Skip to main content

A Canadian flag sits on a members of Canadian forces that are leaving from CFB Trenton, in Trenton, Ont., on Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014. Canadian Armed Forces personnel in the Ottawa area have been ordered not to wear their uniforms in public, unless on duty, following Wednesday’s shootings around Parliament Hill.

Lars Hagberg/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Canadian Armed Forces personnel in the Ottawa area have been ordered not to wear their uniforms in public, unless on duty, following Wednesday's shootings around Parliament Hill.

In the wake of an incident in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu earlier in the week, similar directives have been transmitted to military personnel in Quebec and across Atlantic Canada.

"Restrict movement in uniform in public as much as possible," read a message sent by Rear Admiral John Newton an hour after the shootings in Ottawa. Marked as "Urgent measures," the message affects the 18,000 personnel under his command in Atlantic Canada. Similar directives were given around the country.

Story continues below advertisement

While local commanders sent orders, military leaders in Ottawa were crafting rules for the wearing of uniforms in public after the shootings.

Military bases across the country increased security, with military personnel asked to remain inside of buildings and an increased police presence at entrances. Some bases have been closed to the general public.

Military personnel in Quebec were told on Wednesday morning to only wear their uniforms while travelling between home and work.

According to Lieutenant Marco Chouinard, personnel were ordered not to stop at gas stations or schools while in uniform for reasons of "caution" and uniformed personnel were only to stop outside of bases for "operational reasons."

Corporal Nathan Cirillo, 24, was shot and killed while standing guard at the National War Memorial on Wednesday. After the soldier from the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders was shot, a gunman identified as Michael Zehaf-Bibeau was killed inside Parliament's Centre Block, near the Parliamentary Library.

An official with the military confirmed the posting of sentries at the National War Memorial was part of the National Sentry Program, a new program that began in August of this year. The program was to have soldiers posted at the memorial until Remembrance Day. The official said the National Sentry Program was under review on Wednesday.

This is in addition to the sentries who have stood near Canada's Tomb of the Unknown Soldier since 2007, when photographs of young men urinating on the monument to Canada's war dead caused public outrage. The program's future is uncertain.

Story continues below advertisement

"Our thoughts are with the member and the member's family at this time," said Major-General Christopher Coates, deputy-commander of the Canadian Joint Operations Command, on Wednesday afternoon. Maj-General Coates's comments as part of an Ottawa press conference were the only significant public statements made by Canada's military leaders on Wednesday.

This has been a hectic and difficult week for members of Canada's military.

On Monday two members of the Canadian Armed Forces were struck in a hit-and-run incident near a military academy in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu. One of the soldiers was in uniform. Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent died of his injuries.

The Quebec man driving the vehicle, Martin Couture-Rouleau, was said to have converted to Islam recently.

Following the Quebec incident, General Tom Lawson, the Chief of the Defence Staff said that there was "speculation that this hit-and-run may have been a possible terror attack directed at our members."

Members of the Conservative government have since labelled the incident as one of terrorism.

Story continues below advertisement

On Tuesday, Canada dispatched six CF-18 fighters and support aircraft to combat the group calling itself the Islamic State.

Canada's domestic threat level was raised from low to medium last Friday.

According to the RCMP, the unusual increase in the threat level was due to the decision to contribute resources to the campaign against IS and not due to any specific threat.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Comments are closed

We have closed comments on this story for legal reasons or for abuse. For more information on our commenting policies and how our community-based moderation works, please read our Community Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions.

Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.
Cannabis pro newsletter