The real story of the War Measures Act
RE: Justin’s dad trampled my freedom (July 15)
It is obvious that the letter writer is unfamiliar with the FLQ crisis. The adherents of right wing ideology seldom check facts, instead choosing to regurgitate cherry picked propaganda. Here is a short synopsis:
Oct. 5, 1970: four men posing as deliverymen kidnapped British trade commissioner James Richard Cross. Cross was in the hands of Quebec’s most radical separatist group, the Front de Libération du Québec (FLQ). Since 1963, the FLQ had been involved in over 200 bombings in Quebec. The kidnappers threatened to kill Cross unless the government released 23 inmates charged with crimes committed in the name of the Front.
Five days after the Cross kidnapping, the FLQ kidnapped Pierre Laporte, the Quebec minister of labour and the government’s senior Cabinet minister. This panicked the population and the premier called Ottawa for help. The federal government sent in the army. For Pierre Trudeau, a lifelong champion of individual rights, it was a defining moment.
Premier Robert Bourassa and Montreal Mayor Jean Drapeau urged Ottawa to invoke the War Measures Act. On Oct. 16, Trudeau did so. That morning, the police arrested 405 people. The day after the arrests, the body of Pierre Laporte was found in the trunk of a car. He had been strangled.
After two months of captivity, James Cross was released as part of a deal which allowed five kidnappers to leave Canada.
During this time, the people of Quebec were being terrorized by armed men, bombings, kidnappings and threats of further violence. So, Mr. Lisowski, I would urge you to do research before you put your lack of knowledge in print. The government definitely does not owe you $10 million. Nada Arsenault, Hamilton