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War Measures Act

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War Measures Act
"The measure of a country's greatness is its ability to retain compassion in times of crisis." (Marshall, 1970). Pierre Trudeau took a forceful stand against Québec nationalists because he disliked the idea of separatism. On October 1970, the FLQ kidnapped British diplomat James Cross, for the release of FLQ members serving prison sentences. (Pearson Canada Inc., 2016). Québec Premier Robert Bourassa agreed to most of the demands but refused to release and FLQ prisoners. Québec Labour Minister Pierre LaPorte was then kidnapped by the FLQ members. Trudeau took drastic action and imposed the War Measures Act. The FLQ became an illegal act and separatist Québécois were arrested and held without charge. After all the rights legislation that had …show more content…
The War Measures act granted police the power to arrest and detain individuals without warrants constituted of a serious violation of Québec’s civil liberties. On October 16th, a state of "apprehended insurrection" was declared to exist in Québec. Emergency regulations were proclaimed in response to two kidnappings by the FLQ. They kidnapped British trade commissioner James Cross, and kidnapped and murdered Quebec Labour Minister Pierre Laporte. As authorities grappled with the crisis, more than 450 people were detained under the powers of the Act; most were later released without the laying or hearing of charges (Smith, 2013). Pierre Trudeau wanted to refine and limit the applications of the Act in crises, but by the time of defeat, the Act had not been modified. (Smith, 2013). Prime Minister Trudeau was acting within his power as head of the Canadian government and at the specific request of the Premier of Québec, Robert Bourassa. Polls conducted at the time indicated that the overwhelming majority of both English and French-speaking Canadians and Québecers supported the use of the War Measures Act in protection of the public. (Faulkner, 2013). To many supporters of Québécois nationalism, the abduction of a foreign diplomat and the murder of a government minister represented a dangerous escalation in the …show more content…
At the time it has affected Canadians in Québec and especially for the prime minister Pierre Trudeau. First of all Québec did not become its own independent country, and the left wing parties lost a lot of support (Katlin, 2012). This Crisis was one of Canada's first real terrorist acts, it was also the first domestic use of the War Measures Act, which lead to the improved of the entire act. The government learnt more on how to prevent the same events from happening in the future because of the attack. Since the FLQ was a political-left wing party, the events of the Crisis caused many Canadians to lose support for the FLQ after the kidnappings and various attacks (Katlin, 2012). In addition, this was also one of Pierre Trudeau's well known accomplishments and he gained support from many Canadians for the way he handled the entire October Crisis. Trudeau also initiated the War Measures Act during the Crisis to help end it, which led to the creation of the Emergencies Act, which was a more limited and refined version of the War Measures Act (Katlin, 2012). The October Crisis benefitted Canada greatly. Much has changed since, and these events are seen as unfortunate aspects of history. We are in a new age, where we can find information more quickly and use the technology of surveillance to find evidence of crimes occurring. This is still a

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