Alberta’s Minister of Jobs, Skills, Training and Labour, Ric McIver, was in Ottawa when shots rang out on Wednesday morning and says the gunman crossed his path moments before the shooting happened.
“I was right in the path of where he was going and he was looking over my shoulder not at me at all. I was certainly looking at his eyes and I assure you he was not looking at mine,” said McIver from the Calgary International Airport on Wednesday night.
He says the gunman got out of a car a few metres from where he was standing and he noticed the firearm in the man’s hands.
“I was kind of focused on the big firearm he had in his hand. I don’t know what it was but it occurred to me it had a long barrel and I actually had to pause for a moment and decide whether to go toward him and defend myself or go away to keep myself safe,” said McIver.
McIver got a good look at the suspect as he made his way past him.
“I guess had he paid any attention to me, maybe I might have had to go towards him because I didn’t think there was any legitimate way I could outrun a bullet,” said McIver. “I was just thinking, if he points the gun at me, hit the dirt and give him a smaller target, so I just kept running until I got in between the parked cars which was the only cover there and I lost sight of him as he went past the east block towards the Parliament buildings and that is the last point at which I laid my eyes on the guy with the gun.”
He says it was a surreal experience and that we are vulnerable to attacks like this because we live in a free society but that shouldn’t restrict those freedoms.
“We live in a free society and that’s important. I think we need to guard that jealously. I think that when you live in a free society, not only are the good people free but the people that want to do harmful things are also free so in one way when you live in a free society, all of us are vulnerable but that’s actually the joy of living if a free society because you come and go as you wish and try to be as vigilant as you can towards people that want to do harm without actually restricting those freedoms and that is, I think as Canadians, the line that we need to try and walk and the line that I think we always have tried to walk and the line we need to continue to walk because as a Canadian I love living in a free society and I have a hunch that most Canadians feel the same way.”
He says he hopes that the tragedy hasn’t changed Canada or Canadians.