Shots were fired on Parliament Hill this morning. A soldier guarding the National War Memorial was shot. The gunman then seized a car and drove to Parliament, after which there were shots reportedly fired inside the Parliament Buildings. The Globe and Mail has some dramatic video footage:

There were also shots reportedly fired by another gunman at or near the Rideau Centre shopping mall, and/or near the Chateau Laurier. It’s still unclear whether there are two or more shooters.

Downtown Ottawa is on lockdown, with the RCMP advising people to stay indoors and away from windows and rooftops.

I know it’s trite to say this, but this kind of thing is not supposed to happen in Ottawa, of all places. There’s not much information yet to go on, but Ottawa is the sort of place where you’re usually more likely to get bored out of your mind than shot. And I mean that as a compliment.

CBC has an updated live news coverage feed here.

Stay safe, folks!

Update: 3:45pm: What we know right now is that the soldier who was guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is dead, having succumbed to his injuries in hospital. He was a young reservist from Hamilton who was serving on guard duty this week. His name has not yet been released pending notification of next of kin, who are definitely in my thoughts today.

We also know that the gunman who then entered Parliament and started firing shots is dead, taken down by Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers, who reportedly showed incredible courage in preventing further injuries or deaths.

Beyond that, nothing else is hard evidence. Everything else is speculation. Initial reports of a possible second shooter appear to be false (as they usually are) and the police have been very careful about releasing information, as the investigation is ongoing.

In times like this, I think it’s worth noting that finger-pointing, blaming politicians, speculating, advancing conspiracy theories, or otherwise wreaking havoc and inciting panic is a very, very bad idea. Please, everyone, take a breath. We don’t know what we don’t know. This isn’t about ISIS, Stephen Harper, Justin Trudeau, Thomas Mulcair, Pierre-Karl Peladeau, Rene Levesque, Barack Obama, George Bush, or your mom. This isn’t about the media making wild leaps and assumptions in order to fill air time and gain viewers. Please, think before you hit retweet!

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Folks, this is important: Quebec is having school board elections in November, and for the first time, the position of Chair is directly electable by the population.

My wonderful aunt, Suanne Stein Day, is running for re-election as LBPSB Chair. It’s because she’s wonderful, and not just because she’s family, that I’d urge you to go out and vote for her if you’re eligible. (And give her a Like on Facebook while you’re at it, eh? Especially the parents among you, please share your concerns and thoughts with her, as she’s certainly listening and wanting to help!) I can’t vote for her as I don’t live in the LBPSB’s region. But I can certainly give her a ringing endorsement on this blog.

But, whoever you vote for, I’d urge everyone to get informed and get involved. I’m not a parent. Maybe you’re not either, and you’re wondering why you should care.

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Scotland Is Not Quebec

09.18.2014

Today, as I write this, 4.3 million people in Scotland are voting in a referendum on whether they should separate from the United Kingdom. I’ve been following the debate in Scotland more closely than I thought I would. For one thing, I have quite a few friends in the UK and this impacts them directly. [...]

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“I’m Done Apologizing for Israel”

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The war in Europe is over. Now, to turn our attention to the Pacific.

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Sainte-Marie-Saint-Jacques goes Quebec Solidaire

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Quebec Liberals win resounding majority

04.08.2014

It’s a majority government for Philippe Couillard and the Quebec Liberal Party! It’s been a really ugly 18 months, and an even uglier campaign. But tonight, my faith in the people of this province I call home was restored. It’s hard to believe that scarcely five weeks ago, the PQ called this election and was [...]

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Marois then and now

03.24.2014

What a difference 18 months makes: In 2012, Pauline Marois donned a red square and declared the PQ the party of the social left. In 2014, she stood by Pierre-Karl Peladeau and declared the PQ the party of business and the economy. A scant 18 months have gone by. A student-led coup d’etat? As I’d [...]

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A plea to my fellow Quebecers

03.05.2014

Rumours have been circulating for weeks, and now it’s official: Quebec will be heading back to the polls on April 7th. The Parti Quebecois has been in power for a scant year and a half. In that time, it has done more damage than even I would have thought possible. From a vitrol-laced election campaign, [...]

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North Korea: United Nations pulls head out of sand, finally

02.17.2014

More than ten years after the BBC aired a devastating report about North Korean concentration camps, mass killings, torture, poison gas chambers and other horrific atrocities, the United Nations has finally come around to the view that yes, maybe, there were some crimes against humanity going on in the world’s least free nation: “Testimony was [...]

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