October Crisis Analysis

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Greatly valued in the west, Canada is proud to have a set of rights and freedoms granted to every one of its citizens. Under the Canadian Charter Rights and Freedoms, it dictates what the state’s citizens are entitled to, which can involve the right to expression and the right to equality. Of course, there are reasonable limitations to these rights, such as restricting what sort of speech is free, but since the September 9, 2011 attack in New York City (hereby referenced as 9/11), the Canadian government has been passing legislature that has been cracking down hard on these rights. These legislatures, such as Bill C-36, has been created specifically to fight off terrorism, but this fight has been done almost blindly and in a rash manner. Cases…show more content…
On October 5th, 1970, this group kidnapped the British trade commissioner, James Richard Cross, and threatened to kill him unless their demands were met. These demands included the release of 23 prisoners associated with the FLQ and their manifesto to be read on national TV. Five days later, even after a few government concessions, the FLQ then kidnapped Pierre Laporte, the Quebec Minister of Labour and senior Cabinet. Panic erupted and on October 16, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau invoked the War Measures Act. This Act allowed for a peace officer to make arrests and to search any premises without a warrant, should they have reasons for suspicions. Those arrested by an officer may be held for an upwards of seven days, 21 days should the attorney general issue an extension, and property that was seized may be held for an upwards of 90 days, or until the final disposition of a proceeding. In November, the War Measures Act was replaced with the Public Order Temporary Measures Act, which then expired on April 30th, 1971. During this time period, however, 405 citizens were arrested shortly following the invocation of the War Measures Act (CBC, 2001). Some of these arrested citizens, such as a journalist named Gérald Godin, stated that they did not even know why they were put into (CBC, 2001). What needs to be understood here is that basic civil rights and liberties were revoked during this time of an emergency. Canadian citizens were not told of why they were being arrested or why their homes were being searched, and all of this was done without any proper process of having a warrant. As such, there was a large amount of controversy regarding the act, especially as it was only time an invocation occurred peacetime in Canadian history (Smith, 2013). Thankfully, the act expired a few months after the October

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