Police Incidents at Montebello: FTQ, CEP demand independent judicial inquiry

    MONTREAL, Aug. 30 /CNW Telbec/ - Henri Massé, president of the Fédération
des travailleurs et travailleuses du Québec (FTQ), and three executive
officers of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada (CEP)
- Dave Coles, President; Gaétan Ménard, Secretary-Treasurer; and Michel
Ouimet, Executive Vice-President for the Quebec Region - today sent a letter
to Prime Minister Stephen Harper calling for a judicial inquiry into the
conduct of police and security services at Montebello on August 20, 2007.

    Serious Questioning, Clear Answers

    "We fully suspect that police officers become involved, from time to
time, in our demonstrations, but the fact that they disguised themselves as
radical activists and performed illegal acts in order to deliberately allow a
peaceful demonstration to get out of hand and provoke an assault on the forces
of law and order deserves a thorough investigation and some clear answers,"
declared FTQ president Henri Massé.

    An Infringement of Basic Rights

    "In particular, we want to know how much coordination of efforts on the
part of the various police forces and security services was done, to mount
this failed operation that infringed on the demonstrators' basic rights to
freedom of speech and freedom to demonstrate against government policy."
    "We believe that appointing an investigating commissioner, as stipulated
in the Inquiries Act, is the only recourse for bringing to light the full
import of these events and finding answers to the numerous questions that
still linger, despite the belated and somewhat reluctant admissions made by
the forces of law and order," added Dave Coles, CEP President.

    To What Extent was the Harper Government Involved?

    Among the various questions raised in their letter to Prime Minister
Harper, the union leaders want to know the following: who was responsible for
planning and coordinating the events at Montebello, and what role did the
Prime Minister's Office and/or the federal Department of Public Safety play in
delivering instructions regarding police infiltration operations at

    An Independent Inquiry Commissioner

    "The principles at stake in this operation are sufficiently fundamental
in nature that the explanations provided by the forces of law and order, or
the act of faith reaffirmed yesterday by Minister Jacques Dupuis with regard
to the Sûreté du Québec, are far from adequate."
    "These events must be fully examined by an independent inquiry
commissioner, in order to establish the credibility of both our forces of law
and order, and the political figures responsible," concluded Coles and Massé.

    The FTQ is Quebec's largest central labour body, with more than half a
million members.

For further information:

For further information: Louis Cauchy, (514) 235-3996; Jean Laverdière,
(514) 893-7809; Source: FTQ

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