of Quebec History
23 August 2000
of the October Crisis, 1970, and its Aftermath
Department of History,
police patrol car investigating a suspicious rented
truck found in it a sawed-off gun, a basket large enough
to contain a grown man and in the pocket of Jacques Lanctôt,
one of the kidnappers of James Cross, a press release
indicating that Moshe Golan, the Israeli trade consul
in Montreal, had been kidnapped. The two men involved
were charged with illegal possession of a weapon and,
later, with conspiracy to kidnap. Both were released on
bail, whereupon they disappeared.
on an informers tip, police raided a cottage in
Prévost. Aside from finding four men and two women,
they found 150 leaflets which stated that Harrison Burgess,
the United States Consul-General in Montreal had been
kidnapped. The kidnapping had been planned for July
4. The terms for the ransom were very similar to those
demanded during the October Crisis. Charges against
the individuals involved were still pending at the time
of the October Crisis.
of the "October
crisis". James Cross, British Trade Commissioner
was kidnapped at 8.15 a.m. by two armed men. By three
p.m. in the afternoon, ransom notes had been received.
They identified the abductors as the Liberation cell of
the Front de Libération du Québec [FLQ; the Liberation
cell included Louise Lanctôt and her husband Jacques
Cossette-Trudel, Marc Carbonneau, Jacques Lanctôt and
Pierre Seguin. Knowledge of a sixth individual will surface
later]. A list of demands was given for the safe release
of James Cross. These were the release of 23 "political
prisoners", payment of $500,000 in gold, the broadcast
and the publication of the FLQ manifesto, publication
of the names of the police informants of terrorist activities,
the provision of an aircraft to take the kidnappers to a safe haven, in
Cuba or Algeria, the rehiring of the Lapalme postal truck
drivers and cessation of all police search activities.
this day were issued communiqués numbered 1-2 of the
Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau declared
that any decision regarding the demands of the terrorists
would be taken jointly by the federal government and the
government of Quebec. Mitchell Sharp, Minister of External
Affairs, qualified the demands as "wholly unreasonable".
Premier Robert Bourassa approved
of the federal tough stance. Notes from the FLQ started
to be received by radio station CKAC with death threats
to Cross if the demands were not met. Several newspapers
published the FLQ manifesto on this day although it was
not published in its entirety by the anglophone press
in Canada. According to Bernard Dagenais [La crise
doctobre et les médias: le miroir à dix faces,
Montreal, VLB, 279p., pp. 135-137] the federal government
made attempts to influence the media in not publishing
the Manifesto. The Liberation cell issued its communiqué number 3.
raids started at dawn and netted 30 arrests. Jérome Choquette,
Quebec Minister of Justice, stated that he was available
and opened for negotiations "at any time". Further
threats to Cross life were received by radio stations.
The FLQ manifesto was read on CKAC radio station. Communiqué number
4 from the Liberation cell.
an apparent desire to diminish tension, the FLQ manifesto
was read on the French national television [Radio Canada]
network in a monotone voice by Gaétan Montreuil. An FLQ
deadline passed without further consequences. Communiqué number 5 of the Liberation cell.
started to develop as to the advisability of making concessions
to the FLQ to secure Cross release. Support for
a conciliatory position was expressed by Claude Ryan,
publisher of Le Devoir. Proof was furnished that
Cross was still alive as this had been demanded by Jérôme
Choquette. A new deadline, one of many to come, was set
by the FLQ. Communiqués number 6-7 of the Liberation cell.
Robert Bourassa returned from a trip to New York where
he was promoting investment into Quebec. It should be
noted that the "crisis" has not been deemed
sufficiently important for the Premier to have cancelled
his trip. René Lévesque, leader of the Parti Québécois,
appealed to the kidnappers, in a newspaper article, to
abandon violence. Jérome Choquette agreed to provide a
safe-conduct out of Canada to the terrorists if they released
Cross unharmed. However, he rejected the demand for the
release of the "political prisoners".. At 6.00
p.m., the latest deadline announced by the terrorists
passed. Within an hour, Pierre Laporte, provincial Minister
of Labour, was kidnapped at his house by two masked men
from the Chénier cell[the Chénier cell contained Jacques
and Paul Rose, Francis Simard and Bernard Lortie]. From
this day on, the October crisis took a quantum leap in
raids were conducted by the police on that day. Communiqués
threatening death for Laporte were issued if all six demands
of the FLQ were not met. The hardening of the tone suggests
that the terrorists holding Laporte might be more radical
than those holding Cross. A letter was sent by Laporte
to Bourassa pleading for the Premier to save Laportes
life. In his letter to the Premier, Laporte reminded Bourassa
that he was the last adult male in his family, having
responsibilities not only for his own children but those
of his brother as well. The tone of the letter was emotional
and addressed personally to his friend Robert. The federal
and provincial authorities agreed that their priority
was the safe release of the two hostages. Authorities
in Quebec were flooded with requests for protection. Communiqués
n. 1-3 of the Chénier cell.
conciliatory communiqué was received from the FLQ cell
holding Cross [Liberation cell]. It indicated that the
freedom of the two hostages could be obtained if the 23
political prisoners were released and if safe conducts
out of the country were provided. It appears that this
communiqué was written as much to influence the other
FLQ cell [Chénier cell] holding Laporte as to inform the
authorities. The conflicting demands of the FLQ cells
suggested that either there was disagreement between them
and/or that they were not in communication with each other.
On this day, soldiers were despatched to take positions
in Ottawa to protect individuals and sites. Robert Demers,
Treasurer for the Liberal Party of Quebec, was appointed
to meet and negotiate with Robert Lemieux, the representative
of the FLQ. Lemieux was a lawyer that was well known for
defending FLQ members in Court. Rumours of activities
of a third cell [Nelson cell] surfaced on that day; these
later proved to be a hoax. Laporte sends a letter to
his wife. Communiqués no 4-5 of the Chénier cell and
no. 8 of the Liberation cell.
were held between the two appointed negotiators; the talks
failed at the end of the day. Lemieux declared that his
mandate was over. René Lévesque urged the provincial government
to accept the demands of the terrorists to save the lives
of the hostages. Police forces in Quebec reported that
they had received a great deal of tips on the FLQ. It
was on this day that answering questions and comments
put to him by CBCs Tim Ralfe and Peter Reilly of
Trudeau declared: "Yes, well there are a lot
of bleeding hearts around who just dont like to
see people with helmets and guns. All I can say is, go
on and bleed, but it is more important to keep law and
order in the society than to be worried about weak-kneed
people who dont like the looks of..." He further
added: "I think the society must take every means
at its disposal to defend itself against the emergence
of a parallel power which defies the elected power in
this country and I think that this goes to any distance"..
Challenged to state just how far he would go, Trudeau
stated defiantly: "Well, just watch me".
were held with Postmaster General, Jean-Pierre Côté, regarding
the Lapalme postal workers. A joint communiqué was received
from the FLQ cells; this suggested that they had been
in contact. Lemieux received a free hand to negotiate
on behalf of the two cells. A spokesman for the Premiers
office indicated that 6,000 soldiers of the Valcartier
base could be summoned for protection. Rumours circulated
that the provincial government was in disagreement as
to what should be done about the crisis. In the evening,
a statement signed by 16 Quebec personalities [including
René Lévesque, Claude Ryan of Le Devoir, Louis
Laberge, President of the Quebec Federation of Labour,
Yvon Charbonneau, President of the Centrale des enseignants
du Québec, Marcel Pépin, President of the Confédération
des Syndicats Nationaux, Jacques Parizeau, future leader
of the PQ and later Premier of Quebec, and university
professors Fernand Dumont, Guy Rocher and Marcel Rioux
etc.] urged the provincial government to negotiate with
superhuman effort "despite and against all obstruction
from outside of Quebec" the end of an affair that
is "primarily a Quebec drama".. On this day,
the flood of communiques, the press conferences, the rumours
of arms caches and bomb scares reached a pitch unsurpassed
to this day. A special federal cabinet meeting was held
to discuss how the situation could be met, including possibly
the War Measures Act.
Communiqué n. 9 of the Liberation cell.
2h.00pm, Premier Robert Bourassa announced that he had
asked the Canadian authorities to send into Quebec the
Canadian army to assist the civil authorities in ensuring "the safety of the people and public buildings",
as the regular police forces were overwhelmed by the
magnitude of the task facing them. Such a request was
made under the terms of the Aid to Civil Authorities,
a part of the National Defense Act. Within less than
one hour, about 1,000 men of the Royal 22nd Regiment
arrived in Montreal to occupy key positions in the city.
Further troops were deployed in the following days.
the evening, a rally of about 3,000 students was held
at a Montreal arena. The students urged the governments
to negotiate with the kidnappers. At the meeting, many
expressed sympathy with the cause of the FLQ. This boisterous
show of support for the FLQ worried the authorities
and was raised frequently afterwards to justify the
invocation of the War Measures Act..
9h.00pm, an announcement, in Quebec City, by a government
official, indicated that the provincial government was
prepared to recommend the release on parole of 5 of
the so-called "political prisoners" who were
eligible for such a parole. The government also offered
to the FLQ kidnappers that, if the hostages were safely
returned, a safe-conduct out of Canada would be given
to the kidnappers.
the early dawn, as the deadline set by Premier Bourassa
had run out, and no word had been received from the FLQ,
Prime Minister Trudeau announced the imposition of the
War Measures Act. The preamble of the Order-in-Council
to accompany the Act stated that "conclusive evidence
that insurrection, real or apprehended, exists, and has
existed". According to the government, the Act was
further justified as it was requested by letters by Premier Bourassa,
the civic authorities of Montreal and the police force
of Montreal. [There is conclusive evidence that the
letters were sent to the federal government upon that
government having requested it]. In his statement to the
House of Commons, Trudeau emphasised that "the government
had no responsible choice but to act as it did",
he also added that "the fate of the two kidnapped
hostages weighs very heavily in my mind".. In the
discussions which followed this statement in the House,
little in the way of objection was presented except
by NDP leader, T. C. Douglas, who thought the government
had used "a sledgehammer to crack a peanut".
the regulations issued under the
War Measures Act, the Front de Libération du Québec
was declared an unlawful association. A person who was
a member to this group, acted or supported it in some
fashion became liable to a jail term not to exceed five
years [s. 4]. A person arrested for such a purpose could
be held without bail for up to ninety days [s. 6]. In
the absence of evidence to the contrary, proof that
you are a member of the unlawful association is shown
by attending a meeting of the FLQ, to speak publicly
"in advocacy" of the unlawful association
or to communicate statements on behalf of the FLQ.
was widespread editorial approval of the action taken
by the federal government; only Claude Ryan, in Le Devoir,
condemned it as did René Lévesque, leader of the
Parti Québécois. Polls taken shortly afterwards,
showed that there was as much as 92% approval for the
action taken by the Federal government.
48 hours of the proclamation of the War Measures Act,
over 250 people were arrested. Among them were some of
the better known labour leaders, entertainers and writers
in the province. Thirty-six of those arrested were members
of the Parti Québécois. By October 31, the number arrested
passed 400. The police is reported to have carried out
1,628 raids by October 20. By the end of the year, 468
will have been arrested. Eventually 408 will be released
without charges being laid; only two people were sentenced.
It was difficult for family members to find out about
those arrested and to get in touch with them. Sometimes,
people were held incommunicado for days although the Minister
of Justice of Quebec, Jérôme Choquette, declared on October
21 that all families of those arrested had been informed.
Over the next few days, various cases of censorship were
registered, especially on Canadian university campuses
where several student newspapers attempted to publish
the FLQ manifesto and sometimes planned to support it
and/or to condemn the use of the War Measures Act. This
was the case at the University of Guelph, the University
of Lethbridge, St. Marys University, Memorial University.
Censorship was not systematic as at least seven different
university papers succeeded in publishing the FLQ manifesto.
a communiqué issued by the
Liberation cell holding James Cross at 10h.00 AM, the
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 only be executed if the "fascist police"
discovered them and tried to intervene. The communiqué
indicated that the Chénier cell was studying the case
of Laporte. Aside from informing the authorities on the
fate of Cross, the purpose of the communiqué was to influence
the Chénier cell in following the same course of action
as that taken by the Liberation cell. Again, this underscores
that the cells were acting independently, without co-ordination.
However, the authorities did not make this communiqué public until December 8.
body of Pierre Laporte was found in the trunk of a car,
near the St-Hubert airport on the south shore of Montreal.
It appeared that he had been killed, on October 17, in
retaliation for the invocation of the War Measures Act.
Another interpretation of the event that has surfaced
since is that, sensing that his position was now hopeless
with the invocation of the War Measures Act, Pierre Laporte
attempted to flee and that, in the scuffle that ensued,
he was killed. A universal reaction of revulsion and shock
was felt over the murder of Pierre Laporte.
in the day, warrants for the arrest of Marc Carbonneau
and Paul Rose were issues.
Laporte is buried.
a statement to Jack Webster, a vocal radio host working
out of Vancouver, Jean Marchand, an important cabinet
minister from Quebec in the Trudeau government, equated
the opposition party [FRAP] to Montreal Mayor Jean Drapeau
to the FLQ. According to author John Saywell, the statement
of Marchand "fed the belief among the left that the
act had been designed to crush not the FLQ but the nationalist
and leftist opposition to the governments in Ottawa, Quebec
City and Montreal" [Quebec 70: A Documentary Narrative,
Toronto, University of Toronto Press, 1971, p. 113].
warrants were issued for the arrest of Francis Simard,
Bernard Lortie and Jacques Rose.
a heavy turnout, Montreal Mayor, Jean Drapeau, defeated
FRAP in the municipal elections. Drapeau received 92%
of the votes.
under the War Measures Act are given access to legal counsel
for the first time.
three page letter was received from the Liberation cell
holding Cross. This document was apparently in answer
to the appeal of Mrs Cross that she hears news of her
committee of the Quebec Civil Liberties Union begins its
visits of the detainees under the War Measures Act. Mrs Cross sends an appeal
to her husband and to the FLQ on radio.
this day, the governments of Canada and Quebec jointly
offered a reward of $150,000 for information that would
lead to the arrest of the kidnappers. The highlight of
the day was the replacement of the original regulation
issued under the War Measures Act by a new
Public Order Temporary Measures Act, 1970.. These
new regulations were to apply until April 30, 1971. They
outlawed the FLQ and continued to provide for jail terms
of up to five years for membership in it and for those
assisting the kidnappers. A person could be held for three
days without charge; this period could be extended to
seven days upon the request of the Attorney-General of
the province. Those arrested could have immediate access
to their lawyer. No such provision had existed in the
original regulation. The new regulation was approved in
the House of Commons by a vote of 152 to 1. The lone dissenter
was David MacDonald, Progressive Conservative member from
Egmont who felt that the War Measures Act had had "very
detrimental effects". On the third reading of the
bill, there will be more dissenters. In a series of polls
conducted over the next few weeks, public support for
the course of action undertaken by the Government of Canada
continued to be overwhelming (72 to 84% approval rate).
In a poll conducted on December 19 by the Canadian Institute
of Public Opinion, Canadians indicated that their opinion
of Trudeau, Bourassa, Caouette and Robarts, who had all
expressed strong support for the War Measures Act, was
more favourable than before, while their view of Stanfield
and Douglas, who had expressed reservations for the Act,
was less favourable than previously.
Hébert, president of the Quebec civil Liberties Union,
declared that a three persons committee had visited
about half of the 118 prisoners detained under the War
Measures Act. He reported that none had been tortured,
although some had complained that they had been subjected
to questioning techniques that were "absolutely
number of arraignments in courts were held on this day.
The more noteworthy were those of Michel Chartrand, a
labour leader, Robert Lemieux, the lawyer of the FLQ,
Pierre Vallières, author of Nègres Blancs dAmérique,
and with co-accused Charles Gagnon, the intellectual leader
of the FLQ, as well as Jacques Larue-Langlois, a former
radio producer for the CBC. By November 13, 46 people
will have been charged for crimes related to the kidnappings.
police raid on the hiding place of the members of the
Chénier cell led to the arrest of Bernard Lortie. However,
most of the members of the cell got away by hiding behind
a false wall in a closet of the apartment! They escaped
the next day through the back door.
of the Coroners inquest into the circumstances of
the death of Pierre Laporte.
Choquette, provincial Justice Minister, asked the army
to remain in Quebec for another 30 days. He declared that
removing the army would be premature, as the FLQ still
constituted a threat to Quebec society. According to Defence
Minister, Donald Macdonald, the number of troops deployed
in Ottawa, Montreal and Quebec would have reached 7,500.
By November 9, that number was decreased by 25%.
about the FLQ is giving way to other stories on the front
pages of the newspapers. The major items appearing in
the press concerned the coroners inquest into the
circumstances surrounding the death of Pierre Laporte
and the testimony given by the arrested FLQ members.
letter, written on November 15, confirms that James Cross
is still alive.
Cross was freed by police action from his eight-by-14
room on des Récollets Street in Montreal North. Negotiations
with the abductors led to his release and their obtaining
a safe-conduct to Cuba in exchange. For eight days, the
RCMP had been occupying the apartment directly above the
one used by the kidnappers. Upon examination at the Montreal
Jewish General Hospital, Cross was declared fit although
he had lost 22 pounds during his 60 days ordeal.
Cross reported that his captors had been courteous, and
that they had not physically mistreated him.
Minister, John Turner, declared that those exiled to Cuba
would be so for life.
Minister Trudeau announced that all troops would be withdrawn
from Quebec by January 4, 1971.
and Jacques Rose and Francis Simard were arrested in a
farmhouse near St. Luc, southeast of Montreal.
the conclusion of the coroners inquest, Paul and
Jacques Rose, Francis Simard and Bernard Lortie were all
charged with kidnapping and murder. Other people were
to be charged for seditious conspiracy, membership in
the FLQ or being accessories after the fact. Some of them,
including Michel Chartrand, were to be condemned for contempt
Marceau, provincial ombudsman, declared that he had received
to date 95 complaints resulting from the War Measures
Act. The complaints fell into three categories: damage
to property done during police raids, conditions of detention
and injuries suffered. By March 12, the number of complaints
received reached 171.
Turner tabled a report on the application of the War Measures
Act. According to the report, 497 persons were arrested
under the War Measures Act. Of these, 435 were released
and the other 62 were charged, 32 were without bail.
Justice Roger Ouimet threw out the conspiracy charges
against Michel Chartrand, Robert Lemieux, Pierre Vallières,
Charles Gagnon and Jacques Larue-Langlois. The five still
face charges of being members of the FLQ.
conspiracy charges, dating back to January 1, 1968 were
laid against Pierre Vallières, Charles Gagnon and Jacques
Choquette announced that Quebec would provide compensation
of up to a total of $30,000 for persons unjustly arrested
under the War Measures Act.
Rose was sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder
of Pierre Laporte.
Turner announced that the government does not intend to
ask for an extension when the Public Order Act runs out
on April 30. This was to be so, despite the request by
Premier Robert Bourassa that the deadline be extended.
strong exchange took place in the House of Commons over
the advisability of establishing a new Public Order law
for the future. David Lewis, New Democratic Party leader,
accused the government of having deceived Canadians into
supporting the War Measures Act in the first place.
Simard was sentenced to life imprisonment for his part
in the murder of Pierre Laporte.
Gagnon and Jacques Larue-Langlois were both acquitted
of the seditious conspiracy charges brought against them.
They both still face charges of belonging to the FLQ.
Marceau, Quebecs provincial ombudsman, reported
to the National Assembly that he had found 103 of the
238 complaints arising from the application of the War
Measures Act to have been justified. These could give
rise to compensation.
laid against 32 people were announced to be suspended.
This measure was made necessary by the poor conviction
record achieved by the prosecution.
a joint news conference, some of the people who had seen
their charges suspended demanded to have their day in
court; they feared that the charges could be reopened
at a later date. Jérôme Choquette denied that this would
be the case.
Lortie was found guilty of kidnapping Pierre Laporte.
Sentencing was set at a later date.
reported having broken a new FLQ cell. Seven people were
arrested; one of the people involved was reported to be
a member of the Black Panther movement.
parade was held in Montreal on the anniversary of the
War Measures Act. The crowd was estimated at 3,500. This
was somewhat less than expected.
Lortie was sentenced to 20 years of jail for his part
in the kidnapping of Pierre Laporte.
Rose was sentenced to life imprisonment for his part in
the kidnapping of Pierre Laporte.
a 27 page document, printed in Le Devoir, Pierre
Vallières announced that he had left the FLQ, and renounced
the use of terrorism in favour of standard political activities
with the Parti Québécois. He was to expand on this in
a book written shortly after [L'urgence de choisir, Montréal, Parti-Pris, 1971].
report from the Globe and Mail indicated that the
federal cabinet had discussed, as early as May 7, 1970,
the possibility of using the War Measures Act "in
some circumstances of domestic unrest".
Vallières who had been in hiding ever since September
1971 gave himself up to police. He was released on January
25 and had to appear in court at a later date .
trial of Jacques Rose on kidnapping charges begins.
15 hours of deliberation, the jury, in the Jacques Rose
case of the kidnapping of James Cross, declared itself
unable to reach a unanimous decision.
Vallières received a one-year suspended sentence on three
charges of counselling kidnapping for political purposes.
The judge also set six conditions for his release. The
prosecution had dropped seven of the ten charges pending
a 17 hour deliberation by the jury, over a three day period,
Jacques Rose was acquitted of the kidnapping of Pierre
Laporte. According to prosecution sources, the witness
required to sentence Jacques Rose, Bernard Lortie, refused
to testify. Lortie was sentenced to five months in jail
for refusing to testify.
Rose was arraigned to face two more charges: assisting
kidnappers after the fact, and forcible confinement of
Rose was acquitted of the murder of Pierre Laporte. The
jury deliberated for 13 hours. The trial, which began
on January 9, saw 66 witnesses called, although all the
main actors in the kidnapping drama refused to testify
and for which they were cited for contempt of court. Mr.
Justice Claude Bisson declared that since Jacques Rose
had been acquitted of both the kidnapping and the murder
of Pierre Laporte "I do not think I would be justified
in denying the conditional liberty of Jacques Rose"..
Other charges are still pending against Rose.
the protest of Robert Lemieux, Paul Roses lawyer,
three charges pending against Rose were suspended [nolle
prosequi; under its terms, a charge may be raised
later]. The charges included: belonging to the FLQ and
advocating the use of violence.
Yvon Mignault ruled that the jury selection in the conspiracy
trial of Jacques Rose was illegal as irregularities were
committed by the deputy sheriff in drawing up the list.
Rose was convicted of being an accessory after the fact
in the kidnapping of Pierre Laporte. On July 27, he was
sentenced to eight years in prison. Roses lawyer,
Robert Lemieux, was sentence to two and one half years
of jail for contempt of court arising from various incidents
at this trial.
Toronto Star reported that the Quebec Provincial
Police had gathered evidence that implicated Paul Rose
within hours of the kidnapping of Pierre Laporte. The
investigation would have been stalled by authorities.
The article also raised various questions about statements
made by the authorities during the October crisis.
the allegations made by the Toronto Star, as well
as by other newspapers, Le Devoir called for the
appointment of a Commission of Inquiry to investigate
the circumstances of the death of Pierre Laporte. Among
other things, Le Devoir wished to see investigated
rumours of association of the Liberal Party with organised
crime. Earlier in July, it had been disclosed that police
reports involved Laporte in dealings with organised crime.
There were reports that the intent of the FLQ was not
to kill Laporte but to make him sign a declaration admitting
Liberal links to organised crime. Robert Bourassa declared,
on August 7, that such allegations would be sent to the
Commission of Inquiry into organised crime.
four declarations submitted to a Sessions Court judge,
Jacques Lanctôt and Robert Lemieux charge that the political
prisoners are mistreated by police and that a confession
by Paul Rose has been fabricated.
Quebec Court of Appeal rejected the appeal of Jacques
Rose for his conviction of July 17, 1973.
a news conference, Pierre E. Trudeau declared that Canada
had no intention of seeking the extradition of the FLQ
members who had gone to Cuba now that some of them have
turned up in France. Reports are that Marc Carbonneau
and Jacques Lanctôt are in Paris. A report from the Canadian
embassy in Paris, on June 26, indicated that Yves Langlois,
also charged with the kidnapping of James Cross, was also
Stanfield, leader of the Opposition, demanded that Trudeau
release the details of the agreement struck in 1970 to
obtain the release of James Cross.
and Louise Cossette-Trudel, both charged with kidnapping
James Cross, having left Cuba, also turned up in Paris.
148 page report, submitted by the Quebec commission into
organised crime, found no evidence that there were links
of Pierre Laporte with organised crime. The allegations
were based on a meeting held, April 16, 1970, only a few
days before the provincial elections, and where Laporte
met underworld individuals to discuss the elections. The
Commission found that Laporte had been unaware of the
character of the individuals he met. It also severely
criticised René Gagnon, a Liberal Party candidate, for
his relations with alleged criminals.
Vallières launched his new book entitled The assassination
of Pierre Laporte. In his book, he emphasised the
important role played by the authorities in the death
of Laporte. There is speculation that a provincial enquiry
may be established to look into the crisis. On March 11,
Pierre E, Trudeau indicated that the federal government
would co-operate fully if such an inquiry was established
by the provincial government.
senior police officers, one from the RCMP and the others
from the Quebec Provincial police and the Montreal police,
were unconditionally discharged after pleading guilty
to a break-in into lAgence de Presse Libre du Québec
in 1972. The government of Quebec ordered an inquiry into
the affair. According to Ed Broadbent, leader of the NDP,
based on the information of Jack Ramsey who retired from
the RCMP in 1971, the 1972 break-in was not an isolated
incident. This was the beginning of the investigation
into the police "dirty tricks" campaigns of
the early 1970s. An Inquiry, to be known as the
Keable Inquiry, was created to investigate these matters.
federal government announced the creation of a Royal Commission
to look into the illegal activities of the RCMP. The three
man commission was to be headed by Mr. Justice David C.
McDonald of the Supreme Court of Alberta.
Cullen, federal immigration minister, expressed doubt
that the federal government would grant a pardon to FLQ
members [the Cossette-Trudel in particular] if they returned
to Canada. He pointed out that they would likely face
criminal charges upon their return.
a news conference held in Quebec City, René Lévesque said
that he was considering a request for pardon for Jacques
and Louise Cossette-Trudel. Lévesque noted that they had
been in exile for almost seven years and that they had
not committed violence "in the sense of what happened
to Mr. Laporte".
Sollicitor-General of Canada, Francis Fox, admitted that
the RCMP had participated in two illegal acts: the burning
of a barn and the theft of dynamite in the Montreal area.
Fox had already admitted, on October 28, that computer
tapes containing the names of the members of the Parti
Québécois had been taken by the RCMP in 1973.
Keable Inquiry into illegal police activities made two
requests for documentation to the federal government.
Such documents were made available.
federal government is considering appealing a decision
of a ruling by Chief Justice James Hugesson who refused
to suspend the Keable Inquiry as the federal government
had wished. The federal government was increasingly upset
by the desire of the Keable inquiry to look into day-to-day
operations of the RCMP, rather than investigating specific
incidents. Francis Fox wished for the Commission to be
declared unconstitutional. The issue of constitutionality
was settled against the federal government by another
decision of Justice Hugesson on December 9. The judge
declared that the commission was doing work "essential
in our democratic society".
RCMP officer declared, before the Keable inquiry, that
the force suspected the Cubans to be helping the FLQ in
the early 1970s.
of hearings in Montreal of the McDonald Commission. Various
admissions and charges are made, including that the RCMP
carried out a system of interception of mail between 1970
and 1975. 92 letters would have been intercepted.
Fox failed again before the Courts to stop the Keable
a year end interview with Bruce Phillips, from CTV, Trudeau
declared that he would not hesitate to invoke the War
Measures Act if Quebec tried to separate illegally.
Lanctôt and Jacques Cossette Trudel, from exile in Paris,
sent a letter to Le Devoir claiming that they would
not get a fair trial if they returned to Canada. In their
view, they were already condemned by politicians and the
media. They asked to be able to return without having
to face charges. They claimed that the RCMP and the federal
government committed, in the name of national security,
acts as illegal as those they had committed themselves.
allegations are made by Donald Cobb before the McDonald
Commission. On January 9, Francis Fox admitted that
Cobb, Chief Superintendant for the RCMP, had issued a
fake FLQ communiqué urging violence to secure the independence
is presented at the Keable Commission created by the provincial
government of Quebec to investigate the action of the
police forces. Discussion centres on whether or not Sollicitor-General
Goyer knew about the break-in at Quebec-Presse by police
presented at the Keable inquiry about Operation Ham which
involved the theft of computer tapes containing the list
of members of the Parti Québécois by the RCMP.
the Keable Commission, John Starnes, formerly head of
the security service for the RCMP, claimed that one of
the reasons for the police illegal search of the Parti
Québécois offices and for the theft of the membership
list of the party was suspicion that the PQ had channelled,
through a Swiss bank account, $200,000 of foreign donations
to the party.
Allmand, federal Solicitor General for Canada between
1972 and 1976, testified before the Keable inquiry. He
claimed that the RCMP assured him they did not open mail.
Quebec Court of Appeal ruled the Keable inquiry to be
unconstitutional. The Court decided that the Inquiry did
not have the right to force the federal government to
hand over documents.
McDonald royal commission hears testimony about offers
of cash to an FLQ member to provide information about
Supreme Court confirms the decision of the Quebec Court
of Appeal regarding the powers of the Keable commission.
A special request had been presented by Keable. Later,
on October 31, 1978 the Court decided that the Commission
could continue but with a reduced mandate. Keable could
only investigate specific individuals, for specific cases
within the province of Quebec.
petition bearing 42,000 names, among them two members
of the National Assembly, seven Montreal city councillors,
academics, entertainers and trade unionists, was made
public. The petition asked that six FLQ members, still
in jail but eligible for release, be paroled. The petition
claimed that the FLQ members are discriminated against
when they applied for parole.
a publication entitled Struggle, published by the
Canadian Marxist-Leninist group, Charles Gagnon, formerly
one of the intellectual leaders of the FLQ and now secretary-general
of the communist group, argued that Quebec workers should
unite with the workers of the rest of Canada to build
a socialist country. He argued that separation was not
the answer to the problems of the workers of Quebec, although
he recognised that "nationalism will only die with
the suppression of oppression". On March 16, Gagnon
had issued to the public a pamphlet entitled: For the
Revolutionary Unity of the Workers of all Nations and
National Minorities". At a press conference,
called for the occasion, Gagnon denounced the Parti Québécois
for its "reactionary nationalism".
government of Quebec confirmed that interviews had been
held in France recently with five exiled members of the
FLQ. The purpose of these meetings was to reconstitute
the files on the FLQ. Apparently, the files held by the
Quebec department of justice disappeared on the night
of the election of the Parti Québécois, on November 15,
a news conference, Marc-André Bédard, Minister of justice
of Quebec, confirmed that if the exiled FLQ members returned
to Quebec, they would be charged and that "justice
would follow its normal course".
the McDonald commission of Inquiry, the Director of the
RCMP criminal operations branch, admitted that the RCMP
had entered more than 400 premises without warrant since
Rose was paroled
Superintendant Ronald Cobb revealed at the Mcdonald Inquiry
that the RCMP had turned up a threat to kidnap Robert
Bourassa, the Premier of Quebec, in 1971. He also revealed
that the kidnappings of Cross and Laporte caught the RCMP "off guard" in 1970 and led to changes in procedures.
an article in the Quebec magazine LActualité, Marc Laurendeau, an editorialist with the newspaper
Montréal-Matin and an expert on terrorism in Quebec
who has written extensively on the issue, revealed that
a sixth man was involved in the kidnapping of James Cross.
Laurendeau based his information on interviews he carried
out in Paris with exiled FLQ members. This revelation
unleashed much discussion in the media and by November
8, the identity of the sixth man was revealed as Nigel
Barry Hamer, an electrical engineering professor at McGill
an interview with a journalist of Radio-Canada, Jacques
Lanctôt, from his exile in Paris, denied that Hamer was
a member of the Liberation cell. He also pointed out that
there were not 22 FLQ cells but only two or three.
Quebec City newspaper Le Soleil printed the text
of the interview that James Cross had granted to a British
journalist. This was the first significant interview that
Cross had granted to the press since his release in December
1970. He revealed that, in his opinion, there had been
two women involved in his kidnapping. He also indicated
that he planned to write a book about the whole affair
upon his retirement.
they are homesick, Louise Cossette Trudel confirmed that
she and her husband intend to return to Montreal on December
17 despite the fact that they will be arrested. In fact,
they arrived in Montreal on December 13 and were immediately
arrested and charged with conspiracy to kidnap, kidnapping,
attempted extortion and forcible detention.
Lanctôt returned from exile in Paris. He was arraigned
in Court and released on bail pending his trial. He will
also face charges regarding the conspiracy to kidnap the
Israeli trade commissioner, Moshe Golem [name given as
Golan in 1970], in February 1970.
the preliminary hearing of Jacques Lanctôt, a statement
given by James Cross, soon after his release in 1970,
was read into the record. According to Cross, the Liberation
cell knew of the murder of Pierre Laporte before it was
announced on the news. This was the first indication that
they were in communication together at the time. The statement
also confirmed that a second woman was involved.
Jean-Jacques Blais communicated to the House of Commons
his intention to make available to the federal McDonald
commission access to cabinet files. The Commission will
be permitted to ask Michael Pitfield, Cabinet secretary,
to declassify any document it wishes to receive. This
measure is to apply to documents from the period of 1968
to July 1977, when the Commission was created.
Minister Trudeau denied that he was informed in 1970 that
the RCMP might have to break the law. Documents released
on March 28, and testimony by John Starnes, formerly director
of the security services of the RCMP, indicate that the
issue was discussed at two cabinet meetings in 1970. Trudeau
was the chairman on both occasions.
the fourth time since his conviction for bombing in 1969,
Pierre-Paul Geoffroy was refused parole. The Director
of the National Parole Board, Jean-Paul Gilbert, indicated
that paroled was refused because of the gravity of the
crimes Geoffroy had committed. In particular, one bomb
he had planted at the Montreal Stock Exchange had injured
38 people. On April 11, Le Devoir supported the
cause of Geoffroy because his trial had been such a "parody".
Geoffroy had pleaded guilty to all of the FLQ bombings
of the period of 1968-1969, and the Court had gone along,
laying against him 129 charges, which resulted in 124
sentences of life imprisonment. The Parole Board decision
was appealed by Geoffroy on April 20.
Bourassa, out of office since 1976, declared that he would
welcome an inquiry into the October crisis and that he
would be prepared to testify at such an inquiry. When
in opposition, the Parti Québécois had promised to hold
such an inquiry. In June 1978, a report was submitted
to the provincial justice minister by Jean-François Duchaine
but it was not released to the public.
Cossette-Trudels pleaded guilty at their trial for the
kidnapping of James Cross.
Cossette-Trudels are sentenced to two years in jail for
their part in the kidnapping of James Cross.
report in Le Devoir indicates that the Keable inquiry,
which has moved behing close doors, is concentrating on
the October crisis.
Solicitor-General Allan Lawrence declared that he is prepared
to make public a number of RCMP files regarding the October
crisis. The files concern the discussions held between
the RCMP and the federal cabinet in 1970. Lawrence would
have assured Trudeau that he did not intend to release
cabinet proceedings at the time.
the ninth anniversary of the proclamation of the War Measures
Act, a petition started to circulate to obtain the release
of the "political prisoners" and the dropping
of the charges against those still in exile. The committee
hoped to obtain 500,000 signatures. Prominent entertainers,
singers, writers and trade unionists were involved with
the petition. Related to this matter, Robert Bourassa
renewed his call for a public inquiry on October 17. Bourassa
was castigated by Marc Laurendeau, in La Presse,
for not calling such an inquiry in the six years that
he had been in power. Further, Laurendeau affirmed that
on November 4, 1975, during question period in the National
Assembly, Bourassa had flatly opposed such an inquiry.
nearly eight months of closed hearings and research, the
Keable commission held public hearings again. Keable declared: "We want to know to what extent activities claimed
in the name of the FLQ were controlled by police forces
working in Quebec". Keable said that one of the members
of the Viger cell, which helped the Liberation cell, had
a police informer. It was argued that police had not arrested
members of the Viger cell because of the presence of the
informer. It was later learned that the lawyer for the
Montreal police had submitted a request for an injunction
against the continuance of the commission to the Superior
Court of Quebec.
Deschesne, Chief Justice of the Superior Court of Quebec,
declared the Keable commission to be constitutional. The
request for a decision on the constitutionality of the
commission had been submitted by the police authorities
the Keable inquiry questions are raised about police actions
before, during and after the October crisis. It came to
light that police had a short list of suspects in the
kidnapping of Cross, including the name of Hamer, already
on October 6, 1970. According to a police informant who
testified, she had informed the police of several FLQ
actions and that little action had been taken.
of Sargent-Detective Julien Giguère, of the Montreal Urban
Community police, at the Keable commission. Questioning
centres around why all of the kidnappers were not arrested
in 1970. He suggested that this was to protect the identity
of a police informer. This information was challenged
at the commission.
and Louise Cossette-Trudel were freed on parole after
serving one-third of their sentences.
Geoffroy was granted parole.
Barry Hamer was arrested and charged in Court with kidnapping
provincial government report by Jean-François Duchaine,
commissioned by the government of Quebec to look into
the circumstances of the October crisis was leaked. A
summary was published by the Université de Montréal Criminologie review under the pen of Jean-Paul Brodeur who was associated
with the commission of inquiry. Among other new facts
raised were: Paul Rose was not present when Pierre Laporte
was murdered; there were seven people involved in the
Cross kidnapping (not five as previously believed); it
was on the advice of the citys chief legal adviser
that the Montreal police requested the War Measures Act;
the provincial police were the first to request that the
army be sent to Quebec. Duchaine found no evidence to
suggest that the October crisis was provoked by politicians
to discredit the independence movement.
the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the beginning
of the October crisis, there was much discussion in the
press about the significance of the event, what could
be learned from it, and the role of the authorities at
the time. Opinions were as divided as ever. One of the
articles was an interview in the Montreal Gazette of poet Gaston Miron who spent 12 days in jails under
the terms of the War Measures Act. He stated that during
his interrogation by the police they were more interested
in the Parti Québécois than in the FLQ.
Duchaine report was officially released today although
major sections were blanked out pending court action to
be undertaken against Nigel Barry Hamer. This report had
been two years in preparation. Aside from the findings
mentioned above, the Report concluded that the authorities
used the occasion of the October crisis to carry out mass
repression. According to Duchaine, the authorities manipulated
public opinion, bungled the investigation of the crimes
and abused their sweeping powers. There also was rivalry
between the various police forces involved. The authorities
really believed that there was a vast movement to destroy
the state, overestimated the strength of the FLQ, which
did not number more than 35. According to Keable, their
perception "was without relation to the reality".
Duchaine argued that it is necessary to divorce the sending
of the army from the invocation of the War Measures Act.
The two measures were taken for quite different reasons:
the army was sent to relieve the police of too much work
while the War Measures Act was used to carry out repression
toward protest groups in Quebec.
Barry Hamer pleaded guilty to the charges of conspiracy,
forcible detention and extortion in connection to the
kidnapping of James Cross. He remains free on bail while
National Parole Board denied parole to Paul Rose who has
served 10 years of his sentence.
report by Jean-François Duchaine was released. Parts of
the Report were first issued in October 1980 but because
charges against Nigel Barry Hamer were still pending some
parts had been deleted. The Report identified Hamer as
the sixth kidnapper of Cross. He is alleged to have participated
in the theft of dynamite shortly before the Cross kidnapping.
451 page report of Jean Keable, commissioned by the government
of Quebec to look into police wrongdoing following the
October crisis, outlined that paranoia gripped the police
forces after the Crisis. He claimed that there had been
unprecedented interference into the lives of individuals
by the security forces. He proposed that guidelines be
defined to avoid such abuses in the future and that limitations
be placed on the police regarding security matters. He
recommended that policemen that participated in illegal
activities be charged. He listed six such instances: the
1973 theft of the list of the Parti Québécois (Operation
Ham), the 1972 break-in into the offices of LAgence
de Presse Libre du Québec, the issuance of a forged communiqué,
ostensibly by the FLQ, by the RCMP, the theft of dynamite
by the RCMP, the burning of a barn by the RCMP, and the
illegal detention of two alleged FLQ members by the RCMP.
All told this was the work of 40 officers. The most damning
finding was that after the October events, the Montreal
anti-terrorist police so clearly controlled the FLQ that
"in 1972, we (the police) were the FLQ". On the Keable Inquiry and report, see Dominique Bernard, La Commission d'enquête sur les opérations policières en territoire québécois: portée réelle et limites du Rapport Keable, Mémoire de maîtrise (science politique) Uqam, 2008, 179p.
Barry Hamer was sentenced to twelve months in jail for
his part in the kidnapping of James Cross.
Carbonneau, who returned to Canada from Paris on May 25,
pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy, forcible
detention and extortion in connection to the kidnapping
of James Cross. He was released on bail.
present or past members of the RCMP were charged with
a total of 44 offences following the Keable Report. These
offences are connected to six illegal operations conducted
after the October Crisis. Charges are also being considered
regarding false FLQ communiqués and the detention of two
Carbonneau switched his plea to a guilty one in the kidnapping
of James Cross.
an interview to Radio-Québec, René Lévesque said that
he was astounded by the fact that Jacques Rose had received
a standing ovation at the Parti Québécois convention of
early December. He added that he could not defend the
radical proposals that had come out of the convention.
Carbonneau was sentenced to 20 months of jail and three
years probation for kidnapping, forcible confinement,
conspiracy and extortion in the James Cross case.
Langlois, who returned from exile in Paris in June, was
sentenced to two years in prison less one day for his
part in the kidnapping of James Cross. He will be paroled
on July 19, 1983.
Rose was granted full parole.
Note on sources of information: the information
listed in the chronology was gathered from a variety of
sources. The main ones were: a press dossier put together
by the author at the time of the events, the Canadian
Annual Review [1970-1982], the Canadian News Facts
[1970-1982], and Reports on Separatism [1977-1981]; these were systematically examined. Further
all the major works on the issue and the period were also
studied to extract material. Particularly important to
understand the events of 1970, and the aftermath, is an
article written by Reginald WHITAKER who is a professor
at York University. His article entitled "Apprehended
Insurrection? RCMP Intelligence and the October Crisis",
was published in the venerable Queens Quarterly in the Summer of 1993 [pp. 383-406]. This work was
the first to shed new light on the issue for quite some
time. Whitaker gained access to CSIS files [CSIS was created
in 1984 as a direct result of the McDonald commission
report and of the allegations stemming from the Keable
inquiry. The security forces were detached from the RCMP
and put under "civilian" administration] under
the Access to Information Act and reveals much essential
information. His article essentially addresses the Federal
Liberals argument that the War Measures Act had
become necessary because the security forces were unprepared,
and failed to inform and advise the government properly.
He seeks to answer the twin questions: "Was there
an apprehended insurrection in 1970? Was there an intelligence
failure behind the crisis? [p. 384]".