In 1995, a man by the name of André Dallaire attempted to assassinate the Canadian Prime Minister, Jean Chrétien. Luckily, the Prime Minister’s wife heard the break-in and jumped to her husband’s defense, armed with a loon.

An unstable man

Dallaire was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia in his teens. Two weeks before the break-in, Dallaire quit his job at a convenience store in Montreal, emptied the cash register, pocketing the money, and took off in the middle of his shift. Five days later, on October 30, his sister received a letter from him that was postmarked in Ottowa.

Everyday Health

Dallaire’s schizophrenia manifested in a state of confusion, wherein he believed himself to be a secret agent for the sovereigntist forces, who lost in the 1995 Quebec referendum. He thought that killing Chrétien would make him a national hero.

The break-in

Shortly after two o’clock in the morning on November 5, 1995, Dallaire arrived outside the home of the Prime Minister and his wife. He spent about 20 minutes lobbing stones onto the grounds and waving at security camera while holding a large pocket knife. Dallaire then hopped the fence and smashed a window to gain entry to the house.

WXPR Local Public Radio

After walking around the main floor of the home for nearly a half hour, he made his way to the Chrétiens’ bedroom, where the Prime Minister’s wife, Aline, confronted the man. She retreated into the bedroom and woke her husband while she called the police and picked up a statue of a loon, brandishing it in case Dallaire came through the door.

Security concerns

Following Dallaire’s break-in and attempted murder of the Prime Minister, questions were raised about the security of the home. Four Royal Canadian Military Police officers were suspended for the better part of a year, and three supervisors were reassigned for failure to protect and monitor the homestead.

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Dallaire was deemed guilty but unable to be held accountable for his actions due to his mental state. Three years after the break-in, Dallaire issued a public apology, stating that he was being monitored and medicated to control his condition. He also mentioned that he hoped that the Chrétiens would be able to forgive him for his actions.