Shortly after imposition of the War Measures Act, Labor Challenge published a special issue, dated October 23, 1970, devoted to the October Crisis. The following are all of the articles published in that issue.
Labor Challenge, October 23 1970
Ottawa Invoked the Act to Repress Mass Movement
by Robert Dumont
OCTOBER 22—"Kidnappings? We are a nation that has been kidnapped," is a phrase often heard in Québec this week, in the wake of Ottawa’s proclamation of the War Measures Act.
It’s an apt metaphor. According to police reports, almost 400 persons have been jailed in more than 1,600 raids. And the arrests are still continuing. At last count, close to 5,000 troops backed by an estimated 15,000 police are occupying Québec and the federal capital, with reinforcements being sent in every day from bases as far away as Edmonton.
Québec Justice Minister Choquette says he will use his authority under the War Measures Act to hold those arrested a full 21 days without charges. And, once charged, they may then be held for 90 days without a court appearance. The minister of "justice" says the delays are "inevitable" because of the large number of police files to be consulted.
Even a partial listing of those arrested—the ones we know for sure are being detained—reads like a Who’s Who of Québec’s political and trade union leaders, writers, and artists of the left and nationalist movements. They include two candidates for Montreal city council; at least five officials of the Confederation of National Trade Unions, including the president of the CNTU’s Montreal central council, Michel Chartrand; some 30 members of the Parti Québécois, the mass independentist party; and prominent political activists like Pierre Vallières, Charles Gagnon and Stan Gray.
The detainees include Arthur Young and Penny Simpson, leaders of the Ligue Socialiste Ouvrière, the Québec Trotskyist organization. The arrest of Young and Simpson, official publicity agent and treasurer respectively of the LSO’s candidate for the Montreal mayoralty, Manon Léger, is symptomatic; authorities like Mayor Drapeau are using the Act suppress their political opponents.
Police have used their powers under the Act to ban all political literature—only a week before the Montreal civic election, October 25! This is how the present rulers of Montreal, Québec and Canada fight terrorism, and defend democracy!
They have declared war on the growing mass movement for an independent Québec.
And the first victim in that war has been—as the War Measures Act indicates—the civil liberties, the democratic rights of everyone in Canada.
How could a crisis of such proportions develop out of the kidnapping of two individuals?
Prime responsibility lies with the Trudeau and Bourassa governments. Throughout the sequence of events that began with the abduction of James Cross on October 5, their only response was "law and order." They made no attempt to come to grips with, to respond to, the profound social tensions tapped by the FLQ adventure.
Instead of concessions, they carried out mass arrests—even the FLQ’s negotiator, Robert Lemieux, was picked up—and after the Laporte kidnapping, began to mobilize the army, a visible symbol for many Québécois of their political oppression by the federal government.
The result was predictable. Already, on October 11, the day after Laporte’s abduction, a speaker at a mass civic election rally of FRAP received a standing ovation when he said he agreed with the FLQ’s objectives insofar as these meant the taking of political and economic power by the Québec workers.
Trade unionists passed motions supporting the views of the FLQ manifesto. Students voted in mass rallies to strike their universities and schools until the FLQ’s demands were met. Prominent personalities petitioned the governments concerned to meet the FLQ demand for release of 23 political prisoners.
Once mobilized, Québécois public opinion threatened to erupt into what was fast becoming a massive confrontation with the ruling class at all levels of government.
For Mayor Drapeau and Premier Bourassa, this constituted an "apprehended insurrection." And this is what Justice Minister John Turner was referring to when, in attempting to justify the use of the War Measures Act in parliament, he spoke of "an infiltration of FLQ doctrine in certain areas of society in Québec—in the unions, among universities and in the media…."
Through sheer brute repression, Ottawa and Québec City have succeeded in beating down the immediate challenge they faced—and in doing so, have struck a major blow at the independentist movement. The full implications of this setback will have to be analyzed carefully by Québécois radicals.
But the terrible implications of the War Measures Act for civil liberties in this country are already very clear. Short of a massive mobilization against the Act, the government will have been allowed at one blow to introduce an entire new arsenal of repressive legislation and tactics.
Justice Minister Turner threatens that promised legislation to replace the Act will embody "substantially" the same powers.
The New Democratic Party struck an important blow against the repression by voting against the Act in parliament, despite powerful pressures to endorse it. The NDP must now move against the repression in the extra-parliamentary arena, through building the campaign for the repeal of the Act, and withdrawal of federal troops from Québec.
The proclamation of the War Measures Act has showed us how tenuous our democratic rights really are under capitalist rule. Now the campaign to defeat the repression must demonstrate just how determined we are to fight for those liberties. We can’t afford to fail.
"What is the end result of the FLQ’s actions and of its terrorist policy?" asks a special emergency issue of La Lutte Ouvrière, the Québec revolutionary socialist journal, devoted to the present crisis. "The FLQ has been pushed by the federal government, its Québec representatives and its trigger-happy police into a cul de sac which has already led to the death of Laporte and which can possibly end with the death of Cross and the martyrdom of the FLQers….
"Far from embarrassing the government and forcing it to draw back, the FLQ has strengthened Trudeau’s hand. Have the FLQ’s actions mobilized and inspired the working class? No.
"The FLQ has substituted the isolated actions of a small handful for the mass political action of the working class, the only road for Québec’s liberation. The task of socialists and all those who want an independent socialist Québec is to win the working class to a program of struggle; we must organize as a class on the economic and political level to take the power into our hands."
OCTOBER 21—Within hours of the Trudeau government’s proclamation of the War Measures Act, significant protests were launched across Canada. On Friday, October 16, rallies on university campuses were held in Toronto (150 at University of Toronto; 300 at York), 800 at the Regina campus of the University of Saskatchewan, and 80 on the Saskatoon campus.
Further rallies and demonstrations were held on Saturday. 500 turned out for a rally in Toronto: 300 demonstrated in Winnipeg, and 100 in Ottawa. A thousand spectators and participants attended an ultraleft rally organized by the Vancouver Liberation Front.
Demonstrations, teach-ins and mass meetings are planned for this week in Kitchener-Waterloo, London, Fredericton, Vancouver, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Hamilton, Ottawa, Regina and Saskatoon, organized by ad hoc committees.
In Québec the first steps towards building a massive civil liberties defense campaign in the face of severe repression, were taken on the weekend with the formation of the Front Commun pour la Liberté (Common Front for Liberty). This group is made up of journalists, civil libertarians and nationalist figures with the active support and facilities of the Confederation of National Trade Unions.
A strong statement by the three major Québec labor federations denounced the Bourassa government’s "decision to end the negotiations (with the FLQ) and to implore the federal government to put Québec under military yoke."
The promising actions of Friday and Saturday were somewhat undercut by the hysteria promoted by the government and the media on the death of Pierre Laporte, Québec minister of labor and immigration. The shock felt by Canadians was used to justify retroactively the government’s drastic move, tending to disorient the growing protest movement.
The arbitrary powers of the War Measures Act have not been widely implemented in English Canada. There have been several incidents and a few arrests, however. Some reactionary campus administrators have used the Act as a cover to censor the views of student newspaper editors, even threatening some with expulsion for having attempted to report what is happening in Québec. The student newspaper at the University of Guelph, The Ontarion, was seized by the police for carrying the FLQ Manifesto—the same document published in the daily press only a few days earlier. In Winnipeg, Dimension bookstore, owned by Waffle leader Cy Gonick, was harassed by police.
In Québec, the developing protests were hit hardest by the direct repression. An occupation of the administration building at the University of Québec in Montreal was ended by police intervention on Sunday.
Leading civil libertarian figures have been arrested. Similarly most radical leaders who could have provided direction for the protests are being held by the police.
A special conference of leaders of the three Québec labor movements on Wednesday, in Québec City is to decide on means of action against the repression.
A number of prominent trade union figures launched a call for passive resistance against the repression. This call was picked up and supported in an editorial statement in Québec-Presse, a left-wing weekly supported by the labor movement: "The army is not in Québec to protect the population. It is in Québec to protect the ruling class.... Consequently it is necessary to resist the repression that hits everywhere in Québec—and to resist by using all imaginable peaceful means.... The resistance must be a common concerted effort of the popular movements, of the citizens’ committees, of all the associations and of the trade unions."
The crisis in Canada has provoked some response internationally. In the U.S., Nixon used the opportunity to congratulate the Canadian government and hint at similar measures to be used against American radicals. On the other hand, the American radical and antiwar movement launched protests against the repression.
Demanding an end to the military occupation of Montreal, and the repeal of the War Measures Act, demonstrations spearheaded by the Student Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam, the Young Socialist Alliance, Socialist Workers Party, and other groups and individuals were held at Canadian consular offices. Actions were held in Worcester, Mass., New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Minneapolis, Madison, Seattle, and Berkeley.
A statement demanding the release of the political prisoners and an end to the political repression was signed by Noam Chomsky, William Styron, Susan Sontag, Brad Lyttle, and others, for presentation to the Canadian consul in New York.
The War Measures Act is being used to suppress all opposition to the federal, Québec and Montreal governments, charges the League for Socialist Action/Ligue Socialiste Ouvrière in a statement released October 18.
Two leading members of the LSO in Québec, Arthur Young and Penny Simpson, have been arrested and are being held under the Act, despite their well-known opposition to the terrorist tactics of the Front de Libération du Québec. Young is editor of La Lutte Ouvrière, the Québec revolutionary socialist monthly. He and Simpson are publicity agent and campaign treasurer, respectively, of Manon Léger, the candidate of the LSO and the Ligue des Jeunes Socialistes for the Montreal mayoralty.
"We protest this crude attempt to derive the people of Montreal of the right to acquaint themselves with the socialist program and the democratic alternative in the current civic elections," the LSA/LSO statement declares. "Manon Léger’s campaign is based on the demand for an independent socialist Québec. Is it a crime to speak out for French unilingualism and a workers government in these elections?"
Arrests under the Act are by no means limited to those whose views may be described as revolutionary, the LSA/LSO notes. Two candidates of the Front d’Action Populaire (FRAP), a trade union-backed political party contesting the Montreal elections, are being held. FRAP’s offices have been raided repeatedly, and its print-shop closed down. "Hundreds of persons have been arrested and held incommunicado. Lawyers’ files have been seized. The daily press reports that ‘tons of literature’ have been carted away."
In proclaiming the War Measures Act, mobilizing the military and suppressing all civil liberties, "the authorities are engaging in counter-terror," the LSA/ LSO charges.
The League for Socialist Action/Ligue Socialiste Ouvrière is a common organization uniting revolutionary socialist in both nations, Québec and English Canada. Its members are active in the student movement, the anti-Vietnam war movement and the movement for women’s liberation. They are prominent militants in their trade unions.
In Québec, they are leading participants in the movement for national independence; LSO members have played key roles in the struggle to defend the French language, and in the student movement. In English Canada, the LSA is well-known in the left for its unconditional support of the New Democratic Party and the struggle to win the NDP to a socialist program.
Because of its clear understanding that socialism can only come through the conscious action of the majority of the workers around a program which mobilizes the working class in mass actions, the LSA/LSO is a firm opponent of individual terror, such as is practised by the FLQ. In Québec, the LSO has consistently opposed the FLQ’s methods, and counterposed its own program which projects politicization of the working people through their class organizations, the trade unions, around the demand for a labor party.
That is the position which the LSO has attempted to popularize through its election campaigns. In the Montreal civic elections, it is supporting the candidates of FRAP, which it regards as an important step towards the formation of a Québec labor party. The candidacy of the LSO’s Manon Léger for mayor is posed in the framework of rounding out the FRAP alternative at the election’s focal point, the mayoralty.
The LSA/LSO statement on the War Measures Act concludes with a call for action against the repression:
by Mark Gans
"We must," said NDP leader Tommy Douglas last week, "ask ourselves if we’re getting at the root of the matter—which is why the people of Québec, even if they do not agree with the methods of the FLQ, seem to feel an identity with them."
Start with a heightened sense of national oppression. Québécois are aware as never before that Poverty speaks French and Privilege speaks English. The French-speaking Québécois was, more likely than not, born poor, in an overcrowded urban slum, into a large family which had only a generation or two ago migrated from the narrow insularity of rural Québec. He is still poor, as are the 70 percent of Montreal family heads who today earn less than $6,000 a year. About 40 percent are in really dire straits, with an earning power of less than $4,000, the conservatively-drawn poverty line of the federal government.
He grew up in an environment not unlike that experienced by Pierre Vallières, an FLQ leader, who—in his autobiography, Nègres Blancs d’Amérique—has described it as replete with dilapidated housing, disease, ignorance, gang warfare and street battles in which "whole families fought with iron bars, chains, chairs, and baseball bats," where "children dreamed of gigantic fires, terrible murderers who slit women’s throats, and kidnappers of babies."
As a result, the Québécois gets the worst, most underpaid jobs. He occupies the lowest rungs of the occupational ladder, and is the last to be hired and the first to be fired. Unemployment in Québec is generally twice as high as Ontario’s and close to half the Canadian total.
In some of the more depressed regions outside Montreal, more than half the working population knows welfare as a fact of life.
When the Québécois worker is lucky enough to hold a steady job, it is with the unspoken knowledge that advancement to a better position is impossible without learning English, the minority language. In Montreal, where the work force is about 80 percent French, Anglophones—many of them imported from English Canada and the United States—hold 63 percent of the administrative posts and 83 percent of the jobs paying over $12,000, according to figures cited by the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism.
The arrogance of the multinational corporations within Québec on the language question has been nothing short of boundless. A case in point is the large General Motors plant in Ste-Thérèse which, up to very recently, resisted union demands even to translate the collective contract into French. In a plant where 95 percent of the workers are French-speaking, virtually all of the supervisory personnel speak English.
His younger, university-trained brother or sister shares similar frustrations. Discrimination effectively blocks them from any real decision-making authority in private industry. A Québécois manager with equal qualifications can expect to earn about 20 percent less than his English-speaking counterpart in private industry, with chances for advancement correspondingly low.
In recent years, the creation of a skilled and relatively well-educated work force with few job outlets in the English-dominated multinational corporations has led many university graduates to turn to the professions or the provincial government bureaucracy. Young, educated, bursting with ambition and often ability, that’s why they also constitute the frustrated, angry backbone of the independence movement.
For both student and worker, the signs of foreign domination are everywhere. American and English-Canadian brand names veil the fact that over 80 percent of the population is French and that Montreal is the second-largest French-speaking city in the world. But it’s more than something which simply offends the cultural sensibilities of the Québécois, more than merely another distressing condition of life. It is the root condition of his life and determines his entire consciousness.
Québec is so thoroughly controlled by foreign capital, and its effects have so thoroughly distorted the economy, that it conforms, in many ways, to the classic colony. Consider: a heavy concentration on extractive and cheap-labor industries; minimal allocation of funds for such basic services as health and education; a large pool of under- and unemployed labor; the division of the working class along national lines; gross regional disparities which allow modern industrial cities to coexist with squalid pools of rural underdevelopment; and a native propertied class restricted, by and large, to smallscale urban manufacturing and rural agriculture, with large industrial and finance capital in the hands of foreigners.
This is the situation which has become increasingly challenged by the Québécois people in the past decade.
This has been a period marked by the growth of a powerful student movement, the steady rise of independentist sentiment, and the shattering of old political alignments.
It has also been a period of militant labor struggle. The last decade, particularly its closing years, has been marked by protracted and often violent strikes, including factory occupations at Domtar, Vickers, and Davies Shipbuilding, and even the formation of an armed workers defense corps at a paper mill in East Angus-Windsor.
These twin currents—of independentist agitation and labor upsurge—fused toward the end of the decade. Last year was a watershed in the Québécois workers’ struggle, which saw an increasing number marching in protest with independentist students over a variety of national issues like Bill 63 (the government-sponsored language bill designed to entrench English school privilege) and McGill Français (a popular proposal to turn that bastion of English privilege into a French-speaking university), and labor issues like the Lapalme layoff of postal workers, the police strike, and the Murray Hill bus monopoly.
Although they have yet to develop their own party or program, the growing support of many Québécois workers for political independence was clearly demonstrated by their heavy vote for the Parti Québécois in Last April’s election. But the vote for the pro-capitalist PQ is only symptomatic. The thrust of working class nationalism is profoundly revolutionary. The Québec workers’ support for the statehood signifies, above all, a deep rejection of the status quo—and, by implication, the social structures which it consecrates.
That was why, in effect, the FLQ’s call for a Québec economy owned and operated by workers and farmers themselves could find a response among broad layers of the population.
And these sentiments—War Measures Act notwithstanding—will endure and develop beyond the passing of the FLQ from the stage of Québec politics.
by Jacquie Henderson, Executive Secretary, YS/ LJS
On Thursday, October 15, mass meetings of students at the University of Montreal, the University of Québec and several junior colleges, voted to strike. Touched off by the mobilization of federal troops—a vivid symbol to Québécois of their oppression by Ottawa—these mass protest rallies condemned the Québec government for refusing to meet the FLQ demands, and expressed support for the anticapitalist, pro-independence sentiments of the FLQ’s Manifesto.
Prominent trade union and Parti Québécois figures called on the government to meet the FLQ demands, and the CNTU Montreal Central Council declared its support of the FLQ’s aims.
It was in response to this developing mass movement that the Trudeau government invoked the War Measures Act. Suspending the most basic civil liberties, the Cabinet issued a go-ahead for the arrest of hundreds of students, labor leaders, intellectuals, entertainers, etc. The universities were shut down, and the police evacuated students occupying the University of Québec. Those who had initiated the student protests were among the first arrested.
The government acted because it feared a repetition, this time on a larger scale, of the massive mobilizations which shook Québec in October 1968 and October 1969. Those actions, beginning with student protests, involved hundreds of thousands of Québécois in mass action against the subordination of the Québec nation.
The Young Socialists/Ligue des Jeunes Socialistes has itself been attacked under the repressive legislation. Penny Simpson, executive council member of the YS/LJS and founding member of the Montreal LJS, has been arrested and detained without charge. She has been held for almost a week now.
Simpson is an outspoken advocate of an independent socialist Québec and a leader of the women’s liberation movement in Montreal. She is campaign treasurer for Manon Léger, the Ligue des Jeunes Socialistes-Ligue Socialiste Ouvrière candidate for Mayor of Montreal. Has Trudeau outlawed the struggle for women’s and Québécois liberation? Is it now illegal to pose the socialist alternative in election campaigns?
The War Measures Act and the government-induced hysteria is designed not to capture a few kidnappers, but to repress the drive of the Québécois for independence.
The Act is an attack on all Canadians, and on all Canadian students. Although intended primarily to suppress the Québécois movement, it has been used to seize the Guelph University student newspaper, The Ontarion, which reprinted parts of the FLQ Manifesto. More important, it threatens to create a precedent by which the government can crush any opposition to its pro-capitalist policies.
Trudeau demagogically tried to exploit the Laporte killing by defusing the protests against the War Measures Act with appeals for "unity." But on every major campus, the demand has been for information, for explanations, for discussion. Teach-ins and rallies have discussed the implications of the Act. Students want to know why.
Why was this action "necessary"? Why were the troops called in?
It is increasingly clear that the government has no satisfactory answer to these questions. Trudeau cannot admit that there was no secret plan for insurrection, that his government is attempting to crush a democratic mass movement.
In most areas, ad hoc committees representing a broad range of political opinions have been formed to expose the cynical, anti-democratic nature of the government’s action. Petitions, rallies and demonstrations have been organized. These developments must continue and expand, around the formation of united fronts of all concerned tendencies through democratically functioning ad hoc committees.
Emergency assemblies should be held in the high schools, during school time, to discuss the threat to our democratic rights.
The students must move out to organize the community at large against the repression.
The independentist movement for self-determination in Québec cannot be suppressed. It is too deeply rooted in the national oppression of the entire Québécois nation. The inevitable and early resurgence of the movement in Québec will lend a new perspective to the struggle in English Canada against the repressive laws.
The student movement must ensure that a movement to re-establish civil liberties is launched and is successful.
A defeat in this crucial struggle would seriously compromise and endanger every democratic struggle in the future. A victory can and will lay a strong foundation for future struggles to advance our democratic rights.
by Harry Kopyto
On the morning of October 16, Canadians awoke to discover that at 4 a.m., the federal Cabinet had turned the country into a police state.
The law invoked by the Liberal government, the War Measures Act, effectively wipes out the civil liberties of all Canadians.
Under this Act, citizens can be arrested and held for 21 days without being charged and for 90 days without being brought to trial. Nothing prevents police from holding someone for 89 days, re-arresting him as he leaves the police station, holding him a further 89 days, re-arresting him again, and so on.
Police can enter anyone’s home without warrant, seize any possessions, and hold them for 90 days or until the end of legal proceedings.
The Front de Libération du Québec are outlawed, the first time in decades a political organization has been illegalized, allowing the government unlimited powers in suspending civil rights.
The fact is, as the Canadian Civil Liberties Association has noted in a submission to the government released Oct. 19, "Neither when the matter was introduced in Parliament nor during statements which have followed in the media, has the government furnished the Canadian people with a statement of fact sufficient to support the conclusion that this country was on the brink of an insurrection."
Yet the Act was invoked expressly to deal with a state of "apprehended insurrection."
People can be arrested for past actions made illegal retroactively. Someone who attended a legal meeting of the FLQ two years ago may be subject to a five year penalty.
The Act allows for censorship and control of publications and other means of communication.
The Act is so ambiguous and broadly worded that it is impossible to determine whether a whole series of actions and statements are legal. By taking precedence over the Canadian Bill of Rights, it is effectively a carte blanche.
When the War Measures Act was proclaimed at the outset of the Second World War, its first victim was a Trotskyist who opposed the war. Subsequently, it was used to transport and intern thousands of Japanese-Canadians—many of them born in Canada—to camps in Canada’s interior.
The government says it will introduce within a month new legislation to deal with "peacetime crises." But according to the "general approach" that Justice Minister Turner says the new bill will take, it threatens to be similar to a repetition of the old Section 98 of the Criminal Code. Section 98, passed in order to frame the leaders of the Winnipeg General Strike in 1919, was used to suppress the Communist party until a massive civil liberties campaign won its repeal in 1938.
The Globe and Mail of Oct. 20 states that the new bill "would include such offences as sedition and treason... There will be sections permitting police to arrest suspects without a warrant, and to detain them for extended periods without laying a charge. Special search powers will also be included... The new bill will give the government authority to invoke emergency powers by executive order."
The campaign to repeal the War Measures Act must therefore firmly declare its opposition to all such repressive legislation.
by Jean Martin
What does it mean to live in an occupied country?
The soldiers stand by public buildings with rifles and machine guns at the ready; army personnel carriers cross-cross the city; now and then a convoy of twenty or more vehicles rumbles to an army base; helicopters hover over the city.
But the soldiers seem awkward, ill-at-ease … how many speak the language of the Québécois? Their baggy battledress contrasts with the menace of their automatic rifles; they look so awkward standing there on the bustling downtown streets.
Why are they here? Who are they protecting?
"They’ve come to protect us from the FLQ," I hear. Is that why scores are arrested who have publicly opposed the FLQ and its methods, who obviously have nothing to do with it? Is that why police announce today that they are considering banning the pro-union weekly Québec-Presse for advocating "passive resistance" to the war measures act?
Is that why the Université du Québec was closed down today? And why political meetings were banned in campuses across the city?
One can only conclude that the power that planned this military invasion is as afraid of the mass democratic expression of the Québécois as Trudeau says he is of the FLQ.
Québec has no government, said René Levesque Friday, expressing what many have concluded from Ottawa’s imposition of war rule. Indeed, Québec’s people are ruled by federal decree with no legal recourse, with all civil rights abolished.
The Catholic bishops of Québec proclaimed October 17 that "It is injustice that breeds violence"—showing more insight than Trudeau into the causes of terrorism.
But as I look at the soldiers, the machine guns, the convoys, it seems to me that the worthy bishops got it backwards. It’s violence—naked government violence—that sustains the injustice.
The press says that life goes on as usual, that a general calm prevails.
A nation kidnapped …
Every day we phone our friends, our comrades; to see who has disappeared since yesterday.
Every night we wait for the knock at the door—at 5 a.m.—the knock of police terror resounding across the province. From the pattern of arrests—scores in jail who have opposed the FLQ and its methods and had no contact with them—it seems that we’re all "criminals" in the eyes of the police, all of us who have advocated the liberation of Québec.
Our hopes to determine our future are mocked by the imposition of the War Measures Act, the abolition of our democratic rights and political life, by the arbitrary decision of 23 men in Ottawa.
Québec under the War Measures Act: seven million prisoners in a jail cell called "Canada"; our freedom regulated by a federal government we cannot control.
Seven million hostages ... descended from a nation kidnapped 300 years ago.
MONTREAL, October 18—Manon Léger, socialist candidate for mayor of this city, today termed the death of Pierre Laporte senseless and purposeless.
"At the same time," she said, "We must draw attention to the federal government’s role in setting the stage for the tragedy. As Laporte himself wrote to Premier Bourassa, ‘You have the power to decide whether I live or die’."
Léger pointed out that the government, in refusing the FLQ’s demands to let the political prisoners leave the country, in decreeing the War Measures Act, the armed occupation of Québec and the massive arresrs could not but have foreseen that this would lead to LaPorte’s death.
"I wish to reaffirm," she continued, "my opposition to terrorist actions which can and have only damaged the cause of the socialist liberation of Québec.
"Far from advocating the violent overthrow of the government, I have always favored the establishment of an independent socialist Québec by peaceful means. In my view a socialist society can only be achieved through the democratic action of the majority."
Léger appealed to the government to save the life of J. R. Cross and end the reign of violence. It must start, she stated, by withdrawing the War Measures Act and freeing all those detained under its provisions.
Copyright South Branch Publishing. All