The storming of the Capitol has Ottawa wondering: Are we ready?


In August, the Star reported that threats against Trudeau and his cabinet had markedly increased compared to 2019. During the election that year, Trudeau wore a bulletproof vest to one of his public events. In 2014, a gunman stormed Parliament Hill before being shot down by security guards.

The bullet holes from that day are still etched in Centre Block’s walls; a permanent reminder that Canada is not immune from political violence.

While security has been tightened within the parliamentary precinct since the 2014 shooting, MPs are still concerned about their safety when gathering in the few blocks that make up Ottawa’s parliamentary precinct.

“The place I feel the least safe on the planet is the Hill,” said Conservative Michelle Rempel Garner, a longtime MP and former cabinet minister who was in Centre Block during the 2014 shooting.

Rempel Garner said watching the footage of Wednesday’s riot in D.C. brought back memories of that day in October 2014. The veteran politician — no stranger to animated debate and partisan fights — said even years after the event she felt physically ill walking the halls of Canada’s Parliament.

The Calgary MP repeatedly stressed that she was not blaming the Parliamentary Protective Service — the guards who oversee security on Parliament Hill — and that the House of Commons should be open to the public it represents.

Garner worries that the growing toxicity of politic could lead to more violence — and she’s not alone.