POLITICS

Canada Day celebrations in Ottawa to have more visible security

06/30/2015 03:00 EDT | Updated 06/30/2016 05:59 EDT
If you're joining in on the Canada Day festivities in the nation's capital, expect to see a more visible security presence in and around Parliament Hill.

It's the first Canada Day since the Oct. 22 shooting in Ottawa and police say security planning has changed slightly in light of the attack.

"You'll see a higher visibility for sure," said Insp. Murray Knowles from the Ottawa Police Service's emergency operations directorate.

"Whether you'll have actually more police officers at any given time, it's hard to say. Depending on when you're looking," he said in an interview with Rosemary Barton on CBC News Network's Power and Politics.

Last year, the threat level for the Canada Day festivities was classified as low, Knowles said. 

"Shortly before the October shooting, the federal government raised [the terrorism threat level] to medium and it's been a medium ever since."

Communications, co-ordination 'augmented'

Knowles also said that police have "learned from some of our lessons in the past" and have since "augmented" communications and co-ordination among security forces — including Ottawa Police, RCMP and OPP — as well as city services such as paramedics and fire services to mitigate risk.

The confusion that surrounded the Ottawa shooting last year was due, in part, to the massive response by police.

"If we have to go to a contingency plan, that's when we have to start getting agile and that's where those co-ordination and communication paths are really important," he said.

"We've done everything we can, in regards to setting ourselves up for success in the event that something terrible does happen — whether it be weather-related or whether it be terrorism-related or whether it be violent crime of some sort in the middle of the crowd."