NEWS

PQ slammed for closed-door inquiry into student protests

05/08/2013 09:01 EDT | Updated 07/08/2013 05:12 EDT
Student leaders, police representatives and opposition politicians are all criticizing the government's closed-door investigation into the violence that marred last year's student protests.

Public Security Minister Stéphane Bergeron said he wants the committee to investigate who was responsible for the violence, in order to make sure those kinds of incidents don’t happen again.

“It was a social crisis unprecedented in Quebec history,” he said.

But the Parti Québécois government decision to hold the inquiry behind closed doors has disappointed many, including the Montreal Police Brotherhood.

Behind closed doors

Over the past months, many members of the public have called for a public inquiry, including Québec Solidaire supporter Manon Massé and organizations such as the Canadian Civil Liberties Association.

“Only a public and independent inquiry will shed light on the causes of the repression [that] occurred during the student strike,“ said the Quebec League of Rights and Liberties in a statement released in November.

The three-person panel will be chaired by former PQ public security minister Serge Ménard. He will work alongside the former head of the CSN labour federation, Claudette Carbonneau, and retired Quebec Superior Court judge Bernard Grenier.

Mixed feelings

Bergeron said the committee will look at the actions of both police and protesters.

Outgoing president of Quebec's Federation of University Students (FEUQ) Martine Desjardins said she had mixed feelings about the inquiry.

She said she’s concerned that the mandate of the new committee is too broad.

“We were asking for a police inquiry and not an inquiry about everything that went on in the spring,” she said.

Coalition Avenir Québec public security critic Jacques Duchesneau also voiced his concerns.

He said the best way to reassure the public that kind of violence won't happen again is to keep the investigation transparent.

The committee is expected to release its findings by the end of the year.

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