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October Crisis: 50 years on

SeaKingTacco

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I am certain that M. Blanchet will be happy, for his part, to apologize for the Murder M. Laporte and the kidnapping of Mr. Cross. You know- the acts that sparked the War Measures Act....
 

Haggis

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Old Sweat

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Maybe I am showing my age by thumping a pedantic drum, but the invocation of the War Measures Act and the deployment of troops in Quebec were two separate, but related, acts. The deployment of troops was in response to a requisition of military support by the Attorney General of Quebec under Part XI of the National Defence Act. The use of the War Measures Act was a Federal action that, because of the wording of the act, took effect across the country. And the deployment of troops in Ottawa was a third action involving support to Federal authority. And martial law was not imposed, as there is no authority for it under Canadian law. The civil authorities were in charge throughout.

By the way, things were getting pretty chaotic in Quebec. There had been a pro-independence rally in Montreal attended by thousands, in which they for the transfer of power to the people and acceptance of the FLQ demands. This certainly played a part in causing the government to impose the act. At least that was my reading of events then, and there has been little to change my mind since.

A sidebar, and perhaps FJAG also recalls this, the Feds were most annoyed when a mayor in BC, perhaps in Vancouver, used the War Measures Act to clean out a "hippie colony" in one area of his city. Technically he was acting within his authority under the act, but rather than being as right as rain, he was just about as wrong as freezing rain.
 

mariomike

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Old Sweat said:
A sidebar, and perhaps FJAG also recalls this, the Feds were most annoyed when a mayor in BC, perhaps in Vancouver, used the War Measures Act to clean out a "hippie colony" in one area of his city. Technically he was acting within his authority under the act, but rather than being as right as rain, he was just about as wrong as freezing rain.

See also, Vancouver Mayor Tom Campbell
https://www.google.com/search?sxsrf=ALeKk00RIcsH5IVs-vauFtTbSBQqv0vDbA%3A1604056964345&ei=hPebX_LZFLKvytMPi5eXmAU&q=%22tom+campbell%22+%22war+measures+act%22+mayor+Vancouver&oq=%22tom+campbell%22+%22war+measures+act%22+mayor+Vancouver&gs_lcp=CgZwc3ktYWIQDFCrkgVYjaQFYPu4BWgAcAB4AIAB3wGIAYwHkgEFMC42LjGYAQCgAQGqAQdnd3Mtd2l6wAEB&sclient=psy-ab&ved=0ahUKEwjyq7zsmdzsAhWyl3IEHYvLBVMQ4dUDCAw#spf=1604057056167

 

Good2Golf

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Old Sweat said:
A sidebar, and perhaps FJAG also recalls this, the Feds were most annoyed when a mayor in BC, perhaps in Vancouver, used the War Measures Act to clean out a "hippie colony" in one area of his city. Technically he was acting within his authority under the act, but rather than being as right as rain, he was just about as wrong as freezing rain.

They can probably count their blessings.  I had an old SM tell me about his time in the CAR and their being put on standby to be deployed to Vancouver to ‘resolve the issue’...they were stood down before deploying.
 

Blackadder1916

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SeaKingTacco said:
I am certain that M. Blanchet will be happy, for his part, to apologize for the Murder M. Laporte and the kidnapping of Mr. Cross. You know- the acts that sparked the War Measures Act....

To put on my oft used pedantic hat, the "murder" of M. Laporte was not one of the acts that sparked the imposition of the War Measures Act (WMA).  The cabinet made the decision to invoke the WMA on 16 October 1970 and it came into effect at 0400 hrs the following day.  M. Laporte, who had been kidnapped a week earlier, was murdered on 17 October and his body found later that day.

What part did M. Blanchet, who was five years old at the time, play in the events being discussed and for which he should apologize?  You may disagree with his politics, but that is what he is playing (which is his job) and his audience are his constituents back home.  It is made relatively more juicy by the ancestry of the current PM (whose politics you may also disagree with), but there is precedent for requesting an apology for governmental overstepping due to the WMA.  In 1988, the PM (Mr. Harper Mulroney) apologized on behalf of the Government of Canada for the abuses permitted by the WMA against Japanese Canadians during the Second World War.  It only took a little over 40 years for that to happen.

While I'm not equating the grievances of Quebecois about the legal system abuses of 1970 to the internment of Japanese Canadians and the confiscation of their property, the abuses of 1970 have been documented.  It is questionable whether the response to the events of October 1970 required the invocation of the War Measures Act.  While I remember October 1970, the effects on a high school student in Newfoundland were nil, it's probably a different story for a Quebecois of similar (or earlier) vintage.

Along with the discussion of the political climate of the era with a history of acts of violence by the FLQ (the effectiveness of which has been questioned), one should remember what was likely a underlying mindset of many parts of Canada (compare to similar views of 1941-45) that is well articulated by Chantal Hébert in this article from 2015 when other "anti-terrorist" legislation was being contemplated.

https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2015/03/10/conservatives-risk-trapping-themselves-in-own-web-of-fear-hbert.html
The other lesson is that it is a slippery slope that links collective fear with the selective fear of minority communities.

There was a time, not so long ago in this country, when it was fashionable in some quarters to suggest that if one scratched the surface of a francophone Canadian one would likely find a Quebec nationalist and, under that veneer, a separatist, and, below that latter surface, a potential terrorist.

It is on the basis of that dubious rationale that scores of law-abiding Quebecers were arrested without cause under the War Measures Act in the fall of 1970 and that Canada’s security services gave themselves a licence to play dirty tricks on legal organizations such as the Parti Québécois over the same period.

It was not limited to Quebec. When École secondaire Étienne-Brûlé, Toronto’s first French-language public high school opened in 1970, some of its opponents — including a few North York neighbours — considered it little more than a training school for terrorists!
 

Blackadder1916

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CloudCover said:
Mulroney in 1988 re: Japanese apology.

Aluminum mess tin syndrome and incomplete review before posting.  Have corrected.  Thank you.


(Mr. Harper, on behalf of the Government of Canada, apologized for Residential Schools, not an excuse but an explanation how incomplete memory works)
 

FJAG

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Old Sweat said:
A sidebar, and perhaps FJAG also recalls this, the Feds were most annoyed when a mayor in BC, perhaps in Vancouver, used the War Measures Act to clean out a "hippie colony" in one area of his city. Technically he was acting within his authority under the act, but rather than being as right as rain, he was just about as wrong as freezing rain.

Interesting. I don't recall this but being deployed in the streets of Montreal as the time I was slightly preoccupied with local issues.  ;D

:cheers:
 

Blackadder1916

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James Cross, British diplomat who survived FLQ kidnapping, dead at 99​

Trade commissioner's kidnapping 50 years ago set October Crisis in motion
The British diplomat whose kidnapping in 1970 by radical Quebec separatists triggered the October Crisis has died. James Richard Cross was 99.

His death, from COVID-19, was confirmed Wednesday by his son-in-law, John Stringer.

Cross spent 59 days in captivity after armed members of the Front de libération du Québec barged into his Montreal home on Oct. 5, 1970.

A Polaroid taken by the FLQ of Cross playing solitaire while sitting on a crate ostensibly full of dynamite is among the most iconic photos in Canadian history, representative of the moment when Quebec appeared to be teetering on the brink of insurrection.

Throughout the ordeal, however, Cross displayed a sense of calm that often impressed his kidnappers, and may have ensured his survival.

"Cross was calmer than us," Jacques Lanctôt, who headed the FLQ cell that kidnapped him, told a CBC podcast last year.

Cross acknowledged afterward he had tried to remain friendly with his captors, joking with them and inquiring about their political beliefs. But that, he recalled, was merely a survival tactic.

"I hated the lot of them and would have cheerfully killed them if the opportunity arose," the diplomat said in an 1995 account of the kidnapping that is part of an oral history project at Cambridge University.

. . .
 
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