By Eileen Jones
Jan. 16 2015
Wayne Easter knows terrorism. He should.
The MP from Malpeque was once the solicitor general for Ottawa. He was also present the day of the shooting at Parliament Hill.
“When I was in charge of intelligence and the RCMP, I had intel from M16 in England and the CIA on my desk. There’s always been threats. The only difference here is these threats are public.”
He made the comment during a meeting with journalism students at Holland College on Jan.16.
Canadians were shocked by last years’ Parliament Hill shooting, but Easter says he does not believe it was done with al-Qaeda’s help. And it shouldn’t change how we live our lives.
“We can’t compromise our values and what we are made of for fear.”
The recent attacks on the offices of Charlie Hebdo, a French satirical newspaper, was set off by a cartoon depicting the prophet Muhammad. It raised questions of ethics surrounding journalism and when it’s right or wrong to publish something controversial.
Greg Mulock is the editor of the Miramichi Leader, a newspaper in Miramichi, N.B. He would not publish the cartoon, he said.
“The way I look at it, it’s not worth the backlash. I would not publish something to offend the pope, as an example. It’s a matter of being senseless to other people’s beliefs, whether you think so or not. But this is different, because they have a satirical newspaper.
“It’s part of the job for people, and it’s noble calling to go put your life out there and protect the truth.”
When asked if the atmosphere of his news office has changed, or if his journalists feel scared, he said no.
“It makes our stress seem a whole lot lesser.”
Easter recalled an event in England when a teenager who went into a bar strapped with dynamite and killed 17 people.
“There was a video released after of the dad saying he was proud of her for what she did. The mentality of a father who was proud of his daughter for blowing herself up and hurting others, I will never understand. This is a new world we live in.
“They are a threat to the western world and I can’t understand their mentality. For some reason, they hate our democracy and our values.”
Easter outlined various changes in security at Parliament Hill over the past few months, but otherwise he seems unshaken.
“That risk will always be there. That’s why we have security detail.”
Mulock said he’s just grateful not to work in threatening conditions.
“Here, we’re fortunate enough to be in a climate with only city councillors or MPs, and they won’t throw a grenade at you,” he said with a laugh.