What we didn’t do

Over $12 billion has been spent by the federal government on increased security since 9-11. The question of whether that was the best way to protect ourselves needs to be asked.  In the wake of the murder of Corporal Nathan Cirillo on October 22, 2014, we need to ask what could have been done to protect him. More security around the War Memorial before which he stood, unarmed, in ceremonial guard? Or more programmes to address the mental instability and drug addiction of his assailant?

To answer that question we need to correctly analyze the crime. When we declare it was an act of terrorism, as does Mr. Harper, the steps we should take move in the direction of more guns and higher walls.

Was he a terrorist?

The assailant was so desperate to break his addictions that in 2012 he turned himself in to Vancouver police, claiming he had committed armed robbery in Quebec. Finding no record of the alleged incident, the police sent him away. That night, he sharpened a stick and tried to rob a McDonald’s. He sat outside waiting for the police. Before the judge, he begged for a long jail sentence. He told the judge he wanted counselling to break his addiction to crack cocaine.

Nathan Cirillo’s killer never got the help he needed. What I wish with all my heart is that Nathan Cirillo was still with us; that his son would grow up knowing him; that he had never become famous by being murdered. And in that wish, I wish that the Vancouver judge in 2012 had been able to send the man who would become his killer to a mental health and addiction facility. For a fraction of the cost of all the additional security, we could have saved two lives.