Operation Petit Québec Libre

The Operation Petit Québec libre, was a disruptive tactic, used by the RCMP, it was intended, in Sergeant Claude Brodeur's words, to communicate "a message" and "provoke a mess".

On the evening of May 8, 1972, four RCMP officers, belonging to the "G" branch, arrived by car in the vicinity of a farm transformed into a commune, called "Le Petit Québec Libre", in Sainte-Anne-de-la-Rochelle, Quebec.

The "G" Branch, was created, in 1970, by the RCMP, to deal, with separatist movements, and terrorist activities, in Quebec. In late May 1970, Sub-Inspector Joseph Ferraris, was transferred, to Headquarters, to set up, "G" Branch.

The G section in Montreal, was subdivided into, G-1, G-2, G-3 and G-4, which members, can be called upon, to participate, in joint operations.

G-2, was responsible for the control, of FLQ (Front de libération du Québec) cells, it was headed, by Staff Sgt. Donald McCleery.

G-4, was responsible for recruiting informers, and infiltrate, separatist groups, it was headed by, Sgt. Henri Pelletier.

The farm, was purchased, on February 18, 1971, by Claudette Hudon, for $16,000. The RCMP believed, that Hudon, acted as a straw buyer, for Mrs. Rosa Rose, the mother, of the brothers, Jacques and Paul Rose, who abducted Quebec Deputy Premier, Pierre Laporte, in October 1970.

The farm was used as a commune, it consisted, of a two-story house, inhabited by the permanent members of the commune, a barn, used as a concert hall, and a rallying hall, a hangar used as, a mechanical workshop, an information center, with printing machines, and photographic materials, and two maple trees.

Referring, to Sergeant Brodeur's testimony, before the Keable Commission, RCMP officers, considered, the "Petit Québec Libre", to be an image of the "Maison du Pêcheur", a youth hostel, located in Percé, Gaspesia, Quebec, founded, by Jacques Beaulne, and Paul Rose.

The commune, defined itself, as a center, for socio-cultural activities, and political training, and published a newspaper, whose content manifested, nationalist and socialist, ideological affiliations.

Cpl. Bernard Blier role, was to keep guard, of the car.

Cpl. Bernard Dubuc, Const. Richard Daigle, Sgt. Claude Brodeur, all three men, got out of the car, and went, to carry out, their mission: burn the barn, of the Petit Québec Libre farm.

The oil, failed to keep burning, the first time, Brodeur and Daigle, returned to their target, with a new gallon of fuel, the fire caught this time, and the barn, was set ablaze.

The four policemen, returned to Montreal, on the night, of 9 May.

Staff Sgt. Donald McCleery, was the instigator of this operation, and he assigned to the task: Cpl. Bernard Dubuc, Const. Richard Daigle, and Sgt. Claude Brodeur.

Corporal Dubuc, approached Cpl. Bernard Blier, and requested his participation, in the operation.

McCleery testified, that the barn was to be used, as a meeting place, and that it was impossible, to monitor, the forthcoming meeting, it was then decided, to burn the barn, to prevent the meeting, or to force the meeting, to a place, more accessible, to electronic listening.

According, to Sergeant Brodeur's testimony, the "local agitators", were a group engaged, in terrorist projects, but lacked competence. The police feared, that this would be provided, by real revolutionaries, such as, members, of the Black Panthers Party.

the Keable Commission comments, on this intent:

(ii) According to police reports, there were, at least three meetings, held at the "Petit Québec Libre", between "our local agitators", and American radical activists. The police forces, in 1971, did not seem to see these meetings, as a particularly, pressing threat.

(v) if it was difficult, to install a technical source, on the premises of the "Petit Québec Libre," it was relatively easy, to infiltrate, human sources (a large number of reports, produced by sources, relate to the activities, of the "Petit Québec Libre").

In the course of their investigation, the SQ, (Sûreté du Québec) received information, that the members of the commune, had burned their barn, to receive insurance. However, their investigation showed, that the burned barn, was not insured. The investigation was closed, as the owners of the barn, did not file, a complaint.

All the same, the four participants in the barn burning, stayed with the RCMP, and have since, been promoted.