POLITICS

PQ shooting suspect: a fishing-camp owner with big dreams for his business

09/05/2012 03:25 EDT | Updated 11/05/2012 05:12 EST
LA CONCEPTION, Que. - Richard Henry Bain left Montreal a couple of years ago to set up a fishing camp in the mountains north of the city, but dreams of expanding his business were apparently delayed by bureaucratic roadblocks.

Hours before gunshots rang out at a Parti Quebecois rally on Tuesday, Bain had been sent a note informing him that his request for an ice-fishing licence at his lodge had been put off.

Bain is known locally as the friendly Scottish guy who occasionally wears a kilt. He has had his picture in the paper standing next to Celine Dion. He's the generous neighbour who shares a freshly caught trout and drives passengers around in his military vehicle decorated with Mickey Mouse decals.

The locals are now shocked by news that has made international headlines.

Police sources confirmed they arrested a man by that name in connection with the shooting that left one person dead and another wounded.

The suspect in Tuesday's attack was wearing a dark housecoat and black facemask when he was tackled by police. He shouted about an awakening of English-speaking Quebecers as he was whisked away.

A hospital statement said Wednesday a man in police custody was undergoing an evaluation. Police said there could be charges laid in the case Thursday.

A Facebook page says a Richard Henry Bain runs a riverside camp near Mont-Tremblant, Que. A website for the business was taken down Wednesday.

Bain, 62, was in constant contact with officials at the local municipality, La Conception, over the past several months as he tried to expand his business, according to the village manager.

He had applied to add licences for hunting and ice fishing at the lodge, Marie-France Brisson said in an interview.

The village received a copy of a letter addressed to Bain from a biologist conducting an environmental assessment.

It said the ice-fishing licence needed further study before being approved.

The village received its copy Tuesday — hours before the shooting. Brisson said Bain may have received the letter the same day.

"He was a man that was calm and polite who could also be frank," Brisson said.

"He could sometimes be frustrated (with the bureaucratic process)."

There is no evidence of any connection between the man's business interests and the shooting.

Neighbours who live across the highway from the entrance to Bain's property couldn't believe the kind, outgoing man they know as "Rick" or "Scottish" could be linked to such an incident. They described him as an anglophone who spoke very good French, though with an accent.

He wasn't all business, all the time.

Bain, who was occasionally seen wearing a kilt, would sometimes guzzle beers with locals in the rural area close to the popular Mont-Tremblant park.

A photo in a local newspaper from earlier this year shows Bain, dressed in a dapper black suit and white-collared shirt, standing alongside Celine Dion in Las Vegas.

The newspaper, Info du Nord Tremblant, said Bain and another man, David Bain, won VIP tickets at a local fundraising auction to see the singer last January.

Several people in the area said Bain started inviting anglers to fish for trout two years ago on the sweeping property in a dense forest.

His clients would park their vehicles on a grassy piece of land alongside the highway. Bain would drive them several kilometres up a bumpy trail into the backwoods aboard his three-axle military truck.

Bain's imposing army vehicle sat on the edge of the highway Wednesday, a couple of hundred metres from a locked gate leading to the property, which is on Crown land.

The olive-coloured truck catches the attention of passersby. It has Mickey Mouse decals on both doors to the cab. The image of Mickey features moose antlers instead of his trademark round mouse ears.

Neighbour Real Papineau said Bain was focused on attracting more business and asked him in the spring to hand out some pamphlets publicizing the fishing camp.

To return the favour, Papineau said Bain brought him a large trout as a thank you.

"Incredible," he said, shaking his head in disbelief when a reporter told him that Bain's name was linked to the killing.

"He was always in a good mood. I never heard him make any negative remarks."

Marc-Andre Cyr, the owner of a campground near Bain's camp, also said he was friendly and never showed any anger toward French-speaking Quebecers.

Cyr said they occasionally had a beer together. They always spoke French.

"He's someone I would meet from time to time," he said. "We never talked politics."

He said he met Bain just over a year ago and that the man was new to the region. Bain joined the local chamber of commerce about a year ago. Police sources say he had relocated from Montreal.

Another man, Dominic Bouffard, who works for the local paper, said Bain is a successful businessman who occasionally took out ads to promote his lodge. Bouffard said he tried hard to network with local politicians and business leaders.

"He did everything he could to meet people in the municipality, in the (Mont-Tremblant area), and everywhere," Bouffard said.

-With files from Benjamin Shingler and Julien Arsenault