Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Parliament's Lax Security at Main Entry Drawing Criticism No Barriers Exist, Just a Few Guards

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Parliament's Lax Security at Main Entry Drawing Criticism No Barriers Exist, Just a Few Guards

Article excerpt

OTTAWA - Security in Canada's capital came under criticism Wednesday after a gunman was able to run through the unlocked front door of the main parliament building and get close to Prime Minister Stephen Harper before being taken down in a flurry of gunfire.

The gunman had first shot and killed a soldier at the nearby National War Memorial in central Ottawa before running into the parliament building, according to media reports. Canadian police have not confirmed that the gunman who shot the soldier was the same one killed in parliament by security forces.

Parliament Hill "is an icon of the government, and it would be expected to be one of the hardest of hard targets in this nation. It is therefore of abiding concern that this could have transpired," said David Harris, a security consultant at Insignis Strategic Research and a former contractor for the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, Canada's spy agency. "There appears to be little in one's way to make the initial entry into Canada's parliament."

The shooting came just two days after an Islamic convert ran down two Canadian soldiers with his car, killing one, before being shot and killed by police. That incident took place near Montreal.

While many countries have beefed up security following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and rising geopolitical tensions around the world, security at most official buildings in Canada is light. The sprawling Parliament Hill complex in Ottawa has remained relatively open and accessible to the public.

To enter its main building, the Center Block - which houses the House of Commons, the Senate and the prime minister's office - a visitor need only open the glass-and-metal front door. Inside, there are security guards but no gate or barrier preventing entry to the ornate marble hallways.

Parliamentary staff or visitors with credentials, such as journalists, can proceed past the guards without further checks. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.