F.L.Q.: The Anatomy of an Underground Movement


373 pages
Contains Illustrations, Bibliography, Index
ISBN 0-919601-91-X





Translated by Edward Baxter
Reviewed by Greg Turko

Greg Turko is a policy analyst at the Ontario Ministry of Colleges and


This account of the Front de Liberation du Québec (FLQ) was written by Louis Fournier, a Quebec journalist who first broadcast the FLQ Manifesto during the October Crisis of 1970. This action led to his arrest.

It soon becomes obvious that the author was (is) at least partially sympathetic to the aims and tactics of the movement. It is also apparent that Fournier, in telling the FLQ story, wishes to right what he sees as a number of misrepresentations about the movement, particularly the extent to which it was foreign-dominated, -trained and -financed (he claims it was not, though he does speak of co-operation between the FLQ and other “liberation” groups) and the degree to which federal and provincial authorities over-reacted, to the detriment of civil rights, in fighting the terrorist threat.

Fournier traces the roots of the FLQ to such diverse sources as the romanticism of Quebecois nationalism, the militancy on college campuses and among U.S. Blacks, and the awakening of political consciousness in the French Canadian “common man.” From there he goes on to describe the events of the FLQ offensive, ranging in seriousness from mailbox bombing and painted slogans to kidnapping (James Cross) and murder (Pierre Laponte) — events that became part of Canada’s most serious internal crisis.

This book is not an unbiased, academic study of the FLQ. There are numerous instances where Fournier makes broad unsubstantiated allegations and morally indefensible judgments.

However, he has provided a detailed profile of an underground movement along with an excellent description of its activities, aims, and ideals. In the process he has also written a highly readable story.


Fournier, Louis, “F.L.Q.: The Anatomy of an Underground Movement,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 21, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/37604.