Canada column for Sunday, Nov. 30/14
THE CANADIAN REPORT
(c) By Jim Fox
Canada is losing some of its innocence with new armed security planned for the Parliament buildings after a terrorist gunman’s deadly rampage last month.
Security is being tightened with the arming of guards, heightened checking of visitors and ending public tours during caucus meetings.
The changes are “a crucial step towards achieving the improvements required of an open and secure Parliament,” said House of Commons Speaker Andrew Scheer.
Armed gunman Michael Zehaf-Bibeau gained access to Parliament’s Center Block after killing soldier Nathan Cirillo who was standing guard at the nearby National War Memorial.
Zehaf-Bibeau ran down a hallway shooting a rifle near rooms where Prime Minster Stephen Harper and Members of Parliament were in meetings.
The gunman was shot and killed near the library by Kevin Vickers, the Commons’ Sergeant-at-Arms.
Parliamentary security officers who work inside will be trained to carry firearms while armed Mounties continue to secure the grounds.
The buildings will now be locked after business hours and enhanced security will be given as needed at politicians’ constituency offices.