'Canadians will not be intimidated': Canadian PM Harper signals shift towards American-style anti-terror tactics


Sergeant-at-arms Kevin Vickers received a hero's welcome Thursday morning as he entered Canada's Parliament just before Prime Minister Stephen Harper spoke about Wednesday's terrorist attack.

Vickers held back tears as he walked slowly through the Parliament chamber the day after killing gunman Michael Zehaf-Bibeau. Harper once again vowed his nation would not cower in the face of terror and signaled a radical shift towards American-style anti-terror tactics.

"Canadians will not be intimidated," said Harper. "We will be vigilant, but we will not run scared.

"We will be prudent, but we will not panic."

Harper called both the Ottawa shootings and the hit-and-run attack this week in Quebec terrorist attacks. He then promised expanded powers for his country's anti-terror agents.

"Our laws and police powers need to be strengthened in the areas of surveillance, detention and arrest," said Harper. "They need to be much strengthened... that work will be expedited."

America's northern neighbor has laws passed after 9/11 that are aimed at tackling such problems, the Combating Terrorism Act and the Strengthening Citizenship Act to Better Protect Canadians and Strengthen Institutions, but Harper wants them further overhauled.

"We live in a dangerous world. Terrorism has been here with us for a while, and we've come dangerously close on a number of occasions," he said.

Many of Harper's words echoed speeches given by then-U.S. President George W. Bush in the days after the 9/11 terror attacks.

"In this struggle in which we are engaged, in which not only our finest values must be pushed to work, so must our unity and resolve," said the prime minister. "Those are our highest weapons, and that's what those people will face."

He also lamented the terrorists being homegrown.

"We're all aware and equal troubled that both of this week's terrorist attacks were carried out by Canadian citizens, by young men born and raised in this peaceful country," he said, before reminding his country of what is already being done to combat the threat.

"Make no mistake, even as the brave men and women of our armed forces are taking this fight to the terrorists on their own territory, we are equally resolved to fight it here."

Harper's defiance in the face of the evils of terrorism came only minutes after Vickers was given a standing ovation as he entered the House of Parliament.

The sergeant-at-arms struggled to smile and hold back tears as the entire chamber gave him a minutes-long standing ovation.

Harper ended his remarks by thanking Vickers for his 'heroism" and walking over to greet and shake his hand.

Vickers was clearly humbled by the adulation he is receiving only one day after he ended Zehaf-Bibeau's rampage.

Lockdown Lifted in Downtown Ottawa Follwing Shooting
Lockdown Lifted in Downtown Ottawa Follwing Shooting

Related links:
Canadian police confirm only one gunman in Ottawa rampage
'There will be no safe haven': Canadian PM Harper vows action after terror attack on Parliament
White House fence jumper charged with assault