After Islamic terrorist Michael Zehaf-Bibeau gunned down Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, a reservist with the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders standing guard at Ottawa’s Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the Canadian government removed the honor guard from the National War Memorial. In an official ceremony, the Guard was restored on Friday. “Officials said sentries will not be issued live weapons despite Wednesday’s attack,” ottawacitizen.com reports, “as the position is ceremonial. Instead, National Defence spokesman Daniel Le Bouthillier said the sentries will be under ‘constant police surveillance.'” A decision supported by many Canadian pols, including a former astronaut (yes another one) who understands the wider implications of arming soldiers to defend themselves against lethal threats – but recoils in horror at the thought . . .
Conservative MP Erin O’Toole, a former air force officer, said the sentries aren’t actually guarding the war memorial and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from physical threats. “It’s meant to show respect to the fallen,” he said. “And it’s their presence that matters. I don’t think they need to be armed.”
Liberal foreign affairs critic Marc Garneau [above], a former naval officer, said the sentries are “totally exposed” and that some Canadians will undoubtedly question the wisdom of leaving them unarmed.
“But if they should be armed, it’s because you’re saying somebody is going to come out and take a shot at them?” he said. “What does that imply for our society? If you’re going to start arming them, you might as well start arming everybody.”
Couldn’t have said it better myself.