May 3, 1963: FLQ plants multiple bombs in Quebec

On May 3, 1963 the FLQ planted bombs  outside a Royal Canadian Legion, the central post office in Montreal and the headquarters of the Solbec Mining Company.

VARIOUS LOCALES, QUEBEC, CANADA – Some terrorist groups are equal opportunity organisations: they attack across a wide variety of targets.

When we think terrorism we think ideology. That is, after all, what separates otherwise common criminal activity from terrorism. Crooks don’t ‘believe’ in anything either than personal gain or getting revenge on someone. Terrorists are different.

Whatever that ideology is – religious, nationalist, political, whatever – it is constructed so that the group can identify a particular sector of society to target for violence. That particular sector is whatever is standing in the way of the group’s goals.

We know who we hate! (Photo: By Herder3 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons)

Sometimes, however, a group will attack a wide variety of individuals or symbols. That could be because they hate a lot of different things or because it is easy to do so. After all, from a counterterrorism perspective, it is much harder (actually impossible) to protect more things rather than fewer.

Take the Front de Liberation du Quebec (FLQ), a 1960s and 1970s nationalist terrorist group in Canada.

On this day in 1963

The FLQ planted bombs, on the same day,  outside the Royal Canadian Legion in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, the central post office in Montreal and the headquarters of the Solbec Mining Company (location unknown). Only the first one detonated and no one was injured.

FLQ oui (Yes to the FLQ) –

Graffiti on a Montreal post office box

The links among the three are not obvious. The Legion represents the military, the post office represents the Canadian government, and Solbec represents the province’s mining sector. Oh well, terrorists do not have to be consistent I guess.

PS On November 20, 2014 a wannabe jihadi ran over two Canadian military officers in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, killing one of them (Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent). Two attacks by two very different groups on two widely separated dates. See The Peaceable Kingdom for more on this attack.

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By Phil Gurski

Phil Gurski is the President and CEO of Borealis Threat and Risk Consulting Ltd. Phil is a 32-year veteran of CSE and CSIS and the author of six books on terrorism.

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