VIENNA - Although I am currently far from home, like all Canadians I was deeply saddened to read about the deaths of three RCMP officers and the wounding of two more in a shooting in Moncton. My thoughts and sympathies are with their families. I know that it is never easy to lose someone dear to us, but I am sure that it must be especially traumatic when the death is so sudden and so unjust.
I am writing this because several diplomats at United Nations HQ Vienna approached me, and asked me to pass on the condolences of the entire UN community to Canadians. I am currently at the UN, representing the Global Organization of Parliamentarians Against Corruption (GOPAC) at deliberations on the UN Convention Against Corruption.
The reaction at the UN to these shootings doubtlessly reflects the extraordinary rarity of such events in Canada. Moreover, many countries across the international community clearly feel a sense of gratitude to the RCMP for the role its officers have played in helping train local police forces after disasters and conflicts. Perhaps most of all, they appreciate that one of the reasons Canadians are unaccustomed to such violence, is that our society is kept safe by the willingness of people like these officers to stand between us and those who would do us harm.
I hope that this message and the sentiments of the people of the world, conveyed by their representatives at the United Nations, may reach those touched most directly by the shootings, and give them some comfort in a tragic time.
Akaash Maharaj is the Executive Director of the Global Organization of Parliamentarians Against Corruption.