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Premier François Legault said that 'we’re not going to allow anti-abortion groups to put on big shows in public places.'Minas Panagiotakis / Getty Images

QUEBEC (LifeSiteNews) – The government of Quebec is being sued by a Christian organization after it was forced to cancel an event due to the presumption that it would include pro-life messages. 

On Wednesday, the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF) announced that it is representing Harvest Ministries International in its lawsuit against the Quebec government, the Ministry of Tourism, and the Quebec City Convention Centre for “suddenly cancel[ing] a contract for the Faith, Fire, Freedom Rally that had been scheduled to take place in Quebec City from June 23 to July 2, 2023.” 

“Harvest is claiming damages for ending the rental agreement without notice, and for the unconstitutional and unjustified infringement of its Charter freedom of expression and its right to be free from religious discrimination,” reads an August 9 press release from the legal group.

The rental agreement was ordered to be nullified on June 1 by Caroline Proulx, the province’s Minister of Tourism, who said that the event was “against the fundamental principles of Quebec.” The Minister for the Status of Women added that “we are a resolutely pro-choice government” and that “I’m all for freedom of expression, but at the government, we have principles and we’ve decided to be consistent.” 

Premier François Legault also said that “we’re not going to allow anti-abortion groups to put on big shows in public places.” 

According to the complaint from JCCF, “an audience of around 1,200 people a day was expected to attend the Rally, which from Jun 23 to July 2, 2023 would feature large-scale prayer meetings, musical performances and other artistic and cultural presentations around the themes of faith and reconciliation between the founding communities of the Canadian federation.” 

The venue’s CEO had initially offered to help the organization “find another location” for the event, which Proulx redacted publicly, saying, “there will be no support from the Convention Centre for the event to find another venue…let me be extremely clear about this.” She added that the CEO had “made a mistake” in previously stating that he would assist, as “it’s against the fundamental principles of Quebec.” 

The JCCF document further states that “the Rally was not an ‘anti-abortion’ event; there were no items on the program relating to this particular theme.” Although Harvest “defends” its pro-life views “and intends to continue to do so,” the legal battle “is not about the merits of Harvest’s views on abortion, but rather about the fundamental rights of Harvest, its members and followers, to live out their faith, to express themselves politically and to assemble peacefully without state hindrance.” 

In the aftermath of the sudden cancelation, the Christian group “actively searched for alternative premises to host the Rally, but to no avail.” It was reportedly “turned down by all 43 of the establishments it contacted in its search,” with some venues denying it “for fear of the controversy knowingly stirred up by the defendants.” 

“In a sequence that combined a show of authority with orders issued under the watchful eye of the cameras, the Minister, the Society, the Minister for the Status of Women and the Premier himself singled out Harvest for popular vindictiveness because of her religious and political opinions, allegedly contrary to the ‘fundamental principles of Quebec,’” wrote the JCCF. 

Harvest Ministries International is seeking $25,000 in damages caused by violations of freedom of religion, expression and opinion, peaceful assembly and “the right to equality without discrimination on the grounds of religion or political convictions.” It is also seeking “a judicial declaration of unjustified interference with its rights.” 

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Quebec gov’t cancels venue for religious group’s event because they are pro-life 

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