Keeping Canada Safe: Redoubling Social Investments

10-27-14

For Immediate Release National/Regional/Local

October 24, 2014 – Canada Without Poverty (CWP) was gravely concerned with the actions of those who have attacked Canadian Military forces in Ottawa, and Montreal over the past week. But the actions of Mr. Michael Zehaf-Bibeau were not those of a terrorist, but rather of an individual living in poverty with clear mental health issues – someone who had been disenfranchised by Canadian society. CWP staff were among the many locked down on Parliament Hill on October 24th 2014, and we are disturbed by the narrative that has emerged that these events can be equated with terrorist acts requiring the sacrifice of democratic rights and freedoms.

“What some have cast as a “terrorist” “extremist” attack on our innocence was actually experienced by many of us as a serious and grave breach of security. A breach of this magnitude must be never repeated, but was this terrorism? I don’t think so. Simply put, for this act to be terrorism, those involved must feel terrorized, and from our experience, on the whole, this was not the case,” said Canada Without Poverty’s Communications Coordinator, Graham Milner

In fact, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police revealed an entirely different narrative. The attack was undertaken by a marginalized individual who was living in a homeless shelter, and who had an apparent drug abuse problem and perhaps a psycho-social disability. Had Mr. Zehaf-Bibeau’s needs been adequately and properly addressed by Canada’s social and health care systems, this attack might not have taken place.

“Instead of ‘redoubling’ our efforts to combat terrorism as Prime Minister Harper suggested after this incident, the Government of Canada needs to ‘redouble’ its efforts to satisfy its obligations to provide a framework to ensure marginalized people have access to the services, and programs they need,” said Leilani Farha, CWP’s Executive Director.

If Governments in Canada are going to spend resources in response to this week’s attacks, we encourage those resources be directed toward addressing poverty and homelessness so that all people in Canada enjoy adequate social conditions.

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 For Further Comment Contact:

Graham Milner, Development and Communications Coordinator – 613 986 7761

Canada Without Poverty is a federally incorporated, non-partisan, not-for-profit and charitable organization dedicated to the elimination of poverty in Canada.