Charlie Hebdo Paris shooting: Harper, Mulcair condemn attack

Prime Minister Stephen Harper and NDP Leader Tom Mulcair led politicians across Canada in condemning today's attacks at the Paris offices of satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo.

Canada's PM, Opposition leader express horror, call shootings 'terrorism'

Canadian politicians condemn Paris attack

8 years ago
Duration 2:34
Immigration Minister Chris Alexander, Opposition Leader Tom Mulcair and Liberal MP Marc Garneau condemn 'horrendous' attack on French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper and NDP Leader Tom Mulcair led politicians across Canada in condemning today's attacks at the Paris offices of satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo.

In his statement, Harper called the shootings a terrorist attack. Prompted by a reporter during a press conference called to react to the shootings, Mulcair agreed that the available facts fit with the definition of terrorism.

The comments by Harper and Mulcair echo the sentiments of French President François Hollande, who told reporters: "This is a terrorist attack, there is no doubt about it." Hollande also added that French police have thwarted other such attacks in recent weeks.

Mulcair said it was important for him to come to Ottawa's National Press Theatre to "show solidarity with journalists and all those who defend freedom of speech around the world."

New Democrats stand with the world in condemning this senseless violence, he said.

Mulcair, with many members of his wife's family living in and around Paris, said he had spoken to her about the attacks earlier and their "solidarity with the French people is unshakable."

"Everybody in the world who treasures values like freedom of expression, freedom of religion and freedom of assembly understands importance of standing up to this," he said.

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau reacted on Twitter on Wednesday morning, condemning the "horrific attacks," and expressing his condolences and support "to the people of France, the victims, and their families."

Liberal foreign affairs critic Marc Garneau told CBC News the attacks were the work of "an extremist group that doesn't tolerate the rights and freedoms that we cherish so much in a democracy, and for this very reason we have to push back very hard."

'No country is immune'

Meeting reporters at an event in Toronto, Immigration Minister Chris Alexander compared the shooting in Paris with the recent attacks at a Sydney, Australia, café, and on soldiers in Saint-Jean-sur Richelieu, Que., and at the National War Memorial and on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, saying it shows that no country is immune to the "ravages of terrorism."

NDP Leader Tom Mulcair told reporters in Ottawa Wednesday that he felt it was important to come to the National Press Theatre specifically to show his solidarity with those who operate in a trade where not everyone always agrees with what they say. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)
"Our determination remains strong never to be intimidated by these threats," Alexander said. "Our solidarity with France and the people of France is obviously profound."

Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney said the attacks were "outrageous" and said the government would continue to move forward with legislation to protect Canadians from terror threats.

"As we've been saying for months now, we have to remain vigilant," Blaney told host Evan Solomon in an interview to air on CBC News Network's Power & Politics at 5 p.m. ET. The minister did not comment on any specific measures taken in response to the events in Paris.

Mulcair noted that the shootings come at a "tough time" in Ottawa, crediting House of Commons Speaker Andrew Scheer with bringing together different jurisdictions to respond to new security threats.

Mulcair said he had to be discreet about his personal security issues, but the RCMP had been made aware of new concerns recently.

European Union and French flags were lowered to half-mast outside the French embassy in Ottawa Wednesday, after the shootings at the office of satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo. (CBC)
In Ottawa, the flags at the French Embassy were lowered to half-mast.

The Canadian Embassy in France changed its Twitter avatar to the image "Je Suis Charlie," joining an online campaign of solidarity with the slain staff from the targeted newspaper. 

John Babcock, a spokesman for the Foreign Affairs Department, said staff at the Canadian Embassy in Paris were "monitoring events closely and taking appropriate security measures" but would not comment on specific security precautions.

As of late Wednesday morning, Canada's Department of National Defence told CBC News that it had made no specific changes to its security at home or overseas, but continued to monitor the situation.

Harper 'angered and saddened'

A statement released Wednesday morning from Harper's office said:

“I am angered and saddened to hear of the terrorist attack today in the offices of the Parisian news magazine “Charlie Hebdo,” which has killed at least 12 individuals, including two police officers. 

“On behalf of all Canadians, I offer my deepest condolences to the family and friends of those who lost their lives during this heinous crime and wish a speedy recovery to those injured. The perpetrators of this attack must be apprehended and brought to justice.

“This barbaric act, along with recent attacks in Sydney, Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu and Ottawa, is a grim reminder that no country is immune to the types of terrorist attacks we have seen elsewhere around the world.

“Canada and its allies will not be intimidated and will continue to stand firmly together against terrorists who would threaten the peace, freedom and democracy our countries so dearly value. Canadians stand with France on this dark day.”