Canada's History

The October Crisis


With children looking on, an armed Canadian soldier stands guard in downtown Montreal during the height of the October Crisis. In October 1970 members of the separatist group Front de Libération du Québec kidnapped British Trade Commission­er James Cross and Quebec Labour Minister Pierre Laporte. In response, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau invoked the War Measures Act on October 16. Armed soldiers were deployed to the streets of Montreal and Quebec City, and certain civil liberties were suspended, leading to the arrest and detention of more than 450 individual­s with alleged ties to the FLQ. On October 17, Laporte’s body was discovered in the trunk of a car. On December 4, FLQ kidnappers released Cross in return for safe passage to Cuba. On December 23, Trudeau announced that troops would be withdrawn from Quebec on January 4, while the War Measures Act would stay in force until April 30. On December 28, three FLQ members were arrested at a farm south of Montreal and charged with the kidnapping and murder of Laporte.

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