It can’t happen here.
Well, police say it almost did.
The comfortable notion that violent crimes like mass shootings are a problem for some other place and perhaps some other culture has been picked apart in the space of just a few hours.
Halifax plotters planned on ‘opening fire to kill citizens,’ police say
It started with an apparent suicide in a nondescript Halifax suburb. The houses along Tiger Maple Drive are like hundreds of others in hundreds of other neighbourhoods; not just in Halifax but anywhere in Canada. The developer has worked the word “maple” into every street name in the subdivision, evoking a quiet, tree-lined enclave.
Teahadis may complain about the IRS targeting politically incorrect groups but in Canada it is actually happening.
But the teahadis up will not complain. In fact they’ll think it is deserved and long past due.
Sigh. My country is committing suicide by slow poison.
Zehaf-Bibeau, 32, a recent Muslim convert, prepared a video of himself just before the terrorist attack, Royal Canadian Mounted Police Commissioner Bob Paulson said in a written statement Sunday. His mother told police he had applied for a passport and intended to travel to Syria.
“The RCMP has identified persuasive evidence that Michael Zehaf-Bibeau’s attack was driven by ideological and political motives,” Paulson said.
Folks tell me this cartoon has been widely seen today but I’m posting it here in case you’ve missed it.
The Cartoon is by Bruce MacKinnon of the Halifax Herald. It’s still delivered to our house, on paper, every week day morning.
It shows the bronze statues of WW1 veterans on the war memorial, reaching to lift the young soldier, Nathan Cirillo, who was shot yesterday while ceremonialy guarding the Ottawa war memorial.
It brought tears to my eyes.
In 2005, he joined the House of Commons as director of security operations, and a year later was elected sergeant at arms. From the start, Vickers led the charge on the development of Canada’s “bias-free policing strategy”—now a part of RCMP officer training—by reaching out to the Canadian Muslim community to discuss cultural sensitivity. He served a security guard for the Queen of Canada herself, and was awarded the Queen’s Jubilee Medal to “honor contributions and achievements made by Canadians,” according to an official fact sheet. He also received the Canada 125 Medal and the RCMP Long Service Medal. The United States has offered Vickers a commendation for his “Outstanding Contribution to Drug Enforcement.”
Vickers has remained humble despite his many plaudits—he insists he’s just doing his job. A 2011 feature on Vickers in The Globe and Mail describes how he defended the right of people to wear the kirpan—a ceremonial dagger carried by baptized Sikhs—in the National Assembly. In response, the World Sikh Organization hosted a dinner in his honor.
The gunman who killed a soldier in Ottawa and stormed Canada’s parliament had been put on a terror watch list, it has emerged.
The attacker, identified as Michael Zehaf-Bibeau by Canadian media, was considered “high risk” and had seen his passport confiscated to stop him travelling abroad to join Islamic State terrorists in Iraq or Syria.
But the 32-year-old was able to strike at the heart of his home country’s capital, shooting dead Corporal Nathan Cirillo before he was himself gunned down by Sergeant-At-Arms Kevin Vickers as he launched his assault on parliament.
Two weeks ago my wife and were standing outside on the Sparks Street mall right in the heart of downtown Ottawa. We had just had lunch with a longtime friend of mine and were enjoying the cool fall air outside. Nearby, commuters walked to and from work, tourists snapped photos and everyday citizens went about their lives.
As the three of us chatted outside the restaurant faint bagpipe music began to fill the air. Looking over my wife’s shoulder, to the National War Memorial that lay right across the street from where we were standing, I saw a bagpiper in full regalia escorting two members of the Canadian armed forces to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The tomb is guarded 24/7 and the shift changing ceremony I was watching takes place every single day.
As I took all of this in I couldn’t help but think of how much I loved my country and Ottawa in particular. Ottawa is a midsized city. Not overly confusing, overly sprawled or overly complex. I may be partial due to my long history there but I’ve visited many other cities both large and small and Ottawa has always been near the top of my list as a comfortable, peaceful place. Even more surprising as Ottawa is the seat of the Canadian government and a place of national importance to the country.
(detail of my birth certificate)
I was born in Ottawa, I was bred in Ottawa. Twenty of my Thirty three years have been spent there. I’ve lived in a variety of places but Ottawa will always be home to me.
Tonight, Ottawa is a city in pain and in grief. In close to the same spot my wife and I stood two weeks ago, a gunman killed the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. This may have been the same man I saw assuming the post that day. In addition, shots filled the Parliament buildings and sent fear racing throughout the city.
Top: An image I took on the aforementioned day two weeks ago.
Bottom: An image from the television earlier today showing the same location (evident by the lion statues and post office logos on the windows)
Of course there weren’t that many casualties but to a city and country relatively unaccustomed to major gun violence this hurts. To a country and people used to peacefully living alongside one another this is painful.
Canada is not as used to gun violence as Americans. We can’t dismiss it as easily, we can’t deal with it as easily. So while some people might think what happened in Ottawa today is a minor incident It’s far more than that. This was a shot across the peaceful bow of Canada and one we’re not liable to forgive and forget anytime soon.
We don’t know much more at this hour than we did before. Many things are uncertain right now with regards to the facts behind the incident.
But one thing is certain: Home is changed forever. Ottawa will never be the same.
And yet despite the senseless violence, despite the fear, despite the uncertainty Canadians can still come together and stand, dignified and proud, in one of our countries darker moments. There are soldiers once again guarding the Tomb of the Unknown soldier tonight.
As we stand as one, determined to stay proud and strong as a nation, the words of our national anthem ring truer than ever:
God keep our land glorious and free!
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
Tonight and going forward, we WILL be standing on guard to protect our freedoms, our honor and our way of life. There are no terrorists alive who could ever destroy the spirit of the Canadian people.
Stephen Harper’s Conservatives have passed a bill. It gives China the right to sue, in secret tribunals, so that if a Canadian law interferes with Chinese investments that law can be overturned. This includes overriding treaties signed with our First Nations.
As John Ralston Saul noted, Canada is “Burdened with the laziest elite of any developed nation; people who have made their fortunes by selling off the country’s resources and working for more energetic foreigners. They are most comfortable on their knees, admiring those from larger countries who have bought them.”
In essence Canada has been sold to the Chinese and the people of Canada no longer get the slightest say in how the country is run.
Have I mentioned recently how much I loathe Stephen Harper?
To my American friends: this is a warning. If that can happen here it can happen in your country as well.
The Canada Revenue Agency (Canada’s equivalent of the IRS) has told OXFAM Canada that it cannot list ‘preventing poverty’ as a goal, only ‘alleviating’ it. The reason is “Relieving poverty is charitable, but preventing it is not.”
This is just one of many instances of Our Dear Leader using the CRA to punish critics for criticizing. OXFAM Canada opposes Israeli settlements on the West Bank.
Yet another example of so called conservatives showing their revolutionary goals.