skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 73892 Find in a Library
Title: Events of October 1970 and the Administration of Penal Justice in Quebec
Journal: Criminologie  Volume:13  Issue:2  Dated:(1980)  Pages:7-45
Author(s): J M Rico
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 39
Format: Article
Language: French
Country: Canada
Annotation: Preceded by a chronology of the separatist campaign from its 1963 inception to 1979, this article focuses on the social reaction to the terrorist acts of 1970 in Quebec and its effects on the quality of Canadian penal justice.
Abstract: The 1970 Quebec crisis had serious repercussions on all components of the Canadian penal justice system in general, and on the Quebec judicial establishment in particular, including the legislature, the police, the investigative apparatus, the courts and corrections. In the legislative area, the terrorist campaign in Quebec caused the reactivation for the War Measures Act was unnecessary and an act of demagoguery. The wide discretionary powers granted to the police (e.g., emergency detention, suspension of habeas corpus) are here called excessive, although they received the support of the majority of the Quebec population, driven to a panic more by the Government's reactions than by the terrorist acts themselves. In reality, the perpetrators of the 1970 political crimes were not caught by the police exercising their emergency powers, but were apprehended later by patient and competent police investigators operating under routine police procedures. The prosecution of the arrested FLQ members violated the principle of separation of powers as a consequence of the obviously political undertones of the trials. Also ignored were the presumption of innocence of the accused (reversed to a presumption of guilt) and the right to due process. After sentencing, the convicted FLQ members complained of prolonged detention in maximum security facilities, of being treated more rigorously than their fellow-inmates, of frequent unmotivated transfers from prison to prison, and of capricious granting or withholding of parole without apparent reasons. While insisting that the FLQ defendants were common criminals, the police and the courts treated them nevertheless very differently, showing a lack of judicial sophistication and gross ineffectiveness. Police and judges are deemed to have acted as the instruments of repression of a privileged political ideology. Twelve references are appended.
Index Term(s): Canada; Crisis management; Emergency detention; Front de Liberation du Quebec; Habeas corpus; Human rights violations; Police attitudes; Police effectiveness; Police response to terrorism; Political influences; Political offenders; Prisoner's rights; Public Attitudes/Opinion; Quebec; Revolutionary or terrorist groups
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.