Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau faced a mounting political crisis today over revelations that Royal Canadian Mounted Police anti-terrorist squads have committed illegal burglaries, stolen dynamite, burned down a building and spied on the French [TEXT ILLEGIBLE] here in the House of Commons when the Prime Minister will stand up and say, 'I am not a crook.'"
The country's newspapers also joined the cry for a full explanation of the RCMP's illegal activities, which thus far are reported to have taken place between 1971 and 1973.
An editorial today in the Toronto Globe and Mail declared: "We have tried to avoid the expression as being inaccurately [WORD ILLEGIBLE] but almost this Liberal government is forcing it upon the [WORD ILLEGIBLE] . They are behaving as if they are involved in a Watergate."
The revelations about the activities of the Mounties , Canada's famed red [TEXT ILLEGIBLE] force that always gets its man first began emerging in testimony before a Quebec provincial investigating commission.
The alleged [WORDS ILLEGIBLE] were carried out by the RCMP's Security Services which sharply stepped up its anti-terrorists operations. In October [WORD ILLEGIBLE] , after the Quebec Liberation Front kidnaped the British trade commissioner in Montreal and murdered the Quebec provincial labor minister, Pierre Laporte.
The disclosures thus far of illegal or improper activities by the Mounties are these:
Following a break-in and fire in 1970 at the Toronto offices of Praxis Corp., a leftist anti-poverty group, the RMCP - which disclaimed responsibility for the burglarly - transmitted documents stolen in the incident to the Civilian Security Agency. The information contained in the documents was used to compile a so-called enemies list of persons suspected of subversive activities.
In late 1972, the RCMP, together with Montreal and Quebec police forces, broke into offices of leftist Quebec news agency and stole documents that included a letter from one of the exiled members of the Quebec Liberation Front who was involved in the 1970 kidnaping.
In late 1972, a "special mobile group" of four Mounties burned down a barn 50 miles east of Montreal where they suspected that a meeting was about to be held between Liberation Front members and the American Black Panthers. Since they had been unable to plant an electronic bug in the barn, they decided to burn it to force the meeting to be moved to another location.
In late 1972, the same RCMP squad stole dynamite from a Montreal construction company. When they decided after the theft that they did not need the explosive, they left it on the side of a road near the Quebec-Vermont border an phone an anonymous tip to Quebec police, who thought they had found an explosives cache of the Liberation Front.
In early 1973, RCMP security officers broke into the offices of a Montreal computer company, seized computer tapes containing membership and financial information about the Parti Quebecois, transcribed the information and returned the tapes.
These disclosures have confronted Trudeau with one of the worst political crises in his nearly 10 years in office.
Opposition members of parliament have demanded that Prime Minister bring the RCMP under tighter control, and that he fire Solicitor-General Francis Fox, the Cabinet minister responsible for the Mountains.
Trudeau, for his part, contends there is no valid comparison between the current scandal and Watergate because his government has not tried to to coverup the disclosures of illegal RCMP activities.
"We are not trying to hide our conduct or excuse the conduct of the police," Trudeau declared.
He told the House of Commons today that this government would not intervene in the day-to-day activities of the Mountains because the RCMP should feel free to ferret out subversives.
Trudeau added that since becoming prime minister in 1962 he knew of no police surveillance of any political party other than the Parti Quebecois, and he said he put a stop to that as soon as he learned of it.
In Metz, France, where he was on an official visit today, Quebec Premier Rene Levesque, leader of the Parti Quebecois, said he knew all along that the Mounties had been spying on his party.
"To be a bit cynical, we knew from the very beginning that a lot of those forks were around," Levesque told reporters. "Thank God we never had anything to hide."
The bitter mood in Parliament turned to near hysteria Monday when the Conservative Party's MacKay found a tiny radio transmitter embedded in his chair.