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The October Crisis: Do You Have A Permit For That Freedom?

3073 words - 13 pages

The purpose of government is to create peace and order to maintain a functioning society. Legislation from the federal government of Canada is to do exactly that, but at what point does the law over state its presence and harm the people it attempts to protect? The October Crisis that occurred in 1970 under the Trudeau government is one such contentious issue: while it may have been supported by some it was highly criticized for damaging human rights in a democratic society. Essentially martial law was produced and the effects of the October Crisis caused a developed nation to take a step backward in their work to create and maintain a safe, functioning democratic state: a democratic state became a despotic driven country in a momentary lapse due to a fear driven decision.
To understand the October Crisis and the implementation of the War Measures Act a brief look at the incidents preceding the kidnapping must be acknowledged. The English and French societies of Canada have a deep history of malcontent, but an ever growing form of acceptance has culminated between the two co-existing nations. Since the time of confederation there have been citizens within the province of Quebec that have felt oppressed by the ever dominant Anglo society and felt that Quebec should be an independent nation; upon this basis of independence the Parti Quebecois was created, along with the FLQ (Front Liberation du Quebec). Preceding the kidnappings of James Cross, a British Diplomat, and Pierre Laporte, the French Labour Minister, a history of violence had already been atypical of the FLQ .
The FLQ was created during a period of time known as the Quiet Revolution; the Quiet Revolution was directly linked to the Liberal party, led by Jean Lesage, coming into power in Quebec in 1960 in which a new era was imposed. In this new era the state, not the church, was to be the domineering power . This caused a rupture within the traditional Quebec society of being domineered by the Catholic church due to the deep history of Catholicism within the province. With this rupture of society came the rise of intellectuals, such as Claude Ryan the editor of the influential Le Devoir, within Quebec under the Lesage Liberal government . The FLQ fed of the rise of the intellectual culture and the idea of separation of state and religion, within the publishing of La Cognee, ultimately believing that the French society had to break with the historical ties of the church; the FLQ attempted to prove that religion was being left behind . Along with the state and church separation came much opportunity resulting in educational reform, an increase in hydro-electricity capitalization, universal health-care, a provincial pension plan, and new initiatives to provide budding businesses with the capital they need to properly start. Within this new era more than just policy was changed: a hotbed for social reform was ignited covering issues within the church, feminism, and homosexuality .
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