Quebec municipality threatens local newspaper with legal action

In this report, Alexa Lavoie brings attention to an alarming incident in Sainte-Petronille, Quebec, where freedom of expression and freedom of the press are under attack.

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Sainte-Petronille, with around 1000 residents, has resorted to legal intimidation tactics over a recent controversy, using taxpayer funds to silence dissenting voices, including that of the local newspaper.

The dissension stems from the hiring of Nathalie Paquet as the new General Manager of the town. While the municipality claimed to have conducted a rigorous selection process, concerns arose following interactions between residents and the new manager. Particularly notable was the mass resignation of 14 municipal library volunteers, citing excessive control and demobilization by the new manager.

Residents, alarmed by Paquet's background as the former general director of Val-des-Lacs, uncovered concerning articles and obtained a redacted termination letter from her previous position. Allegations of serious neglect and a toxic work environment emerged, corroborating fears about Paquet's leadership.

In response, a group of concerned citizens initiated a petition calling for a review of Paquet's hiring process. However, their efforts were met with legal threats from the municipality, both to a newspaper editor and the petition signatories. The municipality's actions stifle press freedom and citizens' democratic rights, casting a shadow over the community.

The local newspaper, AuTour de l'Île, now faces pressure not to publish articles about the council meeting, under threat of legal action. This move raises questions about the municipality's commitment to transparency and accountability.

Rebel News has launched access to information requests to uncover the legal expenses incurred by the municipality and the reasons behind Paquet's dismissal in Val-des-Lacs. As the situation unfolds, it underscores the importance of safeguarding press freedom and democratic principles at the local level. Stay tuned for further developments on this concerning issue.

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  • By David Menzies

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