When protestors stormed the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, many were shocked to see how easy it was for demonstrators to enter the building and overtake its police, resulting in five deaths, including that of a Capitol police officer.
Speaking to reporters from Rideau Cottage on Friday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau began by criticizing American political leaders for their role in the attack.
“What we witnessed was an assault on democracy by violent rioters, incited by the current president and other politicians,” Trudeau said. “As Canadians, I think we have all been reflecting on our own country, something I spoke with the premiers about last night.”
Federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh called what happened in Washington an act of domestic terrorism.
“Leaders and politicians in the U.S. — and here in Canada — have a duty to end divisive rhetoric and end the flaming of hatred,” Singh said in a statement. “What we saw yesterday was a direct result of dangerous, divisive speech.”
After the mob’s attack, the head of the U.S. Capitol police, who has since announced that he’ll resign after next week, said that “maintaining public safety in an open environment — specifically for First Amendment activities — has long been a challenge.”
A similar challenge exists on Parliament Hill, said former sergeant-at-arms, Kevin Vickers, in an interview with Maclean’s magazine on Thursday.
“What we witnessed (on Wednesday) has taken place at least 15 times in the last couple of decades in our own Parliament building,” Vickers said, in reference to the number of times demonstrators have challenged security by attempting to enter Parliament Hill buildings. The most violent attack happened over six years ago.
Vickers was the sergeant-at-arms for the House of Commons on Oct. 22, 2014, when he shot Michael Zehaf-Bibeau when the latter stormed Centre Block on Parliament Hill. Bibeau had just shot and killed Cpl. Nathan Cirillo at the National War Memorial, a short distance away.
After the attack on the Hill, the Parliamentary Protection Service (PPS) was established to provide security inside the Parliament buildings, with increased security provided by the RCMP. The PPS follows policies set by the Speakers of the House and the Senate.
When asked whether the violence in Washington will inspire changes to security on Parliament Hill, the PPS told iPolitics in a statement that the service monitors domestic and foreign threats and “adjusts its security posture” accordingly.
“Routinely, the Service reviews security incidents and implements best practices into its operations as required,” reads the statement. “Along with our partners, we continue to monitor the situation and are ready to respond to any eventuality.”
John McKay, a Liberal MP and chair of the standing committee on public safety and national security, told iPolitics he hasn’t heard of any review of security on Parliament Hill since the events in Washington.
“I have been in close contact with my colleagues on the committee, and this has not come up,” he said.
More from iPolitics
This content was originally published here.