Plante was responding to a report that, as an RCMP officer, her star candidate leaked information to members of a street gang.

Author of the article:

Marian Scott  •  Montreal Gazette

“I think I have proven in the past 22 years by my actions that I am a guy with principles,” Projet Montréal star candidate Will Prosper said as Mayor Valérie Plante stood alongside him. Photo by Allen McInnis /Montreal Gazette

Mayor Valérie Plante stoutly defended star candidate Will Prosper Thursday in the wake of allegations in the Journal de Montréal that as an RCMP officer 22 years ago, he leaked information on a criminal investigation to members of a street gang.

Advertisement

Prosper committed a serious breach, but paid for it by losing his job, she said at a morning press conference.

In the intervening two decades, he has shown he is worthy of citizens’ trust by proving his leadership as a community organizer, filmmaker and founder of the social justice organization Hoodstock, Plante said.

“I don’t want to minimize it, but when you look at all his work, his involvement, his ability to mobilize, to give people hope, that’s also important,” she said.

The startling report came only eight days after Plante announced Prosper was running for mayor of Montreal North under the Projet Montréal banner.

It revealed that Prosper, now 47, was forced to resign as an RCMP constable in Norway House, in northern Manitoba, for having consulted a database on Sept. 11, 1999, to see whether three individuals were under investigation by police. At the time, police were trying to solve the murder of a gang member, Brucelee Gesse, in downtown Montreal on April 2, 1999.

Advertisement

Phone records showed that after consulting the database, Prosper telephoned one of the suspects, a childhood friend.

At a disciplinary hearing, Prosper, who served in the RCMP from 1998 to 2001, said he had been a founding member of the gang, but that at the time it was only involved in music and break-dancing. Even though the gang later became involved in criminal activities, Prosper admitted he had stayed in touch with some of his friends in the milieu.

Prosper has never made any secret of having served in the RCMP, but had not revealed his reason for leaving it until now.

Later, joining Plante at an afternoon press conference in Montreal North, Prosper acknowledged he had made a serious error, one he had been compelled to keep secret all these years because of a confidentiality agreement.

Advertisement

“However, I never crossed the line,” he said, denying that he had divulged confidential police information to a suspect.

“That is against my principles,” he said.

If he had done so, he would have been subject to criminal charges, which did not happen, Prosper said.

“I think I have proven in the past 22 years by my actions that I am a guy with principles,” he said.

His career has been dedicated to helping young people avoid criminal involvement through sports, community work and dance, he said.

“I have no other goal but to serve the people of Montreal North,” Prosper said.

Plante emphasized that Prosper was never charged and has no criminal record, which would have been discovered during the vetting process for candidates.

Advertisement

“I reiterate my confidence in Will Prosper,” she said.

“You only have to talk with the people of Montreal North to realize how much he’s a man who’s made his mark,” Plante said. “He’s a leader in his community. The mistake that Will Prosper committed was serious, yes, and he paid for it. Let’s remember there were no charges and no criminal record. The mistake happened, but he moved on,” she said.

“Is Will Prosper perfect? No, but who is?” she added.

However, Ensemble Montréal Leader Denis Coderre called on Prosper to resign and accused Plante of “defending the indefensible.”

“I’m extremely worried and troubled. I think this candidate is not worthy of this position,” he said.

More On This Topic

  1. Battle heats up in Montreal North with Will Prosper running for borough mayor

  2. Will Prosper, community activist, filmmaker and co-founder of Montreal North community organization Hoodstock, in Montreal Thursday April 15, 2021.

    Montreal North organizer Will Prosper ponders leap into politics

Incumbent Montreal North Mayor Christine Black of Ensemble Montréal also called on Plante to remove Prosper from her team.

“It is not normal that criminals act with so much freedom in Montreal and, in the midst of a crisis of armed violence, the mayor appoints a candidate with close ties to street gang members who has leaked information about a serious crime,” she said in a statement.

mscott@postmedia.com

Montreal Gazette Headline News logo

Sign up to receive daily headline news from the Montreal Gazette, a division of Postmedia Network Inc.

By clicking on the sign up button you consent to receive the above newsletter from Postmedia Network Inc. You may unsubscribe any time by clicking on the unsubscribe link at the bottom of our emails. Postmedia Network Inc. | 365 Bloor Street East, Toronto, Ontario, M4W 3L4 | 416-383-2300

Read More