On Parliament Hill, an attack on Canada itself



I hope the Official Opposition can get word to enough Canadians before the next election, word that demonstrates just how shitty things can get.

I wonder if the NDP could afford to pay for every Canadian to pass through a mock TSA checkpoint as their entry point to a new Harper’s Canada? Or a new Liberal Canada, given that they would be unlikely to stand against security state measures or repeal them if they gain power again.

edit typos


I’m reminded of a quote from the Vorkosigan Saga. “My home is not a place. It is people.” Well stated, Cory.


I’m forwarding a copy of this to my MP. Thanks, Cory.


How do we know what he died for? Why do you get to speak for him and declaim the reasons why he enlisted, and the values (if any) he sought to protect? Can we infer anything about the strength of his alleged values from the fact he was a reservist, and not a full-time member?

And since it is apparently legitimate to impute values to people based on their actions and how they have voted with their feet, what should we make of Cory’s stirring defence of Canada’s liberal values (and their appeal to immigrants) when he has chosen to emigrate from Canada to a country that is significantly less liberal, and more authoritarian?


I’m still wondering why people aren’t asking how it is that a man with a criminal record, and a history of mental illness, living a homeless shelter managed to get long gun. A shame we can’t check the registry to find out. Because, you know, doing something about THAT actually would improve my sense of security.


I agree fully with the sentiment expressed here! To characterize the “Harper” governments response to the shooting as an additional attack on Canadian values, yes, that is it. There is already this rhetoric being spewed from the media that we “have lost our innocence” and that “Canada will never be the same”, which is so much bullshit and tripe. We are the same nation we were last week. Surely we lost our “innocence (whatever that means)” during WW 2? I watched how the msm (CTV, Global, CBC) fell into this rote statement and now seem stuck in an endless loop, while failing to provide a lot of important details to the shooting, or at least some realistic orientation and context. Phrases like these serve to make the new proposed changes seem inevitable, indeed, like they ve already happened. The endless parade of security “experts” (at least one of whom I noticed was part of a conservative “think tank”) gleefully rolling out their opinion that Canada s security is weak, that we were bound to wake up etc. was dreadful (how can these guys so willingly point out how badly they are doing their jobs is beyond me). The only misgivings I have about this (Mr. Doctorows) piece is perhaps the beginning, the whole “attack on canada…” thing, strikes me as sentimental hyperbole - and I know a lot of people genuinely feel that way about the attack, but it was just one guy with a gun, apparently with no real connections to a terrorist group. The other thing is this guy was most likely mentally ill, genuinely ill, and his illness says as much about our “canadian values” as much as anything else. His attack was hardly well planned and executed. I think that if this attack has any national symbolic value (such as an "attack on canada…type stuff), it s that it did happen at the war memorial and that Canada had just blithely joined a war with little or no debate or worry.


Here we go again with the Holy Gun Registry. The magical solution to all firearm problems.

Handguns are still registered as they have always been since 1934. It has never stopped gangsters, street gangs, drug traffickers and other scumbags from carrying them.

Also, the long gun registry has been abolished for nearly 3 years now and there is no statistical evidences of crimes or suicides with firearms going up. I guess the registry was not preventing thousands of crimes and suicides.


Amen, Cory. It’s simply disingenuous to call every new act of a lone, unbalanced individual terrorism. A word with so much loaded baggage now that it’s become meaningless. Still quite useful for inducing fear, unfortunately. And once we fear, we become much more useful to the dark side.


What is astonishing is our utter inability to learn from history. (Pace Godwin,) one Reichstag fire would have been enough, you would think. But no, again and again and again, and we fall for it every time.

Could you imagine Winston Churchill hiding in a closet? Or Roosevelt? Or Trudeau for that matter?

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What I can imagine is that the same people laughing at Harper hiding in a closet would have protested and called him a dictator if he had augmented security at Parliement Hill before this recent attack.

Well, something has stopped Canada from having the incidence of gun crimes that we see in the US. Apparently it’s not gun control. And I guess it’s not laws against crimes involving firearms, either, since they’ve been used in these crimes even though it has long been illegal to do so. Since neither gun control nor criminal law is completely effective, maybe we should abolish both?

Incidentally, I was watching CNN a few hours after the shooting. Some commentator suggested that since the gunman wasn’t killed by an actual police officer, but a retired officer who just happened to have a gun (the commentator neglected to mention that although retired from the police, Vickers is Parliament’s Sergeant at Arms), this was evidence that this whole thing could have been stopped earlier if we just had more members of the public carrying guns (and in Parliament, no less).


I know right!?

He was just standing there guarding the National War Memorial. We have no evidence of why.

Probably just padding his resume. That is at least as likely as it having anything to do with the vows he took, the service he agreed to. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Argyll_and_Sutherland_Highlanders_of_Canada_(Princess_Louise's) None of these can infer anything about the man. The stuff people who knew him said was just PR.

It would be wrong to impute anything based on the evidence of his actions. If he were here he would doubtless take offence.

As for Cory, fucking immigrants, amiright? You can’t trust them. Look at the way he spoke about what he thought of recent events. He was obviously speaking directly for the deceased. Why should he get to do that? He didn’t have permission to express what he discerned of the situation if he failed to provide the standard disclaimer announcing he is not actually God.

*the writer of this post is also not God and any opinions expressed are expressed opinions

edit for /s, since it is probably necessary.

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Some of it regarding handguns is doubtless the result of strict gun control. Long rifles are plentiful here.

It is far, far more to do with out social safety nets. People don’t get as desperate here & by and large when they do they are dealt with in a civilized manner compared with many places. Both these are however being quickly eroded by the current govt.

That commentator is a freakin idjit. Wow.


I know, right? Like those guys who went to Somalia in 1993. We have no evidence of why. Probably just for the money. Or maybe because they liked shooting guns. This is at least as likely as the vows they took and the service they agreed to.

I think you’re missing my point. Cory has suggested that people migrate to Canada because of its pluralistic, liberal values. Cory has migrated away from Canada, to the UK. Can we infer anything about the relative plurality and liberalness of the two countries based on his migration? Or do other factors also come into play?

Perhaps this is the only failure of the Harper government as well, as they also seek to politicize this reservist’s death.

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Well, for one, to be close to the woman (women, now) he loves. For two, because the UK has socialized medicine - one of the reasons he doesn’t live in the 'States any more.


Here’s a question: are our narratives of a nationalist and patriotic sort formative self-fulfilling prophecies, or are they cover for behaviour that is contrary to those narratives?

If you believe the former, then the United States is the most free nation on earth, and its military actions around the world are efforts to spread freedom. It seems to me that BoingBoing in general is properly skeptical. If you believe the latter, then American military actions around the world in strategically important regions since say, World War 2 were about neocolonialism.

If you believe the former, then First Nations people were about living in harmony with the land. If you believe the latter, than you take in what the archeological record shows: First Nations societies deforested the vast region that we now know as the Prairies, they overfished, and they consumed the resources around them to the extent that their particular circumstances and technologies permitted.

If you believe the former, then Canadians are all about peacekeeping, friendliness, and environmental concern. If you believe the latter, then you believe that Canadians are a junior partner in the effort to tame and exploit Afghanistan and surrounding regions. You believe that Canada is a global power in mining — an industry in which everything above the ground is in the way. You also believe that Canada was a key player in the overthrow of Aristide, the democratically elected leader of Haiti.

If you believe the former, you will find confirmation for your views in the mainstream media, and in stirring self-propaganda of even more skeptically-minded thinkers such as Cory Doctorow. If you believe the latter, you will know to eschew that echo chamber, and you will look at the facts.

If you believe the latter, you can’t feel, and say this:

My Canada, the Canada I am proud to return to, the Canada I talk to my daughter about, is a Canada that embraces freedom, the rule of law, multiculturalism, and evidence-based policy. The Parliament Hill shooter did not commit an offense against a particular piece of geography, he took aim against those values.

I for one, talk to my son about the ubiquitous effect of clouded judgement that nationalism and patriotism have, and how this modern world has produced the most powerful propaganda systems in the world — one in which we are participants. I will make sure he understands that nationalism and patriotism are the primary vectors by which the doctrinal system does its work.

Canada as a nationalistic idea stands for lots of things. What it really stands for nothing. Hopefully, Canda as a nationalistic idea will some day not even exist to make its claims. Hopefully, Canada as a nation will continue the dissolution of its nationalism-based definition of self, which was ushered in unbeknownst to us by the political union of very different cultures, languages, and historical backgrounds. Make no mistake: our Canada has Steven Harpers and Peter Gzowskis, just as does every collection of humans on earth. As a collection of human beings within a democracy, we strive to persuade each other to do the right thing. We do so based on what we think is the right thing, not on a definition of ourselves that is floating in another dimension than do the facts…

Not exactly elegant an pithy. I know why Cory Doctorow gets paid to write and I don’t. But my goal is to see in my child not a chest swelling with pride, but a solemly furrowed brow.

For some of the values inherent in our narratives (and those that I would cherry-pick from any nationalistic narrative), I hope is that, despite being lies and half-truths within a fundamental deception, they serve to shape our behaviour. On a day like today, I suspect that the powers within the model of cognitive dissonance are just too strong for such an effect to win the day.

I do believe that at bottom, if we simply work to see our nationalistic impulse for what it is, we are better equipped to create expectations based on our examined values rather than on passed-down and largely fictional narratives, and we are better equipped to shut down the vector by which propaganda, and self-propaganda do their work.


Is there a nicely written letter available yet which can be signed and sent to our MPs, to try nudging them against voting for such laws?

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I read it as the attack on Canada coming from Mr. Blaney and his ilk.

Culture, not laws, the US is very different despite superficially appearing similar to Canada. The violent answer to problems is much closer at hand to Americans. Canadians, Swiss, and others can actually be trusted with the weapons that are too dangerous for a dangerous culture.
You could hand out a Gatling gun full of ammo to every person in Japan and I doubt it would have much effect on the gun crime statistics.