April 3, 2017 12:30 pm
Updated: April 3, 2017 6:48 pm

Commission starts public hearings into Quebec ‘spying’ scandal

WATCH: The Chamberland Commission has opened its hearings into a wiretap scandal involving prominent Quebec journalists that shook the province. Global's Matt Grillo reports.

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The Chamberland Commission has opened its hearings into a wiretap scandal that shook Quebec politics and law enforcement.

Public hearings are being led by Jacques Chamberland, who has worked as an appeals court judge for 45 years.

READ MORE: Journalists call on feds to bring in legislation to protect press, sources

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Last October, La Presse journalist Patrick Lagacé said he learned that city police monitored his iPhone for months in order to find out who he was speaking with.

“I was living in the fiction that police officers wouldn’t dare do that, and in the fiction that judges were protecting journalists – and hence the public – against this type of police intrusion,” Lagacé said at the time.

“Clearly, I was naive.”

READ MORE: Montreal police were issued warrant to listen to journalists’ calls: La Presse

A coalition of journalists demanded an inquiry and Premier Philippe Couillard launched the investigation in November after reports surfaced that several other journalists — including Félix Séguin, Monic Néron and Fabrice de Pierrebourg — had been spied on across the province by Montreal police and Quebec provincial police.

WATCH BELOW: Quebec spying scandal

The group offered three recommendations to the federal government during a news conference in Ottawa, including the adoption of a press shield law ensuring journalists not be made to disclose their confidential sources.

The journalists called on the government to overhaul the rules for issuing warrants – that applications for such warrants must come from the Crown instead of police.

READ MORE: Judge orders seal on Quebec columnist’s cellphone data collected by cops

The coalition is asking for the repeal of surveillance provisions in Bill C-13, a 2010 bill that was passed by the federal government, which lowered the threshold of proof required to obtain warrants.

rachel.lau@globalnews.ca

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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