PG Vet Remembers FLQ Crisis
Prince George, B.C. – A Prince George veteran has shared some memories about his role in one of Canada’s most pivotal moments – the FLQ Crisis.
Bruce Gabriel, who is now president of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 43 in Prince George, was actually stationed in New Brunswick but sent to Montreal just days after the federal government invoked the War Measures Act.
“It was quite a learning curve for all of us,” he says, noting they were sent in five days after British Trade Commissioner James Cross was kidnapped.
“We had to go home and get our gear and were not allowed to tell our families where we were going or what we were doing, it was unprecedented.”
He says he was on sentry duty much of the time, looking after MPs, taking children to school and was even stationed at Dorval Airport for a week or two.
Gabriel says it was a real highlight in his military career.
“It was. I came away with the greatest respect for French people. They were so good to us – they would bring us coffee and donuts on rainy and cold nights and thank us for our service. It was quite awesome.”
Now on the eve of his 71st birthday and with over 20 years service under his belt, including a peackeeping stint in Cyprus in 1967-68, he says it’s important the role of all veterans is remembered.
“First of all to honour the people that gave life and limb but also to pay respect to the veterans and their families that are still with us.”
For the most part, Gabriel says the importance of the message is getting through to the younger generation.
“I think today’s service (at the Civic Centre) will be packed. The schools are doing a good job of educating and getting the message out.”