Norway’s population is so small that when Ottawa resident Mark Senn first heard about the bomb blast and youth camp shooting spree in the northern European country, his thoughts went immediately to a friend with four kids
who lives outside Oslo.
“I spoke with Niels this morning to ensure things were fine and they are, but he’s still trying to understand why this happens,” said Senn who went to the Norwegian Embassy in Ottawa Monday to sign a book of condolence opened there for members of the public to express their sympathy. The embassy opened its doors to the public for two hours and will open again Tuesday between noon and 2 p.m.
Senn said he was surprised to learn that his friend’s family didn’t know any of the victims of the attack. He said he hopes the incident doesn’t change Norweigian society.
“It’s very difficult to understand how one person could have that much hate,” said Senn. “I take a lot of comfort from their prime minister’s position, which is to have Norway take back the city, take back the island
and remain open. We don’t want more barriers to come between the people and the government.
Jo Sletbak, deputy head of mission at the embassy, said the response from Canadians had been very touching.
“Norwegians and Canadians share a lot of the same values. Outside the Embassy people have left flowers. There are people who have left flowers at the residence. All of the messages we’re getting are very heartwarming,” said Sletbak.
He said the incident had hit Canadians perhaps because of the values the two countries share.
“Canadians show it and that’s very good and comforting for us. As our prime minister and foreign minister have said, this shall not and will not stop the way we act internationally and speak up for the values we believe in such as free speech and democracy,” said Sletbak.