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.