Canada has been lucky for a great many years.
Unlike the majority of countries around the world, terrorist acts, domestic or foreign, are rare in this country. Until this week, there hasn’t been a major terrorist incident on Canadian soil since the FLQ crisis in 1970.
But we got a wake-up call Wednesday when an armed man killed a soldier guarding the National War Memorial in Ottawa and then moved on to Parliament.
House of Commons Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers killed the gunman before he could kill anyone else, but the message here is clear.
We are not immune.
As we praise Vickers and mourn Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, there is a looming question of what the future holds for us as a country and a people in the coming days.
As the flag flies at half-mast over the B.C. legislature MLA’s are already talking about installing metal detectors and other security measures in Victoria, which can only be considered a necessary reaction, considering the events of Wednesday.
But with the shocking incident so fresh, it is hard to predict how much will change or how long those changes will last.
Elizabeth May, leader of the Green Party of Canada, summed it up well.
“It is a day of tragedy. We must ensure we keep our responses proportionate to whatever threat remains.”
However horrific this incident is, it shouldn’t be allowed to change Canada’s character as a nation devoted to peace and striving, however uncertainly, toward a just society.
Too many countries, including our neighbour to the south, have gone down the road of letting national security trump human rights.
But come this Remembrance Day, along with the usual observances, be sure to set aside a few extra moments to remember both Cpl. Cirillo, senselessly killed in the performance of his duties and Sergeant-at-Arms Vickers, who prevented further tragedy.