House of Commons a no-go zone for tourists this summer
Public Works officials to investigate new seating configurations to accommodate 30 new MPs in 2015
The House of Commons hasn't just shut down for the summer — it's been officially declared off-limits for the foreseeable future.
In a precinct-wide email sent out earlier this week, Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers announced that access to the Commons chamber — the room most Canadians would recognize from debates and question period — will be restricted from June 21 "until further notice" due to construction projects scheduled for the parliamentary off-season.
"MPs and their guests will be permitted to go up to the Bar," he notes, referring to the brass barrier at the threshold of the chamber.
Parliament Hill tours will continue, but tourists and other Hill visitors will just have to make do with the view of the Commons from the main lobby.
Memo warns of 'low-level noise,' odours
Meanwhile, behind the curtains, Public Works officials will be doing a little hands-on analysis of how, exactly, the current House configuration can be rejigged to include the 30 additional MPs who will be taking their seats after the 2015 election.
"Construction work will be noticeable inside the chamber," Vickers warns, "as desks will have to be temporarily removed."
The stained glass windows representing Ontario and Manitoba are also slated to be replaced, which will result in "some low-level noise and vibrations."
"Odour-emitting products," the memo warns, "may be used."
The House is scheduled to reopen for parliamentary business on Sept. 15.