Plans to make security changes in Legislature expected to pass

The provincial government continues to push for the transfer of security responsibility from the Sergeant-at-Arms to the Ministry of Justice at the legislative building, something the opposition continues to fight.

President of the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour (SFL), Lori Johb, has been part of many labour protests at the legislative building over the years. The SFL president has always been satisfied with security provided by the Sergeant-at-Arms office.

“I know that our office has always communicated that if we are planning something, you know we are expecting large numbers and there has always been a very open dialogue,” she said.

The government plans to assume control of security by transferring authority to the Ministry of Justice. It would see the number of officers increased from four to 11.

“Across much of North America, including right here in Saskatchewan we’ve seen increased risk and threats directed at our democratic institutions as well as our elected and unelected officials,” said Minister of Corrections, Policing and Public Safety, Christine Tell,

She said she also wants people to have a safe and secure environment to protest.

“Protests are of course constitutionally protected. If they’re going to protest, we want them to protest here. We don’t want them to protest at people’s homes,” she said.

The NDP continues to fight the proposal. It grilled the minister for several hours in committee over the past two days.

“They had no consultation with policing services prior to introducing the legislation and even now today in committee they can’t tell us exactly what this is going to look like,” said NDP MLA Nicole Sarauer.

The government intends to push through with its plan to make building security changes. Required legislation is expected to be passed next Wednesday.

Tell said her best guess as to when the new unit will be formed is late this year.

“Nothing will be formed or started until the bill is passed,” she said.