Ex-Mountie exposes 'dirty tricks'

Details emerge of politically driven 1973 raid in Quebec

Canada-Québec - sortir ou rester ? <br>Il faudra bien se décider un jour...

Ian MacLeod - CanWest News Service - A former Mountie who stole a Parti Quebecois membership list in 1973 has revealed new information about the infamous operation.
Dale Boire, formerly of the RCMP's ultra-secret E Special covert operations team, said he was told information found on the list was so politically sensitive officers simply locked it away and later destroyed it.
The fresh details follow the burial in Ottawa this week of Alcide Yelle, the only RCMP officer convicted in connection with the raid, known as Operation Ham, or any of the force's other "dirty tricks" against suspected Quebec subversives in the early 1970s.
On Jan. 8, 1973, Boire and three others broke into a Montreal computer firm and stole a computer tape containing the Parti Quebecois membership list. A copy was quickly made and the master tape returned.
A couple years later, on a trip to Ottawa, Boire asked another officer: " 'What did you guys do with that?'
"Apparently, the tape was kept in somebody's safe in headquarters for a few years and at the end of the few years, because they didn't know what to do with this thing, they burned it.
"I could understand that. I guess when they went over the names they were quite surprised to see, I guess, some well-known names."
As one of the most politically sensitive operations in the RCMP's history, Ham remained secret until Pierre Trudeau's Liberal government exposed it during the early days of the 1977-1981 McDonald Commission.
As a result of the commission, which investigated a rash of allegations against the RCMP's Security Service, the force lost those duties to the newly created Canadian Security Intelligence Agency.
Boire retired from the RCMP eight years ago with the rank of chief superintendent. He believes the operation was conceived by then-inspector Yelle, who was acting head of the security service's Montreal G section, created in 1970 to fight terrorism in Quebec.
In 1983, Yelle was charged for his role in the membership list theft. He was convicted after opting to face the court without the aid of top-secret RCMP files and federal government documents that perhaps could have helped exonerate him.
He was convicted, given a suspended sentence and placed on six months probation.
Yelle remained with the force, retiring as chief superintendent. He died last week at 72 and was buried Tuesday.
The elite E Special unit carried out countless operations installing bugs, hidden cameras, copying documents and other clandestine activities, none of which were exposed until the amateur "dirty tricks" operations of G section and other RCMP sections triggered the McDonald Commission.
One operation Boire said E Special did not perform was the May 1972 burning of a barn near Montreal to prevent a meeting between the Front de Liberation du Quebec (FLQ) and the revolutionary Black Panthers from the United States.
"Our unit was tasked to do those kinds of things, but quite often the people didn't come to us, they would do it on their own."
During the McDonald Commission, "the average citizen didn't really make that distinction. From my perspective, I always resented the fact that I was lumped in with all of them. We were doing the job, we were in a structured, official unit doing stuff that was approved by the highest levels.

- source - The Calgary Herald 2007

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