• Jules-Pierre Malartre

StoryFest author revisits the October Crisis


PHOTO COURTESY D’ARCY JENISH

For those old enough to remember Quebec’s 1070 October Crisis, D’Arcy Jenish’s book will reveal details recounted by law enforcement officers about the chain of events that led to the infamous point in our history.

Much ink has been spilled over the 1970 October Crisis that shook Quebec but author and journalist D’arcy Jenish, in his new book titled ‘The Making of the October Crisis,’ aims to tell Canadians about the chain of events that started way back in the spring of 1963 that lead to Canada’s infamous terrorism nightmare.

Jenish is one of the authors featured in this year’s StoryFest literary festival in Hudson. He will make an appearance Thursday, October 24 at 7:30 p.m. at St. James Church, 642 Main Road. Attendees will have a chance to discuss Jenish’s extensive research that went into piecing together all the events that lead to the October Crisis in which the Front de libération du Québec (FLQ) kidnapped provincial Deputy Premier Pierre Laporte and British diplomat James Cross. Jenish took a few minutes this week to speak with The Journal about the genesis of his new book.

“I got started on this through an article I wrote in 2010 for the 40th anniversary of the October Crisis. I had already talked to my publishing company about the subject. I didn’t really have an angle yet, but they were interested,” Jenish recounted.

“I got connected with Robert Côté, who was head of the bomb squad in Montreal in the 1960s. He was involved with the law enforcement side of the story from the spring of 1963, which is when the first wave of bombings occurred, until December 3, 1970, which was the day the Cross kidnappers surrendered to authorities.

“He had a great overview,” Jenish continued. “Everybody has some sense about the FLQ’s mailbox bombs, and they know about the kidnappings, but they’ve forgotten about all that’s happened in between. These guys stole tons of dynamite. They were responsible for over 200 bombings. There were dozens of bank robberies. One of these groups broke into armories and stole weapons and ammunition. Six people died, and several others were grievously injured by bombs. And this is all before the October Crisis.

“So I wanted to tell the whole story. All of that is sort of a prelude that led to the crisis. Unless you look at the whole series of events, you don’t get a complete picture. Once you get a complete picture... spring of ’63, winter of ’64 into the summer of ’65; then there is ’66 when another group comes into operation. There is a break in ’67; then in ’68, ’69, and ’70, it’s almost continuous turbulence, bombings, bank robberies and then they turned to kidnapping.”

D’arcy researched the era thoroughly, relying heavily on the untold law enforcement side of the story, while also looking into the later lives of some of the most prominent members of the terrorist group.

PHOTO COURTESY D’ARCY JENISH

The author (above) will be discussing his book as part

of Hudson’s ongoing StoryFest literary festival.

D’arcy Jenish has written for several newspapers and magazines, including The Globe and Mail and Maclean’s. The Making of the October Crisis is his seventh book.

Tickets for the event are $15 and are available at Boutique Pure Art, 422 Main Road or at greenwoodstoryfest.com.

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