Sir, Your headline “Canada PM vows crackdown against terror after attacks” ( October 23), much like the Canadian prime minister’s speech it reported, conveyed a sense of panic and a rush to create a police state that is wholly absent on the ground here in Canada. Yes, Canadians are shocked, shaken and scarred by the murderous acts of a deranged gunman last week in Ottawa. But we remain the same measured, thoughtful people we were before this attack; nor are we any more willing to give up either our civil liberties or our open, trusting ways in a phantom war against “terror”.

Nothing of what we know about the murderer suggests that Canada should bend its essential self or tighten its laws even one degree. Stephen Harper has claimed: “Our laws and police powers need to be strengthened.” Before he does so, he needs to explain exactly what pieces missing from our security apparatus would have prevented last Wednesday’s attack. Otherwise, his tough talk smacks of a cynical attempt to justify his decision to commit Canada’s armed forces to the fight against Isis in Iraq, and an attempt to politicise a tragedy that should be beyond politics.

Brett House

Visiting Scholar, Massey College,

University of Toronto, ON, Canada

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