OTTAWA, ON. (NEWS 1130) – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is calling yesterday’s shooting at a mosque in Quebec City a “terrorist attack.”
An emotional Trudeau stood up in the House of Commons and addressed the nation and he directly spoke to Muslim-Canadians to let them know they are not alone. “We will grieve with you. We will defend you. We will love you and we will stand with you.”
He added that the hearts of 36 million Canadians were breaking along with the more than one million Muslim-Canadians nation-wide. “We are with you and know that we value you. You enrich our shared country in immeasurable ways. It is your home. Last night’s horrible crime against the Muslim community was an act of terror committed against Canada and against all Canadians.”
Trudeau encouraged people to try and find solace in the coming days. “Canada has long been a diverse and accepting nation. We are kind. We are generous and we embrace one another, not in spite of our differences, but because of them. It is in tragic moments like this that we must come together in order to move forward.”
He continued to say that Canadians will not be broken by a violent crime like what happened on Sunday night. “Our sense of spirit and our sense of unity will only strengthen. The people who commit these acts mean to test our resolve and weaken our values. They aim to divide us… and to plan hatred — we will not close our minds, we will open our hearts.”
Trudeau also stressed that Canadians would not be intimidated by the attack and that violence would not be met with more violence. “Reach out to your friends and neighbours. Gather your communities. Be there for their people, for your people. They need you.”
Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale says there is no change in Canada’s terror threat level and admits ‘lone-wolf’ attacks can be difficult to investigate.
Trudeau and Federal Conservative Party Leader Rona Ambrose and Federal NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair will be in Quebec this evening.
LISTEN: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks in the House of Commons
One arrested after mass shooting
Several police agencies in Quebec City are teaming together to nail down a motive following last night’s shooting during evening prayers at a mosque.
Six people are dead between the ages of 39 and 60 and more than a dozen others are injured. And doctors say five people who were injured in the shooting are listed in critical condition in the hospital.
Police say one suspect was arrested at the scene, while a second called 911 from his car, saying he was armed but wanted to cooperate with investigators. However, police later confirmed one of the two was no longer being treated as a suspect, but as a witness.
Investigators are releasing very few details about the suspects. They say the two are in their 20s or early 30s and are not known to police. They are not releasing where the pair is from or what charges could be laid. “The management team against terrorism was deployed [last night,] in support to response to the Quebec City Police force,” say police. “We are all working together. We are attacking terrorism through prevention and response to any event.”
RCMP say security at mosques around the city was increased immediately following the shooting and that remained in place for morning prayers. Seventy-five police officers of the Quebec Provincial Police are working in conjunction with other agencies to collect as much evidence as possible. Profilers have also been brought in to help police.
Mounties addressed the idea of a terror threat. “The investigation is underway. There are all kinds of avenues open to us. At this point in time, I have no additional comment to make but we are confident that the threat is under control. We know that these are individuals who wanted to put fear into the public, they are involved in violent activity.”
Police say they don’t currently have information that any other suspects are involved.
This isn’t the first time the mosque involved was the target of a racist event. Last July, a gift-wrapped bloody pig’s head was left at the facility during the holy month of Ramadan. Attached to it was a note that read, “Bon appetite.”
Pope Francis is the latest world leader to condemn the Quebec mosque attack and is calling for mutual respect among people of all faiths.
Francis conveyed his condolences in writing and in person to the archbishop of Quebec, Cardinal Gerald LaCroix, who was in Rome this morning returned immediately to Canada.
Last night Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted that he had spoken with Quebec’s premier and that the federal government has offered any and all assistance that province may require.
US President Donald Trump and Trudeau have also spoken by phone.
Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi says, “We are not immune to hatred in this country. But we will always, always, always stand up to it together.”
Flags across Quebec today have been lowered to half-staff as well as the flag on Parliament Hill.
A vigil is being held at a mosque in Vancouver this Saturday. The event is being held from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at 655 West 8th Avenue.