Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The FLQ and the Quebec October Crisis

Free and Clear

A few years in Castro's Cuba convinced the members of the Liberation cell that socialism was not all that Georges Schoeters professed it to be.

In a remarkable turn of events, Canadian authorities discovered in the mid-1970s that the terrorists had left Castro's island nation and were living in France.

In 1976, after the election of the Parti Quebecois provincial government, the exiled kidnappers began negotiating their return to Canada. They said they were homesick.

First to return, in December 1978, were Jacques and Louise Cossette-Trudel. They agreed to plead guilty in the Cross kidnapping. They were sentenced to two years in prison, but served just eight months each.

Jacques Lanctôt returned soon after his sister and brother-in-law. He served just one year of a three-year term.

In 1980, police arrested Nigel Hamer, the British member of the Liberation cell, who had been in hiding in Canada. He served just a few months in jail.

Marc Carbonneau returned to Canada from France in 1981, and Yves Langlois arrived a year later. Each served less than a year.

By the early '80s, each of the terrorists active in the Front de libération du Québec was walking free in Quebec, including Simard and Paul Rose, the two Chenier cell members convicted of murder.

Both Bernard Lortie and Jacques Rose were paroled in 1978. Francis Simard was released in 1981, and Paul Rose was freed in 1982 after serving just 12 years for the politically motivated murder.

Pierre Vallières, the intellectual leader of the FLQ, served four years for his role in the terror campaign. After his release, he renounced violence.

It turned out that the two kidnappings, promoted by the terrorists as merely the first in a wave of political abductions, were the coup de grace of the self-proclaimed freedom fighters.


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