Articles from Labor Challenge, Nov. 9, 1970
by John Riddell
There was a torrent of applause from the crowd of 2,000 when Manon Léger stood up to speak at the Montreal teach-in on the War Measures Act, October 28.
It was recognition of the importance of her candidacy "for mayor of Montreal in helping to rally the opposition to the war measures, and the leading role of the Ligue Socialiste Ouvrière, through her campaign, in beginning to reestablish democratic rights abolished or called into question by the police state law.
The imposition of war measures brought political life to a temporary standstill in the campuses and on the streets of Montreal. For the Léger campaign however, it was the signal to move into high gear, into an intensive week of campaigning that was to lead up to a picket of the "Black Watch" army barracks in downtown Montreal October 24.
Sweeping indiscriminately across the left, the war measures dealt the LSO campaign heavy blows. Penny Simpson, treasurer of the campaign, and Arthur Young, publicity director, were among the first arrested. They were not released until the eve of the election. Other supporters homes were raided.
The press reported a police order forbidding possession of political leaflets, and normal means of printing radical literature were blocked. Léger found her campus meetings cancelled, her radio and TV appearances censored, in fact all normal means of political activity called into question.
Léger’s response to the War Measures Act, released the day after Laporte’s death, was a slashing attack on the law and the complicity of Mayor Drapeau in its imposition. She termed the act "a ferocious assault against the entire labor movement, student movement, and the Québécois nation."
A vote for Léger, the statement continued, is a vote "against the War Measures Act," against the occupation of Québec, for freedom to all victims of the act and for liberation of Québec."
It was distributed on many Montreal campuses, where it was the first leaflet against the War Measures Act to be circulated.
Distribution of the main election leaflet proceeded the following week. "City hall to the wage-earners," it read. "For a French Montreal in an independent and socialist Québec. For the democratic right of Montrealers to run their own affairs."
Election meetings were organized, despite some continuing administration obstruction, in both French and English campuses. The general public was invited to hear Manon Léger at an open "press conference" at the campaign headquarters.
While other publications suffered an extensive de facto censorship, La Lutte Ouvrière, whose editor, Arthur Young, was still imprisoned, came out October 23 with a full scale attack on the war measures law and an appeal for the struggle for democratic rights.
"Immediate withdrawal of federal troops," the front-page headline read. "Revoke the war measures law. Free the detained. End police repression. End this situation which is making a farce of the civic elections. End terrorism by giving Québécois their democratic rights. Vote against the repression—vote FRAP and Léger!"
Ten thousand copies of the special issue have been distributed on campuses, at meetings, in the streets.
The next day, soldiers on guard outside the "Black Watch" barracks at Bleury and Ontario streets were surprised to find the armories being picketed by LSO members carrying signs demanding the withdrawal of federal troops, and an end to police repression. They were distributing La Lutte Ouvrière and Léger election literature to passers-by.
After about an hour the police arrived and ordered seven Léger supporters off to the station. But they were not held under the War Measures Act—another important precedent established by the campaign. After two hours detention, they were informed they were to be charged only under an obscure by-law forbidding the wearing of partisan ribbons, colors or banners within a week of the election.
Manon Léger’s vote of 7,180 attracted considerable notice—it was a quarter of the total distributed among five opposition mayoralty candidates, one of whom was a fairly well-known bourgeois politician. "It was a real farce," Léger commented election night. "Mayor Drapeau won by conducting a campaign of terror. He can’t claim these elections give him any democratic mandate.
by Harry Kopyto
Protest demonstrations throughout the United States followed rapidly on the Canadian government’s invocation of the War Measures Act and military occupation of Québec.
Just as demonstrators throughout the world call for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Vietnam, so also the U.S. radical and antiwar movements marched for the withdrawal of federal troops from Québec and the repeal of the War Measures Act.
Initiated by the Trotskyist movement organized in the Young Socialist Alliance and the Socialist Workers Party, committees involving independent radicals, antiwar and trade union activists held marches, rallies and demonstrations in such little heard-of places as Worcester, Massachusetts and Tampa, Florida as well as in key cities such as New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Minneapolis.
A leaflet issued by the Minneapolis-based Committee Against Repression in Canada expressed the feelings of the American demonstrators: "If democratic rights are allowed to be suppressed in Canada, it will be a signal that the government can do the same in the U.S. Nixon-Agnew’s violent attacks on dissenters and the Kent grand jury indictments of students may be forerunners of a Canadian-type repression.
"The defense of democratic rights in the U.S. is tied closely to the struggle of Canadian workers students and intellectuals against the repression." Four hundred students attended the protest rally held in Minneapolis.
Andrew Pulley, Socialist Workers Party candidate for Congress in California, and a leading Black nationalist spokesman, expressed the internationalist consciousness of Black Americans with their sister oppressed nation in Québec, "The Québec separatist movement is a revolt of the oppressed French-speaking people against the English-speaking Ottawa government and business interests which dominate Québec. This movement expresses the desire of millions of Québec people to have their own state. It deserves the support of all Americans who support democratic rights.
"The mass arrests in Québec establish precedents which threaten the civil liberties of all North Americans. We protest the encouragement the Nixon administration has given to Trudeau’s witchhunt."
by Arthur Young
MONTREAL—What moved the Trudeau government to invoke the dictatorial War Measures Act?
It was not humanitarian considerations. Ottawa’s abrupt intervention virtually ensured the death of Pierre Laporte.
In proclaiming the Act, the government declared that Canada was on the verge of an insurrection. Trudeau and others have argued this in parliament. Jean Marchand, one of his leading ministers, went even further, claiming that the Front de Liberation du Québec "is able ... to make life impossible in the province of Québec." He alluded to its presence in "every place where important decisions are taken" in Québec. In Vancouver, he charged that the Front d’Action Politique (FRAP), the labor-backed opposition to Mayor Drapeau in the Montreal election, was but a front for the FLQ.
Drapeau, for his part, spoke of a "provisional government" that was to seize power from Québec premier Bourassa, thereby paving the way for a revolutionary regime. Trudeau buttressed his statement.
However, no evidence has been produced to support these wild allegations. This is not surprising, for no evidence exists. The governments are thrashing about for excuses, while covering up their real motives for invoking the War Measures Act.
A firm determination moved Trudeau the federal cabinet. They would not yield to the FLQ, whatever the price. To do so would be to weaken the political authority of the central government.
Freeing the political prisoners as demanded by the FLQ would be a victory for the FLQ and invite further terrorist actions of this character. Even more important for Ottawa was the fact that revolutionary terrorism is spreading on a world scale. The Canadian ruling class, conscious of its international responsibilities, agreed with its imperialist partners that no deals could be made. Québec was to provide the example for the world of this new hard-line approach.
The uppermost consideration in the strategy of Trudeau and Bourassa alike throughout the crisis was to refuse to grant the FLQ demands, to stall for time, and to step up police raids and arrests, hoping to discover the FLQ hideouts.
But this strategy reckoned without the impact in Québec of public reaction to the kidnappings. Profound nationalist feeling was inclined to regard the crisis as a Québec problem, to be dealt with by the Québécois, not the federal government. Moreover, the FLQ Manifesto, which articulated many popular grievances against the Anglo-Canadian Establishment, met a favorable response from many Québécois. Instead of showing hostility to the FLQ, they seized the occasion to express their disgust with the status quo.
The FRAP, the Montreal Central Council of the Confederation of National Trade Unions, substantial labor organizations representing thousands of working people, pronounced themselves in favor of the political aims of the FLQ—national liberation, workers power. Meetings protesting the government’s "no-concessions" stand were held in many schools and colleges. It is said that over half the callers to the "hot-line" radio shows in this period blasted the government’s stand.
A mass disquiet was beginning.
The authorities, recalling the massive demonstrations against Bill 63 last year, wondered how they could crush the militant nationalist movement if it took to the streets and at the same time deal with the FLQ.
The dramatic second kidnapping, of Pierre Laporte, enormously increased the onus on the Québec government to act in the crisis, and placed it under intolerable pressure to yield to the FLQ demands. All three trade union federations, leading professors, Parti Québécois leader René Lévesque, newspaper publisher Claude Ryan and numerous other influential figures all came out in favor of negotiating with the FLQ.
There can be no doubt that their demands expressed the sentiment of the overwhelming majority of Québécois. The Québec government was becoming thoroughly isolated and discredited among the Québec population. The Bourassa cabinet was split, with perhaps the majority wishing to negotiate Laporte’s release. Ryan, who was in a position to know, says he thought the Bourassa government might disintegrate. He and his friends wanted to save it.
Trudeau decided to strike decisively. By deliberately escalating the crisis, he could force the Bourassa cabinet back into line and retake complete hold of the situation.
A secondary consideration in Ottawa’s thinking was that quick action in the crisis could be used to strike a blow at the entire Québec nationalist and left movement. Trudeau was encouraged in this by Mayor Drapeau, who was seriously worried by the challenge he was facing from the FRAP in the civic election campaign. Bourassa and the Liberals, too, had every reason to welcome a hard blow at FRAP and the independentists.
And so, the atmosphere having been carefully prepared by the entry of troops into Ottawa on October 12 (two days after Laporte’s kidnapping), and into Montreal on October 15, an "apprehended insurrection" was discovered simultaneously by the Montreal and Québec City authorities early in the morning of October 16.
No doubt they hoped, through the massive police-military repression, to find and liquidate the FLQ. They also hoped, through the jailing of the left and the de facto censorship of all the news media, to end any possibility of a mass nationalist movement taking to the streets during the crisis, and to lay the basis for more enduring legislation which could be used in future to harass, intimidate and repress the independentists.
But, despite the massive manhunt, the police have yet to find James Cross. They have yet to break up any of the FLQ cells. The government’s credibility has been damaged.
In the process, the Québec government has been decisively weakened. In time of crisis, its impotence as an independent force was bared for all to see; the decisive moves came from the federal government and its army which now occupied the nation. What better expression of Québec’s oppression.
However, the crisis has weakened the left, certainly in the short term. Drapeau succeeded in preventing FRAP from gaining even a single seat on the Montreal council; many radicals are still jailed. The adventurism of the FLQ has given the government a perfect excuse to enact its new repressive legislation.
For the bourgeoisie, Québec is a giant powder keg. Only the massive, profound contradictions flowing from the national oppression of the Québécois, could explain how an incident as bizarre as these two kidnappings could blow up into a crisis of such immense proportions.
by Arthur Young
I was in a small room talking to two well-dressed men. It was the kind of political discussion every socialist has had with hundreds of people. With one exception.
My two interlocutors were cops, and they’d started the conversation by telling me if they weren’t satisfied with my answers, I could stay in jail for three months. "The Bill of Rights no longer exists," one of them had loudly proclaimed.
I had already been in jail several days before this discussion. And I was to spend several more days behind bars—a week in all, supposedly on suspicion of supporting the FLQ.
But in this, the only time the police took the trouble to question me, they asked only a few perfunctory questions about the FLQ. Like what did I think of the terrorists. They did not even bother to ask what I was doing when the kidnappings took place.
It was hardly necessary for the cops to throw me in jail for a week and seize my personal papers to find out what my political views are. They could have bought, for one dollar, a year’s subscription to La Lutte Ouvrière, the newspaper which I edit, to find out that I am a revolutionary socialist opposed to individual terrorism.
There were some four hundred of us, political prisoners, and we compared notes. Did the police really think that Michel Chartrand, head of the Montreal CNTU labor council (65,000 affiliate members) was an FLQ terrorist? Gaston Miron, one of Québec’s leading poets? Pauline Julien, internationally-known chansonnière? They were all behind bars like me. So were numerous journalists, antiwar Vietnamese, Parti Québécois leaders and candidates, and two FRAP candidates.
It was Friday morning, October 16, that Penny Simpson and I were woken by the door buzzer, ringing imperiously at 5 a.m. We opened the door, and four cops barged in, searching every corner of our room.
They soon filled their car trunk with mounds of papers and books. One unfortunate, lowest in rank, got assigned to inspecting my large library, looking at every page of every book—searching for machine guns, no doubt.
An incredible hubbub at the police station. In the basement, hundreds of people are being booked, fingerprinted, photographed and shipped upstairs. Penny and I recognize many. My protests against being fingerprinted gain me the threat of having my fingers broken. But even this short protest holds up the assembly-line processing of the political prisoners.
Upstairs, in a common cell with dozens of others, we begin to get the picture. Almost everybody was arrested at the same time. The cops had prepared the operation for days. Several reported they awoke with a flashlight shining in their eyes and a gun pointed at their head.
I was to pass a week behind bars, in a tiny cell which was only large enough to let me take four steps. Only rarely was I let out for a "recreation" period—a half hour walk with other prisoners in the corridor outside my cell.
The spirit of solidarity rapidly grew among the 24 prisoners in my cell block. Sharing everything was the norm. The brief "recreation" periods became the moment for intense political discussions among all of us: socialists, students, independentists, unionists, and non-politicals picked up by mistake.
As political prisoners, we got special treatment—worse than convicted criminals. No newspapers. For days no showers, no shaves, no cigarettes, no pen or paper. The radio played during every waking hour—but was turned off promptly just before every news broadcast. Guards were forbidden to give us any news. And on the outside, no one could find out who was in jail.
After a few days, conditions began to improve. They finally even offered to contact a friend for us to tell them where we were. No change of heart by Bourassa or Trudeau, but a response to the growing protests against our arbitrary and unjustified imprisonment.
Did the government hope to break our spirit? It certainly failed. The mood among my prison comrades was one of increased determination, of a new solidarity between radicals of differing views, and a new insight for many into the fraud of Canadian "democracy."
I was freed as quickly and secretly as I was arrested. A guard crept silently into my cell in the middle of the night, woke me and spirited me away. I was stripped and searched. My prison diary and a list of names of prison comrades were confiscated.
Within half an hour, I was free again. I had been jailed for a week, in which neither I nor any of the 400 others had seen a judge or lawyer, and was released without charge, without explanation.
Thirteen floors down, I perused the deserted street. It looked more lovely than I had ever seen it before. The young soldier with the machine gun guarding the prison told me to beat it, fast. I did.
by Ross Dowson
The Trudeau government is now replacing the War Measures Act, with which it arrogated to itself sweeping totalitarian powers allegedly to cope with the "apprehended insurrection" posed by the FLQ, at the same time as it is fuelling a smoke screen of rumours about a sinister plot by prominent Québec figures alleged to have aimed to usurp the authority of Premier Bourassa’s Liberal government with a provisional regime.
Thus at one and the same time it attempts to assure the Canadian people, profoundly disturbed by the destruction with one blow of every basic human right and liberty, that there was for a period no other recourse open to it and that now it is coming through on its promise that the enforcement of the act was only temporary and something approaching normalcy will shortly again prevail.
But the legislation now being introduced by Minister of Justice Turner clearly reveals that the government intends to write into the statute books some of the most repressive aspects of the War Measures Act (search and arrest without warrant, detention without charge, etc.) while leaving the act itself in reserve—even if it is no longer to be applied at this time.
All this clearly answers the question that has continued to plague ever-widening circles. Why did the Trudeau government resort to such totalitarian powers, to such an ultimate weapon as the War Measures Act? Why didn’t it utilize the crushing powers already available to it in the Criminal Code and elsewhere?
The picture is clearing up. The Trudeau government sought to take advantage of the crisis thrust on it by the kidnappings and murder, first and foremost to strike a body blow against Québec nationalism which continues to grow and develop an increasingly independentist and revolutionary character.
It seeks new and added powers to use against the Québécois.
At the same time it seeks to create a climate whereby it can turn back the campus revolt—the ongoing radicalization of the youth in the universities and the high schools. And simultaneously it is trying to prepare the conditions that would enable it to move in against the organized labor movement and render it less able to defend its interests.
With the enactment of the War Measures Act the Minister of Justice cautioned against the settling of old scores, against excesses.
The B.C. Socred government has passed an order to council barring from employment in institutions dispensing state funds anyone alleged to support the aims of the FLQ and to advocate the overthrow of government by force and violence. This has already resulted in the firing of teacher Arthur Olson. The echo of this is found in the Toronto Board of Education. Are these excesses?
The address of W. H. Kelly, former deputy commissioner of the RCMP, to the Ottawa Canadian club has received widespread publicity over the mass media. He demanded stiffer immigration procedures to keep out or to deport foreign radicals already in the country—particularly those on the campuses.
He called for greater power for the police including the formal right to grill suspects, and freer use of wiretapping. Is that an excess?
The harassment of the cross-Canada university student press, the seizure of Maoist publications, the taking into custody of seven of the Vancouver Liberation Front, the persecution by the Toronto police of a draft evader to the point where he finally fled and placed himself at the mercy of U.S. authorities—are these excesses?
The self-imposed banning by CTV of a TV program because it touched on the Québec situation. CBC’s banning of a documentary on Lenin. CBC president George Davidson’s order to news service employees to impose self-censorship on coverage of the Québec crisis. Are these excesses?
Far from being excesses they are exactly what persons in high government office, spokesmen for capitalist class interest in various areas, have been advocating all along.
And they are the inevitable result of the enactment of the War Measures Act which at one blow imposed all the legal conditions for a police state: the authorization by law of the police arrest and detention without warrant of anyone suspected of being a member of an unlawful organization, entry and search without warrant, detention without charge for seven days and up to 21 days on authority of an attorney general, incarceration in jail up to 90 days before a trial date need be set.
Under this act Québec was invaded and occupied by a federal army of 7,500 men. Police raids resulted in the arrest so far of 405 persons all of whom were held incommunicado and without charge for days.
The enactment of the War Measures Act revealed in a blinding light that the much vaunted civil rights and democratic processes that are supposed to be woven into the very fabric of present day society are to all intents and purposes nonexistent.
When it was made to appear that the power of the state itself was being infringed upon, all the institutions of parliamentary democracy—Bill of Rights, Senate, House of Commons—all were cynically swept aside.
The army and the police took over on the authorization of a handful of men. With the receipt of a letter from Mr. Bourassa and another from Montreal’s Mayor Drapeau drawn up two or three days earlier but dispatched to Ottawa at an agreed time, four cabinet ministers worked on documents for about an hour and dispatched them to Governor General Roland Michener who signed them.
Canada awoke the next morning under the War Measures Act and several hundred Québécois were in jail.
The custodians of our civil rights were revealed to be the collective consciousness of the people of Canada and the specific instruments that the working class above all has forged in struggle—the trade unions, the New Democratic Party and the various other currents and tendencies of the left.
After the first shock of confusion, the socialists, civil libertarians, the NDP parliamentary caucus and the unions responded to the challenge. On the broad scale the opposition of the overwhelming majority of the NDP parliamentary caucus and the united Québec labor movement has been instrumental in arousing the wide popular concern.
That is not to say that there has been no serious weakness in both areas. The apparent agreement of the NDP MPs to go along now with the codifying of certain aspects of the War Measures Act is particularly dangerous.
The struggle must now go on. New layers must be awakened educated and activated to win the release of all the Québécois now imprisoned under the Act, to compel the withdrawal of the troops occupying Québec and the abolition of the War Measures Act and to prevent the enactment of repressive legislation of any type.
by Phil Courneyeur
MONTREAL, October 28—Two thousand students, faculty and workers rallied at the University of Montreal tonight against the War Measures Act.
The teach-in, organized by the Comité Québécois pour la Défense des Libertés (CQDL) showed the strength and breadth of the mounting protest.
The Parti Québécois, the three trade union federations, FRAP, most CEGEPs and campuses around Montreal, the Ligue Socialiste Ouvrière, the Ligue des Jeunes Socialistes and many other organizations either participated or had representatives present.
The teach-in succeeded in focusing the massive opposition in Quebec in support of actions—the building of a mass defense movement in the schools, campuses and unions against the repression. Until the teach-in most of the protests had been verbal.
The three main trade union federations had formed a Front Commun (joint front) immediately after the army occupation. They held a large assembly in Québec City October 21 which agreed to launch a publicity campaign calling for the repeal of the War Measures Act and the release of the prisoners detained under the Act.
The main voice for the mounting opposition has been the trade union weekly Québec-Presse. For three weeks Québec-Presse campaigned against the army invasion, exposed the repression, published lists of those arrested, denounced the sham of the elections, and served as a voice for the FRAP campaign. At the U of M teach-in Arthur Young, the editor of La Lutte Ouvrière, imprisoned for a week under the law, called on the labor movement to provide the means for Québec-Presse to become a daily, if only for the duration of the crisis.
The audience repeatedly applauded Young when he appealed: "Such a meeting as this would not have been possible a week ago. The situation is changing. The government is on the defensive.
"But we have to act now. We can't protect ourselves by shutting up. We've heard a lot of orators tonight, but all too few organizers. Tomorrow and in the next few days we have to go out and organize defense committees in all the schools and campuses."
The teach-in agreed to a recommendation from the CQDL organizers that local units of the CQDL be built throughout the city. But the appeal for a daily Québec-Presse was lost amidst reports by the Confederation of National Trade Unions that it was buying T.V. and radio time, and ads in the Establishment press calling for the repeal of the War Measures Act.
Over 100 people are still behind bars in Québec, despite Trudeau's admission that almost all of them are innocent and will not be charged. The defense of civil rights needs to be organized. The Comité Québécois pour la Défense des Libertés can play an important role in turning the tide against repression in Quebec.
by Harry Kopyto
November 2—Rallies and demonstrations against the War Measures Act and for an end to all legislation repressing, civil liberties will be held in cities across Canada, November 13.
These demonstrations will coincide with a big assembly in Montreal being called by the Comité Québécois pour la Défense des Libertés. The assembly will be the culmination of a series of rallies and teach-ins that are taking place on campuses and community colleges in Québec.
November 13 was first suggested as the focal point for protest by the Committee for Defense of Democratic Rights, a Saskatoon-based united front group which has enlisted support from the student and labor communities and the NDP.
The Committee has sent out the call to make November 13 the day for unified protest actions to campus organizations, student councils and newspapers, antiwar committees, and other concerned groups.
Student leaders from universities across Canada meeting in Winnipeg November 1 called for making November 13 a cross-country day of protest against the War Measures Act.
Larry Brown, president of the Saskatoon Association of Students, presented the motion to the gathering.
The wave of protests against the War Measures Act, which declined after Laporte’s assassination, is re-emerging stronger and broader than ever. Teach-ins and protest rallies are helping to cut across the Canadian government’s hysterical campaign to build unanimity for its oppressive policies in Québec and to justify the invocation of the War Measures Act.
The Waffle, the left current in the NDP, has moved out boldly against the War Measures Act. In Toronto, a Waffle rally of over 200 on October 27 endorsed a call by Jim Laxer, a prominent Waffler, to campaign against the War Measures Act and for the right of Québec to determine its own future.
A Waffle rally in Toronto today attracted about 700 to protest the Act and any subsequent "deodorized" versions of it. Mel Watkins, well-known Waffle leader, announced the November 13 day of protest to the enthusiastic crowd and indicated that the Waffle would build protest actions on that date.
In Vancouver, the New Democratic Party area council initiated a meeting October 22 to oppose the War Measures Act. It established a Committee for the Restoration of Civil Liberties, which is projecting a public rally at the court house against all repressive legislation. Clair Culhane, prominent antiwar activist, is chairwoman of the committee; Nic Shugalo is organizer.
On Saturday October 31, the week-old committee mobilized over 700 to protest the War Measures Act.
Speakers included an alderman, an NDP MLA, trade union, Métis, and women’s liberation representatives. Art Olson, fired from his teaching job for opposing a proWar Measures Act telegram circulated by his principal amongst the students, called the Act racist, referring to its use against Japanese-Canadians on the West Coast during World War Two.
The rally was described by its chairwoman Clair Culhane as "phase one" of its campaign against the Act and any new repressive legislation.
In St. Catharines, Ont., the Peninsula Civil Rights Committee has united prominent unionists, NDP supporters and civil libertarians to oppose the War Measures Act.
In Toronto, the Law Union, an association of lawyers, law school faculty and law students which had organized a rally of 500 to protest the War Measures Act immediately after it was announced, has issued a cross-country petition calling for the immediate revocation of the Act and opposition to any new repressive legislation which might follow its revocation. Already endorsed by a wide array of public figures such as Andrew Brewin, Laurier LaPierre, Gad Horowitz and Gil Levine, the petition also calls "on Canadians from all walks of life to protest this wholly unwarranted abrogation of our democratic rights. Canadians must indicate publicly and in massive numbers that their civil liberties cannot be denied."
Other groups of civil liberties defenders including the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, academics, artists, writers, political figures, labor leaders and students have already gone on record against the Act.
With the government moving rapidly to pass its new repressive legislation, the protests that are being called for November 13 can become the focal point for broad and effective opposition to police state bills.
Penny Simpson, one of the first Montrealers to be victimized by the sweeping arrests under the War Measures Act, spoke to over 1,000 students and faculty at Memorial University in St. John’s, Newfoundland yesterday.
Her talk was part of an extensive speaking tour against the Act in the Maritimes and Central Canada. Following her speech, the meeting decided to form a broad committee representative of the community to oppose the War Measures Act.
Simpson’s tour has taken her to meetings and TV and radio appearances in Halifax and St. John’s and will continue to Fredericton, Moncton, Ottawa, Cornwall, Kingston, Peterborough, Sudbury and several Southwestern Ontario centers.
Earlier, in Halifax, her meetings included a speech to 100 sponsored by the Dalhousie University law society and a meeting of 50 organized by the Dalhousie Young Socialists. At Kings College she spoke to over 100 and to another 60 at St. Mary’s College.
Simpson was arrested in a pre-dawn raid of her apartment October 16 and held incommunicado for six days. At the time of her arrest she was the treasurer of the socialist campaign of Manon Léger for mayor of Montreal.
Simpson’s work as an activist for the Québec women’s liberation movement received wide publicity during last April’s Québec national elections after she confronted Premier Robert Bourassa, in a mass meeting, on the issue of abortion.
Simpson is also known as a leader of the Montreal Ligue des Jeunes Socialistes. She is the first of the over 400 arrested victims of the War Measures Act to take the case of the Québécois nationalist movement and the fight against the War Measures Act to English Canadian audiences.
Further details on her tour can be had from: War Measures Act Tour coordinator, 198 Robert Street, Apt. 5, Toronto, Ontario.
Copyright South Branch Publishing. All