Security threat not really that threatening

A security guard at the main territorial government building tried removing protesters from the premises last week, citing an unnamed policy as the…

A security guard at the main territorial government building tried removing protesters from the premises last week, citing an unnamed policy as the reason for their ejection.

There is no such policy.

The attempted removal was unjustified, according to the Highways and Public Works department, which is responsible for building operations.

About a dozen women carrying signs marched to the building on September 4 seeking a meeting with Health and Social Services Minister Glenn Hart.

They wanted to discuss the government’s reluctance to fund Angel’s Nest, a proposed homeless youth shelter.

A small investigation into the day’s event put the blame on an overzealous guard.

The guard repeatedly demanded the protesters leave the building, and called the RCMP when his requests were ignored.

Far from the busted heads of the ‘68 Chicago Riots or the tear-gassed protestors in Seattle, there was no disturbance.

“The guard misjudged the situation and that has been addressed,” said spokesperson Doris Wurfbaum.

“The department does not anticipate this happening again.”

On Thursday afternoon, another, larger protest took place just outside the building’s main entrance and was not troubled by security.

There is no formal policy about protesting in the building, but there are procedures.

Those procedures weren’t followed, said Wurfbaum.

Certain parameters have to be breached to generate a response like the one experienced last week.

RCMP would be called if security personnel observe aggressive behaviour such as shouting or pushing, or if attempts are made to get into offices.

The investigation concluded neither happened.

As long as they’re not causing trouble, anyone is allowed in the atrium of the government building, said Wurfbaum.

Last week, the protesters gathered around a secretary’s desk to wait for a response from the cabinet office behind the glass doors.

Instead, a security guard emerged and demanded the protesters leave.

The guard said someone in the cabinet office asked him to remove the protesters, citing an unnamed policy as justification.

“There was no direction from cabinet to call the RCMP,” said Wurfbaum.

Cabinet spokesperson Matthew Grant, who eventually met with the protesters that day, also said direction did not come from cabinet.

The investigation clarified protocol with security, said Wurfbaum.

“Everyone that was talked to agreed the RCMP wasn’t needed,” she said.

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