Monday, October 27, 2014

The Great White North

On both sides of my family the blood flows through Canada. Riviere on my mother's side and Morang on my father's. So I have an affinity to Canada, although not so much of an affinity toward Quebec. On a vacation there we were treated more rudely than we were in Paris. But, Quebecois will be Quebecois.

The Canadians are decent, hard working people. Even if they are a little too liberal for my taste. They have come a long ways from the tough Canadian voyageurs, who, with rifle, canoe, and snow shoes, would live off the land, trapping, and hunting. Or the old Mounties that brought law and order to the Canadian back country. One man. One horse. The law.

Today, Canada is not quite France in it's liberalism. But it is no longer the Canada of the old days. Except for a few strong men who understand their duty. One such man is Sergeant at Arms Kevin Vickers. The Sergeant at Arms position is largely ceremonial, but he is also the man responsible for the security of the Canadian House of Commons. A job that Sergeant Vickers seems to do with quiet dignity and strength.

When gunshots were heard in the Parliament building, Sergeant Vickers immediately shed his ceremonial role, drew his firearm, and took extreme and appropriate action. He simply tracked down the shooter and shot him to death ending the siege. Like brave men do, he moved toward the gunfire.

Sergeant Vickers is eminently qualified for his position as he is a twenty-eight year veteran of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. It has been said that in his twenty-eight years he never fired his service weapon in anger. I suspect, however, that he fired many many rounds on the range to attain the degree comfort and skill that he displayed under extreme pressure.

There is no doubt that Vickers is a hero of the finest sort. He is a man that fits the image I had as a child of Canadians. Tough, competent, and unafraid. (Confession. I grew up listening to the old radio show, "Sergeant Preston of the Yukon". It may have molded my thinking about Canada.) Have no doubt, Sergeant Vickers is a Canadian treasure and a hero of the "Great White North".

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