Preface

During the crisis that shook Quebec in October 1970, Robert Bourassa refrained from making any non-essential statements, trying to maintain a calm situation. His press conferences, the press releases sent by his office, were to the point, period. On his return to the Assembly in November 1970, he delivered a speech and answered the questions of the Opposition. Then, Robert Bourassa chose, during his entire life, to refrain from speaking or commenting the various statements made along the years on the events of October 70. He had turned the page on these sad events in order to concentrate his efforts as premier on the needs of Quebec and on the measures which he felt were needed to meet these needs. I followed his example. I did not feel that I should modify the agenda or the order of the day of the premier, unless he asked me to do so. It was particularly easy to do so since none of the investigators appointed by the government of the Parti Québécois, which was elected in 1976, chose to question me.

 

After Robert Bourassa passed away in 1996, I felt free to answer questions from those who wanted to know what was my role or what did I witness during the events, particularly during the period from the 12th to the 17th  of October 1970. The first occasion to speak about October 70 came during spring 2000 when I was contacted by Ad Hoc Films, which wanted to produce a documentary on the events which preceded the death of Pierre Laporte. When researcher Alain Charbonneau compared the chronology of events which he had prepared with the schematic account which I had prepared, he was astounded. For, he discovered, the information he had compiled was very different from mine, particularly on the actual part which Robert Bourassa and Pierre Elliott Trudeau took during the crisis. Fortunately, I had kept several documents which permitted to establish what had really gone on. In addition, the official documents in Ottawa and Quebec City were now public, the required delays having been attained. The Ad Hoc Films researcher and the company’s officer were able to confirm my statements, since the minutes of the meetings of the cabinet and of the committees were available. The documentary “La Belle Province” of Carl Leblanc and Luc Cyr was seen by the audience of Télé-Quebec. It was received by many with skepticism and, even, with stupefaction.

 

In 2002, I was invited by l’Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) and Concordia University to a colloquy on Robert Bourassa, and I was asked to make a presentation on the events of October 70. I said to all those who were present that it was time to correct the errors which had been circulated for years on the October events. For that to occur, one should visualize the documentary of Ad Hoc Films “La Belle Province”. My statement surprised many. Some participants even came to tell me so after my conference.

 
 

One can read my conference in a publication which was made following the colloquy by its organizers, Guy Lachapelle and Robert Comeau: “Robert Bourassa: Un bâtisseur tranquille” Presse de l’Université Laval, 2003.

 
 

In the summer of 2010, I retired from the business world. Having noted that little information was available on the Internet for those of the coming generations who might have an interest in October 70, I decided to write my memoirs of these events and I accepted various requests for interviews made in conjunction with the 40th anniversary of October 70. These interviews allowed the publication of articles in the press and the communication of TV documentaries which were in conformity with the facts as they had actually occurred. Finally, I hope the reader will find on this website an answer to the wish expressed by Claude Ryan in Le Devoir et la crise d’Octobre 70: “L’histoire de ces trois jours reste à faire. Seuls les principaux acteurs pourront la reconstituer, si jamais ils y consentent.” [Translation: The history of those three days is still to make. Only the main actors can reconstruct what really happen; if they ever consent to it.]

 

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