October Crisis
Overview
 
The October Crisis was a series of events triggered by two kidnapping
Kidnapping
In criminal law, kidnapping is the taking away or transportation of a person against that person's will, usually to hold the person in false imprisonment, a confinement without legal authority...

s of government officials by members of the Front de libération du Québec
Front de libération du Québec
The Front de libération du Québec was a left-wing Quebecois nationalist and Marxist-Leninist paramilitary group in Quebec, Canada. It was active between 1963 and 1970, and was regarded as a terrorist organization for its violent methods of action...

(FLQ) during October 1970 in the province of Quebec
Quebec
Quebec or is a province in east-central Canada. It is the only Canadian province with a predominantly French-speaking population and the only one whose sole official language is French at the provincial level....

, mainly in the Montreal metropolitan area.

The circumstances ultimately culminated in the only peacetime use of the War Measures Act
War Measures Act
The War Measures Act was a Canadian statute that allowed the government to assume sweeping emergency powers in the event of "war, invasion or insurrection, real or apprehended"...

 in Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

's history, done by Governor General of Canada
Governor General of Canada
The Governor General of Canada is the federal viceregal representative of the Canadian monarch, Queen Elizabeth II...

 Roland Michener
Roland Michener
Daniel Roland Michener , commonly known as Roland Michener, was a Canadian lawyer, politician, and diplomat who served as Governor General of Canada, the 20th since Canadian Confederation....

 at the direction
Advice (constitutional)
Advice, in constitutional law, is formal, usually binding, instruction given by one constitutional officer of state to another. Especially in parliamentary systems of government, Heads of state often act on the basis of advice issued by prime ministers or other government ministers...

 of Prime Minister
Prime Minister of Canada
The Prime Minister of Canada is the primary minister of the Crown, chairman of the Cabinet, and thus head of government for Canada, charged with advising the Canadian monarch or viceroy on the exercise of the executive powers vested in them by the constitution...

 Pierre Trudeau
Pierre Trudeau
Joseph Philippe Pierre Yves Elliott Trudeau, , usually known as Pierre Trudeau or Pierre Elliott Trudeau, was the 15th Prime Minister of Canada from April 20, 1968 to June 4, 1979, and again from March 3, 1980 to June 30, 1984.Trudeau began his political career campaigning for socialist ideals,...

, having been requested by the Premier of Quebec
Premier of Quebec
The Premier of Quebec is the first minister of the Canadian province of Quebec. The Premier is the province's head of government and his title is Premier and President of the Executive Council....

, Robert Bourassa
Robert Bourassa
Jean-Robert Bourassa, was a politician in Quebec, Canada. He served as the 22nd Premier of Quebec in two different mandates, first from May 12, 1970, to November 25, 1976, and then from December 12, 1985, to January 11, 1994, serving a total of just under 15 years as Provincial Premier.-Early...

, and the Mayor of Montreal
Mayor of Montreal
The Mayor of Montreal is head of the executive branch of Montreal City Council.The Mayor's office administers all city services, public property, police and fire protection, most public agencies, and enforces all city and provincial laws within Montreal....

, Jean Drapeau
Jean Drapeau
Jean Drapeau, was a Canadian lawyer and politician who served as mayor of Montreal from 1954 to 1957 and 1960 to 1986...

.

The invocation of the act resulted in widespread deployment of Canadian Forces
Canadian Forces
The Canadian Forces , officially the Canadian Armed Forces , are the unified armed forces of Canada, as constituted by the National Defence Act, which states: "The Canadian Forces are the armed forces of Her Majesty raised by Canada and consist of one Service called the Canadian Armed Forces."...

 troops throughout Quebec, and in Ottawa
Ottawa
Ottawa is the capital of Canada, the second largest city in the Province of Ontario, and the fourth largest city in the country. The city is located on the south bank of the Ottawa River in the eastern portion of Southern Ontario...

 gave the appearance that martial law
Martial law
Martial law is the imposition of military rule by military authorities over designated regions on an emergency basis— only temporary—when the civilian government or civilian authorities fail to function effectively , when there are extensive riots and protests, or when the disobedience of the law...

 had been imposed, although the military remained in a support role to the civil authorities of Quebec.
Encyclopedia
The October Crisis was a series of events triggered by two kidnapping
Kidnapping
In criminal law, kidnapping is the taking away or transportation of a person against that person's will, usually to hold the person in false imprisonment, a confinement without legal authority...

s of government officials by members of the Front de libération du Québec
Front de libération du Québec
The Front de libération du Québec was a left-wing Quebecois nationalist and Marxist-Leninist paramilitary group in Quebec, Canada. It was active between 1963 and 1970, and was regarded as a terrorist organization for its violent methods of action...

(FLQ) during October 1970 in the province of Quebec
Quebec
Quebec or is a province in east-central Canada. It is the only Canadian province with a predominantly French-speaking population and the only one whose sole official language is French at the provincial level....

, mainly in the Montreal metropolitan area.

The circumstances ultimately culminated in the only peacetime use of the War Measures Act
War Measures Act
The War Measures Act was a Canadian statute that allowed the government to assume sweeping emergency powers in the event of "war, invasion or insurrection, real or apprehended"...

 in Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

's history, done by Governor General of Canada
Governor General of Canada
The Governor General of Canada is the federal viceregal representative of the Canadian monarch, Queen Elizabeth II...

 Roland Michener
Roland Michener
Daniel Roland Michener , commonly known as Roland Michener, was a Canadian lawyer, politician, and diplomat who served as Governor General of Canada, the 20th since Canadian Confederation....

 at the direction
Advice (constitutional)
Advice, in constitutional law, is formal, usually binding, instruction given by one constitutional officer of state to another. Especially in parliamentary systems of government, Heads of state often act on the basis of advice issued by prime ministers or other government ministers...

 of Prime Minister
Prime Minister of Canada
The Prime Minister of Canada is the primary minister of the Crown, chairman of the Cabinet, and thus head of government for Canada, charged with advising the Canadian monarch or viceroy on the exercise of the executive powers vested in them by the constitution...

 Pierre Trudeau
Pierre Trudeau
Joseph Philippe Pierre Yves Elliott Trudeau, , usually known as Pierre Trudeau or Pierre Elliott Trudeau, was the 15th Prime Minister of Canada from April 20, 1968 to June 4, 1979, and again from March 3, 1980 to June 30, 1984.Trudeau began his political career campaigning for socialist ideals,...

, having been requested by the Premier of Quebec
Premier of Quebec
The Premier of Quebec is the first minister of the Canadian province of Quebec. The Premier is the province's head of government and his title is Premier and President of the Executive Council....

, Robert Bourassa
Robert Bourassa
Jean-Robert Bourassa, was a politician in Quebec, Canada. He served as the 22nd Premier of Quebec in two different mandates, first from May 12, 1970, to November 25, 1976, and then from December 12, 1985, to January 11, 1994, serving a total of just under 15 years as Provincial Premier.-Early...

, and the Mayor of Montreal
Mayor of Montreal
The Mayor of Montreal is head of the executive branch of Montreal City Council.The Mayor's office administers all city services, public property, police and fire protection, most public agencies, and enforces all city and provincial laws within Montreal....

, Jean Drapeau
Jean Drapeau
Jean Drapeau, was a Canadian lawyer and politician who served as mayor of Montreal from 1954 to 1957 and 1960 to 1986...

.

The invocation of the act resulted in widespread deployment of Canadian Forces
Canadian Forces
The Canadian Forces , officially the Canadian Armed Forces , are the unified armed forces of Canada, as constituted by the National Defence Act, which states: "The Canadian Forces are the armed forces of Her Majesty raised by Canada and consist of one Service called the Canadian Armed Forces."...

 troops throughout Quebec, and in Ottawa
Ottawa
Ottawa is the capital of Canada, the second largest city in the Province of Ontario, and the fourth largest city in the country. The city is located on the south bank of the Ottawa River in the eastern portion of Southern Ontario...

 gave the appearance that martial law
Martial law
Martial law is the imposition of military rule by military authorities over designated regions on an emergency basis— only temporary—when the civilian government or civilian authorities fail to function effectively , when there are extensive riots and protests, or when the disobedience of the law...

 had been imposed, although the military remained in a support role to the civil authorities of Quebec. The police were also enabled with far-reaching powers, and they arrested and detained, without bail, 497 individuals, all but 62 of whom were later released without charges.

At the time, opinion polls throughout Canada, including in Quebec, showed widespread support for the use of the War Measures Act. The response, however, was criticized at the time and subsequently by a number of prominent leaders, including René Lévesque
René Lévesque
René Lévesque was a reporter, a minister of the government of Quebec, , the founder of the Parti Québécois political party and the 23rd Premier of Quebec...

, Robert Stanfield
Robert Stanfield
Robert Lorne Stanfield, PC, QC was the 17th Premier of Nova Scotia and leader of the federal Progressive Conservative Party of Canada. He is sometimes referred to as "the greatest prime minister Canada never had", and earned the nickname "Honest Bob"...

, and Tommy Douglas
Tommy Douglas
Thomas Clement "Tommy" Douglas, was a Scottish-born Baptist minister who became a prominent Canadian social democratic politician...

, who believed the actions to be excessive and the precedent to suspend civil liberties
Civil liberties
Civil liberties are rights and freedoms that provide an individual specific rights such as the freedom from slavery and forced labour, freedom from torture and death, the right to liberty and security, right to a fair trial, the right to defend one's self, the right to own and bear arms, the right...

 dangerous. The criticism was reinforced by evidence that police officials had abused their powers and detained, without cause, prominent artists and intellectuals associated with the sovereignty movement.

The events of October 1970 galvanized support against violence in efforts for Quebec sovereignty and highlighted the movement towards political means of attaining greater autonomy and independence, including support for the sovereigntist Parti Québécois
Parti Québécois
The Parti Québécois is a centre-left political party that advocates national sovereignty for the province of Quebec and secession from Canada. The Party traditionally has support from the labour movement. Unlike many other social-democratic parties, its ties with the labour movement are informal...

, which went on to form the provincial government in 1976.

Background

From 1963 to 1970 the Quebec nationalist
Quebec nationalism
Quebec nationalism is a nationalist movement in the Canadian province of Quebec .-1534–1774:Canada was first a french colony. Jacques Cartier claimed it for France in 1534, and permanent French settlement began in 1608. It was part of New France, which constituted all French colonies in North America...

 group Front de libération du Québec
Front de libération du Québec
The Front de libération du Québec was a left-wing Quebecois nationalist and Marxist-Leninist paramilitary group in Quebec, Canada. It was active between 1963 and 1970, and was regarded as a terrorist organization for its violent methods of action...

had detonated over 95 bombs. While mailboxes—particularly in the affluent and predominantly Anglophone city of Westmount—were common targets, the largest single bombing was of the Montreal Stock Exchange on February 13, 1969, which caused extensive damage and injured 27 people. Other targets included Montreal City Hall
Montreal City Hall
The five-storey Montreal City Hall is the work of architects Henri-Maurice Perrault and Alexander Cowper Hutchison, and was built between 1872 and 1878 in the Second Empire style. It is located in Old Montreal, between Place Jacques-Cartier and the Champ de Mars, at 275 Notre-Dame Street East...

, Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Royal Canadian Mounted Police
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police , literally ‘Royal Gendarmerie of Canada’; colloquially known as The Mounties, and internally as ‘The Force’) is the national police force of Canada, and one of the most recognized of its kind in the world. It is unique in the world as a national, federal,...

 recruitment offices, railway tracks, and army installations. FLQ members, in a strategic move, had stolen several tons of dynamite
Dynamite
Dynamite is an explosive material based on nitroglycerin, initially using diatomaceous earth , or another absorbent substance such as powdered shells, clay, sawdust, or wood pulp. Dynamites using organic materials such as sawdust are less stable and such use has been generally discontinued...

 from military and industrial sites, and, financed by bank robberies
Bank robbery
Bank robbery is the crime of stealing from a bank during opening hours. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Uniform Crime Reporting Program, robbery is "the taking or attempting to take anything of value from the care, custody, or control of a person or persons by force or threat of...

, 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 prison, including four members convicted of murder
Murder
Murder is the unlawful killing, with malice aforethought, of another human being, and generally this state of mind distinguishes murder from other forms of unlawful homicide...

. On February 26, 1970, two men in a panel truck– including Jacques Lanctôt
Jacques Lanctôt
Jacques Lanctôt is a Canadian writer and publisher, restaurateur, and former militant separatist.Lanctôt is a former member of the FLQ, a violent separatist group.He was one of the FLQ members who kidnapped James Cross, a British diplomat in October 1970....

– were arrested in Montreal
Montreal
Montreal is a city in Canada. It is the largest city in the province of Quebec, the second-largest city in Canada and the seventh largest in North America...

 when they were discovered with a sawed-off shotgun
Sawed-off shotgun
A sawed-off shotgun also called a sawn-off shotgun and a short-barreled shotgun , is a type of shotgun with a shorter gun barrel and often a shorter or absent stock....

 and a communique announcing the kidnapping of the Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

i consul. In June, police raided a home in the small community of Prévost
Prévost, Quebec
Prévost is a town within the La Rivière-du-Nord Regional County Municipality, Quebec, Canada, and the administrative region of Laurentides in the Laurentian Mountains, north of Montreal. It was created in 1973 from the amalgamation of the former villages of Shawbridge and Lesage with old Prévost...

, north of Montreal in the Laurentian mountains
Laurentian mountains
The Laurentian Mountains are a mountain range in southern Quebec, Canada, north of the St. Lawrence River and Ottawa River, rising to a highest point of 1166 metres at Mont Raoul Blanchard, north east of Quebec City in the Reserve Faunique des Laurentides. The Gatineau, L'Assomption, Lièvre,...

, and found firearms, ammunition, 300 pounds (140 kg) of dynamite, detonator
Detonator
A detonator is a device used to trigger an explosive device. Detonators can be chemically, mechanically, or electrically initiated, the latter two being the most common....

s, and the draft of a ransom note to be used in the kidnapping of the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 consul.

Timeline

  • October 5: Montreal, Quebec: Two members of the "Liberation Cell
    Liberation Cell
    The Liberation Cell was a Montreal-based cell that was part of Front de libération du Québec terrorist group in Quebec whose members were responsible for a decade of bombings and armed robberies in the 1960s that led to what became known as the October Crisis.As part of a violent attempt to...

    " of the FLQ kidnap British
    United Kingdom
    The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

     Trade Commissioner James Cross
    James Cross
    James Richard Cross, CMG was a British diplomat in Canada who was kidnapped by the Front de libération du Québec terrorist group during the October Crisis of October 1970....

     from his house. The kidnappers were disguised as delivery men bringing a package for his recent birthday. Once the maid let them in, they pulled out a rifle and a revolver and kidnapped Cross. This was followed by a communique to the authorities that contained the kidnappers' demands, which included the exchange of Cross for "political prisoners", a number of convicted or detained FLQ members, and the CBC broadcast of the FLQ Manifesto
    FLQ Manifesto
    The FLQ Manifesto was a key document of the terrorist group the Front de libération du Québec. On 8 October 1970, during the October Crisis, it was broadcast by CBC/Radio-Canada television as one of many demands required for the release of kidnapped British Trade Commissioner James Cross.-External...

    . 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 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 the Minister of Labour of the province of Quebec
    Quebec
    Quebec or is a province in east-central Canada. It is the only Canadian province with a predominantly French-speaking population and the only one whose sole official language is French at the provincial level....

    , Pierre Laporte
    Pierre Laporte
    Pierre Laporte was a Canadian lawyer, journalist and politician who was the Deputy Premier and Minister of Labour of the province of Quebec before being kidnapped and killed by members of the group Front de libération du Québec during the October Crisis. Mr...

    , while he was playing football with his nephew on his front lawn. Members of the "Chenier cell
    Chenier Cell
    The Chénier Cell was a Montreal-based cell of the Front de libération du Québec terrorist group in Quebec whose members were responsible for a decade of bombings and armed robberies in the 1960s that led to what became known as the October Crisis...

    " of the FLQ kidnapped Laporte.
  • October 11: The CBC broadcasts a letter from captivity from Pierre Laporte to the Premier of Quebec
    Premier of Quebec
    The Premier of Quebec is the first minister of the Canadian province of Quebec. The Premier is the province's head of government and his title is Premier and President of the Executive Council....

    , Robert Bourassa
    Robert Bourassa
    Jean-Robert Bourassa, was a politician in Quebec, Canada. He served as the 22nd Premier of Quebec in two different mandates, first from May 12, 1970, to November 25, 1976, and then from December 12, 1985, to January 11, 1994, serving a total of just under 15 years as Provincial Premier.-Early...

    .
  • October 13: Prime Minister Trudeau is interviewed by the CBC with respect to the military presence. In a combative interview, Trudeau asks the reporter what he would do in his place, and when Trudeau was asked how far he would go he replies "Just watch me
    Just watch me
    "Just watch me" is a phrase made famous by Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau on October 13, 1970, during the October crisis. The term is still regularly used in Canadian political discussion....

    ".
  • October 14: Sixteen prominent Quebec personalities, including René Lévesque
    René Lévesque
    René Lévesque was a reporter, a minister of the government of Quebec, , the founder of the Parti Québécois political party and the 23rd Premier of Quebec...

     and Claude Ryan
    Claude Ryan
    Claude Ryan, was a Canadian politician and leader of the Parti libéral du Québec from 1978 to 1982. He was also the National Assembly of Quebec member for Argenteuil from 1979 to 1994.-Early life and career:...

    , call for negotiating "exchange of the two hostages for the political prisoners". FLQ's lawyer Robert Lemieux
    Robert Lemieux
    Robert Félix Lemieux was a Quebec lawyer who famously represented several of the defendants in the October Crisis. During the crisis itself he served as a go-between between the FLQ cells and Canadian authorities....

     urges University of Montreal students to boycott classes in support of FLQ.
  • October 15: Quebec City
    Quebec City
    Quebec , also Québec, Quebec City or Québec City is the capital of the Canadian province of Quebec and is located within the Capitale-Nationale region. It is the second most populous city in Quebec after Montreal, which is about to the southwest...

    : 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
    Parti Québécois
    The Parti Québécois is a centre-left political party that advocates national sovereignty for the province of Quebec and secession from Canada. The Party traditionally has support from the labour movement. Unlike many other social-democratic parties, its ties with the labour movement are informal...

     rise in the National Assembly and agree with the decision. On the same day, separatist groups are permitted to speak at the Université de Montréal
    Université de Montréal
    The Université de Montréal is a public francophone research university in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. It comprises thirteen faculties, more than sixty departments and two affiliated schools: the École Polytechnique and HEC Montréal...

     and Robert Lemieux organizes 3,000 student rally in Paul Sauvé Arena
    Paul Sauvé Arena
    The Paul Sauvé Arena was an indoor arena located in Montreal, Quebec, specifically in Rosemont. It had a capacity of 4,000. It was built in 1960 and demolished in 1996. The arena was named after Paul Sauvé , a Quebec Premier with the Union Nationale.The arena hosted some of the most important...

     to show support for the FLQ; labour leader Michel Chartrand
    Michel Chartrand
    Michel Chartrand was an union activist and leader from Quebec.Born in Outremont and trained as a typography and print worker, Chartrand become involved in union activism in the 1940s...

     announces that popular support for FLQ is rising and "We are going to win because there are more boys ready to shoot members of Parliament
    Parliament of Canada
    The Parliament of Canada is the federal legislative branch of Canada, seated at Parliament Hill in the national capital, Ottawa. Formally, the body consists of the Canadian monarch—represented by her governor general—the Senate, and the House of Commons, each element having its own officers and...

     than there are policemen.". 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 "apprehend and keep in custody" individuals. This resulted in the implementation of the War Measures Act
    War Measures Act
    The War Measures Act was a Canadian statute that allowed the government to assume sweeping emergency powers in the event of "war, invasion or insurrection, real or apprehended"...

    , which allowed the suspension of habeas corpus
    Habeas corpus
    is a writ, or legal action, through which a prisoner can be released from unlawful detention. The remedy can be sought by the prisoner or by another person coming to his aid. Habeas corpus originated in the English legal system, but it is now available in many nations...

    , 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 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 stuffed in the trunk of a car and abandoned in the bush near Saint-Hubert Airport
    Montréal/St-Hubert Airport
    Montréal/Saint-Hubert Airport is located in the Saint-Hubert borough of Longueuil, Quebec. The airport is located east of downtown Montreal....

    , a few miles from Montreal. A communique to police advising that Pierre Laporte had been executed referred to him derisively as the "minister of unemployment and assimilation". In another communique 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. The demands they made were: 1) The Publication of the FLQ manifesto. 2) The release of 23 political prisoners. 3) An airplane that will take them to either Cuba or Algeria (both countries that they felt a strong connection to because of their struggle against Colonialism and Imperialism). 4. The re-hiring of the "gars de Lapalme". 5) A voluntary tax of 500,000 dollars that would be aboard the plane when it left. 6. The name of the informer who had sold out the FLQ activists earlier in the year.
  • October 18: While denouncing the acts of “subversion and terrorism – both of which are so tragically contrary to the best interests of our people”, columnist, politician, and future Premier of Quebec, René Lévesque
    René Lévesque
    René Lévesque was a reporter, a minister of the government of Quebec, , the founder of the Parti Québécois political party and the 23rd Premier of Quebec...

    , criticizes the War Measures Act: “Until we receive proof (about how large the revolutionary army is) to the contrary we will believe that such a minute, numerically unimportant fraction is involved, that rushing into the enforcement of the War Measures Act was a panicky and altogether excessive reaction, especially when you think of the inordinate length of time they want to maintain this regime.”
  • November 6: Police raid the hiding place of the FLQ's Chenier cell. Although three members escaped the raid, Bernard Lortie
    Bernard Lortie
    Bernard Lortie of Montreal, Quebec, Canada was a member of the Chenier Cell of the Front de libération du Québec who were responsible for a decade of bombings and armed robberies in the province of Quebec....

     was arrested and charged with the kidnapping and murder of Pierre Laporte.
  • December 3: Montreal, Quebec: After being held hostage for 62 days, kidnapped British Trade Commissioner James Cross is released by the FLQ Liberation cell terrorists after negotiations with police. Simultaneously, the five known kidnappers, Marc Carbonneau, Yves Langlois
    Yves Langlois
    Yves Langlois a.k.a. Pierre Seguin was a Canadian terrorist and member of the Quebec terrorist group Front de Libération du Quebec , a group most notably known for the 1970 October crisis...

    , Jacques Lanctôt
    Jacques Lanctôt
    Jacques Lanctôt is a Canadian writer and publisher, restaurateur, and former militant separatist.Lanctôt is a former member of the FLQ, a violent separatist group.He was one of the FLQ members who kidnapped James Cross, a British diplomat in October 1970....

    , Jacques Cossette-Trudel
    Jacques Cossette-Trudel
    Jacques Cossette-Trudel Jacques Cossette-Trudel Jacques Cossette-Trudel (born 1947 in Shawinigan, PQ, convicted kidnapper, Quebec separatist (FLQ), communication counsellor and filmmaker.Jacques Cossette-Trudel was the son of a senior Federal Government official with the Department of Energy during...

     and his wife, Louise Lanctôt
    Louise Lanctôt
    Louise Lanctôt, born March 24, 1947, in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, is a convicted kidnapper and writer.A political activist for the cause of Quebec independence from Canada, Louise Lanctôt was an active member of the Rassemblement pour l'indépendance nationale political party that later merged...

    , are granted their request for safe passage to Cuba
    Cuba
    The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

     by the government of Canada after approval by Fidel Castro
    Fidel Castro
    Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz is a Cuban revolutionary and politician, having held the position of Prime Minister of Cuba from 1959 to 1976, and then President from 1976 to 2008. He also served as the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba from the party's foundation in 1961 until 2011...

    . They are flown to Cuba by a Canadian Forces
    Canadian Forces
    The Canadian Forces , officially the Canadian Armed Forces , are the unified armed forces of Canada, as constituted by the National Defence Act, which states: "The Canadian Forces are the armed forces of Her Majesty raised by Canada and consist of one Service called the Canadian Armed 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 28: Saint-Luc, Quebec
    Saint-Luc, Quebec
    Saint-Luc was a town in southwestern Quebec, Canada on the Richelieu River. In 2000, the towns of Saint-Luc, Saint-Athanase, Iberville, and Acadie merged into the city of Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu. Saint-Luc is located in the Regional County Municipality of Le Haut-Richelieu. Population: 20,573....

    : The three remaining members of the Chenier Cell still at large, Paul Rose, Jacques Rose, and Francis Simard
    Francis Simard
    Francis Simard, born 1946, of Montreal, Quebec was a member of the Chenier Cell of the militant Front de libération du Québec , a group dedicated to the creation of an independent Marxist state out of the Canadian province of Quebec...

    , 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.

War Measures Act and military involvement

When CBC
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, commonly known as CBC and officially as CBC/Radio-Canada, is a Canadian crown corporation that serves as the national public radio and television broadcaster...

 reporter Tim Ralfe
Tim Ralfe
Tim Ralfe was a Canadian television journalist for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation who provoked one of the most famous and controversial moments in Canadian political history. During the October Crisis on October 13, 1970, Ralfe pointedly asked then-Prime Minister Trudeau how far he would go...

 asked how far he was willing to go to stop the FLQ, Trudeau replied: "Just watch me
Just watch me
"Just watch me" is a phrase made famous by Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau on October 13, 1970, during the October crisis. The term is still regularly used in Canadian political discussion....

". Three days later, on October 16, the Cabinet
Cabinet of Canada
The Cabinet of Canada is a body of ministers of the Crown that, along with the Canadian monarch, and within the tenets of the Westminster system, forms the government of Canada...

 under his chairmanship advised
Advice (constitutional)
Advice, in constitutional law, is formal, usually binding, instruction given by one constitutional officer of state to another. Especially in parliamentary systems of government, Heads of state often act on the basis of advice issued by prime ministers or other government ministers...

 the Governor General to invoke the War Measures Act
War Measures Act
The War Measures Act was a Canadian statute that allowed the government to assume sweeping emergency powers in the event of "war, invasion or insurrection, real or apprehended"...

 at the request of the Premier of Quebec, Robert Bourassa
Robert Bourassa
Jean-Robert Bourassa, was a politician in Quebec, Canada. He served as the 22nd Premier of Quebec in two different mandates, first from May 12, 1970, to November 25, 1976, and then from December 12, 1985, to January 11, 1994, serving a total of just under 15 years as Provincial Premier.-Early...

, and the Mayor of Montreal, Jean Drapeau
Jean Drapeau
Jean Drapeau, was a Canadian lawyer and politician who served as mayor of Montreal from 1954 to 1957 and 1960 to 1986...

. The provisions took effect at 4:00 a.m., and soon, hundreds of suspected FLQ members and sympathizers were taken into custody. The War Measures Act gave police the power to arrest people without warrant, and 497 people were arrested, including Pauline Julien
Pauline Julien
Pauline Julien, CQ was a singer, songwriter, actress, feminist activist and Quebec sovereigntist.Born in Trois-Rivières, Québec, Julien was the companion of the poet and Québec provincial MLA Gérald Godin, another Trifluvian and sovereigntist. She also worked with Gilles Vigneault and recorded...

.

This act was imposed only after the negotiations with the FLQ had broken off and the Premier of Quebec was facing the next stage in the FLQ's terrorist agenda.
At the time, opinion polls in Quebec and the rest of Canada showed overwhelming support for the War Measures Act; in a December 1970 Gallup Poll, it was noted that 89% of English-speaking Canadians supported the introduction of the War Measures Act, and 86% of French-speaking Canada supported its introduction. They respectively had 6% and 9% disapproving, the difference being undecided. 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
National Defence Act
The National Defence Act is the primary enabling legislation for organizing and funding Canada's military....

. Troops from Quebec bases and elsewhere in the country were dispatched, under the direction of the Sûreté du Québec
Sûreté du Québec
Sûreté du Québec or SQ is the provincial police force for the Canadian province of 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. Also the War Measures Act played a role in restricting civil rights. It still allowed for the criticism of the government and the Parti Québécois
Parti Québécois
The Parti Québécois is a centre-left political party that advocates national sovereignty for the province of Quebec and secession from Canada. The Party traditionally has support from the labour movement. Unlike many other social-democratic parties, its ties with the labour movement are informal...

 was able to go about its everyday business free of any restrictions, including the criticism of the government and the War Measures Act. 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 sovereignty movement.

Once the War Measures Act was in place, arrangements were made for all detainees to see legal counsel. There were cases, however few, of people having cause to be upset by the method of their interrogation; however, the majority of those interviewed after had little cause to complain and several even commented on the courteous nature of the interrogations and searches, 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, 1971, John Turner
John Turner
John Napier Wyndham Turner, PC, CC, QC is an English Canadian lawyer and retired politician, who served as the 17th Prime Minister of Canada from June 30 to September 17, 1984....

, Minister of Justice of Canada
Minister of Justice (Canada)
The Minister of Justice is the Minister of the Crown in the Canadian Cabinet who is responsible for the Department of Justice and is also Attorney General of Canada .This cabinet position is usually reserved for someone with formal legal training...

, 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 accused of crimes of such seriousness that a Quebec Superior Court
Quebec Superior Court
Quebec Superior Court is the highest trial Court in the Province of Quebec, Canada. It consists of 144 judges who are appointed by the federal government.Chief Justices : [partial listing]* Edward Bowen...

 judge refused them bail.

Aftermath

Pierre Laporte was eventually found to have been 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 facing trial in Quebec. The cell members responsible for Laporte were arrested and charged with kidnapping and first-degree murder.

The response by the federal and provincial governments to the incident still sparks controversy. This is the only time that the War Measures Act had been put in place during peacetime in Canada. A few critics (most notably Tommy Douglas
Tommy Douglas
Thomas Clement "Tommy" Douglas, was a Scottish-born Baptist minister who became a prominent Canadian social democratic politician...

 and some members of the New Democratic Party
New Democratic Party
The New Democratic Party , commonly referred to as the NDP, is a federal social-democratic political party in Canada. The interim leader of the NDP is Nycole Turmel who was appointed to the position due to the illness of Jack Layton, who died on August 22, 2011. The provincial wings of the NDP in...

) believed that Trudeau was being excessive in advising the use of the War Measures Act to suspend civil liberties
Civil liberties
Civil liberties are rights and freedoms that provide an individual specific rights such as the freedom from slavery and forced labour, freedom from torture and death, the right to liberty and security, right to a fair trial, the right to defend one's self, the right to own and bear arms, the right...

 and that the precedent set by this incident was dangerous. Federal Progressive Conservative leader Robert Stanfield
Robert Stanfield
Robert Lorne Stanfield, PC, QC was the 17th Premier of Nova Scotia and leader of the federal Progressive Conservative Party of Canada. He is sometimes referred to as "the greatest prime minister Canada never had", and earned the nickname "Honest Bob"...

 initially supported Trudeau's actions, but later regretted doing so. The size of the FLQ organization and the number of sympathizers in the public was not known. However, in its Manifesto, the FLQ stated: "In the coming year (Quebec Premier Robert) Bourassa will have to face reality; 100,000 revolutionary workers, armed and organized." Given that declaration, along with seven years of bombings and the wording of their communiques 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.

Indeed, the events of October 1970 galvanized a loss of support for the violent wing of the Quebec separatist movement that had gained support over nearly ten years, and increased support for political means of attaining independence, including support for the separatist Parti Québécois
Parti Québécois
The Parti Québécois is a centre-left political party that advocates national sovereignty for the province of Quebec and secession from Canada. The Party traditionally has support from the labour movement. Unlike many other social-democratic parties, its ties with the labour movement are informal...

, which went on to take power at the provincial level in 1976. After the defeat of the Meech Lake Accord
Meech Lake Accord
The Meech Lake Accord was a package of proposed amendments to the Constitution of Canada negotiated in 1987 by Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and ten provincial premiers. It was intended to persuade the government of the Province of Quebec to endorse the 1982 Canadian Constitution and increase...

, which sought to amend the Constitution of Canada
Constitution of Canada
The Constitution of Canada is the supreme law in Canada; the country's constitution is an amalgamation of codified acts and uncodified traditions and conventions. It outlines Canada's system of government, as well as the civil rights of all Canadian citizens and those in 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
Bloc Québécois
The Bloc Québécois is a federal political party in Canada devoted to the protection of Quebec's interests in the House of Commons of Canada, and the promotion of Quebec sovereignty. The Bloc was originally a party made of Quebec nationalists who defected from the federal Progressive Conservative...

, was also created at the federal level.

In 1988 the War Measures Act
War Measures Act
The War Measures Act was a Canadian statute that allowed the government to assume sweeping emergency powers in the event of "war, invasion or insurrection, real or apprehended"...

 was replaced by the Emergencies Act
Emergencies Act
The Emergencies Act is an Act of the Parliament of Canada to authorize the taking of special temporary measures to ensure safety and security during national emergencies and to amend other Acts in consequence thereof....

 and the Emergency Preparedness Act.

Cinema and television

  • Action: The October Crisis of 1970, a 1973 feature-length documentary film by Robin Spry.
  • Orders (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
    Pierre Falardeau
    Pierre Falardeau was a Quebec film and documentary director, pamphleteer and noted activist for Quebec independence.-Profile:Falardeau studied anthropology at university and he taught that subject for a brief period...

     shot in 1994 a movie titled Octobre
    Octobre
    Octobre is a 1994 Quebec movie directed by filmmaker and noted separatist Pierre Falardeau. It tells a fictionalized version of the October Crisis from the point of view of the Chénier Cell, the FLQ terrorist cell who in 1970 kidnapped and murdered Quebec minister and Deputy Premier Pierre Laporte...

    which tells a version of the October Crisis based on a book by Francis Simard
    Francis Simard
    Francis Simard, born 1946, of Montreal, Quebec was a member of the Chenier Cell of the militant Front de libération du Québec , a group dedicated to the creation of an independent Marxist state out of the Canadian province of Quebec...

    .
  • Nô (film)
    Nô is a 1998 film by director Robert Lepage. It was based on one segment in Lepage's play Seven Streams of the River Ota.The title is a pun which reflects the film's dramatic structure, linking the 1980 Quebec referendum to Japanese Nō theatre.-Plot:The film is set in 1970 at the height of the FLQ...

    is partially set in Montreal during the October Crisis and features fictional FLQ members planning a bombing.
  • CBC Television
    CBC Television
    CBC Television is a Canadian television network owned by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the national public broadcaster.Although the CBC is supported by public funding, the television network supplements this funding with commercial advertising revenue, in contrast to CBC Radio which are...

     produced a two-hour documentary program Black October
    Black October (film)
    Black October is a 2000 documentary film written, directed and narrated by Terence McKenna and produced by Stephen Phizicky for CBC television on the October Crisis in Canada which aired in October 2000...

    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 Jérôme Choquette
    Jérôme Choquette
    Jérôme Choquette is a lawyer and politician in Quebec, Canada.-Background:Choquette was born in Montreal, Quebec, and studied at the Notre-Dame-de-Grâce Academy and Collège Stanislas in Montreal, a Roman Catholic private school and the most elite institution of its kind in Quebec...

    , and others.
  • An 8-part miniseries
    Miniseries
    A miniseries , in a serial storytelling medium, is a television show production which tells a story in a limited number of episodes. The exact number is open to interpretation; however, they are usually limited to fewer than a whole season. The term "miniseries" is generally a North American term...

     about some of the incidents of the October Crisis titled October 1970 was released on October 12, 2006.
  • In the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network
    Mid-Atlantic Sports Network
    Mid-Atlantic Sports Network is a regional sports network owned by two Major League Baseball franchises—the Baltimore Orioles and Washington Nationals -- and televises every available game of both teams, live and in high-definition...

     series, "Orioles Classics", the footage shown of the 1970 World Series
    1970 World Series
    -Game 1:Saturday, October 10, 1970 at Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati, OhioThe Jackson 5 performed "The Star-Spangled Banner" prior to the game, which almost became an embarrassment when the group realized shortly before their performance that they weren't familiar with the lyrics...

     is the feed from the CBC
    CBC Television
    CBC Television is a Canadian television network owned by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the national public broadcaster.Although the CBC is supported by public funding, the television network supplements this funding with commercial advertising revenue, in contrast to CBC Radio which are...

    . The World Series is often interrupted for updates on the "Cross Kidnapping".

Further reading


External links

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