Journal de Montreal newspaper office evacuated

The offices of the Journal de Montreal newspaper were evacuated and nearby streets were closed to traffic after Montreal police said a man threatened to blow up his car.

The offices of the Journal de Montreal newspaper were evacuated and nearby streets were closed  to traffic after a man threatened to blow up his car on Monday afternoon, Montreal police said.

Shortly before 2 p.m., police said, a man drove a small black car up to the front doors of the newspaper building on Frontenac Street in east-end Montreal.

The man had a gas canister and told security guards he intended to blow up the car, police said.

After about an hour, members of the police tactical squad talked the man out of his car and he surrendered to police, CBC reporter Steve Rukavina reported from the scene.

Inside the car, police found two small propane containers and a portable gas container.

Police said they were unable to confirm whether the 59-year old man was an employee at the newspaper or say whether he would face any charges.

Editorial employees at the Journal de Montreal have been locked out since January 2009, although the newspaper has continued to publish.

Richard Bousquet, who speaks for the locked-out workers, said the man is a shipping employee who has been on sick leave for the past few years.

Bousquet said the man had contacted his ex-girlfriend, who is one of the locked-out workers, before showing up at the office on Monday.

The locked-out workers, who had been picketing outside the offices, immediately wondered whether the situation involved one of their colleagues, said Bousquet.

"We have always said it must be a peaceful lockout, but [after 16 months], there are people who have lost their homes, who have gotten a divorce," Bousquet told Radio-Canada.

Bousquet accused the Journal de Montreal's parent company, Quebecor, of "maintaining a culture of conflict" with 14 lockouts over the past 15 years.

Employees still on the job were allowed back inside the building shortly before 3 p.m.