Link

Police surveillance scandal: Quebec tightens rules for monitoring journalists

From the Montreal Gazette:

Mark Bantey, a specialist in media law (who is also the Montreal Gazette’s lawyer), said he was stunned by the scope of the warrant involved in the Lagacé case. He said it seems the police were more worried about who was leaking information to the press than the actual crime.

“It sure looks like they (the police) have gone overboard because they’re not out there investigating a crime, but trying to determine who in the police department is leaking information to the press. You can’t use search warrants to get that sort of information,” Bantey said in an interview Tuesday. “There’s an obligation to exhaust all other possible sources of information before targeting the media.”

As for Couillard’s new directive about obtaining search warrants, he called it a first step that was unlikely to bring an immediate change to police practices. A better solution might be to adopt new legislation — a shield law — that protects media sources, he said.

Legislation to protect journalists from police surveillance is a good idea…until you ask a question of ‘who constitutes a journalist’?

Quote

Right now, in Montreal, the very right to protest, that most fundamental right to freedom of expression, is under assault. If we give in, and stay home for fear of these preposterous tickets, we will have lost not just the battle but the war itself. Indeed, the worst part about these tactics is that they work. I know many friends who will no longer go to protests for fear of arrest and a ticket they cannot afford. What a sad state of affairs when the police bully and intimidate citizens out of exercising their right to criticize the government. So go to the demos, go to all the demos, and prove you will not let fear and intimidation win out. If you get a ticket, contest it. The legal resources to ensure you succeed are freely available. And no matter what you do, make sure to go to the demo on the 22nd of April, which I think should be branded as a manif in defence of our civil liberties. If there are enough people in the streets, the cops can’t do a thing. Small crowds are what allow these abuses.

When our police force denies that we have any right to peacefully express our dissent, there is no recourse but to fight tooth and nail to protect our rights. This is far too important an issue to let slide.