It’s been a tough couple of days to be a Canadian. A young, engaged, caring man has died. Gunshots rang out in the centre of our democracy, Parliament Hill. The bubble has finally popped. We now join the club of the US, UK and Spain, who have experienced homegrown terrorism on our own soil. There will be a lot of hand wringing, acrimony and finger-pointing over the next few days. How did this happen? Who is at fault?
The Prime Minister made a stirring speech last night to the nation, (Quoted from the CBC Website)
But let there be no misunderstanding. We will not be intimidated. Canada will never be intimidated. In fact, this will lead us to strengthen our resolve and redouble our efforts and those of our national security agencies to take all necessary steps to identify and counter threats and keep Canada safe here at home, just as it will lead us to strengthen our resolve and redouble our efforts to work with our allies around the world and fight against the terrorist organizations who brutalize those in other countries with the hope of bringing their savagery to our shores. They will have no safe haven.
And that is what worries me. While I agree bowing to this kind of terrorism is bad, fighting may also be bad. While there is still much to be learned about this incident, at best we can say that foreign terrorists encouraged the shooter to attack Canadians and their institutions. Why? Because they want a fight. They want us to be fearful. They want us to be a more closed society. They want us to be a more stratified society. They want us to hate people who are not like us. They want us to engage in racial profiling.
Let me be clear. I do not want to live in that kind of society. I want to live in an open, compassionate society, where people can practice their faith in peace, no matter what the faith. I want to live in a society where I can talk with my local MP and MPP by just walking into their offices. I want to be able to tour Parliament Hill, and go to the Hill on Canada Day. I want to live in a place that does not assume that all men of certain colour or faith are terrorists.
As leaders of our communities, as leaders of countries, we need to have resolve. But more than that, I think it is time for empathy. The West played a part in creating Islamic extremism. It’s time we accepted our role in terrorism, and it’s time we started listening to the communities of moderates both at home and abroad. They see our actions differently than we do, and perhaps it is in this difference in interpretation that we can find a better response than creating a closed security state.