Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The FLQ and the Quebec October Crisis

'I Depend on You'

The kidnappings led to an understandable sense of fear among Anglos in eastern Canada. Politicians and business executives began traveling with bodyguards, when they traveled at all. Commercial districts in the Anglo sections of Montreal all but closed down. On Oct. 12, Prime Minister Trudeau ordered the Army to guard government buildings in Ottawa.

Robert Bourassa
Robert Bourassa

The sense of dread only heightened when Robert Bourassa, the Quebec premier, received a pleading letter from Pierre Laporte, dated Oct. 11, the day after his kidnapping. It read:

My dear Robert,

I feel like I am writing the most important letter I have ever written.

For the time being, I am in perfect health, and I am treated well, even courteously.

In short, the power to decide over my life is in your hands. If there was only that involved, and the sacrifice of my life would bring good results, one could accept it ...

You know how my personal situation deserves to draw attention. I had two brothers, both are now dead. I remain alone as the head of a large family that comprises my mother, my sisters, my own wife and my children, and the children of Rolland of whom I am the guardian. My departure would create for them irreparable grief, and you know the ties that bind the members of my family ...

You have the power of life and death over me, I depend on you and I thank you for it.

Best regards,

Pierre Laporte

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