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Magazine of the Chartered Institute of Journalists

Canadian RIPA-style investigator resigns

The chief prosecutor of the inquiry looking into police surveillance of journalists in Canada has resigned.

It was two months ago when I raised the story – an almost exact copy of the Metropolitan Police using the Regulatory Investigative Powers Act (RIPA) to spy on journalist contacts, had reoccurred thousands of miles away in Canada.

At least 24 surveillance warrants were issued for La Presse journalist Patrick Lagace’s phone in 2016 at the request of the Montreal City Police special investigations unit.

Last week Quebec’s Federation of Journalists called Bernard Amyot’s neutrality into question and asked him to step down after it came to light that he had written an ‘opinion piece’ back in 2008 critical of the Lagacé

The piece, which appeared in The Metropolitan, said Lagacé was “neither a journalist nor an analyst.” It was Lagacé who was one of the journalists at the centre of the police surveillance controversy that will be investigated by a commission overseen by Judge Jacques Chamberland.

Amyot called the complaints unfounded but said he would resign for the good of the commission.