A little over three weeks after Edmontonians lived through a chaotic night involving two vehicle attacks, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was in Alberta’s capital on Saturday and met with the police officer hit by a car and then stabbed while working outside an Edmonton Eskimos game.
“It was an extraordinary opportunity to sit down with Const. Chernyk – with Mike – to hear about his experience and mostly to be able to thank him,” Trudeau told reporters after. “The morning after the attack, I was – like so many Canadians – I was watching online in disbelief, the footage of him being flung across the road and then viciously attacked.
“It is a testament to his strength… to his training… that he was able to keep a cool head in the most chaotic and violent of circumstances,” Trudeau said, adding Chernyk’s actions kept Canadians safe.
Watch below: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was in Edmonton on Saturday where he met with Const. Mike Chernyk, the police officer hit by a car and then stabbed in an attack outside Commonwealth Stadium. Trudeau commended Chernyk’s lifesaving actions last month.
Chernyk, 48, suffered stab wounds to the face and head, as well as significant abrasions on his arms, but is expected to make a full recovery and is already back at work.
Watch below: On Oct. 19, 2017, Kendra Slugoski filed this report about the Edmonton police constable who was attacked outside a Sept. 30 football game. He was back at work just 18 days later. WARNING: Disturbing video.
Police believe Chernyk’s attacker fled after the officer fought him off. They allege the suspect later drove a U-Haul truck through downtown Edmonton and injured four people while appearing to try and run people over.
Abdulahi Hasan Sharif, 30, is charged with five counts of attempted murder, five counts of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle, one count of criminal flight causing bodily harm and one count of possession of a weapon.
Sharif is a refugee from Somalia and some people in Edmonton’s Muslim and Somali communities worried there would be a backlash against their communities following the attacks. On Saturday, Trudeau commended Edmontonians for how they have responded.
“We are all aware that we live in a dangerous world,” he said. “We live in a world where terrorist attacks will happen, even in Canada as we’ve seen too many times. The question is always, ‘How do we respond to that? How do we choose to move forward as a society. Do we remain true to our values or do we start to become fearful?’ And what I’ve seen of Edmontonians’ response is the very best of Canadians.”
At Saturday’s news conference, Trudeau was asked about TransCanada’s decision to abandon plans for the Energy East pipeline project. The prime minister said it happened as a result of market conditions.
Earlier in the day, Trudeau was at the Mennonite Centre for Newcomers in north Edmonton to meet with community leaders representing various immigrant cultures.
-With files from Sarah Kraus.
Watch below: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks to the media in Edmonton on Saturday.