This much we know: Cpl. Nathan Cirillo was a soldier who took a solemn vow to uphold Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms, to uphold the values that make Canada Canada. We don't know what values Michael Zehaf-Bibeau espoused, why he took his gun to Parliament Hill. And it does not matter.

Why Corporal Cirillo was killed doesn't matter, because he was, ultimately, killed for a lunacy, an irrational belief that cannot ever be justified. What he was killed for is irrelevant. What matters is what he died for.

Corporal Cirillo died for Canadian values, the values of liberal democracy, of freedom and due process, or government whose legitimacy arises from a care for all Canadians and a willingness to put evidence above partisanship, compromise above political point-scoring.

When Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney responds to this martrydom to the service of freedom with an assault on that freedom, he betrays us all. He betrays Canada, Canada's values, and the lives of the soldiers who died to uphold them. To greet the news of a dead soldier with a call for increased, unwarranted, unaccountable surveillance and arbitrary detention powers is beyond cynical. it is an act of traitorous depravity.

The significant thing about Canada is not the real-estate. Other countries have beautiful mountains, crystal-clear lakes, rocky shores, soaring trees, sere tundra and endless, bounteous fields of staple-crops (along with enticingly sinister subterranean stores of hydrocarbons). What distinguishes Canada from any other country — the reason so many of us immigrants came here, rather than somewhere else — are the values that Canada espouses, not the place where it is sited.

And Canada has often failed to live up to those values (as the First Nations people know all too well). Every country falls short of its values. The values that Canada falls short of are better than most, and all Canadians should commit themselves to the furtherance of these values at every turn, not seek to to gut them and serve them up red meat for the Tory base a few months before an election.

It's not surprising that a Petro-Tory government would assume that the valuable thing about Canada is where it stands and not what it stands for. After all, if all you want to preside over is an oil-state, you don't need the Charter of Rights and Freedoms — you just need a hole in the ground, surrounded by guns.

Only a tiny percentage of the eligible voters put Stephen Harper's Tories into power. Overwhelmingly, Canadians in the last election cycle chose "none of the above," which is easy to understand, given the candidates in many of those races. But after years of open war on science, mass surveillance grabs, revelations of illegal spying, abdication of legislative responsibility to foreign corporations, and dirty tricks, it's clear that "anything but" is better than "none of the above."

My Canada, the Canada I am proud to return to, the Canada I talk to my daughter about, is a Canada that embraces freedom, the rule of law, multiculturalism, and evidence-based policy. The Parliament Hill shooter did not commit an offense against a particular piece of geography, he took aim against those values.

Any government that uses his crime to attack those values is furthering his cause.

-Cory Doctorow

(Image: Dawn at Ottawa's Parliament Hill, BK, CC-BY-SA)