The master of ceremonies at the Parti Québécois victory party Tuesday night in Montreal is criticizing the security team assigned to the premier-designate, who was whisked off the concert hall stage during the fatal shooting the night of the provincial election.
Quebec actor and director Yves Desgagnés said security was extremely weak at the party, and he asked several questions about it well before the shots were fired that killed one man and injured another.
He said many people were allowed to enter the Metropolis through an unlocked back door, which was steps away from where PQ Leader Pauline Marois was set to address her supporters after the results came in.
Desgagnés said he was told to mind his own business and not to worry about the security.
Just before midnight, a man walked to the back of the concert hall while Marois was giving her victory speech after winning a minority government.
A lighting technician and his colleague, who were at the back of the venue, were shot before the gunman's weapon reportedly jammed. One of the men died. The other was rushed to hospital and underwent surgery.
The suspect then lit the stage door of the venue on fire.
Confusion inside, chaos outside
Marois was rushed off the stage by plainclothes officers, and Desgagnés was left to return to the podium and reassure the crowd.
"There was a slight glitch. We were told that someone let off a blank . . . you will understand that we thought it would be better to protect our premier," he told the confused crowd. "Let's calm down a bit and we will come back in a few minutes."
The reality of the deadly situation unfolding outside would later become apparent. But in the interim, Marois returned to the podium and urged for a calm evacuation.
"Why did they allow her to come back on stage?" Desgagnés asked in an interview with Radio-Canada on Thursday night.
He said there should be an independent review of how security worked that night.
Police say PQ leader's safety never compromised
Quebec provincial police (Sûreté du Québec), who were responsible for the security of the premier-designate that night, would not comment on the accusations.
However, the police did say that the safety of Marois was never compromised.
The accused in the shooting and fire, Richard Henry Bain, made a court appearance Thursday and was charged with 16 offences, including first-degree murder, attempted murder and weapons-related charges.
All but one of the nearly two dozen guns seized at the scene and from his home and vehicle were legally registered.
He has not been charged with endangering or threatening Marois. The Crown prosecutor said the investigation is ongoing and more charges could be filed.
Bain will return to court in October.