Nanaimo MPs not harmed in Parliament Hill shooting

Nanaimo-area members of Parliament weren't harmed in a shooting in Ottawa on Wednesday morning.

Nanaimo-area members of Parliament weren’t harmed in a shooting in Ottawa on Wednesday morning.

According to reports, a soldier standing at Ottawa’s National War Memorial was shot and killed. A gunman was said to have made it into Parliament Hill’s Centre Block and was said to have been killed.

Jean Crowder, NDP Nanaimo-Cowichan MP, told the News Bulletin she wasn’t on the hill, but was at the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal a few blocks away from the memorial.

She said she was OK but admitted to being rattled by the incident.

“I saw it on Twitter and within a couple of minutes, there was an announcement made in the tribunal hearing that there was a situation, but it wasn’t clear yet what was going to happen and shortly after that, they put the building into lockdown,” Crowder said, adding people were asked to stay away from windows.

James Lunney, Conservative Nanaimo-Alberni MP, couldn’t immediately comment, but was said to be OK, according to Bobby Wollock, a spokesman from Lunney’s Ottawa office.

Wollock said opposition MPs had been evacuated from Centre Block, but Lunney, along with other Conservative MPs, were in lockdown at a secure location in Centre Block.

Despite Wednesday’s shootings, Crowder said she doesn’t think security on Parliament Hill needs to be tightened.

“I think security on the hill is pretty good … our security staff are professional people and they’re very good and they’re very thorough at what they do, so I have no qualms about that,” Crowder said.

In 10-plus years as an MP, Crowder said she has never experienced anything like what transpired Wednesday.

“Canada is known to be such a safe country. It doesn’t mean that bad things don’t happen, but one of the things many of our taxi drivers [who aren’t] born in Canada tell me is they are so amazed that parliamentarians can just be out and about with no concerns anywhere, ” she said.