Extra security is in place at the B.C. legislature in Victoria, part of the response to shootings at Parliament Hill in Ottawa this morning.
Premier Christy Clark told reporters Wednesday there was a review of legislature security after an attempted plot to place homemade bombs on the legislature grounds before Canada Day celebrations in July 2013. That resulted in tighter security measures that will be reviewed again in the wake of the Ottawa shootings, Clark said.
B.C. Liberal house leader Mike de Jong said security staff have recommended installation of a security scanner for visitors, and he and NDP house leader Mike Farnworth have endorsed the plan.
In the legislature, Clark called for the tradition of open democracy to be maintained.
“Out of these tragedies today, we must all remember, first, to be grateful for those who work for us every day to keep us safe; second, to be grateful for the institutions we have built that have made Canada a model of democracy around the world; third, to move forward into the future and continue to make the decisions that Canada needs — unafraid to do what we need to do to stand up for this country, to ensure that citizens in Canada continue to have access to their public institutions, and unafraid to defend democracy and the institutions that have defined Canada for generations,” Clark said.
NDP leader John Horgan echoed that sentiment.
“As important as security measures will be over the next number of hours and days and weeks, not just here and in Ottawa but in every legislature in this country, we have to always keep in the forefront of our mind, in the forefront of the decisions that we make around security, that this institution belongs to the people of British Columbia — not to the 85 of us, but to everyone who lives in this province,” Horgan said. “They need to have access to those institutions if we’re going to continue to be defiant in the face of the insanity that happened today in Ottawa.”
Visitors to the legislature were restricted to scheduled tours, and only previously invited guests were allowed in the public gallery for Wednesday’s Question Period.
The legislature was closed to unscheduled visitors for today’s sitting, said Craig James, clerk of the B.C. legislature. He said legislature staff received a heightened risk alert this week, and a small number of MLAs were made aware of it. But there was no specific threat against the B.C. legislature.