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October 2013

Snapshots in History: October 16: Remembering the October Crisis and the War Measures Act

October 19, 2013 | John P. | Comments (0)

On October 16 and beyond, take a moment to remember the 1970 October Crisis and the first peacetime implementation of the War Measures Act in Canada on October 16, 1970 following the kidnapping of British Trade Commissioner James Cross and Québec Labour Minister Pierre Laporte on October 5, 1970 and October 10, 1970 respectively by the Front de libération du Québec (FLQ). On October 16, 1970, Québec Premier Robert Bourassa requested that the government of Canada give the government of Québec powers to “apprehend and keep in custody” individuals. The Canadian government responded by invoking the War Measures Act in peacetime for the first time in Canadian history, resulting in the suspension of habeas corpus (or the right to be released from unlawful detention) all across Canada. On October 17, 1970, Pierre Laporte was killed by the FLQ.

Canadians across the country were concerned about safety and security in light of what was occurring in Québec during the October Crisis. The implementation of the War Measures Act proved immensely popular in both Québec and the rest of Canada at the time. However, there were those who were concerned that the Canadian government under Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau overreacted in using the War Measures Act which set a dangerous precedent in suspending civil liberties. The main focal point outside of Québec opposing the implementation of the War Measures Act in response to the October Crisis was the New Democratic Party, 16 of whose 20 Members of Parliament at the time, including then-party leader Tommy Douglas and then-deputy leader David Lewis, opposed the measure because the Act, whose intent was to be used in wartime, applied all throughout Canada and not just in Québec since it was federal law, and that there might be temptation for law enforcement agencies outside of Québec to take advantage of the situation. Douglas and the NDP were vilified for their stand at the time but others who supported the War Measures Act in October 1970 later expressed regret at doing so and praised the courage of Tommy Douglas, David Lewis and others in opposing the War Measures Act on principle, such as then-Progressive Conservative Leader Robert Stanfield. Eventually, the War Measures Act was repealed and replaced by the Emergencies Act in July 1988 during the Progressive Conservative government mandate of Prime Minister Brian Mulroney.

The invoking of the War Measures Act to deal with the October Crisis engenders much debate to this day. What do you think? Not sure? Then consider borrowing items from Toronto Public Library collections to learn more and decide for yourself:

Identity crisis & the rise of Quebec: Canada in the 20th century [1953 to 1982] / Link Byfield, 2009. Book. Adult Non-Fiction. 971.064 BYF

Byfield’s book includes an excellent synopsis of the October Crisis on pages 156 to 162 inclusive.

The October Crisis 1970 an insider's view

The October Crisis, 1970: an insider's view / William Tetley, 2006. Book. Adult Non-Fiction. 971.40409 TET

The author, an international law professor, served in the Québec government’s cabinet when the October Crisis occurred. Using information from sources now available as well as his own diary, he discussed the Québec government’s decision-making process, and emphasized that all but sixty of those individuals who were apprehended by the authorities were released.


Trudeau's darkest hour War Measures in time of peace October 1970

Trudeau's darkest hour: War Measures in time of peace, October 1970 / edited by Guy Bouthillier and Édouard Cloutier, 2010. Book. Adult Non-Fiction. 971.404 TRU

Contributors to this book included Margaret Atwood, Tommy Douglas, Don Jamieson, Eric Kierans, Peter C. Newman, Brian Moore, and Desmond Morton.



Consider the following documentaries in DVD format on the October Crisis:

Action, the October crisis of 1970 [DVD] / Robin Spry et al.; National Film Board of Canada, 2006, [1973]. DVD. Documentary. Adult Non-Fiction. 322.42097 ACT

This 1973 documentary used news film and live footage in detailing the October 1970 events involving political terrorist groups such as the FLQ as well as providing an overview of the independence movement in Québec, and analyzed the reaction of political leaders to Canadian military intervention in Montréal during the crisis.

Also available in French as:

Les événements d'octobre 1970 [DVD] / Robin Spry et al.; National Film Board of Canada, 2006, [1974]. DVD. Documentary. French Adult Non-Fiction. 322.42097 EVE


Black October [DVD] / Terence McKenna et al.; Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, 2000. DVD. Documentary. Adult Non-Fiction. 322.42097 BLA

This documentary recalled the course of events that comprised the 1970 October Crisis, including interviews with James Cross, Pierre Trudeau, and members of the FLQ who were involved in the kidnapping of James Cross and Pierre Laporte.


Crise d’octobre [DVD] / Guy Gendron et al.; Tout le monde en parle (Television program); Société Radio-Canada, 2010. DVD. Documentary. French Adult Non-Fiction. 971.404 CRI

This DVD contains two episodes of Société Radio-Canada’s French language program “Tout le monde en parle” that discussed the 1970 October Crisis on September 23-24, 2010. (1. L'engagement (23 sept. 2010) -- 2. Le dénouement (24 sept. 2010).)

Snapshots in History: October 18: Remembering Pierre Elliott Trudeau

October 18, 2013 | John P. | Comments (0)

(Credits: Medium: Television; Program: CBC Television News Special; Broadcast Date: April 17, 1982; Guest(s): Queen Elizabeth, Pierre Elliott Trudeau; Host: Peter Mansbridge; Duration: 20:20)

On October 18 and beyond, take a moment to remember Canada’s fifteenth Prime Minister, the Right Honourable Pierre Elliott Trudeau (full name: Joseph Philippe Pierre Yves Elliott Trudeau) (Born: October 18, 1919; Died: September 28, 2000) who served as Prime Minister from April 20, 1968 to June 4, 1979 and from March 3, 1980 to June 29, 1984. Major achievements during Mr. Trudeau’s time in office included the passage of the Official Languages Act in 1969, the patriation of the Canadian constitution from the United Kingdom and the institution of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms in 1982. More controversial was his government’s enactment of the War Measures Act during the FLQ/October Crisis in Québec in 1970, the first time that the act had been invoked in peacetime. As Prime Minister and Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, Mr. Trudeau was a strong federalist and anti-nationalist and battled with the Québec separatists, using the federalists’ victory in the 1980 Québec referendum as a springboard to bring Canada’s Constitution Act home from the United Kingdom. Having said that, many remember Mr. Trudeau’s commitment to a strong federal government that often clashed with provincial governments over energy (i.e. National Energy Program) and the constitution, for example.  Even after retiring from public life, Pierre Trudeau went public with his opposition to the Meech Lake Accord and the Charlottetown Accord as he saw those initiatives as further weakening the powers of the federal government.

Pierre Trudeau was also a strong supporter of women in politics. In addition to appointing women to the Cabinet, he also appointed Muriel McQueen Fergusson as the first female Speaker of the Senate of Canada, and Jeanne Sauvé as the first woman Speaker of the House of Commons and as the first female Governor-General of Canada.

Toronto Public Library collections offer readers access to various biographies about Mr. Trudeau. Find some of those titles listed in the blog post “Pick a PM: Prime Ministerial Biographies and Memoirs” that show that his viewpoints on certain issues evolved over time. What about what Mr. Trudeau had to say about his life, his record and time in office? Consider the following titles for borrowing from Toronto Public Library collections:

Against the current selected writings 1939-1996

Against the current: selected writings 1939-1996 / Pierre Elliott Trudeau; edited by Gérard Pelletier; new translations by George Tombs, 1996. Book. Adult Non-Fiction.


Approaches to politics

Approaches to politics / Pierre Elliott Trudeau; introduction by Ramsay Cook; prefatory note by Jacques Hébert; translated by Ivon Owen; with a new foreword by Ramsay Cook, 2010. (Translation of: A series of articles from Vrai, Feb. 15-July 5, 1958.)


The essential Trudeau / Pierre Elliott Trudeau; edited by Ron Graham, 1998. Book. Adult Non-Fiction.

Trudeau: l'essentiel de sa pensée politique / Pierre Elliott Trudeau avec la collaboration de Ron Graham, 1998. Book. French Adult Non-Fiction.


Memoirs / Pierre Elliott Trudeau, 1993. Book. Adult Non-Fiction.

Mémoires politiques / Pierre Elliott Trudeau, 1993. Book. French Adult Non-Fiction.


Two innocents in Red China

Two innocents in Red China [Rev. ed.] / Pierre Elliott Trudeau and Jacques Hébert; with a new introduction and afterword by Alexandre Trudeau; translated by I.M. Owen, 2007. Book. Adult Non-Fiction.

Read a translated, re-issued account of Trudeau and his friend, labour lawyer and journalist Jacques Hébert, on their visit to the People’s Republic of China in 1960 in the midst of the Great Leap Forward.


Consider the following documentary in DVD format:

Pierre Elliott Trudeau, memoirs = Pierre Elliott Trudeau, memoires [DVD] / Pierre Elliott Trudeau; produced by Les Productions La Fête Inc. in association with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, La Société Radio-Canada and with the participation of Société Radio-Canada and Téléfilm Canada ; written by Terence McKenna ; produced by Rock Demers and Kevin Tierney ; directed by Brian McKenna; Narrator: Terence McKenna, Jean-François Lépine, 2008.  DVD. English/French dialogue. Adult Non-Fiction.

Snapshots in History: October 15: Remembering Hurricane Hazel

October 15, 2013 | John P. | Comments (0)

(Credits: CBC Archives, “Hurricane Hazel: 'A wind with a woman's name'”; Medium: Television; Program: CBC Television News; Broadcast Date: Sept. 29, 1959; Duration: 2:25)




(Credits: CBC Archives, “Hurricane Hazel floods Toronto”; Medium: Television; Program: CBC Television News; Broadcast Date: Dec. 16, 1954; Guest: Paul Williamson; Host: John O'Leary;
Reporter: Ian MacIntosh; Duration: 9:14)


On October 15 and beyond, take a moment to reflect upon the destructive power and aftermath of Hurricane Hazel that struck southern Ontario and the Greater Toronto Area on October 15, 1954 after affecting various Caribbean countries and several American states along the eastern seaboard. Hurricane Hazel merged with a strong cold front over the state of Pennsylvania and turned northwest towards Ontario. 95 people in the United States lost their lives as a result of Hurricane Hazel. Consequently, Hurricane Hazel (a category 1 hurricane) hit southern Ontario and the Greater Toronto Area as an extratropical storm, resulting in major flooding from overflowing rivers and streams and an already saturated water table. 81 people in Canada died from Hurricane Hazel, including 35 individuals who lost their lives when much of Raymore Drive and 32 adjacent houses in Etobicoke were swept away. 1,868 families in Toronto were left homeless due to Hurricane Hazel out of a total of 4,000 families in southern Ontario. One of the lasting legacies from Hurricane Hazel was the creation of the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) in 1957 that used land use planning and regulations to encourage the creation of parkland and dam construction along floodplains to avoid future occurrences of the magnitude of damage and loss of life that resulted from Hurricane Hazel. For example, the Scouts’ Camp of the Crooked Creek in Scarborough closed down in June 1968 and was taken over by the then-Metropolitan Toronto Conservation Authority that did not permit people to inhabit flood-prone areas. This area is now the Morningside Park area of the Highland Creek Park.  

Consider the following non-fiction titles for borrowing from Toronto Public Library collections:

Rain tonight a story of Hurricane Hazel

Rain tonight: a story of Hurricane Hazel / Steve Pitt; illustrated by Heather Collins, 2004. Children’s Non-Fiction.  J 363.34922 PIT.

The author was born the evening that Hurricane Hazel struck and parlayed his fascination with the subject into this book. Follow the account of 8-year old Penny Doucette and her family and their elderly neighbour clinging to a house roof as the neighbouring house floated away on the Humber River.


Hurricane Hazel Canada's storm of the century

Hurricane Hazel: Canada's storm of the century / Jim Gifford, 2004. Adult Non-Fiction.  363.34922 GIF

Read a fiftieth anniversary account of the destruction and loss of life wrought by Hurricane Hazel. 81 people died in southern Ontario, including 32 residents of Raymore Drive in Etobicoke who had to contend with an eight foot rise in the Humber River in the span of one hour, and five volunteer firefighters who drowned attempting to reach motorists trapped in their automobiles.


Hurricane Hazel / Betty Kennedy, 1979. Adult Non-Fiction. 551.552 K / 971.3 KEN

Broadcaster and journalist Kennedy authored this book to commemorate the twenty-fifth anniversary of Hurricane Hazel striking southern Ontario and the Greater Toronto Area.


Consider the following novel from Toronto Public Library collections that encompasses Hurricane Hazel in the storyline:

The carnivore a novel

The carnivore / Mark Sinnett, 2009. Adult Fiction. FICTION SIN. Also available in eBook format (2011).

A young police officer named Ray Townes emerges as a hero in saving trapped Humber River residents from the wrath of Hurricane Hazel. Meanwhile, Ray’s wife Mary, a nurse, is wracked with doubts about Ray’s heroism when she meets a disoriented woman near death in the emergency room at the hospital whose recollection of events differ from Ray’s story.


Children wishing to read a story including Hurricane Hazel can try the following easy-to-read title:

Written on the wind / Anne Dublin and Avril Woodend, 2001. Children’s Easy-to-Read. ER DUB

This story is set in the 1950s around the time of Hurricane Hazel. Sarah is afraid when her Ouija board forecasts that terrible things are going to happen.


Please visit the TPL History: Hurricane Hazel hits Toronto (October, 1954) page to view additional images about Hurricane Hazel.


(See also: Snapshots in History: October 15: Remembering John Kenneth Galbraith )

(See also: Snapshots in History: October 15: Remembering Kenneth Taylor)

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