The Flq And The Liberation Of Quebec

Essay, Research Paper

The objectives of the Front de Liberation du Quebec were unmistakable. There were two basic principles that the members of this group fought for: 1. [They] will fight for the liberation of the Quebec people, so long oppressed by the false cures of capitalism . . . Abolition of the law for the rich and a law for the poor, replaced by one impartial justice for all. 2. [They] fight for the liberation of the political prisoners of Quebec. Members of this party, who fought for these rights seemed to have lost sight of their own goals, and inevitably, this lead to the death of Mario Bachand, the FLQ and various other liberation based groups.

Lead by Mario Bachand, a radical member of the Front de Liberation du Quebec (FLQ) , a separatist movement had begun to unravel in the core of Quebec this movement involved many passionate Quebec party s who desperately craved independence from Canada. This multifaceted separatist movement is best illustrated through three distinct aspects. Firstly, there was the role of Mario Bachand in the movement, and his contributions to the separatist views of Quebec. Secondly, the FLQ s role as the major separatist party of Quebec, and the eventual downfall of this group. Finally, the many political groups which had formed because of the clash of cultures of English and French Canada, and how they had affected the separatist views of Quebec people

Mario Bachand played a key role in instilling the separatist beliefs of many Quebec people although it was not his conception, and by no means only his sentiment, without his presence, it is doubtful that these separatist views may have ever gained as much momentum as they had. With the help of this man, the state of Quebec s political situation began to deteriorate. On Saturday afternoons, one could often find this thin young man with a bony face, big ears and a nervous laugh in the back room at La Paloma, a small restaurant in Quebec. He would talk about revolution with anyone who would listen , and was a fervent Catholic and a Quebec nationalist . Even at a young age Bachand already had an interest in politics [that was] inspired by his Quebec-nationalist father , but unlike his father he was attracted to anarchism and communism. In 1962, with friends from La Paloma, he founded the Mouvement ouvrier pour la liberation nationale , his first separatist movement, but this did not last long, in fact it dissolved within the same year. Bachand and his friends then established the City Club of the Young Communist League of Canada (YCLC), this was a club composed of young separatists sharing the ideology of communism. After this move, Bachand s name began to move quickly around Quebec, and it began to garner attention from the RCMP Security Service. Because of this new-found distinction as a true separatist, Mario had been recruited by the FLQ just as the movement of this group had escalated into a new more dangerous phase. This phase consisted of bombings which where randomly occurring around Quebec, and Mario Bachand quickly became the RCMP s main suspect. Bachand was getting more and more out of control. Being in the FLQ had gone to his head . . . and [talking about the organization at La Paloma] threatened the FLQ. Meanwhile, the RCMP began to surveillance the FLQ more deeply and a total of 150 charges were laid against 16 FLQ members , but no harmful information could be gathered for the conviction of Bachand. Unfortunately for Mario, although, his luck had run out eventually On November 27, he had pleaded guilty to charges relating to mailbox bombings in Westmont, along with other bombings. He was sentenced to four and a half years imprisonment. The separatist views of the Quebec people did all but cease with the arrest of Mario, but instead this only increased the pace of the FLQ s progress . On May 2nd of 1966, Mario s application for parole was accepted. Upon his release from prison, Bachand and the new leader of the FLQ had their differences. Mario declared that he no longer share[d] the objectives and methods of the FLQ , although no longer a member of the FLQ, he stated that he would always remain a convinced independantist! Two days after having made this declaration, he was assassinated in a small apartment in a suburb of Paris! March of 1971, his death occurred four days after his 27th birthday, and the assassination coincided with the demise of the FLQ, for there were no serious terrorist incidents after his death. Certainly, then, Mario Bachand s knack for exploiting people to his own advantage, and putting ideas in their heads played a big role in the impregnation of separatist beliefs of Quebec people for it is the result of his actions that almost made the dream of many separatists a reality.

Although there were many parties s being fabricated during the time of the escalating separatist movement, the FLQ distinguished itself as the authority, based on its loyal following and by catering to the residence of Quebec, the FLQ attempted to create an uproar which would lead to the disjoining of Quebec from Canada unfortunately, it did not go as planned. Upon its creation, members of this organization sent a message to Montreal newspaper, in the title it read Revolution by the people for the people. Within this message was a statement of who and what the FLQ stood for they were a revolutionary movement made up of volunteers ready to die for the political and economic independence of Quebec. They believed that Quebec people were discriminated against far too often, and to counter this they attacked all commercial and cultural interests of English colonialism. The dignity of the Quebec people demands independence, and it was for this independence that so many suicide commandos of the FLQ died, and had been arrested for. But, while communist, socialist and anarchist currents swept through Montreal in the early 1960 s, so did the opposite, nationalism. That is something that the FLQ had to learn to contest. As time progressed, the FLQ were clearly on a ladder of escalating violence, and worse, the RCMP had a very vague idea of how this organization had been run. In fact, it was not until Mario Bachand joined that they knew even one definite member of this group – and Mario s talkative nature revealed many secrets of the FLQ. This lead to the eventual arrest of Bachand, and if the RCMP thought Quebec terrorism had ended with this arrest, they did not think it for long. The FLQ now became, in fact, little more than a loose cannon and a new cycle of violence had begun. Setting off bombs randomly throughout the province [Quebec], the FLQ was no longer fighting symbols of English-Canadian colonialism, it was attacking people. With this, the FLQ had sown the seeds of its own destruction. It had revealed that it has no mandate but terror, no policies but violence, and no solutions but murder. People began to call it alien to all that was Canadian, and said that it will not survive – and survive it did not. When Bachand was murdered for disagreeing with the views of the FLQ, it instilled a sense of fear within the other members. This organization which once spoke so proudly of its views was slowly dispersing until it could no longer hold its own weight there were simply not enough members left to support the demanding goals of the group. Although becoming one of the strongest separatist campaigns that Quebec has ever produced, it simply could not arouse a large enough uproar to sustain the separation of Quebec from Canada.

Although the FLQ may have been the prominent party linked to separatist movements in the 1960 s, there were many other groups formed during this period that had very similar intentions. These groups, despite having similar goals, came in many different forms. The Young Communist League of Canada (YCLC), as mentioned formerly, was created by a young Mario Bachand and age 19. This group showed that there were young men and women inquisitive towards the separation of Quebec and Canada, and it was not a problem limited by age. This group was taken very seriously by the RCMP, although, it never followed through with any majour separatist movements. Another group, driven by hatred of all things Canadian , was the Rassemblement pour l independence nationale (RIN) its objective was the separation of Quebec from Canada. Many members of this organization believed that violence was the only answer . . . [they] were ready to die if necessary. The RCMP saw this group as the breeding ground, if not the base, of the original FLQ. The Front de liberation populaire (FLP) said that it would listen to the masses and translate their wishes into political terms. One after another, FLP leaders stepped to the podium in front of supporters with the anthem of the French revolution playing in the background, yelling statements analogous to Quebec, [their] only homeland! Seemingly countless parties: The communist party of Canada, Trotskyites, Mouvement populaire national, RR, RIN, FLQ, FLP, and others demanded constant attention of the RCMP, which was constantly battling to maintain decent values of Quebec people, and the escalating violence formed from these organisations. The conflicting views of French-Canadians, and English-Canadians made the formation of these groups inevitable, for these separatist groups believed in the exact opposite of English-Canadians: Quebec should have never been part of Canada. And it is because of the pursuing of this belief that they came so close to succeeding, and almost won their independence. Certainly, then, it is because of this joint effort of the many organisations formed that separation almost became a reality.

Mario Bachand, the FLQ, and the many other separatist parties all played key roles in the separatist movement. It is undoubtedly clear that being lead by a radical member of the Front de Liberation du Quebec such as Mario Bachand, a separatist movement had inevitably begun in the heart of Quebec. This separatist movement, while now repressed immensely compared to the 1960 s, has not been cured. This problem still exists in many parts of Quebec, and separatists will always lurk amongst even the most loyal French-Canadians, waiting for their chance to once again attempt to part from Canada.


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