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What “led” to Pierre Laporte being “found dead”?


 

I’m no expert in Quebec history, so I always appreciate being told exactly who did what. Unfortunately, facts of the sort forgetful readers like me need to be reminded of were missing from the Globe and Mail‘s story today about a plan to read the FLQ’s 1970 manifesto at an event marking the 250th anniversary of the Battle of the Plains of Abraham.

The story introduces the controversy about dredging up the Front de libération du Québec’s old ramblings by alluding to concern in some quarters that a public reading of the manifesto might “be interpreted as a vindication of the group’s actions, which led to the death of kidnapped provincial Liberal cabinet minister Pierre Laporte.”

Now, how was it again that the FLQ’s “actions” “led” to Laporte’s death? Quite directly: they murdered him. I looked it up to make sure I wasn’t mistaken: kidnapped him, strangled him, stuffed his body in the trunk of a car.

But maybe if I’d read on a bit deeper into the story it would have told me all that. Let’s see.

Next reference to Laporte: “The manifesto was read on the public airwaves before the death of Pierre Laporte.”

And the next: “Provincial Liberal cabinet minister Sam Hamad lashed out at organizers, saying the inclusion of the FLQ manifesto [in the commemorative reading] was an attempt to vindicate the kidnappings of British diplomat James Richard Cross and Pierre Laporte, who was later found dead in the trunk of a car.”

So no luck. Three references to Laporte’s demise, zero mention of what actually happened to him. The story might have said something like: The manifesto was read on the public airwaves before FLQ members strangled Laporte and stuffed his body in the trunk of a car. And, later, that Hamad lashed out at organizers for trying to vindicate the kidnapping of Cross and the murder of Laporte.

Details of Laporte’s slaying were established at trial. Two of the terrorists, Paul Rose and Francis Simard, received life sentences for murder. A third, Bernard Lortie, was sentenced to 20 years for kidnapping, and a fourth, Jacques Rose, was convicted of being an accessory after the fact and sentenced to eight years.

Both Paul Rose, the murderous cell’s leader, and Simard got out in 1982. Lortie was freed in 1978, the same year Jacques Rose was released, to go on to receive a standing ovation at a Parti Quebecois convention in 1981.

I hope they do read the FLQ manifesto in public. It doesn’t pack much rhetorical punch. Not nearly as much, I would say, as words such as murdered, strangled, stuffed in trunk. As long as those blunt phrases are occasionally used, too.


 

What “led” to Pierre Laporte being “found dead”?

  1. Journalists in Quebec, and apparently elsewhere in Canada, have for years spread the rumour that Laporte had in fact killed himself while attepting to escape from his captors. His death, most Québécois journalists say, was likely accidental. Saying and writing that Laporte was murdered has for decades been a big 'no-no' – if you do, you'll be called a traitor – in my case, they can't cal me une maudite anglaise!

    The French wiki on Laporte says both: kidnapped and murdered by the FLQ AND accidental death.

    • The absurdity of this contention is that it is not possible for a kidnapped person to be "accidentally" killed by his abductors. When they commit a felony and someone dies in the context of that felony, the perpetrators become murderers. (i.e. if you a rob a bank and someone has a heart attack and dies — you killed them — regardless of the goal of your original crime).

      To suggest that Laporte's killing at the hands of his kidnappers was "accidental" is also unsupported. There was a theory that the kidnappers, while trying to (criminally) silence their victim, grabbed his sweater's collar and were unaware that he was also choking on a necklace. It was a theory. The fact is, two of these folks were tried and convicted of murder, with others sentenced as accessories. To say they only meant to "quiet" their victim, and, thought they held him bound and at gunpoint and threatened his execution, they "really never meant to kill him" is a perverted fantasy. They kidnapped two men and threatened them with death. They terrified their innocent families and the public. They were violent criminals whose political fantasies were no more important than the unhinged rantings of a murderous religious cult. There was no "accident" — and if Quebec journalists refuse to print facts they should be openly and loudly criticized for being both liars and incompetents.

      • The FLQ are now known as theParty Quebecois, abd they did kill Lapote,they were and still are terrorists and the journlists are with them hand and foot.

        • Like federaslists don't have their own media becking their every call. Pierre Laporte was only ONE person, although it is sad to acknowledge hid death. You want to talk about Louis Riel ? About the 12 men hung on february 15th 1839 ? About the HUNDREDS of houses torched along the St-Laurence just before the signature of the *spit* confederation ? About the disease-ridden blankets given to indians by Jeffrey Amherst ? Please, before you look for a straw in my eye, take out the bale of hay in yours.
          Vive le Québec LIBRE !
          batirquebec.blogspot.com

          • 1839? Get real! You're talking about a completely different era, with a completely different social and political reality. If you think that the execution of Louis Riel in 1839 somehow justifies the murder of Pierre Laporte in 1970, you're completely, absolutely and irrevocably retarded.

    • William Tetley's 2006 book “The October Crisis, 1970: an insider's view” considers the various outlandish theories about Pierre Laport's death—fictions that would lift blame off those who murdered him—and also the reliable evidence. Tetley comes to this:

      “The preponderance of evidence causes me to conclude, without hesitation, that Laporte was strangled on 17 October 1970 in the house where he was sequested at 5630 Armstrong Street., Saint-Hubert, and that only Jacques Rose and Francis Simard were with him at the time. Later, in 1982, the Chenier cell, composed of Paul and Jacques Rose, Francis Simard, and Bernard Lortie, declared that they collectively took responsibility for Laporte's death.”

      In another passage, Tetley also quotes from an account written by Simard in collaboration with the Rose brothers and Lortie:

      “And, finally, Simard and the others accept responsibility: ‘Without entering into details, we have always taken responsibility for the death of Pierre Laporte. From our arrest and through the trials that followed, we confirmed our complete responsibility, without limitation.' They expressed no sympathy for, and offered no apology to, Mrs. Laporte and her family, or to anyone else. They considered themselves the aggrieved parties.”

      • "They considered themselves the aggrieved parties.”

        Wow, their kidnap victim had the temerity to go and die on them. How rude.

        Even in some convoluted scenario that's as favourable to the kidnappers as possible, they still murdered Laporte. If they hadn't kidnapped Laporte, he wouldn't have died.

  2. Agreed.

    While they are at it, how about some readings from Lionel Groulx, Le Devoir in the '30's, Adrien Arcand, "de l'argent et des votes ethniques", just to show how democratic and freedom-loving our sovereigntist leaders have always been.

  3. How on earth were Rose and Simard release in 1982 if they had life sentences? Our justice system is pathetic.

  4. For the record: these three terrorists did not been accused of murder because the Crown was not able to prove the 1st degree level. However, in the mind of the majority of the people they are.

    As a proud Quebecois and Canadian, I really have enough about that same minority of hard-liners hijacking Quebec politics, the PQ, the nationalist movement, and sometimes, the union movement since the 60s. They are at thousand miles from the Quebec people. This bunch gets too much attention. They are not representing what modern Quebec is all about (a strong and proud Nation within Canada). Unfortunately, issues put forward by this bunch of utopian lunatics are they only alas that pass through the media wall of our solitudes.

    Another example of how these people are hurting more Quebec than it helps it is the 1837 rebellions. Modern hardliners separatists have take hostage the 1837 rebels by associating them with heros of the Patriot era. We have to remember that at the time, rebellions in both Lower and Upper Canadas was driven by a true political movement that wanted more power for the Legislative Assembly. We have to remember that the true political result of the rebellions was the recongnition of the Ministerial Responsability of the government before the House. This is one of the best democratic acheivment in history. However, our modern lunatics who would like to restrain liberties to citizen in order to build their own anglophobic Little Republic of socialists have make Quebecers believe that they are the survivers of the 1837 Patriots. They are not. They are not even a pale copy of them.

    Enough said about these crows. Anyway, hockey season is on front door!

    Christian Martel
    Formely from Montréal, now in Oxford, UK.

    • Oh, thank you for bringing the Rebellions into the discussion! I really don't think we've examined, as a country, that part of our past well at all. And the spin of that time has occurred on both sides of the political solitude so that even the textbooks on the subject are suspect. And thank you, also, for reflecting a "truth" from the Quebeckers viewpoint that more closely resembles my own opinion than what I usually hear from the 'ancestors' of those Patriots.

  5. I wasn't aware that the PQ welcomed and gave a standing ovation to these murderers. That is truly revolting.

    • I think the people they gave standing ovations too were not present at the murder, so it would be more accurate to label them kidnappers.

      My understanding is that the PQ contained a very militant extreme wing in the early 80s, and most of those members have since died or left the party.

      Let's not dwell on the past. We can dig up lots of heinous acts.

  6. Equally curious is how little coverage the story has earned nationally, especially in the same week that a Montreal bus driver refusing to speak English to a customer got a fair bit of traction.

  7. Posts like this help explain why the rest of us are so happy when Geddes blogs.

    I'm struck by the weird symmetry of this event and the Battle of the Plains of Abraham re-enactment that was cancelled earlier in the year. Luck Mervil, who'll be reading the FLQ manifesto, was on the news the other night saying, hey, it's just a bunch of words, and they're a part of history, and we can't pick and choose history, and what's the big problem? Which is actually a pretty good argument, but it's the same argument that was used to defend the re-enactment of the Battle of the Plains of Abraham — it's just history, it happened, what's your problem? — and that didn't work. It especially didn't work with the crowd Luck Mervil hangs out with. Here's a handy test of his "hey, I'm just reading some words" thesis: ask him to read from Trudeau's Federalism and the French Canadians at the same event.

    • Well put.

      But this whole event is starting to remind me of the 'ceremony' the PQ held tp kick off the 1995 referendum campaign, at a theatre in Quebec City. Parizeau was there, tears streaming down his cheeks, while actors in the audience stood up to declare independence. Bouchard was smart enough to stay away from that mawkish happening.

    • "Which is actually a pretty good argument, but it's the same argument that was used to defend the re-enactment of the Battle of the Plains of Abraham"

      The difference is that the proposed reenactment of the Plains of Abraham was done in bad taste. They were going to to have people dress up in period costumes, mock shoot at each other and play dead. The biggest insult was that the Worlfe and Montcalm actors were going to shake hands later which would have been an insult because they were enemies in real life. This was not a commemoration but a glorification of the battle.

      The proposed reading of the FLQ manifesto was not in bad taste. It was just a reading of the document which is part of history for better or worse. There will be no reenactment of any kind that could be construed as in bad taste. This is just a commemoration of the event, not a glorification of the FLQ.

      • You sure are consistent, Antonio.

  8. BQ are big losers who again are getting clearly desperate

  9. Back when I was at McGill, the McGill Daily ran a long profile/interview with Paul Rose, in which he was portrayed as a freedom fighter of some note who had been effectively a political prisoner. At no point in the story, which (if memory serves) had to have been at least 3000 words, did the writer mention that Rose was in jail for murder. A friend of mine later confronted the McGill Daily editor about it, and he shrugged with a mildly sheepish grin on his face.

    Anyway, Rheal Seguin has been getting away with this sort of stuff for a long time at the Globe, and it's amazing that his editors don't feel any inclination to rein him in. Here's an example from a while ago:

    http://forums.macleans.ca/advansis/?mod=for&a

  10. Has anybody ever taken the time to actually read the damn fool thing? It sounds like the fevered ramblings of an overly excited 15 year old. Sufficed to say by the time they start questioning the sexuality of Pierre Trudeau they've lost any argument they were hoping to make.

    I say let 'em read it – by reminding everyone just how truly foolish they FLQ sounded we can (unwittingly?) remove some of the lustre of the freedom fighter from them.

    • John Stuart Mill would agree:

      “The peculiar evil of silencing the expression of an opinion is that it is robbing the human race; posterity as well as the existing generation; those who dissent from the opinion, still more than those who hold it. If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth: if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error.”

  11. Applause.

    This ought to be published in the main magazine.

  12. "Now, how was it again that the FLQ's “actions” “led” to Laporte's death? Quite directly: they murdered him. "

    No they didn't. There is still controversy on what happened. The prevailing thesis was that Laporte tried to escape through a window; the kidnappers saw him go, panicked and tried to bring him inside before he could alert his presence to the outside world. In the process of bringing him inside from the window, they strangled him. If that was what happened, then it was an accident. "Murder" means "premediated killing" which is not the case here.

    The report was accurate and fair. The FLQ's actions led to Laporte's death. Nothing more. Whether he was directly murdered or not is open to debate.

    • Wrong, Antonio. If someone dies as a result of a criminal activity (like, say, robbing a bank or kidnapping) it is murder. And in this particular case, it isn't like he slipped on a banana peel and hit his head against the corner of the dresser or something completely random–which would still have been murder because he wouldn't have been in the place with banana peels and sharp dressers if he hadn't been kidnapped! No, in this particular case they grabbed him by the neck and pulled. I'm fairly sure that would be a murder charge even if it wasn't preceded by the kidnapping (like, if your spouse did it in your home). I can't understand why you're defending people who quite clearly took full responsibility for the death, anyway.

      You state that the reading of the manifesto would not glorify the FLQ, yet in this post you deliberately set out to sabotage historical events. I see no other reason for doing so, other than to glorify the FLQ. I was understanding of your views on the Plains of Abraham thing, but this completely ruins your credibility for me.

    • I've got to say, to my mind, once you kidnap someone if they die while you're holding them, you murdered them. I don't buy this "killed while trying to escape" nonsense. Maybe if you're killed trying to escape prison, or the police, it's not murder. If you're killed trying to escape from the terrorists who kidnapped you then they murdered you. Period.

      To me, the notion that a group of terrorists who kidnapped a diplomatic official "accidentally" killed him is as ridiculous as suggesting that a rapist "accidentally" had sex with his victim.

      You don't get to strangle the person you kidnapped and then use a a rationalization "Well, he was trying to escape, what was I supposed to do?" You weren't supposed to kidnap him in the first place! You're 100% culpable for what happens from that point forward. There's no such thing as "accidentally" killing a hostage.

      • "You don't get to strangle the person you kidnapped and then use a a rationalization "Well, he was trying to escape, what was I supposed to do?" You weren't supposed to kidnap him in the first place!"

        The FLQ was guilty of kidnapping him. "Kidnap" and "murder" are two different words. You are creating your own definition of the word "murder" to suit yourself. I go by the dictionary.

        "You're 100% culpable for what happens from that point forward. There's no such thing as "accidentally" killing a hostage."

        If the hostage did not try to escape by jumping out a window, he would still be alive, like James Cross was. So, yes, it was an accident.

        • I'm going by the Criminal Code of Canada. Okay, I'm going by Martin's Criminal Code 2002 Student Edition, but that's just because I happen to have it handy. Section 222 (1) A person commits homicide when, directly or indirectly, by any means, he causes the death of a human being.
          (2) Homicide is culpable or not culpable.
          (3) Homicide that is not culpable is not an offence.
          (4) Culpable homicide is murder or manslaughter or infanticide [emphasis mine]
          (5) A person commits culable homicide when he causes the death of a human being, (a) by means of an unlawful act,<b/> (b) by criminal negligence, (c) by causing that human being, by threats or fear of violence or by deception, to do anything that causes his death, or (d) by wilfully frightening that human being, in the case of a child or sick person. [Emphasis mine] I wrote a story based on (d), which is why I remembered this.

        • "If the hostage did not try to escape by jumping out a window, he would still be alive, like James Cross was. So, yes, it was an accident. "

          Really? That's your best argument? He shouldn't have tried to escape? Seriously?

          Hostage died in their custody. That makes them murderers. The courts agreed.

          Why not argue something with some wiggle room instead?

    • Oh, and if I'm not mistaken, two of the murderers were actually CONVICTED of murder, so "they murdered him" is surely not a "controversial" statement after the terrorists have actually been CONVICTED of murder.

    • "No they didn't."
      I do this all the time, and you would totally be astounded by how well it works. When someone tells me I just smashed into their car/robbed their store/set fire to their house, I just say, "No I didn't, there's controversy about what you say just happened." It's like magic, the way facts disappear and laws change with the utterance of the phrase. If only those guys who were convicted of kidnapping and murder had known this, they wouldn't have wasted all that dough on lawyers.

  13. yeah,yeah, I know. I screwed up the html again.

  14. LKO & Jenn, I admire your attempts to reason with the unreasonable. May I suggest, however, that you just permit Antonio to self-destruct with his own rhetoric that basically proves John Geddes's main point?

    • "LKO & Jenn, I admire your attempts to reason with the unreasonable. May I suggest, however, that you just permit Antonio to self-destruct with his own rhetoric that basically proves John Geddes's main point?"

      Oh you poor souls cannot handle anything I say. The fact that you or Jenn could no longer counter my arguements rationally and, rather than admit that I am right, you simply resort to personal attacks. This proves that you have lost the debate. Pathetic.

  15. You're right, of course, Myl. But I do feel that if nobody says anything when someone says something so outrageous, the unreasonable person may think he scored a point or has everyone thinking or some nonsense, legitimizing his position in his own mind. I just want to make it clear that that isn't the case.

  16. Fair enough, but see how Paul Wells handled him with the backhanded `consistent“ faux-compliment. That helps the occasional reader realize the guy is pretty much always this nutty.

  17. Antonia you are an idiot. They strangle him to death trying to bring him back through a window? Are you nuts! You pull someone back through a window by putting your hands around his throat and squeezing?

    There is no prevailing theory about Laporte's death. The fact is that he was murdered by Paul Rose et al. Its not a theory. They should have hung. The Quebec government is a disgrace for silently putting up with this nonsense.

  18. Oh Antonio! "La terrorisation des Québecois se déguise en gigantesque chasse à l'homme." – The terrorists were not the flq – they were the governments who responded to the flq by terrorising the Québécois? So in your opinion, and in the opinion of other flq supporters, it would have been better if the government had not responded and let the flq continue to explode bombs and kidnap foreign diplomats and duly-elected politicians. I lived in Quebec and I was an adult already in 1970 and I can tell you that the overwhelming majority of citizens supported the governments' actions and were happy that we would eventually be freed from flq terrorism.

    One thing for sure: the flq manifesto is not a significant document in the history of Quebec. The aspirations of these criminals to overthrow democracy and to transform Quebec into a Cuba of the North is at best supported by the slimmest fringe of criminal-minded people (like you?) I see no reason to read the flq manifesto at a gathering commemorating the 250th anniversary of the battle of the Plains of Abraham.

    • "Oh Antonio! "La terrorisation des Québecois se déguise en gigantesque chasse à l'homme." – The terrorists were not the flq – they were the governments who responded to the flq by terrorising the Québécois?"

      Huh? You are making things up. You are a troll.

      "So in your opinion, and in the opinion of other flq supporters, it would have been better if the government had not responded and let the flq continue to explode bombs and kidnap foreign diplomats and duly-elected politicians. I lived in Quebec and I was an adult already in 1970 and I can tell you that the overwhelming majority of citizens supported the governments' actions and were happy that we would eventually be freed from flq terrorism."

      You think that the federalists were democractic in their War Measures Act? Trudeau in recently released secret documents admitted that the FLQ was not a threat, that it was just an handful of kids; Trudeau wanted an opportunity to kick the independantists and used the kidnappings as an excuse. The FLQ was popular in Quebec until Laporte's death. Trudeau was lucky that Laporte's death diverted attention from his UNDEMOCRACTIC War Measures Act, which contrary to popular belief and federalist propaganda, was implemented before the death.

    • I saw let them separate, let them have their precious FLQ… Then maybe Quebec can stop hoarding Canada's job market because customer service reps need to speak French and English. Truth is, most often when they speak "english" I can barely understand them anyway. If Quebec separated they truly would become Cuba… Let's give the Maritimes a fair shot in being Canadian… At least they WANT to be in this union.. Send them Quebec's jobs and we'll have a bit better of a time understanding the customer service reps.

  19. This is not a case of which of the chicken or the egg came first. The population of Quebec had for years been the victims of terrorist acts by a criminal, secret organization. The governments responded to stop this terrorism and succeeded.

    I am happy that you did not have to live in these circumstances.

    By the way, the flq was, never, ever, nowhere close to being as popular in Quebec as was Pierre Trudeau!!! And particularly after the War Measures Act. That is verifiable. Check the votes.

    La terrorisation des Québécois fut l'oeuvre du flq.

  20. Well, one can argue the validity of the conviction if one wants to, the fact remains that they were CONVICTED OF MURDER.

    Once someone's been found guilty of murder by a court of law, it's hardly untoward to point out publicly that they're guilty of murder because, you know, legally, THEY ARE.

    You can say "No they didn't" all you want. When it comes to comparing your typing on a blogpost that Laporte wasn't murdered to the fact that a court of law determined that he WAS murdered, I'll take the court's ruling over your blog comment any day of the week.

  21. Q: Ou est la porte?

    A: In the trunk.

    Cracks up french teachers every time.

  22. Story should have mentioned the fact that the murderers were released from prison after only a few years AND that Simard is MAKING MONEY from books he wrote on what he did.

    • Agreed. Let's have another referendum. I was only 10 years old for the last one… I'll vote separate ANYDAY!!!! The very fact that we fund the Bloc Quebecois and can't vote for them is TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION. It's against my charter rights of Freedom of Association. In fact, I wish I could vote for the Bloc so they'd win and separate already. They can take Dalton McGuinty and Stephen Harper hostage and I'll be happier than ever. VIVE LA QUEBEC

  23. Murder can also be non-premeditated… it's just not first degree in that case… Either way, I agree with the author of this MacLean's article. We were taught such a tame version of events in school, they didn't really acknowledge that LaPorte had died… It was pretty non-chalant. I am disgusted in the justice system that these guys got release after 11 years… Just another reason why I need to move to America.

  24. It’s unfortunate that we don’t have the death penalty for these barbarians should have been all put to death, end of story. I am french, je suis francaise et ses idiot qui provienne de cette province sont vraiement des “Q”. Seperate if you want, I am french and don’t give a s*hit about your cry baby tactics. Give it a rest, it’s getting old.

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