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Tuesday, November 1, 2016

November 1, 2016

 

For Immediate Release

 

 

 

The People's House Should Be Accessible

 

Barry Petten, Transportation and Works Critic for the Official Opposition, said, "The people's House of Assembly should be accessible to the people. Confederation Building should also be reasonably accessible to people who need to do business with the government. Forcing people to use the basement entrance around the back, where parking is unavailable, is just not reasonable."

 

"The Liberals, who questioned threats and security measures in the past, have now taken ‎security measures to new heights, citing threats. What they're not telling people is why. Has something changed in terms of the risk?

 

"There have always been threats and they need to be taken seriously, but the people's right to reasonable access to their House of Assembly and their government must also be taken into account and accommodated. The Liberal plan to limit access to entrances to Confederation Building is a great inconvenience to people looking to visit the legislature, or to attend meetings.

 

"There is no issue with making improvements to security measures, however a greater effort should be made to be identify a process and reasonable access at main entrances,” said Petten.

 

"The side entrance to the main foyer has been used by the public for years because it is closest to the public parking lot, it has a new wheelchair ramp, and it is at the main foyer, the central gathering point for ceremonies and public events for generations.

 

"The basement entrance around the back that the public has now been told to use is difficult for people to access because of parking challenges in that area for those who do not work at Confederation Building. In inclement weather, the basement entrance would impose hardship for many visitors. It sends a not-so-subtle message to the public and to those doing business with the province that they are not welcome.

 

"People want to know if these security measures are really justified, or if they're just unreasonable means of giving the Premier and his Ministers a convenient buffer zone so they can avoid accountability and dodge the press and the public. Given the Liberals' recent pattern of dodging and hiding as more and more difficult questions arise, we really have to ask if they have gone too far in order to distance themselves from the people they serve. If these measures are about shielding them from political harm rather than physical harm, then they are unjustifiable.

 

"The very least they can do, while the public is routed around the back to the basement entrance, is to provide ample public parking spaces in the area‎ or to reconsider using the main entrance where parking is readily available and is a more convenient option for visitors,” said Petten.

 

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Media Contact: Heather MacLean, Director of Communications, Office of the Official Opposition,

 

(709) 729 6105, heathermaclean@gov.nl.ca

 

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