The Front de Liberation du Quebec also known as FLQ, was a terrorist group located in Quebec. The group was established in the early 1960’s and took part in a lot of organized crime and attacks. Some of the crimes that were committed were: terrorist crimes including, over 200 bombings and robberies (Simeon, 1972). One of the biggest crimes took place in 1970 known as the October Crisis. The events that took place during this time was the kidnapping of James Cross, the British Trade Commissioner in Montreal and Pierre Laporte, the Minister of Labour. James Cross was kidnapped first by the FLQ in Montreal and the crimes started escalating on Canadian soil after Pierre Laporte was kidnapped and killed (May, 2013), The FLQ felt they needed to do this because they believed that Quebec should have been an independent state. They committed these crimes in order to prove and make an independent Quebecois state (May, 2013). The FLQ had some control over what they were doing in hopes that it would solve some problems and get the independent government that they wanted but had no control over what would come next after committing these crimes (Simeon, 1972). The main goal of the FLQ was to get freedom and equality that they wanted in order to be less reliable on Canada and they turned to terrorism in order to achieve this. The FLQ had the power to commit crimes but the Canadian Government had the power over them in what the next steps were going to be. The result of the October Crisis ended up in the Canadian Government enacting The War Measures Act.
In 1914, a federal law that was passed by parliament after the First World War was the War Measures Act. The main purpose of this act was to give Canada powers during times of “war invasion, and insurrection, real or apprehended” (The Critical Thinking Consortium, 2017). This means that the Canadian Government was allowed to use extra protection which in this case was the use of security in times of crisis to protect the public. The War Measures Act was invoked by Pierre Trudeau who was part of the liberal government at the time in response to the two kidnappings that happened by the FLQ (May, 2013). Some other major roles that the Act implied were, the protection to prevent overreaching government during war and maintain public order and public safety (The Critical Thinking Consortium, 2017). The government was able to take over old factories that were being used to produce farm equipment at the time and use them for making weapons for soldiers who were fighting during the war (May, 2013). This act was used during the World Wards and the October Crisis. Years after the October Crisis, the War Measures Act was replaced with the Emergencies Act which was a new law that was created in 1988. The idea of this law was similar to the War Measures Act but the main power was to protect or limit actions during the war (The Critical Thinking Consortium, 2017). This was done in a way that the Canadian Government would take complete control over the law and would not give Quebec the opportunity to be independent.
The Canadian Government was able to invoke the federal statue so quickly without anyone knowing because they needed to be able to take action in order to start an investigation in the two kidnappings that occurred. They did not have the authority to do this as a result they put the War Measures Act in place. Pierre Trudeau worked with the police in order to obtain and expand the police powers that were invoke in the War Measures Act (Simeon, 1972). The Canadian Government negotiated with the Front de Liberation du Quebec but they refused to give any information about the kidnappings (May, 2013). So during this time, Pierre Trudeau enforced the War Measures Act to help try and figure out what had happened. In doing this he was able to get the power and authority that the Canadian Government needed.
In the events that took place it was a good idea for the Canadian Government to put some law into place considering the circumstances that were taking place at that time. There were both pros and cons with enacting the War Measures Act but overall believed that the act was justified. Some positive ideas that came out of the War Measures Act was it allowed the Canadian Government to have the power they needed during the times of the Wars to make sure they were able to protect the rights of citizens in danger. It gave the power to the Canadian Government to take matters into their own hands when it came to dealing with civil rights and being able to make decisions based on how severe the situation is and dealing with possible threats that Canada encounters (The Critical Thinking Consortium, 2017). Once Trudeau realized that he needed an Act in place it gave Canada success as a whole because they were able to rely on the federal government when they needed too or when they were in trouble (May, 2013). In everything we do there are always going to be consequences or cons when we create things. This happened with the War Measures Act. After the Act was put into place, some authorities misused it because they believed that people were part of an “armed insurrection” which happened to put 450 innocent people in Quebec in jail and held for long periods of time. (The Critical Thinking Consortium, 2017). In my personal opinion, I believe that the War Measures Act was justified in having the ability to give power to the Canadian Government but believed that Pierre Trudeau could have approached it a different ways in achieving the act that he invoked.