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Justin Trudeau. PMO Photo by Adam Scotti

Trudeau: “We will meet fear and hatred with love and compassion, always”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and leaders of the opposition parties united in condemnation of the terrorist attack on the Centre culturel islamique de Québec in Quebec City that left 6 dead and 19 injured, of whom 5 in critical condition.

The following are the statements made in Parliament (January 30, 2017) by PM Trudeau and MPs Rona Ambrose (CPC), Thomas Mulcair (NDP), MP Rhéal Fortin (BQ) Elizabeth May (GP).

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau:

Mr. Speaker, it was with shock and sadness that Canadians heard about the devastating terrorist act that happened last night in Quebec City.

According to official reports, six people worshipping at the Centre culturel islamique de Québec have lost their lives, with many others seriously injured. These people were targeted for practising their faith. This was a terrorist attack. It was an attack on our most intrinsic and cherished values as Canadians: values of openness, diversity, and freedom of religion.

Our hearts go out to the victims. These people were our fellow citizens, ordinary Canadians. They were brothers, uncles, fathers, and friends. These were people of faith and of community. In the blink of an eye, they were robbed of their lives in an act of brutal violence. I know that there is a deeply personal connection between the community and their member of Parliament. The member for Louis-Hébert knows them well and has joined them at the centre many times. He is with them as we speak.

I want to remind each and every one of my 337 colleagues that we are all leaders in our communities. It is at times like these that our communities need our leadership the most. It is at times like these that we must live up to the honour that we have been given to sit in this House and represent Canadians. We need to reach out to our friends and neighbours; we need to bring our communities together; and we need to be there for the people we represent. They need us.

I want to say to those who were injured, the victims’ families, the people of Quebec, and all Canadians that we will get to the bottom of this. Such an act of violence has no place in Canadian society.

I wish to express my deepest gratitude to the first responders and thank local police, municipal authorities, and the Government of Quebec. I want to assure all Canadians that we will work very closely together over the next few days.

I would also like to thank the many political and religious leaders from around the world who have reached to us out since last night’s events. Their thoughts and condolences have been greatly appreciated.

Canada has long been a diverse and accepting nation. We are kind, we are generous, and we embrace one another not in spite of our differences but because of them.

It is in tragic moments like this that we must come together in order to move forward. Canadians will not be broken by this violence. Our sense of spirit and our sense of unity will only strengthen.

The people who commit these acts mean to test our resolve and weaken our values. They aim to divide us, to sow discord and plant hatred. We will not close our minds. We will open our hearts.

Mr. Speaker, my friends, my fellow Canadians, let us strive to be the best version of ourselves in these dark hours.

To the more than one million Canadians who profess the Muslim faith, I want to say directly, we are with you; 36 million hearts are breaking with yours. Know that we value you. You enrich our shared country in immeasurable ways. It is your home.

Last night’s horrible crime against the Muslim community was an act of terror committed against Canada and all Canadians. We will grieve with you, we will defend you, we will love you, and we will stand with you. Over the coming days, let us take solace in one another. We will mourn this devastating attack and we will heal together as one community, as one country, and as one family.

Canadians will not be intimidated. We will not meet violence with more violence. We will meet fear and hatred with love and compassion, always.

MP Rona Ambrose (Leader of the Opposition, CPC):

Mr. Speaker, thank you for allowing me to speak today. Although debates in the House can often get heated, I know that today we are all united in our grief for the victims of yesterday’s heinous attack. Our caucus was gathered in Quebec City just last week. Quebec Winter Carnival was beginning just as our meetings were wrapping up.

This is supposed to be a fun time of year, when some of the coldest nights of the year become so warm and inviting.

Quebec City is warm and welcoming, and one of the safest cities in Canada, a point of pride for those who live there. It was the city of the victims of yesterday evening’s attack. It is a terrible shock to the region.

On behalf of the official opposition, I extend my deepest and most heartfelt condolences to the families of those who were killed in cold blood yesterday evening at the Centre culturel islamique de Québec.

Once again, the House is memorializing innocent people killed by cowardly attackers. We are offering our thoughts and prayers to families in Quebec City who today are mourning their fathers, husbands, brothers, and sons, innocent people who merely went to pray and will not be coming home. This terrorist attack strikes at the very heart of one of the freedoms we cherish as Canadians: the right to practise one’s faith, to worship without fear. It is the freedom to worship as people choose, with their fellow believers as a community, in safety and security.

We have profoundly defended that right for people around the world, but it is most meaningful to us in Canada. An attack against a place of worship, against people praying in a mosque, is an attack on these very freedoms. It negates the principles on which Canada was founded.

In the House we have our differences on many issues that are important to Canadians, but I know that every member of every caucus believes in the great Canadian tradition of pluralism, this peaceful coexistence of people of faith and different beliefs under the banner of Canadian citizenship.

That peace was broken yesterday evening in Sainte-Foy. This is not the first time this has happened in Canada, a country that enjoys relative peace in many ways.

Yet we must never be blind that such terrible motivations as hatred or ignorance persist. We cannot stand for it and we must be ready to meet it. This attack offers another sad reminder that our country is not immune to terrorism and demonstrates that we must always be vigilant against this threat.

Today, we are incredibly grateful for those who stand vigilant on our behalf, including the police and first responders, as well as the Canadian Forces and our intelligence agencies. We appreciate their swift response last night.

Later today, I will be joining the Prime Minister in Quebec City. I want to thank him for this opportunity to show all Canadians that we are united in our support for the victims and their loved ones. We will keep the victims of this crime and their families in our thoughts and prayers.

MP Thomas Mulcair (Outremont, NDP):

Mr. Speaker, as-salaam alaikum. Yesterday evening’s terrorist attack on the Centre culturel islamique de Québec has shaken our country. Families are mourning the loss of their loved ones and praying for those who are injured and fighting for their lives.

To all our Muslim brothers and sisters, we mourn with you and we pray for you. We promise that we will stand united and fight against hatred, bigotry, Islamophobia, and against those who peddle the politics of fear and division.

Today, people feel unsafe in their place of worship. Many feel unsafe in their communities.

That is just not something we can accept. This is not the Canada we believe in. It is not the type of society we want to live in. Canada is a country of diversity, peace, and inclusion. We cannot and we will not tolerate hate and violence.

Today our hearts are broken, but with love and hope, we come together with the shared belief that we will overcome.

MP Rhéal Fortin (Rivière-du-Nord, BQ):

Mr. Speaker, death came to a place of worship, armed with guns and hate to spread terror and despair.

Yesterday, six Quebeckers were murdered because of their beliefs. Five others are still in the hospital in critical condition for the same reason. Our hearts go out to them.

An unhealthy climate has taken hold in our society and across the western world. The Quebec City attack is the latest example of a climate of distrust and intolerance.

There is not enough love. That is clear from all of the information we are bombarded with on the news, in the newspapers, on the radio, and on social media about Syria, the ongoing attacks around the world, the calls for hatred, the abandoning of refugees for small political gains, radicalization, and the rejection of differences. There is not enough love.

We were all horrified by the Quebec City attack and we do not understand it. We do not understand this violence and barbarism. We do not understand how anyone could pull the trigger and kill people who are praying, people who talk and think differently. We strongly oppose, denounce, and condemn this violence that makes us feel sad, hopeless, angry, and ashamed. However, it is not something that we will ever understand or even begin to comprehend.

How could anyone do such a thing? It makes no sense. Such a thing should not be. This must stop. We are in desperate need of love and solidarity.

Yes, we stand with our fellow citizens in the Muslim community. We stand with families and friends who lost a loved one yesterday for no good reason. Our hearts go out to the children and spouses of the victims of this senseless, cowardly massacre.

We stand with all those who mourn the senseless loss of the Quebec City shooting victims. We stand with all those who are ashamed of what happened at the Centre culturel islamique de Québec, ashamed that it happened in our country, ashamed that January 29, 2017, will forever be a black day in our history.

We stand with all Quebeckers affected by this incident, with everyone around the world who is stunned by what happened yesterday. We mourn with them. We will also stand together to find solutions. This must stop.

Today we mourn the deaths of Muslim Quebeckers. Now is the time for tears, for solidarity, for love. Tomorrow, we will reflect and find solutions. Canadians can count on us.

MP Elizabeth May (Saanich—Gulf Islands, GP):

Mr. Speaker, as-salaam alaikum; peace be upon Canadians.

It is a great honour to speak to my colleagues today. I second everything that my colleagues, the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition, said. It is clear that all members of Parliament are united. I share their feelings and wish to express my condolences.

At the same time, when we know we have no words, and my colleague, the leader of the Bloc, said it best, we do not understand. This is Canada. This is Quebec City. This is a mosque where innocents gathered to worship. We know that much, but we cannot understand it because it is so out of order. It does not belong in Canada. It feels as if it could not possibly have happened, and yet it did.

We will pray. We will work. We will reject intolerance and hatred. We will say, as our Prime Minister has said, to every Muslim member of the Canadian family, that today we are all Muslims. We stand with you. We will never let there be daylight between a Christian, a Jew, a Sikh, an atheist, and a Muslim in our country.

We are Canadians, and we stand together in love.

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About CIJnews Staff

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