Barry Bradley’s Old Newspaper Clippings





Throughout his career in the Force (1960 – 1995), Veteran Barry Bradley developed a newspaper scrapebook containing notable news stories about the RCMP in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia.





Each week, we will post three or four of these old newspaper clippings for the interest of Veterans and their families. This week’s webpage includes some interesting stories reflecting different aspects of activities in the RCMP. These stories would have been forgotten if not saved by Barry and to be shared with others.


December 7, 1976 (Vancouver Sun Newspaper) – On October 7, 1972, burglars broke into an east-side Montreal office occupied by a radical publishing group called the Agence de Presse Libre du Quebec.


The break-in was highly professional and flawlessly executed except for a curious fact the thieves left money behind.

A cashbox containing about $125 was untouched but files bulging with information about the activist journalists were carted away.

The break-in was a police job – a conspiracy involving the RCMP, the Quebec Provincial Police and the Montreal municipal police.

The police not only robbed the premises but a Sun investigation has uncovered a conspiracy to cover up their involvement.

In the beginning the police did virtually everything necessary to ensure there would be no need to cover up, there was supported to be no way the operation could fail or the police be exposed.

Nothing was allowed to chance.

People were followed in the event they might happen to visit the office while the break-in was in progress.  Telephones were tapped to let police know what was going on.  And just in case those precautions failed, the entire area was blocked off by police cars.

Nothing could go wrong.

If you’re going to do it, you might as well do it right,” was the way one RCMP officer explained the preparations.

But the operation did not go right.

The break-in occurred late Saturday early Sunday.  By 9 a.m. Monday, the contents of the stolen files were streaming across RCMP desks in Ottawa like so much computer printout.

At that point the “perfect” operations turned sour and the coverup started.

Because the money was untouched, the radicals knew they were victims of no ordinary burglary and suspected the police.

They sent telegrams to all three police agencies and the governments in Ottawa and Quebec City.

I am informed that the disappearance of  the documents you mention is not attributable to either the Quebec police force, the Montreal Urban Community Police or the RCMP,” was the reply from then Quebec justice minister Jerome Choquette.

I have asked the Montreal police to investigate.”

For 3 1/2 years the police forces did nothing to solve the crime.  The Montreal police visited the premises but their investigation was perfunctory.  No arrests were made.

The burglary would still be a secret today had not the bomb RCMP Const. Robert Samson was planting at the Montreal area home of supermarket chain executive Melvyn Dobrin on July 26, 1974, exploded prematurely in his face.

At the trial where he was convicted of placing the bomb, Samson talked.

A member of the RCMP’s security service (anti-terrorist squad), Samson told the court he and other policemen broke into the APLQ office and stole the files.

Samson named four other police officers who participated in the burglary: Sgt. Claude Brodeur, of the RCMP; Det. Sgts. Fernand Tanguay and Claude Marcotte of the Montreal police; and a Const. Champagne, of the Quebec provincial police.  He forgot Champagne’s first name.

Samson’s testimony precipitated judicial action.  A pre-enquete, a form of preliminary hearing, has been scheduled for January in Quebec to determine whether police officers at intermediate levels of the three forces should be charged in connection with the break-in.

But The Sun has obtained information from key informants indicating that the coverup went beyond the intermediate levels and extended to the upper echelons in RCMP headquarters at Ottawa.  The informant, who forfeit their jobs if identified, agreed to talk on the condition their names would be kept secret.

These sources indicate that the RCMP in Ottawa knew the truth about the raid soon aft it took place and, knowing the raid was illegal, turned a blind eye to it.  The RCMP took no action to see that the matter was prosecuted as it does routinely on other break-ins.

Instead, the RCMP acted to hide the material in filing cabinets under the responsibility of John Starnes, who as director-general  of the security service was the country’s top spy chaser.

The information was known to be hot and nobody wanted it.  The security service in Ottawa was so uncomfortable with the illicit files that some officers debated destroying them.  The material contained documents, dossiers, financial statements and an extensive subscription list with the names of many active Quebec radicals.

There is no available evidence to suggest the RCMP, having ruled out prosecuting the officers responsible, considered even internal discipline measures to show its disapproval.  One of the key officers was later promoted.  Insp. Don Cobb, who has privately acknowledged authorizing the break-in, was afterward made the head of the security service for the province of Quebec.

The extent of the coverup is still known only to a few insiders.  Whether Jean-Pierre Goyer, who was then solicitor-general and responsible for the RCMP, participated in the coverup remains an unanswered question.

Goyer was one of the recipients of the APLQ telegrams after the break-in.  It is known that he met with the RCMP about the raid shortly afterward but sources disagree on what the RCMP told him.

One source said the RCMP lied by saying the force was not involved.

Another source, also high-ranking, said the RCMP did not lie or mislead Goyer in any way.

Goyer said in an interview with the Sun that he cannot recall the incident.

This was four years ago and I don;t remember in precise terms what happened in this particular case,” he said.  “I knew about this association (the APLQ) and I know it was of interest to us because of its activities.  But tho is a star as I can remember.

Goyer said he did not keep extensive notes of his meetings with the RCMP and therefore cannot check his files to refresh his memory.

The plan for the break-in originated with CATS (Combined Anti-Terrorist Squad), a commando-like unit formed by the three police forces to counteract the wave of bombings in Quebec during the 1960s.  The plan was sent to RCMP “G” Section (anti-terrorist) for approval.

The number of policemen involved is not available because the backup services of three police organizations are involved.  Estimates range form at least a dozen to perhaps 40 or more.

Although the operation was designed to be foolproof, it was anything but a success.  Despite weeks of planning the foray turned into a double disaster in which the police exposed themselves and failed to acquire any useful information.

The magnitude of the blunder became clear only later, when the RCMP security service realized the stolen material was useless.  The source of the material was so obvious the security service di not dare distribute it within the Force.

Had it done so, the break-in would soon have become general knowledge in RCMP ranks.  Instead the information was locked away.

The whole thing was for nothing,” said one RCMP member.

One source said the RCMP compiled sufficient evidence from the stolen financial statements to warrant laying charges against the APLQ for fraud on unemployment insurance claims.

But the RCMP did not dare lay charges because it would have meant submitting the documents in open court and exposing their involvement in the break-in.

The reasons for the break-in is questionable because the APLQ was a small, fractured and impotent organization that hardly posed a threat to the country’s security.  The raid happened almost exactly two years after the outbreak of the FLQ crisis of 1970.

CATS, famous for its raids on the homes of suspected terrorists, was underemployed at the time because the bombings of the 1960s were decreasing.

When the raid on the APLQ office occurred, the RCMP remained tight lipped but word got out around inside.  Unlike Quebec justice minister Choquette, who flatly denied police involvement, the RCMP never responded to inquiring APLQ telegrams.

A high-ranking RCMP officer who received one of the telegrams said he had no difficulty learning that the RCMP was involved.  After getting the telegram, he said he checked with one of his subordinates and was told:

Yeah, we were in on this.”

The officer never sent the radical a reply.

I wasn’t going to admit it to those people,” he said.

It was to be another 3 1/2 years before the RCMP would undertake any action to investigate the break-in and then only because Samson broke the silence with his revelation in a Montreal courthouse.

Testifying under court protection, Samson said the purpose of the break-in “was to take documents which were the files of the most militant members (of the APLQ) as well as other pertinent documents.  The Agence Presse Libre always had a fairly big list of Quebec leftists.”

After Samson’s public disclosure, then-solicitor-general Warren Allmand told the House of Commons that an immediate investigation was under way “to get as many facts as possible with regard to this incident.”

We have not ruled out the possibility of a further independent investigation if we cannot get all the information we want.  This is still a possibility.”

What Allmand did not tell the Commons was that the investigation was headed by Chief Supt. Cobb, who while an inspector was the officer who authorized the break-in.

According to a source, Cobb made his investigation and submitted a report that readily acknowledged his personal involvement.

Cobb admitted in the first sentence that he authorized the raid.

Cosbb’s report reached the office of RCMP Commissioner Maurice Nadon last April and was turned over to then Quebec solicitor-general Fernand Lalonde during the summer.

In October, Lalonde decided that Cobb and officer from the other two police forces would face the pre-enquete to determine whether charges should be laid.  The two other policemen are Asst. Chief Insp. Paul Beaudry, of the Montreal municipal police and Insp. Jean Coutellier, of the Quebec provincial force.  The pre-enquete started Jan. 10 under Judge Robert Vincent.

At first, following the Samson disclosure, Allmand said the RCMP was only supporting an action undertaken by the Montreal and Quebec police forces.  A few days later he acknowledged that the RCMP was the main force and the other two played less important roles.

Allmand continually ported the break-in as an initiative originating within the ranks and never gave any hint that headquarters was involved in a coverup.

As soon as we learned about this declaration by Mr. Samson, where it was brought to our attention, we immediately started an investigation.”  Allmand said in the Commons.

He promised the investigation would be thorough and the outcome would be reported to the Commons. Although the investigation has long been concluded, neither Allmand nor his successor, Francis Fox, has provided the Commonds with the promised information.

Ironically, now that the facts are being revealed, the APLQ no longer exists.  The organization folded a year ago and the principals have dropped form sight.

According to RCMP intelligence sources, most of the active members are now working with the Canadian Communist League, Marx-Leninist.

The APLQ, an activist group combining politics and journalism, was deeply involved in community work and publishing.  It was founded in 1970 “to keep peole informed of things that regular newspapers and other media wouldn’t normally carry.”

The organization never managed to escape RCMP surveillance which seemed to get tighter with time.

Soon after the 1972 break-in the APLQ moved its office from St. Hubert Street to a roomy three-floor office it purchased on Beaudry in the core of rundown east Montreal.

With the change the radical organization unwittingly moved into a wiretapped office that gave police direct access to all the conversations in the office.

According to a source, police knew of the impending sale and received permission from the vendor to bug the premises before the same took place.  As a result, police installed a sophisticated electronic listening system without having to enter the premises illegally.

As the source put it, the bugging system remained in the office when the APLQ took possession and the police “just never bothered to dismantle it.”

The APLQ accidentally discovered the bugs in Noevember 1973, and knew by the professionalism of the installation that iw was a police job.

Five microphone-transmitter units were planted inside hollow-out wall beams and hooked through the telephone so conversations throughout the rooms could be overheard.

Nobody every admitted planting he bugs.  The APLQ office now stands empty.


Photograph of Corporal Ted Thiesen at telethon with Rita Moreano hanging off of him (Source of photo - Vancouver Sun Newspaper).

Photograph of Corporal Ted Thiesen at telethon with Rita Moreano hanging off of him (Source of photo – Vancouver Sun Newspaper).