The Sûreté du Québec finally admitted on Thursday that three violent provocateurs filmed, photographed and “arrested” during protests in Montebello were its agents. But political and law enforcement leadership can’t explain their behaviour. Stockwell Day and Jacques Dupuis are both trying to pass the buck. Enough prevarication: the Canadian Union of Public Employees demands immediate answers, followed by a public inquiry.
The SQ tried at first to deny its agents were involved, and now denies they committed criminal acts, despite evidence raising serious doubt. A YouTube video (“Stop SPP Protest - Union Leader stops provocateurs”), as well as pictures taken by CUPE and available on its website, shows clearly that at least one of the agents carried a rock the size of his fist and refused to drop it. He also insulted and brutally shoved Dave Coles, CEP president. Another of the three provocateurs had a bottle in his back pocket. Witnesses appear to say the three policemen incited them to riot.
Now serious questions arise: why is the SQ trying to cover up this possibly criminal behaviour? What orders were these three agents following? Was this a provocation mission, part of the operational plan for the summit? Who knew what?
With its delaying tactics, the SQ is damaging its credibility to answer questions. Canadian citizens are now entitled to ask whether their governments recognize and protect the right to demonstrate peacefully. It is now up to Harper and Charest to provide clear answers, and launch an independent, public inquiry.