A Williams Lake RCMP officer stands guard with a semi-automatic rifle in hand as many gather to mark Remembrance Day services in Williams Lake Wednesday. The show of force is a new direction taken by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police since attacks against uniformed Canadian Forces members last year killed two.

A Williams Lake RCMP officer stands guard with a semi-automatic rifle in hand as many gather to mark Remembrance Day services in Williams Lake Wednesday. The show of force is a new direction taken by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police since attacks against uniformed Canadian Forces members last year killed two.

Armed presence felt at services

RCMP officers armed with carbine semi-automatic rifles guarded city hall Wednesday during Remembrance Day services.

RCMP officers armed with carbine semi-automatic rifles guarded city hall Wednesday as hundreds observed Remembrance Day services in Williams Lake.

Many families, including young children and seniors, attended the services and became aware of new, heavily-armed police presence as the colour party led the parade from the Gibraltar Room to the Cenotaph at Williams Lake City Hall and then on to the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 139.

“It’s intimidating,” said one resident, while others said the show of force made them feel uneasy.

“I think it’s sad that events in the world have led us to a place where this is necessary,” Inspector Milo MacDonald told the Tribune/Advisor following the services.
“We don’t assess our area as having a high risk (of being attacked) but we are acting out of an abundance of caution.”

MacDonald said the new normal is a direct result of two attacks in 2014 that killed two Canadian Forces members in Quebec and Ontario.

On Oct. 20, 2014 a Muslim extremist targeted a soldier in a parking lot with his car before police shot him dead. Two days later on Parliament Hill an armed man attacked and killed Cpl. Nathan Cirillo as he stood guard at the National War Memorial.
“Those events completely changed our view of the world,” MacDonald said.

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