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The Salon is ONW's weekly gathering place where three of Canada's brightest and most respected political strategists - John Capobianco, Marit Stiles and Bernie Farber - come together to analyze national issues affecting Ontario.




John Capobianco:

What a tragedy in our nation's capital.

One life lost: a hero who was going about his day as if it was any other day and was shot mercilessly and others who were wounded; and the shooter, apparently shot dead. The RCMP just reporting that the situation is "fluid" which of course is of no comfort to those who live in Ottawa and their family and friends.

Many comments on Twitter and other social media channels claim that Canada has lost its innocence and that this will be a "day we will always remember". Those statements are true and people have the right to feel they way they do as result of this insanity - and more importantly, have the right to express their views.

But like many others, I believe what has happened in Ottawa and what happened in Quebec the other day test our collective mettle. We are a people of great resolve and determination and we cannot let this affect our lives.

I was so encouraged by many who have called for us to continue to live our lives and not be disrupted by this situation because if we do - they win. And they cannot and they will not win.


Marit Stiles:

First let me express my sympathy to all those affected by these events, and particularly the Canadian Forces and the family and friends of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo. I have friends on the Hill and my own MP, who was safe but clearly shaken. And we know there are many families that worried about loved ones.

Is this the loss of innocence? There's no doubt that as Canadians many of us live our lives without the kind of day-to-day fear that many other citizens of this world experience. And it is true as well that many come to our country to escape persecution - for peace. When something so tragic happens in our nation's capital, we will absolutely feel -- collectively -- vulnerable.

But we need to tread very carefully here. I appreciate the care that the police, RCMP etc., are giving to controlling what information is provided and when. We know that this event has happened in the context of debates about our involvement in conflicts elsewhere ... but at this stage we have no reason to believe that there is any connection.

I appreciate that there will be questions about the safety and security of our institutions, our elected representatives, our military personnel. We need to ensure the safety of all while not slamming the door on democracy.


Bernie Farber:

I am stunned by the events in my hometown.

This will have both a historic and profound impact on life in Ottawa. Only a short few weeks ago I walked unperturbed on Parliament Hill. No more!

I agree fully with my colleagues with an added caveat that until we know all the facts let us not jump to conclusions that cannot be verified.

I too understand the need to control info on a situation like this, however in my view the press conference by the RCMP was totally non-informative. Many on social media were upset and I can imagine that with a dearth of information during the day Ottawans would be very concerned.


John Capobianco:


There are still way too many questions which need answers - the RCMP briefing ended with the media yelling out questions as the officials were leaving. Obviously, with the situation being the way it was - the officials could only provide so much information. So while we try and figure this out, we need to make sure that our safety is paramount as politicians debate and discuss what happened in Quebec and in Ottawa.

It is times and tragedies like those this week that brings people together - politicians of different political stripes, leaders from other countries - all getting together and working together to ensure public safety. And it is times like this that we ensure - no matter what motivated this situation, we as a county continue to live our lives and not let the situation alter how we live. We need to be vigilant and aware, but we need to carry on.

I say this knowing that we have exceptionally brave men and women who risk their lives to make sure we can live our lives normally - and to them I know we all give our profound thanks and appreciation.


Marit Stiles:

I agree with John that we should not let violence like this affect our daily lives and the way we conduct our democracy. And since we don't know yet what the motivation was here, who was involved, etc., we really don't know what issues will reveal themselves.

But the reality is that it's at moments like this that some will, in fact, take advantage of collective fear and anxiety.

The PM's set up question on the motivation behind the Quebec attack was telling. It was a step away from the usual practice of letting the police, RCMP, etc. reveal the details of a case. And some said there may have been political motivations for the PM in raising the issue.

Let's all take a deep breath and consider, very carefully, the implications of fear mongering and the releasing of incomplete information. I'm hoping for quick and complete answers, very soon, about what took place on the Hill yesterday, and until then I hope we can, collectively, try not to jump to conclusions.


Bernie Farber:

What I find interesting is the confusion of information out there. Authorities need to be clear not muddled ...we need concrete statements about the info swirling around, not silence.

The House of Commons Sergeant-at-Arms, Kevin Vickers, may turn out to be a real hero…word is that he shot the intruder. What an astounding day...I am deeply proud of our first responders. I also heard a citizen was involved in giving assistance, risking his/her life to do so…what immense courage

Remembrance Day is only a few weeks away; I cannot imagine how difficult it will be this year.

 

About The Salon

John Capobianco is a former CPC candidate and long-time party activist in both the federal and Ontario Conservative parties; Marit Stiles is a federal and Ontario NDP strategist; Bernie Farber is a former Ontario Liberal candidate and one of Canada's leading human rights experts.
Posted date : October 23, 2014

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