Oct 23, 2014

What a difficult and emotional few days it has been for the whole country. There was a lot to think about during and after the shootings in Ottawa, but I find my thoughts circling back to a few things. 

The first is an interview with Barbara Winters, who ran BACK to the war memorial after she heard the gunfire and was one of many people who tried to aid Nathan Cirillo. "I told him you are loved. You are brave. You are good," she said. It was one of the most moving pieces I've ever heard on As It Happens. 

I find myself also thinking about Kevin Vickers, the House's sergeant-at-arms who some credit with shooting the shooter, preventing anyone else from getting hurt. And I keep going back and mulling over something Margaret Wente wrote about Vicker in the Globe and Mail

He has made a career of reaching out to Muslims, Sikhs, First Nations, and others who haven’t always been included in this country. When the Idle No More movement marched on Parliament Hill, he formally exchanged tobacco with a First Nations chief and said, “I understand your frustration. I understand the conditions in which you people live and I also understand the importance of tobacco and what it means as not only a gift, but as a sign of respect for your people.” After the Quebec National Assembly banned the kirpan, he made sure the ceremonial dagger would be allowed in the House of Commons. As he told one gathering of Sikhs, he doesn’t like the word “tolerance.” “No,” he said. “As head of security, I am going to accept and embrace your symbol of faith within the Parliamentary Precinct....."I told them that if they made me their sergeant-at-arms, there would be no walls built around Canada’s parliamentary buildings,” he said.

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