UBC Theses and Dissertations
The October Crisis : focus on several decision models Denoual, Daniel Guy
The purpose of this research is to focus on alternative ways of perceiving the same reality: The actions taken by the FLQ and the authorities during the October 1970 crisis. Among the abundant literature that was published during and after the crisis and often with strong emotional overtones, two main attempts of explanation have emerged: 1) One trying to describe the actions chosen, as the more or less purposive acts of unified institutions or groups (the FLQ, the Authorities) and which is often found among either English Canadian commentators or close sources to the Government; 2) The other one attempting to relate the chosen actions, as the resultant of various bargaining games among players in the institutions or groups (the intellectuals, the activists, in the case of the FLQ, Quebec, Ottawa and Montreal in the case of the Government) and which is often found among proponents of the New Left or Quebec Independentists. Two aspects of the crisis however, have largely been ignored or neglected: The role of the information units and the role of the implementation units in the shaping of Government decisions, except in rare cases and only to deplore their inefficiency or their prejudices. Given this background, we propose to focus our attention on five main questions: How can the actions of the FLQ and of the authorities be explained in the context of a unitary and comprehensively rational actor perspective? How can the actions of the FLQ and of the authorities be explained in the context of a unitary and boundedly rational actor perspective? - How can the actions of the authorities be explained, as being the output of multiple, boundedly rational, separate information units? How can the outcome resulting from the authorities' chosen action be explained as the output of multiple, boundedly rational, separate implementation units? How can the actions of the FLQ and of the authorities be explained, as the resultant of the bargaining process taking place among multiple, boundedly rational, separate decision units? In trying to answer those questions, we will draw heavily on the work of Graham Allison (Essence of Decision, Little Brown and Company, Boston, 1971), whose methodology and terminology will be used abundantly as far as the basic concepts are concerned. In many cases, as we have not got any access to "internal" information, we will try to reconstitute the decision processes from the evidence at hand, hypothesizing the developments that have taken place. This same limitation (the lack of internal information), will lead us to concentrate mostly on the repetitive character of bounded behaviour and to search for antecedents among past actions. In doing so, we hope to minimize our own prejudices and contribute to the understanding of a crisis which has appeared to many as a turning point in Canadian history.
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