It’s been a frantic week in Québec’s media community. The City of Montreal Police Service (SPVM) acknowledged Monday it had tracked La Presse reporter Patrick Lagacé’s phone calls during an investigation into one of its own officers. It later emerged that at least six other reporters had their calls tracked by the SPVM or Québec’s provincial police force, the Sûreté du Québec. None of the reporters were suspected of any crime; the surveillance appeared to be part of an internal crackdown on what SPVM chief Philippe Pichet has called “leak culture.”
Pichet has defended his department’s actions, saying officers acted within the rules. Officers appear to have followed the letter of the law, and according to a growing chorus of lawyers and elected officials, that’s precisely the problem.
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