Honourable senators, I rise today to speak on the abhorrent attack on innocent Canadians that happened yesterday in Toronto. While the motivation behind the attack remains unclear, it shares the hallmarks of similar events that we’ve seen around the world.
We all too frequently see on the news attacks like this in other places, and it’s easy to forget that Canada remains vulnerable to those who would seek to harm us. This is not due to any weakness on our part but, rather, our strengths: our open and accepting way of life, our pluralistic society and our freedoms. Having lived in Toronto my whole life and having had the honour of being its mayor for 11 years, I remain convinced there is no better place that demonstrates these principles that we hold so dear.
It is because of these strengths that Toronto and Canada remain a target for those who would turn to violence because they are unhappy with the way things are. What they fail to realize is that we will not change. As we saw in the attack on the Quebec City mosque last year, Canadians react to these events by reinforcing the sense of community and acceptance that has defined our country for so long.
I would like to thank Toronto’s first responders for their quick actions yesterday. Like many of you, I’ve seen the video of Constable Ken Lam staring down what appeared to be a gun and calmly making an arrest. He did so without discharging his weapon. Because of his actions, the attacker has been charged and will be brought to justice.
In the meantime, 15 individuals have been injured, some critically, while 10 others have lost their lives.
We express our sympathies to the families of those who have lost their lives. We extend our best wishes for recovery to those who are injured. No words of condolence can ease the pain of these individuals or their families, but I say to all of them, just know your country is with you.