Northern leaders react to Parliament Hill shooting

“I lost of bit of my innocence following what happened today,” says Nunavik’s MP

By NUNATSIAQ NEWS

Staff with Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami laid a card and an Inuksuk carving Oct. 24 at the National War Memorial in Ottawa in honour of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, who was killed there on Wednesday. The memorial is just a block away from ITK's office. (PHOTO COURTESY OF ITK)


Staff with Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami laid a card and an Inuksuk carving Oct. 24 at the National War Memorial in Ottawa in honour of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, who was killed there on Wednesday. The memorial is just a block away from ITK’s office. (PHOTO COURTESY OF ITK)

Northern reactions to the Oct. 22 shooting on Parliament Hill poured in Oct. 23, with many paying homage to Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, the 24-year-old reservist shot and killed while guarding the National War Memorial.

“Corporal Cirillo will forever be remembered as a great Canadian,” said Nunavut MP Leona Aglukkaq in an Oct. 23 release. “I would also like to extend our thoughts and prayers to those affected and recovering from yesterday’s heinous attack.”

After shooting Cirillo, police say gunman Michael Zehaf-Bibeau entered the Parliament buildings and opened fire. Soon afterwards, Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers shot and killed him.

As of 1 p.m., Oct. 22, Parliament Hill was locked down and a nearby section of downtown Ottawa remained blockaded into the evening.

“I owe my deepest gratitude to Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers and the rest of our first responders and police forces,” Aglukkaq said.

“I will never forget the personal risk that these brave women and men went through yesterday in order to protect those of us at Parliament and ensure that we made it home to our families.”

A number of MPs and their staff remained under lockdown in Parliament Hill offices and caucus meeting rooms until well into the evening Oct. 22, including Nunavik’s MP, Romeo Saganash.

In a phone interview with Radio Canada from Parliament Hill Oct. 22, Saganash said “never in my life did I think I’d hear a sound like that, in an institution like the Parliament.”

“I lost of bit of my innocence following what happened today,” he said.

In an Oct. 23 release, the NDP’s Abitibi-James Bay-Nunavik-Eeyou riding association called on Quebeckers and Canadians to “work together to overcome this tragedy.”

“Let’ all pull together to help those in greatest need and to ensure that we heed the lessons of this tragedy,” said the release. “We won’t succumb to hate and terror.”

Only blocks from Parliament Hill, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami’s Albert St.-office was within the locked-down perimeter created by police Oct. 22

“We thank the Canadian Forces, RCMP, Ottawa Police and other security personnel who kept us and other Canadians safe. Thank you for facing this unnerving situation with courage and professionalism,” said ITK president Terry Audla in an Oct. 23 release.

Audla also thanked government and opposition leaders for their leadership during a time of crisis.

“Canada needs cooperation and strong governance now as much as ever before,” he said.

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