Pierre Laporte, journalist, lawyer, politician (born 25 February 1921 in Montreal, Quebec; died 17 October 1970). In October of 1970, Laporte was abducted and subsequently murdered by the Chénier cell of the Front de Libération du Québec (FLQ). This series of events intensified the October Crisis in Quebec. Laporte is one of very few politicians to be assassinated in Canada (see Thomas D’Arcy McGee).
Originally a journalist and parliamentary correspondent at the Legislative Assembly of Quebec for French-language newspaper Le Devoir, 1945-61, Laporte was one of Premier Maurice Duplessis’ fiercest critics.
Laporte was elected as the Liberal member for Chambly in a 1961 by-election and served as Minister of Municipal Affairs (1962-66) and Cultural Affairs (1964-66) during the Jean Lesage administration (see Politics in Quebec). He held both posts until the Liberals lost the general election to the Union Nationale in 1966. Between 1966 and 1970 Laporte sat on the opposition benches in the National Assembly (formerly the Legislative Assembly of Quebec). He ran for leadership of the Quebec Liberal Party in 1970, ultimately losing to Robert Bourassa. After the electoral victory of the Liberals in 1970, Laporte was appointed Minister of Immigration, Manpower and of Labour, and Deputy-Premier.
Kidnapping and Murder by the Front de Libération du Québec (FLQ)
Only months after the election, Bourassa’s government was faced with a series of events that became known as the October Crisis. On October 10, 1970, Laporte was abducted by members of the Front de Libération du Québec Chénier cell while he was outside playing football with a nephew on his front lawn. Armed with guns, FLQ members pulled up to Laporte's home on Montreal’s south shore and forced him into the backseat of their car.
After Laporte’s abduction, Bourassa asked Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau to intervene and the federal government invoked the War Measures Act. Seven days later, on 17 October, the body of Pierre Laporte was found in the trunk of a car left near the Saint-Hubert Longueil airport. The car belonged to FLQ member Paul Rose, who was later found guilty of Laporte’s murder.
On October 20, 1971, the Canadian government issued a postage stamp in Laporte’s honour. A number of public schools and streets in Quebec bear Laporte’s name, as does the Pierre-Laporte bridge (Pont Pierre-Laporte) which links Lévis and Quebec City across the St. Lawrence River. It is the longest suspension bridge in the province.