.- St. Joseph’s Oratory is facing a lawsuit of up to $1 million after it broke its contract to host a national pro-life conference. The conference, which began yesterday and will end Saturday, has been moved to a Protestant church in the suburbs. Three-hundred conference participants traveled into Montreal from across the country.
The pro-life group, Campagne Quebec-Vie, held a press conference yesterday announcing its decision to sue the national shrine and claiming legal, financial and moral damages. The oratory had reportedly signed the contract with Campagne Quebec-Vie in March.
In a letter faxed to Campagne Quebec-Vie Nov. 16, the day before the start of the conference, the shrine’s rector Fr. Jean-Pierre Aumont, CSC, said the oratory made the difficult decision to cancel the pro-life conference at the oratory due to threats of possible protest and the oratory’s inability to guarantee the safety of people on the property. The oratory is owned and operated by the Holy Cross Fathers.
Organizers say the oratory succumbed to intimidation by local activists, who had formed a coalition, called Abort Their Conference Coalition, to protest the pro-life conference.
The incident puts into question the right to freedom of expression in Quebec, say organizers.