CBC Digital Archives

Lesson Plan: For Teachers: Timeline for October 1970

History, Media Studies
2 lessons
To understand the events of the October Crisis
Students role play interviews between reporters and key figures in the October Crisis.

Lesson Plan

Before Exploring

Ask students to name some of the people they consider to have been the major figures involved in the October Crisis of 1970. (If they have not completed the activity What Was the October Crisis they may wish to do so now.)

Next, ask for examples of recent national or international events that they have seen covered on television. Ask: How does the media deal with current events? What role does the media have in presenting the positions and viewpoints of major political figures involved?

Finally, have students reflect on why the October Crisis was a significant event in Canadian history, and why people in Canada would have wanted to follow it on a daily, if not hourly basis, as it unfolded during October 1970.

Outline the Opportunity


Divide the class into groups of three students. Have each group choose one of the main political figures involved in the October Crisis, and select a group member to assume that role. Political figures include: Pierre Trudeau, Robert Bourassa, James Cross, Barbara Cross, Pierre Laporte, Rene Levesque, Paul Rose and Jacques Rose, Francois Simard and Bernard Lortie, Robert Lemieux, Pierre Vallieres, Robert Stanfield, and T.C. Douglas.


The other two members should take on the role of news reporters, one from English Canada, and the other from Quebec, who are covering the crisis for the CBC. Have students browse the topic The October Crisis: Civil Liberties Suspended on the CBC Digital Archives website for information about the political figure for which their group is responsible. Students should note how the reporters of the time covered the events of the crisis, and asked questions of important political figures in order to determine their positions and opinions on it.

Have each group prepare questions to ask the political figure, and position statements that the political figure can make about the crisis as it is unfolding. The reporters should also present a summary or narrative of the events of the crisis, especially as they affected the political figure they are interviewing. Each group should present its role-play interview to the rest of the class.

Revisit and Reflect


Following all of the presentations, have students debrief the exercise by discussing what they learned about the major events and figures involved in the October Crisis, and how the media covered this event.




Have students discuss the similarities and differences they noticed between how the media covered the October Crisis and how a similar important national or international event would be handled today. Students can make notes summarizing the ideas that have been presented in class.

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