Ten years after the Metropolis attack, the Sûreté du Québec (SQ) finally seems to have learned lessons from the experience. The secret service chief of the SQ admits that the external protection of a dignitary is no longer given up. A position that contrasts with that of the Prime Minister’s security chief, who plans to use the 2012 ‘recipe’ in the next elections.
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“In Intelligence we are now creating an outer perimeter regardless of the number of patrol officers there to ensure that we cover all the entrances, the streets, the entrances to the building where the personality will be moving,” revealed in court , two weeks ago, Dominique Langelier, current head of intelligence and state security at the provincial police. In 2012 he held the same position.
This is the first time the SQ has admitted to making specific changes to its techniques to protect elected officials following the “political” attack on Pauline Marois.
Since then, this part of his testimony, which has been closed to the public, has been subject to a publication ban. The Quebec Attorney General resisted its release to protect police techniques. But after the intervention of media lawyers, including The pressJudge Philippe Bélanger concluded that all of Dominique Langelier’s statements were of public interest and could be reported.
On the evening of September 4, 2012, while Pauline Marois celebrated her victory in front of over a thousand supporters, no SQ policeman was protecting the rear of the Métropolis. However, about twenty agents were deployed. A lone police officer was stationed inside at the back door of the building. This exit was “Plan A” to evacuate the Prime Minister-elect.
Dressed in a dressing gown and balaclava, Richard Henry Bain quietly approached from behind the building and opened fire on the dozen stagehands gathered outside the back door. Denis Blanchette died and Dave Courage was seriously injured. Traumatized, four survivors are demanding $600,000 from the SQ and the Service de Police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM) for lack of security.
Since the attack, the SQ’s intelligence and state security team has been acting “differently” and using the “box” technique to “protect the area surrounding the place where the dignitary will move,” Dominique Langelier explained when cross-examined by Mand Virginie Dufresne Lemire. It’s essentially a perimeter, he agreed.
Earlier in the process, Lieutenant Pierre Bertrand, current head of the SQ’s unit for protecting dignitaries, including those of the Prime Minister, had nonetheless stated that the SQ’s security plan to protect leaders during next October’s election would be “the same”. as in 2012. “We use the same methods. From 2012 to now, the base is the same,” he explained.
The SQ believes that they have done a good job
Even if one man died and a slaughter could be avoided thanks to the saving jamming of the rifle, the head of the intelligence service of the SQ asserted 10 years later, on September 4, 2012, that he had done a good job.
Yes. With the information we had at the time and the methods that were used at the time, we did our job.
Dominique Langelier, Head of Intelligence and State Security in 2012
The official claims to have “all layers of security” in place that evening, but then hastens to mention the “shared responsibility” of SPVM, “security” and bodyguards. In any case, “zero risk” does not exist, Dominique Langelier nuanced, using the example of the attack on the American Capitol by supporters of Donald Trump in January 2021.
Furthermore, Pauline Marois has not been attacked by any societal issue that is “important enough for [la SQ] changed [ses] Working methods,” he adds. The fact that she was a woman or a leader of a separatist party didn’t change that, he says. “She was more revered,” he recalls.
Out of around twenty SQ police officers, five plainclothes Secret Service agents mingled with the crowd to protect Pauline Marois on the night of the attack. “The probability that we have Mme Marois, that’s in,” defends Dominique Langelier.
While the rear of the building was exposed, an SQ agent was well positioned outside the main entrance to spot suspicious individuals.
“If we see someone who doesn’t fit, we follow them in. The member outside gives us a physical description. We’re going to start a conversation under false pretenses. We will try to find out his identity, »explains Dominique Langelier.
Because the plainclothes police officers in this squad don’t drink alcohol and speak very little in the crowd, people can “stare” at them after a while. A rotation is then set up, explains Dominique Langelier.
The SQ was determined to keep this police technique secret. However, according to Richter, it is not a “sophisticated” technology.
Also, the SQ had an album of “interesting” people who were angry with the leaders. Because he was a “lone wolf,” according to Dominique Langelier, Richard Henry Bain was not one of them. The SQ wanted to hide the very existence of that album, a detection technique but “well known to the public,” claims the judge.
The hearing of evidence was basically completed on Tuesday. However, Judge Bélanger will make a judgment this Wednesday morning on the “need for additional evidence of the threats”. In fact, the judge highlighted the “gaps” surrounding the six threats against Pauline Marois on Election Day and reported in a hidden SQ report. Surprisingly, no one in the SQ was able to detail these threats during the trial. This is an “important element,” according to the plaintiffs’ attorney.