While politicians express their condolences to the victims and security is increased, Canadian marathon runners are vowing to continue to participate in long distance runs.
The repercussions of the deadly terrorist attack at the finish line of Boston's marathon on Monday are being felt north of the border. Shortly after the dual bombings, Prime Minister Stephen Harper, in London in advance of Margaret Thatcher's funeral, tweeted his shock at the attacks that left three people dead and scores injured, many of them critically.
The prime minister's office later issued a statement saying, "I was shocked today to learn of the explosions that occurred today during the the running of the Boston Marathon. It is truly a sad day when an event as inspiring as the Boston Marathon is clouded by such senseless violence." After saying his thoughts and prayers were with the victims, Harper said Canada stands with Americans during this difficult time.
Yesterday, a motion was introduced in the House of Commons that read, "That the House condemn the attack perpetrated during the 2013 Boston marathon and express its deepest sympathies to the victims of the senseless violence and to their families." The motion, passed with unanimous consent, was introduced by Conservative MP Ryan Leef who was in Boston on Monday and participated in the marathon.
Yesterday as well, Vic Toews, Canada's Minister of Public Safety, announced border agents have increased security measures at the country's ports of entry. Toews said, "Our authorities are at a heightened state of vigilance especially in respect of border crossings and this is not only on our account but also in cooperation with American authorities."
The Minister would not specify what actual measures have been put in place, nor would he say if this is a general response to the events in Boston or whether the FBI has provided information respecting a specific threat.
After the bombings, runners in Canada took to social media, chat rooms and emails to say they would not be deterred from participating in future events. Sarah Vargoe, who ran in the 2010 Boston Marathon, told Canadian Press, "This will unify us and keep us strong as a community. Instead of running to our homes and locking the doors and being scared, I think it's bringing everyone together and reminding us of why we go to these things."
Last evening, about 80 runners gathered at Queen's Park in Toronto and held an informal run to honour the victims in Boston. Similar runs, arranged through social media, were held across Canada. Wayne Chee, 59, one of those present at the Toronto event, said he last ran in the Boston Marathon in 2010 but gave up as it was too difficult to train during Toronto winters. But Chee said, "I'm going back next year because we're not going to let these guys stop us. I'm not going to let these guys run us off the roads."
According to a recent poll conducted by the Association for Canadian Studies, almost 80% of Canadians are concerned about terrorism in the world. But only 55% of respondents are worried about domestic terrorist attacks.