Need To Know
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper is the leader of Canada's Conservative Party. His policies are sometimes compared to former US President George W. Bush. So will Harper — like Bush after 9/11 — usher in a new era of hyper security? Seems like it. A day after a gunman opened fire inside the Canadian parliament in Ottawa, Harper's government has left little doubt about how it plans to react.
Harper told Canadians in an address Wednesday night that the country is no longer “immune to the kinds of terrorist attacks that we have seen around the world." The prime minister went on to say that he would tighten security measures. Maybe Canada needs a Patriot Act? In the city of Toronto, the government initiated the ominous sounding “advanced security precautions,” and has sent more police into the city's public transportation system. The busy border crossing in Detroit also saw tightened security, causing long lines of traffic.
The leader of the Liberal Party, Justin Trudeau, however, warned against all of this: “We should remember who we are. We are a proud democracy, a welcoming and peaceful nation, and a country of open arms and open hearts. We are a nation of fairness, justice and the rule of law,” he said.
Even Canada's politics are looking more like America's. What's next? Privatized health care?
Want To Know
Also like the United States, Canada has been quick to shift the focus abroad. The gunman was a Canadian citizen who, at some point, converted to Islam. That's all we really know at this point. So in his speech, Harper alluded to stepping up efforts to fight the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
“(The attack) will lead us to strengthen our resolve and redouble our efforts to work with our allies around the world and fight against the terrorist organizations who brutalize those in other countries with the hope of bringing their savagery to our shores,” he said.
“They will have no safe haven,” he added, echoing phrasing used by both Bush and President Barack Obama.
At the moment, Canada has committed to take part in airstrikes in Iraq. But not Syria.
All told, the US State Department lists 60 allies who've joined the US-led coalition fighting the Islamic State. The degree of the cooperation, however, is not equal. Some are assisting by sending humanitarian aid, while others are sending fighter jets and ammunition. Currently, 23 nations are involved in the actual military campaign. Here's a map that breaks down which countries are doing what in Syria and Iraq.
Strange But True
This is strange. It's also really disturbing.
Chinese tourists are traveling to Tibet and treating Tibetans like zoo animals, a watchdog group says. To illustrate their point, the group — Tibet Watch — compiled a series of troubling photos lifted from social media. They show Chinese tourists trampling prayer flags, climbing all over sacred statues, and shoving cameras into the faces of Tibetans who are in mid-prayer, like they are curiosities in a theme park.
Tibet Watch blames a Chinese government propaganda campaign that portrays Tibet as a backwater, creating cultural insensitivity among visitors. “The propaganda filled marketing of Tibet is encouraging tourism of a kind which generates cultural tension rather than cohesion,” it says.