The mood was muted as New Democrat MPs filed in one or two at a time to the Sheraton ballroom this morning, and reacted to last night's shooting in Montreal following the election victory by the Parti Quebecois.
A man killed one person and shot a second at the PQ victory party in Montreal, and tried to set fire to the building before fleeing. Police have a suspect in custody.
NDP leader Thomas Mulcair said at this point the party is just thinking about the victims' families.
“We’re obviously all in a state of shock following what happened last night in Montreal after the election results,” Mulcair told reporters. “Our first thoughts are with the victims and their families and those close to them, and we're just going to allow the police to continue to do their work.”
All of the New Democrat MPs are in St. John's for a caucus retreat before the start of the fall session of the House of Commons.
As they filed in, politicians weren't saying much about the PQ minority victory last night.
Newfoundland MP Ryan Cleary said that even among the caucus, there's no clear feeling on what it means.
“I was here last night when the results came in and what I found fascinating was hearing the reaction of the different Quebec MPs to the results. I got different reactions from every MP,” he said.
Fellow Newfoundland MP Jack Harris said that the election victory of a separatist party is something that all Canadians need to take seriously, but he added that there's reason to be optimistic.
“It's also something that the rest of Canada has to be concerned about and make sure that we keep our country together,” he said. “One thing that I'm encouraged by, frankly, is the level of support for separatism in Canada or Quebec is at a very very low ebb and has been the lowest in many many years, and that was evident in the campaign.”
Ontario MP Charlie Angis said that as far as the electoral result that saw the PQ win a minority government, that was "the will of the people."
The morning's meetings began with caucus chairman Peter Julian saying, "we deplore this violence" and asking for a moment of silence.
Mulcair spoke briefly, saying that they're at the start of a “two year countdown” to get ready for the next federal election.
“It's the fall of 2012 heading into this fall session ready to take on a very tough adversary,” he said. “By the fall of '14 we've got to be completely ready to take on the Conservatives in the next election.”
Mulcair is expected to hold a news conference mid-morning to talk to reporters in more detail about the Quebec election and the NDP's caucus meetings in St. John's.