Pierre Trudeau War Measures Act Essay

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By 1970, 23 members of the FLQ were in prison, including four convicted of murder.

On February 26, 1970, two men in a panel truck – including Jacques Lanctôt – were arrested in Montreal when they were discovered with a sawed-off shotgun and a communique announcing the kidnapping of the Israeli consul.

The Canadian Army saw no action during its deployment which lasted until November 12 and only one soldier was killed, when he tripped over his loaded rifle on guard duty and inadvertently killed himself with his own gun.

Outside Quebec, mainly in the Ottawa area, the federal government deployed troops under its own authority to guard federal offices and employees.

The Government of Quebec also requested military aid to the civil power, and Canadian Forces deployed throughout Quebec; they acted in a support role to the civil authorities of Quebec.

The events of October 1970 galvanized opposition to the use of violence in efforts to gain Quebec sovereignty and accelerated the movement towards electoral means of attaining greater autonomy and independence, While mailboxes—particularly in the affluent and predominantly Anglophone city of Westmount—were common targets, the largest single bombing was of the Montreal Stock Exchange on February 13, 1969, which caused extensive damage and injured 27 people.

Other targets included Montreal City Hall, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, armed forces recruiting offices, railway tracks, and army installations.

FLQ members, in a strategic move, had stolen several tons of dynamite from military and industrial sites, and, financed by bank robberies, they threatened through their official communication organ, known as La Cognée, that more attacks were to come.

Since then, however, the government's use of the War Measures Act in peacetime has been a subject of debate in Canada as it gave police sweeping powers of arrest and detention.

Simultaneously, under provisions quite separate from the War Measures Act and much more commonly used, the Solicitor-General of Quebec requisitioned the deployment of the military from the Chief of the Defence Staff in accordance with the National Defence Act.


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