EDITORIAL: Privacy protections need check after Ottawa shooting

A foolish, misled shooter and others who buy into grandiose sense of purpose shouldn’t justify weaker privacy protections in Canada

A mid-morning shooting on the outskirts of Parliament Hill took the life of a reservist Wednesday just before gunshots rang through the halls of Centre Block at the Houses of Parliament.

Hundreds of staff and MPs – including Victoria MP Murray Rankin and Prime Minister Stephen Harper – slid under desks and behind cabinets just metres from the shooter.

The immediate, effective response from RCMP officers and particularly from sergeant-at-arms Kevin Vickers (brother of Victoria festival organizer John Vickers) in the moments that followed surely saved lives. That’s to be praised and commended.

Major news outlets are already asking if “U.S.-style” terrorism attacks are now an anticipated state of affairs in Canada. But as that conversation arises around your dinner table, in your office, amongst the parents at your local playground, remember that there are some politicians who wait to capitalize on public sympathy brought on by collective fear.

As Churchill famously said: “Never let a good crisis go to waste.”

So for those who take to social media to talk about a new, post-shooting world full of heightened security checks that require increased government spying powers, think about the freedoms you’re potentially surrendering by accepting these changes as inevitable.

A foolish, misled shooter and others who buy into a grandiose sense of purpose shouldn’t be given the additional power to take away our delicate freedoms in Canada.

After several bombs ripped apart tube trains and double decker buses in 2005, Londoners woke up the next day and went back to work as an intentional act of defiance against these silly, morally void radicals.

If indeed there is a terrorist component to Wednesday’s shooting, don’t allow that fact to paralyze your critical analysis of government policy.

And certainly don’t let the federal government roll out increased monitoring and security measures masked as action against terrorism.