The launch of QuebecLeaks.org, a website aiming for complete transparency of the Quebec government, will officially launch on March 9. Modelled on WikiLeaks, the site will publish leaked documents from anonymous sources, and focus solely on the province of Quebec.
In recent months, the provincial government has been plagued by controversy. A recent formal investigation, led by former Supreme Court justice Michel Bastarache, concerned allegations that fundraisers for the provincial government influenced the appointment of three judges – all judges were cleared of suspicion though Bastarache remains skeptical about the state of the provincial government.
“When almost half of the population believes that political ties are considered in the appointment of judges, there is a problem,” said Bastarache in an interview with the CBC.
QuebecLeaks plans on revealing its spokesperson when its site is launched on March 9. Currently any correspondence with QuebecLeaks is attributed to “Noam Chomsky” – it is unclear who is behind the website.
“Our group is very decentralized and made up of many people… all sorts of people but mostly experts, entrepreneurs and professionals,” wrote QuebecLeaks in an email to Le Devoir.
A spokesperson for QuebecLeaks described to Le Devoir its hopes that a more limited focus on the province will make it more efficient in exposing corruption than an international site like WikiLeaks. “WikiLeaks is a very large organization, it can often take a lot of time for the documents to be sorted, they also can be lost in the sea of information concerning all the other countries in the world.”
QuebecLeaks plans to launch several mirror sites at the same time to keep the site going if the original is blocked. The strategy is currently used by WikiLeaks, which has over 1,400 functioning mirror sites.
The site’s launch date was originally set for February 16 but was recently pushed back in order to give QuebecLeaks additional time to improve its security and ensure better protection for whistleblowers who postdocuments on their site.
“It is, in fact, an excellent thing for our organization and the citizens [of Quebec]. It shows that the project is growing,” wrote a QuebecLeaks representative on their Facebook page in reference to the launch’s postponement.
QuebecLeaks will join a growing group of regionally focused leak-websites, including BrusselsLeaks, BalkanLeaks, and IndoLeaks; focusing on the European Union, the Balkan region, and Indonesia respectively.
SSMU VP External Myriam Zaidi commented on QuebecLeaks: “I don’t know what they will be leaking, but I think it is important for any government to be as transparent as possible.”
All of the leak sites have the goal of eliminating corruption through more transparent government.