Montreal

Guy Ouellette arrest was 'unjustified,' head of Quebec anti-corruption unit says in apology

Frédérick Gaudreau said the anti-corruption unit, UPAC, had breached several protocols leading up to Ouellette's arrest on suspicion he was responsible for leaking sensitive information about an investigation to the media.

Several protocols were breached in lead-up to Ouellette's 2017 arrest, UPAC says

In October 2017, Liberal MNA Guy Ouellette was arrested by the province's anti-corruption unit. Now an independent, he has accused the organization of intimidation. (Jacques Boissinot/Canadian Press)

The head of Quebec's anti-corruption unit, Frédérick Gaudreau, has apologized to Guy Ouellette, calling the arrest of the MNA in 2017 "unjustified."

Gaudreau said the anti-corruption unit, UPAC, had breached several protocols leading up to Ouellette's arrest on suspicion he was responsible for leaking sensitive information about an investigation to the media.

"Today, I want to apologize," Gaudreau said. "We must learn from our mistakes and make sure they don't happen again. I assure Quebecers that I will continue put all my energy into developing our police force and that I have full confidence in our investigators' work to get there."

Ouellette said he is still "absorbing the news" and will not issue any other comment for the time being.

Frédérick Gaudreau, the head of Quebec's anti-corruption unit, UPAC, apologized to Independent MNA Guy Ouellette Thursday morning, calling his 2017 arrest 'unjustified.' (Radio-Canada)

Ouellette was arrested by UPAC in October 2017 because investigators believed he was responsible for leaking information that the unit was looking into the comings and goings of ex-premier Jean Charest and Liberal fundraiser Marc Bibeau up until 2016.

Ouellette has denied the claims, and he was never charged. In October, 2018, Ouellette was re-elected for the fourth time as a Liberal in the Chomedey riding in Laval, but shortly afterward, the Liberal party expelled him from its caucus.

In November 2018, Ouellette announced he was suing the government for his arrest.

The $550,000 lawsuit — which was dropped as part of today's apology — claimed the investigation into the UPAC leaks was "seriously faulty and affected by an indisputable carelessness."

The investigation "literally destroyed the plaintiff, his reputation, his political career, the trust of his political party and dealt a blow to his health," it said.

In September, 2020, Ouellette published a memoir, Qu'on accuse ou qu'on s'excuse (roughly translatable as Lay charges or apologize.) 

Ouellette is a former provincial police officer. In more than 30 years with the Sûreté du Québec, he became one of Canada's leading biker gang investigators and a frequent expert witness at organized crime trials.

With files from Radio-Canada and Canadian Press

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