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NEWS > 15 April 2008

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Police, security agencies need
Federal policing and security agencies are ethically challenged from top to bottom, says the federal government's spending watchdog.

Aside from her scathing criticism of former football great Ron Stewart's tenure as federal ombudsman for prisoners -- which brought back memories of former privacy commissioner George Radwanski's fall from grace in 2003 -- Auditor General Sheila Fraser reveals doubts among the Mounties, border guards and prison guards that their co-workers would report spending abuses or even that they would be supported by their peers and bosses if they did.

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 Article sourced from

The Canadian Press
15 April 2008
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RCMP response convoluted amid

A national union has lodged a formal complaint with Quebec's police ethics commissioner over the actions of undercover police provocateurs at last year's summit of North American leaders.

But the goal of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada is a full federal inquiry into what they see as a gross breach of democratic principles they believe had to have been orchestrated from above. New RCMP documents obtained by The Canadian Press leave open that intriguing possibility.

The complaint relates to three Surete du Quebec officers who infiltrated the ranks of protesters at the Montebello, Que., summit last August.

Video showed protesters confronting the masked men, one of whom carried a large rock, as the trio tried to incite the riot police. When the crowd attempted to unmask the men, they were spirited through the police lines.

Following initial denials by both the RCMP and the Surete du Quebec, the SQ eventually admitted the provocateurs were indeed their agents.

"It would be inconceivable that the federal government, with two foreign leaders in the country, would allow the Quebec Surete to freelance," Dave Coles, president of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers of Canada, said Tuesday in Ottawa.

"And if they did, then we have a real serious issue with the security of foreign leaders in this country."

The RCMP, lead security agency for the Montebello summit, worked with the Ontario and Quebec provincial police forces as well as National Defence.

Records recently disclosed to The Canadian Press under the Access to Information Act show the Mounties received a "large volume of correspondence" about the videotaped incident.

RCMP Commissioner William Elliott was briefed on the matter in early September, about two weeks after the summit.

Background materials prepared by the RCMP's communications branch pointedly acknowledge public and media interest in any involvement the national police force may have had in the SQ's undercover operation.

But the media lines and question-and-answer sheets skirt a direct response.

Quebec police were responsible for security immediately outside the RCMP perimeter surrounding the Montebello site.

In response to the blunt question - Did the RCMP know that the SQ had officers infiltrating protesters? - the force prepared a curiously convoluted media line:

"Decisions on how each agency deploys its resources are generally discussed between partner agencies to ensure co-ordination and overall safety and security.

"Specific decisions on how each agency deploys its resources are left to the respective agencies. The RCMP does not direct other police agencies in the delivery of their respective mandates."

Did the Mounties also have undercover officers among protesters? The force neither confirms nor denies the suggestion.

"The RCMP employs only lawful techniques to ensure public safety and security during a major event."

The notes add the Mounties "do not use tactics that would encourage confrontation, or incite violence."

The Surete du Quebec said the same thing when it admitted having officers infiltrate the protesters.

Portions of the documents were withheld by the RCMP, including 64 full pages that may relate to an internal review of operations during the summit to identify best practices and lessons learned.

The cost of security was $15.7 million for the RCMP alone, according to the documents.

"We're talking about meticulous planning around this summit," New Democrat MP Peter Julian said Tuesday.

"It would be testing the credibility of anybody to pretend that somehow police officers went off and did their own thing. There were obviously commands that were given, a process was put in place.

"It's a very simple question: who gave the order for this infiltration, and why?"

The fresh demands for a public inquiry come as Prime Minister Stephen Harper prepares for this year's annual summit, to be held next week in New Orleans with U.S. President George W. Bush and Mexican President Felipe Calderon.

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