Sask. government continues with plan to scrap sergeant-at-arms' security team at Legislative building
The Government of Saskatchewan is pushing ahead with a plan to replace the independent sergeant-at-arms’ security team at the Legislative Building with a police precinct that reports to the government.
The government introduced Bill 70 – An Act to amend the Legislative Assembly Act, 2007 – on Tuesday.
The bill was introduced, the government said, in response to increasing demonstrations at the Legislative Building over the last few years.
Minister of Corrections and Policing Christine Tell declined to speak to any specific security issues that may have prompted the proposed bill, but said it’s a “combination of many, many things over the past number of years.”
She said anything is on the table including vehicles, uniforms and arms for the proposed officers.
The Board of Internal Economy (BOIE) is a non-partisan committee consisting of the chair, the speaker, two members from cabinet, two government caucus members and two members from the opposition. The committee works to approve budgets for branches like the Legislative Advisory Committee and the sergeant-at-arms. It also manages the hiring of independent positions like the Ombudsman and the Advocate for Children and Youth.
The Saskatchewan NDP said they feel the change to security is not needed, and any proposed changes to security should go through the BOIE.
“In the past, every time there’s been conversations about security in this building it’s always happened at the BOIE table,” NDP MLA Nicole Sarauer said.
Sarauer said it’s important that the legislature retains an independent security team that does not answer to the government.
Tell said the province does not dictate the actions, operational or otherwise, of any policing or security agency in the province.
“There’s no question about any independence to whatever we do with safety and security in this building and beyond the walls,” Tell said.