October Crisis

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  • Topic: October Crisis, Front de libération du Québec, Pierre Trudeau
  • Pages : 2 (531 words )
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  • Published : November 16, 2005
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October Crisis

The October Crisis denotes the kidnapping on 5 October 1970 of James Cross, the British trade commissioner in Montréal, by members of the FRONT DE LIBÉRATION DU QUÉBEC. The kidnappers' demands, communicated in a series of public messages, included the freeing of a number of convicted or detained FLQ members and the broadcasting of the FLQ manifesto. The manifesto, a diatribe against established authority, was read on Radio-Canada, and on October 10 the Québec minister of justice offered safe passage abroad to the kidnappers in return for the liberation of their hostage; but on the same day a second FLQ cell kidnapped the Québec minister of labour and immigration, Pierre LAPORTE. On October 15 the Québec government requested the assistance of the Canadian Armed Forces to supplement the local police, and on October 16 the federal government proclaimed the existence of a state of "apprehended insurrection" under the WAR MEASURES ACT. Under the emergency regulations, the FLQ was banned, normal liberties were suspended, and arrests and detentions were authorized without charge. Over 450 persons were detained in Québec, most of whom were eventually released without the laying or hearing of charges. On October 17 the body of Pierre Laporte was found in a car trunk near St Hubert airport. In early December 1970, the cell holding James Cross was discovered by police, and his release was negotiated in return for the provision of safe conduct to Cuba for the kidnappers and some family members. Four weeks later the second group was located and arrested, subsequently to be tried and convicted for kidnapping and murder. Emergency regulations under War Measures were replaced in December 1970 by similar regulations under the Public Order (Temporary Measures) Act which lapsed on 30 April 1971. The federal response to the kidnapping was intensely controversial. According to opinion polls, an overwhelming majority of Canadians supported the Cabinet's action,...
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