Last Wednesday morning started as a typical morning. I travelled to Ottawa from my home in St. Andrew’s West, attended our Eastern and Northern Ontario Regional Caucus meeting, and then began to Chair our regular National Conservative Caucus meeting in Centre Block at 9:30 a.m.
With the meeting just underway, things changed instantly when the sound of gunshots rang through the Hall of Honour and our adjacent meeting room. I won’t recall the minute by minute moments of the day, but it was certainly an experience that was tense, saddening, and emotional for many colleagues, and Canadians across the country.
I have been overwhelmed by the caring emails, calls, and messages of concern from friends and neighbours throughout Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry in the aftermath of the tragedy. It means a lot as your federal representative that so many of you took the time to check on the well-being of both my staff and I. We are grateful for the security team on Parliament Hill that did a great job on Wednesday morning.
Most importantly, our sympathies and condolences continue to be with the families of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo and Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent during this difficult time. Our country suffered the loss of two brave men who were dedicated in their service to making our country a better and safer place. Their lives and their contributions will not be forgotten. My Cornwall constituency office has a book of condolences where local residents can offer their sympathies to the families.
I was very supportive of ensuring that the House of Commons and activity on the Hill returned to normal the following day. My staff and I returned to our office and went back to work. As the Prime Minister said last week, we will not be intimidated by those who attempt to instill fear in our lives.
Canadians can be assured our government will expedite legislation to ensure our military, police, and security forces have the necessary resources to combat extremism in all forms. We have committed to bringing these enhancements and changes to the House of Commons in the very near future.
In the meantime, from a grateful Member of Parliament, please accept my thanks again for your concern last week. More importantly, thank you for your strong and patriotic outpouring to commemorate the lives of Cpl. Cirillo and W.O. Vincent this past week. Particularly, I know many constituents from the area joined Canadians along Highway 416 and the Highway of Heroes Friday to wave flags and pay tribute to Cpl. Cirillo. I’ve never been more proud of my constituents and our country.
Let’s commit to remember their lives and service to Canada by continuing to stand for what they did: freedom, democracy, and a great quality of life here at home. Together we can show our profound respect to our veterans on Remembrance Day by attending a local ceremony.