"It's easy to say things should have been done differently."
It's official: Fierté Montréal messed up. A =report following an independent investigation concluded that the city's Pride parade should not have been cancelled last summer.
Phillipe Schnobb, the former chairman of the board of directors of the Société de transport de Montréal (STM), was appointed to shed some light on the abrupt cancellation on August 7.
After many interviews with those involved and an in-depth analysis of internal documents, he concluded that "the parade was cancelled because of a misunderstanding, after a series of chaotic exchanges."
Schnobb wrote that the miscommunication was accentuated by hasty reactions from certain key people in the operational chain as well as slow responses from others. However, he said that one single person could not be blamed for the entire mess.
"Most of the key exchanges took place over the telephone in a climate of urgency when it would have been visibly wiser to form a crisis unit to make an informed decision," Schnobb wrote in his report.
Simon Gamache, the Executive Director of Montréal Pride, and his team had to show resilience in facing a fait accompli. The parade was actually cancelled without their consent.
"At 8:53 a.m., [Simon Gamache] had no choice but to authorize the publication of the press release confirming everything. It was done on the Montreal Pride Facebook page at 9:13 a.m., while media outlets have been announcing the cancellation since 8:41 a.m., 32 minutes beforehand, which is an eternity in a world where news travels fast," Schnobb wrote.
The investigation confirms that the event was not cancelled due to mischief nor did it happen on purpose.
In addition to misunderstandings and miscommunications, there was a lack of supervision for an overworked key player, which possibly led to an oversight in terms of recruiting enough people.
Schnobb has appealed for a review of Fierté Montréal's management; let's hope that Montrealers won't be disappointed again next year.
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