Canada Lawmakers to Introduce Terrorist Legislation Following Fatal Shooting and Lockdown

The Canadian flag flies at half-staff on top of the Peace Tower on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Thursday.Wall Street Journal – by PAUL VIEIRA and BEN DUMMETT

OTTAWA—Canada’s federal government said it would introduce legislation as soon as Thursday giving the country’s police and intelligence services greater powers to counter potential terrorist threats.

The planned move took on special significance as lawmakers and public servants here tried to resume their daily routine a day after Ottawa was rocked by a shooting that left a soldier and the suspected shooter dead, forcing a lockdown of the capital for hours.  

Prime Minister Stephen Harper said in Parliament on Thursday that laws and police powers had to be bolstered in the areas of surveillance, detention and arrest.

“I assure members that work which is already under way will be expedited,” he said.

Police confirmed there was only one shooter, who was killed inside the country’s Parliament building Wednesday after killing the soldier at a nearby war monument. Canadian officials didn’t identify the alleged gunman, but U.S. authorities named him as Michael Zehaf-Bibeau.

Mr. Zehaf-Bibeau attended Collège Laval, a private Montreal-area high school, in the late 1990s, according to a person familiar with the matter. He was charged in December 2011 in Vancouver with one count of robbery and uttering threats, according to court documents. He later pled guilty, spent a day in jail and paid fine of 100 Canadian dollars ($88.90).

Officials didn’t offer a motive for the crime, which Mr. Harper called a terrorist act in a televised address to Canadians late Wednesday. The victim was identified as Cpl. Nathan Cirillo.

In a message emailed to the Associated Press, Susan Bibeau and Bulgasem Zehaf, who identified themselves as the gunman’s parents, apologized “for all the pain, fright and chaos” Mr. Zehaf-Bibeau caused. Ms. Bibeau said she saw her son last week for the first time in five years, “so I have very little insight to offer.” The parents expressed their condolences to Cpl. Cirillo’s family.

In a brief telephone call with the AP on Thursday, Ms. Bibeau said she was crying for the victims of the shooting, not her son.

“Can you ever explain something like this?” she said. “We are sorry.”

Late Wednesday, Canada’s parliamentary speaker, Andrew Scheer, said lawmakers would return to work Thursday to send a “clear message of Canada’s resolve to maintain its free and democratic way of life.” Public servants were also told they could return to work. Ottawa police Wednesday night lifted a security perimeter that had encircled much of the downtown core after the shootings.

Underscoring the challenges of returning to normalcy, Ottawa police arrested a man early Thursday for trying to break through a barricade while Prime Minister Stephen Harper was laying a wreath at the National War Memorial to commemorate the death of the solider killed Wednesday. The unarmed man has not been charged, a police spokesman said.

Mr. Zihaf-Bibeau was shot by Kevin Vickers, the Canadian House of Commons’ sergeant-at-arms. As Mr. Vickers entered the chamber Thursday to open the day’s parliamentary session, lawmakers gave him a lengthy standing ovation.

An Ottawa police spokesman said Thursday that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Canada’s national police force, had assumed control of the investigation. An RCMP spokeswoman said the force would provide an update on the probe sometime Thursday.

Parliamentary documents indicated that one of the first pieces of legislation the government would consider Thursday was one that would provide extra powers, in particular, to the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, the country’s main spy agency. The additional powers would make it easier for security officials to monitor individuals suspected of being radicalized. The proposed legislation would also help officials prevent their return to Canada from conflict regions and combat any threat posed by the Islamic State militant group.

The Canadian government first indicated its intention to introduce the new powers earlier this month. Last year, the government passed legislation making it a crime to leave or attempt to leave the country to engage in terrorist activity.

Experts have described Wednesday’s attack as a major failure in security, in which as many as 30 shots were fired within Parliament’s main building, and one that could starkly alter the way that Canada deals with such threats.

The shooting occurred as Canada was already on heightened alert after two soldiers were run over on Monday in the province of Quebec by a Canadian man whom authorities were investigating for terror links. One of the soldiers was killed in the hit-and-run; the assailant was shot and killed after a police chase.

“We should have been prepared. This rightly should be considered a monumental failure of security,” Mubin Shaikh, a former undercover operative for the RCMP and CSIS, said Wednesday.

General Tom Lawson, chief of Canada’s defense staff, said late Wednesday his staff plans to evaluate “the need for additional security measures at Canadian Armed Forces installations within the [Ottawa region] and elsewhere in Canada.”

—David George-Cosh contributed to this article.

3 thoughts on “Canada Lawmakers to Introduce Terrorist Legislation Following Fatal Shooting and Lockdown

  1. Hey, how about that. It’s like they already had something drafted up but nah, couldn’t be another hoax that zionist PM Harper would perpetrate to turn the screws a bit tighter on dissidents, could it?

  2. “I assure members that work which is already under way will be expedited,” he [Harper] said.”

    The “work” that Harper will “expedite” has been “under way” for over 10-years. Mexico wasn’t a problem… but I thought that Canada would try to avoid being annexed by the North American Union (NAU).

    The never ending story of State-Sponsored Terrorism (aka: False Flags) has taken Canada as its next victim. The USA already has an agreement with Canada to allow each others’ troops unfettered movement back and forth across the border. However, as the “alleged” terrorists ramp-up their activities, it will be determined that both Nations’ security will be stronger if we are “united” rather than “divided” by that unnecessary Canadian border.

    Just look how well things have improved in the USA since Obama dropped our Southern border with Mexico.

    Is it time for Plan-B yet?

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