Mr. Speaker, I thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak today. I want to join the Prime Minister and all of my colleagues in the House in remembering the victims of the shooting at the Centre culturel islamique de Québec on January 29, 2017. This shooting was an act of terror that shook the region, the province, and the entire country. It shook a city that is proud of its warmth and hospitality, particularly at this time of year when it welcomes people from around the world to its winter carnival.
Quebec City was home to the victims of the attack. It was where they lived with their families, worked, and prayed. It was for that last act, for practising their faith freely, as they must be able to do in Canada, that they were murdered in cold blood. They were fathers and sons, brothers and husbands. They went to pray and never returned home.
This should not happen in Canada. Our country has always welcomed those seeking freedom and a better life. It must always be a place where believers of all faiths feel safe and secure in their worship. An attack like this one is an attack on those very principles, which have stood the test of time and for which we have fought around the world. As always, we must do our part to defend those freedoms here in Canada.
All Canadians must feel secure in their communities. They must feel safe living freely and practising their faiths. An attack on Canadians in their place of worship is an attack on the religious freedoms that should be enjoyed by all of us. Sadly, there always will be people who seek to harm others because of the fanatical, violent ideologies they espouse.
We must remain alert to these dangers. We must not be afraid, but we must be ready to defend our society, its tolerance, and its freedoms from those who seek to undermine them.
We must also recognize and appreciate Canada's Muslim community, an integral part of our country. It has made an immeasurable contribution to our free, prosperous, and pluralistic society. Canadian Muslims must know that they will always have a home here, one where they can live in peace and liberty.
Last year's attack was a hate crime that took six innocent lives.
It was a strike against Canada's Muslim community and against the freedom of religion that we must always defend in Canada.
Today, we remember the victims. We offer our condolences to their families and friends.