Jeff Pearce
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Editorial: Don’t Let the Parliament Attack Change Us | Canadian Insurance

Editorial: Don’t Let the Parliament Attack Change Us

It was, in case no one noticed, a very Canadian reaction to the attack in Ottawa. The hotel where some IBAO convention delegates were staying asked us, oh-so-politely, if we would please stay indoors because of the lockdown. But I slipped out to play reporter and saw things. I saw a fellow journalist— no, journal-ass is more like it—argue belligerently with the cops because he couldn’t get back inside his building. I met a network cameraman who was at the war memorial as Nathan Cirillo lay dying, instinctively went for his equipment, and later realized, “I was so close, I could have given him CPR.”

The world marveled at our broadcasters’ restraint, but I had to groan over the anchor who said that night, “The streets of Ottawa are eerily quiet this evening…” No, it’s Ottawa. All due respect to our lovely capital, but it’s dull as Truro at night, and injecting false drama into the late-night cast isn’t needed.

And this is the key to our salvation. The world often thinks we’re dull. Let it. Harper, Mulcair and Trudeau got it wrong in their addresses. We don’t need chest-thumping that we’ll stay strong and will “never be intimidated.” That’s not who we are as a people. The biggest badass is the quiet one who will spring into action with scary efficiency—like Kevin Vickers.

I speak from experience here. I lived in the U.K. for several years, waiting in train stations with Orwellian posters that warned how if I tried anything, “we’ll catch you,” how all of us had to “stay vigilant.” I worked briefly in Burma when a couple of incendiary bombs got tossed—one going off minutes after my girlfriend and I rounded a corner. I’ve watched Ethiopian airport security throw their weight around because a little power can go to people’s heads. And it. Is. A. Grind. All the posturing can erode our confidence.

No, the proper response is not simply vigilance, but renewed pleasure in the joys of life. We have to treat such attacks like regular catastrophes, and you don’t get angry at a tornado or an earthquake. Rage is the default of our enemies. Actually, no: those who would harm us and who gloated on Twitter aren’t enemies; they’re psychotic strangers who can’t make distinctions between ordinary people and a government’s policies. You don’t question your values when the sewage backs up in your basement. Ignore. Walk in the light, eat a long lunch, hit the cottage. Live the quiet life.

On Thursday morning, October 23, I looked out the spectacular windows of the Ottawa Convention Centre and saw sunshine spill over the Parliament Buildings. And it was beautiful, just as it should be.

Copyright 2014 Rogers Publishing Ltd. This article first appeared in the November 2014 edition of Canadian Insurance Top Broker magazine