The most senior leaders of the Canadian government expressed their distress Wednesday about rioters breaching the U.S. Capitol after President Donald Trump encouraged supporters to march to the building.
“Obviously we’re concerned, and we’re following the situation minute by minute as it unfolds," Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said during an interview with NEWS 1130 in Vancouver earlier in the day.
By the evening, the Liberal leader tweeted that Canadians were "deeply disturbed and saddened by the attack on democracy in the United States. Violence will never succeed in overruling the will of the people."
Trump supporters stormed the Capitol as lawmakers in the House and Senate began debating the certification of the 2020 presidential election results. A number of Republicans in both chambers were planning to challenge the outcomes in certain states.
"There is an important electoral process unfolding in the United States, and I think we all want it and need it to unfold properly and peacefully," Trudeau said. "We certainly hope things will calm down.”
The prime minister said Canada will be watching carefully. "I think the American democratic institutions are strong and hopefully everything will return to normal shortly," he said when asked if he was confident President-elect Joe Biden would peacefully transition into power. "But we're going to continue to do what we need to do to make sure that Canadians are well-served in our relationship with the United States, regardless of how things unfold."
The Capitol complex went into lockdown for hours as pro-Trump rioters surged past Capitol Police and into a building normally protected by layers of security.
Canadian Ambassador to the U.S. Kirsten Hillman said the embassy is closely monitoring the situation, and that all staff members are safe. She tweeted an updated travel advisory to the U.S. that includes an alert about "demonstrations in Washington, D.C."
The scenes, which included security drawing guns in the House chamber, also drew statements of concern and condemnation from the leaders of Great Britain and NATO.
Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne said Canada "is deeply shocked" by the events. "The peaceful transition of power is fundamental to democracy — it must continue, and it will," he said on Twitter. "We are following developments closely and our thoughts are with the American people."
Conservative leader Erin O'Toole called the siege on the Capitol "an astonishing assault on freedom and democracy."
"I am deeply saddened to see chaos grip our greatest ally today," he said on Twitter.
NDP leader Jagmeet Singh blamed Trump directly for the violence. Bloc Québécois chief Yves-François Blanchet said in French that the welcoming majority of Americans will soon see that they are not served by Trump and his ideology.