal is a long-standing and trusted partner that we work with in this regard," TD spokesperson Caroline Phemius said in an emailed statement Monday.
The Société de transport de Montréal, the city's transit authority, said on Monday it was "disappointed with the turn of events."
"We are partners with Pride Montreal and the parade since 2016," said Amélie Régis, a transit authority spokesperson. "This is an important event for us."
Pride Montreal initially wrote on Twitter Sunday that the decision to cancel the parade was made with the support of city police. The organization clarified later Sunday that police were not involved in the decision.
Montreal police said in a statement Sunday they were ready to supervise the parade, "and we will be there for every edition."
This report by The Canadian Press was first published on Aug. 8, 2022.
This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Meta and Canadian Press News Fellowship.
Virginie Ann and Stéphane Blais, The Canadian Press