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1970: FLQ kidnaps Pierre Laporte

The Story

In broad daylight, kidnappers with machine guns pull up to Quebec immigration and labour minister Pierre Laporte's front lawn in Saint-Lambert. They grab him while he plays football with his family, and shove him into the back seat of their car. The incident escalates what becomes known as the October Crisis. French Canadian nationalists from the FLQ (the Front de libération du Québec) had abducted British diplomat James Cross five days earlier, and now a Quebec minister. Ten years later, this CBC Radio clip reveals that Laporte was murdered, probably accidentally strangled, a week later.

Medium: Radio
Program: Sunday Morning
Broadcast Date: Oct. 12, 1980
Guest: Paul Rose
Reporter: Terence McKenna
Duration: 2:00

Did You know?

• The FLQ Manifesto called for Quebec's non-democratic separation from Canada, brought about by acts of terror. From 1963 to 1970, the FLQ claimed responsibility for more than 85 bombs, killing six people.

• The Quebec government refused to accede to all FLQ demands. It did agree to broadcasting the FLQ Manifesto on Radio-Canada, and guaranteeing the kidnappers safe passage anywhere in the world. But it refused to free FLQ prisoners.

• Laporte was murdered Oct. 17, the day after the federal government applied the War Measures Act.

• Laporte was chosen because he signified the Liberal Party's right-wing ideals. A famed reporter and parliamentary correspondent for the newspaper Le Devoir from 1945 to '61, he was one of Quebec Premier Maurice Duplessis' fiercest opponents, writing a book, The True Face of Duplessis.


The October Crisis: Civil Liberties Suspended more