Canadians react to bin Laden's death

Canadians affected directly by the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks were left grappling with their emotions after learning of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden's death.

'I'm in shock': daughter of Canadian killed in 9/11

Canadians affected directly by the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks grapple with their emotions after learning of Osama bin Laden's death 2:38

Canadians affected directly by the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks were left grappling with their emotions after learning Monday of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden's death.

"I'm trying to understand how I feel about it," said Erica Basnicki, whose father, Ken, of Toronto, was killed in the attacks while he was on a business trip. 

"I'm in shock," she said. "I actually never thought this would be news I'd hear."

Although she says she stops short of celebrating his death, she understands that reaction in others. "I feel a sense of closure a little bit, [but] for me, it's not the end result I was hoping for."

The world reacts

Bin Laden's death sent shock waves around the world. Here's a look at the reaction:

"I don't feel like cheering. Maybe that makes me odd," Basnicki said.

Montreal resident Bob Ewart lost his daughter and son-in-law in the Sept. 11 attacks. His thoughts echoed Basnicki's.

"Good riddance to a person the world can do without, but beyond that I can't say that I feel any great feeling one way or another towards it," he told CBC News on Monday. "It doesn't make the world a safer place with his death."

"It certainly does not replace my daughter in any way," he said. "I never felt any great need for vengeance," adding that he thinks about his daughter Meredith and her husband Peter every day. They both worked in the collapsed south tower of the World Trade Centre.

For Burlington, Ont., resident Hans Gerhardt, whose son Ralph was killed in the attack on the World Trade Centre towers, news of bin Laden's death brought "a sweet-sour kind of victory, a muted victory."

"It brought back all the emotions, you know, of what we lost, and the terror of 9/11 itself and, you know, Ralph's girlfriend Linda and her family and the many families we met," Gerhardt told CBC News Network.

In Winnipeg, bin Laden's death brought back the events of Sept. 11 for Ellen Judd. Her partner, Christine Egan, died in the bombing of the World Trade Center.

Judd said the world is a better place today than it was 10 years ago.

Politicians weigh in

Canadians political leaders warned not to get complacent, despite the al-Qaeda leader's death.

"Canada receives the news of the death of Osama bin Laden with sober satisfaction," Prime Minister Stephen Harper said in British Columbia. "Sadly, others will take his place," Harper said.

NDP Leader Jack Layton said he hopes the death of bin Laden "marks a turning point in the war on terrorism." Layton also offered his party's "deep appreciation" for people in uniform who work to make the world safer.

On Monday, Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff welcomed news of bin Laden's death while reminding Canadians to remain cautious.

"No question, it's a moment of victory for everybody who loves democracy and loves freedom," he said. "I hope it makes the world safer [but] we'll have to remain vigilant because there's a network out there."

"Most of the people to whom he appealed have rejected his call for violence. And I think that right now we're living in a world with much better possibilities than we did a decade ago."

David Barkway of Toronto — who was born and raised in Cornwall, Ont. — was among the 24 Canadians killed in New York during the attacks. He had been on the 105th floor of the World Trade Centre. His widow, Cindy Barkway, was pregnant with their second child when he died.

She woke Monday morning to news that the mastermind behind the attacks was dead.

"It doesn't change the reality of my life … but he was reponsible for the murder of my husband and he was continuing his campaign of violence, so I'm happy they got him," she said.

The Canadian government has warned Canadians in Pakistan to exercise caution, as the security situation might be volatile in the short term.

"Canadians are advised to avoid large gatherings and demonstrations, and to stay away from areas where they may take place, as they could turn violent without warning," says an email to those who registered with the Canadian Embassy in Pakistan.

Judd said she's also conscious of the suffering of people of Afghanistan, where al-Qaeda was harboured.

"The people of Afghanistan are suffering very much the same way as those of us here did, and my heart goes out to all of the people of Afghanistan," said Judd.

About 950 Canadian soldiers will remain in Afghanistan after 2011 to serve as trainers, where they will teach Afghan soldiers in classrooms and on bases.

Since 2002, 155 Canadian soldiers have been killed while serving in the mission.

Warrant Officer Gabriel Bernard, of Moncton, N.B., who is stationed on the Canadian patrol base outside Salavat, Afghanistan, hoped bin Laden's death would be "a step forward toward world peace and a resolution for the conflict here in Afghanistan, and Afghan people can live happy and healthy and prosper."

"It's another indication that we are winning the war and making strides in the right direction," he said.