Release of Zehaf-Bibeau video coming as fear of terrorism on the rise in Canada

·Crime Contributor
Release of Zehaf-Bibeau video coming as fear of terrorism on the rise in Canada

With the controversial release of a killer’s video, Canadians may finally get some answers Friday from the mouth of Parliament Hill shooter Michael Zehaf-Bibeau on his motives for his attacks and whether he had an alternate plan or connections to terrorists.

News of the video comes at a time that Canadians are feeling particularly vulnerable to more terroristattacks, according to a poll released by CBC News.

Terrorist attacks on home soil became a reality last October when two soldiers were killed in unrelated attacks.

On Oct. 20, Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent was run down in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que. by Martin Couture-Rouleau, who was shot dead by police,. Couture-Rouleau’s passport had been seized in July to prevent him from travelling to Syria to fight with the Islamic State, a terrorist group also known as ISIS.

Just two days later, Zehaf-Bibeau attacked and killed Cpl. Nathan Cirillo at the War Memorial and then stormed Parliament where he died in a hail of gunfire.

Investigators revealed they possessed a video made prior the attack by Zehaf-Bibeau. Although RCMP know the content of the video, its contents have been kept out of the public domain, until now.

Related stories:

RCMP to show Oct. 22 shooter’s video Friday, provide ‘detailed update’

Was Michael Zehaf-Bibeau’s attack on Parliament Hill his Plan B?

Mother’s emails offer new glimpse into son’s rampage on Oct. 22

This week, RCMP confirmed that Commissioner Bob Paulson will appear at the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security on Friday.

The Canadian Press said a source, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to discuss the matter publicly, says the video will be shown to the committee.

CTV News reporter Bob Fife told Yahoo Canada News it will be released to the public.

"It will be released publicly at 11 a.m. at the Commons Public Safety committee, which will be televised," Fife said.

The video’s release has been the subject of debate since Paulson told the Senate’s national security committee days after the shooting that he wanted to make the video public.

At the time Paulson said he hoped Canadians would see the footage of Zehaf-Bibeau explaining his actions in a calm and deliberate manner.

Paulson also mused about the gunman’s motivation, saying Zehaf-Bibeau wanted to get a Libyan passport and go to join ISIS fighters.

"I think the passport figured prominently in his motives. I’m not inside his head, but I think the passport was central to what was driving him," CBC News reported at the time.

But he backtracked in December, saying: “I think that we may look at releasing some aspects of a transcript of the video, but I don’t know that we will be releasing the video.”

He cited the ongoing investigation into possible terrorist connections as the reason.

Last month, both the Senate committee and MPS on the Commons’ public safety committee asked RCMP to release the video.

Despite that ongoing investigation, a spokesman for Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney said this week the federal government wants it made public.

In an email to La Presse Canadienne, Public Safety spokesman Jean-Christophe de le Rue said the government’s position is that the video should be released.

While Canadians have not heard Zehaf-Bibeau’s motives, the government has said the gunman was a jihadi terrorist inspired by and possibly in communication with ISIS.

News of the chilling video’s release comes as CBC News released a poll Wednesday suggesting nearly half of Canadians feel less safe than they did two years ago because of terrorism.

Two-thirds say it is likely that an attack will occur in Canada within the next five years, including 42 per cent who expect that it will result in mass death and destruction, the report said.

"People aren’t hysterical about terrorism, Craig Worden, executive vice-president of public affairs at Pollara Strategic Insights told CBC News. “But terrorism is there.”

In fact, a third of those surveyed said terrorism would affect how they vote in this year’s federal election.

How do you feel about the release of the video? Tell @Glenn_A_Johnson on Twitter or share your thoughts in the comments below.

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