The Quebec Easter Rising of 1918

In 1918 people in Quebec City rose. The War Measures Act were applied. Civil liberties were suspended.

These events were called the “1918 Quebec Easter Riots” preceded by the “Conscription Crisis of 1917”

 

 

 

And one Major-General François-Louis Lessard was ordered to get to Quebec City urgently. Lessard rose through the ranks due to his enthusiastic service crushing striking workers in 1878, the Métis out West in 1885, and the Boers in South Africa 1900-1901. Basically, he went wherever the Empire thought the natives were restless, and they were certainly that in Quebec City.

 

It imported a large number of English speaking troops from Ontario and the West who could be counted on to fire into a crowd of unarmed people they despised. Above all, the worst thing the Canadian imperial system did was putting François-Louis Lessard in charge of this fiasco.

Sometime past ten in the evening, this entire sorry episode came to a tragic conclusion. In the Saint-Roch neighborhood, corner of Saint-Joseph and Couronne, a concentration of 1200 to 1500 troops was spotted by protesters. The troops reported hearing shots coming from the crowd. A certain Major Mitchell orders the crowd to disperse, in English. Seeing that this had no effect, and that his men were being pelted by debris, Mitchell ordered his men to open fire. Between salvos, the soldiers shouted obscenities at the crowd. Finally they opened up with Lewis guns, bipod-mounted drum-fed machine guns used on the Western Front. The result was about seventy wounded and four dead, who were just trying to get home. The next day, the soldiers were given a simple order: “shoot to kill”

 

 

 

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