Soldiers will be 'proudly on parade' on Remembrance Day: Vance
Published Sunday, November 9, 2014 10:19AM EST
Canadian soldiers will be "proudly on parade" during Remembrance Day ceremonies in Ottawa on Tuesday, says a top military official, despite the shooting death of a young reservist at the National War Memorial less than three weeks ago.
Security will be tighter than usual for this year's ceremony at the memorial.
But Lt.-Gen. Jonathan Vance, head of Canadian Joint Operations Command, says it will be business as usual for Canadian troops taking part in the Remembrance Day ceremony.
"I can't imagine Remembrance Day being anything other than the solemn ceremony that it's supposed to be," Vance told CTV's Question Period in an interview that aired Sunday.
"We're not anticipating any challenges there."
Soldiers will be "proudly on parade," he said, and will continue to wear their uniforms in public.
The shooting death of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo last month as he stood guard at the National War Memorial and the subsequent shoot-out on Parliament Hill has raised concerns about an attack on a public event like the Remembrance Day ceremony.
Just days before Cirillo was killed, Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent was killed after being struck by a car driven by a young man who police say had become radicalized.
In previous years, Ottawa Police officers who have attended the Remembrance Day ceremony have put more emphasis on the ceremonial aspect of their presence, said Ottawa Police Insp. Murray Knowles, who is organizing security.
But this year, "there's more of an emphasis on the security" duties, he told Question Period.
While he would not specify the exact number, Knowles said there will be "a substantial increase" in the number of officers that day, and their orange vests will make them highly visible to the public.
All of the force's specialty units will also be on the scene, he said. Checkpoints are not being set up to screen members of the public. However, vehicle traffic will be restricted on nearby streets.
In the past, Knowles said, officers have "faced the ceremony," and been able to enjoy it as spectators.
"This year, we will definitely be backs to the ceremony, faces to the crowd," he said. "Like a regular security operation."
When it comes to an attack, Vance said he is less concerned about a major public event than a soldier who is isolated or alone and in uniform and becomes a victim of opportunity.
The Army has told soldiers to keep to their usual routines in the wake of the attacks, but not to put themselves in a position where they are exposed or isolated, he said.
Soldiers will be thinking about both Cirillo and Vincent during Tuesday's ceremony, Vance said.
"It's going to be a poignant moment looking at that war memorial and thinking that a young soldier, Cpl. Cirillo, lay dying on the very monument that represents all the battlefields that we have fought on."