OTTAWA (NEWS 1130) – Canada is offering New Zealand its full support as an ally and intelligence partner, following the horrific mass shooting at two mosques in that country.
Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale saying he is closely following developments and our threat level remains at medium.
He says there are no known Canadian connections, despite unconfirmed reports the shooter in Christchurch, New Zealand may have been influenced by the gunman in the Quebec mosque shooting two years ago.
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In a statement, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he is appalled by this terror attack, saying hate has no place in the world and diversity is a strength. Trudeau says Canada remembers all too well the pain caused by senseless violence.
“To the people of New Zealand and to Muslim communities around the world: you are in our hearts and minds. We join in your grief and stand with you at this incredibly difficult time.”
We extend our deepest condolences to the families and friends who lost loved ones in the terrorist attack on two mosques in New Zealand. Please read my statement on this senseless tragedy: https://t.co/hSxGVQCTZE
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) March 15, 2019
“We must all confront Islamophobia and work to create a world in which all people—no matter their faith, where they live, or where they were born—can feel safe and secure,” Trudeau added in his statement.
Environment Minister Catherine McKenna echoed Trudeau’s sentiments. “We need to stand up against Islamophobia. We need to stand up against hatred of all kinds.”
The flag on top of the peace tower is flying at half mast in memory of the victims.
— Senate of Canada (@SenateCA) March 15, 2019
NDP leader Jagmeet Singh says he is heartbroken, saying Islamophobia has no place anywhere in the world.
Heartbroken by the devastating news of deadly shootings at two mosques in New Zealand.
My heart goes out to the families of the murdered and all those impacted by this act of terror. Islamophobia kills – and has no place anywhere in the world.
— Jagmeet Singh (@theJagmeetSingh) March 15, 2019
Conservative leader Andrew Scheer took to Twitter on Thursday night, calling it a “despicable act of evil.” He faced some criticism though for not mentioning the mosque, Muslims, or Islamaphobia in his initial statement.
There are no words strong enough to condemn this kind of vile hatred. I am praying for peace for the families of those lost and recovery for those injured. 2/2
— Andrew Scheer (@AndrewScheer) March 15, 2019
On Friday morning, he issued an extended statement on Facebook.
“As Canadians are learning the horrific details of last night’s terror attack at two New Zealand mosques, I wish to express both my deep sadness at the tragic loss of innocent life and my profound condemnation of this cowardly and hateful attack on the Muslim community.
“Houses of worship, like the two mosques attacked last night, should be places where all people can meet freely and without fear. We stand with our Muslim brothers and sisters to ensure that they remain this way. We must condemn, in the strongest terms possible, the type of extreme and vile hatred that motivated this despicable act of evil.”
Four people were taken into custody following the shooting, in which 49 people were killed at two mosques. Three were said to be linked to the attack, with the country’s prime minister saying one of the suspects had publicly stated they were Australian born.
“It is clear that this is one of New Zealand’s darkest days,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said, calling it an act of “unprecedented violence” that has no place in New Zealand.
New Zealand’s national security level has been lifted from low to high.
Police say officers found two improvised explosive devices in different vehicles, adding a hospital was a target.
A live stream of the incident apparently taken by a shooter surfaced online. Police have confirmed its authenticity and are asking people to stop circulating the “extremely distressing footage.”
The same person is believed to have shared a manifesto online before the shooting.
– With files from Estefania Duran, Mike Lloyd, Hana Mae Nassar, The Associated Press