Enhanced security presence coming to Sask. Legislative Building

The Saskatchewan government provided additional details on Monday about an enhanced security presence at the Legislative Building.

The province said 11 constables will likely be hired to keep watch on the building and front lawn, something the official opposition feels is excessive.

“You know, we’re basing all of these on conversations we’ve had with CSIS, understanding where the threats are. All provinces are having these conversations as we speak,” Minister of Corrections, Christine Tell said.

Applicants will have to go through the Public Service Commission to get hired. The cost is estimated to be about $1.5 million, which the NDP opposition thinks is a little much.

NDP MLA Nicole Sarauer said they are very concerned about the cost.

“We still haven’t gotten a breakdown of how much this is going to cost and hoped much more in comparison to how much we are already paying,” she said.

Tell said she doesn’t think this system will be more expensive than the current Sergeant-At-Arms.

“We estimated high because of the unknowns,” she said.

The government first identified the need for more security after a large protest took place during the speech from the throne.

“It isn’t about one thing. I mean all of us were privy to what occurred out here on throne speech day. That is one thing in a bigger piece, no question,” Tell said.

The new security forces will come under government jurisdiction rather than that of the independent Sergeant-At-Arms, which the NDP also found to be an issue.

“If the problem is with security in this building is that there have been threats that haven’t been shared with the Sargeant-at-Arms, the solution isn’t to step him off his role,” Sarauer said.

The NDP would find the security change more acceptable if the new security force reported to the Sergeant-at-Arms. It will propose an amendment to that effect, one the government said it will not support.

“We want the security in this building and the people of Saskatchewan want the security in this building to remain as it has been for over 30 years which is independent of government interference,” Sarauer said.

There are currently 2,400 individuals in the Ministry of Corrections, Policing and Public Safety.