Category Archives: Québec sovereignty

Revisiting a dark past

Soldiers stand guard in front of the Hotel-de-Ville de Montréal, October 1970

Forty years ago Montrealers were still reeling from the October Crisis, an unfortunate event in our city’s history. A terrorist organization, the Front de libération du Québec (FLQ) wrapped up a seven year bombing and armed-robbery spree with two kidnappings and a murder. The response was swift and exacting – partial martial law was declared in Montréal, Ottawa and Québec City, the operations of the Government of Québec were moved to a ‘bunker’ of sorts in downtown Montréal, and thousands of federal troops were deployed to guard important buildings, set up checkpoints, and assist the Montréal Police (SPVM) and the Sureté du Québec (SQ). The murder of Québec cabinet-minister Pierre Laporte would spell the end for the FLQ, as the military and security forces cracked down on the terrorist organization and its suspected sympathizers. Hundreds were arrested and detained for (on the most part) a few days. The right to freedom of assembly was never denied, even though thousands of FLQ sympathizers applauded the news that Laporte had been killed. Makes me think that those who were arrested probably had more than a fleeting sense of sympathy for the FLQ.

Regardless, on the 16th of October, the Québecois nationalist organization, the Societé-St-Jean-Baptiste (SSJB) unveiled a new monument dedicated to those who were temporarily imprisoned during the Crisis for alleged terrorist sympathies. None of these people were incarcerated for very long, they were not treated as typical prisoners, and certainly, none of them were tortured or abused in any real sense. While unfortunate, it was a necessary evil to wipe out our very own home-grown terrorist network. For a list of FLQ activities during the 1963-1970 period, check out this link and judge for yourself whether you think the actions of the federal and provincial governments were out of line.

Je me souviens, I’ll always remember quite well…

Former Québec Premier Jacques Parizeau

On October 29th, our enlightened former Premier, Jacques Parizeau, indicated he now regrets having stepped down as leader of the Parti Québecois on the night of October 30th 1995, moments after the separatist defeat during the 1995 Referendum. Parizeau will forever be remembered for his mind-boggling assertion that money and ethnic votes somehow won the No side a victory, that fateful day some fifteen years ago.

Personally, I wished he would have stayed on. In much the same way as an anarchist voting Republican to ‘get the ball rolling’. Parizeau is one of those excellent examples of a politician who will gladly make an ass of himself to appeal to those who would view him as bumbling, but ultimately good-natured. Think proto-Sarah Palin.

Parizeau is concerned with the seeming lack of interest at the top of the current PQ – Pauline Marois seems to be falling in-line with PQ policy to wait for ‘winning conditions’, a policy developed by former Premier and now disgruntled sovereignist Lucien Bouchard, who succeeded Parizeau in 1996. Since then, other PQ leaders (you’ll notice they don’t stick around too long) have played the rhetoric card when advantageous, but have ultimately stayed away from the issue. In effect, this closely followed the policy of René Lévesque, who lost considerable public support in the 5 years after the 1980 Referendum for not pursuing Québec independence. Nowadays, with a very unpopular Prime Minister running the country, pro-Independence rhetoric has begun to show its ugly head once more, and an old man is making it known he thinks we’d be in better shape if only he hadn’t acted so hastily and removed himself from office.

Handy hindsight, always 20-20 and generally self-serving.

Personally, I’ll always remember this train-wreck of a politician for his infamous, and possibly alcohol-fueled accusation that independence had been snatched away by fat-cat bankers and fast-tracked immigrants. If Lenin was a separatist, I’m certain he’d have made the same argument, its so convenient.