QUEBEC CITY — Children on a school excursion to the National Assembly were turned away, as Sûreté du Québec (SQ) officers took positions on each side of the building, limiting circulation and blocking access to entrances and exits.
Meanwhile, inside the province’s legislative buildings, Premier Philippe Couillard insisted it would be business as usual.
“Our democratic society will not buckle before such blind acts of violence,” said the Premier.
Question Period was held as scheduled.
“It’s fundamental for us to go on with what we have to do.”
“You don’t have to obey to threats or things like that,” added Municipal Affairs Minister Pierre Moreau.
The Ottawa shootings come just 48 hours after 25-year-old Martin Rouleau hit and killed a soldier in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu.
However, Public Security Minister Lise Thériault was careful about linking the two events.
“It’s premature to draw any kind of conclusion,” she told reporters.
The situation is reminiscent of what the National Assembly experienced in 1984, when former corporal Denis Lortie opened fire killing three civil servants and wounding 13 others.
“I knew personally the people who were killed at the beginning of the 80s, I knew the sergeant d’armes who got us out of the worst,” said the Agriculture Minister, Pierre Paradis.
“It reminds you that democracy is fragile and that you have to fight for it everyday.”
Security has dramatically increased since then. Still, as events in Ottawa show, parliament buildings, highly symbolic in nature, are never completely impregnable.