News Views: Strong and free

Federal NDP leader says Ottawa shooter is a criminal, not a terrorist.

Federal NDP leader Thomas Mulcair said this week that the Ottawa shooter who stormed Parliament’s Centre Block and killed Cpl. Nathan Cirillo is a criminal, not a terrorist.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has said what  Michael Zehaf-Bibeau did was an act of terrorism, and that Canada is not immune to the types of attacks seen elsewhere in the world.

RCMP claim that Zehaf-Bibeau, who referred to Canada’s foreign policy in a video he recorded shortly before shooting Cirillo with a rifle, was driven by ideology.

Mulcair now says that terrorism is not the right word to describe the Ottawa attack, that given Zehaf-Bibeau’s background, the use of that word is not appropriate.

Harper used it, though, during his televised address to the nation last week, and stands by it.

Personal or mental difficulties don’t exclude one from being engaged in terrorist activities, he believes.

Liberal leader Justin Trudeau has also used the term terrorism to describe the Ottawa attack, and bases his use of it on the opinion of the RCMP.

Zehaf-Bibeau armed himself with a knife and a gun and prepared a video beforehand, indicating to police that it was a terrorist attack.

According to the Criminal Code of Canada, knowingly facilitating an activity or commission of a serious or indictable offence for the benefit of, at the direction of or in association with a terrorist group qualifies for such a definition.

Given terrorism is a criminal act, we wonder what is Mr. Mulcair getting at?

Only sane individuals can be terrorists?

Make no mistake, as bizarre or as extreme as the Ottawa attack and the one in Quebec may seem, they were motivated by terrorism.

RCMP were aware of both attackers prior.

And that is what is scary.

While increased security and new legislation to combat terrorism are being considered, Canadians must understand that police may not be able to do much more to prevent small-scale acts of terrorism without eroding basic liberties.

Given that, the focus should not be on terminology, but the way in which these acts banded the country together.

And that way we must remain, standing on guard, strong and free.

– Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows News