Shootings show cynical disrespect for institutions

So, we have just witnessed an unprecedented attack on the Parliament of Canada.

So, we have just witnessed an unprecedented attack on the Parliament of Canada. Beginning with the murder of Canadian Reservist Nathan Cirillo on ceremonial guard duty at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier, a radicalized jihadist convert to Islam raced up the steps beneath the Peace Tower. While we generally do not discuss what happens in caucus, suffice to say the prime minister was addressing the Conservative caucus when the first shot, followed by a rapid succession of shots and shouting, rang out down the corridor beyond the hall. How could an assailant carry on past so many shots? Beyond the momentary panic, we quickly barricaded all doors. We have many former police and military veterans in our caucus; their training and instincts rapidly brought order amplifying the efforts of a valiant member of House of Commons (HoC) security.

Anyone coming through any door would have found a force ready to defend our PM and colleagues. We would later learn that it was body armour that allowed the assailant to flee a hail of bullets but not the timely intervention of the Chief of Hill Security; armed only with his sidearm, Sergeant-at-Arms, Kevin Vickers, ended the threat.

While details of the immense security response and investigation will unfold and be extensively reviewed, at the end of a long day of lock down, we are grateful for the courage, training and professionalism of our HoC Security, the RCMP and the Ottawa City Police who secured the building and got everyone out safely. Volumes of analysis have already been published and no doubt more is on the horizon. Nevertheless, it strikes me that there is a crisis of identity, a breakdown in social norms and order that threatens democratic institutions around the globe. The radicalization of the two home-grown terrorists that killed two of our finest this week, speaks to that vacuum that has been growing with cynical disrespect for our institutions and a radical empowerment of protest everything, challenge and reject all authority.

Tolerance for diversity and freedom of thought and expression are valued hallmarks of democracy. That said, there are all too frequent violent manifestations in our streets, citizens willing to destroy public property, rampage in the streets: after a sporting event, after a rock concert, in the mass of an anti-globalization protest or a rally to protest some domestic policy.  These reflect a far more sinister undermining of our cherished freedoms and the rule of law that define our social order.

Think back 20 years: who would imagine that we would witness body parts mailed to the offices of political parties or public figures in Canada? Who would have imagined a storage locker containing six decaying baby remains in a capital city? Who would have imagined the beheading of an innocent passenger on a Greyhound intra-urban bus?

Yes, we are seeing our military off to combat barbarous, heinous acts of rape, pillage, beheadings, convert, flee, or die atrocities; at the same time we are threatened by radicalized home-grown insurgents, but there is a social malignancy that has infected our own society, undermining the sustainability of the great nation we have collectively inherited by birth or adoption. There is an urgent need to rediscover the attributes that made our nation the great success it has been, attributes of faith, service above self, care and compassion for our neighbours and fellow citizens.

We sing in our national anthem: “God keep our land glorious and free,” we sing; “we stand on guard for thee;” but increasingly we have not. Vocal constituencies have agitated to shut God out of public discourse, remove prayer from our schools, to cast off restraint in the name of progress and social liberty. These are modern manifestations of historical patterns of a society in decline. We need to rediscover the God of our fathers, rediscover self-sacrifice through service and plant the seeds of faith in the hearts and minds of a new generation.  Might Canada experience a renewal of faith? I hope so. Without it, our social and political institutions are ill-equipped for the challenges we are facing today and those coming over the horizon.

— James Lunney , Conservative, is the MP for the riding of Alberni-Pacific. E-mail: james.lunney.a1@parl.gc.ca.

Just Posted

Canadian Music Hall of Famer Steven Page to play Parksville

Barenaked Ladies co-founder performs at Knox United Church on June 1

Parksville Beach Festival Society launches campaign for outdoor stage

Public invited to event May 25 to help with kickoff

Crime Report: Oceanside RCMP receive 328 complaints in one-week span

Vandalism and theft of a wheelchair among listed incidents

Controversial cell tower proposal in Coombs clears another hurdle

Committee indicates Rogers satisfactorily completed requirements

‘Teams that win are tight’: B.C. Lions search for chemistry at training camp

The Lions added more than 50 new faces over the off-season, from coaching staff to key players

New book from Island author details social history of the E&N railway

Along the E&N tells the story of 32 establishments from Esquimalt to Campbell River.

Should B.C. already be implementing province-wide fire bans?

A petition is calling for B.C. Wildfire Service to issue a ban to reduce risk of human caused wildfires

Growing wildfire prompts evacuation of High Level, Alta.

Chuckegg Creek fire has been burning for several day, but grew substantially Sunday

B.C. ferry stops to let black bear swim past near Nanaimo

Queen of Oak Bay brakes for wildlife in Nanaimo’s Departure Bay

RCMP arrest violent offender on Vancouver Island

Campbell River police struggle with suspect and take him down with a taser

Take-home drug testing kits latest pilot to help curb B.C.’s overdose crisis

Researchers look to see if fentanyl testing could be a useful tool for those who use drugs alone

Two cats die in house fire in Nanaimo

Fire happened just after 2 p.m. Sunday on Fifth Street, one resident displaced

Facebook takes down anti-vaxxer page that used image of late Canadian girl

Facebook said that the social media company has disabled the anti-vaccination page

Most Read