The criminal activities of Trudeau and the RCMP against Quebec in the 1970s are in the news. Two academics have just written an article on the operations of the “Vidal Group,” codenamed “FAN TAN,” the ultra-secret joint agency of the Liberal Party and the RCMP.
I devoted several pages of my 1998 book Secret Service Investigations to this question. Here is a reminder of some of these cases, some of which were never solved.
The thousands of pages of documents I obtained through an access to information request clearly show that the RCMP and PLC’s operations against the PQ are downright political, even though they have been largely censored.
The second man
In a May 1970 letter, Marc Lalonde suggested that RCMP intelligence chief John Starnes consult a senior source within the PQ. The name of this source has been redacted from the document. However, it cannot be Claude Morin because he has not yet joined the PQ. This is irrefutable evidence that the federal government had a “second man” at the head of the Parti Québécois in 1970.
In another secret document from June 1970, Starnes wants to ensure that the source – whom he does not name – has not already been contacted by Marc Lalonde’s men.
His Vidal group therefore shared with the RCMP a mole within the PQ, a renegade so highly placed that he could inform Ottawa of the party’s best-kept secrets. Only a very small group of men around René Lévesque could be aware of such delicate matters as foreign subsidies. The traitor could never give anything to the RCMP and the Liberals, who were obsessed with unsubstantiated claims of secret French funding of the PQ.
Surveillance outside the mandate of the SS/GRC
Two days before the opening of the PQ National Congress, on February 23, 1973, Colonel Robin Bourne received a large official envelope stamped “Top Secret/Très Secret” by special delivery from the head of the SS/GRC. It contains the internal documents of the PQ state executive committee that must be used in the economic workshops of the congress.
Thanks to their spy within the PQ leadership, the party’s finances are an open book to the Vidal group and the RCMP. In the archives, in addition to the financial reports of the party’s national organization, we also find reports on internal discussions of various PQ committees, from the Montreal headquarters to Matane.
Superintendent Joe Ferraris’ famous G Department of Montreal Security, responsible for “dirty tricks” – dirty tricks, low blows – received a priority telex from RCMP headquarters in Ottawa on September 19, 1972:
The Attorney General is urgently requesting the names and addresses of all separatists or suspected separatists employed by the federal government, including the department in which they work.
Get ready to fight! As part of Operation Ham, the RCMP stole the list of PQ members from the Messageries Dynamiques premises on January 8, 1973. This theft is not the only one committed by the RCMP against the party. An RCMP memo dated April 9, 1973 reports taking a series of photographs of the new PQ headquarters on Avenue du Parc in Montreal. Based on these photos, the RCMP is interested in the upstairs windows. Former service members explained to me that the idea was to prepare for the introduction of a microphone placement team.
In 1977, Trudeau’s Attorney General Francis Fox invoked the Official Secrets Act to prevent the Keable Commission from discovering the PQ’s wiretapping.
The affair surrounding the installation of microphones at PQ headquarters in 1973 remained secret until I disclosed it to the Téléjournal de Radio-Canada in the spring of 1994, after finding related documents in the federal archives.