By Nick Fonda
In 2016 the 18 mayors who represent the towns and villages that make up the Val-Saint-François Regional Council Municipality (or MRC as its more colloquially called) voted in favour of moving the headquarters of the Sûreté du Quebec (SQ) from its present site in Richmond to a site in Windsor’s new industrial park, just off Highway 55. Today, seven years later, the SQ is still headquartered in Richmond’s Town Hall.
Last week, both Windsor’s mayor, Sylvie Bureau, and Luc Cayer, who is mayor of Stoke and warden of the MRC, bemoaned the fact that, as of yet, no steps have been taken to start construction on a new headquarters for the SQ.
Luc Cayer was quoted by the local guaranteed circulation weekly, L’Étincelle, as complaining that the provincial government is contemplating spending billions for a third link between Quebec City and Levis, but won’t find a relatively paltry $20 million in government coffers for a new police station. (Quebec’s budget for this fiscal year is just under $148 billion.)
So, why is it taking so long for the SQ to get new lodgings?
The question was put to Gerald Badger who has experience with policing as well as with municipal politics, serving as a police officer from 1969 to 1995, and then serving as mayor of Cleveland Township from 1995 to 2009. During the last four years of his mandate, he also served as warden of the MRC.
When he joined what was then the Quebec Provincial Police (QPP) and is now the SQ, the province was going through turbulent times. Through most of the 1960s, Montreal had the unwanted distinction of being Canada’s crime capital—the frequency of bank robberies and murders leading the country. As well, there was political turmoil. The Front de liberation du Québec (FLQ) had started by placing bombs—sometimes lethally—in mail boxes, eventually carrying out the kidnapping and killing of Pierre Laporte, a Quebec cabinet minister.