5 days before LaPorte's kidnapping James Cross, the British Trade Commissioner was also kidnapped, on 5 Oct. he was released on 4 Dec. Trudeau allowed the kidnappers to fly to Cuba on a CF plane.The local paper has published a list of some previous modern terrorist attacks in Canada, which I thought I would repeat here to put things into context.
- 1966, May 18 - Paul Joseph Chartier took a homemade bomb into the gallery in the House of Commons in Ottawa, intending to kill as many MPs as possible. After leaving the gallery to arm his bomb in a nearby washroom, the bomb went off prematurely, killing only Chartier.
- 1970, Oct. 17 - The Front de liberation du Quebec (FLQ) kills kidnapped hostage Pierre Laporte, Quebec's Deputy Premier. The group's bombing campaign also killed several other people, all in the name of creating an independent Quebec.
- 1972, April 4 - An explosion at the Cuban consulate in Montreal kills official Sergio Perez Castillo. Anti-Castro groups based in the U.S. are to blame.
- 1982, August 23 - Armenian militants shoot and kill Turkish military attache Col. Atilla Altikat, while he was sitting in his car at a red light in Ottawa.
- 1984, May 8 - Canadian soldier Denis Lortie heads to Quebec City where he intends a killing spree at the provincial legislature, including the assassination of premier Rene Levesque. Arriving early, the legislature is mostly empty but Lortie is able to kill three employees and injure others before being talked down by the 63-year-old sergeant-at-arms, who is a Korean War vet and former member of the same regiment as Lortie.
- 1984, September 3 - Montreal train station is bombed, killing 3 French tourists and wounding more than 30. Thomas Bernard Brigham of Rochester, N.Y., was imprisoned for the crime, which was intended to stop the impending visit from Pope John Paul II.
- 1985, June 23 - Air India flight 182 is bombed after leaving Montreal. 329 people are killed after the 747 blows up in Irish airspcae. Sikh terrorists are to blame.
- 2012, Sept. 4 - Richard Henry Bain allegedly tries to kill newly elected Quebec premier Pauline Marois at her election night victory party in Montreal. While attempting to enter the building, Bain shot and killed a stage technician, according to police. The case is still before the courts.
There was also a serious terrorist and insurgent problem in the 19th century, but we'll leave that out of the picture. The above is also not a comprehensive list, as there were others (e.g. the Armenians killed a security guard in another attack).
Of the above, we have four serious modern political terrorist groups - The FLQ, American anti-Castro terrorists, Armenian terrorists, and Sikh terrorists.
The remainder are four frothing nutters whose justifications exist only in their own heads - Chartier, Lortie, Brigham, and Bain.
The points that I am trying to make here are first, while Canada has a minimal terrorist problem compared to many other countries, the current incidents are not unprecedented. Second, while the events are tragic, the world is not about to end. If it's of any comfort, the currently lot of Muslim nutters appear to be decidedly less competent than their predecessors.
P.S. - For those who are interested, Lortie showed up at the provincial legislature with some toys from work - 2 Sterling SMGs and a Browning HP. He was the stores clerk at a nuclear bunker where they didn't have space to store arms and ammunition separately, so he had ready access to both.
Trudeau also deployed troops to Quebec on 12 Oct- all part of the 'October Crisis'. LaPorte was killed in captivity and the troops were off the streets by early Jan. To my knowledge the October Crisis was the only occasion in which the War Measures Act (now replaced by the Emergencies Act) has been invoked in peacetime