Strategy of Tension – Place du Canada

A bomb is found

It was 07h16, on the morning of 25 September, 1968, in Montreal, when patrol car 10-5, with officers Leveille and Rioux, received a call from the Centre des communications, and told to go to Carré Dominion (Place du Canada), south side, to meet the watchman there. They arrived a minute later, and were met Arthur Duval, who told them of a suspicious package, with torn wrapping, that he had found at the foot of the statue of Canada’s first prime minister, Sir John A. MacDonald.

The two policemen see that the box contains wires, attached to a clock, and two sticks of dynamite wrapped in black vinyl tape. A bomb.

Montreal Police Technical Section arrives

They called Lieutenant Verville, car 10-35. He arrived at 7h30, and after a preliminary examination, called Section Technique. At 7h35, Inspector Daniel Yacovitch, arrived on the scene. Lieutenant Verville pointed to the package, lying on the grass. Yacovitch looked through the tear in the brown paper wrapping, and saw the electric wiring, clock. He put on the bomb protection suit. He cut the cord around the package and tore open the paper to expose the device.

The package consisted of a alarm clock, several electric wires, two sticks of dynamite, a copper pipe, the ends wrapped in black vinyl electricians’ tape. Two wires led from one end of the pipe to the clock. He cut the wire leading from a battery and then cut the wire from the clock.

He put the bomb in the trailer, and drove to Lacordaire Depot, where he and Sergeant Robert Côté, complete the dismantling of the device. They take every precaution to conserve any fingerprint.

A fingerprint is discovered

Constable André Ste-Marie, Section Identification, examined the device for fingerprints. He found one, on the black vinyl tape, and lifted it off.

“Des recherches seront entreprises en vue de l’identification et les resultats vous seront transmis. (footnote: Rapport Général, Service de police de Montréal, 22-9-68, P-8-10-9370).

The first ‘political’ bomb

Closer examination in the laboratory found that device had two sticks of Forcite 75% dynamite. The copper tube was filled with potassium chlorate and lactose, surrounded by 7 matches; Burgess No. 2 D battery; Number 5 Sylvania flashbulbs; a Westinghouse Good Morning, clock, set at 12h40 or 00h40. the wires are not soldered but wrapped in the tape about the copper pipe.

A fluoroscope image of the dynamite reveals that there is no detonator and there are no electric components inside.

Cependant l’examen de circuit électrique de cette bomb domestique a demontré que la fils électrique partent de la source d’énergie ne sont pas reliés au tuyau contenant la lamp-éclair mais seulement au réveil-matin. Donc il n’y a pas de circuit complet de la pile sèche à la lamp-éclair et au reveil-matin. Au temps prévu le contact n’a fait que courte-circuiter la pile électrique et la bombe ne pouvait éxploser.

Cer emballage fut examié pour des empreints mais rien ne fut élevée.

Rapport Générale, Service de Police Montréal, p. 2, below.

Robert Côté, head of the Montreal Police Technical Section responsible for disarming and examining bombs and bombings in the city, refers to the device placed at Place du Canada as “the first political bomb”.

Examination of bomb
Place du Canada bomb examination report p. 1
Strategy of Tension - Place du Canada
Place du Canada bomb examination report p. 2
Strategy of Tension - Place du Canada
Discovery of a poorly activated bomb

The bomb that never was

There are two interesting aspects of the bomb in question. First, it had been carefully designed and constructed, by someone who knew what he or she was doing, to not explode. Second, the report states that no fingerprint was found on the package. However, it fails to mention that a fingerprint was found on the vinyl tape at one end of the copper pipe. It also fails the mention that, likely unknown to the writer of the report, Normand Roy and Jean-Raymond Langlois had set the bomb.

Interview of ex-RCMP Inspector Don Cobb

At a point, in the last stage of my research into the death of Mario Bachand, I thought of speaking with ex-RCMP Inspector Don Cobb, who had been head of “G” Section in Montreal at the time when many of the more important counter-terrorist operations, against the FLQ, and counter-intelligence operations, against France, occurred. Fortunately, he was living in Ottawa, a block up from Riverside Drive, in the lower reaches of Alta Vista, not far from Billings Bridge. I called him, and he agreed to meet me at his home.

He graciously received me and we retired to his living room, and talked for a time about the FLQ situation during the 1960’s and early 1970’s. The only interruption being the occasional incursion of his wife to ensure all was well, and their small white dog urgently wishing for a walk. At the end of our meeting, Don Cobb escorted me to through the front door, where we stopped for a moment for me to thank him for receiving me.

A stunning admission

He looked at me, with a significant mien. He said, the bomb at Place du Canada, set by Normand Roy and Jean-Raymond Langlois, was constructed by the RCMP, and that the Normand Roy – Michel Lambert cell of the Pierre-Paul Geoffroy réseau was created  and run by the RCMP. He added that the two Roy brothers, Normand and Jean-Marie, were RCMP operatives.

So surprising a statement that I was speechless. Even though I had known for some time that Normand Roy and  Denyse Leduc, assisted in some manner by Michel Lambert and Raymond Villeneuve,  had killed Mario Bachand that day in Paris, and that it was an RCMP operation. Which meant that the Délégation Extérieure du Front de Libération du Québec (DEFLQ), the shadowing group in Algers with half-a-dozen members was something else entirely. 

My interviews of the DST officer, Deputy-Solicitor Ernest Côté, several ex-RCMP intelligence officers, Pierre Barral and his wife, and officers of the Brigade criminelle who had investigated the murder of Bachand – along with the absurd false story distributed by Canadian media, to which even today many cling to – confirmed my conclusion.

Strategy of Tension

But Don Cobb’s statement made it starkly evident that there was much more to the assassination of Mario Bachand that I had originally thought. The Normand Roy cell of the Pierre-Paul Geoffroy Reseau was responsible for many bombings. Almost certainly, Normand Roy and his RCMP masters were fully aware of the bombings of the second cell of the Reseau, that of Pierre Charette, Alain Allard and occasional others. That is to say, of the Pierre-Paul Geoffroy entirely.

To whit, the Bachand assassination was only one element in a much larger scheme, breathtaking in scope, what I refer to, from the Italian Strategia della tensione, as strategy of tension.