To hear the Quebec police spinners tell it, they mighta done the wrong thing but it was for all the right reasons. After three days of flat out denial, Quebec provincial police admitted Thursday that three of their officers disguised themselves as demonstrators during the protest at the North American leaders summit in Montebello, Que. But they didn't take any aggressive action during their time among the protesters say Police.
Right off the top, you know things weren't right as reports from the front as to the nature and scope of the protests at Montebello didn't match the dramatic clips on TV. And the place was swarming with citizen video journalists looking for their You Tube moment.
Which is exactly where the takedown took place when a video surfaced on You Tube appearing to show three plainclothes police officers at the protest with bandannas across their faces. One of the men was carrying a rock and all three in maximum confrontation position, nose to nose with the notoriously irritable Quebec riot squad.
Another video shows Dave Coles, president of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union, ordering three masked men back from a line of riot police.In the video, the protesters told the men to leave and put down the rock, and called them out as police instigators. The men then pushed through the police line and were handcuffed by police.
The video has been viewed 190,000 times since it was posted online on Tuesday.
However, the police force denied allegations from Coles and others its undercover officers were there on Monday to provoke the crowd and instigate violence.
"At no time did the police of the Sûreté du Québec act as instigators or commit criminal acts," the police force said in French in a news release. "It is not in the police force's policies, nor in its strategies, to act in that manner.
Quebec Justice Minister Jacques Dupuis was made aware of the news, but a spokesman from his office said he will not comment on the matter. Nor was Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day willing to say anything other than to dismiss calls for a public inquiry on Friday, saying the RCMP has a formal complaints process.
The opposition was quick to react, Quebec public security critic Sylvie Roy, ADQ MNA for Lotbinière, saying that the province's Public Security Minister Jacques Dupuis would be made to answer for the police actions
What's gonna happen next?
I'm betting they'll try to float the rogue cop excuse, say the trio were just over zealous kids and promise to discipline them, and probably will, in a very public way. Because if the public doesn't buy that one, it gets real sticky from there on. If the kids didn't do it themselves, who ordered them and who in turn, ordered their orderer.
Meanwhile, Bush and Calderon have to be cracking up at the thought of squeaky clean Canada getting up to political dirty tricks and in typical Canadian fashion, messing up in full view of everyone.