A Different Kind of Chocolate Soldier

There’s something liberating about an occasion like Halloween that encourages children to take candy from strangers, as has been noted. But there’s something strange about taking candy from an armed soldier.

That was the prospect I faced as a 10-year-old living in Ottawa’s Rockcliffe Park during the fall of 1970. The October Crisis had reached its height. In response to the FLQ kidnappings of British trade commissioner James Cross and Quebec labour minister Pierre Laporte, who was ultimately murdered, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau had imposed the controversial War Measures Act and dispatched soldiers to guard the many diplomats, cabinet ministers and other notables with homes in our area. I had gleaned this much from my parents’ discussions of the newspaper headlines.

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