An air of solemnity prevailed over what otherwise likely would have been an optimistic kick off to the federal NDP’s caucus meetings at the Sheraton Hotel in downtown St. John’s Wednesday morning.

Media swarmed many of the party’s MPs as they trickled into the conference room’s foyer, asking for reaction to last night’s shooting in Montreal, where newly elected Québec Premier and separatist party Parti Québécois leader Pauline Marois had been giving her victory speech following yesterday’s provincial election. Many of the MPs responded by saying they will wait to hear what their leader, Thomas Mulcair, has to say.

NDP leader Tom Mulcair addresses the media Wednesday morning. - Graham Kennedy photo

Media was allowed inside the conference room for the first five minutes, as NDP Caucus Chair Peter Julian initiated a moment of silence for the victims of the Montreal shooting.

Mulcair then addressed the caucus, first in French, then English: “We’re all in a state of shock with what happened last night in Montreal at the Metropolis,” he said. “Our first thoughts are with the victims and their families and those that are close to them, and we’ll continue to let the police do their work.”

Stay tuned as The Independent reports from the caucus meetings Wednesday and Thursday, during which time it’s expected the party will map out its priorities and strategy for the fall session of Parliament, which resumes Sept. 17. The NDP formed the official federal opposition for the first time in its history after winning 102 seats in last spring’s federal election.

Justin Brake (he/him) is an independent journalist from Newfoundland who currently lives on unceded Algonquin territory in Ottawa.