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Regina Cenotaph memorial.

While Canadians mourned the deaths of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo and Warrent Officer Patrice Vincent, reserve units around the country were getting back down to business, despite the shock and sadness.


It was a sobering week for the country’s 24,000 reservists, around 1,000 of whom are based in Saskatchewan. However, for both new recruits and long-time veterans, the feeling is the same. Their determination is growing.


“It just makes our resolve that much stronger,” said Major Mike Lagace of the 38th Canadian Brigade Group based out of Winnipeg. “People don’t join the Canadian forces, both regular army and reserves, because they are afraid. They join because they have a mission they believe in.”


Lagace, a retired Winnipeg police officer, joined the reserves in 1990. He said reservists have a strong desire to protect their fellow Canadians, which is why it was shocking to see one of their own countrymen firing shots in Ottawa.


“The country sees a soldier very much like a fireman, where it’s someone there to protect you,” he said. “Whenever there’s a loss of someone who’s there to protect you, someone doing something just within his duty of a very sincere nature, and they’re suddenly struck down for no apparent reason, then it becomes really really shocking.”


Lagace said it was a surreal experience to watch the events in Ottawa unfold. He watched a portion of Cirillo’s funeral as well, calling it a sad event. He’s saddened, but not intimidated by what happened.


It’s too early to tell if those feelings will affect the force’s younger recruits. According to Stats Canada, around 40 per cent of the countries reservists are under 25, compared to about 10 per cent of the regular army.


It also can take months for a reserve unit to accept a recruit so it will likely be almost a year before Canadians know how the shooting has truly impacted the reserves.


“I spent probably about eight months trying to get in,” said Pvt. Jeff Rauscher, who was inducted into Regina’s 10th Field Artillery Regiment on Oct. 28, the same day as Cirillo’s funeral.


Lagace said the Canadian Forces doesn’t want reservists talking about the incident because it’s still such a sensitive subject. However, as Remembrance Day approaches, he says the event is only going to become more prominent.


“Canadians should be more aware of what’s out there as far as what that means to be a Canadian forces member and this definitely tells the tale,” he said. “Talking to others, including my commander and a few others, it just strengthens our resolve that we have a job to do, and that’s protecting Canadians.”