OTTAWA — The apparent terrorist incident outside the British Parliament is a cowardly attack on democracy around the world, says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Canada stands ready to help Britain in any way it can after the attack, which left at least four dead in London, Trudeau said Wednesday.
The dead included the attacker and a police officer, and some 20 more were wounded in the incident, which occurred on the grounds of the Parliament Buildings and the nearby Westminster Bridge, London police said.
The British Parliament was locked down while police searched the area to ensure there were no other attackers.
In Canada’s House of Commons, Trudeau called the attack on Britain’s seat of democracy “a cowardly and reprehensible act that we condemn in the strongest terms.
“Canada and the U.K. are close friends and allies and our message to the citizens of the United Kingdom and our colleagues in the British Parliament is simple: We stand with you.”
Trudeau said the scene unfolding in London was “all too familiar” to MPs who were on Parliament Hill in October 2014 when a gun-toting Michael Zehaf Bibeau stormed into Centre Block after killing a soldier at the nearby National War Memorial.
Zehaf Bibeau was killed outside the Library of Parliament in a shootout with police and parliamentary security officers.
Interim Conservative Leader Rona Ambrose and NDP Leader Tom Mulcair also expressed condolences to the victims in London and others touched by Wednesday’s events.
Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said he called British Home Secretary Amber Rudd to offer Canada’s assistance in the aftermath.
He said there was no change in the threat level in Canada, which has been at “medium” since autumn 2014. Security agencies were taking all appropriate steps, he added.
“There is no known Canadian connection at this stage,” Goodale said.
“This is an evolving situation so we’re monitoring every detail with a great deal of care.”
The Parliamentary Protective Service in Ottawa was “closely monitoring the events in the U.K.,” said the service’s executive officer, Melissa Rusk, but she declined to say if any specific changes were made in response to the London attack.
Christos Sirros, Quebec’s delegate-general in London, said everyone at the delegation, about 1.5 kilometres from the attack, was safe.
“It’s a surprise but it’s not a surprise,” Sirros told The Canadian Press. “People have been saying for a long time that London, after Brussels, after Paris, after Berlin, was kind of waiting for it.
“But you didn’t feel there was an undue atmosphere of fear or anxiety.”
Canada issued an updated travel advisory that directed people to avoid the area near the Palace of Westminster, remain vigilant, follow the instructions of local authorities and monitor local media, including social media.
Those in need of emergency consular assistance should contact the Canadian High Commission in London or the Emergency Watch and Response Centre, the advisory added.
Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland tweeted that her department was in contact with local authorities and stood ready to provide consular assistance to Canadian citizens if needed.
Jim Bronskill and Joan Bryden, The Canadian Press