30 October 2014

About those Canadian values

The shooting spree by Michael Zehaf-Bibeau on Parliament Hill that resulted in the death of soldier Nathan Cirillo has resulted in a rush of rhetoric about a threat to Canadian values. As I commented in a previous post, Zehaf-Bibeau's rampage was no such thing. The idea that an irrational act of violence by a mentally-unbalanced crack addict is some kind of threat to our values is ludicrous. As has been remarked by others, this event represents less a terrorist issue than a mental health issue.

An interesting take on Canadian values does emerge from the aftermath of the rampage. The death of Cirillo has been treated with extraordinary pomp and ceremony by our federal government—flags at half-mast across the country, wreaths at the war memorial, the prime minister at the funeral, a hero's commemoration for a man who had in fact done nothing heroic.

The same day as the tragedy in Ottawa, a young woman was found beaten to death on a bike path in Longueuil, Quebec. Understandably her murder received less attention than the excitement in the nation's capital, but why one wonders does her remembrance deserve so little, the soldier's so much?

"Terrorist" murder, if that's what Cirillo's death was, is no threat to Canadian values, but violence against women most certainly is, particularly against aboriginal women. An RCMP report detailed 1,181 cases of missing or murdered aboriginal women since 1980. They are three times more likely to become victims of violence than other Canadian women. All the premiers, the Assembly of First Nations, and the UN’s special rapporteur on indigenous rights have all asked for a national inquiry. The federal government flatly refuses.

So, what Canadian values are displayed here? The death of one soldier merits lavish ceremony, but the deaths of hundreds of Native women merit not even an inquiry. A threat to this set of values would be welcome.


  1. A really good article. Thanks for pointing out what should have been obvious to Canadians. The one the MSM bullhorned and the one I liked the best though was "we have lost our innocence." You just popped Harpers terrorist balloon and the whole charade that goes with it.

  2. "So, what Canadian values are displayed here?"

    Is running and hiding in a broom closet at the first sign of trouble a Canadian value? If it is, then that is the answer, eh? LOL

    I suspect whatever mileage Harper had hoped to get from scaring people into believing it was a terrorist act had been more than compromised by the image of him hiding in the closet when the bullets were flying.

    Politics is often more perception than reality. Very hard to reconcile the image of Harper as a strong leader when he runs and hides in the closet leaving his caucus to fend for themselves.

    This image of a coward will hurt him big time, which is why, I suspect, he apologized to his caucus about his vanishing act.