‘Just watch me’: When Pierre Trudeau confronted the October Crisis


Canada looked more like a police state than a democracy on Oct. 13, 1970. Eight days earlier, a Quebec separatist group, the FLQ (Front de libération du Québec), had kidnapped British Trade Commissioner James Cross and Quebec cabinet minister Pierre Laporte. By calling in army tanks and men in full gear, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau’s aim was to boost national security. But the military’s presence made some Canadians feel a whole lot less secure. “What is it with all these men and guns around here?” CBC reporter Tim Ralfe had asked Trudeau, amid a crowd of journalists waiting for him outside Parliament, in raw CBC footage showing Trudeau’s discussion with reporters that day.

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