The FLQ and the Quebec October Crisis
Life Goes On
Perhaps the most peculiar aspect of the October Crisis is the happily-ever-after lifestyle that the ex-FLQ terroristes enjoyed. Most are now approaching their dotage--and eligibility for Canada's government pension program.
As for Pierre Laporte, he is remembered as a heroic figure. Several schools and public structures have been named in his honor.
Most of the former terrorists still live in Quebec. As they go about their business in the province, from time to time they no doubt have occasion to cross Pont Pierre-Laporte, a six-lane bridge over the St. Lawrence River near Quebec City.
Marc Carbonneau runs a construction company. Jacques Lanctôt owns his own publishing house. Francis Simard has built a career as a filmmaker based in Trois-Rivieres. Jacques Cossette-Trudel found work as a communications consultant and writer. His ex-wife, Louise, runs a copy shop.
Vallières, the intellectual leader, went on to edit an obscure labor magazine and became a prominent figure in the 1980s as a spokesman for gay liberation in Quebec. He died in 1998, at age 60.
Hubert Bauch, writing in the English-language Montreal Gazette, said that all had led "largely sedate and fairly conventional lives...If not model citizens, at least peaceable, taxpaying members of society."
Brothers Paul and Jacques Rose of the Chenier cell have led interesting post-prison lives.
Paul Rose earned degrees in sociology at the University of Quebec and has stayed active in left-wing politics in Quebec as a writer and activist. In the 1990s he announced his candidacy for a provincial post, but was barred as a convicted felon.
His younger brother, Jacques, now owns a contracting firm. But in 1981, not long after his release from prison, Jacques Rose was treated to a rousing standing ovation when introduced at a Parti Quebecois political convention.
Anglos in Canada were stunned, but the leader of the French-Canadian party dismissed the ovation as temporary political delirium.
And that pretty well characterizes the national attitudes about the October Crisis today, 35 years later.
"We were romantics," said ex-terrorist Jacques Lanctôt. "We saw ourselves as going off to war, even though we didn't really know what we were doing. We wanted to make a revolution, but we didn't want to kill anyone."
Francis Simard said, "The dream of a revolutionary is to bring about a better way of life. But then, instead of life, you're confronted with death. That's the hardest, most dramatic, most tragic thing to experience. You dream of an ideal, something beautiful, but it turns into something ugly."