Aca les dejo la nota en ingles. Esta buena. Esto tambien es una parte de la historia canadiense...

How Canada became a 'police state'

Armed forces were deployed, then the War Measures Act was invoked in 1970

The man pointed a gun at half-dressed British trade commissioner James Cross as he walked between his bedroom and bathroom readying for work.

"Get down on the floor or you'll be f---ing dead!" he barked.

Cross lay down.

A second armed man appeared with Cross's wife Barbara, their housekeeper and her daughter.

The first man pulled the diplomat to his feet and pushed him towards the bathroom.

Cross put on his trousers as the man draped a jacket over his shoulders.

They returned to the bedroom.

The man ripped the phone from the socket and warned the three women to stay put for an hour. The men left with Cross. Downstairs, a third man with a gun stood watch.

The group stepped into the street where a fourth kidnapper waited behind the wheel of a taxi.

Shortly after 8 a.m. on Oct. 5, 1970, Cross was bundled into the back seat and driven away -- the first political kidnapping in Canadian history, the first of a British envoy in a century.


The October Crisis -- as the abduction and its aftermath came to be called -- is a misnomer.

For months the signs were everywhere -- "Front de liberation du Quebec," "FLQ," and "Vive le Quebec libre!" scrawled on walls -- unadulterated clarion calls to revolution, rise up White Niggers of America!

The violent seven-year separatist campaign in Quebec was coming to a head.

You could feel it.

The winds of change were blowing as the 1960s shuddered to an acrid, ugly end: The air filled not with the scent of marijuana and songs of love and peace, but with a whiff of tear gas and the dirge-like strains of Abraham, Martin and John.

On Feb. 26, 1970, Montreal police stopped a rented truck. Inside, they found two shifty men and a sawed-off shotgun.

Jacques Lanctot had a note in his pocket saying the Israeli trade consul had been kidnapped. The hapless duo were charged and released.

Cabinet reputedly discussed using the War Measures Act in early May.

Four months after stopping the truck, on June 21, police raided a cottage, arresting four men and two women with leaflets proclaiming the American consul a hostage. They had hoped to grab him on July 4.

By that point in their struggle, Felquistes already had murdered six people. They had a cache of dynamite stolen from construction sites and armories. The explosion that rocked the Montreal Stock Exchange left 27 wounded. In the previous year, 50 bombs detonated.

Any "crisis" was well underway by October, certainly Cross was under no illusion.

"There had been a previous attempt on a friend of ours, the American consul," he remembered. "That had failed. So I knew really what was going on."

It would take more than a decade for the rest of the country to truly learn what went on.

The massive intelligence failure of the October Crisis and what followed led to the transformation of Canada's national security establishment.

For many among that generation, the invocation of the War Measures Act by Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau and its use to suppress dissent was the impetus for their support of a new Constitution and a Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Yet we do not appear to have learned from the most infamous domestic political crime of the 20th century.


Cross was kept in a working-class apartment in North Montreal.

At first, he was confined on a bed in handcuffs. After a few days the cuffs were removed and he could move around the room. Mostly he sat watching television. It was on from 10 in the morning until 3 the next morning.

"I wasn't abused or beaten or anything like that," he said, "but I mean, I was under sentence of death, if you like, for 59 days and that was extremely stressful ... there was the constant worry as to what was going to happen."

They ate a lot of spaghetti and peanut butter. Cross lost 22 pounds.

"I think they were fairly short of money," he surmised. "I was in the one room the whole time except when I was allowed to go to the bathroom next door and then somebody always went with me with a sub-machine gun."

Cross was held by the six-person Liberation cell of the FLQ -- Lanctot, his sister Louise and her husband Jacques Cossette-Trudel, cab driver Marc Carbonneau, Pierre Seguin and Nigel Barry Hamer.

In communiques, among other demands, they insisted on the release of 23 "political" prisoners, a ransom of $500,000 in gold, the dissemination of the FLQ manifesto and safe passage to Cuba or Algeria.

Over the following days police rounded up the usual suspects in dozens of raids. It was futile.

Shortly after 6 p.m. on Oct. 10, as he played with his kids, Quebec labour minister Pierre Laporte was kidnapped.

This independent abduction was masterminded by the FLQ Chenier cell -- brothers Jacques and Paul Rose, Francis Simard and Bernard Lortie, who had adopted the name of Jean-Olivier Chenier, a Quebecois martyr in the 1837 Rebellion.

They distributed their own demands and a letter from Laporte to premier Robert Bourassa in which the minister begged for his life.

"Decide about my life or death," Laporte wrote to his friend. "I count on you and thank you."

The inability of police and the RCMP national security branch to provide information fuelled political anxiety and ultimately, paranoia.

Two days later, military vehicles rumbled through Ottawa streets and the army moved in to protect VIPs.

The next day, on Oct. 13, Trudeau was defiant when confronted by reporters.

"Yes, well there are a lot of bleeding hearts around who just don't like to see people with helmets and guns," he snapped.

"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 ... 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."

Two kidnappings represent "the emergence of a parallel power"? How far would he go?

"Well, just watch me!"

The quip would haunt the Liberal leader.

The next evening at a special cabinet meeting, the War Measures Act was again discussed but no decision was made.

At 2 o'clock on Oct. 15, Bourassa announced he had asked for the army to be deployed in Quebec. They had been there a year earlier to quell rioting after Montreal police went on strike.

That move to shore up the province's stretched police forces should have been enough.

Still, on the morning of Oct. 16, cabinet invoked the War Measures Act.

The archaic law was passed in August 1914, in the shadow of the First World War, to allow cabinet to govern by decree in the face of "war, invasion or insurrection, real or apprehended."

It was used to imprison those of German, Ukrainian and Slav descent. During the Second World War, it was used to intern Japanese-Canadians.

No evidence has ever been produced to justify its use in 1970, and the only reason that can be inferred is Trudeau's desire to suppress dissent and the separatist movement.

Under the accompanying regulations, the FLQ was declared an unlawful association. If you were a member, or supported it, you could be jailed for up to five years. You could be held without bail for up to 90 days.

You were considered a member or supporter if you attended a meeting, advocated for the FLQ or communicated FLQ statements, unless you could prove otherwise.

Tommy Douglas, then federal NDP leader, put it best: The government had used "a sledgehammer to crack a peanut."

Yet Trudeau was adamant in a hyperbolic speech to the nation:

"I am speaking to you at a moment of crisis, when violent and fanatical men are attempting to destroy the unity and the freedom of Canada."

It was fear mongering -- and from a man who only days earlier chided the press:

"The main thing the FLQ is trying to gain from this is a hell of a lot of publicity for the movement. I'm suggesting that the more recognition you give to them, the greater the victory is, and I'm not interested in giving them a victory."

Across Quebec, police and soldiers searched for FLQ members and sympathizers -- among those arrested were lawyer Robert Lemieux; Pierre Vallieres, author of Negres Blancs d'Amerique; Charles Gagnon, intellectual leader of the FLQ; Jacques Larue-Langlois, a former radio producer for the CBC; Pauline Julien, who sang separatist songs ... Officers searching for an FLQ suspect named Gerard Pelletier raided the home of a well-known Liberal politician with the same name.

Vancouver mayor Tom Campbell toyed with the idea of using the make-believe insurrection to rid the city of transients, hippies and other undesirable folk.

Sun columnist Bob Hunter fumed that Trudeau had turned Canada into a police state and handed the FLQ "the biggest victory ever won by a revolutionary group on this continent since the American War of Independence."

Hundreds across the country were arrested and held without charge -- not a suspect among them.

A later report established the number of active FLQ members at 35, yet the prime minister insisted the country was in crisis.

Police found Laporte's body on Oct. 18, stuffed into the trunk of a green Chevrolet.

The country -- including Cross and his captors -- watched on TV.

Everyone was stunned.

Trudeau's heavy-handedness was hugely popular, but it didn't help.


The handling of the October Crisis was a watershed for Canada's national security and policing apparatus.

The inquiries that followed over the next decade led to an overhaul of the RCMP and the creation of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.

In 1980, Jean-Francois Duchaine's long-secret report commissioned by the Quebec government came out saying the crisis was used as a cover for widespread repression. The authorities manipulated public opinion, bungled the investigation, and abused the sweeping powers under the guise of combating terrorism.

Sound familiar?

A year later, on March 6, 1981, Jean Keable released his 451-page report and echoed Duchaine. He concluded there was too much rivalry between the various law-enforcement agencies and an unfounded fear of some vast movement threatening the destruction of civil authority.

Keable enunciated six infamous instances of police misconduct: the theft of the Parti Quebecois membership list; the break-in at the offices of L'Agence de Presse Libre du Quebec; the issuance of an RCMP-forged FLQ communique; the theft of dynamite; the burning of a barn; and the illegal detention of two alleged FLQ members. Still, Keable's most devastating finding was that by "1972, we [the Montreal anti-terrorist police] were the FLQ."

The cartoon character Pogo was right: "We have met the enemy and he is us."

Following Keable's report, 17 present or past members of the RCMP were charged with a total of 44 offences.

These details have been forgotten. The October Crisis involved two separate but equally important decisions made by Ottawa: the first, to deploy the armed forces, and the second, to invoke the War Measures Act.

Under provisions of the National Defence Act, the army appeared on the capital's streets on Oct. 12 and, with all-party consent in the National Assembly, on Quebec rues Oct. 15.

The troops relieved and augmented the overworked, overstretched police. There was no need for the draconian legislation.

Within 48 hours, 36 members of the Parti Quebecois along with a host of labour leaders, popular entertainers and writers were under arrest. By Halloween, more than 1,600 raids had occurred and more than 400 thrown in jail. In total, 468 were arrested, many held incommunicado for days -- the overwhelming majority released without charge.


All of it proved a waste of time.

Old-fashioned police work and snitches resolved the crisis.

In fact, the police had a good list of suspects that included Hamer, who was involved in the Cross kidnapping. The extraordinary powers were not required.

Cross said during his weeks of captivity -- 59 days in total -- he tried to remain calm and on an level keel, neither too hopeful, nor too depressed.

He spoke with his captors occasionally. They didn't try to indoctrinate him.

"Like most fanatics they were so convinced they were right they didn't have to argue; and they had the gun, which is the best argument," he recalled.

On Nov. 6, a police raid netted Bernard Lortie of the Chenier cell. That success led to an informant a week later ratting out the Liberation cadre.

For two weeks, the first-floor flat at 10945 Des Recollets Ave. in Montreal North was kept under surveillance.

Hundreds of police, Mounties and soldiers encircled the building on Dec. 2 and cut the electricity to initiate the siege.

Two hours later, a lead pipe flew from a window bearing the message: "If you try anything M.J. Cross will be the first to die."

A nearby school was closed to create a makeshift helicopter pad, and negotiations began.

After several hours of tense talks, the FLQ agreed to release Cross in exchange for safe-conduct to Cuba.

On Dec. 3, cab driver Carbonneau led the way out of the lair and into a wine-coloured 1962 Chrysler.

With him at the wheel and a dozen police cars and motorcycles riding shotgun, the group roared away, headed for the former island site of Expo 67, which had been declared "Temporary Cuban Territory."

There, the Cuban consul took Cross into his care and the Quebecers clambered into a helicopter.

They flew to Dorval Airport where a Canadian Forces Yukon aircraft waited to transport them to Cuba.

When they landed, Cross flew home to London.

Four weeks after his release, on Dec. 28, police arrested Laporte's kidnappers.


Lanctot returned to Canada in 1979 and served two years in prison.

Like the others, he has long been free.

Lanctot today is a successful man of letters who would have you believe the FLQ never intended to hurt either of their captives.

Cross laughed at that.

"Don't believe a word of it," he warned. "They are trying to justify themselves. Nobody is going to admit they carried out a great operation and they failed. I still hate them for what they did to me and my family."

He lives in retirement in the East Sussex seaside town of Seaford. He remains a polite, wry English gent.

When I rang him up the other day, he was chipper at 89.

We exchanged pleasantries.

"I just finished with the CBC," he confided.

He didn't like reliving his kidnapping all again.

I could understand why -- that episode had stolen enough of his life, why waste any more? The weariness of remembering the ordeal was heavy in his voice.

You can hear the interview here:

(Another resource is: http://faculty. docs/october/index. htm.)

This is his summation: "You should recall two people were snatched from their lawful pursuits and one of them was killed. We're not talking about some dictatorship, where people are reacting against oppression. We're talking about a democracy where people can vote and if they don't like the government they can stand up and get rid of it."

The kidnappers were common criminals and the police buttressed by the military were more than capable of dealing with a gang of political thugs numbering fewer than the Hells Angels.

The War Measures Act was overkill.


Trudeau pledged to fix the legislation to prevent future abuse, but never did.

It was replaced in 1988.

After the World Trade Center attacks in New York on Sept. 11, 2001, Canada adopted new laws that allowed for in camera trials, pre-emptive detention, and expanded security and surveillance powers.

Western civil authority was seemingly threatened by a sophisticated organization composed of a widespread network of Islamic extremist cells symbiotically connected but separated by Chinese walls to frustrate investigators.

Which is how they portrayed the FLQ, who turned out to be little more than two groups of loosely organized, angry young men with similar views. Hmmm.

The courts turned thumbs down on some of the post-9/11 provisions, but -- as in the October Crisis -- polls showed most people favoured the iron-fisted approach.

The lessons of the 1970s have faded and been forgotten.

The overwhelming security presence at the Winter Olympics and at the G20 summit proved it. The hundreds of arrests were a repetition of what happened 40 years ago.

Once again, decisions to suppress dissent were made with as little concern as Trudeau displayed.

Like those who forget their history, we continue to repeat it: Just watch us!

Civil rights get trampled and the majority shrugs.



The FLQ campaign of terror begins. Eight people are killed and many injured in more than 160 violent incidents, including the bombing of the Montreal Stock Exchange in 1969.

Oct. 5, 1970

British trade commissioner James Cross is kidnapped from his home in Montreal by the FLQ.

Oct. 10

Quebec labour minister Pierre Laporte is kidnapped from his home in St.-Lambert, a suburb of Montreal.

Oct. 13

When questioned by CBC reporter Tim Ralfe about how far he will go in the suspension of civil liberties to maintain order in Quebec, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau replies, "Well, just watch me."

Oct. 16

The federal cabinet proclaims the War Measures Act, outlawing the FLQ and giving police sweeping powers of search, arrest and detention without warrant. It is the first and only time the act has been invoked for a domestic crisis.

Oct. 18

The body of Pierre Laporte is found in the trunk of a car in the Montreal suburb of St.-Hubert.

Dec. 3

Kidnappers move James Cross to the Canadian Pavilion at Expo 67 and leave by helicopter for Dorval Airport. After the terrorists arrive in Cuba, Cross is released.

Jan. 4, 1971

The army withdraws at the request of the Quebec government.


The War Measures Act, created in 1914 for cases of war or national emergency, is repealed.


A more detailed and limited law, the Emergencies Act, comes into effect.

Source: Complied by Vancouver Sun librarian Kate Bird