The storming of the Capitol has Ottawa wondering: Are we ready?
OTTAWA—Could something like it happen here?
In a way, something like it already has.
After Wednesday’s riot in Washington D.C., where Donald Trump’s supporters desecrated the seat of American democracy, some have asked whether such a thing could happen in Ottawa.
That question overlooks that Canada has seen an increase in the threat of political violence in recent years. Just last summer, an armed man drove a truck through the gates at Rideau Hall — where Prime Minister Justin Trudeau lives with his wife and young children.
A day before, hundreds gathered on Parliament Hill to protest fringe grievances — including the QAnon conspiracy theory, antimask sentiments, and opposition to government. A known member of Canada’s far-right fringe attempted to effect a “citizen’s arrest” on multiple politicians and journalists last year, including NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh.
In August, the Star reported that threats against Trudeau and his cabinet had markedly increased compared to 2019. During the election that year, Trudeau wore a bulletproof vest to one of his public events. In 2014, a gunman stormed Parliament Hill before being shot down by security guards.
The bullet holes from that day are still etched in Centre Block’s walls; a permanent reminder that Canada is not immune from political violence.
While security has been tightened within the parliamentary precinct since the 2014 shooting, MPs are still concerned about their safety when gathering in the few blocks that make up Ottawa’s parliamentary precinct.