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.


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.


Much on the Ebola virus front covered on this weekend’s programs

Today I’ll be speaking with Dr. Carl Weiss, head of infectious diseases at Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital in Montreal about Canadian hospital preparedness for any Ebola infected patient appearing at one of our hospitals seeking care.
What has Dallas taught us?
Dr. Weiss and Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital treated the second patient in Canada with potential Ebola virus infection symptoms.  That happened in August.

We’ll also be joined by Deborah Burger later in the hour, president of National Nurses United in the U.S.  NNU took the lead in speaking for the nurses at Texas Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, who treated Thomas Eric Duncan who would die of Ebola infection at the hospital.  The nurses were not, from what we’ve been informed, properly and safely protected from the Ebola virus by the gear they were wearing.  What’s unconscionable is that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) initially seemed intent on pointing the finger of blame at the nurses for breaking the CDC protection against Ebola protocol.
Today the CDC is expected to issue new protocols. I’ll be asking you if you personally feel some sense of concern/fear about Ebola entering Canada.

There’s much more today.  Neal Collins, South African broadcaster joins us from Pretoria on the Oscar Pistorius sentencing.  The process continues and the judge’s decision is expected Tuesday, but what happens before Tuesday and what is available to the prosecution and/or defence post-Tuesday.  I think Pistorius is going to, for all intent and purpose, get away with killing his then girlfriend.  It just seems headed in that direction.  He may get house-arrest, but I’ll be surprised if Pistorius winds up in prison.

The stock markets have had almost everyone wobbly and many withdrawing from the market over the past days as the indices hurled themselves up and down like a mad roller coaster. Tom Caldwell is the Chairman of Caldwell Securities.  Mr. Caldwell will be on the show today to explain.

and it’s Beauties and the Beast time with Catherine Swift, Michelle Simson and today a cameo appearance by Linda Leatherdale.  If you love rock music with a Canadian angle you’ll want to hear where Linda is and what’s going on.  Catherine will take on global issues which reach right into your wallet and bank account .. and the question of trust.  Michelle doesn’t have a lot of that in what governments are offering by way of Ebola protection assurances.

Working on the story of the Russian ship which was floundering off the B.C. coast carrying huge amounts of oil and diesel.  An environmental disaster in waiting.  I’m waiting to hear back about various guests joining us.