Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Assault on Democracy: When Fear is the Enemy

It was for me strangely enough, the most terrifying moment of a nightmarish day. Standing in a crowded subway station, waiting for a train to take me home, watching the fear on people's faces.

It was only a few hours after most of them must have heard about, or seen what had happened on Parliament Hill.

So I can understand why they were so deathly quiet. Many were probably still stunned by what they had seen. Or the idea that it could happen here. 

And the announcements on the PA system didn't help. "Due to the events in Ottawa and Quebec passengers are asked to report any suspicious activity or any packages left unattended."

But still, when I saw the fear on the faces of so many I felt like shouting: "Don't you understand that your fear could cost us our country?"

And when I got home, after a train ride that had me thinking of this nightmare...

And I read what some in the MSM were saying: solemnly intoning like hanging judges that "Canada has changed forever."

I was filled with despair that slowly turned to anger. Because I don't believe that for a minute.

For the day we allow some deranged gunman, or some ISIS wannabe from small town Quebec, or just two pathetic losers like these...

To scare us, and change our Canadian way of life, is the day we lose our last shred of self respect.

It's the day the crazies WIN.

And so does Stephen Harper...

For he would change our Canada beyond recognition. Nothing would give him more pleasure. He would use the climate of fear he has helped create, to try to win the next election, and turn us into a police state.

It isn't hard to see where he would take this country.

“We will not be intimidated. Canada will never be intimidated. In fact, this will lead us to strengthen our resolve and re-double our efforts, and those of our national security agencies, to take all necessary steps to identify counter-threats and keep Canada safe, here at home.”

He must be drooling into a bucket. And a man who has brutalized our democracy like he has, cannot be trusted to defend it.

So we must not allow fear to cloud our judgement, and play into his hands, or surrender to the loser terrorists. As Martin Regg Cohen writes the democratic show must continue. 

When the heart of our democracy is targeted on Parliament Hill, it’s impossible not to watch and worry — which makes the potential fallout far greater. The risk is that we will overreact with security clampdowns and lockdowns that are difficult to roll back when the threat subsides.

Terrorists will never be an existential threat — our Parliament and our parliamentarians are too deeply rooted to crumble in the face of a few bullets or bombs. The greater risk is that we will hunker down with over-the-top security precautions that pose a more insidious menace to our open society.

And as even the crusty Con editorialists at the Globe and Mail recognize, after the attack we're STILL Canada.

And that's still OUR Parliament.

In light of this week, Canada may have to change. But whatever changes we choose to make should be done carefully and calmly, with an understanding of the limited scale of the threat, and the nature of the tradeoffs between freedom and safety.

Canada isn’t going anywhere. Nothing about what makes us, us, is “over.” We have had a bad week. There is much loss to mourn. But we are still here. We are still standing. The True North remains, strong and free.

Yup. That old saying one of my Nazi-fighting grandfathers made me memorize when I was a boy, has never sounded more true: 

The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.

And the only thing I wish is that he was here today, so I could tell him I am not afraid Grandad. Or even better WE are not afraid.

We will not allow Stephen Harper to use fear to steal our freedoms, that so many gave their lives to preserve.

We will defeat him and his sinister regime.

And enough of this fascist bullshit.

We WILL keep our Canada...

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  1. I wonder if the elimination of the long gun registry had any impact on this attack?

    1. Anonymous10:03 AM

      The non-restricted firearms database, had it been preserved is extremely unlikely to yield any benefit at all. There's maybe one use it could have had, but that use is only in hindsight - it would not, could not have prevented this.

      First, it seems that the shooter had two previous criminal convictions, the second involving a violence. It would be shocking to learn that he even had a valid firearms license. Almost certainly he did not. How did a person without a firearms license get a gun? I realize this may come as a shock, but criminals, terrorists don't obey laws - they break them! I guess we could charge the corpse with criminal posession of a firearm. I guess that might make some people feel better, but it won't bring back Cpl Cirillo.

      This therefore actually puts lie, as have many other incidents, to the idea that the Firearms Act is what we need to keep us safe. When someone can forge the reciever for an AK-47 out of a $2.00 shovel blade, the fact is that gun control is a losing battle.

      In fact, cars are registered aren't they? The left always says, "we register cars, boats, dogs, houses, why not guns?" Why yes, yes cars are registered! What did vehicle registration do to prevent a maniac from using one to kill WO Vincent?

      Even assuming that the LGR was still in place, you'd have to know who the shooter was. Positive ID didn't come until several hours after he was dead. The whole thing started and ended in what... 15 minutes, not counting the lockdown of course? By the time someone had learned his identity, queried the firearms database, and disseminated that information to the first responders, the shooter would have already been dead. The shooter would have had to been wearing a giant neon nametag to get even the most remote tactical use out of the LGR. "Let's pass laws to make all terrorists wear giant neon nametags... which criminals won't obey anyway..."

      The one use it might have had would be, if the firearm was registered, and not imported illegally, to learn how he acquired a firearm, which was, if he had no license, a criminal act in and of its self. It might have lead the authorities to an otherwise innocent person who had their lawfully owned property stolen, in which case our usual course of action is to prosecute that victim - further punishing someone who has suffered a crime, or it might had lead the authorities to a licensed person who gave, or sold the firearm to the shooter illegally. That would be better I suppose, assuming that's what happen.

      Either of those possibilities are quite unlikely, and they only help after the fact.

      In fact, our hoplophobic culture is more to blame than it is a help in such a circumstance: the sentries at the monument a) stand guard in pairs, b) have C-7 assault rifles which are fully functional, and c) have no ammunition.

      What almost certainly would have had an impact, a positive one on this incident would have been to issue our people even a single charged magazine. That may not have saved Cpl Cirillo, but it may well have prevented this terrorist from storming parliament - in fact, I rate that as highly probable. And, it might have saved Cpl Cirillo, especially if the terrorist had been brought down before he could take an additional three shots. But thanks to the left which seems to have decided that soldiers shouldn't act like soldiers we have at least one of our people lying dead, and it all could have been prevented, if we acted rationally, and not emotionally.

      Indeed, this was only stopped by a good man with a gun. What is it that prevents others from being good people with guns? The Firearms Act.

    2. Anonymous12:31 PM

      "What is it that prevents others from being good people with guns? The Firearms Act."

      It appears that you are channeling the National Rifle Association's Wayne Lapierre. The last thing any civilized society needs are unlicensed amateur 'good people' running around with guns blazing away. How many people will be killed in the cross-fire?

      I think you need to reconsider your arguments.

    3. Anonymous2:17 PM

      The last thing any civilized society needs are unlicensed amateur 'good people' running around with guns blazing away. How many people will be killed in the cross-fire?

      I think you need to reconsider your arguments.

      And you need to quit straw-manning.

      Because it's IMPOSSIBLE to train someone how to carry and use gun! People can't possibly LEARN HOW TO DO THINGS!

    4. e.a.f.2:50 PM

      if the shooter was ever in B.C. he could have obtained a gun here, illegally, with no great trouble. the drug trade uses guns as an exchange method. B.C. bud for guns and or cocaine, etc. The sooner b.c. bud is legalized, the fewer guns.

      Hand guns ought to be restricted. Have one illegally, get arrested immediately and go to jail until the judge sees you. harper and his herd aren't going to do that. they love guns. the got rid of the long gun registry, which is the first step in increasing access to guns for all Canadians, just like the Americans. harper and his herd will do it one step at a time, just like everything else. It started with de funding women's groups and now we have audits of non profits who say anything the cons don't like. However, gun organizations haven't been subject to these same types of audits although they make representation, do advocacy work, etc.

    5. Anonymous3:01 PM

      It appears that you are channeling the National Rifle Association's Wayne Lapierre. The last thing any civilized society needs are unlicensed amateur 'good people' running around with guns blazing away. How many people will be killed in the cross-fire?

      I think you need to reconsider your arguments.

      The more I think about this, the more stupid it gets.

      I guess Mr. Vickers was born knowing how to handle a firearm then! Wow, though I can only aspire to the gallantry and bravery of Mr. Vickers, I didn't realize that we were a completely different species!

      Oh woe is me, having been born a mere human, patently incapable of learning anything instead of whatever angelic species Mr. Vickers happens to be!

      And what of Cpl Cirillo? What species was he? He only stood guard with an extra deadly fully-automatic AR-15 variant assault rifle! However did he become the victim instead of the perpetrator? Maybe he was the same species as Mr. Vickers! Wow! Two of these angelic alien beings! Amazing! And his partner! Three?! Goodness, well I guess since Harper is a Time Lord, it only stands to reason that members of the Canadian Forces be some kind of angels I suppose.

    6. Anonymous3:14 PM

      the drug trade uses guns as an exchange method. B.C. bud for guns and or cocaine, etc.

      And what percentage of those bother with pesky things like licenses, and registration?

      Hand guns ought to be restricted. Have one illegally, get arrested immediately and go to jail until the judge sees you.

      Have you read the Firearms Act? Are you aware that handguns are restricted? Are you aware that what you said is exactly how things work in Canada? Or are supposed to work. Criminals seem to do okay getting guns. Strange, aren't licenses supposed to stop them? Oh wait! Criminals don't bother with liceneses!

      the got rid of the long gun registry, which is the first step in increasing access to guns for all Canadians, just like the Americans.

      Yes, that's right. The criminal posession of a firearm ended when C-19 came into force.

      However, gun organizations haven't been subject to these same types of audits although they make representation, do advocacy work, etc.

      I know this will come as a shock, but shocker! Gun organizations, like the NFA aren't registered charities!

  2. Hi Simon,

    Harper is either incompetent or complaisant. He who has been inviting a terrorist attack on our shores for most of a decade, raises the threat level, yet the center of goverment remains keystone cops? The words and actions have had a deadly disconnect. I have been thinking aboot real solutions.

  3. Anonymous9:05 AM

    I wonder about that too. The gun. At the risk of being analytical is it any wonder thousands of young men unemployed and hopeless and exposed to years of brutality and destruction in the middle east are acting out? These young men who did the shooting in Canada. Are they unemployed and hopeless. Many young Canadians are. Or they are underemployed and watching temporary foreign workers take their jobs. I'm not scared either, but I am angry about the direction in which this country is going.

  4. Anonymous9:09 AM

    I don't know why there is a soldier standing guard at the war memorial either. It is NOT sacred ground. Nothing about war is sacred. Certainly not the death of thousands of young men. The memorial should be a place to think and a place for education about how to avoid war.

    1. As a Ottawa native, I was wondering about that too? Never was there a guard posted at that memorial in my decades of living there. Nathan Cirillo was doing sentry duty because Harper with his hard on for all things military had initiated the practice as part of the commemoration events of glorifying the human slaughter called WWI.

  5. Anonymous9:31 AM

    "People willing to trade their freedom for temporary security deserve neither and will lose both."

    (one version of a quote attributed to American) Benjamin Franklin.

  6. The truth will set you free!

  7. "When the heart of our democracy is targeted on Parliament Hill"

    You know as well as I do, Simon, that Harper has harmed and made our Parliament almost irrelevant and done much more to harm our democracy than the two goofs who killed soldiers this week.

    I know CSIS and the RCMP have no time to actually monitor these psychotic young men, they are too busy protecting us from bird watchers.

    To me it makes little sense to confiscate these wannabe terrorists' passports so they can't leave the country.. Why not let them hi-tail it to Syria or the ISIS Caliphate and then revoke their passport so they can't return. I mean with dem birdwatchers threatening to overthrow the government the authorities have no time for "real" terrorists!

    1. Revoking passports on this side of the pond is insane...and we have seen that it is in the last few days..but cancelling the passport after the fact means that Canadian citizens will be blamed for any and all acts of terrorism that happen if they are even in the vicinity...and that makes no sense either..
      We need a whole bunch of long term education to stifle the racist approach to immigrants, the stereotypical response to disaffected youth (go back where you came from...) because, inevitably, that is exactly what they will do, and being bewitched by a group that makes heroic sounding promises might just seem to these troubled men and women t be a better choice than to deal with the cultural disconnect that is Canada today....

    2. e.a.f.2:56 PM

      Yes I read about the birdwatchers. must be very dangerous types. saw the picture of them also. very dangerous. they even hand out instructions on how to build bird houses from "scratch". can't stop them soon enough. if they write any more letters that audit will have to take place very soon.

      on the other hand harper and his herd cut the budget to the military, RCMP, just about everywhere so he would have money to throw around prior to his election/erection.

      wonder how many gun clubs and such have been audited for their advocacy work? after the shooting in Ottawa, you might think there might be some discussion coming from the party in office about more gun control, not so much with these idiots. they love their guns. now they get to "live' with the result. unfortunately the young solider doesn't.

  8. Anonymous5:55 PM

    Who knows if this guy was really a terrorist. He was maybe simply a Denis Lortie wannabee. Of course the gubbermint will spin this dreadful tragedy whatever way suits it best.

    1. Both cases seem to be more mental illness and societal anomie than any actual terrorist cell. Amazing how they kept everyone in lockdown in the blind belief that there was more than one shooter.

  9. It drives me crazy when you have guys like Steven Blaney (Ministry of Public Safety) and even some cops saying a few weeks ago at a committee hearing that they don't have knowledge of any SPECIFIC threats to Canadian locations.

    But by saying that there are purposely giving a double message: DON'T WORRY but WORRY !!! That's right out of the Bush Jr. playbook. Scare people into voting for you. And so Bush Jr. won a second term.



    So, while it is too early to jump to conclusions, I intend to hold fast to the following: we must ensure that this appalling act of violence is not used to justify a disproportionate response. We must not resort to hyperbolic rhetoric. We need to determine if these actions are coordinated to any larger group or are the actions of one or two deranged individuals. If it is the latter we must develop tools and a systematic approach to dissuade our youth from being attracted to violent extremist groups of any kind. We need to protect our rights and liberties in a democracy.

    We do know that through history these kinds of events open the door to a loss of democracy. Naomi Klein details the elements of seizing the opportunity created by tragedy or tumult in Shock Doctrine. The title of her new and important book on climate, This Changes Everything, is correct – the threat of the climate crisis changes everything. The shootings on Parliament Hill do not change everything. It is up to all of us to ensure that, to the extent we encounter demands for change, we keep in the forefront of our minds that once we surrender any rights it is very difficult to restore them. Let’s demand answers, sensible policies and proportionate responses.

  11. Anonymous11:44 PM

    This is what Trudeau said in his address to the nation for the Canadian Muslim community:

    Trudeau: -- "And 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. Mutual respect and admiration will help to prevent the influence of distorted ideological propaganda posing as religion."

    Notice that he says: - " our friends and fellow citizens in the Muslim community.." ... and doesn't refer to them as: - "...fellow 'Canadian' citizens..".... and then he claims to speak for all "Canadians"...!!!

    It's interesting that only Trudeau made reference in his speech to the "Muslim community".... which tells us a lot ..!!!

    Also, we have seen a Muslim delegation led by Omar Alghabra, one of Justin's strategy team, placing a wreath at the Ottawa memorial for fallen Canadian soldier Cirillo. Alghabra is the muslim front man in Justin's leadership team and he is tight with Justin. Fear both of them.

    I question the sincerity and intent of both Trudeau and Alghabra.

    1. Trudeau is a uniter, not a divider. Besides, there's no way the vast majority of Muslim Canadians are going to vote Conservative, given Harper's over-the top-support of Israel.’s-‘orwellian’-foreign-policy-34073#.VEn1yihyGJU

      Regarding Israel, Harper, with widespread support in the media, has gone so far as to try to establish criticism of Israel as a kind of Orwellian “thought crime.” By declaring repeatedly (and even threatening supportive legislation) that criticism of Israel was anti-Semitic Harper hoped to establish what Orwell referred to as “protective stupidity” – a kind of mass denial of the obvious. Freud referred to it as “knowing with not knowing” and when it comes to most of Canada’s military adventures it is epidemic.

  12. Anonymous6:20 PM


    I question YOUR sincerity in this comment. You clearly are projecting your own biases into the linguistic choices, only someone trying to make the stretch you did would have heard such a distinction, last time I checked when a Canadian federal party leader refers to fellow citizens it is inherent in the meaning that they are talking about fellow Canadian citizens, especially at such times as these. Way to go in already trying to divide and attack Trudeau, you show EXACTLY what your true aim in this comment is.

    Your smear and fear approach is at least as much the problem these days as anything else, so way to go supporting terrorists there, especially hiding behind anonymity, with not even a dedicated alias, just anonymous.


    Sorry, but I found this truly rancid.

    Scotian (*not at home, can't use my own account)