First Published: In Struggle! No. 248,April 28, 1981
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Malcolm and Paul Saba
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Last March, the Keable Commission made public its report on police operations is Quebec from 1970 to 1973 (see IN STRUGGLE!’s analysis in issue 245). This report spends many pages describing the infiltration of the FLQ by police and informers. The Keable report makes accusations about several people, one of them Francois Seguin. Seguin is said to have been a police informer since 1972. In November 1979, Keable publicly proclaimed Seguin to be a police informer without, however, providing any tangible proof to support these allegations.
From 1977 to February 1980, Francois Seguin was a member of IN STRUGGLE!. He was member of a cell but never occupied a leadership post. Even though Seguin worked as a marshall at many demonstrations, he never served on a security committee nor did he exercise any responsibilities over security matters at any level of the Organization.
His resignation, which he refused to present in person, was accepted after lengthy debate by his cell in February 1980. Seguin had been suspended as a member of the Organization in December 1979. When the cell accepted his resignation, it severely criticized him for his attitude and actions before and after the Keable Commission had accused him of being an informer. The cell was referring to the fact that Seguin had told many lies, and had spread rumours about his lawyer. Further Seguin had not carried out the decisions made by the Organization with respect to his case. About a month before the Keable Commission denunciation, Seguin had threatened Robert Comeau, a co-defendant. He had also accused Robert Comeau, his lawyer and the Organization of under the table collaboration with Keable. Seguin flipped and flopped over what attitude to take to the Commission. For example, he only agreed at the last minute to sign Robert Comeau’s declaration condemning the Keable Commission. Having signed it, he did his best to keep the declaration from being publicized. It was the declaration that led the Keable Commission to publicly denounce Seguin.
After the Keable Commission had come out in the open and denounced Seguin, IN STRUGGLE! adopted the following attitude: Keabte’s accusations had to be taken seriously. But, as a member of our Organization, Seguin had rights under our Organization’s constitution that had to be respected. We were faced with two contradictory assertions: the accusation of a judge levied without proof and the word of one of our members. In this situation, we decided to conduct our own inquiry to develop our own position on the question, while respecting our Constitution. We stood firm against the pressures exercised by people within and outside the Organization who either wanted us to support Seguin at all costs or denounce him publicly from the start.
While undertaking its inquiry, IN STRUGGLE! stepped up its work to get,progressives to protest against the Keable Commission. Amongst other things, this Commission denied its “witnesses” the fundamental rights granted to common-law criminals. IN STRUGGLE! also offered to help several Commission “witnesses” to defend themselves.
Our own inquiry revealed that Seguin had lied to the Organization from the very beginning on an important fact, and that he had continued to do so after Keable’s denunciation: his job. When questioned, Seguin maintained that he worked as a taxi driver every weekend, Saturdays and Sundays, and on holidays. Yet, our inquiry proved that he had-worked 32 days at most in 1979...
To make a long story short, our in-depth inquiry, which continued for several months found out that all the Commission’s lawyers claimed to have participated at least once in Keable’s “interviews” with Seguin and a police officer named Bisaillon. During these interviews, according to all the witnesses Seguin repeatedly admitted that he was an informer. As well, Seguin received special treatment after being convicted for fraud and theft of travellers cheques in 1972. These are just a few of the things pointing to Seguin’s guilt. We will deal with others in future issues of the paper.
Seguin continued throughout to deny the accusations. He pressured the Organization to defend him publicly, and accused it of mistreating him and of being against him. He accused the Organization of opportunism, of opting for the easy way out by refusing to defend him publicly. Meanwhile, Seguin never did anything to defend himself publicly except write a short letter.
All these facts and statements by witnesses are pretty serious: they tend to support Keable’s accusations. But they did not however constitute conclusive proof that would have prompted our Organization to publicly denounce Seguin as an informer. To do so would in fact have been an easy way to counter the insinuations of certain reporters like Leclerc of the Montreal daily Le Devoir and Laurendeau of another Montreal daily, La Presse or the provocations of organizations like the CPC (ML), Bolshevik Union, and the Canadian Party of Labour, or the gossip of certain labour and community activists about our Organization. But to condemn someone without tangible proof and to fail to respect the democratic rules of our own Constitution would have been an abnegation of the responsibilities that our Organization has towards its members and working people in general. We know that one of the RCMP’s pet tactics during the fifties to destabilize the Communist Party of Canada was to falsely accuse its members of being informers.
IN STRUGGLE! did not opt for the easy way out. When Seguin resigned from our Organization, we kept a watchful eye on his activities to make sure that he did not involve himself in other labour, community or political organizations. At present. Seguin and his girlfriend are working for the City of Montreal acquisitions (approvisionement) dept. servicing libraries etc.
We decided to wait for Keable’s report because he had yet to provide proof of his accusations. The report has been made public, and, we are forced to admit, it makes Seguin look pretty bad. As well. since its publication. Seguin has done nothing to deny the accusations against him. He has also refused to meet with a representative of our Organization.
We can only conclude one thing: Seguin was a police informer from at least 1972 on.
Today, activists in political, community and labour organizations must work to ensure that Seguin will never again work with or be a member of their organizations. The experience should inspire us to condemn police repression and infiltration in different organizations more vigorously than ever. Let’s close ranks to counter these attacks.
The Keable Commission was supposed to clear up the October Crisis &8220;mystery”. It has done nothing of the sort. Many activists are still behind bars, others in exile. others living in Canada are faced with the threat of future charges being laid against them. Now is the time to demand total amnesty for all the activists involved in the October Crisis: unconditional release of all political prisoners, the right to return to Canada without reprisals for those in exile, dropping of all present and future charges against the activists involved in the crisis.