Front de libération du Québec (FLQ), a revolutionary movement that used propaganda and TERRORISM to promote the emergence of an independent, socialist Québec. The movement was founded in March 1963, when Québec was undergoing a period of remarkable change (industrial expansion, modernization of the state), but it was also stimulated by international factors such as the decolonization of Algeria. Pierre Vallières, the author of the book NÈGRES BLANCS D'AMÉRIQUE, joined the FLQ in 1965 and is generally considered the "philosopher" behind the organization.
In 1963 underground FLQ activists (some of whom were arrested) placed bombs in mailboxes in 3 federal armories and in WESTMOUNT, a wealthy upper-middle-class anglophone area of Montréal. In 1964 another group of FLQ members stole approximately $50 000 in cash and military equipment, and at a holdup at International Firearms the company vice-president was killed by the FLQ and another employee was killed by the police, who mistook him for one of the thieves. From 1965 to 1967, the FLQ associated itself with the activities of striking workers. It was involved in over 200 bombings between 1963 and 1970, and in 1968 it began using larger and more powerful bombs, setting them off at a federal government bookstore, at McGill University, at the residence of Jean DRAPEAU and the provincial Department of Labour, and at the Montreal Stock Exchange, where 27 people were injured. In the fall of 1969, the movement split into 2 distinct cells: the south shore gang (which became the Chenier cell) led by Paul Rose, and the liberation cell, under Jacques Lanctôt. Montréal-based, both cells claimed about 12 members.
In the fall of 1970 (see OCTOBER CRISIS), the FLQ kidnapped Pierre LAPORTE and British trade commissioner James Cross. Laporte was later murdered. Under the WAR MEASURES ACT, more than 450 people were arrested, including 150 "suspected" FLQ members. Paul Rose and Francis Simard were eventually sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of Laporte. Bernard Lortie was convicted of kidnapping Laporte, and Jacques Rose was convicted as an accessory. Of the Cross kidnappers, 5 fled to Cuba and then to France, and eventually returned to Canada. One had remained in Montréal but was arrested in 1980 and sentenced in 1981. The movement ceased activities in 1971.