As Canadians, on most people's minds is that a member of our Armed Forces, Corporal Nathan Cirillo, has been killed at the War Memorial only steps away from Parliament Hill.

The Sergeant at Arms, Kevin Vickers, shot and killed the armed man inside Centre Block. The gunman's name was Michael Bibeau-Zehaf, also known to police as, Michael Zehaf-Bibeau.

Born in Quebec, he was 32 and lived in Laval. He'd had multiple drug (PCP/marijuana) and robbery arrests.

This is what is currently being reported about his family details. He was the son of a Libyan business man Bulgasem Zehaf who is said to have owned a restaurant, 'Cafe Tripoli', and mother, Susan Bibeau, who's worked as a federal civil servant for 25 years, now for the immigration and refugee board and listed as deputy chairperson, immigration division. The parents were divorced in 1999. Someone with the same name of the father was mentioned in dispatches from anti-Gaddafi rebels in 2011 - this is entirely unconfirmed. 

On the previous Monday, a soldier was killed in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu south of Montreal. The driver of the vehicle was Martin Rouleau. He was later killed by the police. No link has been established with the Ottawa incident. 

Elizabeth May, the only sitting Green Party MP, encapsulates the reactions and position of many Canadians who do not wish to see these incidents draw the country into a Police state. She pleads for democracy to be protected.

"We must ensure that this appalling act of violence is not used to justify a disproportionate response. We must not resort to hyperbolic rhetoric. We need to determine if these actions are coordinated to any larger group or are the actions of one or two deranged individuals. If it is the latter we must develop tools and a systematic approach to dissuade our youth from being attracted to violent extremist groups of any kind. We need to protect our rights and liberties in a democracy."

The conservative Harper Government previewed anti-terror legislation only two weeks ago and it's obvious Prime Minster Stephen Harper intends to tighten up security and fund the proliferation of increased powers over ordinary innocent Canadians in his effort 'to combat terrorism'. 

May continues in her warning, reflecting the concerns of so many Canadians the day after the tragic events in Ottawa: "It is up to all of us to ensure that, to the extent we encounter demands for change, we keep in the forefront of our minds that once we surrender any rights it is very difficult to restore them. Let’s demand answers, sensible policies and proportionate responses".

Subsequently to these events, it's reported by several media outlets, new powers have already been given to police and anti-terrorism units. On Oct 27th RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson indicated that 300 staff transferred into terrorism investigations since last week.

 

The views and opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Royal Commonwealth Society.