Dear Minister of Defence Production Hon. Charles Mills Drury,
Mr. Drury, as you are already aware, British Trade Commissioner Pierre Lapoorte and Minister of Labour of Quebec James Cross have been kidnapped. I will outline to you in this memo the details that we are aware of and I will then give my opinion about what we should do.
Mr. Cross has been kidnapped from his home by people who were disguised as delivery men who were bringing him a birthday present. Mr. Cross` maid let the disguised men into the home and then the men produced two guns, a revolver and a rifle. Mr. Cross was then taken from his home by the kidnappers.
Not long after, the kidnappers let authorities know their ransom: they are demanding an exchange of Mr. Cross for what they are calling “political prisoners,” including several FLQ members, and they demanded the broadcast on CBC of the FLQ Manifesto. As you know, we have already broadcast this manifesto. These terms are identical to what was demanded in June when the FLQ planned on kidnapping the U.S. consul but were stopped.
We have more recently been notified of the kidnapping of Mr. Laporte from his lawn while he was playing football with his nephew.
It is in my opinion that the Front de liberation du Quebec is responsible for the kidnappings, as the nationalist group has been a constant terrorist threat over the last decade. They have ravaged this great nation with more than 95 bombs. As you know, they have planted bombs in the mailboxes of those who they consider their enemies, and they also bombed the Montreal Stock Exchange on Feb. 13, 1969. These terrorists have also managed to steal from our military tons of dynamite. This group has robbed Canadian banks to fund their efforts and they have threatened further attacks. This needs to stop.
Despite what some of what my colleagues believe, I think we should implement the War Measures Act so that we are better able to protect these important individuals on our staff. Minister Eric Kierans said he is not convinced we have a “compelling” case to implement the act and we would be making a “terrible mistake,” by throwing our “common sense out the window.” Mr. Kierans said he isn’t convinced there is an impending insurrection. According to Kierans, much of the support received for the use of the War Measures Act is in response to the perceived weakness of Mr. Bourassa. He also believes Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau will support the Act because he has a determination to stop the FLQ from undermining the authority of the federalist stance in Quebec. Supporters of the Act have also been criticized as “using a sledgehammer to crack a peanut,” according to New Democratic Party leader Mr. Tommy Douglas.
While this will be only the third time in Canadian history where government has implemented the Act – the others being in World War I and World War II – I believe Roland Michener, our Governor General, and Mr. Trudeau should see to it that the Act is set in place. I have already received notice from Quebec Premier Robert Bourassa and Jean Drapeau, Montreal’s mayor, that they would support the execution of such an Act if it were met with Mr. Trudeau’s approval.
It is inevitable that after the Act is put into place (if Mr. Trudeau so chooses to do so), that Canadian Forces troops will be deployed throughout Quebec. It is important that the troops are there in a supporting role to the municipal police authorities in the respective city, and we should assist in apprehending and detaining suspects so that they may be questioned.
Though the Act will put a halt to the civil liberties that Mr. Trudeau so strongly worked to support, I anticipate that with such an Act set into place, our government will be met with great approval from the citizens of this great nation.
We have difficult decisions ahead of us. But the decision to put into place the War Measures Act has been debated by many well-respected individuals. We need to take into consideration the opinion of all those on our staff. For example, the Quebec Minister of Justice says we need identity cards and the press should be censored. We need to remember, though, that the short-term suspension of this democratic country’s freedoms will guarantee the longevity of our rights, as we battle through the terrorist threat that challenges what this great nation stands for.
You should understand that by approving the Act, Mr. Trudeau agrees to the likely deployment of 12,500 troops in Quebec, with 7,500 in Montreal alone. People may be arrested without charge and held without bail and with no legal help. The authorities may also enter homes without a warrant. Mr. Trudeau will be able to censor the production of writings, plans, communications, photographs, maps and means to communicate. Our troops can control the ports, harbours, and the territorial waters of Canada by controlling the movement of vessels. We can say who can and can’t travel, whether by land, air or water. Our authorities are allowed to control trading, manufacturing, production, importation and exportation. We can control property through forfeiture, appropriation and disposition. It is Mr. Trudeau’s choice if he wants to use any of these particular powers, but I believe this halt to human rights is necessary to stop the terrorism before it escalates further. I suspect the power we would have to use the most is the ability to arrest and detain, as well as deport.
If Mr. Trudeau chooses to approve the implementation of the War Measures Act, we need to begin planning our next moves now. I think it is important that we divulge to the Canadian public that these measures, if taken, will be temporary. We do not want to set the standard for a totalitarian state. The use of repressive instruments may be easier for us to utilize after the initial enforcement of the War Measures Act. But we need to be certain that the police and military authorities are aware that any conduct outside of civil liberties won’t be tolerated after the Act is set in place.
In closing, Mr. Drury, this would be the only time the War Measures Act is put into force during peacetime in Canada. However, without the ability to arrest anyone who we think is involved in the FLQ, we stand a risk to the greater good of our nation. If we do not put the Act in place, these men and women will run free and they will have access to their weaponry to commit further acts of violence, more kidnappings and endless destruction to all that is good.