What real security feels like

During a brief stopover in Ottawa yesterday, a gracious member of the Parliamentary Press Gallery took me for a sail on the Ottawa River, where I snapped this photo:

In case you don’t recognize the building, it’s the posterior of 24 Sussex Drive, home of Canada’s Prime Minister. Even without Bruce Cockburn on board, I was struck by the wondrous want of any obvious standing on guard for Stephen Harper.

Our small party boarded my friend’s sailboat at the Hull marina, just across the street from the Museum of Civilization. No one checked our ID, demanded we sign a register, or x-rayed the modest-sized parcels we carried aboard (contents: six bottles Boréale Blonde, six bottles Pilsner Urquell, and 12 Montreal bagels, fresh from the oven at St-Viateur Bakery four hours earlier).

For two hours we gunk-holed along the shoreline beneath the Parliament of Canada, the Bank of Canada, the Supreme Court of Canada, the Embassy of France, and the residence of Canada’s Prime Minister. Light wind filled our sails; fall sunlight dappled the river;  all seemed peaceful, orderly, and secure in Canada’s capital.

It struck me that this is the antithesis of security theatre: it is what real security feels like. I couldn’t help but contrast it with the recent experiences of Shoshana Hebshi and Vance Gilbert.

Take note, dear American cousins.