Kelvin Parsons, Opposition House Leader and MHA for the District of Burgeo &
LaPoile, is concerned that increased security measures being unilaterally
implemented by government at the House of Assembly will compromise the
freedom and democratic principles we enjoy in this province.
was outraged this afternoon when it became apparent that photo IDís were
required in order to enter the public gallery," said Parsons. "As a matter
of fact, neither the Official Opposition, nor the New Democratic Party, were
consulted about this new security protocol and some visitors were turned
away. The House of Assembly is meant to be a place where free thought and
expression is protected and these activities are an attack on these basic
principles of democracy. I am not aware of this protocol in any other
legislature in the country.
"This is the first time such drastic measures have been taken against
visitors to the public galleries. Protesting crab fishermen have as much
right to enter the gallery as anyone else, yet government treats them like
criminals. We will not stand by and allow government to dictate how the
peopleís House will be run. We are not in a dictatorship and we will not
allow the House of Assembly to be run like the Premier runs his government.
"There have been a number of policemen sitting in the galleries over the
past number of sittings and government is acting as if weíre living in a
police state. The enhanced security for the House of Assembly was ordered
without consultation with either opposition party and goes well beyond what
would be necessary.
"The Premier should apologize for his attack on crab fishermen who have
been staging a peaceful protest in the public gallery. These are hardworking
individuals who donít agree with governmentís handling of the crab fishery.
They have a right to be in the House of Assembly and we will continue to
protect those rights for every Newfoundlander and Labradorian."