A Canadian flag flies by the Peace Tower in Ottawa on Wednesday. A Canadian honour guard who witnesses said was shot twice "point blank" by a gunman at the National War Memorial has died

Canada will change in wake of shooting: former MP

A former Central Alberta Conservative MP said the country will change in the wake of the shooting on Parliament Hill on Wednesday.

A former Central Alberta Conservative MP said the country will change in the wake of the shooting on Parliament Hill on Wednesday.

Myron Thompson, 78, the MP for the riding of Wild Rose for 15 years before he stepped down in 2008, lives in Sundre.

When reached on Wednesday afternoon, Thompson said he was very perturbed about the shooting, and had been following it for much of the day.

“The country will change. … There’ll be a lot heavier security and they will be well trained and armed. That’s what I think will come.

“I just hope that the government takes this very seriously and will retaliate in a manner that means business.

“If you plan on trying any of this stuff anywhere in this country, there will be hell to pay.”

Thompson, not known for tender-footing around issues, said he would be trying to call friends in Ottawa later today to see if they are all right.

“They’re not going to let those guys out of those rooms until they are absolutely certain it is all clear.

“These are terrorists.

“I often wondered at times when that 9/11 came out … if the measures they were taking (in Ottawa) were going to be sufficient if anything went haywire there.”

Security guards for the most part are not armed, although there are plainclothes officers who are, he said.

“It’s very upsetting and people better not take it with a grain of salt. This is serious business.”

The mayor of Red Deer, Tara Veer, issued a statement earlier.

“On behalf of Red Deerians, my thoughts and prayers are with the family, friends and fellow Canadians affected by the shootings on Parliament Hill and at the National War Memorial in Ottawa.”

The release said that while there is no indication that the safety and security of Red Deerians is at risk in any way, the City of Red Deer and local authorities are closely monitoring the situation in Ottawa, and are always prepared to respond to emergent situations.

“Tragic events like these highlight the need to be vigilant in our emergency preparedness as well as in our awareness that these kinds of occurrences have the potential to affect us at a local level. We are confident in our emergency planning, response and personnel in Red Deer, and we are prepared to extend support, if needed, to the men and women who are on the ground dealing with the situation in Ottawa today,” said Veer.

Earlier today, Matthew Trapp, legislative assistant to Red Deer MP Earl Dreeshen, said he talked to Dreeshen after the shooting and he was OK.

“Earl was in Centre Block at the time,” said Trapp at about 9:15 a.m. from Dreeshen’s office across the street from Parliament. Centre Block is the main parliamentary building in Ottawa.

“We’re not exactly sure where (MPs) are. Everything is in lockdown.”

A staff member in Central Alberta for Crowfoot MP Kevin Sorenson would only say that they have been informed that Sorenson is safe.

Similarly, local staff for Wetaskiwin MP Blaine Calkins said they have received a text saying that he is safe.

Ottawa staff for Wild Rose MP Blake Richards confirmed that Richards and his staff were safe.

“We understand that many of you are following the rapidly developing tragic events in Ottawa this morning. The Parliamentary Precinct is currently on a security lockdown. We can confirm the safety of Mr. Richards and our Ottawa staff. Please keep those injured and those responding in your thoughts and prayers,” Russ Lyster, director of operations for Richards, said in an email to the Advocate.

The Advocate is continuing to try and reach local MPs in Ottawa.

barr@bprda.wpengine.com

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