Since taking office in 2018, the Minister of Public Security Geneviève Guilbault has insisted that she “shares the impatience” of Quebecers regarding the crises shaking our police forces.
However, we are in October 2020, the national police have been beheaded since March 2019; the suspended DG of the Sûreté du Québec, Martin Prud’homme, even paid a crisis of impatience in the media yesterday.
And all the minister had to announce afterwards was, “The process continues to run its course.” The Prud’homme file was “sent to the Public Service Commission (PSC) for it to investigate” and draw up a report, this one on the existence or not “of a cause for dismissal or suspension without remuneration ”.
Nineteen months of investigation! The equivalent of two pregnancies! At least it was made clear that the allegations against Prud’homme were not criminal, but ethical.
According to what we finally confirmed yesterday in the release of Mr. Prudhomme, the problematic gesture would be … a phone call to the Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions, Annick Murphy, in 2017.
All this time for a phone call! To lead to another investigation into the investigation, such as that of the UPAC’s Office of Independent Investigations Investigations.
Moreover, Minister Guilbault had murderous information yesterday: the famous report that the PSC will study, Mr. Prud’homme has had in his hands since June 9. He had refrained from specifying it during the morning interviews …
In an almost sadistic tone, the minister stressed that information “contained in the report” could “obviously enlighten any reader on, a little, the content of the situation”. Only, Mr. Prud’homme would have to authorize “that we make the information public,” she said. Indeed, the public interest demands that we read this report.
Mr. Prud’homme will probably choose the path of the courts. Like Jean Charest. We will soon have a former prime minister and a former CEO of the SQ who, at the same time, will sue the state. Nice picture.
Not to mention that the two would be, funny coincidence, represented by the same lawyer, Michel Massicotte.
The reflex would be to say that all this has gone on long enough, that we need a large commission of inquiry.
We have gotten drunk on big exercises like this in recent years, with mixed results.
In any case, part of the police problem has been resolved with law 1 of the CAQ: the appointment of the bosses of the UPAC, the SQ and the DPCP is made by the National Assembly now (which may entail other problems, but good).
And there is Ms. Guilbault’s Green Paper on Police Reality in Quebec, tabled at the end of 2019; where one could read that a recent “succession of events” weakened “the confidence of the population in the place of the police”.
Book which was followed … by a consultation, slowed down by COVID. There will be another report. In May. And who knows, maybe even another consultation? And another report?
Fortunately, the minister “shares our impatience”.