But it’s not something often shared between opposition.
That’s why it was so unexpected to see Prime Minister Stephen Harper hugging it out with NDP leader Tom Mulcair and Liberal leader Justin Trudeau last month. But it was a good kind of unexpected occurrence.
With the shooting of Oct. 22 reigniting talks of terrorism in Canada, it’s good to know leaders can stand together in solidarity.
Following his speech, I was quite shocked to see Harper approach Trudeau and Mulcair and give them each a bro hug. A bro hug between political opponents, you guys. That’s a pretty big deal in my eyes – setting aside any consideration that both parties could have been using that three-and-a-half second embrace to whisper in each other’s ear how much they despise the other.
I don’t get very emotional when I see things that are generally supposed to leave women scrambling for the Kleenex – no matter how many times I watch The Notebook – but when I saw images of those hugs for the first time I got a lump in my throat (weird, I know, but it got to me. Maybe it means I’m not as calm and unemotional as I once thought). How often do you see something like that?
After the tragic and frightening events of the day before which saw the senseless loss of a young father’s life, it was encouraging to see that leaders can set aside their differences and form a united front on the issue.
It doesn’t get any more Canadian than that.
Although we all have different political views, beliefs and opinions, we can still have a high level of respect for each other. And that’s how we stand together in the face of difficult times.
As Harper stated, Canada will not be intimidated and will only strengthen it’s resolve.
Likewise, Trudeau pointed out that we are not immune to threats.
We’ve already witnessed this stark reality with three RCMP officers shot and killed in Monton, N.B. and a Canadian soldier killed in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que. just two days before the Parliament shooting. But that violence is not what shapes this country.
After the attack, I was also surprised to learn that no MPs or staff at the Parliament building are briefed on what to do in the event of an emergency such as a shooting. From what I understand, only security personnel are trained in this.
As Cypress Hills-Grasslands MP David Anderson recalled, MPs who heard gunshots in the hallway were unsure what to do. Their initial reaction was to leave the meeting room until they realized they were safer where they were.
I find it odd that simple procedures haven’t been established, considering there is always the possibility of government buildings being targeted. It’s alarming to see things like this happening on the home front, but it is a reality. Teachers and staff at schools are told what to do in such emergencies, and it would only make sense for those in government to do the same.