10/22/2014 12:56 EDT | Updated 12/22/2014 05:59 EST

Ottawa Shooting Followed Warnings Of 'Heightened' Concerns To B.C. Politicians

VICTORIA - The clerk of British Columbia's legislature says some provincial politicians were warned this week about "heightened" security concerns in Ottawa in the days leading up to Wednesday's shootings on Parliament Hill and at the National War Memorial.

Craig James declined to offer specifics about the information he and the legislature's sergeant-at-arms received or where it came from. He said there was nothing to indicate B.C.'s legislature was at risk.

"We are aware, and have been aware, of a heightened concern from entities in Ottawa," James told reporters in Victoria.

"We received information that there may be a problem."

James said those concern had existed for "at least a few days." Some members of the legislature were made aware of them, he said.

Premier Christy Clark said she won't comment on the security tip received at the legislature, but she supports a security review even though she feels safe at the buildings.

"I never talk about my security issues or the security issues around the legislature," she said. "I don't think it's good practice. I don't think it helps keep anybody who works in these buildings safer."

Clark said she wants to achieve a security balance at the legislature, one that is safe and welcoming to the public. She said once the buildings and grounds start to look like an armed camp, the people who want to create fear and mayhem win.

"We don't want the legislature fenced in and shut off," she said. "If we cut off our democratic institutions for the people, it means the people who practise terror have won a victory."

The sergeant-at-arms, Gary Lenz, said security officials at legislatures across the country routinely share information. He declined to go into detail about any such information that was shared this week.

A reservist who was stationed as an honour guard at the National War Memorial was fatally wounded Wednesday. An assailant was shot dead in Parliament's Centre Block, where a security guard was also believed to be wounded.

The capital was placed under lockdown amid fears there could be multiple shooters.

The shooting also prompted increased security measures at legislatures, military bases and other sites across the country.

At the legislature in Victoria, where a Canadian flag was flying at half-mast, security personnel were stationed at every entrance and the building was closed to the public, with the exception of pre-scheduled school tours.

Provincial politicians observed a moment of silence to reflect on the events in Parliament, an institution Clark said all Canadians hold in their hearts.

"Today I stand before you deeply saddened by what's happened and I hope that all Canadians know that here in B.C. we stand with them," Clark said. "Our sympathies go to the families of the victims. Our thanks go to those who protect us. Our vigilance remains strong."

Opposition New Democrat Leader John Horgan called the events in Ottawa a tragic day in Canadian history, one that symbolizes a loss of innocence for the country.

He said speaking in the legislature lets everybody know that the business of the province cannot be stopped.

"We need to be here today to demonstrate that we will nor be bowed by terror or insanity," said Horgan.

The B.C. legislature was the target of an alleged terror plot in July of last year, when the RCMP announced it had foiled a plan to use pressure cooker bombs to attack the building during Canada Day festivities.

Two people were charged with offences including facilitating terrorist activity, and they are currently scheduled to stand trial early next year. The allegations against them have not been proven.

Victoria's police chief said the force was working with the Canadian Forces and security officials at the legislature, though he stressed there was no indication of any threats to the provincial capital.

The 19 Wing Comox airbase on Vancouver Island, more than 200 kilometres northwest of Victoria, was among Canadian Forces facilities across the country to increase security measures. A spokeswoman said the base had implemented "additional force protection measures," though she declined to offer specifics.

A public affairs officer at Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt, west of Victoria, said she wasn't aware of any additional measures in place at the facility.

Vancouver's airport said on Twitter that it had "increased security vigilance" at the facility. A spokesperson said travellers would see additional security inside the airport terminal.

With files from James Keller in Vancouver

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