October Crisis, Talk:October Crisis
, Wikipedia:Canada collaboration/October Crisis
was a series of dramatic events triggered by two terrorist kidnapping
s in the province of Quebec
, in October 1970, which ultimately resulted in a brief invocation of the War Measures Act
by Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau
The Premier of Quebec
, Robert Bourassa
, and the Mayor of Montreal
, Jean Drapeau
, requested that the Government of Canada
invoke the War Measures Act
, something previously used only in World War I
. The act provided for far-reaching powers for police
. In recent years, because of the parallel requisitioning of the military "in aid of the civil power" by the Premier of Quebec
, in the October Crisis, it has been mistakenly thought of as invoking martial law.
Since 1963, the terrorist Quebec nationalist
group Front de libération du Québec
(FLQ) had carried out over 200 violent crime
s, including several bombings that resulted in the deaths of six people. The largest single bombing was of the Montreal Stock Exchange
on February 13
, which caused extensive damage and injured 27 people. FLQ members also had stolen several tons of dynamite
from military and industrial sites. Financed by bank robberies
, they threatened the public through their official communication organ, known as La Cognée
, that more attacks were to come.
By 1970, 23 members of the FLQ were in jail, including four members convicted of murder
. On February 26
, two men in a panel truck were arrested in Montreal
when they were discovered to be in possession of a sawn-off shotgun
and a communiqué announcing the kidnapping of the Israel
i consul. One of them was a man named Jacques Lanctôt
. In June, police raided a home in the small community of Prévost
north of Montreal in the Laurentian mountains
and found firearms, ammunition, 300 pounds (136 kg) of dynamite, detonator
s, and the draft of a ransom
note to be used in the kidnapping of the American consul.thumb|Soldier and Child
*October 5 - Montreal, Quebec: British
Trade Commissioner James Cross
is kidnapped by members of the "Liberation Cell
" of the FLQ. This was followed by a communiqué to the authorities that contained the kidnappers' demands, which included the release of a number of convicted or detained terrorists and the http://archives.cbc.ca/IDCC-1-71-101-613/conflict_war/october_crisis/ CBC broadcast
of the FLQ Manifesto. The terms of the ransom note were the same as those found in June for the planned kidnapping of the U.S. consul. At the time, the police did not connect the two.
*October 8 - Broadcast of the http://english.republiquelibre.org/manifesto-flq.html FLQ Manifesto
in all French- and English-speaking media outlets in Quebec.
*October 10 - Montreal, Quebec: Members of the Chenier Cell approach the home of Pierre Laporte
while he played football with his nephew. Laporte, the Minister of Labour and Vice-Premier of Quebec
is kidnapped by members of the "Chenier cell
" of the FLQ;
*October 11 - The CBC http://archives.cbc.ca/IDCC-1-71-101-615/conflict_war/october_crisis/ broadcasts a letter from captivity
from Pierre Laporte to the Premier of Quebec
, Robert Bourassa
*October 13 - Prime Minister Trudeau is http://archives.cbc.ca/IDC-1-71-101-610/conflict_war/october_crisis/clip6 interviewed by the CBC in respect of the military presence
. In a combative interview, Trudeau asks the reporter what he would do in his place, and when asked how far he would go replies "Just watch me".
*October 15 - Quebec City
- The Government of Quebec, solely responsible for law and order, formally requisitions the intervention of the Canadian army in "aid of the civil power", as is its right alone under the National Defence Act. All three opposition parties, including the Parti Québécois
rise in the National Assembly and agree with the decision. On the same day, http://archives.cbc.ca/IDCC-1-71-101-617/conflict_war/october_crisis/ separatist groups are permitted to speak
at the Université de Montréal
. The same day, about 3,000 students gather in a Montreal arena to show their support for the FLQ. The rally frightens many Canadians who view it as a possible prelude to outright insurrection in Quebec.
*October 16 - Premier Bourassa formally requests that the Government of Canada grant the Government of Quebec "emergency powers" that allow them to http://www2.marianopolis.edu/quebechistory/docs/october/letters.htm "apprehend and keep in custody"
individuals. This resulted in the implementation of the War Measures Act
, which allowed the suspension of habeas corpus
, giving wide-reaching powers of arrest to police. The City of Montreal had already made such a request the day before. These measures came into effect at 4:00 a.m. Prime Minister Trudeau http://archives.cbc.ca/IDCC-1-71-101-618/conflict_war/october_crisis/ made a broadcast announcing the imposition of the War Measures Act
*October 17 - Montreal, Quebec: The Chenier cell of the FLQ announces that hostage Pierre Laporte has been executed
. He is strangled to death and his body is dumped in the trunk of a car and abandoned in the bush near Saint-Hubert Airport
, a few miles from Montreal. A communiqué to police advising that Pierre Laporte had been executed referred to him derisively as the "Minister of unemployment and assimilation". In a communiqué issued by the "Liberation cell" holding James Cross, his kidnappers declared that they were suspending indefinitely the death sentence against James Cross, that they would not release him until their demands were met, and that he would be executed if the "fascist police" discovered them and tried to intervene.
*October 30 - Columnist, politician, and future Premier of Quebec, René Lévesque
, writes in the Journal de Montréal
newspaper that "The Army occupies Quebec. It is unpleasant but undoubtedly necessary in times of crisis."
*November 6 - Police raid the hiding place of the FLQ's Chenier cell. Although three members escaped the raid, Bernard Lortie
was arrested and charged with the kidnapping and murder of Pierre Laporte.
*December 3 - Montreal, Quebec: After being held hostage for 60 days, kidnapped British Trade Commissioner James Cross is released by the FLQ Liberation cell terrorists after negotiations with police. Simultaneously, the five known terrorist members, Marc Carbonneau
, Yves Langlois
, Jacques Lanctôt
, Jacques Cossette-Trudel
and his wife, Louise Lanctôt
, are granted their request for safe passage to Cuba
by the Government of Canada after approval by Fidel Castro
. They are flown to Cuba by a Canadian Forces
aircraft. One of them is the same Jacques Lanctôt who earlier that year had been arrested and then released on bail for the attempted kidnapping of the Israeli consul.
*December 27 - Saint-Luc, Quebec
: The three remaining members of the Chenier Cell still at large, Paul Rose
, Jacques Rose
, and Francis Simard
, are arrested after being found hiding in a 6 m tunnel in the rural farming community. They would be charged with the kidnapping and murder of Pierre Laporte.
In the middle of the crisis, adding to the fear were the comments of the powerful and radical labour leader and vociferous FLQ supporter, Michel Chartrand
, who said, "We are going to win because there are more boys ready to shoot members of Parliament
than there are policemen."
War Measures Act and military involvement
When asked how far he was willing to go to stop the FLQ, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau
said, "Just watch me
". Three days later he invoked the War Measures Act
at the request of the Premier of Quebec, Robert Bourassa
, and the Mayor of Montreal, Jean Drapeau
. At the time, opinion polls in Quebec and the rest of Canada showed overwhelming support for the War Measures Act. Politician and future Parti Québécois
Premier René Levesque
wrote that he agreed it was necessary under the circumstances. Since then, however, the government's use of the War Measures Act in peacetime has been a subject of debate in Canada as it gave police sweeping powers of arrest and detention.
Simultaneously, under provisions quite separate from the War Measures Act and much more commonly used, the Solicitor-General of Quebec requisitioned the deployment of the military from the Chief of the Defence Staff in accordance with the National Defence Act
. Troops from Quebec bases and elsewhere in the country were dispatched, under the direction of the Sûreté du Québec
(Quebec's provincial police force), to guard vulnerable points as well as prominent individuals at risk. This freed the police to pursue more proactive tasks in dealing with the crisis.
Outside Quebec, mainly in the Ottawa area, the federal government deployed troops under its own authority to guard federal offices and employees. The combination of the increased powers of arrest granted by the War Measures Act
and the military deployment requisitioned and controlled by the government of Quebec, gave every appearance that martial law had been imposed. A significant difference, however, is that the military remained in a support role to the civil authorities (in this case, Quebec authorities) and never had a judicial role. Nevertheless, the sight of tanks on the lawns of the federal parliament was disconcerting to many Canadians. Moreover, police officials sometimes abused their powers and detained without cause prominent artists and intellectuals associated with the sovereignist movement.
Once the War Measures Act was in place, arrangements were made for all detainees to see legal counsel. In addition, the Quebec Ombudsman
, Louis Marceau, was instructed to hear complaints of detainees and the Quebec government agreed to pay damages to any person unjustly arrested. On February 3
, John Turner
, Minister of Justice of Canada
, reported that 497 persons had been arrested under the War Measures Act, of whom 435 had already been released. The other 62 were charged, of which 32 were crimes of such seriousness that a Quebec Superior Court judge
refused them bail
The body of Pierre Laporte was eventually found murdered by his captors while James Cross was freed after 60 days as a result of negotiations with the kidnappers who requested exile to Cuba rather than face trial in Quebec. The cell members responsible for Laporte were arrested and charged with kidnapping and first-degree murder.
This incident proved to be the most serious terrorist attack on Canadian soil in modern times, and the response by the federal and provincial governments still sparks controversy. However, at the time, opinion polls showed overwhelming support in Quebec for the War Measures Act. A few critics (most notably Tommy Douglas
and some members of the New Democratic Party
) believed that Prime Minister Trudeau was being excessive in using the War Measures Act to suspend civil liberties
and that the precedent set by this incident was dangerous. The size of the FLQ organization and the number of sympathizers in the public was not known. However, in its Manifesto, the FLQ terrorists stated:
In the coming year Bourassa (Premier Robert Bourassa) will have to face reality; 100,000 revolutionary workers, armed and organized.
Given that declaration, plus a decade of bombings and the wording of their communiqués throughout that time that strove to present an image of a powerful organization spread secretly throughout all sectors of society, the authorities took significant action.
Some supporters of the government's strong measures continue to maintain that there have been no equivalent terrorist incidents since 1970 because of the vigorous response by all levels of government. On the other hand, the more general consensus is that terrorism was found by Quebecers to be both repugnant and unrequired. Those who desire independence became fully conscious that it can and should be achieved through the democratic process. Those who are against independence, both in Quebec and elsewhere in Canada, received a traumatic shock and have made considerable effort to assuage French Canada's grievances as well as conceding that, if Quebec really wants to be independent, they cannot and will not stop it by force. There is a consensus in Canada amongst all factions that their differences will be resolved democratically.
Indeed, the events of October 1970 galvanized a loss of support for the violent wing of the Quebec secessionist movement that had gained support over nearly ten years, and increased support for political means of attaining independence, including support for the secessionist Parti Québécois
, which went on to take power at the provincial level in 1976. It can be argued that Brian Mulroney's 1987 attempt to quell separatist aspirations through constitutional reform was a by-product of the October Crisis. After the defeat of the Meech Lake Accord
, which sought to amend the Constitution of Canada
to resolve the passage by a previous government of the Constitution Act 1982
without Quebec's ratification, a pro-independence political party, the Bloc Québécois
was also created at the federal level.
Cinema and television
(Les Ordres), a historical film drama, directed in 1974 and based on the events of the October Crisis and the War Measures Act; concerning the effect it had on people in Quebec.
* Quebec director Pierre Falardeau
shot in 1994 a movie titled Octobre
which tells a fictionalized version the October Crisis, based on a book by Francis Simard
is partially set in Montreal during the October Crisis and features fictional FLQ members planning a bombing.
* CBC Television
produced a two-hour documentary program entitled Black October
in 2000, in which the events of the crisis were discussed in great detail. The program featured interviews with former Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau
, former Quebec justice minister Jerome Choquette
, and others.
* An 8 part miniseries
about some of the incidents of the October Crisis titled October 1970
was released on October 12
*Front de Libération du Québec
*War Measures Act
*http://www.mcgill.ca/maritimelaw/history/crisis/ October Crisis by former Quebec Cabinet Minister during the "October Crisis" and McGill University Professor, William Tetley
*http://www2.marianopolis.edu/quebechistory/docs/october/index.htm Documents on the October Crisis
*http://www2.marianopolis.edu/quebechistory/chronos/october.htm Chronology of the October Crisis, 1970, and of its aftermath
* http://www.independance-quebec.com/flq/ Historical Site dedicated to the Quebec Liberation Front (FLQ) from an "indépendantist" perspective. (in French)
* http://archives.cbc.ca/IDD-1-71-101/conflict_war/october_crisis/ CBC Digital Archives - The October Crisis: Civil Liberties SuspendedOctober CrisisCategory:History of QuebecCategory:Terrorist incidents in the 1970sCategory:1970 in CanadaCategory:Terrorism in CanadaCategory:Crime in Quebeces:Crisis de octubreeo:Oktobra krizofr:Crise d'octobreno:Oktoberkrisen