How did accused shooter get access to radio interviewer: PQ
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QUEBEC - The Quebec government is examining how accused killer Richard Henry Bain was able to speak to the media from a detention centre.
The Parti Quebecois' new public security minister says he's bothered that the man accused of shooting two people at a PQ victory rally on election night had access to a radio audience.
Bain called a Montreal station on Wednesday and small snippets of a 38-minute interview were aired on English- and French-language stations of the Astral Radio network.
The accused shooter reportedly told the network he'd had a vision from God that Montreal should become its own province and separate from Quebec. He did not want to talk about events on election night — just about his political views.
On his way into Thursday's cabinet meeting, Public Security Minister Stephane Bergeron said he will investigate whether a prisoner should have access to a phone in order to transmit messages through the mass media.
"It seems worrisome to me,'' Bergeron said. ''I'll look into it and get back to you.''
He said he would examine the issue and make a decision, if necessary.
"The question is whether a prisoner should have access to that type of platform to express himself in the public arena."
Radio station CJAD, which conducted the interview, said Bain called from the infirmary of his Montreal detention centre — without the knowledge of his lawyer.
In a statement, the company that owns the radio station defended the decision to broadcast parts of the interview across its network.
Astral said it made a decision not to broadcast the whole interview for ethical reasons. Only small parts were aired, "so as not to provide a platform for his opinions," the company said.
Bain, a fishing-camp owner, faces 16 criminal charges including first-degree murder. His next court appearance is Oct. 11.
The decision to air excerpts of the interview prompted a bit of a backlash from some other media and on social networks.
Some critics also questioned the timing of the interview — which aired at 4 p.m., just as the PQ was taking office. The timing was an eery reminder of election night, Sept. 4, when the gunman shot people while Marois was celebrating her win.
Astral said the timing of the broadcast was coincidental.
"Astral Radio insists on the entirely apolitical nature of this news report, which had more to do with a well-thought-out and rigorous journalistic approach," the company said.
It also condemned the shooting and sent sincere condolences to the families of the victims.
In contrast to Bergeron, another PQ minister was more philosophical about the affair.
Jean-Francois Lisee, whose portfolios include working with the anglophone community, was less critical than his colleague.
"I will always side with freedom of the press," said Lisee, a former journalist. "I'm not angry about this (decision to air the interview)."