Shootings at the National War Memorial and Parliament Hill: Statements from four party leaders


The tragic events occurring in Ottawa and St-Jean-sur-Richelieu this past week, resulting in the deaths of two military personnel and their alleged attackers, have led to outrage and sadness, but also a recommitment to Canadian values, throughout the country. While we mourned the tragic loss of two Canadian soldiers, and questioned how anyone could contemplate such terrible acts, our parliamentary leaders made statements offering their condolences to the families of the victims and providing insights into what these incidents might mean for the future of Canada. Here’s what four of the leaders had to say:

Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada

“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. 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. While today has been, without question, a difficult day, I have every confidence that Canadians will pull together with the kind of firm solidarity that has seen our country through many challenges. Together, we will remain vigilant against those at home or abroad who wish to harm us.”

Read Harper’s full statement here.


Tom Mulcair, Leader of the New Democratic Party and the Official Opposition 

“This attack struck with sudden and deadly violence. It was carried out on the very ground where we come together to exchange ideas with the knowledge that whatever our differences we will always resolve them peacefully. It was intended to make us more fearful of our neighbours and less confident in ourselves. But it has failed. Today’s events have instead only succeeded in drawing us closer, in making us stronger…. Canada is shaken today, but we shall not waver. We woke up this morning in a country blessed by love, diversity and peace, and tomorrow we will do the same. These acts were driven by hatred, but also designed to drive us to hate. They will not. We will stand up, and we will stand together. We will persevere, and we will prevail.”

Read Mulcair’s full speech here.


Justin Trudeau, Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada 

“In the days that follow, there will be questions, anger, and perhaps confusion. This is natural, but we cannot let it get the better of us. Losing ourselves to fear and speculation is the intention of those who commit these heinous acts. They mean to shake us. We will remain resolved. They want us to forget ourselves. Instead, we should remember. We should remember who we are. We are a proud democracy, a welcoming and peaceful nation, and a country of open arms and open hearts. We are a nation of fairness, justice, and the rule of law. We will not be intimidated into changing that…. To our friends and fellow citizens in the Muslim community, Canadians know acts such as these committed in the name of Islam are an aberration of your faith. Continued mutual cooperation and respect will help prevent the influence of distorted ideological propaganda posing as religion. We will walk forward together, not apart. In the coming days, we will be inundated with pictures and videos showing what happened today. But there is one in particular we should remember: the picture in our minds we have of a Canadian guarding Canadians. That is who we truly are. That is who we will continue to be.

Read Trudeau’s full remarks here.


Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada

“These are crimes that cut to the heart of all of us. We get to know something of their lives, and we get to realize with every passing day and revealed detail of their personal lives how much we all lose as a nation when two such fine men are so senselessly and brutally killed…. In closing, I want to wish all of my colleagues and all Canadians well. I pray for one thing: that we hang on to the sense of common, shared purpose, that we remain calm, and that we wait for answers from the police before we make any assumptions about motivations, connections or the extent of what we face…. Let us be the place that exemplifies the words of our founding documents. Let us exemplify peace, order and good government.”

Read May’s full speech here.


Photo credit: CC BY 2.0 image “National War Memorial, Elgin St, Ottawa (491760)” by Robert Linsdell on Flickr.

Tags: Canada, Cpl Nathan Cirillo, Elizabeth May, Justin Trudeau, National War Memorial, Ottawa, Parliament Hill, St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Stephen Harper, Terrorism, Tom Mulcair, WO Patrice Vincent