Mont-Tremblant's council calls on province to abolish its police force

·2 min read

The municipality of Mont-Tremblant is ramping up its effort to get rid of its police force, calling on the province's public security minister to bring in the Sûreté du Québec instead.

"The situation is unbearable," said Mayor Luc Brisebois. "We do not want to wait until there is an unfortunate incident."

Brisebois says the relationship between police and town officials has deteriorated to the point where he fears for the safety of his citizens.

Some elected officials have felt intimidated by police, he says. Brisebois has even joined an SQ service aimed at protecting elected officials from bullying.

The mayor says the municipality has even transferred its dispatch service to Blainville, about 100 kilometres away, because the dispatchers no longer wanted to work at night for fear of intimidation.

Brisebois has been asking the government to abolish the local force since 2017.

In December 2019, Mont-Tremblant officials sent a letter to the Quebec government demanding action. The letter argued the decision would standardize regional service by joining some 18 other municipalities in the Laurentians that rely on the SQ.

The letter also pointed out that switching to provincial police would save the municipality nearly $2 million per year.

The request did not go over well with local police, and the situation has since deterioriated, Brisebois said.

But Serge Alexandre Bouchard, head of the police union, says the mayor is lying. He says the claims are "completely false and in bad faith."

He says Brisebois is trying to shut down the local force to avoid settling a labour-relations dispute.

"The problem is that, because of a labour dispute between the brotherhood and the city administration, the citizens risk losing the unparalleled service they have had for years," said Bouchard.

The union has appealed to Quebec's Labour Court to invalidate the council's resolution that calls for the SQ to replace the local force.

Public Security Minister Geneviève Guilbault met with both parties last fall but has yet to make a decision.

Guilbault's office issued a statement Wednesday saying the decision-making process is taking its course. The statement says the province's Police Act does not set a time limit on responding to requests to abolish a police force.