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Chronologies of Quebec History

 

Last revised:
23 August 2000


Chronology of the October Crisis, 1970, and its Aftermath

Claude Bélanger,
Department of History,
Marianopolis College.

February 26, 1970 A police patrol car while 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.
June 21, 1970

Acting on an informer’s tip, police raided a cottage in Prévost. Aside from finding four men and two women, they found 150 leaflets which said 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

 

October 5, 1970 Beginning 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 contained 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, 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.

On this day were issued communiqués numbered 1-2 of the Liberation cell.

 

October 6, 1970 Prime 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 "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 publish 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 d’octobre 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 issues its communiqué number 3.
October 7, 1970 Police raids started at dawn and netted 30 arrests. Jérome Choquette, Quebec Minister of Justice, stated that he is available and open for negotiations "at any time". Further threats to Cross’ life were received by radio stations. FLQ manifesto read on CKAC radio station. Communiqué number 4 from the Liberation cell.
October 8, 1970 In 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.
October 9, 1970 Arguments 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.
October 10, 1970 Premier 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 importance.
October 11, 1970 Several 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 Laporte’s 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.
October 12, 1970 A 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.
October 13, 1970 Discussions 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 CBC’s Tim Ralfe and Peter Reilly of CJOH-TV, Pierre Trudeau declared: "Yes, well there are a lot of bleeding hearts around who just don’t 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 don’t 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".
October 14, 1970 Discussions 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 Premier’s 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.
October 15, 1970

At 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.

In 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..

At 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.

October 16, 1970 In 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".

In 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.

There 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.

October 16-18, 1970 Within 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. Mary’s University, Memorial University. Censorship was not systematic as at least seven different university papers succeeded in publishing the FLQ manifesto.
October 17, 1970 In 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.
October 18, 1970 The 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.

Later in the day, warrants for the arrest of Marc Carbonneau and Paul Rose were issues.

 

October 20, 1970 Pierre Laporte is buried.
October 21, 1970 In 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].
October 23, 1970 More warrants were issued for the arrest of Francis Simard, Bernard Lortie and Jacques Rose.
October 25, 1970 Following a heavy turnout, Montreal Mayor, Jean Drapeau, defeated FRAP in the municipal elections. Drapeau received 92% of the votes.
October 26, 1970 Detainees under the War Measures Act are given access to legal counsel for the first time.
October 27, 1970 A 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 husband.
October 28, 1970 A 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.
November 2, 1970 On 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.

Jacques 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 unacceptable".

 

November 5, 1970 A 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 d’Amérique, 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.
November 6, 1970 A 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.
November 7, 1970 Beginning of the Coroner’s inquest into the circumstances of the death of Pierre Laporte.
November 9, 1970 Jérôme 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%.
November 15-30, 1970 News 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 coroner’s inquest into the circumstances surrounding the death of Pierre Laporte and the testimony given by the arrested FLQ members.
November 21, 1970 A letter, written on November 15, confirms that James Cross is still alive.
December 3, 1970 James 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.
December 4, 1970 Justice Minister, John Turner, declared that those exiled to Cuba would be so for life.
December 23, 1970 Prime Minister Trudeau announced that all troops would be withdrawn from Quebec by January 4, 1971.
December 28, 1970 Paul and Jacques Rose and Francis Simard were arrested in a farmhouse near St. Luc, southeast of Montreal.
January 5, 1971 Following the conclusion of the coroner’s 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 of court.
January 20, 1971 Louis 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.
February 3, 1971 John 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.
February 12, 1971 Mr 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.
March 10, 1971 New conspiracy charges, dating back to January 1, 1968 were laid against Pierre Vallières, Charles Gagnon and Jacques Larue-Langlois.
March 12, 1971 Jérôme Choquette announced that Quebec would provide compensation of up to a total of $30,000 for persons unjustly arrested under the War Measures Act.
March 13, 1971 Paul Rose was sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of Pierre Laporte.
April 29, 1971 John 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.
May 13, 1971 A 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.
May 20, 1971 Francis Simard was sentenced to life imprisonment for his part in the murder of Pierre Laporte.
June 15, 1971 Charles 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.
July 6, 1971 Louis Marceau, Quebec’s 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.
August 13, 1971 Charges laid against 32 people were announced to be suspended. This measure was made necessary by the poor conviction record achieved by the prosecution.
September 2, 1971 At 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.
September 22, 1971 Bernard Lortie was found guilty of kidnapping Pierre Laporte. Sentencing was set at a later date.
October 5, 1971 Police 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.
October 16, 1971 A 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.
November 22, 1971 Bernard Lortie was sentenced to 20 years of jail for his part in the kidnapping of Pierre Laporte.
November 30, 1971 Paul Rose was sentenced to life imprisonment for his part in the kidnapping of Pierre Laporte.
December 13, 1971 In 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].
December 23, 1971 A 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".
January 24, 1972 Pierre 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 .
February 7, 1972 The trial of Jacques Rose on kidnapping charges begins.
May 11, 1972 After 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.
October 4, 1972 Pierre 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 against him.
December 9, 1972 After 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.
December 18, 1972 Jacques Rose was arraigned to face two more charges: assisting kidnappers after the fact, and forcible confinement of Pierre Laporte.
February 23, 1973 Jacques 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.
March 28, 1973 Against the protest of Robert Lemieux, Paul Rose’s 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.
April 11, 1973 Justice 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.
July 17, 1973 Jacques 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. Rose’s lawyer, Robert Lemieux, was sentence to two and one half years of jail for contempt of court arising from various incidents at this trial.
July 30, 1973 The 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.
August 10, 1973 Following 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.
September 11, 1973 In 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.
June 3, 1974 The Quebec Court of Appeal rejected the appeal of Jacques Rose for his conviction of July 17, 1973.
June 24, 1974 At 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 in Paris.
July 8, 1974 Robert Stanfield, leader of the Opposition, demanded that Trudeau release the details of the agreement struck in 1970 to obtain the release of James Cross.
August 1, 1974 Jacques and Louise Cossette-Trudel, both charged with kidnapping James Cross, having left Cuba, also turned up in Paris.
December 17, 1974 A 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.
March 4, 1977 Pierre 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.
June 16, 1977 Three 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 l’Agence 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 1970’s. An Inquiry, to be known as the Keable Inquiry, was created to investigate these matters.
July 6, 1977 The 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.
October 3, 1977 Bud 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.
October 13, 1977 At 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".
October 31, 1977 The 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.
November 15, 1977 The Keable Inquiry into illegal police activities made two requests for documentation to the federal government. Such documents were made available.
November 28, 1977 The 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".
December 1, 1977 An RCMP officer declared, before the Keable inquiry, that the force suspected the Cubans to be helping the FLQ in the early 1970’s.
December 7, 1977 Beginning 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.
December 16, 1977 Francis Fox failed again before the Courts to stop the Keable inquiry.
December 30, 1977 At 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.
January 3, 1978 Louise 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.
January 11, 1978 New 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 of Quebec.
January 12, 1978 Testimony 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 in 1972.
January 26, 1978 Testimony 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.
February 2, 1978 Before 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.
February 15, 1978 Warren 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.
February 21, 1978 The 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.
March 14, 1978 The McDonald royal commission hears testimony about offers of cash to an FLQ member to provide information about fellow terrorists.
March 21, 1978 The 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.
March 22, 1978 A 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.
March 23, 1978 In 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".
April 3, 1978 The 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, 1976.
April 4, 1978 At 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".
April 18, 1978 At 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 1970.
July 17, 1978 Jacques Rose was paroled
July 20, 1978 Chief 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.
November, 1978 In an article in the Quebec magazine L’Actualité, 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 university.
November 22, 1978 In 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.
November 25-27 1978 The 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.
November 30, 1978 Because 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.
January 11, 1979 Jacques 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.
March 9, 1979 At 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.
March 23, 1979 Solicitor-General 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.
March 30, 1979 Prime 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.
April 9, 1979 For 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.
April 27, 1979 Robert 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.
May 31, 1979 The Cossette-Trudels pleaded guilty at their trial for the kidnapping of James Cross.
August 7, 1979 The Cossette-Trudels are sentenced to two years in jail for their part in the kidnapping of James Cross.
October 6, 1979 A report in Le Devoir indicates that the Keable inquiry, which has moved behing close doors, is concentrating on the October crisis.
October 12, 1979 Federal 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.
October 16, 1979 On 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.
November 20, 1979 After 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.
December 21, 1979 Jules 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 of Montreal.
January 29, 1980 At 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.
February 12, 1980 Testimony 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.
April 3-4, 1980 Jacques and Louise Cossette-Trudel were freed on parole after serving one-third of their sentences.
April 9, 1980 Pierre-Paul Geoffroy was granted parole.
July 9, 1980 Nigel Barry Hamer was arrested and charged in Court with kidnapping James Cross.
September 24, 1980 The 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 city’s 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.
October 5, 1980 On 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.
October 9, 1980 The 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.
November 17, 1980 Nigel 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 awaiting sentencing.
January 2, 1981 The National Parole Board denied parole to Paul Rose who has served 10 years of his sentence.
January 27, 1981 The 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.
March 6, 1981 The 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 L’Agence 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.
May 21, 1981 Nigel Barry Hamer was sentenced to twelve months in jail for his part in the kidnapping of James Cross.
May 26, 1981 Marc 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.
June 12, 1981 17 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 men illegally.
October 22, 1981 Marc Carbonneau switched his plea to a guilty one in the kidnapping of James Cross.
December 7, 1981 In 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.
March 23, 1982 Marc Carbonneau was sentenced to 20 months of jail and three years probation for kidnapping, forcible confinement, conspiracy and extortion in the James Cross case.
September 27, 1982 Yves 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.
December 20, 1982 Paul 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 Queen’s 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]".