Exactly one week after a gunman was shot dead outside their caucus rooms, Members of Parliament returned Wednesday morning to resume their weekly closed-door meetings.
Last Wednesday's shooter came in through the front door of Parliament's Centre Block and went straight north down the Hall of Honour before he was shot dead just outside the doors of the Library of Parliament. Had the shooter turned left or right, he could have entered either the Conservative or NDP caucus meetings.
The number of RCMP cars parked out front of Centre Block has increased since the shooting, but MPs said they are trying their best to continue their work as normal.
"There are individuals who are suffering," conceded Conservative MP Rob Clarke. The former RCMP officer has dealt with post-traumatic stress disorder in relation to the 2006 shooting in Spiritwood, Sask., where he was working at the time. Two RCMP officers were killed in that shooting.
"It's an emotional roller coaster," he said of the experience he and others on Parliament Hill have been through during the past week.
"It's good for us to get back," said Ontario Conservative MP Erin O'Toole, who added that he finds it hard to believe a week has passed since the attack. "I'm sure we're going to have a big discussion on how the team is."
Inside the NDP caucus Wednesday, party leader Thomas Mulcair singled out House of Commons guard Alain Gervais for praise. Mr. Gervais entered the caucus room during the shooting and kept the doors shut from the inside with his hands, as there are no locks on the doors.
The double doors have two layers. The exterior door is wood and the interior door is made of soundproof padding. A bullet had pierced the wood door near the centre of the doors at about head height, but the bullet did not make it through the soundproof door.
The death of a soldier in Ottawa last week, in addition to one in Quebec, comes as Canada prepares to hand police and law enforcement, through three separate measures, new powers to fight terrorism. All three measures raise questions of how far security efforts should infringe on personal liberties. The current and proposed bills would give new warrants to be used in terror investigations, boost the powers of Canada's spy agencies, and heighten preventative arrest powers. Prime Minister Stephen Harper has said this work would be "expedited."
Justice Minister Peter MacKay confirmed to reporters Wednesday that the government is looking at ways to prevent the promotion of terrorism online.
"There's no question that the whole issue around radicalization and the type of material that is often used that we think is inappropriate, and we think quite frankly contribute to – again this is my word – the poisoning of young minds, that this is something that needs to be examined," he told reporters on his way in to the caucus meeting.
Mr. MacKay said broad discussions are taking place inside the departments of Justice and Public Safety to review the security powers currently available and whether further legal changes are required.
Mr. MacKay said the government has not made any final decisions on what to do next. However the minister did say the government is looking at whether new powers are needed to force the removal of online material that "contributes to the proliferation of terrorism or conversion."
Mr. MacKay said there would be checks on any new powers in this direction.
"I always would come down on the side of having judicial oversight for some of those decisions before you would make any type of intervention," he said.
With files from Josh Wingrove