OTTAWA—"Yesterday's decision by a Quebec court judge is more proof that police are being used by politicians to carry out orders to stop democratic protests," says Dave Coles, president of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada.
Coles is the union leader who made headlines after unmasking Sûreté du Québec "provocateurs" at the Montebello SPP summit of American, Mexican and Canadian leaders in August 2007.
Quebec Judge Real Lapointe ruled yesterday that the order to stop the demonstration at Montebello contravenes the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Leila Martin brought the case to court after she was arrested at Montebello for protesting against the summit.
"It is obvious that the officers were following orders, and that these orders violated rights and freedoms," Judge Lapointe ruled. [translation].
Dave Coles says: "It's now clear that the decision to stop the protest at Montebello was illegal, but our question remains: Who was calling the shots? Protesters should be guaranteed that the government will not use police to incite violence again. Otherwise, how does legitimate dissent get a hearing?"
Coles made headlines when a video of his confrontation with police, one armed with a rock, and wearing black shirts and bandanas went viral on YouTube.
CEP immediately called for an inquiry to find out who ordered the police to try to turn a peaceful protest into a violent one, but was told it had to take the case through the Quebec Ethics Committee, where "it is now mired in red tape" according to Coles.
"No more hiding behind commissions and committees," says Coles. Prime Minister Harper should do the right thing now and hold an independent judicial inquiry. Yesterday's ruling is one more nail in the coffin of whoever was responsible for this whole cover up."