Trudeau on Vickers: ‘It’s always easy to second-guess choices’

PM won’t say if ambassador who tackled protester will be disciplined



WINNIPEG — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau won’t say whether Canada’s ambassador to Ireland — who thwarted a gunman on Parliament Hill two years ago — will be disciplined after tackling a protester at a commemoration event last week.

Kevin Vickers, the former House of Commons sergeant-at-arms, tackled protester Brian Murphy at a Dublin ceremony. It raised eyebrows in security and diplomacy circles. Vickers was appointed Canada’s ambassador to Ireland after being hailed as a hero for his role in shooting and killing an armed assailant inside Parliament.

At the Liberal party convention in Winnipeg, Trudeau wouldn’t answer when asked by a reporter whether he would recall Vickers but did not defend his actions.

“It’s always easy to second-guess choices people make in emergency or unexpected situations,” Trudeau told reporters Saturday. “Canadians expect our diplomats abroad to do the right thing, to represent us well. We’re a country of people who believe in helping out and being part of the solutions, not part of the problems.

“That’s the perspective I take on this particular issue.”

The incident occurred at a ceremony to remember British soldiers killed in the 1916 Easter Rising, which also claimed the lives of some 450 Irish republicans.

A spokesperson for Ireland’s foreign affairs minister said a protester was disrupting the ceremony when “Ambassador Vickers reacted instinctively to prevent the individual’s encroachment.” Video from the event shows Vickers tackling the man and struggling with him before leading him away.

Vickers then returned to the ceremony while Murphy was arrested by police.

Murphy, the manager of a youth and community centre in Dublin, told The Canadian Press he was not a threat but appreciated how the international incident raised awareness about Irish republicanism.

The Irish Republican Prisoner Welfare Association, which Murphy belongs to, demanded an apology from the Canadian government and the “immediate removal” of Vickers as Canada’s ambassador to Ireland.

“Not only did Mr. Vickers interfere with the right of an Irish citizen to peacefully protest in his own country he undermined the role of the Irish state and the Garda (police) authority to deal with such protests,” the association said in a statement last week.


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Trudeau on Vickers: ‘It’s always easy to second-guess choices’

  1. Sometimes appearances make it look like it’s easy to first guess choices. The hockey night music makes it a no-brainer. That’s where the Ambassador thought he was.

    Unfortunately he was in Ireland, manhandling an Irishman.

    • Given the terrorist attacks in Europe and Vickers own personal experience with a terrorist, protestors really should avoid unzipping their jackets while running toward monuments. Perhaps they should consider standing across the street holding a sign. I am sure Trudeau can explain Mr. Vickers heroic actions in Canada and the death of a Canadian soldier in our parliament and how that, along with bombings in France and Belgium have made Mr. Vickers quite alert to possible dangers. Just think how lucky those people on the train in France were that those Americans tackled the man who happened to have a bomb under his jacket. It is a new reality. Mr. Vickers is on high alert. Protestors should wake up and smell the coffee and be mindful of their actions. They might be misinterpreted. Firing Mr. Vickers would be wrongful dismissal. He likely needs PTSD treatment.

  2. This fruit is just too low-hanging to ignore.

    I cannot fathom how, a mere week after he acted so poorly in advance of his own (still-to-be-determined) better judgment, our inimitable PM can actually find the temerity needed to even consider the need to sanction Mr. Vickers without first acknowledging the equal imperative to consider sanctioning himself. Under the circumstances, Mr. Trudeau weighing in on the Vickers matter in this manner would surely signal an absence of self-awareness that alone would be enough to hamstring anyone playing the part of PM.

  3. I suppose it’s possible that Vickers thought Murphy was a serious threat and not a nuisance although serving cops would be expected to have a better feel for body language and signs of a weapon etc. There are lots of examples of cops roughing up “punks” etc for being disrespectful.

    If Vickers was just upset at the disturbance he should be recalled. Our ambassadors can’t be assaulting people just because they’re upset. If Murphy was committing an offence he should have been dealt with by the police according to Irish law.

    It’s clear that Bibeau (the Parliament Hill murderer) was already dead when Vickers shot him. (The RCMP have been noticeably quiet about whether he gun was still loaded at the time of his death but there’s probably no way Vickers could have known that) . Bibeau had been shot at least 16 times before Vickers opened fire. Is it possible that Vickers just has bad judgment in stressful situations? He gets overly exited and this is another example?

    • What the RCMP and the Parliamentary security know is that Bibeau shot and killed an unarmed soldier on the grounds of parliament and then entered the House of Commons with the intent to kill the Prime Minister. I don’t believe a policeman or security needs to ascertain whether the gun still had bullets. Vickers job as head of security at parliament was to stop an armed intruder before any staff were injured. He did the job he was hired to do. In fact, he went to the gun range on a regular basis. How was doing in his job at the parliament an example of getting overly excited and using bad judgment in a stressful situation?

      • That wasn’t his job. His job- which he failed at- was to put in place a security system that would prevent armed people from getting into Parliament. It was his job to ensure security people could communicate with each other- fail. It was his job to hold exercises to test responses and communication- fail.

        Vickers failed at his main job and then tried to shoot a corpse 15 times. That shows a bad temper more than anything else, which of course attacking Murphy is more evidence of.

        BTW read what I wrote again about Bibeau’s gun. I doubt Bibeau had real intent to kill the PM. Going to the Cenotaph first and then Parliament is a sign of very muddled thinking. Intent is too strong a word to describe what probably was going through his mind.

  4. I think it would be more appropriate for Mr. Vickers to take a personal inventory of what happened and at least allow himself to take a deep breath, then off to enjoy his retirement. Canadians respect and appreciate your service sir, your a class act.

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