Canada’s security agencies are ready to help New Zealand if needed following the shootings at two mosques in Christchurch that have left dozens dead and injured, says Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern called the attacks “one of New Zealand’s darkest days” after at least 49 people were killed and 20 seriously injured in shootings at two mosques filled with worshippers during Friday prayers.
A man in his 20s has been charged with murder and will appear in court on Saturday, said police.
Ardern said the national security threat level in New Zealand was being raised to the second highest level.
A spokesperson for Goodale said Canada routinely shares intelligence with New Zealand and its other “Five Eyes” intelligence allies.
“Any requested assistance that Canada can contribute to the government of New Zealand will be provided. However, we cannot comment on security operational matters,” Scott Bardsley wrote in an email.
The minister tweeted that Canada’s threat level remains unchanged at “medium” in the wake of the shooting.
Canada’s national terrorism threat level has hovered at medium since October 2014 — meaning a violent act of terrorism could occur in the near term.
Canadian police on alert
Police in Quebec City, which endured a mosque attack two years ago that killed six people, Montreal, Gatineau, Que., and Ottawa have all confirmed heightened security near mosques Friday.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted condolences to the people of New Zealand.
“Attacking people during prayers is absolutely appalling, and Canada strongly condemns today’s shootings in New Zealand,” he tweeted Friday morning.
“Our thoughts and hearts go out to the victims and their families, and we join New Zealanders and Muslim communities around the world in grieving.”
Attacking people during prayers is absolutely appalling, and Canada strongly condemns today’s shootings in New Zealand. Our thoughts and hearts go out to the victims and their families, and we join New Zealanders and Muslim communities around the world in grieving.
Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer called the attack “a despicable act of evil,” tweeting: “There are no words strong enough to condemn this kind of vile hatred. I am praying for peace for the families of those lost and recovery for those injured.”
Freedom has come under attack in New Zealand as peaceful worshippers are targeted in a despicable act of evil. All people must be able to practice their faith freely and without fear. 1/2
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh echoed those sentiments online.
“Islamophobia kills — and has no place anywhere in the world.”
Heartbroken by the devastating news of deadly shootings at two mosques in New Zealand.
My heart goes out to the families of the murdered and all those impacted by this act of terror. Islamophobia kills – and has no place anywhere in the world.