Paul Rose, a strident Quebec separatist leader who in October 1970 helped kidnap and, he claimed, strangle a provincial official, inflaming a crisis that pitted terrorists against the Canadian prime minister, Pierre Trudeau, died on March 14 in Montreal. He was 69.
The cause was a stroke, the magazine L'Aut'Journal announced on its Web site. He was a contributing writer there.
More than 40 years ago, Mr. Rose was a member of the Front for the Liberation of Quebec, or F.L.Q., an extremist group committed to using violence to win independence for French-speaking Quebec. It committed dozens of bombings from 1963 to October 1970.
The kidnapping was the second in five days of what came to be called "the October crisis." On Oct. 5, an F.L.Q. cell seized James Cross, the British trade commissioner, and demanded the release of 23 political prisoners, $500,000 in gold and the publication and broadcast of the group's manifesto. On Oct. 10, an F.L.Q. cell led by Mr. Rose kidnapped Pierre Laporte, the minister of labor in the Quebec provincial government.
Mr. Trudeau sent army troops to Quebec and suspended civil liberties there under Canada's War Measures Act. Hundreds were arrested. Challenged to say how far he would go, Mr. Trudeau stated defiantly, "Just watch me."
The crisis deepened on Oct. 18, when Mr. Laporte's body was found in the trunk of a car in an airport parking lot. He had been strangled, apparently with the chain of a religious medallion he wore around his neck. The killing, the only assassination of a Canadian political figure in the 20th century, was variously seen as retaliation for Mr. Trudeau's crackdown; a result, perhaps unintended, of an attempted escape; or even an accident.
Mr. Rose planned and led the Laporte kidnapping, but whether he participated in the death remains uncertain. Neither he nor three accomplices ever said exactly how it had occurred. The case became murkier when an investigation by a Montreal prosecutor concluded in 1980 that Mr. Rose could not have been present at the killing.
But other evidence, like a 1970 statement that Mr. Rose made to his lawyer and that the police had secretly recorded, pointed the other way. "I finished him off with the chain he had around his neck," Mr. Rose was quoted as saying by the Canadian press.
The police officer who recorded the conversation cautioned that Mr. Rose might have made the statement to cover up for others. Mr. Rose repeatedly volunteered that his "solidarity" with other F.L.Q. members meant that he shared "collective responsibility" for the assassination.
Convicted of murder, he served 11 years in prison before being paroled in 1982, two years after the prosecutor determined that he had not been at the crime scene. His accomplices, including his brother Jacques, were convicted of lesser offenses and served shorter terms.
"I regret nothing: 1970, the abductions, the prison, the suffering, nothing," Mr. Rose later said of the killing of Mr. Laporte. "I did what I had to do. Placed before the same set of circumstances today, I would do exactly the same thing. I will not deny what I did and what happened. It was not a youthful indiscretion."
In 1982, Francis Simard, another accomplice, called the murder "a sincere gesture to show that what we were saying was not just words."
Mr. Cross, the British official, was released weeks after his abduction when, in exchange, the Canadian government agreed to grant his kidnappers safe passage to Cuba, with the approval of Fidel Castro.
Many Quebecers who favored independence from Canada were contemptuous of Mr. Rose and the F.L.Q. René Lévesque, father of the separatist Parti Québécois, which held seven seats in the provincial legislature in 1970 and gained power in 1976, called the members of the group subhuman. The party, which governs Quebec today, received mainly praise for denying requests that the legislature honor Mr. Rose's death.
Paul Rose was born on Oct. 16, 1943, in Montreal to a factory worker and a seamstress and grew up in working-class areas of Montreal. He later worked with disabled children and started a youth retreat for hippies in eastern Quebec.
Mr. Rose was said to have taken part in his first protest at 12 as a striking strawberry picker. He was one of 290 demonstrators arrested in an anti-Trudeau riot in Montreal in 1968.
He was not an expert criminal. He left fingerprints on ransom notes and let his passport fall into police hands. He said he hated to hold a machine gun.
At his trial, he was said to personify the unruliness of the far left wing of Quebec separatists. Scowling, he referred to the judge and court officers as prostitutes and called the proceedings a comic opera. Leaving and arriving at court, he raised his free hand in a fist and shouted, "Vive le Quebec libre!"
After his release, Mr. Rose earned a degree in sociology from the University of Quebec, ran for office on a fringe-party ticket before being disqualified as a felon, wrote articles for newspapers and magazines and advised a labor union. He disavowed violence.
Mr. Rose is survived by his wife, Andrée Bergeron; a son, Felix; a daughter, Rosalie; and three siblings, including his brother Jacques.
As he died, Canadian newspapers reported, his family read him patriotic Quebec poetry.
This article originally appeared in The New York Times.