Saskatoon library defends cancelling Brad Trost's anti-abortion meeting
Library was concerned about ability to handle protesters
The Saskatoon Public Library is fighting back against claims it cancelled a anti-abortion meeting because it didn't like the group's message.
Earlier this week, Saskatchewan MP Brad Trost was told he couldn't use a branch library for a meet-and-greet because the event's "controversial nature" would lead to protests it wasn't equipped to manage.
The Conservative Party leadership candidate told reporters that he doubted environmental groups that were being protested would receive similar treatment.
In a release, the library said it initially shut down protesters' requests to cancel the event, citing freedom of speech.
We welcome democratic debate in our spaces.- Carol Cooley, CEO, Saskatoon Public Library
Eventually, staff became concerned when they were told that protesters planned to enter the library and attend the event.
"The Saskatoon Public Library is a champion of free speech and intellectual freedom," wrote library CEO Carol Cooley in a news release.
"We welcome democratic debate in our spaces, but we have to balance this in a way that the safety, security and comfort of all of our patrons and staff are not compromised."
Cooley apologized for using the phrase "controversial nature" in describing the event.
"We were merely attempting to convey the concern we had over those who opposed Mr. Trost promising to create what could be an unmanageable situation for the library staff and patrons," she said.
The library noted the event was booked as a "day of reflection" and the listed organizational affiliation was "none." It later found out it was being promoted as a campaign event for Trost.
The Campaign Life Coalition of Saskatchewan now plans to hold the event at the Sandman Hotel (310 Circle Dr. W.) Saturday afternoon from 1:30 to 3 p.m. CST. People must call organizers ahead of time and reserve a seat.
A sign will be posted alerting people of the venue change.
With files from The Canadian Press