Thesituation that faces the country today is a result of extremistthoughts that the country can be taken as ransom for the sake ofindividual interests that are misguided. The group that has kidnappedthe two government officials is the Frontde libération du Québec,simply the FLQ. Extremist thoughts and desire for power withoutregard for the law is the main background, ideology that has set thegroup into the recent activities. Over the past, the FLQ has shownaggression towards innocent civilians without placing any tangiblejustification over the reasons for such targets. Despite thechallenges, this government seeks to understand the background, thehistorical context and the necessary measures that should be taken.Through this understanding, the position of the government is toevaluate the situation and take the appropriate measures.
TheFLQ started in 1963 as a nationalist group in the Quebec provincewith the aim of inciting people to seek separatist ideas against thefederal government1.Since starting as a separatist group, the FLQ has developed into aradical paramilitary group with Marxist-Leninist ideologies. Sinceits foundation, the group supported the Quebec sovereignty movement,a political movement that sought for a separate sovereignty of theQuebec province2.The group became a terrorist organization because of using violentmethods that targeted innocent civilians instead of engaging inconstructive interaction with the government. The hallmark of theirterror is marked by the many bombings they have done in the country3.These attacks also include kidnappings, bank holdups and gunfireattacks.
Sinceits formation, it is sad to report that the group has orchestratedover 160 violent attacks with eight fatalities and several otherinjuries4.The FLQ carried these attacks because of their practice of thepropaganda of the deed in a bid to show the government of theirintentions to lead the Quebec province to independence5.The forms and the actions of the group are inspired by other radicalseparatist movements in other countries like Cuba, Vietnam andAlgeria. While the group has received some sympathy, considerationfrom some people in Quebec province, its ideology and actions aremisguided. At the same time, foreign governments have over timerefused to recognize the group as a liberation movement of any kind.
HistoricalContext for the rise of FLQ
Theassociation of the early members of the group with radical foreignersis the main historical context that gave rise to the FLQ. The radicalforeigners gave the ideology and training for the FLQ to form into aradical and violent group. For instance, the first members of thegroup were trained by a Belgian revolutionary called GeorgesSchoeters. Other early members like Michel Lambert and Normand Royreceived guerilla training in Jordan from the Palestine LiberationOrganization6.These foreign associations gave the form that the FLQ took as theirpolitical shape that inspired their separatist ideas. All this wasmade possible by the economic context of reduced work opportunities,which made you people engage in criminal thinking, and activism.
Theexistence of a clandestinecellsystem in Quebec also provided a significant context for the rise ofthe FLQ group. The clandestinecellswere ways of organizing groups of people in a way that preventedtheir penetration by other people, opposing the organization leavingthe members of a cell into isolation7.Among the cells were the Dieppe Cell the Louis Riel Cell, the VigerCell established by Robert Comeau, the Saint-Denis Cell and theNelson Cell. These cells organized the members of the FLQ group tocarry attacks that they have done since 1963. The foundation of thesecells gave ground for the integration of the resistant activists toform a unified ideology against the government. This particularcrisis we are facing in October is traced to be organized by themembers of the Chénier Cell and Liberation Cell.
Optionsfor the Government
Theunderstanding of the origin and the context of the FLQ gives thegovernment an upper hand in solving this problem once and for all.While the government understands the necessity of the success ofwhichever options taken, the state is also keen to save the lives ofthe kidnapped officers8.The government has only two viable and rational options to implementthe War Measures Act or to negotiate with the FLQ. While there areother options, this government understands the risks involved and thecommitment to avoid formal recognition of the group as a legitimateforce or political movement. In arriving to these two options, thegovernment fully understands its critical responsibility of securingcivilians and rescuing the kidnapped the officers.
Implementingthe War Measures Act
Theadvantage with the first option of implementing the War Measures Actwill be giving the security forces, including the military legalrights to do the necessary to the crisis. This will be done through amilitary deployment to all the areas that the security forces feelare of interest towards the security of the kidnapped officers andcivilians. In addition, implementing the War Measures Act will givethe security forces an opportunity to find where the kidnappers arehiding, rescue the government officers and finish the organization ofthe FLQ group9.However, the main, disadvantage with the implementation of the WarMeasures Act is a possible public perception that their civil rightswill be violated. With this notification, the public is advised tocomply with the security forces.
Thephilosophical underpinning of this approach of the War Measures Actis based on the acknowledgement of the urgency of the situation, andthe danger of civil unrest. The government fully understands thatthere may be support to the FLQ by the public who may think on theirside. While the government does not ignore this information, the samegovernment cannot withstand the risk that the two government officersare facing in the hands of the FLQ kidnappers10.Therefore, the government will be firm and relentless in its quest tocompletely end the movement.
Negotiatingwith the FLQ
Thisoption was and is a viable for the government in securing thekidnapped government officers safely. The advantage is that thegovernment will negotiate with the FLQ to free the captive Britishnational, whose freedom is important for Canada’s foreignrelations. Therefore, the government will take possible action11.However, the disadvantage is that the kidnappers may one of theofficers, which will complicate the matter, and reduces the chancesfor amicable negotiations with the FLQ, who the government will nowregard as terrorists.
Thephilosophical underpinning for this option is that the FLQ has anupper hand as far as the safety of the two officers, the Britishnational is concerned. Approaching the target with military forcewill result to the death of the two officers, which is not an optionfor the situation the government is facing. The government maynegotiate with the FLQ and allow them to air their manifesto but theyshould not take advantage of this chance to harm human life.Therefore, negotiation should not be assumed to give ground for FLQto assume the government will not use force.
Recommendationsand Possible Consequences
Theoffice of the prime minister therefore recommends the implementationof the War Measures Act. With the approval of Premier Bourassa, theimplementation of the War Measures Act will allow military actionagainst the FLQ12.The consequence of the implementation of the War Measures Act isgranting of far-reaching powers to the police to arrest and detainthe supporters of the FLQ for as long as it is necessary for lawenforcement.
Theoffice of the prime minister further recommends that the policeforces are taken into custody the supporters of the FLQ and detainthem as empowered by the War Measures Act. The consequence for thisaction is the possible perception by the public that their civilrights are being violated13.However, the emergency powers given in the constitution allow thiseventuality to reach, as the threshold has been reached.
Theprime minister further recommends that the negotiations with the FLQkidnappers be held with representation of their lawyers, if the lifeof the two kidnapped officers is at risk, and will be freed14.The impact of this implication is a possible negotiation with thekidnappers. However, this will be done in exchange of the twoofficers to the Canadian authorities in safety.
Bothwell,Robert.Canadaand Quebec: One Country, Two Histories: Revised Edition.Toronto: UBCPress, 2011
Fournier,LouisF.L.Q: The Anatomy of an Underground Movement.Pennington:NCPress Ltd, 1984
Loomis,Dan G. Notmuch glory: Quelling the FLQ.Toronto: Deneau Publishing, 1984
Morf,Gustave Terrorin Quebec.Clark, Irwin Publishers. 1970
Pelletier,Gérard. TheOctober crisis.Michigan: McClelland and Stewart,1971
Simard,Francis. Talkingit out : the October Crisis from inside.Montréal: Guernica, 1987
Skelton,Oscar D. TheCanadian Dominion.Toronto, Glasgow: Yale University Press
Regush,Nicholas. PierreVallières: The Revolutionary Process in Quebec.Montreal: Fitzhenry and Whiteside
Tetley,William.TheOctober Crisis, 1970 : An Insider`s View,Canada: McGill-Queen`s University Press
Torrance,Judy. PublicViolence in Canada.1988, Quebec,Canada: McGill-Queen`s Press – MQUP, 1988
1 Pelletier, Gérard. The October crisis. Michigan: McClelland and Stewart, 1971
2 Fournier, Louis F.L.Q: The Anatomy of an Underground Movement. Pennington: NC Press Ltd, 1984
3 Regush, Nicholas. Pierre Vallières: The Revolutionary Process in Quebec. Montreal: Fitzhenry and Whiteside
4 Loomis, Dan G. Not much glory: Quelling the FLQ. Toronto: Deneau Publishing, 1984
5 Torrance, Judy. Public Violence in Canada, 1988, Quebec, Canada: McGill-Queen`s Press – MQUP, 1988
6 Simard, Francis. Talking it out: the October Crisis from inside. Montréal: Guernica, 1987
7 Skelton, Oscar D. The Canadian Dominion Toronto, Glasgow: Yale University Press
8 Tetley, William. The October Crisis, 1970 : An Insider`s View, Canada: McGill-Queen`s University Press
9 Torrance, Judy. Public Violence in Canada. 1988, Quebec, Canada: McGill-Queen`s Press – MQUP, 19
10 Bothwell, Robert. Canada and Quebec: One Country, Two Histories: Revised Edition. Toronto: UBC Press, 2011
11 Pelletier, Gérard. The October crisis. Michigan: McClelland and Stewart, 1971
12 Tetley, William.The October Crisis, 1970 : An Insider`s View, Canada: McGill-Queen`s University Press
13 Pelletier, Gérard. The October crisis. Michigan: McClelland and Stewart, 1971
14 Tetley, William.The October Crisis, 1970 : An Insider`s View, Canada: McGill-Queen`s University Press