More Ottawa Shooting Commentary

Further to yesterday’s round-up of the recent shootings, more of the better commentary or more interesting commentary that has crossed my eye.

Wesley Wark: Reducing the risk of terrorism provides a sober assessment of the ongoing risks and the need neither to over or under act, but learn the lessons from any failures and gaps in security.

In the theme of let’s not get carried away, André Pratte in La réponse and Stephen Maher Time to reflect on the courage of our ancestors remind us to have balance and perspective. Doug Saunders notes how the public space around parliaments the world over has been whittled down by successive security threats in Don’t let the seat of government become a fortress.

On the other side, Journal de Montréal’s Richard Martineau is characteristically alarmist in Terrorisme: appelons les choses par leur nom.

More on the common elements to the two most recent cases of radicalization, Martin Couture-Rouleau  and Michael Zehaf-Bibeau:

Martin Couture-Rouleau et Michael Zehaf-Bibeau partagent plusieurs points en commun : ils étaient jeunes (25 ans et 32 ans), ils s’étaient récemment convertis à l’islam radical, la GRC avait confisqué leur passeport par crainte qu’ils rejoignent le groupe État islamique, et ils auraient agi tels des « loups solitaires ».

Pour les autorités policières, c’est le cauchemar. Les deux jeunes ont agi de leur propre chef, sans même avoir été initiés au combat par des groupes extrémistes à l’étranger. Ils sont difficiles à repérer et à neutraliser.

Un loup solitaire aux motivations inconnues

And further details about the troubled life of the shooter, Zehaf-Bibeau in the Globe in Drugs and religion key themes in Ottawa shooter’s troubled life and in the Post in Details of Zehaf-Bibeau’s life paint picture of a man derailed by homelessness, crime and addiction, detailing his drug addiction, quarrelsome personality and his failed efforts to use his faith to control both.

Canadian Muslims are quick to respond and express outrage in Canadian Muslims denounce recent attacks, fear backlash.

Matt Gurney challenges the military’s decision in Canadian soldiers don’t hide in their own damn country — rescind the order to not wear uniforms in public.

Barbara Kay covers a different angle in The unique anguish of a terrorist’s mother:

If it is inevitable, why feel guilty about these “bad seeds”? And yet, inevitably, parents do. Our sympathetic embrace for the real victims should therefore be wide enough to include their murderers’ collateral damage.

A great deal of favourable commentary on Parliament yesterday, how each leader struck the right tone, the hugs of support, and the deserved standing ovation for Sergeant-at-Arms Vickers starting with Jeffrey Simpson in Tribute, solidarity and back to politics (with some barbs at the difference between Government rhetoric and funding).

Jonathan Kay noted the contrast between this time and 30 years ago, when the then Sergeant-at-Arms was able to talk armed Denis Lortie into surrendering in Two Sergeants-at-Arms, two kinds of heroism.

Rick Salutin, similarly praises Kevin Vickers, but provocatively, and accurately, rubbishes the idea of Canadian innocence in We didn’t lose our innocence. We never had it.

Andrew Coyne, perceptively noted the nuances in the various positions and how that hopefully portended more serious political dialogue and debate in Politics weren’t put aside during the Ottawa hug-out, they were just made over for the occasion:

For Mr. Harper, it was “to identify and counter threats and keep Canada safe here at home,” as well as “to work with our allies” in the fight against “the terrorist organizations” abroad who hope “to bring their savagery to our shores.” For Mr. Mulcair, it was “our commitment to each other and to a peaceful world.” For Mr. Trudeau, it was “staying true to our values” of “fairness, justice and the rule of law.”

“We will not be intimidated,” Mr. Harper vowed. “That is not going to happen,” Mr. Mulcair seconded. “We will not be intimidated into changing that,” Mr. Trudeau agreed. But they meant very different things.

And the still and video images of the citizens of Ottawa paying their tribute to fallen soldier Nathan Cirillo (as well as the accounts of those who tried to save him in ‘You’re breathing — keep breathing’), as well as to democratic values, were moving.


Separatism was dealt a blow, but don’t think it was knocked out – The Globe and Mail

Good thoughtful commentary and advice by André Pratte of La Presse (but in the Globe):

That’s where the duty of the rest of Canada, the federal government and Quebec federalists begins. First and foremost, we should resist the temptation to put up the “Mission Accomplished” banner. Second, we have to get French-speaking Quebeckers more involved in national institutions, beginning with the Government of Canada. It is not good for either the province or the country that Quebec is so weakly represented in the federal cabinet as it has been in recent times. And finally, we need to constantly and intelligently promote federalism, so that Quebeckers not only reject independence but embrace the Canadian work-in-progress.

Separatism may not be a threat in the near future. But beware of the sleeping dragon. And in the meantime, we should be careful about the mutual indifference that has come to characterize the relationship between Quebec and the Rest of Canada. That indifference could surreptitiously lead to a de facto separation.

Separatism was dealt a blow, but don’t think it was knocked out – The Globe and Mail.

Don Macpherson of the Gazette reminds us of the risks of raising expectations and constitutional negotiations (Don Macpherson: Only federalists can awaken the sovereignty movement). ButDaniel Weinstock wants to reopen constitutional discussions, as they end up being more polarizing:

If on the other hand, political leaders in the ROC interpret this election (and perhaps also the last federal election, that saw the Quebec electorate reject the Bloc Québécois en masse for a federalist party) as giving rise to an historical opportunity, a main tendue inviting them to complete Canada’s coming to full self-consciousness as a multinational federation united by the political will to affirm the individual rights of all Canadians and the legitimate aspirations to self-determinations of all of its constituent polities (Quebec, to be sure, but also the First Nations with whom we share our land), then, perhaps, the right answer to the question with which I began this post is that the 2014 election will come to be seen as the moment at which the sovereignist movement died.

Now, I concede that there is not much political hay to be made for any party at this historical juncture in Canada in adopting, and in acting on, the latter interpretation. Some political leaders in the ROC are just as depressingly prone as are some of the political leaders in Quebec to give a great deal of weight in their political decision-making to the short-term electoral costs of standing up for minority rights. The mark of the true statesperson is however to look beyond the next election, (I think Kant said that) even if in doing so he or she is looked upon askance by voters.

The Ball is in ROC’s Court | In Due Course.

Conrad Black is equally wanting to stir things up:

Quebec is ready to deal

Quebec Election Editorial Endorsements

Starting with a somewhat tortured editorial by Le Devoir favouring the PQ:

Cette campagne fut difficile pour la première ministre Marois, qui a commis des erreurs dont elle devra tirer des leçons. La réaction des électeurs sur l’enjeu référendaire ne peut être ignorée, tout comme sur la charte sur la laïcité. Sur ce plan, elle a payé pour sa décision de défendre de façon absolutiste ce projet sans écouter ce que pensaient les Québécois, y compris les membres de son parti.

Il est bien possible, si le Parti québécois est réélu, qu’il soit à nouveau minoritaire. La première ministre devra accepter cette situation et gouverner avec les autres partis en recherchant les consensus. Il y a des erreurs à ne pas répéter. Elle nous a dit en campagne que si elle était déterminée, elle savait par ailleurs écouter. Prenons cela comme un engagement.

Le choix du Devoir

André Pratte’s editorial in La Presse favour of the Parti liberal de Québec, citing three reasons: pour un Québec prospère, pour un Québec stable and pour un Québec accueillant

Trois raisons de voter libéral : économie – référendum – Charte | André Pratte.

The Montreal Gazette predictably endorses the Liberals:

A PQ government would continue to play the politics of division that it has pushed while in office, and in this campaign, by proceeding with its discriminatory values charter and repressive language legislation. And, if granted a majority, it would surely try to pick fights with Ottawa to manufacture “winning conditions” for another referendum. All this would be to the further detriment of a sagging provincial economy and fragile social fabric.

That reviving this economy would be the principal focus of a Liberal government, a government also dedicated to harmonious interculturalism and the playing of a constructive role in the Canadian federation, makes the election of a majority Liberal government the optimal outcome of Monday’s election.

Editorial: The Couillard Liberals deserve to govern