October 17, 1970

For many boomers, this date marks the Canadian equivalent of the U.S. Kent State killings. October 17th, 1970 was when then-Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau, in response to “perceived threat” of a Quebec insurrection by a group of separatists who’d been smoking too much dope, acted tough on television and then sent police and military personnel running loose for a couple of weeks arresting and generally being impolite to several hundred members of the middle classes with known attitude problems. The arrests gave Quebec dissidents the impetus to start a serious separatist movement under Rene Lesvesque, and gave English Canadian intellectuals the moral elan to go out and protest against the Vietnam war like good Americans.

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