The Sureté du Quebec is investigating a rash of threats made against schools throughout Quebec.

The threats were first made to schools in the Gatineau region, and later in the morning threats were made against schools on the island of Montreal, and to schools in the Sept-Iles region, the Eastern Townships, and elsewhere.

The threats were made by email, and some schools were evacuated while police searched buildings.

Pierre Moreau, the interim Public Security Minister, said the SQ learned of the threats overnight.

"Around 1 this morning they received information about an email circulating concerning bomb threats in Ontario and Quebec," said Moreau.

In all, 64 schools were threatened, and 61 of those were searched, turning up no evidence anywhere of anything dangerous. 

So far there is no evidence that any of the threats are credible, but police are taking each threat seriously, in part because the emails said there would be explosions at specific times at different schools, and that school staff were part of the plot. 

Suanne Stein Day of the Lester B. Pearson school board said teachers and principals are on the lookout for possible danger.

"We've alerted our principals to be on the lookout to anything suspicious around schools. We are creating a communication to be sent out to our community thorugh our messaging system but at this time we are not evacuating schools unless the Sureté du Quebec or police advises us to," said Day.

Tuesday morning police searched 14 schools in the Gatineau area and found nothing suspicious, although the schools will remain closed for the day.

The following schools will be closed Wednesday because of a strike by support workers: Greater Gatineau, Chelsea, Lord Aylmer Senior and Junior, PWHS, Symmes Jr, D'Arcy McGee, Wakefield, Pierre Elliot Trudeau, Eardley, Buckingham and South Hull.

Upset with strikes, payoffs

Moreau said the threats were apparently made by a group calling itself the Red Sceptre, and not a single individual.

"It's a group that calls itself a collective that is agitating to oppose the action taken by teachers," said the Minister."This letter is about the attitude of the teachers, but it doesn't appear to be about the labour negotiations."

Others who have read the emailed threats said the letter-writer is upset with the repeated strikes taken by public sector workers in Quebec, and with the general tone of public debate over austerity.

"It seems like a very, very angry email. They're not saying which schools, they're not saying when," said Day. 

They also told CTV Montreal that the individual was upset to learn that the province of Ontario paid $1 million to the high school teachers' union to cover the cost of negotiations, a move that was widely called a payoff for labour peace. 

The 'Common Front' of labour leaders, currently negotiating en masse a new contract with the provincial government, denounced the threats.

"We condemn the action of the group that broadcast this hate message. We deplore that unions and unionism in general are threatened directly in the text circulated by the perpetrators of these bomb threats," said the Common Front.

Premier Philippe Couillard said his thoughts went to worried parents across the province.

"It's a disgusting act, a cowardly act," Couillard said. "I know that the police inquiry will follow its course and if the inquiry identifies the responsible people, they will be prosecuted to the most severe extent that they can."

With a file from The Canadian Press