Over the past week our sense of security as Canadians has been tested.
Not only has it been tested, but it has forever altered how we see ourselves as "peacekeeping" Canadians.
No longer can we see say that terrorism is something that happens "over there": in Syria, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Kenya, the United Kingdom, the United States. We are now a part of that unfortunate list.
Barack Obama, David Cameron, and other world leaders came out and admonished the terrorism on Canadian soil. As of Wednesday October 22, 2014, they stood behind us in our fight against terrorism on home soil. The same way that we stood behind them on 9/11 and 7/7.
Our Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, came out unequivocally stating that we will not crumple in the face of terrorism and those "radicalized" Jihadists intent on destroying our way of life.
But the terrorist did destroy our way of life.
On October 22, the Canadian and international media broadcast that the radicalized Jihadist Islamist terrorist threat is here. After over 13 years when "terrorism" and "jihad" and "Islamist" became dinner table and water cooler terms in North American households, they have now reared their ugly heads in the Great White North.
But it's now a week later. Since we've all had a chance to digest what happened and "terrorism" is no longer a headline, we must sit and contemplate our perceptions of "terrorism" before we let the media and our politicians demonize a religion and our fellow Canadian brothers and sisters.
Murder is murder.
Terrorism is terrorism.
I argue that one facet of terrorism is the deliberate targeting of an institution to strike fear in an entire population.
9/11 struck in the heart of American capitalism in one of the most recognizable cities in the world.
Michael Zehaf-Bibeau not only murdered Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, but a Canadian soldier. On the steps of the National War Memorial. In our nation's capital. Then tried to inflict more damage in our most revered institution that represents our democratic and political values of freedom and liberty.
Yes, he was a terrorist.
But lost in all of this is this week's sentencing of Justin Bourque. The man who stalked five Canadian Mounties in Moncton, New Brunswick, murdering three officers and wounding two others. Not only that, he terrorized a city and left residents fearing for their lives.
After he was apprehended by police, he spoke calmly of his "Catholic upbringing."
Did Harper, Obama, Cameron, ever label him a terrorist? No.
Did CNN and CBC run headlines with "Islamist," "Jihadist," or "radicalized" to describe Bourque's murderous rampage? No.
"He targeted them not because of any animosity to them specifically, not for lust or greed or any of the normal things you might see in a murder sentencing. He targeted them specifically because of who they were, what they did, the badge they carried, the flash on their shoulders, the uniform they wore."
You would think this was someone describing a terrorist. But no, it was the prosecution in Bourque's sentencing.
Zehaf-Bibeau was driven by "political and ideological motives" in the murder of Cpl. Cirillo. Even before the day was out, our Prime Minister came out and labelled him a terrorist, without truly knowing who he was and why he did what he did.
Knowing that Bourque intentionally targeted five Mounties, murdering three in cold blood in June, how come he wasn't (and still hasn't been) vilified as a terrorist? When you target Mounties -- who are a symbol of Canadiana, a symbol of Canadian history and heritage and identity -- you are challenging my freedoms. You are challenging the freedom and identity of all Canadians. When the people who are sworn to protect Canadians- - on Canadian soil -- are viciously hunted and killed, that is terrorism. That is striking fear on our homeland. That is the type of act that should mobilize all political parties to join hands in solidarity and take immediate action.
Where have we come as Canadians that we qualify the magnitude of a crime by the perceived religious faith and nationality of the perpetrator?
Why isn't there more focus on how these people get guns, before we try to focus on killing the "real" threat abroad by dropping bombs on cities that most Canadians have never heard about?
It's here already. It's always been here. And it's here to stay.
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