There is a report that Montreal police requested and obtained a warrant to listen to two journalists’ phone calls.
La Presse says it has learned a judge granted a 60-day warrant in May to allow police to intercept the private communications of columnist Patrick Lagace and journalist Vincent Larouche.
It’s not yet clear if police acted on this specific warrant and actually listened to the journalists’ conversations.
Earlier this week, La Presse revealed that columnist Patrick Lagacé was the target of 24 warrants, allowing Montreal Police (SPVM) to track his incoming and and outgoing calls and GPS locations.
Either way, Projet Montréal councillor, Alex Norris, says these new revelations are disturbing and show a clear contradiction.
During a press conference Monday, Montreal police chief Philippe Pichet told reporters that in this case there was never any question of wiretapping or physical surveillance.
“Mr. Pichet assured the media that there had never been any question of tapping journalists’ conversations, yet we now learn that the SPVM sought and obtained a mandate from the courts to do just that,” Norris said. “So our confidence in Chief Pichet has been severely shaken.”
Norris is renewing calls that Pichet step aside temporarily, so that a full independent public inquiry can investigate.
Parti Québécois leader Jean-Francois Lisée is also calling on the police chief to be suspended.
On Thursday, the Quebec government announced a full public inquiry into freedom of the press and the police surveillance of journalists.
Global News reached out to Montreal Police, but they declined to comment.
–With files from the Canadian Press