Why Is The War Measures Act Justified In The October Crisis

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With a state of insurrection in Canada caused by the infamous terrorist group, the Front de Liberation du Québec (FLQ), it is believed that the invocation of the War Measures Act during the October Crisis of 1970 was justified. In 1970, Canada was in a state of apprehended insurgence attributable to the acts of the notorious Quebec terrorists known as the FLQ. From 1963 to 1969, the ethnically delimited terrorists fought tirelessly to create a revolution and instigate public hate crime within Canada, however the groups most climactic incident was the kidnapping of British diplomat James Cross and Quebec Minister of Labour, Pierre Laporte in the October Crisis of 1970 (Torrance, J., 1988). Both men were captured at gunpoint, whilst authorities received a list of ransom demands to be filled in exchange for the lives of the hostages. With political upheaval, public resistance and immense fear in a state of proclaimed ‘apprehended insurrection’, on October 16 1970, the formidable War Measures Act was invoked by Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau to eliminate all FLQ members and supporters (Bélanger, C., 2000). The War Measures Act, previously invoked during World War I and II, had extreme powers, whereby individual liberties were restricted and several Parliamentary powers were given to the federal cabinet, thus allowing Canada to make quick decisions during wartimes (Bélanger, C., 2004). The War Measures Act invocation initiated the death of…show more content…
It is acting to prevent fear from spreading. It is acting to maintain the rule of law without which freedom is impossible. It is acting to make clear to kidnappers and revolutionaries and assassins that in this country laws are made and changed by the elected representatives of all Canadians - not by a handful of self-selected dictators - those who gain power through terror, rule through terror. The government is acting, therefore, to protect your life and your liberty.” -Pierre Trudeau,

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