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Norwegians light candles in Oslo Cathedral on July 23, 2011. (MORTEN HOLM/AFP/Getty Images)
Norwegians light candles in Oslo Cathedral on July 23, 2011. (MORTEN HOLM/AFP/Getty Images)

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Q&A: Norway's tragedy, and Canada's response Add to ...

The violent twin attacks in Oslo and Utoya last week sent shockwaves around the world, prompting Canadians to send their condolences and support to Norwegians.

Kari Hoel, first secretary of Norway's embassy in Ottawa, took your questions on the aftermath of the tragedy, and Canada's unique relationship with Norway.

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Below are some highlights from the Q&A. To read the full transcript of the discussion, please scroll to the bottom of the page.

What kind of messages have you been receiving from Canadians at the embassy?

Kari Hoel: We have received so many different messages. Many Canadians have a personal relationship or story from Norway that they want to share. Others simply relate as human beings. They all give us their condolences and support.

We estimate that about 700 people have come to the embassy. People are also coming to our consulates all over Canada. In addition to that we have received a large amount of e-mails, letters and phone calls. We are deeply touched by all of this.

For Canadians who would like to help, or to express condolences, what would you recommend?

Kari Hoel: I think Norwegians take comfort in seeing the support from Canada and other countries. I would therefore recommend that those who would like to express their condolences and thoughts do it on the Norwegian government's online book of condolences. There's a link and an explanation in English on our website www.emb-norway.ca

I think the most important thing you can do is to continue expressing your support online and in your own communities. It is also important that we all protect and defend our democratic and free societies and not take what we have for granted.

Given this tragedy you are recovering from, how should Canada deal with those Canadian citizens who daily preach intolerance and hatred towards interculturalism and immigration?

Kari Hoel: I think the message that is coming from Norway and also the survivors from the Labour youth group is that we should allow for free speech and an open debate. We should try to fight hatred and intolerance by arguing against it.



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