Sunday, 13 January 2013

Was the War Measures Act Justified During the October Crisis?


Pierre Laporte a victim to the FLQ (also known as Front de libération du Québec)

During October 1970 in the province of Quebec two government officials were kidnapped, one Pierre Laporte who was later murdered by the FLQ and the other James Cross. This caused the Prime Minister at the time Pierre Trudeau to use the War Measures Act but before Laporte was killed, this was the first time it was used in Canada in peacetime. The War Measures Act allows the police to have more power and arrest and hold citizens and by definition allowed the government to assume sweeping emergency powers in the event of "war, invasion or insurrection, real or apprehended“. The War Measures Act was only used 3 times in Canadian history, the first in WW1, the second in WW2, and the third in the October Crisis. But it was very debatable whether it was needed in the October Crisis.

Many people believe enacting the war measures act was needed because they say it was the only defense to cease the FLQs violence but, I believe it was not justified because there were over 450 people arrested many of which were innocent these people could be held as long as they needed. Some people were held for months. This to me is when you know you have too much power and reminds me of WW2 as Hitler had Totalitarian power but luckily Trudeau did not have the same thoughts of Hitler. Also Trudeau could have done a lot more with the totalitarian power the War Measures Act gave him, any opponent of Trudeau could not fight back against him.

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