A week unlike any other and what are its implications? What is the national response?

This week in October is truly one like no other in our Canadian history.  Yes, there have been crises previously and yes, the country did fight in two World Wars and participated in other conflicts, but the acts of this past week have served to create a demand for answers and action on behalf of the federal government.

How is it possible security at parliament could be so casually breached by the same individual who had just ambushed and shot and Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders Corporal Nathan Cirillo of Hamilton?  Cpl Cirillo’s killer’s unimpeded entry into parliament where he engaged in a gun battle with the Sgt At Arms and parliament’s internal security team and had he known the geography of the place better, might easily have had opportunity to open fire on several member of parliament caucus meetings, demands answers.  As in, how was our parliament so open to such violence?  A day after the hit-and-run killing of Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent in Quebec and knowing the threat was real, why wasn’t military security at the parliament buildings present?

Many questions.  I’ll be opening the phone lines to hear yours several times on today’s show.

Also joining me the Mayor of Hamilton, Bob Bratina and Argyll and Sutherlands Highlanders Honourary Lt. Colonel Ron Foxcroft, to speak about Corporal Cirillo and the Corporal’s return to Hamilton last evening, marked by thousands of Canadians honouring the ambushed soldier, first along the Highway of Heroes and then in the City of Hamilton itself.

Major General Lewis MacKenzie will speak to the reaction within the ranks of Canada’s military, including the order about where and where not members of our Armed Forces may and may no wear their uniforms in public.

Liberal MP Scott Andrews will talk about Wednesday morning in the caucus room as the gun battle began outside the doors.  MP Andrews almost came face to face with the gunman Michael Zehaf-Bibeau.

Mubin Shaikh (undercoverjihadi.com) joins me to speak about the issue of radicalizing.  Mubin Shaikh was himself a jihadi before becoming an undercover agent for CSIS and the RCMP.

Former CSIS agent and snr manager Michel Juneau-Katsuya will talk about what CSIS options and limitations are and Scott Newark, former Crown Attorney and security advisor to the federal and Ontario governments will talk about how Ottawa can protect against individuals who are on the nation’s radar as threats.

And it’s Saturday, so former Liberal MP Michelle Simson (@michellesimson), Catherine Swift from WorkingCanadians.com and Linda Leatherdale (lindaleatherdale.com) join me as they do each Saturday.  Today we’ll hear their thoughts about this week.

and I’ll be opening the phone lines along the way for your reaction and the questions you want answered.

Another military life taken. And why was our parliament open to a gunman?

Condolences to the family and military comrades of the Argyll and Sutherlands reservist from Hamilton whose life was taken by a gunman in Ottawa this morning.  Guarding the national War Memorial would have been an honour for this reservist, as was defending Canada and Canadians from all forms of attack.

Over my years in Hamilton I got to know many members of the city’s military family, particularly as they and we would assemble at the Cenotaph downtown for the Remembrance Day ceremonies and our annual November 11, broadcast.

A question which demands an answer is how could our parliament buildings have been available for at attack inside its halls?  The halls where historic decisions were taken over the years of Canada’s development. After yesterday’s hit-and-run attack which claimed the life of Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent and the raising of the threat level some days ago nationally, wouldn’t it have seemed reasonable to increase, and visibly, security on parliament hill?

We have gone for hours now without any official reaction from the federal government or the national police force, although a combined military/RCMP/Ottawa Mayor briefing is beginning as I write these words.

It is from Canada’s Prime Minister we need to hear and hopefully today.  It will be Stephen Harper’s duty to respond to this assault on the nation’s primary institution of leadership.

The picture (tweeted photograph) of members of the NDP caucus gathered in their meeting room behind chairs piled against the inside of the doors, while gunfire was exchanged outside is alarming. Had the Sgt At Arms of parliament not acted as swiftly as he did with his firearm, how might the outcome have been different?  We do know some MPs have credited the Sgt At Arms with saving their lives quite possibly.

This is a huge nation with a relatively small population and we cannot exclusively react to developing attacks against Canada.  It is incumbent on our political leadership, military and police to proactively deal with whatever threats present themselves to Canada and Canadians.

The Assistant Commissioner was just asked whether the RCMP was taken by surprise.  His answer an incomprehensible “it’s too early to answer that question.”  Really?

Please Mr. Harper.  We need to hear from you.

We mourn the death of Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent

A 28 year veteran of Canada’s military is dead.

Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent.

Warrant Officer Vincent was prepared to lay down his life in service to his country and to his fellow Canadians.

That’s the solemn commitment made by the men and women who wore this nation’s uniform through two World Wars, the Korean Conflict, international peacekeeping missions, as well as humanitarian efforts, following disasters like earthquakes and tsunamis.

They do this often thousands of miles distant from our shores, their homes and loved ones.

Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent would indeed have been prepared to lay down his life in service to his country and his fellow Canadians.  But it never should have been like this.

Patrice Vincent did not deserve to become the victim of a hit-and-run perpetrated by a recent convert to Islam, Martin Couture-Rouleau.

You will hear and read a great deal about Couture-Rouleau in the days ahead.  Learn enough to fuel within you the sole national reaction Couture-Rouleau’s name deserves.

Disgust.

Warrant officer Patrice Vincent would, like his brothers and sisters in uniform, have been a proud man.  Proud to serve.  Proud to be counted on.  Proud to be Canadian. Proud of the ideals, freedoms and values which define Canada and result in a global immigration queue in which hopeful applicants often wait for years.

Couture-Rouleau reportedly also waited.  He waited two hours in a Quebec strip mall before striking.

The questions, of course, are “why wasn’t Couture-Rouleau stopped” and since we almost immediately found out he was on the national terror watch list with numbers of individuals on that list being quite small (less than 100), “how is it Couture-Rouleau was able to commit his crime?”

After all, his passport had been revoked and Couture-Rouleau’s Facebook postings we’re told, had recently particularly become increasingly radical.

In the days, weeks and months ahead many questions will be asked, many answers deconstructed, many demands made.

I hope political parties will resist the temptation to turn the loss of Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent and the injuring of his military colleague into potential gain.

Today, the nation mourns the death of Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent and we thank him and his family for their service to Canada.