TROUT BROOK, N.B. — Kevin Vickers, who became Canada’s ambassador to Ireland after being hailed as a hero for helping to end the 2014 attack on Parliament Hill, is considering a move into politics.
The former sergeant-at-arms of the House of Commons says he’s considering a run for Liberal leadership in his native New Brunswick.
He says, though, he’s a “long ways from making a decision.”
Lisa Harris, Liberal MLA for Miramichi Bay-Neguac, says she met with Vickers recently and believes he would be an exciting candidate for the party’s leadership.
Former premier Brian Gallant announced recently that he’ll be stepping down as Liberal leader earlier than planned, saying the party needs to move on.
In an interview from Trout Brook, N.B., Vickers said he wants to carry on the legacy of his father, Bill, who began the Northumberland Co-Op Dairy decades ago.
Vickers said the business, along with a credit union run by his father’s friend, “brought a lot of jobs, a lot of great times” to the province.
But Vickers noted that as of March, he will have been in public service for 43 years, and said there’s much to consider before making another four-year commitment.
“It’s a long haul,” he said Monday.
“There’s certainly lots to ponder before making this decision.”
Vickers was appointed ambassador to Ireland in January 2015 by then-prime minister Stephen Harper.
Vickers is an Irish-Canadian from New Brunswick who had a lengthy RCMP career before joining the House of Commons security staff in 2005.
On Oct. 22, 2014, Vickers, then sergeant-at-arms, fired the shots that killed gunman Michael Zihaf Bibeau, who had stormed into Centre Block on Parliament Hill after killing a soldier at the National War Memorial.
According to an Ontario Provincial Police investigation of the shooting, Vickers found himself on the opposite side of Zehaf Bibeau, a pillar between them.
Vickers peeked around and saw what he thought was a double-barreled shotgun and dove to his left and fired up at Zehaf Bibeau, who fell to his knees. Vickers rolled into a sitting position one metre from Zehaf Bibeau and kept firing until his magazine was empty. RCMP officers fired as well.
“I found myself on one side of the pillar and a gunman on the other side of the pillar,” Vickers said in a 2015 convocation address to students at Mount Allison University in Sackville, N.B.
“There was a moment where I thought I’d just reach out and grab the gun. He shot and fired. And the moment he shot and fired, I dove through the air, landing on the floor just beneath him.”
He told the students he found himself in tears the following morning in what he called “the loneliest moment of my life.”
In 2016 as the Canadian envoy to Ireland, Vickers tackled protester Brian Murphy during a centenary ceremony to remember British soldiers killed in the 1916 Easter Rising.
Vickers’ son, Const. Andrew Vickers, has been commended for saving the lives of two women as a police officer in Miramichi, N.B. — rescuing a woman from the icy Miramichi River following a 2011 car crash, and preventing a 2016 suicide.