Pat Davidson and her colleagues will be back in the House of Commons at 10 this morning – 24 hours after a gunman stormed the halls of the Centre Block.
Just before 10 yesterday morning, a gunman shot and killed a Canadian Forces Reservist at the War Memorial near Parliament Hill and then brought his gun inside the Centre Block firing at anyone he could see. The gunman was eventually killed by the Sergeant at Arms Kevin Vickers.
The Sarnia-Lambton MP and her Conservative colleagues were preparing for a meeting with the Prime Minister when the gunfire started yesterday morning.
“It happened right in the hallway outside our room,” says Davidson. “I think it was pretty obvious it was gunshots.”
The Prime Minister was whisked away by security and Davidson says the security guards and MPs worked “pretty quickly to secure the room.” Photos show the green leather caucus chairs stacked up against the wall.
“It all happened so quickly, I know everyone was pretty concerned and frightened.”
The MPs were able to call their family to tell them they were okay – Davidson reached her husband and son in Wyoming before they had heard of the attack.
And then, they waited for eight hours while security checked every office and every corner in the large Centre Block building. “Time went quickly,” says Davidson, adding they hardly noticed there wasn’t food.
The MP says they were given information has things progressed but says the general public watching the news around Canada likely knew more than the MPs in lockdown.
When they were able to go home, Davidson was able to understand the scope of the attack including the death of a Canadian Forces member who was guarding the War Memorial. “That was just a horrible, horrible tragedy,” she says. “To think one of our young people serving the country murdered in such a way – it’s just awful. I can’t imagine what his family is going through. It’s a tragic thing that happened.”
And Davidson says the tragedy is a wake up call. “We’ve got home-grown terrorism in Canada and this brings home the point that we have to be more vigilant…it’s something we don’t want to see repeated.
“We have a country that has some of the best freedoms and democracies in the world, we have to work to maintain that.”
Davidson says yesterday’s attack “strengthens the resolve to make sure Canada remains free and democratic.”
And she says, it reminds us of the important job the members of the military do. “send out a heartfelt thank you to the members of the military in the job that they do in protecting us and making sure our democracy is protected.
Davidson says the ever-present security on Parliament Hill did an excellent job protecting MPs and she calls the Sergeant at Arms a hero but she expects there will be a review of security to figure out how a man with a gun walked into the halls of democracy.
And today, Davidson and her colleagues return to Parliament Hill and sit in the House of Commons starting at 10am.
“We must show that our resolve is to carry forward.”