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MPs feel safe on Hill despite 
terror plot

[PoliticsWatch posted 1:55 p.m. June 5, 2006]

OTTAWA  — Parliament Hill was in a state of normalcy on Monday despite media reports that it was among the intended targets of an alleged terror plot broken up by police on the weekend.   
 
While police did not tell reporters at a Saturday press conference where the 17 men arrested planned to use three tonnes of ammonium nitrate, both the Toronto Sun and the Globe and Mail have since reported that Parliament Hill was among the sites listed in the alleged plot.  

Monday was the first day back at work for MPs since the arrests and the revelations that the Hill was a target.  

There was no noticeable increase in security and tourists were not deterred. 

Hundreds of school children could be seen on the Hill Monday morning participating in guided school tours. 

Outside the Centre Block, dozens of children could be seen taking advantage of one of the nicest days this spring, playing Frisbee, kicking balls or running around on the lawn of the Centre Block. A larger than normal amount of tourists with cameras were posing for pictures around the Centennial Flame. 

Inside the Centre Block, MPs began arriving on the Hill at 11 a.m. as the House was debating a private member's bill on amending the Divorce Act. 

Most told PoliticsWatch they felt safe despite the media reports confirming that the building they spend a lot of time in was the target or a terrorist plot.

"Our security people did an outstanding job," said Immigration Minister Monte Solberg. 

"They got out ahead of this alleged threat and I feel safe because I have tremendous faith in our security forces. They've done a great job."

NDP MP Brian Masse also said he felt safe. 

"It seems like a normal day, but that's good," he told PoliticsWatch.

"The reality is we have to go about our job as any other day," he said. "If we don't do that, then we defeat the purpose and principles that we are here for and that's to have democracy and to speak and debate in the House of Commons."

However, not all MPs are taking the reports in stride.

Liberal MP David McGuinty said the discovery of the plot to attack Parliament Hill is a wake up call.

"I think we should be examining the possibility of, for example, security checks for all staff -- political and otherwise. There are several thousand people in and out of the Parliamentary precinct every day. 

"I think we ought to be looking at entrance into the Parliamentary area. I think we've got to be very vigilant."

McGuinty said he was in Washington, 20 blocks from the Pentagon on September 11, 2001 when an airliner crashed into the building. 

He said he has raised the security issue on the Hill for two years with the former Liberal government and the current government. 

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