Manitoba

Belgian Pavilion pulls out of Folklorama after controversy over nationalist party rally

The Belgian Club of Winnipeg has pulled out of Folklorama this year, citing "recent events" that have forced it to re-evaluate its role in the multicultural festival.

Canadian Nationalist Party event at pavilion venue sparked outrage, apology

The Belgian Club, which hosts the Belgian Pavilion during Folklorama, hosted an event by the Canadian Nationalist Party on Saturday. (Travis Golby/CBC)

The Belgian Club of Winnipeg has pulled out of Folklorama this year, citing "recent events" that have forced it to re-evaluate its role in the multicultural festival.

The announcement comes just days before the pavilion was set to open.

"The Belgium Club and our Folklorama volunteers deeply regret that due to recent events we have to pause, reflect and step back from providing a Belgian pavilion this year," a statement from the club says.

"We do not feel we can provide an event that meets our standards at this time. We apologize for the inconvenience this may cause. We look forward to reviewing our role with Folklorama in the future, an organization we have been proud to support for many, many years."

Folklorama made the announcement Wednesday morning on its website and Instagram page, saying the pavilion had "voluntarily withdrawn" from the 2018 Folklorama multicultural festival.

A spokesperson for Folklorama declined to comment further, saying the decision to pull out was made by the pavilion's longtime venue, the Belgian Club of Winnipeg.

This comes on the heels of controversy surrounding an event at the club. On Saturday, the Canadian Nationalist Party held a rally there and was met by protesters, who said the political party promotes white nationalism. Until recently, the party's website said if elected, it would repeal the Canadian Multiculturalism Act.

A board member for the club resigned and the club issued a statement apologizing for hosting the event, saying "a junior member of our staff took a booking from an outside organization without fully realizing who or what the Canadian Nationalist Party represents."

The Belgian Pavilion was set to open Sunday. This would have been the pavilion's 31st year as part of the festival.

People who purchased tickets will receive refunds.

About the Author

Cameron MacLean

Web Writer

Cameron MacLean is a journalist living in Winnipeg, Man. where he was born and raised. He has more than a decade of experience covering news in the city and across the province, working in print, radio, television and online.