Your Stories

The FLQ and Dad

STORY BY: Peggy Issenman
YEAR: 1970
LOCATION: Montreal

Peggy posted this story online: "I was born in 1956 in Montreal to a Jewish father and a mother of Japanese and Scottish descent. My dad had a company that built Place Bonaventure, La Cité and other buildings in Montreal and around the world. My dad found out that his name was on the FLQ "hit list" in 1970. I was 13 at the time and we lived in Westmount which was an Anglophone area of Montreal. It was a scary time as there were bombs going off as well as the kidnapping of Pierre Laporte and James Cross, and the subsequent murder of Pierre Laporte. I didn't really know what was going on at the time - we had studied the FLQ at school (I went to a progressive school) and I was sympathetic to the cause of the French people. My parents had been communists for many years and so it was ironic, to say the least, that they were wanted by the FLQ. They had fought against the fascist Premier Duplessis amongst others.The day that dad found out that our family was in danger we went to our cottage in the Laurentians. I remember that it was quite secretive - dad told us to not tell anyone of our plans. I remember that he had gotten hold of a gun - he was very scared and this was not like him at all. My dad was a kind and non-violent man. We stayed at our cottage for a few days and it was very tense. I don't remember much about that time but I'm sure we just stayed put in the house. Pierre Trudeau had enacted the War Measures Act to deal with the FLQ. I remember that we had conflicting sentiments about this action by Trudeau. My parents had fought for the rights of workers and the underclass and here was Trudeau bringing in the tanks to Montreal. I was still basically a kid in grade 7. My best friend and I debated whether we should go trick-0r-treating that year - were we too old to go out in costume? We did - I don't remember what we dressed up as. But up the street from our house was the Japanese Embassy. Because of the crisis there were two army fellows standing guard at the front door - this was a residential street. They were kind to us and let us ring the bell to get our share of candy." Thanks for sharing, Peggy.

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