(A terrorist attack occurred on October 22, 2014, in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, when Michael Zehaf-Bibeau fatally shot Corporal Nathan Cirillo, a Canadian soldier on ceremonial guard duty at the Canadian National War Memorial. He then launched an attack in the nearby Centre Block parliament building, where members of the Parliament of Canada were attending caucuses. Zehaf-Bibeau was killed inside the block in a gunfight with parliament security personnel. Following the shootings, the downtown core of Ottawa was placed on lockdown while police searched for any potential additional threats.)
Addressing the media after the attacks Honorable RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson said,
“This is an unsettling event for all of us. Though we are calling on everyone to remain vigilant, I want to stress that you are safe. Your families are safe.
It is disheartening and frightening to anyone — police included — when a senseless act of violence takes place in Canada.
I would like to acknowledge the response of RCMP members, Parliamentary security and Ottawa Police officers, who rushed into a dangerous and volatile situation. We had a total of 400 resources deployed to Parliament Hill yesterday. This included investigators, intelligence, emergency response teams, technical support, crisis negotiators, incident commanders, tactical troops and more.
I realize there will be many questions regarding the RCMP’s role in protecting the Parliamentary precinct.
I can tell you, it is certainly a challenging security environment.
We must balance the need to be responsive to potential threats and risks to our Parliamentarians, their staff and the general public, with the freedom to allow for secure and democratic access in and around our institutions of government.
I want to close by thanking the public who respected and tolerated the security perimeters established in downtown Ottawa yesterday, along with the many other citizens who patiently waited in lock-down until the scene was secure.
There was a large volume of people at the scene of the incident and it took time to process them and ensure their safety.
Your co-operation was invaluable to officers who were trying to get a difficult job done under very stressful circumstances.
I also want to acknowledge the media who took time to sift through facts in order to provide timely and accurate information to the public.
We understand that when such terrible incidents happen, there is an appetite to know as much as possible — as soon as possible.
Trust that we want to provide you this information, but we also must respect protocol regarding notification of kin, along with protecting the integrity of the investigation of an incident that was still ongoing at the time.
Our investigation continues and is complex in scope. We will be increasing our uniformed presence for the immediate future by adding an additional rapid response capability.
Be assured we have the right people working to accomplish the large task at hand.
We ask for the public’s continued patience as we continue to investigate this matter.
These tragic events underscore how we all must take active measures to ensure we protect the safety and security of all Canadians.
Look out for each other. Remain vigilant, but know that Canada remains strong and free.
(Here are some photographs of our first responders and our protectors on the fateful day. These are the moments we must honor and salute our protectors and not sell them short. In these critical times we must extend our full cooperation and support to our brave heroes who keep Canada safe and free for us to live and enjoy a safe and beautiful life.)
(My prayer for our RCMP heroes)
“If the divine powers take note of the dutiful in any way,
If there is any justice anywhere,
and a mind recognizing in itself what is right,
May the gods bring you your earned rewards”.
(Virgil, The Aeneid, Book 1, 1.603)
© Samina Iqbal. 2014