André Dallaire

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André Dallaire (born 1961)[1] is a Canadian man who attempted to assassinate Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien in 1995. Dallaire claimed that he heard voices that led him to break into the 24 Sussex Drive residence. At trial, Justice Paul Bélanger agreed with Dallaire's earlier diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia and found Dallaire guilty of attempted murder, but not criminally responsible.[2]

Biography[edit]

Born in Longueuil, Quebec, Dallaire was diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic at sixteen years of age. He had quit his job at a Montreal convenience store on October 25, 1995, removing all the money out of the cash register and walking off mid-shift.[3] On October 30, his sister reported receiving a letter from him that had been postmarked in Ottawa.[3]

The break-in[edit]

At 02:10 UTC−5 on November 5, 1995, Dallaire arrived outside 24 Sussex Drive and spent the next 20 minutes throwing stones onto the grounds and waving at security cameras while carrying a pocket knife alternately described as three or five inches in length (7.6 to 12.7 cm).[citation needed]

He then climbed the fence and strode over to the house, where he smashed a glass door and entered, wandering around the basement and ground floor for 30 minutes before heading to the Chrétiens' bedroom, where he was confronted by Chrétien's wife Aline as he was pulling on his gloves.[3] Aline hurried back into the bedroom and locked the door, rousing her husband, who initially dismissed her story as "just a dream", while she dialled the RCMP officers stationed outside the house.[citation needed] Stories diverged as to whether Jean or Aline Chrétien brandished an Inuit stone sculpture of a loon in case Dallaire broke through the door.[citation needed]

Dallaire did not attempt to break down the door, and waited for the police to arrive. Controversially, it took seven minutes for the police to respond to Aline's desperate call about an intruder trying to kill the Prime Minister, in part because the first officer to respond had forgotten his key to the residence.[citation needed]

Legal events[edit]

Dallaire was kept in a group home for the duration of the trial. Expert witness Dominique Bourget, a psychiatrist with the Royal Ottawa Hospital, testified that Dallaire viewed himself as a "secret agent" avenging the loss of sovereigntist forces in the 1995 Quebec referendum,[2] and that he believed killing the Prime Minister would cause him to "become a hero for the nation".[4]

His travel during the trial was not restricted, so long as he was accompanied at all times by a worker from the group home. He was formally charged with attempted murder, breaking and entering, possession of a weapon and being unlawfully in a dwelling. His defence counsel was John Hale.

The trial also brought to light the security camera footage of Dallaire freely roaming the property, while RCMP officers should have been monitoring the cameras. Ultimately, four officers were suspended for several months, while three supervisors were reassigned.[5]

Aftermath[edit]

In 1998, Dallaire spoke to the media, apologizing for his prior behaviour, and reassuring the Canadian public that he was now on medication that controlled his actions, and that he hoped the Chrétiens could forgive his actions.[6]

Also in 1998, an intoxicated man was found on the grounds of the Prime Minister's residence, raising questions about the security upgrade undertaken since Dallaire's intrusion.[6]

Reporters revisited the 1995 Dallaire breach in August 2014, when there was a break-in at the home of Justin Trudeau, who was then the leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, the party with the third most seats.[7] The Dallaire breach was compared with other Ottawa security breaches in October 2014, after a mad gunman had killed a soldier and attacked the Parliament buildings.[8] The Dallaire breach was discussed again in October 2015, after the Federal election that made Trudeau Prime Minister.[9] Trudeau did not move into the 24 Sussex, the Prime Minister's official residence. The main reason was that the aging residence needed at least ten million dollars in repairs to make it safely habitable, but an additional concern was the site's security.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Intruder Is Charged With Attempted Murder of Canada's Premier New York Times
  2. ^ a b Fisher, Luke (1996-07-08). "Chrétien Attacker Found Guilty". Maclean's. Archived from the original on September 30, 2007. Retrieved 2008-12-28. 
  3. ^ a b c Caragata, Warren; Barry Came (1995-11-20). "Security Improved at 24 Sussex". Maclean's. Retrieved 2008-12-28. 
  4. ^ Canadian News Digest, Defence, prosecution agree Dallare mentally ill, June 25, 1996.
  5. ^ "André Dallaire". [dead link]
  6. ^ a b André Dallaire, le voisin des Chrétien - Radio-Canada nouvelles
  7. ^ Katrina Clarke (2014-08-18). "Break-in at Justin Trudeau’s home the latest in long-line of security breaches involving Canadian politicians". National Post. Retrieved 2016-01-13. RCMP took six to seven minutes to respond to the call. Dallaire said he intended to kill Mr. Chrétien. He was later found guilty of attempted murder but was not held criminally responsible. 
  8. ^ "Terrorism in Canada: Timeline of plots, attacks, and allegations". CTV News. 2014-10-23. Retrieved 2016-01-14. 1995: Quebec sovereignty supporter Andre Dallaire entered the prime minister's residence at 24 Sussex Drive while Jean Chretien and his wife were sleeping. 
  9. ^ "The World’s Hottest Leader Finds a New, Unexpected Home". The Daily Beast. 2015-10-28. Retrieved 2016-01-13. A much less la-di-da memory—but one that has faded into a certain folklore about the house—is the day a man named André Dallaire somehow breached security, and got himself on the grounds, in 1995, attempting an assassination on then-Prime Minister, Jean Chrétien.