Martin C. Barry
Chomedey independent MNA Guy Ouellette says he is waiting for the outcome of a police investigation before deciding this year whether to proceed with a lawsuit against Quebec for allowing him to be arrested by UPAC as a suspect allegedly involved in an information leak at the investigative agency.
‘A trap,’ said Ouellette
In a controversial manoeuvre three years ago to find the source of a suspected information leak, investigators with Quebec’s Unité permanente anticorruption (UPAC) used a cell phone text message to draw Ouellette to the residence of a leak suspect, where Ouellette ended up being arrested.
Ouellette called it a “trap,” while the police maintained it was a justifiable investigative technique that was approved by a crown prosecutor and legally authorized by a judge. At the time, Ouellette received solid support from National Assembly members from all parties.
However, Ouellette, who used to represent Chomedey as an elected member of the Quebec Liberal Party, also ended up being expelled from the Liberal caucus by interim-leader Pierre Arcand.
Waiting for the BEI
This happened after Coalition Avenir Québec leader François Legault claimed during the 2018 election campaign that Ouellette shared confidential information about the Liberals with the CAQ.
“We are waiting for the investigation by the Bureau des enquêtes indépendantes,” Ouellette said in an interview last week with the Laval News, referring to the independent provincial agency that conducts investigations into wrongdoing allegations involving the police.
The BEI investigators are specifically examining the role of former UPAC director Robert Lafrenière, who resigned in late 2018. Depending on the conclusions of the BEI, Ouellette said, “We would have to go to court and launch a file against the government for civil damages.”
Suit to proceed in 2020
In the meantime, he said, “there are so many things which have to be set up before taking any decision. But for now the most important thing is the citizens of Chomedey, my riding, and doing what I have to do for the people of Chomedey.”
Ouellette seemed certain about at least one thing: the suit will proceed before this year is over. “It’s going to be in 2020,” he said, noting that the BEI investigation was launched in October 2018 around the same time Lafrenière quit. “I think this is going to be an interesting year for sure,” said Ouellette.
Future with PLQ
As for his future and relationship with the Quebec Liberal Party, Ouellette said he remains a card-carrying member of the PLQ (although not yet re-admitted to the party’s National Assembly caucus).
In an interview with the Laval News last year, Ouellette suggested that he and Pierre Arcand had settled their differences and that all that stood in the way of getting back completely with the Liberals was to clear the air with regards to the UPAC issue.