Features  “This is No Longer a Safe Place”

On August 28 2017, the Service de Police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM) officially apologized for “the events that took place during different police operations in gay bars and clubs during the ‘60s to the ‘90s.”2 Emphasis on bars and clubs. Purposeful omission of parks and public washrooms. Homophobic policing practices on the island of Montreal are far from over. With the collaboration of the Services des Grands Parcs, three neighbourhood police stations in Montreal have launched coordinated attacks on men who use the wooded areas and public washrooms of parks for the purposes of consensual sexual encounters with other men. Similar projects have been launched by the Service de Police la Ville de Longueuil (SPAL), the Service de Police de la Ville de Saguenay (SPVS), the Service de Police de la Ville de Québec (SPVQ), and the Sûreté du Québec (SQ).3

Using their knowledge of gay cruising practices, plainclothes cops continue to harass, ticket, and arrest men who seek out sexual companionship in places other than those officially recognized and legally sanctified by heterosexist sexual norms. Having co-opted our shared understanding of location, plainclothes cops are able to exploit, in a discrete, and largely unforceful manner, our need for affection and sexual companionship.

The number of arrests made within the context of these supposedly gender- and sexuality-neutral “anti-indecency” operations is alarming. Together, the SPVM, the SPAL, and the SPVQ have arrested at least 300 men for cruising in public spaces since 2007.4 I say “at least” because the statistics obtained by filing access to information requests with these police services did not include statistics for certain projects or years. Equally as striking are the sums of money that the Service des Grands Parcs has spent trying to make parks on the island of Montreal less attractive to men who have sex with men. A conservative estimate suggests a sum of approximately 2.2 million dollars.5

Knowledge of gay cruising practices has made it remarkably easy for private security forces and police services to entrap men who have sex with men. Thwarting their ability to do so requires that we understand the tactics that police services use in order to entrap us while cruising. For reasons that will be explained below, police services in this province tend to make use of sections 173(1)6 and 271(1)7 of the Canadian Criminal Code when hunting down men who have sex with men. Criminal code accusations are not the only tactics currently being used by cops to harass men who have sex with men. In an underhanded attempt to mask the homophobic nature of their repressive operations, Longueuil police have started using a seemingly mundane municipal by-law to crack down on men having sex with men in public spaces.

Modus Operandi

Accusations under section 173(1) of the Canadian Criminal Code

Currently, Section 173(1) is the most common accusation being made against gay men in the province of Quebec. Section 173(1) makes illegal the willful performance of “an indecent act in a public place in the presence of one or more persons, or in any place with intent to insult or offend any person.” Section 173(1) takes after its now repealed predecessor, section 157,8 which prohibited acts of “gross indecency” and was almost exclusively used for the purposes of persecuting homosexuals. Like section 157, section 173(1) is terminologically vague; the term “indecency” is (purposefully?) left undefined. This feature of section 173(1) has made it the weapon par excellence of homophobic police in the province. Drawing on an analysis of a homophobic police sting published in the December 1980/January 1981 issue of La Berdache,9 and on municipal court rulings 10 describing these stings, we have done our best to expose the strategy of undercover cops who lay charges of “indecency” under section 173(1).

The first step to any “successful” operation involves selecting a known gay cruising ground; however, in most, if not all cases, the selection process can be completely foregone thanks to a heterosexist public that actively reports sightings of men engaged in “indecent” activities with other men (or so police say). Once a cruising ground has been selected, the officer, now in plainclothes, picks a spot and loiters (sexily?). Though he is obviously not interested in any form of sexual exchange, the “success” of the operation depends upon his ability to convince other cruisers that he is interested in having a sexual encounter. To avoid being accused of entrapment, however, the cop cannot express this interest verbally (if he does, the courts are much more likely to see through his little game); instead, he expresses his interest by purposefully failing to object to the non-verbal sexual propositioning of other cruisers, as well as by staying put and taking on the role of the passive, voyeuristic observer.

Let us recall that for charges to be laid under section 173(1), two requirements must be fulfilled. First, an “indecent” act must take place. Second, this “indecent” act must be committed in the presence of “one or more persons” or “with the intent to insult or offend any person.” Though “indecency” is left undefined, an examination of two recent court cases in which police laid charges of “indecency” against gay men suggest that police understand this term to mean exposure of one’s genital organs for the purpose of sexual gratification.11 For this reason, the undercover cop waits until the clothed foreplay is over and a sexual act begins to reveal his true identity. Once the cruiser has unclothed the lower portion of his body, the first requirement of the “crime” has been fulfilled. As we have seen, for the accusation to hold in court, the sexual act must have been committed in the presence of “one or more persons.” This is where the second undercover cop makes his appearance. After having lurked unnoticed, he now appears to witness the sexual act. The second requirement is now fulfilled and a charge of “indecency” can be laid against his unsuspecting victim.

In many cases, however, the requirement that the act be performed in front of “one or more persons” is given a lax interpretation both by police and the courts. In R. c. Martin, a 1997 court case involving a plainclothes cop and a cruiser in Parc Angrignon, Judge DENAULT slyly circumvents this requirement by arguing that the plainclothes cop was a member of the public at the time of the interaction 12 (how convenient!). For the plainclothes security guard provoking a sexual encounter between himself and a cruiser in the washrooms of Montreal’s Eaton Centre back in 2017, on its own, the fact that other people “auraient pu voir le PRÉ se masturber13 (could have seen the defendant masturbating) was seen as fulfilling the (seemingly?) more stringent criterion that the act actually be performed in front of “one or more persons.”

Last year’s Eaton Centre arrest, though it was carried out by a private security firm rather than by state agents, is characteristic of the kinds of operations carried out by plainclothes cops in the province of Quebec for the purposes of laying accusations under section 173(1). For this reason, and for reasons that will soon become clear, this arrest it is worth dwelling upon a bit longer. According to the police report written by the arresting officer, the events surrounding the cruiser’s arrest happened as follows:

“We arrived at the Eaton Center to meet [REDACTED], head of Eaton Centre security who informed us that the man was being detained after having masturbated in front of the urinals of the Eaton Centre. He began by explaining to us that such behaviour represents an important problem in the Eaton Centre. Since a few weeks, men have been showing up at the urinals in order to masturbate. They frequently make their way there in order to meet other men for the purposes of masturbating in front of the urinals. According to the security guard, seven men have been caught performing indecent actions in the washrooms of the Eaton Centre. In order to remedy [the ‘problem’ of consensual sexual encounters between men], [Eaton Center security] installed cameras in the 3rd floor washrooms of the Eaton Centre and a security guard works in plainclothes in order to catch individuals in the act.”[…]
“Using the cameras, they notice the defendant make his way to the urinals, around [TIME STAMP], located in the 3rd floor washrooms of the Eaton Centre. They therefore send their plainclothes security guard [REDACTED]. […] The defendant exchanges a few glances with security guard [REDACTED]. About 2 or 3 minutes later, the security guard notices the defendant’s erection and that he is making thrusting movements while holding his penis, all the while looking at [REDACTED]. The security guard notices the man masturbating. […] When security guard [REDACTED] notices the defendant masturbating, he exits the washroom and communicates with the security control centre in order to proceed to the arrest of the defendant”
[my emphasis].

In order to exculpate the plainclothes agent, the arresting officer fudges the amount of time during which the cruiser and the plainclothes agent exchange glances. Video footage of the events show the plainclothes agent exchanging glances with the man for a period of five to six minutes – exchanging and holding gaze is a common way of determining interest and consent. On his way out of the washrooms, the cruiser is tackled to the ground by numerous security guards—a fact that is conveniently omitted from this incident report. The report continues:

“Agent X then asks the defendant why he comes to do this at the Eaton Centre. The defendant responds by saying that the washrooms at the Eaton Centre represent an important meetup spot for homosexual people wishing to have sexual exchanges with men.” […]
“The Morality division of the SPVM is aware of the problem affecting the 3rd floor washrooms of the Eaton Centre. It has been a recurrent problem for many weeks.”14

At the beginning of this report, security head X claims that the “problem” of cruising is a problem that dates back only “a few weeks.” This claim is grossly misleading. The ninth floor washrooms of Chez Eaton, the now renovated and renamed mall after which Montreal’s Eaton Centre is named and beside which Montreal’s Eaton Centre currently stands, were used for cruising as far back as the early ’80s.15 More upsetting, however, is the way in which, a few moments after the cruiser informs X that the third floor washrooms in the Eaton Centre are a well-known meetup spot, the officer writing the report reaffirms in his closing lines that the “problem” of cruising “has been a recurrent problem for many weeks.” The cops performing the arrest overlook the defendant’s attempt to historicize his action, choosing instead to reassert the narrative that has been fed to him by both security personnel and the SPVM’s morality division.

To cast the defendant as a threat to public safety, security and police actively sought to dehistoricize the phenomenon of cruising. To do so, they tell tales of men suddenly flocking to public washrooms to engage in sexual behaviours. The phrase “since a few weeks, men have been showing up at the urinals in order to masturbate” is so much more scary than the phrase “since first opening its doors, Eaton Centre washrooms have served as a meeting ground for men seeking consensual sexual relations with other men.” By dehistoricizing the defendant’s act, security and police effectively polemicized the defendant’s act — an act that is otherwise common, mundane, harmless, and dare I say, hot. When security and police say that the “problem” of cruising is recent, what they really should be saying is that cruising is a phenomenon that they have recently gotten into the habit of problematizing.


Accusations under section 271(1) of the Canadian Criminal Code

Police in the province of Quebec continue to use charges of “sexual assault” to punish men who engage in consensual sexual relations with other men. Police documents reveal that between the years of 2012 and 2013, the SPVM was ready to make use of this section of the criminal code within the context of at least two “anti-indecency” projects — on that targeted Parc Angrignon (Opération Sentier) and the other that targeted Maisonneuve Park and le Boisé de Pères (Opération Narcisse), all of which are well-known cruising grounds.  The SQ is known to have made use of this article of the Criminal Code during its undercover operations that took place back in 2010 on Île Melville — another gay cruising ground.16

Accusations under section 271(1) are made in much the same way as those that are made under section 173(1). A plainclothes cop places himself in or around a known cruising ground and waits. This time, however, he is not waiting for an unsuspecting cruiser to show him his genitals, nor is he waiting for his accomplice to witness any exhibitionistic act. This time, he is waiting for the cruiser to touch him. Once the cruiser touches the cop, he is arrested, and a charge of sexual assault is laid.

The truth, however, is that plainclothes cops do not just “wait” for their victims to “fall” into their traps; they actively court them, misleading and manipulating them every step of the way. The following is the testimony of a man who was arrested for “sexual assault” on a plainclothes cop in the Parc de l’Île Melville back in 2010. It does remarkable job at highlighting the kinds of misleading foreplay that plainclothes cops actively engage in when trying to “catch” men who have sex with men. More than simply loitering around and waiting to be touched, the undercover cop purposefully maintains the gaze of his victim, adamantly pursues him through the woods, engages him in friendly conversation, conversationally suggests that he is gay, and finally, offers his victim his ass:

“Before leaving the park, around [TIME STAMP], I returned to the first parking lot, for a few minutes, to see if there were any men […] It was close to [TIME STAMP] and I was about to leave the area when I saw [PLAINCLOTHES COP Z] exiting the woods. He looked interesting. I therefore made my way towards him in a perpendicular fashion so that he could see me. He saw me. Once we had made eye contact, I turned around, retracing my steps telling myself that if he was gay and interested he would come in my direction. Which he did. We were about three meters distance from one another, standing up, without moving, looking at each other during a few minutes. He moved slowly, in a 90 degree arc-like fashion, back and forth, all the while looking at me with interest, but with a certain degree of reservation. This interaction lasted about 5 to 10 minutes. Because I was conscious of the fact that I was older than him, I interpreted his hesitation to approach me as a sign that after having seen me close-up, he was no longer interested in me and did not know how to leave without offending me. So, I decided to walk away from him in order to give him the chance to either part ways with me or to follow me if he
was interested.

In order to do this, I had to pass in front of him and he took advantage of this moment to speak to me, saying: ‘there [aren’t] many people.’ I answered in the affirmative, all the while making my way away from him and from the place where we found ourselves […]
In this way, I began a walk of almost one hundred meters south-west into the woods […] to be certain that he was interested in me, and to, in this way, avoid any misunderstandings. At first, I thought that he had gone, because I no longer saw him, so I slowed my pace and finally, after a delay of about two minutes, I could see him starting to follow me. While walking, I looked behind myself many times to see if he was following me, which he was. […] I stopped to drink some water and to let him catch up with me. Indeed, he caught up with me and we started a friendly conversation that lasted a couple minutes. We were a few feet from one another. […] I asked him if he was aware of the fact that this area was a known area for homosexual encounters and he responded in the affirmative. I asked him how he came about this knowledge. He responded by telling me that he had found this information online at gay411.com […]
There was a malaise between us because neither one of us was making any moves and we were just standing there, waiting.

Therefore, after a few minutes of conversation and of indecision, I asked him ‘what do we do now’ in order to determine what his expectations were. He answered by saying that he was‘ uncomfortable and didn’t know what to do in such circumstances’. I then told him that we could at least embrace one another. Strangely, he turned his back to me while continuing to face me, as if he was offering me his ass. I found his behaviour strange because I had only suggested that we embrace. In the context of gay cruising, though, there are ‘bottoms’ who are submissive, passive, and behave in this manner. I took one or two steps in his direction and put my right hand on his back, bringing him against me, gently, but firmly, all the while saying ‘no, come here’. We embraced one another, as one gives a hug  […]  To show him that I took the interest that he had previously manifested seriously, I dared a more intimate caress, sliding my right hand down his body towards his sex—over his pants […]  But as soon as he felt the contact of my hand getting close to his genitals, he pushed me back and told me that I was under arrest for sexual assault, showing me his police badge on which I saw the name [COP’S NAME].”17

Accusations under article 4.08a of municipal bylaw no. 81-1923 (City of Longueuil)18

Unsurprisingly, the Canadian Criminal Code is not the only body of law currently being used to legitimize the mistreatment of men who have sex with men by state agents. Municipal codes and park regulations prohibiting “indecent” or “obscene” conduct, play an important role in
this legitimation.

The following testimony comes from a man who was ticketed by a plainclothes cop for having violated article 4.08a of municipal bylaw no. 81-1923 — a municipal bylaw that prohibits the performance of “obscene” or “indecent acts.”

“I was cruising in [PARK NAME], in the parking lot close to [AREA NEARBY]. A plainclothes cop was waiting in his car. He tried everything to make me believe that he was gay. The tango lasted close to 30 or 40 minutes. Seeing as I wasn’t doing anything, he began to wander around my car, smiling at me. I was rubbing my inner thigh, never my genitals. Seeing that I was still not doing anything reprehensible (I was very much on my guards), he then approached the driver side door that I had left open (it was hot and this would allow me to more easily enter into contact with him if things took a turn in that direction) and pointed his crotch in my direction. I took this as an invitation to touch him. I touched his inner thigh just above his knee and he immediately took out his badge, telling me that I was guilty of committing an act of gross indecency” [my emphasis].19

Though “gross indecency” — section 157 of the Canadian Criminal Code criminal — was repealed in 1988, Longueuil police continue to use this term to designate the charges they lay against gay men in parks.20 This systematic misnaming is no error. Municipal regulations, like the article 4.08a, serve the same repressive function that section 157 did before it was repealed: that of punishing the existence and expression of non-heterosexual desires.

Longueuil police are not the only ones engaged in this systematic misnaming of charges. Last month, in an article entitled Parc Lafontaine: un «oeil magique» dans une salle de toilettes publique, the term was tellingly, but irresponsibly, tossed around both by Philippe Teisceira-Lessard, the La Presse journalist writing the piece and by Anik de Repentigny, communications director for the City of Montreal.

ACAB
“Security” camera in Marie-Victorin Park.
“Security” camera in Marie-Victorin Park.
“Security” camera in Marie-Victorin Park.

Accusations under article 5.03 of municipal bylaw no. 81-1923 (City of Longueuil)21

In 2016, Longueuil police convinced city council to pass a law making it illegal to walk on unmarked trails in four Longueuil parks, at least two of which are established gay cruising grounds. Their idea was simple. Cruising requires that men who have sex with men be able to access the less visible wooded areas of parks. Accessing these areas requires men who have sex with men to make use of unmarked trails. Cut off access to these trails and the cruising will stop.

The following “statement of offence” which details the events leading up the ticketing of a gay man in August of 2017 on Île Charron does a strikingly good job at highlighting the homophobic impetus
behind this law.

Where I was: Undercover operation in plainclothes on l’Île Charron, a location reputed for sexual exchanges between men in the unmarked trails. What I saw: I find myself at the end of the parking lot, in the hairpin bend. The defendant looks at me, I look at him. He therefore parks his car immediately in the parking lot right beside. I then make my way through the green space nearby, he exits his vehicle and follows me, I enter an uncleared wooded area where the vegetation is dense. The city does not maintain this area, in order to gain access to this area, I have to clear a path with my hands. The defendant follows me into this area and says to me: the paths are not like they used to be. He circulates in the unmarked path for a period of five minutes before returning to his vehicle, intercepted while he was re-entering his vehicle.”22

As if the first sentence of his statement were not incriminating enough, the plainclothes cop then goes on to make explicit reference to his use of the gaze — a gay cruising practice that has been widely documented by, among so many others, Henning Beck and Mauriz Lenzoff.23 As the above excerpt makes clear, the current tactics used by undercover cops hoping to lay charges under article 5.03 of bylaw no. 81-1923 are near-identical to those used by undercover cops hoping to lay charges of “indecency” or “sexual assault.”

To listen to previously unreleased audio in which a plainclothes describes his weekly sting, tune into CKUT 90.3 FM tomorrow November 6 at 5pm. The audio will also be available on CKUT’s Soundcloud after the show has aired.

Accusations under other municipal by-laws and other hokey and violent tactics

Longueuil police are not the only ones making use of seemingly unrelated municipal bylaws for the purposes of whitewashing their morality campaigns against men who have sex with men. In 2017, the municipal councillor of Saguenay, Marc Pettersen, had plans to pass a bylaw that would make it illegal to park one’s car near Parc de la Colline,24 a well-known cruising ground. This seemingly benign bylaw will make it possible for SPVS agents to harass men who have sex with men while simultaneously protecting themselves against accusations of sexual profiling. Following the much publicize nudity raids on Chutes Sainte-Marguerite (commonly referred to as the Gay Falls), the mayor of Saint-Adèle, Robert Milot, publicly announced his plans to limit access to the falls by means of a security checkpoint.25 To make his intentions less covert, Mr. Milot should equip the checkpoint with a sign that reads: “no faggots; no fucking.” 

To add insult to injury, at some point during the past decade, Longueuil police started delivering the tickets they issue to men who have sex with men directly to their victims’ home addresses 26 in the hopes of wreaking havoc in the personal and romantic lives of those men who do not openly admit to being attracted to or to having extramarital sex with members of the same sex.

Under certain circumstances, cruisers arrested under section 173(1) may be required by prosecutors to both register as a sex offender and provide a DNA sample.27 All cruisers arrested under section 271(1) are fingerprinted and are required to register as sex offenders and provide DNA samples.28

Imposing limits on freedom of movement is another tactic that police and private security agents use to discipline queer sexual desires out of existence. In R c. Major, a 1998 court case involving a cruiser and a plainclothes cop, Judge THEMENS ordered the cruiser to not find himself in or around Marie-Victorin Park.29 In the 2010 court case mentioned above, police ordered the cruiser not to find himself in the Parc de l’Île Melville between the time of his arrest and the time of his first court hearing.30 Again, in the 2017 court case mentioned above, mall security ordered the cruiser not to find himself in the Eaton Centre for a period of one year.31 By denying cruisers access to their preferred cruising grounds, security, police, and judges effectively deny cruisers the right to benefit from the presence and support of their fellow community members.32 Orders like these isolate individual cruisers from potential support networks, thus making it easier for authorities to subordinate them.

Homophobic politicians, security personnel, police, and judges will go to extreme lengths to both enhance their ability to subordinate men who have sex with men and to mask the homophobic motivations behind their raids. The list of tactics above, therefore, is not comprehensive. Many are the undocumented and invisible means by which police purge public spaces of queer bodies and sexualities.

Sign saying “uncleared trail. Access prohibited.” in Marie-Victorin Park.

Complacence and Complicity

Accusations made against cruisers using articles 173(1) and 271(1) of the Canadian Criminal Code and under petty municipal bylaws involve a number of false representations, purposeful miscontruals, and homophobic rationalizations. Plainclothes cops make their way to gay cruising grounds with the intent of being touched and of having us show them our packages. They want to have their bodies caressed. To construe consensual sexual encounters like these as “indecent” or “assault” is nothing short of perverse. Despite this perversity, some of the most “important”“community” organizations in the province of Quebec—those whose voices the state is most likely to recognize—refuse to speak out against homophobic state initiatives.

Community Organizations

Cruisers are not the only ones who have been subject to repression within the context of anti-‘indecency’ operations. A couple of years ago, two of REZO’s outreach personnel were forced out of Maisonneuve park by cops while distributing condoms in a wooded area know to attract cruisers.33 Despite this, REZO has refused to share information about the raids with the community.34 More than just refusing to warn the community, REZO Communications Director Alexandre Blais immediately sought to depoliticize the incident by blaming it on a few ‘bad’ cops 35 — this, immediately after having been presented with police documents revealing the existence of multiple state projects designed to purge parks of men who have sex with men.

The response of the Conseil des Gais et des Lesbiennes du Québec is even more alarming. In 2011, the then head of the Conseil, Steve Foster, met with the head of PDQ 38, Stéphane Bélanger, to discuss the «problématique» of cruising in Parc Lafontaine. M. Bélanger arranged this meeting for the purposes of asking for the Conseil’s «collaboration en matière d’information à transmettre à la communauté gai».36 If the Conseil had taken on this task, PDQ 38 would have both absolved itself of the unsavoury (politically unwise?) task of ordering faggots not to fuck in the park and successfully pinkwashed its morality raids. This is not what happened. Rather than legitimizing the raids by accepting an underhanded request to act as the mouthpiece of homophobic brutes, Mr. Foster seems to have provided Mr. Bélanger with implicit support he wanted by failing to speak out loudly enough against this initiative.37 The current head of the Conseil Marie-Pier Boisvert has simply chosen to ignore our emails.

Though seriously disappointing, the Conseil’s response — or lack thereof — is not nearly as troublesome as the response of MIELS-Québec, an organization that provides support services to people living with HIV-AIDS in the Quebec City region. In 2009, this “community” organization partnered with the Service de Police de la Ville de Québec for a two day operation called Opération Rendez-Vous.38 During this operation, MIELS’ outreach worker, Philippe De Carufel, would “bait” cruisers, provide them with condoms and lube, and then suggest that they take their sexual activities elsewhere. Once De Carufel had identified a cruiser, police would arrive on scene and “inform” the cruiser of potential fines and criminal proceedings.39 During this two day operation, MIELS, using entrapment-like tactics, actively sought to make visible, and thus, policeable, the sexual population whose well-being it purportedly cares most about — a sexual population that was already vulnerable to illegitimate state intervention prior to this revolting collaboration.

“Our association with police is interesting, because it will allow us to inform the men that there will be repression.” De Carufel’s statement to the press is chillingly similar to the instructions given to officers conducting arrests of men who have sex with men on the island of Montreal a few years later. Arresting officers performing “anti-indecency” operations in Angrignon Park back in 2011 were told to “inform offenders of the repression to come.”40 Rather than engaging in the kinds of solidarity work that would have contributed to the well-being of men who have sex with men, during this two-day operation, MIELS chose to exploit the relationship of trust it had previously built with men who have sex with men in order to engage in precisely the kinds of threatening talk that police would soon identify as being key to purging parks of men who have sex with men — talk that can only be described as moralizing and disciplinary. 

For its part, Interligne (formerly Gai-écoute), has simply chosen not to respond to any of our emails.41 Depoliticized, these community organizations are of little help to those of us who inhabit the margins of the queer community, where non-compliance with heterosexist sexual norms continues to act as justification for police violence.

Closing Remarks

Testimonies of men arrested or ticketed during stings reveal that cops actively court their victims by smiling at them, courting them while sporting full-on erections, staring at them for extended periods of time ranging from 20 to 50 minutes, and by approaching their victims and offering to engage in touching of a sexual nature by means of suggestive body language. The truth is that plainclothes cops play an active role in seducing their victims. The truth is that those of us who fail to conform to heterosexist sexual norms are continually made targets of illegitimate state intervention. The truth is that the morality raids never ended.

Most of the names and badge numbers of the cops or security agents performing the above-mentioned operations have been omitted to protect the identities of the men concerned. It is important to recognize the violence implicit in this silencing. In order to protect the identities of the men whose testimonies we have shared, certain source documents have not been made public.

To see notes and references, visit https://www.mcgilldaily.com.com/2018/11/this-is-no-longer-a-safe-place/

For a more detailed discussion of police documents off of which this piece is based, consider attending Cruise Control’s upcoming participatory talk (in French) Violence, sexualité, et surveillance, which will be held on November 6 at 12:30 within the context of UQAM’s Semaine Contre la Surveillance.

For more information about the raids or to stay in touch, follow @cruisecontrolmtl on Facebook.

Tune into CKUT on November 7th at 6pm to hear Audio Smut’s coverage of the Mont-Royal  cruising scene in the 70s and 80s.

 

Endnotes

Citations are, for the most part, in the form of the Canadian Guide to Uniform Legal Citation (8t h edition).

1 Quote in Title: Cynthia Reason. “Toronto police cracking down on public sex in Etobicoke park,” Toronto Star (12 Nov 2016), online.
2 Kalina Laframboise. “’A long time coming’: Montreal apologizes for past police raids targeting LGBT community”, CBC News (18 august 2017), online.
3 “Indésirables: Police persecution of men who have sex with men in the greater Montreal area, 2008-present”, Even the Dust (22 February 2018)
4 The number of men arrested is likely much higher. The documentation I obtained throughout the course of my research is incomplete. Statistics for certain years are missing and no statistics were obtained for Projet Narcisse. For documentation containing the number of men arrested within the context of anti-‘indecency’ projects in Montréal, see Québec, Service de Police de la Ville de Montréal, Projet Sentier: Statistique Parc Angrignon, (Montréal: SPVM, 2017); Québec, Service de Police de la Ville de Montréal, Actes Indécents au parc Lafontaine, by Sergent Jean-Guy Trudel (Montréal: SPVM, 2011). at 1; TVA Nouvelles. “Surveillance accrue dans le parc des Îles-de-Boucherville”, TVA Nouvelles (16 september 2008); Pascal Pinette. “Les rencontres indécentes s’y poursuivent”, TVA Nouvelles (31 august 2011); Michel Angers, “Parc de l’Île Meville. Moins d’actes indécents: Une quarantaine d’opérations policières ont été menées par la SQ depuis le printemps”, Le Nouvelliste ( 28 octobre 2010); Québec. Service de Police de la Ville de Montréal, Déroulement chronologique de l’incident, by Henley Coulombe 7366 (Montréal: SPVM, 2017); Alexandre Clément 11721, Address (testimony before the court, delivered at the Longueuil Municipal Court, 31 June 2018) [unpublished].
5 The amount of money spent by both the Service des Grands Parcs and the SPVM is likely to be much higher than 2.2 million dollars. This figure represents the combined costs of all the modifications made in Parc Angrignon and Parc Maisonneuve as well as the cost of anti-‘indecency’ signs installed in Parc Maisonneuve by the SPVM. It does not include the costs of the modifications made to Parc Lafontaine nor does it include the cost of police patrols and operations in any of the above-mentioned parks. For a detailed breakdown of city and police expenditures, see Québec, Service de Police de la Ville de Montréal, Informations sur le projet visant a enrayer indécence dans le parc Maisonneuve (Montréal: SPVM, 2017). at 1; Montréal, Conseil municipal, Projet 343000: Projet de reamenagement des grands parcs, Sous-Projet 0534300-015: Parc Maisonneuve – Réfection des sentiers (Phase 2) – Travaux, no SIMON 111881 (23 October 2008).; Montréal, Comité exécutif, Résolution CE 11 0583 (8 août 2012); Montréal, Comité exécutif, Résolution CE 12 1282 (8 août 2012); Mario Masson (Chef de division, Parcs-nature et espaces riverains, Direction de l’aménagement des parcs et espaces publics, Service des grands parcs, du verdissement et du Mont-Royal), email message to author, July 7 2017.
6 art 173(1) CCC
7 art 271(1) CCC
8 art 157, repealed
9 Le Berdache no16 (december 1980-janvier 1981) at 35 and 36
10 R. c. Chamberland (21 december 2010), Montréal 109-144-220, (C.M. Montréal) and R. c. L. (H.) (9 march 2012), Montréal 110-092-855 (C.M. Montréal)
11 Ibid .
12 R c. Martin (2 december 1997), Montréal 196-109839, (C.M. Montréal)
13 Service de Police de la Ville de Montréal, Déroulement chronologique de l’incident, by A (Montréal: SPVM, 2017)
14 Ibid .
15 Supra note 9 at 34
16 Nancy Massicotte. “Moins d’actes indécents: une quarantaine d’opérations policières ont été menées par la SQ depuis le printemps”, Le Nouvelliste (28 october 2010)
1 7 X’s testimony.
18 Article 4.08a of Longueuil municipal by-law 81-1923. online.
19 Y’s testimony.
20 See LCN, “Actes de grossière indécence en forêt”, TVA Nouvelles (15 september 2008); Pascal Pinnet. “Les rencontres indécentes s’y poursuivent”, TVA Nouvelles (31 august 2011); and Denis Theriault. “Un parc est envahi par des hommes en quête d’aventures homosexuelles” canoe.ca ( 26 august 2014)
21 Article 5.03 of Longueuil municipal by-law 81-1923. online.
22 Constat d’infraction abrégé (8 august 2017)
23 See Maurice Lenzoff, “The Homosexual in Urban Society” (1954) McGill University Thesis and Henning Bech, “When Men Meet: Homosexuality and Modernity” (1997)
24 Andréanne Larouche. “L’hiver n’a pas refroidi l’ardeur de certains visiteurs”, TVA Nouvelles (21 february 2018)
25 Annie Desrochers. “Un témoin choqué par une interpellation sur une plage «nudiste»”, Radio Canada (18 septembre 2017)
26 Denis Theriault. “Un parc est envahi par des hommes en quête d’aventures homosexuelles” canoe.ca (26 august 2014)
27 Cournoyer-Ouimet. “Article: 173(1).” Code Criminel Annoté 2018: Table des infractions en vertu du Code criminel et en matière de drogues et certaines lois connexes. T-89
28 Cournoyer-Ouimet. “Article: 271.” Code Criminel Annoté 2018: Table des infractions en vertu du Code criminel et en matière de drogues et certaines lois connexes. T-89
29 R. c. Major (16 june 1998), Longueuil 96-50736, (C.M. Longueuil)
30 Supra note 16
31 Québec. Service de Police de la Ville de Montréal, Déroulement chronologique de l’incident, by Henley Coulombe 7366 (Montréal: SPVM, 2017)
32 For this piece of analysis, I am indebted to B.
33 Alexandre Dumont Blais and Frédérick Pronovost, in discussion, 2075 Rue Plessis, Montréal, March 12, 2018
34 Ibid .
35 Ibid .
36 Québec, Service de Police de la Ville de Montréal, Plan d’action concentré du parc La Fontaine en sécurité urbaine , by
Inspecteur Stéphane Bélanger (Montréal: SPVM, 2011). at 1
37 In discussion with M. Foster, bar Renard, October 2017.
38 Sylvain Trépanier, “Les rencontres homosexuelles impromptues visées” canoe.ca (13 août 2009)
39 Ibid.
40 Québec, Service de Police de la Ville de Montréal, Plan d’action concentré du parc Angrignon en sécurité urbaine , by agente Geneviève Pépin (Montréal: SPVM, 2011). at 1
41 Pascal Vaillancourt, the head of Interligne never followed up on our request to help spread the word about the raids to the community. No response to our follow-up email which was sent on the 6t h of May 2018.