Your thoughts on the shooting on Parliament hill

Our society is based on fundamental legal principles. One of those principles is that a victim can not make justice for itself.

We, MPs in the House of Commons, have been the victim of an attempted murder by what appears increasingly to be an isolated act of someone with psychological distress. We as MPs have the power to change laws. I firmly believe that in the case before us, we must make an extra effort to keep a cool head and have the interests of citizens at the center of our concerns. We must not upset the delicate balance between security and individual rights without a real social debate. We need to reflect on the tragedy that has occurred and avoid the temptation to drift to a paranoid security obsession.

We must not give in to fear. We should not act on the heat of the moment without a thorough reflexion and debate.

Tell me what you think about the events and what should come next:

Showing 260 reactions

  • Improve security around parliament. I can get behind that. Our laws are already very broad in giving powers to law enforcement in dealing with criminals and “terrorists”. We cannot pre-emptively arrest people who we think might cause trouble. People actually have to commit crimes to be arrested in this country. In the end, if a person, for whatever reason, was really determined to kill someone, you will not be able to prevent them from doing it. Tightening the laws will not do anything to address this problem but will most certainly steal more of our civil liberties in the process. The only thing that really reduces the risks of killers is to ensure we have good support for families and people in need such as good child care, education, health care, welfare and some attention on supporting people with mental health or social isolation issues, accessible justice system and a respectful and socially conscious police force.
  • I LOVE living in Canada. I have had the opportunity to travel outside of Canada, and see other ways of life. I don’t want to live in a country that resembles those countries from which the recently publicized violent ideas were grown in. Those that would attack our military members have, by their actions, said that they do not want to live in the Canada that we love. How fitting that those attackers no longer live in this great country!

    Please do not allow our country to become paranoid and aggressive. We need to help the individuals who are psychologically disturbed instead of arming ourselves toward a military state.
  • I agree entirely with your opinion on how the shooting on Parliament Hill should be handled. Journalist Glenn Greenwald wrote “It is always stunning when a country that has brought violence and military force to numerous countries acts shocked … when someone brings a tiny fraction of that violence back to that country.” In 2011 a psychiatrist stated that the young Zehal-(I forgot his other family name) had a drug problem and wanted to go to jail so that he could perhaps beat it. Macdonald Stainsby writes “Bibi Harper’s moment in the sun is already setting.” (I hope so). The Conservatives unconditional support (in effect against the Palestinians) goes against all common sense. The hypocricy (actually the never-ending lies) are really, really difficult to listen to.

    Harper likes fear-mongering When he talks about Canadian democratic values (as opposed to — in his way of thinking — non-civilized countries) I want to scream. I think amongst one thousand and one other instances of, for example, Omar Khadr. (Steven Harper and those around him are not stupid and must know just how blatantly they lie). Incidentally: how come nobody caught the shooter on his way to the Parliament? He didn’t seem to be in a particular rush. Too many different security forces and not enough communication/oversight? There is so much more I could say but will stop. Bon courage, Alexandre!
  • Remove tax credits for religious institutions. Enforce property taxes on religious owned land. Use that money and increase mental health funding and education in poorer and rural areas. I know the christians won’t mind because Jesus said “give unto Caesar what is Caesar”s". Tax corporations accordingly also, use that money to build infrastructure. Instead of being held hostage by corporations make them want our business not us paying them to come into our communities and pollute Canadian air and water.
  • I fully agree with you that this must be held up for a measured debate. We over reacted in 1970 and it did us no good whatsoever. Well, perhaps to make us realize that we must not make snap decisions. So let us not over reacted in this matter either. Very good quote from Marie Curie.
  • Canada has declared war. We must assume that war can happen both ways, and that our sending soldiers and arms overseas does not render us impregnable from the regrettable consequences of it all.
  • I have deep empathy for the families of those who lost their lives, at the same time I don’t see these events as justification to legislate the further erosion of our democratic freedom. It is frequently suggested that those in the military “answer the call” of their country to protect freedom, whether this is true or not is debatable, but if it were (at any level) then it would dishonour the lives, careers and deaths of these individuals to use these incidents as a means to advance political agendas -i.e. the freedoms they allegedly “fought,” served and protected, were stripped away anyway. Innumerable police and fire fighters lose their lives in the performance of their jobs and though it undoubtedly strikes terror in the hearts of those in their immediate community and perhaps further a field, it doesn’t merit nor is the response, direct attacks on democracy dressed up as “anti-terrorist” legislation, this is no different. Tragic loss of life has once again occurred on this occasion the individuals happened to be military, still calls for a measured response. This business of stirring up emotional support for extreme reactionary responses through – the beating of the drums of patriotism and flag waving – might have a partially positive effect in as much as their might be some unification, some pulling together of hearts and minds. However if that only goes so far as to unify “us” in relation to some new nebulous them, no one gains – well except those that stand to profit from another war.

    How is it that on the heals of what might well be further erosion of personal freedoms and the rapid disintegration of all that once was Canada there is more of a stir over a fallen media personality and debate over his freedom of choice. The media never cease to create a drama (real or imagined) to distract the public from more pressing matters – this time they have offered one of their own as a sacrifice. While Canada debates and imagines they are championing his cause, rights and freedoms and/or vilifying his transgressions the fabric of personal rights and freedoms is being unceremoniously (actually come to think of it, in fact, there has been significant ceremony) yanked right out from underneath of Canadians from coast to coast. First the collective is blindfolded with the flag and while busy saluting it – suddenly it is discovered one has become incarcerated by it.
  • I believe this shooting had more to do with mental illness than with terrorism. Government could make us safer by supporting community mental health programs rather than making further inroads into our privacy.
  • First allow me to thank you for taking the time to put this subject out there for discussion Alexandre.Let there be no doubt that there needs to be an increased level of security for all M.P.’s ,staff and others who need to make the Parliament of Canada their place of business on any given day of the year.Having said that I would wholeheartedly agree that we cannot and should not let the actions of one person who obviously has mental stability issues change the way that we conduct ourselves on a daily basis on,in and around Parliament Hill.The actions of this man cannot and should not be allowed to turn the Hill into a FORTRESS OF SECURITY that will forever change the way our(THE PEOPLE) House of Parliament is viewed and making an already SECRETIVE Government that much more SECRETIVE and inaccessible.I there stand with you in support of a full parliamentary debate that would include input from the general public.Thank you again Alexandre.
  • It’s now established the gun slinger was a lone wolf who had certain religious beliefs and was against Canada entering into the war in the middle east. He was a killer, now he is also dead. We will never know exactly why he did what he did. Now we only need to make our Parliament a bit more secure so that our MPs are safe, but we do not need to revise the entire system. We already have laws which deal with people who terrorize. Maybe we should think about our role in the world and become the peacemaking nation we should be. Let’s help the homeless and displaced in the middle east and not get involved in bombing anyone. That only creates hate and then, presto, we are targets!
  • It’s now established the gun slinger was a lone wolf who had certain religious beliefs and was against Canada entering into the war in the middle east. He was a killer, now he is also dead. We will never know exactly why he did what he did. Now we only need to make our Parliament a bit more secure so that our MPs are safe, but we do not need to revise the entire system. We already have laws which deal with people who terrorize. Maybe we should think about our role in the world and become the peacemaking nation we should be. Let’s help the homeless and displaced in the middle east and not get involved in bombing anyone. That only creates hate and then, presto, we are targets!
  • I think this is really a criminal matter.
  • I agree totally. Personally, I think something is rotten. All respect to you Alex, we need more like yourself.

    It is with disbelief that I read some ill informed comments about “gun control”

    With research, evidence based, not emotion based, opinions would undoubtedly change concerning Canada’s excessively punitive and draconian gun laws put in place in 1995 by a government whose intent was to disarm its citizens.

    If and when people do their research and think for themselves, objectively consider and separate fact from fiction, they will learn that the greatest threat to any free people is a government that disarms its citizens (as evidenced by national and international histories and gun control). During the last century in excess of 100 million innocents lost their lives to their respective governments, a loss of life that far exceeded losses resulting from all combined international conflicts.

    As recently published in Ontario, where gun ownership and violent crime rates were compared, in areas where guns were owned in 1 out of 2 homes, crime was much much lower than in areas like Toronto where guns were only owned by 1 out of every 50 homes. Toronto has the highest violent crime rate in Ontario.

    It is important to note that gun ownership has many purposes; the two cited are protection from government so a free people remains free and the ability to protect oneself, one’s family and one’s property, from potential villains.

    Myth #1: The Gun Registry is a valuable tool for the police and they access it 9,500 times per day. The “9,500 hits” figure for the Canadian Firearms Registry On-Line (CFRO) is misleading per the Public Security Ministry’s website of May 17 2006 (Ques 18). Whenever police officers access the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) for any reason, such as for a simple address check, an automatic hit is generated with CFRO whether the information is desired or not. This is the case, for example, with the Toronto Police Service (5,000 officers), the Vancouver Police (1,400 officers), Ottawa Police Service (1,050 officers) and the BC RCMP (5,000 officers). Additionally, every legal purchase of a firearm generates three administrative hits to the registry; for the buyer, for the seller and for the firearm. These changes to the computer records are conducted by police agencies and are counted in the totals. Given the seven million firearms registered in the system, legal transfers must account for the majority of “hits”. Clearly, a hit on the Registry does not denote legitimate investigative use.

    Myth #2: The registry provides police officers information on the presence of firearms when they respond to emergency calls.Maybe. The Firearms Registry only provides a list of the legal guns, the very guns an officer is least likely to be harmed by. The truth is, very few legally owned guns are used in the commission of crimes. The latest report shows some 7% of firearm homicides were committed with registered firearms in the last 8 years. The elimination of the registry will only eliminate the useless lists of lawful guns. The fact an individual has a firearms licence will still be known to the police. They will know whether a legal firearm is at a particular location by virtue of the fact that an individual has a licence. The abolition of the long-gun registry doesn’t affect that. Even so, it is the illegal firearms that police are usually the most concerned about (93% in the last 8 years). No police officer would rely on the inaccurate registry data to dictate how they approach a domestic or emergency call. They would approach all calls with an appropriate measure of safety.

    Myth #3: Firearms related deaths have been reduced due to the long gun registry.Reduction in firearms deaths started in the mid 1970’s, well prior to the introduction of the registry in 2003 (StatsCan)and mirrors a proportionally greater reduction experienced in the United States, where firearms laws are being loosened. There is no evidence to link the reduction in deaths with the registry and it has far more to do with the aging demographic that anything else.

    Myth #4: Police investigations are aided by the registry.Information contained in the registry is incomplete and unreliable. Due to the inaccuracy of the information, it cannot be used as evidence in court and the government has yet to prove that it has been a contributing factor in any investigation. Another factor is the dismal compliance rate (estimated at only 50%) for licensing and registration which further renders the registry useless. Some senior police officers have stated as such: “The law registering firearms has neither deterred these crimes nor helped us solve any of them. None of the guns we know to have been used were registered . . . the money could be more effectively used for security against terrorism as well as a host of other public safety initiatives.” Former Toronto Police Chief Julian Fantino, January 2003.

    Myth #5: The registry protects women in violent domestic situations.Registered long guns were used in (all) homicide only twice in 2003 (Public Security Ministry website), and a total of 9 times from 1997-2004 (Library of Parliament). The registry of 7,000,000 firearms did not prevent these deaths. Given the extraordinarily low rate of misuse of some 7,000,000 registered firearms, it is unreasonable to believe that maintaining a registry of long guns could have any effect on spousal homicide rates. Moreover, the vast majority of violent domestic assaults are preceded by a lengthy, police recorded history, effectively denying abusers a firearms license. This should address their access to legally acquired guns.

    On an average day, women’s shelters referred 221 women and 112 children elsewhere due to lack of funding. Clearly, there are better uses for the money than registering duck guns.

    Myth #6: The registry helps track stolen guns and forces firearms owners to be more responsible in storing their firearms. Over 50% of firearms used in crime are stolen from gun owners

    Past Department of Justice studies found that among homicides where details were available, 84% of the firearms used in the commission of the crimes are unregistered and 74.9% are illegal guns smuggled into Canada, not the 50% some claim. Recently, Canada’s National Weapons Enforcement Support Team reported that 94% of crime guns were illegally imported into Canada. Vancouver Police report 97% of seized firearms are smuggled. Other government sources show between 9 and 16% of crime firearms originate in Canada. That figure is speculative as the vast majority of firearms used in crime are never recovered and most recovered guns cannot be identified as the serial numbers are removed.

    Myth #7: The information on the registry database is secure and cannot be accessed by the criminal element.There were 306 illegal breaches of the national police database documented between 1995 and 2003, 121 of which are still unsolved. Many police investigators have publicly voiced their concerns that the gun registry has been breached and become a “shopping list” for thieves.

    Myth #8: The money has already been spent to set up the registry. It is foolish to dismantle it now.The gun registry is by no means complete. Only 7 million of the 16.5 million guns that are in Canada (according to government import and export records) are registered. More than 300,000 owners of previously registered handguns still don’t have a firearms licence, more than 400,000 firearm licence holders still haven’t registered a gun and more than 300,000 owners of a registered handgun still have to re-register 548,254 handguns ( Canadian Firearms Registry). Based upon precedent, it will cost another billion dollars to complete the registry.

    Myth #9: Rifles and shotguns are the weapon of choice for criminals and are the most used firearms in crime.Where firearms were used in a violent crime, 71.2% involved handguns (but it is estimated that over 1/3 involve replicas or air guns), only 9% involved rifles or shotguns (of which 2.1% were registered) and 6.5% involved sawed off rifles or shotguns (already prohibited).

    Myth #10: The tragic deaths of four RCMP officers in Mayerthorpe, by the hand of a criminal with a rifle proves the need for the long gun registry.The registry’s monumental failure to prevent the tragic deaths of these police officers underscores the folly of registering the firearms of the law abiding. The criminal who committed these crimes was in illegal possession of firearm, despite the presence of the registry. These events prove, beyond a shadow of a doubt, the ineffective uselessness of the long gun registry in protecting our society.
  • I agree with the statement above, and am alarmed that Stephen Harper is taking advantage of the event to shove the bill down our throats while Canadians are in the throngs of sorrow for the young soldier. The gunman was quite evidently disturbed, even if he was influenced by Al Qaeda (it doesn’t appear he had contact with anyone in that group), if indeed he was – and there doesn’t appear to be any evidence. We need rational, mindful debate going forward. It doesn’t help to call this a terrorist, ISIS-influenced act, as Harper did. It was a reactionary statement. But Harper knew very well was he was doing.
  • The Canadian Government should stop wasting taxpayer money by supporting wars in other countries, military missions in Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan , etc., cost hundreds of millions of Canadian taxpayers money, as a result, the government has to cut at home Health Care, Education,etc. Canada becomes less safe for it citizens and its armed forces. In the past Canada was known around the world as a peaceful country. But now Canada is known as a warring country, around the world. To all the warring politicians you take your guns and go fight, but do not send/put up front other people’s children’s, fathers, husbands to killed.
  • I own firearms, and I support and encourage the current regulations in place in Canada. Strict background checks, strict rules regarding capacity of ammunition, and strict rules regarding handguns protect us all. There should be no weakening of the current rules. They work! Can you imagine what would have happened if the Ottawa shooting would have happened in Texas? There would have been a massacre as “open carry” gun nuts would have shot innocent bystanders.

    There is no need to panic, and I support the direction taken by the NDP.
  • SOBER SECOND THOUGHT must prevail after the tragedies of this past week. It was not the Canadian populace that was targeted with these violent events but the Harper government and the military. I hope that politicians can cut through the emotional hype and realize the connection between these acts of violence and our misguided foreign policy the fear-mongering against Muslims perpetrated by our federal government. If we support actions of war overseas in lockstep with our American “allies” we will never distinguish ourselves as promoters of peace in a world of hate.
  • I see that the authorities are calling the act a terrorist act because the killer was Muslim and attributed his deeds to his ideology. I think of terrorism as something that was part of an orchestrated act with others involved, as part of a program. Since this is not the case, I still think this was the act of someone deeply unhappy with life – could he have suffered death in his family overseas and felt helpless and hopeless.

    I do share the grief of Canadians in the deaths that took place this week. I think we as Canadians have to understand that people like us in the countries WE are at war with are experiencing this violence everyday. We provided 1Billion bullets in Afghanistan – 33 for every Afghani living in that country. Lest We Forget.
  • 1) Repeal Liberal Firearms Act C-68, it is bad rule of law.

    2) Allow Canadians to defend themselves, their families and their properties with a firearm, if and when needed, to do otherwise is bad rule of law.

    3) As high ranking politicians have/can have armed security, and those in positions of authority can carry a handgun, so too do Canadian citizens have a natural right to protect themselves and they should have the exact same rights as those of means or stature inclusive of the PM. To deny is bad rule of law.

    4) As evidenced in Ottawa, police typically arrive after the fact, and until they arrive, the citizen must be able to defend themselves, their family and their property. It is the citizen’s responsibility to be vigilant is his/her own self defence – police can not be everywhere at all times. To deny the right to self defense, is bad rule of law.

    5) As evidenced in Ottawa, firearms can also and do save lives.

    6) We are seeing and have seen too many knee jerk reactions, leading to the removal of freedoms and liberties in the citizenry by elected politicians. Terrorism in Canada poses no “real” risk, the risk to citizens is a government and a system that imposes draconian measures inclusive of spying, on its citizens and propaganda to influence the population. To not limit government intrusions, or to permit more government interference, is bad rule of law.

    7) Concerning ISIS, they pose no real threat to Canada. Fear at home and abroad is being intentionally created by government, for some other hidden agenda, most likely money and corporate profit. In the past 35 years, the US (NATO) and its allies (Canada) have interfered in the affairs of 14 Middle Eastern Nations, in one form or another, inclusive of varying degrees of invasion, Canada has played a role in these terrorist Acts abroad. To become involved in future terrorist attacks against other nations, using the guise of terrorism as an excuse, is bad rule of law.

    8) The thinking Canadian, should ask, who is the real terrorist at home and abroad?

    9) For many years the US and NATO, to appease large corporate friends, have used war as the means to take what belongs to others and to assist corporate entities. Invading Iran and Syria as been on the agenda for many years. Will ISIS now be the tool used to invade? Keep our soldiers at home.

    10) Civil liberties, freedoms and rights must always be maintained in Canada as being the priority of any and all governments. History would suggest that to not put civil liberties and protections from government, is to put the freedom and safety of all citizens at risk, and is thus, bad rule of law.
  • From listening to people from positions at various universities, are saying that all the present laws, including those that are seldom used, are sufficient to deal with this situation. The trouble with the conservatives their reaction to situations like this is to jail more people and generate draconian laws in hoping to fix the problem.
  • Let’s not rush into this because of a couple of troubled individuals. Terrorists win when they change how we want to live. Let’s ensure we balance security with our rights and freedoms.
  • Yes, let emotions cool and allow time for facts to be collected and a background to be constructed. Even if the Montreal and Ottawa incidents prove to be ideologically motivated, they are hardly classic examples of ‘terrorism’ whose objective is to induce real terror in the populace. I believe it is a misuse of the word terrorism to label them as such.
  • This should never have happened. We have good laws but they are not enforced. Never mind new laws they will only be but in a book and forgotten. Next we need to stop listening to the bleeding hearts. Anyone that wants to run off and fight our enemy let them but take their rights and Canadian passport from them. Take them to the country there so mad to fight for and dump them. We have lost to many young people fighting for freedom we don’t need what happened to happen again. If it does then the government should be kicked out. Never again , Never again
  • One of the things that defines a free society is rights of its citizens. Any expansion of police powers or infringement on rights is anti democratic and anti free society. In effect, if you lessen the rights of citizens it means that the terrorists have won. We can’t let that happen.
  • More funding for mental health, social agencies, housing and poverty. Everything Stephen Harper is not about.
  • I have to agree that everything should be look at throughly . I understand the concern as this whole situation in Ottawa and Quebec was so sudden or aleast to the comman folk. They did raise the threat level so something was known. In Quebec the authorities actually knew the back ground. So yes debate and be concious of everyone’s rights.

    The scary thing is that what is to say that a “normal” citizen that has been overwhelmed by the econmic state that has exsited for a long time doesn’t do the same as there has not been any relief to the true working family in years . Just saying not all issues are international .
  • Distressing as these events are, I agree with Alexandre that hasty, emotional responses will never bring good results.

Related Links

Resource Links