Fifty years later, what is the view of the elected representatives of the territory where some of the most disturbing events of this political crisis which marked all of Quebec occurred? Courrier du Sud questioned deputies Denis Trudel (Longueuil – Saint-Hubert), Ian Lafrenière (Vachon), Nicole Ménard (Laporte) and Catherine Fournier (Marie-Victorin).
Read also: 50 years of the October crisis: chronology of events
Remembering these historic events which have “a very local flavor” is essential for MP Ian Lafrenière. It was on the territory corresponding to his constituency that the house – now destroyed – where Pierre Laporte was kidnapped was located, on Armstrong Street, now called Bachand.
“For some seniors, it is known, but many young people do not know that it happened in Longueuil, that Pierre Laporte lived in Saint-Lambert.”
“No matter what you think of these events, you have to remember them.”
– Ian Lafrenière
It was in a way by exercising himself this duty of memory with regard to his personal history that Ian Lafrenière learned that his grandmother had known Minister Pierre Laporte, having worked for his election.
As for his grandfather, he was his driver until the spring of 1970.
“When he learned that Mr. Laporte had been found deceased, he had his first heart attack. It marked him deeply, ”says Lafrenière, based on what his grandmother, now 101 years old, told him.
For Catherine Fournier, looking back on this crisis is both a tool for collective memory and for raising awareness among young people, while the October crisis is tackled quickly in history lessons, she believes.
From this “dark page in the history of Quebec”, Nicole Ménard hopes that lessons have been learned and that we realize that violence will never be the solution “, she comments, recalling the” tragic death “of Pierre Laporte and the kidnapping of James Richard Cross.
The riding she represents was named in memory of Pierre Laporte.
“I remember the tension that was palpable at that time,” she also shares. We were living in a period of uncertainties. ”
The roots of anger
Independent MP Catherine Fournier also evokes what the Front de liberation du Québec (FLQ) took root in: “the poverty, humiliation and economic inferiority experienced by French-Canadian Quebecers, particularly those in working-class neighborhoods, such as the former Ville Jacques-Cartier ”.
Rallying many Francophones at the outset, the movement lost popular support by “clearly crossing the line of violence”, she puts into perspective. He “even harmed the sovereignist Parti Québécois of the time, by giving gas to the fear arguments of the defenders of the federalist option”.
For MP Denis Trudel, no longer believing in democracy as the Felquists did “was a mistake”.
“I am entirely against political violence,” assures Mr. Trudel. It is tragic what they did. This is unacceptable… But, I understand the reasons for the anger. ”
He in turn evokes the living conditions of French Canadians, earning low wages. “Speak White, contempt, English-speaking bosses who put their pockets in full… ”he lists.
The enactment of the War Measures Act is, according to Denis Trudel, a “stain in Canadian democracy”. “There have been 500 arrests, in just a few days, sometimes overnight. Everyone who was a bit on the left was arrested, ”he laments.
The Bloc Québécois has also asked the current federal government for an apology for these arbitrary arrests, which Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has so far refused.
According to Catherine Fournier, by this “serious authoritarian drift”, the government of Pierre Elliott Trudeau “seized this opportunity to intimidate the supporters of an option which was nevertheless deeply democratic, that of the independence of Quebec”.
Ms. Fournier can only support the request of the Bloc Québécois. “This is completely in line with the repeated apologies of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to several sections of the population.”
Ian Lafrenière, who was in the armed forces for 30 years, cannot ignore the military dimension of the crisis. “It is certain that the first image you have in mind when you join the army is not a local deployment. You think about serving in peace missions, helping your community. That was the antithesis. ”
As to whether these measures were appropriate, he is betting on the nuanced answer. Because it is dangerous to judge the past with our eyes of today, he warns. “Was this the right decision? Was it disproportionate? I did not dig enough into the question to answer it. But you have to ask yourself these questions. ”
Watch for the Courrier du Sud on October 13 for an interview with Claude Poirier on the events of October.
Play a felquist
In October, a film by Pierre Falardeau released in 1994, Denis Trudel plays one of the four felquistes involved in the kidnapping, kidnapping and death of Pierre Laporte.
If he knew he was playing Jacques Rose, at no point in the film are the four main characters named. In the credits, “felquiste 1”, “felquiste 2”, precedes the names of the actors. However, anyone who has read or researched the October Crisis can make certain inferences.
Denis Trudel says that during the filming, Serge Houde, who played Minister Laporte, had asked to stay tied to his bed even between takes, in order to feel the effects of captivity.
“So we didn’t want to go see him. Even if we knew he was an actor, we found it hard to watch, he testifies. We talked about it afterwards, Luc Picard, Pierre Falardeau and me: we had experienced the same phenomenon. ”
A feeling that echoes Francis Simard’s words about the emotions experienced in the house on rue Armstrong.
“They had kidnapped the Minister of Labor, the one who gave contracts for bridges, highways, etc. But lying on the bed, he was an ordinary man, a father, who has fears. Francis Simard had told how much it had traumatized them. “