Public Security Ministry wants to revamp policing in Quebec

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WATCH: A pair of ex-police officers are calling for a public inquiry into policing in this province. This comes on the heels on the most recent scandal centered around the province's anti-corruption squad – Sep 24, 2019

Quebec’s public security minister is undertaking a massive project to modernize and reform policing in the province.

Quebec’s police forces have been plagued by scandal, particularly the anti-corruption squad: UPAC.

Liberal Interim Leader Pierre Arcand summed up the kinds of problems Quebec’s police forces are facings:

“When you see clearly some police officers that seem to be leaking things to the press (and) fights between the lawyers and people from the police department,” he said.

The Liberal opposition says the Coalition Avenir Quebec (CAQ) government has been dragging its feet, waiting a year to nominate a new head of UPAC.

“We need to find leadership,” Arcand said.

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READ MORE: ‘It’s worrying’: Quebec premier on allegations UPAC fabricated evidence

However, two former UPAC officers say we need a public inquiry.

Caroline Grenier-Lafontaine and André Boulanger are threatening to sue two media giants, Quebecor and Cogeco for $8 million. News articles allege that Grenier-Lafontaine purposely misled the investigation that ended with the arrest of sitting MNA Guy Ouellette in 2017.

Other articles allege that Boulanger was an informant who snitched on his UPAC bosses.

“I did nothing wrong,” Grenier-Lafontaine said at a press conference in Quebec City on Tuesday.

READ MORE: New director will ‘turn the page’ on Quebec’s anti-corruption unit scandals: Legault

The two officers, who are also a couple, are both on sick leave. They say their careers are finished.

“Calling someone an informant, now no one in the police will talk to him. He’s toxic,” said Guy Bertrand, the couple’s lawyer.

Bertrand said a public inquiry will reveal the truth about what he calls “botched investigations.”

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READ MORE: Interview with Annie Trudel: Corruption in Quebec, UPAC and Robert Poeti’s failure to fix things

The minister said the Bureau des enquêtes indépendantes (BEI), the bureau of independent investigations, is already looking into these alleged leaks.

She said she is turning her attention to modernizing police services as the law governing police was established in 2001. Guilbault said she will start this work in December, with a plan to bring in new legislation next year.

“We are going to have this consultation altogether with members of police forces, with municipalities, like I said, from the civil society, experts, and hopefully opposition parties,” she said.

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