Democracy Soup

Making sense out of the world of politics

Reflections on the Ottawa shooting

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This column courtesy of runs here with complete permission.

“We are also reminded that attacks on our security personnel and our institutions of governance are by their very nature attacks on our country, on our values, on our society, on us Canadians as a free and democratic people who embrace human dignity for all. But let there be no misunderstanding. We will not be intimidated. Canada will never be intimidated.” — Prime Minister Stephen Harper

A second Canadian soldier killed on domestic soil in the same week. First at Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu and then yesterday at the National War Memorial.

Patrice Vincent was killed in a hit-and-run incident on Monday just outside Montréal. Nathan Cirillo was shot and killed while guarding the National War Memorial Wednesday morning.

Another soldier was injured on Monday. 3 others were injured on Wednesday.

House of Commons Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers reportedly shot the assailant inside the Hall of Honour, the main entrance to the Centre Block beneath the Peace Tower.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper addressed Canada in a national address; the above passage came from that speech.

In the coming days, we will hear a lot about motive for both attacks. Right now, this is about mourning the loss of 2 Canadian soldiers and being strong for the family and friends of those killed and injured this week. #ottawastrong #canadastrong

I will be in Canada near but not actually on Remembrance Day this year. Given what has happened to Canadian soldiers inside Canada and the threat they will receive overseas, this will be a significant Remembrance Day.

The outpouring of support for Canada came in political circles, sports fans, and the general public.

U.S. TV coverage

Wednesday was a difficult day for me to monitor U.S. television accounts of the shooting. 3 RCMP officers were shot in Moncton earlier this year, and didn’t get that much publicity in the States. The first Canadian soldier killed this week didn’t get much attention.

There was video of gunfire inside the Parliament Building, thanks to Globe and Mail reporter Josh Wingrove. Being in the nation’s capital might have increased the coverage, even if many Americans weren’t quite sure where Ottawa is in Canada.

The “Rachel Maddow Show” was a great source of coverage. Regular readers might remember that Maddow’s mother is from Newfoundland, and Maddow eagerly reports on news from Canada on a regular basis.

TV Newser via Media Bistro had a great side-by-side comparison between CBC and CNN on the Web in covering the Ottawa shooting.

At work, I turned to the CBC News Network online. Watching Peter Mansbridge in his calming tone reminds those in the States of what we miss from quality TV news. CBC made sure the family knew of the death of the soldier before reporting his name.

Malala Yousafzai

Malala Yousafzai was to receive honorary Canadian citizenship in a ceremony in Toronto on Wednesday. Prime Minister Stephen Harper was supposed to be in Toronto for the ceremony.

The event was cancelled.

Security would be heightened anyway for the 17-year-old Nobel Peace Prize winner from Pakistan. When the ceremony is rescheduled, we will let you know.

Ottawa as tourist destination

The Moncton shooting happened in a part of the city that I did not visit during my trip in 2013. The National War Memorial and the Centre Block of Parliament Hill: I recognized those areas right away.

The video from the Globe and Mail was down a corridor I traveled in August this year as well as 2009. The Rideau Centre, the Westin, places on the map we kept seeing on television and online: these are places I have been all too recently.

We greatly hope that the words from the prime minister prove correct. We hope that tourists can have similar access to Parliament Hill, the National War Memorial, the government buildings, and the surrounding area.

You go through a metal detector to enter the Supreme Court building and the Parliament building. The shooter somehow got into Parliament with a long gun. Let’s address that issue before we go overboard.


Sports isn’t the important issue, but sports is still worth noting.

The Toronto Maple Leafs team was locked down at the Westin near the Rideau Centre across from the National War Memorial. The Ottawa Senators were at the Canadian Tire Centre out in the suburbs of Kanata, far away from the horror in and around Parliament Hill.

The NHL made the smart move in cancelling the game. We might know really soon when the game will be rescheduled.

“O Canada” was played in Pittsburgh before the U.S. national game on NBCSN with the Philadelphia Flyers. To whomever came up with and implemented the idea for this gesture, Canadians — real and wannabes — truly appreciate what was done.

Rogers Sportsnet One carried the U.S. feed since Toronto-Ottawa was postponed.

Moments of silence also happened at the NHL games, including in Edmonton, the only Canadian team that played on Wednesday.

Those might remember the Senators were involved in a similar issue with the Boston Marathon bombing on April 15, 2013. The game with the Bruins had to be postponed.

Ottawa hosts New Jersey on Saturday but that should be fine. City TV and the NHL Network will have the Senators Sunday night in Chicago (blacked out for me). Moments such as these were made for Ron MacLean; let’s see how Rogers handles this over the weekend.

Though the game isn’t until tomorrow, the Ottawa RedBlacks play at home Friday night against the Montréal Alouettes.

That game shouldn’t be a concern: the stadium is south of the downtown area along the Rideau Canal. If you are going to the game Friday night, get there early. Really early.

If there is a concern with the CFL game Friday night, we will update the CFL preview and give reports on our Twitter feed.

video credit: NHL/NBCSN; Globe and Mail


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