Between 1963-1970 over 95 bombs had been detonated and in this time of crisis both the Premier of Quebec and the mayor of Montreal had requested that Trudeau follow that course of action.
The situation truly got out of hand and it was overwhelmingly supported by the Canadian population, including French speaking Canadians ( 89% English speaking and 86% of French speaking supported it)
The War Measures Act was also a successful attempt to save James Cross's life
The lives of all Canadians are important, all measures should be taken if the result will save lives
In the scheme of events, The War Measures Act might of incorrectly imprisoned some Canadians temporarily and to them their rights may of appeared to of been violated.
The memories of inadequate internment camps were bitter for Japanese Canadians. They suffered family breakups, lived with poor living standards and endured the loss of equality and respect. On the other hand, the government could argue that the camps were actually better than being poor elsewhere since the Japanese Canadians still received an education, had access to their bank accounts and could move to other camps with permission. The government could say the Japanese Canadians maintained some of their rights, while other rights were taken to ensure their safety from the biased, angry Canadians. The properties of the Japanese Canadians were also confiscated while they were kept in internment. Some of the money received from selling the land was then put back into operating the internment camps. The government could say the land was sold for the benefits of the interned Japanese Canadians, yet it provided only temporal financial aid. Perhaps the money helped to ease the burdens of the Japanese Canadians during their time in camps, their roots in Canada were torn out and basically, everything they established in Canada was wiped out when the government sold their properties without consent. The government could argue that it was wartimes and under the War Measures Act, everything they did for the war was legally right. Even though the actions of the government were justified under the law system, it is not acceptable, morally speaking.
Why the War Measures Act was not Justified
The War Measures Act was the act that gave power to the Canadian government to take measures of civil rights into their own hands.
It gave them the power to make any decisions they wanted based on the seriousness of the threat at hand.
The government, under PM Pierre Trudeau, took this act way too far, breaking many civil rights and liberties of the citizens of Quebec.
1) Do you think taking away people's rights and freedoms was justified?
Trudeau may have had an admirable political career in which he made many wise decisions, however, the invocation of the War Measures Act in October 1970 was not one of them.
Do you think Trudeau or the people of Quebec and Canada would have thought and acted differently on the matter?
By enacting the War Measures Act, Trudeau was giving extensive powers to politicians and any with access to a police force.
Second World War was a struggle for democracy and liberty worldwide, yet liberty for Canadians was not extended. Japanese Canadians were treated unjustly and were kept inside internment camps. In addition, their right to “Habeas Corpus” had been dismissed. “Habeas Corpus” was the right to be brought before a judge and receiving a trial only after physical evidence had been presented. The Japanese Canadians were perceived as spies even though no evidence had supported that biased judgment. During wartime, this civil right of a fair trail was denied because of the War Measures Act. The War Measures Act gave unlimited power to the government to do anything necessary to be done to support the war. Indirectly, the War Measures Act had the potential to limit citizens' rights and hence, there was no true democracy in Canada although the majority of voters supported the Act. Democracy as we know it, the freedom to be able to choose government and to be under constitutional rights, such as freedom of speech had been taken away. Clearly, Canadians were not being ruled under these standards and so, the government was not truly democratic at that time. The lack of democracy was a direct effect of the War Measures Act, and since the War Measures Act was introduced in both WWI, WWII and during Trudeau's era in the 1970s, it could possibly be imposed nowadays.
However, this argument is invalid as justification; primarily because the War Measures Act was an extreme overreaction by Trudeau, as the threat of the FLQ was largely small-scale, and the demise of the FLQ was impending with the rise of the Bloc Quebecois.
The people were beginning to lose their democratic country to one controlled by corrupt power in the government as unreasonable arrests were continuously made, and the situation was brought way out of control.
Overall, the War Measures act was not truly justified.
- Second Confiscation Act The Confiscation Act of July 17, 1862, declares "forever free" all captured and fugitive slaves of the rebels. This bill also authorizes the president to use African Americans in the military, but only as scouts, laborers, spies, kitchen workers, and nurses until after the Emancipation Proclamation. The Act authorized procedures against the property of Southern rebels and their sympathizers, redirecting proceeds to law enforcement to wage the war on crime, the Act stated that the properties seized were to be used for supporting the Union cause in waging its war. Opponents of the Act were concerned that seizure was unconstitutional without a prior judicial finding of guilt, that the concept of a forfeiture against the property and not the person was a fiction that no one could reasonably believe, and that the nature of the proceeding unconstitutionally circumvented the rights of accused persons in regular criminal trials. Illinois Senator Orville Browning warned: "[A] total revolution [will be] wrought in our criminal jurisprudence, and, in despite of all the safeguards of the Constitution, proceedings in personam for the punishment of crime may be totally ignored, and punishment inflicted against the property alone." President Lincoln initially shared this objection to the Act's deprivation of property without a criminal conviction or other protective hearing, but eventually signed it into law. Lincoln continued, however, to consistently express a conviction that the power should be employed only in situations of necessity. Furthermore, Lincoln's later actions indicate, at least in form, that confiscations were to be only temporary and "restoration of all rights of property," absent intervening third-party interests, was to occur at the conclusion of the war. Lincoln recognized that confiscation should only be an emergency measure and that, upon termination of the emergency, the practice of confiscation should end and seized property should revert to those from whom it was taken. The Act was in reply to a Confederate law that confiscated the southern properties of Union supporters. But, the country was embroiled in a civil war: Southern rebels were not simply enemies to whom the government owed no constitutional duty; they were also citizens. Senator of Michigan explained the status of rebels when he declared that the United States was not waging war against "foreign enemies . . . but against persons who owe obedience to this government and are rightfully subject to it." Presumably, if the rebels had an obligation to the United States government, that same government had an obligation to them. But Howard further asserted that certain inflictions of punishment, calculated to repel the violence and rebellion, were lawful. The Supreme Court, in upholding the Act, argued that extraordinary conditions justified such a law as part of broad military powers. In other words, the exercise of confiscation was a war power and not a criminal measure for the punishment of a crime. Furthermore, the Court argued that the United States retained the powers of both a "belligerent and a sovereign, and had the rights of both" allowing the government to treat the rebels as if they were enemies.