Chibougamau, Quebec: In a surprising turn of events, Brian Paré, a 38-year-old Canadian man who previously propagated conspiracy theories online, accusing the government of deliberately causing wildfires, has pleaded guilty to setting 14 fires himself. On Monday, at the courthouse in Chibougamau, Quebec, Brian Paré entered a guilty plea, encompassing 13 counts of arson and one count of arson with disregard for human life.
Paré's online activities, where he regularly shared conspiracy theories about forest fires in Quebec, led to authorities investigating his involvement in the very incidents he accused the government of orchestrating. Notably, he claimed that the wildfires were part of a government plot to manipulate public perception regarding climate change.
In court, Prosecutor Marie-Philippe Charron detailed that Paré initiated two fires, causing the scorching of more than 2,000 acres of forest. This led to the evacuation of around 500 homes in Chapais, a small community located approximately 425 kilometers northwest of Quebec City.
The authorities initially engaged with Paré on June 2nd, 2023, when they noticed him near the origin of one of the fires. Despite denying any involvement at that time, a thorough investigation ensued. The examination of Paré's Facebook page, a platform where he frequently shared his conspiracy theories, played a crucial role in establishing a connection between his online claims and the actual incidents.
Taking further action, the police installed a tracking device on Paré's car. The tracking data revealed his presence at locations where additional fires occurred on September 1st and September 5th. Subsequently, he was apprehended on September 7th.
During questioning, Paré admitted to starting nine fires. According to Charron, his primary motivation, as confessed by the accused, was to conduct tests to determine the dryness of the forest.
This development highlights the dangers of spreading unfounded conspiracy theories and underscores the importance of thorough investigations to uncover the truth behind such claims.