The Quebec government is standing by its decision to not allow a B.C.-based evangelical Christian group, Harvest Ministries International, to hold a 10-day long faith-based event at the Quebec City convention centre.
The event, scheduled from June 23 to July 2, was cancelled last week by Quebec Tourism Minister Caroline Proulx. She said the organization's stance against abortion runs counter to the Quebec government's goal to make the procedure more easily available.
The minister said that events that are directly opposed to government values and the "fundamental principles" of the state could not take place in convention centres that are managed by the province.
Harvest Ministries International has served a formal notice to the Quebec government and the convention centre, giving them until noon Thursday, June 8, to reinstate the contract. Otherwise, it says it will take legal action.
On Thursday morning, Proulx refused to comment on the case, saying it is before the courts.
Her colleague, the minister responsible for the status of women, Martine Biron, indicated that the government is maintaining its decision to ban the event.
" We made our decision, and we're sticking to it," Biron said.
ŴATCH | Quebec government bans Harvest Ministries event:
PQ and QS backpedal, PLQ doubles down
Last Friday, all parties at the National Assembly applauded the Legault government's decision to ban Harvest Ministries International from the convention centre.
But the leader of the Parti Québécois (PQ) is now calling on Quebecers to take a step back and question the power that the government grants itself to "arbitrarily" determine who can gather and express themselves.
"This debate is being transferred to the courts, which may end up doing the work that should have been done by the government: namely establishing the criteria for government intervention," said Paul St-Pierre Plamondon.
On Thursday, Québec Solidaire (QS) parliamentary leader Alexandre Leduc said the parties had perhaps reacted too quickly.
In the last few days, "we asked ourselves a few questions," he said.
"There have to be guidelines, we have to determine them together, in a cross-partisan way, with experts, ethicists, philosophers," he said.
The interim leader of the Quebec Liberal Party (PLQ), Marc Tanguay, reiterated his support for the government.
He told reporters that Proulx had made the right decision by driving out a group that describes abortion as "murder" from the convention centre.
Tanguay says, the Legault government used an "exceptional measure."