Couillard: Quebec will not 'bow' to terrorism
Published Monday, January 18, 2016 11:57AM EST Last Updated Monday, January 18, 2016 9:57PM EST
Premier Philippe Couillard vowed on Monday that Quebec would never "bow before" terrorism, after seven Quebecers died in international attacks this week.
In a speech in Quebec City on Monday, Couillard honoured Tahar Amer-Ouali, who was killed in a bombing in Jakarta on Thursday, and remembered the six other Quebecers who died in an attack in Burkina Faso on Friday night.
Couillard described Amer-Ouali, the Jakarta victim, as a dedicated hearing specialist and a family man.
"Amer-Ouali was the father of five and a grandfather," the premier said in French. "He liked to travel and help those in need."
According to his son, Amer-Ouali travelled the world to help people with hearing disabilities, splitting his time between Laval and Indonesia.
Amer-Ouali was in central Jakarta when suicide bombers and gunmen stormed a Starbucks and traffic police post in an attack that left at least seven dead.
Six more Quebec residents were killed this week when militants attacked a hotel in Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso, on Friday. At least 28 people from 18 different countries died in that attack.
Yves Carrier, a retired teacher, his wife Gladys Chamberland, their son Charlelie and his half-sister Maude were in Burkina Faso for a month-long humanitarian mission, along with teacher Louis Chabot and Suzanne Bernier.
In his speech in Quebec City on Monday, Couillard praised the six victims for their "commitment to the less fortunate, their compassion (and) their generosity."
The group in Burkina Faso was in the country to repair a dormitory and set up a school sports field, and were helping build a congregation, Couillard said.
"It was a beautiful project."
At Cardinal-Roy Secondary School in Quebec City, where Maude Carrier, 37, worked, her colleagues were in mourning.
"She was the perfect person. She was the perfect teacher. All of her students loved her very much," said Danny Bell, who works at the school.
The impact of the attack in Burkina Faso also reverberated in Canada's aid community.
But Laura Cliché, a project manager for the West African operations of Equitas, said the incidents have only worked to reinforce the gravity of their role abroad.
"These attacks may trigger this fear, which is actually the goal of the terrorists, but there attacks also illustrate the importance of our work," said Cliché.
Couillard said on Monday that, in the past, violence and terrorism have sometimes seemed far away. But, he said, the recent deaths brought the tragedy home.
"The fact of living in a society that open, democratic, has more solidary does now isolate us," Couillard said. "(It) does not protect us."
The premier called the deaths inexplicable and unjustifiable, and vowed that Quebec would never "bow before those terrorists," or compromise its values.
"Nothing can explain how (the attackers could have killed) people who have such devotion to build a better world," Couillard said. "This attack against them is also an attack against all of us."
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also offered his sympathies and condolences to the victims' families on Monday while speaking to reporters in Saint Andrews, N.B.
When asked whether he will reconsider pulling Canadian fighter jets from the anti-ISIS coalition in light of the latest attacks abroad, Trudeau said that Canadian forces will continue to be "responsibly" involved in the fight against terror.
"We know that the fight against terrorism on the world scale is essential and must happen in an intelligent and reasonable way," he said in French.
Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan also said Canada needs to expand its intelligence gathering to snuff out similar attacks before they happen.
"We have to get better at our intelligence capabilities, in other parts of the world, so we have a better chance of preventing attacks like this," said Sajjan.