The killing of a ceremonial honour guard at the National War Memorial on Wednesday and the running down of two Canadian soldiers in Quebec earlier in the week have left some Canadians wondering what the future holds. Here is a selection of excerpts from editorials dealing with the incidents and the road ahead:
Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014, was the day Canada's innocence died. That was the day when the enduring complacent belief that "these things don't happen in Canada," was shattered forever … It can happen here, it has happened, and Canada will never be the same again. We won't be cowed - but we won't be innocent again, either … Wednesday's incident brings home in a tragic and dramatic way the rightness of Prime Minister Stephen Harper's decision to join the coalition, and the utter folly of the positions of both Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau and NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair, who advocated for a focus on humanitarian aid. Humanitarian aid would do nothing to stop the maniacal ideologues whose murderous hatred for everything western and whose fanatic dream of establishing a caliphate means Canada would have been targeted anyway. Indeed, ISIS fighters have chopped off the heads of two western humanitarian aid workers, as well as journalists.
Victoria Times Colonist:
The fight against terrorism is no longer something that happens "over there." The shootings on Parliament Hill Wednesday, following attacks on two soldiers in Quebec on Monday, bring home the reality that the battleground is wherever terrorists are, including here in Canada.... It is too early to say if the two violent incidents are directly linked — but there is no question that in both cases, the attacks were directed at members of the military, and the military represents all of us. Both attacks are an assault on Canada. Our country is known as a peaceful place, but we cannot take that peace for granted. ...The front door of Parliament is often left unlocked. It is symbolic of the peace and security we have hitherto enjoyed. But crime has come to the neighbourhood - and we have to lock our doors to ensure the safety of everyone.
Winnipeg Free Press:
The incident was not Canada’s Pearl Harbor, America’s Day of Infamy. Nor was it 9/11, the well-planned assault by al-Qaida that killed some 3,000 people. Its significance should not be elevated beyond what can be supported by all the facts, which are yet to be determined. Still, the slaying of a young soldier at Canada’s National War Memorial and the assault on Canada’s seat of democracy has shocked the nation. The country feels a little closer today, our differences somehow diminished. Prouder, too, after learning of the heroism of people such as Kevin Vickers, the House sergeant-at-arms who reportedly killed the gunman.
In the coming days, there will likely be calls for extraordinary measures to protect Canadians in Canada, given that the Islamic State pledges attacks on nations that commit to fight against the IS... But in our shock and sorrow, we must guard against extreme responses to these attacks. We must ensure we maintain balance between safety and freedom, between reasonable response and emotional overreaction, in our reaction to the tragic loss of life.
Stephen Maher, Regina Leader Post:
If we give in to our fears, we will be engaged in an impossible quest for perfect security, and our streets will be lined with police. We will spend half our lives going through metal detectors, give up our civil liberties, and we won’t be any safer. Or we can meditate on the courage of our ancestors, mourn the loss of Vincent and Cirillo, get those sentries back in front of the memorial, and take every opportunity to thank Canadian Forces members for having the courage to wear their uniforms in the street.
Halifax Chronicle Herald:
Suddenly, Canadians have a bitter taste of what war is. Parliament terrorized by a gunman who kills an honour guard at the National War Memorial and is shot dead in the Centre Block by sergeant-at-arms Kevin Vickers. Two soldiers run down in a Quebec parking lot. … Wednesday's attack was clearly aimed to deliver not only the shock of bloodshed, but of striking at symbols of Canada and its government. How those on scene responded … spoke well of Canadian values and resilience. Likewise, Canadian society and government will carry on, not cowed by acts of violence. But we do need to carry on with a far more deliberate effort to defend ourselves at home. -- Halifax Chronicle Herald.
Montreal La Presse:
Police forces had their eye on Martin Couture-Rouleau and Michael Zehaf Bibeau. They had seized their passports and tried to help them and dissuade them from acting out their thoughts…. If we must certainly learn from this week's dramatic events, this typically balanced Canadian approach must not be abandoned in favour of excessive repression. Because that is where the soul of our nation lies: in the constant search for peace through freedom.