Province House security under scrutiny after Ottawa shooting

Many are questioning security protocols at P.E.I's Province House and other government buildings in the wake of Wednesday's tragic events in Ottawa.

Changes to security protocol will be considered, says Clerk of Legislative Assembly

Province House security

7 years ago
Many are questioning Province House security protocols in the wake of Wednesday's tragic shootings in Ottawa. 2:09

Many are questioning security protocols at P.E.I's Province House and other government buildings in the wake of Wednesday's tragic events in Ottawa.

On Thursday, a day after gunman Michael Zehaf-Bibeau killed Cpl. Nathan Cirillo at the National War Memorial and then stormed Parliament, a single police officer monitored the exterior of Province House, while two more were inside the Coles Building next door where MLA's met.

Clerk of the Legislative Assembly, Charles McKay, says security protocols will be reviewed.
"Because of what happened in Ottawa yesterday, because a lot of uncertainty in parliaments right across the country, we thought it was an appropriate response," said Charles McKay, Clerk of the Legislative Assembly.

But the police presence is a temporary measure.

Everyday security rules remain the same. There are cameras and trained security officers inside, but members of the public can enter the historic building without any screening.

When the legislature is in session, however, the rules are tighter, similar to the protocol at other government buildings.

"Searching of packages, those sorts of things, a sign-in procedure, an accreditation process and a badge system for restricted areas of Province House," said McKay.

'Carry on'

But independent MLA Olive Crane isn't sure that's enough. She says it may be time to beef up security including metal detectors.

"When you look at what happened yesterday, and people are asking the question, 'How did that person get inside?' I really think security has to be taken a look at, taken very serious," said Crane

McKay says it's too early to say whether Wednesday's events will lead to permanent security changes at Province House, although he says the issue will certainly be discussed.

"That sort of review will constantly be taking place, and, no question, this will provide some motivation to do that."

But some other Island politicians aren't sure more security is the answer.

Members of the public can enter Province House without screening when the legislature is not in session. (CBC)
"I don't think we as a province or a nation should be ruled by fear this time or any time as Canadians. I think we should carry on," said Opposition leader Steven Myers.

Premier Robert Ghiz said, "We need to do everything we can to protect ourselves, but at the same time, I don't think we can be intimidated. We need to make sure our journalists have access to the politicians, the legislature, that people can come in and watch from the gallery."

McKay says the challenge is ensuring Province House remains a welcoming, public building without compromising safety and security.

For mobile device users: Should Province House have more security measures in place?