Speaker of Ontario’s legislature says some guards are going to be armed
By Allison Jones for The Canadian PressNews Public Sector
TORONTO - The Speaker of Ontario's legislature says arming some guards is one of a number of security changes that will be phased in at Queen's Park.
A task force reviewed security protocols at the legislature following October’s shooting on Parliament Hill.
Speaker Dave Levac says there will be a “minor arming” of some guards, but he will not be publicly announcing “who’s got what.”
He says security changes are going to be “slowly integrated” so they’re less intrusive and they may or may not be changes that are visible to the public.
When asked if all visitors to the legislature will have to pass through metal detectors, Levac said “the potential for screening is going to be implemented,” but he wouldn’t divulge details.
Currently, only people without security passes who wish to enter the legislative chamber have to go through a metal detector before entering the public galleries.
NDP house leader Gilles Bisson has raised concerns that the changes to legislative security would restrict tour group access, but Levac says all tour groups will have to follow the process “that only some have been” following up until now.
“So those that have not been following the protocols that we already had in place for, say, school bus tours will be asked to do that,” Levac said following question period.
“At one time we were not screening any individuals coming off those tours buses and coming into the place.”
Tours must be booked in advance, he said.
Earlier this month the sergeant-at-arms announced that visitors to the legislature will now be required to show photo identification, a change meant to deter security threats. Dennis Clark said in a statement that it was one of a number of “security enhancements” the Speaker approved following the recent review.
Following the attack on Parliament Hill, the British Columbia legislature implemented a number of changes, including arming guards and an airport-like security screening for visitors.
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