Category Archives: Canada

Quebec media star Eric Salvail arrested for alleged sex crimes in 28 years ago

eric savalia

Quebec media star Eric Salvail arrested for alleged sex crimes in 1993

Salvail arrêté à son retour de Floride: une affaire qui remonte à 1993

Le producteur et animateur déchu risque jusqu’à 10 années d’incarcération s’il est reconnu coupable

Jan 20 -2019eric savalia

Quebec television personality Eric Salvail has been arrested by Montreal police on charges of sexual assault.

According to the arrest warrant, he is being accused of sexual harassment, sexual assault and forcible confinement for events that occurred between April and November 1993. There is one alleged victim in the case.

Salvail, 49, turned himself in at a Montreal police station and was released on a promise to appear in court Feb. 15.


Avoiding Council Meetings is not right for Richmond Hill’s Councillor Castro Liu

castro liu

Avoiding Council Meetings is not right for Richmond Hill’s Councillor Castro Liu


January 16th 2019     Opinion Letter

Richmond Hill’s Ward 3 Councillor Castro Liu has made a habit of avoiding Council meetings where critical votes are set to take place. It’s time for Castro Liu to be open to his residents on where he stands on the issues.

castro liu

Many residents who were present at Richmond Hill’s town council meeting late last year on December 11th 2018 noticed that Ward 3 Councillor Castro Liu was absent from the meeting. The significance of this meeting was that a vote was set to take place about the Town’s Downtown Secondary Plan. Instead the vote was postponed to the New Year in early 2019. This result angered many town residents who believe that Richmond Hill is already behind its neighboring towns and cities when it comes to urban planning and infrastructure.


Councillor Liu then avoided another critical vote regarding the fate of controversial Ward 5 councillor Karen Cilevitz. Instead of voting for or against the motion which was set in place to suspend Cilevitz’ pay for a period of 90 days, Liu chose to skip the meeting altogether. Eventually, the present council members voted unanimously in favour of the motion to suspend councillor Cilevitz for bullying.


The fact that Councillor Castro Liu had run unopposed in the 2018 municipal election for the position of Ward 3 councillor does not mean that he cannot partake in a healthy debate. It is the obligation of any politician, including Councillor Liu, in a democratic system to effectively represent the residents who is accountable to. He has the right to his own opinion and to vote accordingly, and his vote should be based on his social conscience and the interest for a better future for Richmond Hill.  Any part of Richmond Hill is a part of town of Richmond Hill and Ward 3 is not an isolated island. We are one town, and we have to fight for the future of a modern town.

Karen Cilevitz should step down to preserve Richmond Hill’s dignity

karen celivitiza

Karen Cilevitz should step down to preserve Richmond Hill’s dignity


Ward 5 deserves a better representative


Jan 5th 2019      Opinion article

RIchmond Hill Connecions

The recent motion to suspend the councillor’s pay, based on the latest Town Integrity commission report on bullying, sheds light on the issue of ethics among Richmond Hill’s elected representatives. {1} Richmond Hill’s Ward 5 Councillor Karen Cilevitz was the subject of the Report published on December 7th, 2018. In the report, the councillor was found to be harassing, intimidating, and threatening local Richmond Hill musician Steffi Goodfield. The long series of harassing voicemails and text messages that were sent by Councillor Cilevitz to Goodfield began in December of 2017 over the name of a musical event being hosted at Richmond Hill’s Archibald’s Pub.

karen celivitiza

In her 2018 campaign for re-election as Ward 5 Councillor, Karen fell into further controversy due to her association with a local Richmond Hill Richard Rupp, who was in 2008 convicted in an Ontario court for committing tax fraud. {2} Mr. Rupp was hired by Cilevitz as her campaign manager. This raised many eyebrows as to why she had chosen to a convicted criminal to be in charge of her campaign. Cilevitz never addressed the doubts regarding Mr. Rupp during or after the campaign. In fact, during the newly elected council’s inauguration at Richmond Hill’s centre for the Performing Arts on December 4th, Rupp was invited as one of the councillor’s special guests and was given a special tribute by Cilevitz during her remarks to the town. This was further seen as an insult to the residents of Cilevitz’ Ward as to the fact that she was never transparent about her association with the convicted fraudster Richard Rupp.


The new Richmond Hill Council has to catch up with so many left over projects to improve the town. Therefore the constant interference by individuals who actions act as a distraction from the vision in place for Richmond Hill. The fact that the town of Richmond Hill has made national headlines recently in a negative light, due to the actions of Councillor Cilevitz, has been an injustice to the town’s diverse and hardworking residents. For Councillor Cilevitz to step down is the best option both for herself and Ward 5 residents as well as the town of Richmond Hill. Time for a municipal by election in Richmond Hill’s Ward 5.




The mistake of Canada MPs and Senators to travel to China amid detention of Canadians as hostage

canada china

The mistake of Canada MPs and Senators to travel to China amid detention of Canadians as hostage

Jan 6 , 2019-01-06
Saeed Soltanpour

Trip of 4 Canadian MPs ( 3 Liberal and One Conservative ) alongside two Senators ( one Liberal and One Conservative) on Jan 5 , 2019 to China amid of political tensions rising between Canada and China is a big mistake by Primer Justin Trudeau and Conservative leader Andrew Shceer . The pre schedule trip of Canadian politicians giving wrong response to China.
Timing of the trips shadow on PM Justin Trudeau and Her Foreign minster , Chrystia Freeland , claim on priority of Human Rights for the government. The trip is not at the best interest of Canada.
It looks Human Right is important as long as the other government is not powerful as China
While I support dialogue with governments but we can not leave our fellow Canadian citizens behind or scarifies our interest for economic or political benefit at the international crisis.
The authorization of the trip of back bencher politicians with little diplomatic experience to by PM Justin Trudeau was a big mistake , too. These politician not only will not be taken serious in Beijing but showing the weakness of Canada foreign policy .
Richmond Hill Liberal MP could stay out of this trip to show respect for all 13 Canadian detainees in China . MP Jowhari could should think twice as Canadians before be a foot solder for Liberal party to respect Canadian Liberal democratic values and Human RIGHTS.
Delegate to China :
Unelected Senators Victor Oh, Conservative and Sen. Joseph Day , Liberal and MPs Michael Cooper, Conservative, Geng Tan,Libera , Majid Jowhari, Liberal and Chandra Arya, Liberal,

Police officer tells massage therapist ‘happy endings’ are ‘part of the business’


Police officer tells massage therapist ‘happy endings’ are ‘part of the business’

Montreal woman eventually files report after first officer seemed to try to dissuade her from doing so

Registered massage therapist Claudia Cavaliere said she was disappointed and discouraged after a Montreal police officer told her putting up with inappropriate sexual behaviour was part of her job. (CBC)

Editor’s note: This story contains sexually explicit details.

A West Island registered massage therapist is urging Montreal police to examine how they handle complaints of unwanted sexual behaviour after an officer seemed to try to dissuade her from filing a report and repeatedly told her to not be “emotional.”

Claudia Cavaliere, 20, was a few months out of massage therapy school when she found herself alone in a room with a client at a spa on St-Charles Boulevard last month, and in a situation that quickly degenerated.

She said she was massaging the middle-aged man’s leg when he started grinding his pelvis on the table. She said he then turned over and masturbated in front of her. He said nothing to her except to demand a tissue.

“I didn’t know what to do. I just froze,” she said. Eventually, she backed out of the room and was intercepted by a colleague who moved her into another massage room and told the client to leave.

“I couldn’t speak. I was hyperventilating. I was crying. I was sitting on the floor in the corner of the room, panicking,” Cavaliere said.

The man gave a fake name and a phony phone number, she later learned, and he didn’t park in the spa’s lot.

‘My safety is at risk’

She said the traumatic incident was compounded by the reception at Montreal police’s Kirkland detachment as she tried to file a complaint.

Cavaliere said she expected to hear what had happened to her was not acceptable and police would look into it, but that she felt an officer just tried to dissuade her from making a report.

“He was like, ‘Well, you know, you have to get ready to appear in court. Do you really want to do that?'” she said.

“Of course I want to do this. My safety is at risk, and other massage therapists’ safety is at risk, and other women’s safety is at risk.… Nobody is safe if people are walking in the streets thinking it’s OK to have this kind of behaviour in a public space.”

After first describing the incident and feeling uncomfortable, Cavaliere said she started recording her conversation with the officer with her phone in her pocket.

In the eight-minute recording, the officer repeatedly tells Cavaliere how it will be next to impossible to identify the man, that there will be no investigation if he cannot be identified and that what she encountered is “part of the business.”

Police officer tells massage therapist ‘happy endings’ are ‘part of the business’


00:00 05:55


Massage therapist Claudia Cavaliere recorded her conversation with a Montreal police officer when she went to police to file a complaint over a client’s unwanted sexual behaviour. 5:55

The officer also tells Cavaliere the incident isn’t considered a sexual offence and, because the client did not demand she do anything or touch her, any conviction wouldn’t result in “a harsh punishment,” but a $500 fine.

I’m saying, be prepared to have weirdos. You will have weirdos. That’s the nature of the business.– Police officer, advising Claudia Cavaliere

He tells her that her spa, which also offers services such as manicures and waxing, is on a stretch of road where “there’s a lot of happy endings.”

“There’s a lot of weirdos out there,” the officer tells her. “I’m saying, be prepared to have weirdos. You will have weirdos. That’s the nature of the business. Unfortunately, that’s what happens. I just don’t want you to get emotional because you have weirdos out there.”

Cavaliere left the station with the form on which to write her statement. But the incident left her questioning whether her concerns were valid and if she should bother going through with her complaint.

“There was a part of me that said, ‘No, I shouldn’t go back. What’s the point of going back? They’re never going to catch this guy. I should just try to forget it.'”

Disbelief and dismay

Rita Acosta, from Movement Against Rape and Incest, said the police officer’s reaction is far too common.

CBC played the recording of Cavaliere’s interaction with the officer for Acosta and four of her colleagues.

Acosta said it seemed as if he was trying to discourage her from filing a complaint.

That shouldn’t be done, she said, because it could be devastating for a victim — for a woman who has the gumption to call the police and say, ‘Listen, this is what happened to me.'”

Rita Acosta of the Movement Against Rape and Incest says police need more training on how to handle complaints of this type with sensitivity. (CBC)

Acosta said Cavaliere is courageous for going through with her complaint because, after an exchange like the one she experienced, many other women would have been too discouraged to proceed.

She said police need better training on how to deal with women who turn to them for help.

Cavaliere decided to return to the police station and officially file a report after talking to her boss, who told her the spa had surveillance images of the man. She said she met with a different officer, who reassured her, listened to her complaint and helped her file the report.

“All he had to say was, ‘This is not your fault,'” she said. “He took the time to ask me questions.”

“In my head, I’m thinking, ‘This is an amazing cop.’ But then again, he’s not an amazing cop — he’s a cop who is doing his job, who clearly knows what he’s doing. He clearly knows how to help people and not leave people feeling unsafe.”

Cavaliere said she went into massage therapy because she wanted to help people overcome pain. (Charles Contant/CBC)

‘This is completely wrong,’ SPVM concurs

The Montreal police service will not comment on the specific incident, but SPVM Insp. Ian Lafrenière said interactions like these do not look good for the force.

“When I hear stories like that, it makes me very sad,” he said.

“It’s not a lack of training. Sometimes we have a police officer that needs some discipline or who just lost it on that day. We are police officers, and we make mistakes. When we hear things like that we do not try to cover it up. We don’t try to say it is correct. This is completely wrong.”

Lafrenière had not heard the recording of the interview, but said he hopes Cavaliere will lodge a formal complaint with the police ethics commission.

The SPVM does have a sexual assault prevention unit, although not all front-line officers receive specialized training.

Photo ID now required at spa

At Cavaliere’s spa, the owners have taken steps to protect the staff by requiring photo ID for any new massage clients, she said.

Cavaliere said she hopes talking about the incident will show that more needs to be done to support victims and ensure that they feel comfortable approaching authorities.

The Globe wins six National Newspaper Awards; Robyn Doolittle named Journalist of the Year

globe and mail award

The Globe wins six National Newspaper Awards; Robyn Doolittle named Journalist of the Year

The Globe and Mail won the most honours at the 69th National Newspaper Awards, taking the top prize in six of 21 categories. In addition, The Globe’s Robyn Doolittle took the award for 2017 Journalist of the Year.

The six wins exceeded the four each won by The Toronto Star and Montreal’s La Presse.

“We are gratified The Globe won more awards than anyone in this annual competition. Amid such competition, Robyn Doolittle was named Journalist of the Year. We are dedicated to continuing that success,” said David Walmsley, The Globe’s editor-in-chief.

The Globe awards included a win in the Investigations category for the Unfounded series by Ms. Doolitte, which revealed how frequently police forces across Canada concluded that sexual-assault allegations, even in cases of strong evidence, did not warrant the laying of charges.

“The series, which involved 20 months of painstaking investigation and interviews by Ms. Doolittle, led police forces across the country to re-examine thousands of case files and reopen hundreds,” said a statement from the NNA.

Ms. Doolittle was also selected by a panel of three former NNA winners as 2017 Journalist of the Year, with the NNA organization saying in a statement that judges saw Unfounded as “exceptional” investigative reporting that required a massive amount of research and verification by Ms. Doolittle “as well as a respectful approach to the complainants she interviewed.”

Other Globe wins among 18 nominations in 13 categories included Eric Andrew-Gee, honoured in the Arts and Entertainment category for a look at the disputed heritage of renowned Canadian author Joseph Boyden, and Sean Fine’s Beat Reporting prize for an examination of Canada’s judicial system after time limits on criminal proceedings were imposed by the Supreme Court.

Overall, there were 63 finalists in the 21 categories, selected from 881 entries for work published in 2017 at daily newspapers, news agencies and online news sites.

Globe staff or freelancers won in the following categories:

Among the 21 categories in the annual competition, five were won by groundbreaking investigative efforts, the NNA organizers noted in a statement.

How student journalists broke the story about an alleged neo-Nazi in Montreal


How student journalists broke the story about an alleged neo-Nazi in Montreal

Montreal Gazette links prolific Daily Stormer writer known as ‘Zeiger’ to Canadian IT consultant

The man who calls himself Zeiger appears in footage from the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., in August 2017. (Submitted by Shannon Carranco)


Read Story Transcript

A  prolific neo-Nazi figure known online as “Zeiger” appears to be an IT consultant living in Montreal, according to an exclusive investigation by the Montreal Gazette.

The newspaper has linked Zeiger, a writer for the popular white supremacist website the Daily Stormer, to a man named Gabriel Sohier Chaput.

The paper attempted to reach Chaput for comment via phone, courier and by knocking on his door — to no avail.

As It Happens has not independently confirmed this story.

The story was co-authored by Christopher Curtis of the Gazette and student journalists Shannon Carranco and Jon Milton, both of whom work for the Link, a student newspaper at Concordia University.

Carranco told As It Happens host Carol Off what they uncovered. Here is part of that conversation.

Tell us, first of all, about Zeiger.

Zeiger is prominent figure on these neo-Nazi online forums. He’s the No. 2 writer at the Daily Stormer, which previously branded itself as the world’s No. 1 neo-Nazi website.

He’s written hundreds of articles and essays, and he’s been on multiple podcasts that talk about neo-Nazi ideology and spread hate.

For people who maybe think they have heard the Daily Stormer, the one story that they perhaps most connect it with is what happened in Charlottesville. What relationship does the Daily Stormer have with that?

After Charlottesville, they posted an article about Heather Heyer, who was the 32-year-old woman who was murdered in Charlottesville protesting against the neo-Nazi march.

I believe it was called “Heather Heyer Is A Childless 32-year-old Fat Slut.”

[Editor’s note: The full title of the article, according the Gazette, was “Heather Heyer: A Woman Killed in Road Rage Incident Was a Fat, Childless 32-Year-Old Slut.”]

A makeshift memorial of flowers and a photo of victim, Heather Heyer, sits in Charlottesville, Va., Sunday, Aug. 13, 2017. Heyer died when a car rammed into a group of people who were protesting the presence of white supremacists who had gathered in the city for a rally. (Steve Helber/Associated Press)

How high up in that organization of the Daily Stormer is Zeiger?

Zeiger and [Daily Storm founder] Andrew [Anglin] basically revolutionized the way that neo-Nazi ideology can be shared on the internet through writing about it with humour.

The site is targeted at younger people, the younger generation, so they use meme culture and humour in their writing to appeal to young white men.

When did you first hear the possibility that Zeiger might actually be a man who lives in Montreal?

A few months ago, my colleague Jon Milton and I were contacted by an anti-fascist group who said that they had some very interesting information on Zeiger and that they had connected him to a man named Gabriel Sohier Chaput in Montreal.

Through looking at Charlottesville footage, where Zeiger was present, and cross-referencing photos that he had posted of himself under the pseudonym Zeiger online, they found similar photos of a man named Gabriel Sohier Chaput who lived in Montreal in Rosemont.

Zeiger also posted his home address on one of these private chat forums inviting young white men, Montrealers, to come to his house for little parties, basically, where they would get together and have a few beers and chat about their ideology.

If you look up the address that Zeiger provided in these private chat rooms, the same address belongs to a company named GSC Gestio​n. It’s a private consulting firm that belongs to a man named Gabriel Sohier Chaput.​

Zeiger’s image appears on a website called Blanche Europe (white Europe). The well-known neo-Nazi online writer has linked to a Montreal IT consultant. (Submitted by Shannon Carranco)

The information that was provided to you was from this anti-fascist group that was among the Antifa protesters, as they’re called, and they have a vested interest in this kind of material. Were you able to test it? Did you find the information they provided to be credible?

We did the same research that they did.

He also says in one of these podcasts that he went to high school in Outremont.

So that led the anti-fascists to look through many yearbooks for a couple different Outremont high schools, and they found a photo of Gabriel Sohier Chaput from Paul-Gérin-Lajoie-d’Outremont high school that perfectly matched one of Zeiger’s online profiles.

Have you been able to set your eyes on Gabriel Sohier Chaput in Montreal?

No, we haven’t found him.

We’ve made multiple attempts to contact him through emailing and calling his father.

We called his brother three times. The first two times, he hung up on my colleague Christopher Curtis.

We sent a letter by courier to his home, and we went to his home twice and rang his doorbell and nobody has answered.

Can I just ask, why does it matter? I mean, he obviously holds vile views no matter if he’s Zeiger or Gabriel Sohier Chaput. Has he done anything illegal?​

To my knowledge, Gabriel Sohier Chaput hasn’t done anything illegal.

But, you know, he’s using the internet and he’s using these chat forums to create a group of neo-Nazis in Montreal.

And, you know, they might be 10, 15, 20 right now, but those numbers are growing. And if he’s not stopped and if these guys are not outed, who knows what could happen?

It just takes one of these people who, you know, may have some kind of mental illness to pick up a gun and go outside.

You’re a student journalist at Concordia University you work for the Link. And now that you have put all this together — you did work on this, you and Jon Milton — this has become a national story. What do you make of that?

I don’t think either of us thought it would have this kind of … national interest, but we’re very happy.

Are you at all concerned for your own security?

We’re pretty consistently looking over our shoulder when we walk down the street.

I personally think it’s much better to out these guys and put myself in a place where I may not be as secure as I was yesterday than let them continue organizing.

Written by Sheena Goodyear. Interview produced by Jeanne Armstrong. Q&A has been edited for length and clarity.

Gatineau police face ethics complaint after arresting journalist

gatinu police

Gatineau police face ethics complaint after arresting journalist
“We cannot tolerate this in a nation of laws. For me, this is an attack on democracy,” said Vania Atudorei

Published on: March 28, 2018 |

A Montreal CEGEP teacher says she’s filed an ethics complaint against the Gatineau police department after it arrested a Radio-Canada journalist.

“We cannot tolerate this in a nation of laws. For me, this is an attack on democracy. Tomorrow, it could be another journalist if we say nothing,” said Vania Atudorei, who teaches microbiology at Gérald-Godin CEGEP and describes the conduct of the Gatineau force as “third world.”

“I have friends at the United Nations who heard the news, it’s gone international, and they asked me: ‘Is it true that in Canada the police arrest journalists?’ ”

Atudorei says that the journalist in question, Antoine Trépanier, was her former student and she respects his integrity. She adds that her complaint is being studied by the province’s police ethics commission

Trépanier was arrested by Gatineau police on March 13 after Yvonne Dubé, who was at the centre of a journalistic investigation, filed a complaint against him for criminal harassment. Dubé is the director of the Big Brothers and Sisters organization in the Outaouais region.

Gatineau police chief Mario Harel has admitted that his personnel “did not adequately evaluate the situation” before placing Trépanier under arrest.

Quebec’s office of criminal prosecutions decided after the arrest that no criminal act had been committed.

Atudorei believes the officer who arrested the reporter didn’t make the necessary checks prior to acting, and hopes her complaint will result in a sanction being levied against them by the ethics board.

“When we make mistakes in our professional life, errors, there are consequences, no? … I’m not targeting an individual, I’m targeting a procedure and I’m targeting a dysfunction in our public services.”

Journalist faces unprecedented criminal charges over coverage of Muskrat Falls protest


Journalist faces unprecedented criminal charges over coverage of Muskrat Falls protest
When Justin Brake made the move that would ultimately result in criminal charges against him, the journalist did not see himself as breaking the law.

He thought it would protect him.

A journalist with Newfoundland online news outlet The Independent, Mr. Brake was in the midst of an intensive stint of reporting on the tensions inflamed by Muskrat Falls, the controversial Labrador-based hydroelectric project, on the day he filmed protesters cutting through a locked gate. When they flooded onto the project site in spite of an injunction blocking trespassers, Mr. Brake followed and continued to film.

While other media remained at the gate, Mr. Brake embedded himself with a largely Indigenous group of protesters (which he refers to as “land protectors”) while they occupied workers’ accommodations. He live streamed their protest for several days.

As a result of his work, Mr. Brake now finds himself at the lonely centre of a rare legal scenario thought to be unprecedented in Canada. More than a year after covering the protest, Mr. Brake is fighting both civil and criminal charges for violating the injunction that protesters ignored. He is thought to be the only journalist ever to have been charged both civilly and criminally for reporting on a matter of public interest in this country.

“To lay criminal charges against journalists is a very rare thing to do,” said Paul Schabas, a Toronto-based lawyer with expertise in media and constitutional law. “Here it strikes me as particularly extraordinary given that they are also proceeding with a civil remedy,” said Mr. Schabas, who is not involved with Mr. Brake’s case. “What’s the need to also pile on a criminal charge?”

Newfoundland provincial court judge Wynne Anne Trahey said earlier this month that the criminal charge is “intended to address matters of public interest” while the civil proceedings “resolve issues between competing parties.” Her comments were part of a ruling that rejected Mr. Brake’s legal request to have the criminal charges stayed.

Open this photo in gallery
Journalist Justin Brake in the APTN bureau in Halifax.


The journalist, who now works in Halifax for the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network, is awaiting another judge’s decision, which could come any day, on a separate appeal to have the civil charges tossed out. But the likelihood that Mr. Brake will be forced to defend his 2016 decision to favour journalism over an injunction seems increasingly firm.

While much is at stake for Mr. Brake personally – the young father faces jail time plus increasing legal bills – media advocates and legal experts argue that his case, which happens to be unfolding in courtrooms on the geographical margins of the country, ought to be setting off alarm bells nationwide.

“A case where a journalist is effectively charged with a criminal offence for what appears to be doing their job is something that should concern everybody,” said Mr. Shabas.

Duncan Pike, co-director of Canadian Journalists for Free Expression, said Mr. Brake’s case is “incredibly dangerous for press freedom in Canada.”

“Canadians are very complacent with the state of our freedoms and think that these things don’t happen in Canada – that reporters don’t get arrested for their coverage,” Mr. Pike said, adding: “He was there as a journalist, doing his job.”

With his focus on indigenous rights, Mr. Brake had spent weeks in isolated Happy Valley – Goose Bay interviewing locals, uncovering fault lines and getting a pulse on the remote community’s opposition to the Muskrat Falls dam, which included worries about methylmercury contamination.

On the day that protesters cut the lock on a gate to the work site, Mr. Brake, armed with two iPhones, felt he could not stay behind.

“You have to follow that story,” Mr. Brake said, recalling his decision in a recent interview with The Globe and Mail. “This was me recognizing a major story and making a decision to cover it. I didn’t think anybody would try to apply that injunction to me, recognizing that I was there as a reporter … I took comfort in knowing that we have press freedom enshrined in our constitution and this was a story.”

Born in Newfoundland and raised in Ottawa, Mr. Brake said his aim is to “practice journalism as responsibly as I can.” A key element of doing that involves covering Indigenous issues and ensuring marginalized voices are heard (during a two-year stretch, he said he worked without pay as an editor for The Independent as part of an effort to keep the publication afloat).

Mr. Brake, who does not identify as Indigenous but recently learned he has some Mi’kmaq ancestry, is an advocate for media reform. He has not been shy on social media about criticizing mainstream media when he deems coverage to lack balance.

“I’ve done journalism that is unconventional,” Mr. Brake said. “But I don’t think I’ve been necessarily an activist.”

In defending himself on charges, though, Mr. Brake finds himself advocating for a broader cause.

“I fear that journalists watching my case unfold might be influenced, might be deterred from following such stories,” he said. “Regardless of whether or not I’m convicted in the end, the chill effect is huge.”

Investigative journalist Marie-Maude Denis says confidential sources ‘worth fighting for’ The Radio-Canada reporter has been ordered to reveal her sources by Quebec Superior Court


Association of North of American Ethnic Journalists and Writes support journalist Marie-Maude Denis for protecting her source on Quebec corruption case.

Investigative journalist Marie-Maude Denis says confidential sources ‘worth fighting for’
The Radio-Canada reporter has been ordered to reveal her sources by Quebec Superior Court

One of Quebec’s most prominent investigative journalists plans to appeal a Superior Court decision compelling her to reveal her sources.

Marie-Maude Denis has worked with Radio-Canada’s investigative program, Enquête, for years.

Denis reported on corruption within the construction industry, which sparked the Charbonneau Commission and led to the resignations of Laval mayor Gilles Vaillancourt, as well as Montreal mayors Gérald Tremblay and Michael Applebaum.

In 2012, Denis reported a story involving deputy premier and Liberal MNA Nathalie Normandeau, alleging ties to the construction industry.

Normandeau was later arrested by Quebec’s anti-corruption unit, UPAC, alongside Former Liberal cabinet minister Marc-Yvan Côté in 2016. They now face several corruption-related charges.
However, lawyers for the defence are alleging that media reports — such as those by Denis and Enquête — mean that it’s impossible for their clients to get a fair trial.

In addition, defence lawyer Jacques Larochelle is arguing that the leaks to the media that sparked the reports came from within the UPAC, in an attempt to purposefully incriminate Normandeau and Côté.

Now, Denis has been asked to testify and divulge her sources — something she claims would violate her journalistic integrity.

Denis spoke to CBC Montreal’s Daybreak the day after a Quebec Superior Court judge ordered her to testify.

She shared her reaction to the order, her concerns regarding the repercussions of such a request and how far she’ll go to defend her sources.

Here are excerpts from that interview, which have been edited and condensed for clarity.

Were you upset when this ruling came down on Thursday?
MMD: You know, it’s something that we always have to fight as journalists.

We don’t have that many tools as journalists, especially as investigative journalists, to convince sources to trust us. We don’t pay sources. Many of them don’t have an advantage to speak to us, and they take very, very big risks.

So, the minimum I think as a journalist that I should be able to promise to a source is that I won’t be forced to reveal their identity.

This story had to do with collusion and funding for the Liberal government. Can you explain?
MMD: The story was about a water treatment plant in Boisbriand, and some apparently illegal financing for the Liberal party around this project. And so we aired this story in 2012 and now, six years later, there’s a debate about who gave me those confidential sources.

Marc-Yvan Côté and Nathalie Normandeau’s argument is that there’s a conspiracy high in the police or the justice system to leak some confidential information to journalists in order to have a parallel trial in the public opinion about them.

Marie-Maude Denis
Denis said protecting the identity of journalistic sources is ‘a principle that we have to defend’ as reporters in Canada. (CBC)

Radio-Canada wasted no time in saying that it will be appealing this ruling.
MMD: It was a great relief to see that our bosses — they didn’t even think for a second. It was just so obvious to them.

Because this principle of protecting journalistic sources is very important, and it goes far beyond what we do at Radio-Canada. It’s a principle that we have to defend as Canadian journalists in this country. And we’re the first ones to be called to fight it.

Of course, we know that this is going to go far, and is going to be tested probably up to the Supreme Court of Canada. But it’s such an important principle that we really think that we have to fight for.

I’m very grateful that I work for a company like Radio-Canada, a public broadcaster who defends these values and principles. I can think of journalists and smaller outlets that wouldn’t have the means to take on such a big legal battle.

How far are you willing to go? Would you go to jail over something like this?
MMD: I don’t think it’s proper to say something right now. We’ll just take every step and just cross that bridge whenever we get to the river.

But you know, I’m a journalist in my heart. When I say that I will protect the source, I will protect my sources. That’s what I can tell you.

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