Sunday, October 17, 2010

Pop History Moment: The Death of Pierre Laporte

On this day in 1970, members of the Chenier Cell of the FLQ announced that their high-profile hostage Quebec Minister of Labour and Vice-Premier Pierre Laporte had been executed; their communique to police referred to Laporte derisively as the 'Minister of Unemployment and Assimilation'. True to their word, Laporte's body was found strangled to death, stuffed into the trunk of a stolen car and abandoned in a wooded area near Saint-Hubert Airport, a few miles south of Montreal.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketMembers of the Chenier Cell - Paul Rose, Jacques Rose, Francis Simard, and Bernard Lortie - were all arrested on November 6th, at their hideout; all but Lortie escaped, only to be recaptured in St. Luc at the end of December. Though all four were charged with the murder of Pierre Laporte, and in March 1971 each of them were sentenced to life terms for their part in the crime, the last of them had been released into the community by 1982.

In the years since, Paul Rose (who was the cell leader) has tried to run for federal office for the NDP, which caused the national party to sever its ties to the provincial arm in the 1990s*; Rose is still active in the trade union movement and occasionally works as a radio commentator. Jacques Rose is an independent contractor and supporter of the separatist movement. Francis Simard has since written several books on the October Crisis, one of which Pour en finir avec octobre has been made into a movie by Pierre Falardeau. Bernard Lortie has kept a low profile; alas, not quite as low as Pierre Laporte...

*Decimating the gains for that party made there in the 1970s by leader Ed Broadbent.
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