Authorities in Quebec, Canada have admitted that Patrick Lagace wasn't the only journalist they spied on in recent years, according to The Star. Capt. Guy Lapointe, the spokesperson for the province's national police, has revealed that warrants were taken out to monitor the incoming and outgoing call and text log info of six local French-language journalists in 2013. While he didn't mention any names, five of the six found out through their own sources and came forward to identify themselves. One of them is Denis Lessard, the National Assembly bureau chief for La Presse, the same French-language newspaper that Lagace writes for.
Three of the six are Alain Gravel, Marie-Maude Denis and Isabelle Richer, the former and current hosts of Radio-Canada's investigative program Enquête. Rounding up the five is Journal de Montreal crime reporter Eric Thibault. In a tweet, Richer said that authorities started spying on her phone after Michel Arsenault filed a formal complaint in 2013.
Arsenault used to be the president of Quebec's Federation of Labour who was allegedly aware that some union leaders had ties with organized crime. He submitted a formal complaint to the cops after it became public knowledge that he was being investigated by authorities. The Star says the journalists were possibly monitored in an effort to find the source(s) who leaked the fact that Arsenault was being investigated to the media.
The journalists involved were understandably upset by the revelation. Gravel said it was a shock: "In a democratic society like ours, you never imagine that this thing could happen and be so systematic. It's two events now in the same week. So we're very concerned."
Captain Lapointe, however, stressed to the CBCNews that the investigation involving the six journalists ended back in 2014. He also clarified that this all happened under the previous Sûreté du Québec (SQ or the Quebec national police) administration and obtaining a warrant to monitor journalists is much harder these days:
"You have to understand that this occurred with the prior administration of the SQ... Any investigation that is targeting a reporter... [now] needs to be authorized by the high direction, and any kind of warrant that would be obtained towards this investigation needs to be approved by the director himself."