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October Crisis

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In the month of October in 1970, the Front de Liberation du Quebec (FLQ) started a revolt against the federal government. Two important government officials were kidnapped, including James Cross and Pierre Laporte. Cross was a British Trade Commissioner, while Laporte was a provincial cabinet member. The Federal Government needed to do something quick. The Quebec Premier, Robert Bourassa, requested the War Measures Act be brought out of the closet, and Prime Minister (PM) Trudeau agreed. This was now the third time it had been called forth in Canadian History, apart from the two World Wars. In 1970, Canada was facing National Emergency, and they had to supplicate the War Measures Act to end it.

In World War One and World War Two, Canada conjured the War Measures Act. This would allow Canadian officials to search houses without warrant and arrest suspects without evidence. In the 1960's, Quebec was going through a tough fought revolution. In 1960, after the Liberals were elected, the labor laws were updated. In Ottawa, the government was starting to worry about Quebec's separatist movement, so PM Diefenbaker decided to make some changes in society. He made moves to unite the two languages, by introducing bilingualism. When PM Trudeau took power he introduced the Official Languages Act, officially making Canada bilingual, which created controversy between French and English Canadians. The radical separatist group FLQ decided to take the matter into their own hands, and after years of terrorism, they did the unthinkable. On October 5, 1970, James Cross, a British Trade Commissioner, was kidnapped, and the FLQ demanded $500,000 in gold, the release of FLQ prisoners and safe transit to Cuba. This outrageous act of tyranny caused PM Trudeau to implement the War Measures Act for the third time.

The War Measures Act was a way for the Federal Government to simmer the emotions of the Canadian people. Many Quebeckers, along with the Canadian people, were scared of the terrorist actions in their own country. The government also had to repress radical groups in Quebec that supported the FLQ's impiousness. Another main factor that the Federal Government had to act quickly and swiftly was the kidnapping of James Cross. The last thing Trudeau wanted was the foreign blood of the British Trade Commissioner spilled on Canadian soil. With the War Measures Act in effect, the people of Canada were calmed,



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