“We will not be divided” was the message delivered by political leaders in Edmonton and Alberta after an apparent terrorist attack that began with the attempted murder of an Edmonton police officer outside a Friday night football game at Commonwealth Stadium.
While it is too soon to tell what the longer-term impacts of this weekend’s incident will be, it is hopeful that our leaders have stepped up with calls of vigilance, love and solidarity, rather than vengeance and fear.
“We will not give in to hate, we will not give in to discrimination and we will not give in to terrorism,” Alberta Premier Rachel Notley told a crowd of hundreds gathered at a vigil organized by the Alberta Muslim Public Affairs Council.
We will not be divided.
Here are the statements made by Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson and Premier Notley:
Mayor Don Iveson:
We have all been tested by this attack: Edmontonians of every faith, Edmontonians of every culture, and especially the Edmontonians who protect and serve us every day have been tested.
But we have already shown, and we continue to show here tonight, where we stand. We stand together, all faiths, all cultures, We will not be divided.
Radical violence is about creating panic, sewing divide - we can either succumb to that, or we can rise above it.
In the last 24 hours, we have shown what we are made of. That Canadians, and especially Edmontonians, are filled with compassion and love for the victims, for our first responders, and for all our fellow Edmontonians.
This love and faith will be tested in the days ahead. You may start to hear persistent whispers or even shouts about certain faiths and groups in this strong, diverse community of ours.
I urge all of you to reject that hateful line of thinking by holding this loving thought in your heart: we are strong, stronger together, and we will not be divided.
It’s understandable, still, for us to be worried about our safety. That’s exactly what the forces of of extremism want. However, all evidence so far points to this being an isolated act by a single individual. And remember, too, that our well-trained, well-equipped, and courageous Edmonton Police members are out there working for us every day.
Your safety — each and every one of you — will continue to be foremost in our minds as we work to support our law enforcement agencies.
If I’m worried about one thing, it’s this: it’s a refugee child going to daycare tomorrow and feeling scared. But if we find it within ourselves to care for that child in the coming days and months and years, that person will look back on this moment and have felt supported - and included as part of our community. But I can’t do that for them alone, our police service cannot do that for them alone, and their family cannot do that for them alone.
We must do this all together. That is why we cannot be divided.
Therefore we will… all of us… continue to reject racism, continue to reject islamophobia,and continue to reject radicalization in all its forms. Because we will not be divided.
Premier Rachel Notley:
“The horrific events last night in downtown Edmonton have left us shocked and angry. It’s left us shocked at the indiscriminate cruelty and angry that someone might target their hatred at places where we gather with our families and friends.
“Our first responders are incredible people. Thank you to each and every one of our police officers, paramedics and firefighters who put their lives on the line to keep us safe. Thank you, also, to the women and men who dropped everything to help their fellow Albertans. Your bravery in moments of fear and your compassion in moments of chaos are what’s very best about us.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the injured and their loved ones, and with everyone who witnessed last’s violence.
“As we learn more about what happened last night, I encourage everyone to remain vigilant and to listen to law enforcement authorities.
“Hatred has no place in Alberta. It’s not who we are. We are in this together and together we are stronger than any form of hate.”