By Amarjeet Sohi, MP for Edmonton-Mill Woods
Minister of Infrastructure and Communities
September 30th was a sad and scary night for our city. As I am sure was the case with many Edmontonians, when I learned about the cowardly attack against us I was shocked and dismayed to hear that such an event took place here. But we also know that this event does not define us.
Edmonton is and remains a safe and peaceful city. We are proud of our inclusive communities that are made stronger by their diversity and the value it adds. One need only look at a community calendar to see the breadth of Edmonton’s multiculturalism. Every weekend features festivals, celebrations, and significant events from different countries, religions, and ethni cities, providing us the opportunity to experience art, culture, and food from around the world while strengthening our shared community.
Edmonton is also the proud home of the first mosque in North America. It is preserved today in Fort Edmonton Park and provides an opportunity to learn about the important role that the Muslim community has played in the history and growth of our city. The actions of one individual are not representative of that broader community and we must be vocal in our opposition to those who try to tie them together.
Actions like this attack will not change us, will not define us, and will not affect our commitment to creating diverse, inclusive communities where everyone is welcome. We will not let acts of terror dictate the values of our city and we will remain united and resolute in the face of those who wish to divide us.
Over the past few weeks, I have seen the very best of our community as we came together to affirm our belief in those values. Whether at a large rally, a local meeting, or in small gestures of kindness and inclusion, Edmontonians are working together in the wake of this attack to create communities that stand together against all types of hatred.
When the incident occurred, I was at an event nearby celebrating our Edmonton Fire Fighters. It was the kind of event I have the opportunity attend on a regular basis and proudly celebrate our city and those who serve it.
As we know, that evening turned out to be anything but ordinary. We too often take for granted that while we are focused on our daily lives, there are some brave women and men who dedicate their careers protecting us. Every day, our first responders put their personal safety aside to bravely serve. Especially now, all of Edmonton is deeply grateful for the swift and professional response of our police and other first responders.
We owe a great debt of gratitude to Constable Mike Chernyk for his swift and selfless actions. By putting himself in harm’s way, he prevented what could have been a much more tragic situation. Constable Chernyk and his colleagues represent the very best of Edmonton and we thank them for their daily defense of our city, its people, and our shared values.
I was pleased to see Constable Chernyk honoured at a recent Oilers game. We are all grateful to know that those injured are recovering well and wish them the best as they continue to heal.