The only use of the War Measures Act in a domestic crisis occurred in October and November 1970, when a state of "apprehended insurrection" was declared to exist in Quebec. Emergency regulations were proclaimed in response to two kidnappings by the terrorist group, . The FLQ kidnapped British trade commissioner James Cross, and kidnapped and murdered Quebec Labour Minister Pierre Laporte. As authorities grappled with the crisis, more than 450 people were detained under the powers of the Act; most were later released without the laying or hearing of charges.
The War Measures Act was used again during World War II. The only time it was enacted during peacetime was October 1970 when Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau used it to make searches and arrests during the FLQ crisis. The FLQ (Front de libération du Québec) was an extremist group of French separatists who were involved in kidnappings and a murder. Under the War Measures Act, many people were arrested and held without charges on suspicion of sympathizing with the terrorists.
The October Crisis began 5 October 1970 with the kidnapping of James CROSS, the British trade commissioner in Montréal, by members of the (FLQ). It rapidly devolved into the most serious terrorist act carried out on Canadian soil after another official, Minister of Immigration and Minister of Labour , was kidnapped and killed. The crisis shook the career of recently elected Liberal Premier Robert Bourassa, who solicited federal help along with Montréal Mayor Jean Drapeau. This help would lead to the only invocation of the War Measures Act during peacetime in Canadian history.