Wilks’ instincts kicked in when gunfire erupted

Kootenay-Columbia MP describes Wednesday, Oct. 22, at Parliament in Ottawa

Kootenay-Columbia Member of Parliament David Wilks is seen on the right of this photo standing beside a barricaded entrance. Graham Richardson of CTV News posted this shot of the Conservative caucus room shortly after Wednday’s shooting at Parliament Hill in Ottawa.

Kootenay-Columbia Member of Parliament David Wilks is seen on the right of this photo standing beside a barricaded entrance. Graham Richardson of CTV News posted this shot of the Conservative caucus room shortly after Wednday’s shooting at Parliament Hill in Ottawa.

MP David Wilks was in a meeting in the House of Commons as gunfire erupted during Wednesday’s events in Ottawa.

An armed attacker made his way into Centre Block Parliament Hill after shooting and fatally wounding Cpl. Nathan Cirillo at the National War Memorial.

The doors to the national caucus meeting were already closed — a normal procedure – said Wilks, but gunshots could be heard from the meeting room.

“It was going on in the Hall of Honour, which separates the House of Commons from the Senate,” Wilks said.

“After hearing the gunshots, my police instincts kicked in right away and the first thing I did was hit the ground and look to see what was going on.

“About 30 seconds later, I made a decision that we needed to secure one of the doorways where the majority of the gunfire was coming from. So myself and a number of my colleagues just starting grabbing a whole bunch of chairs that we sit in and piling them against the door.”

Wilks said the impetus behind piling chairs was not to stop the gunman, but to slow him down should he try to enter. The door was the only thing that separated them from the hallway where the shooter was.

“After that myself and a number of my other colleagues who were former policemen more or less tried and were successful in calming everyone down and making sure that we were quiet,” he said. They then waited for security, which arrived shortly after.

“Then we were in lockdown and waited until security said that it was okay for us to leave,” Wilks said, adding that was several hours.

Security, which included the House of Commons security, Senate security, the RCMP and the Ontario Provincial Police, would periodically stop by to provide updates once the scene was secured. Then they arranged transportation for the MPs and their staff.

One of the problems Wilks noted was with the door closed, you could hear gunfire, but there’s no way to tell who is shooting.

“My assumption is always, until told otherwise, it’s the bad guy, and you act accordingly,” Wilks said.

On Thursday morning, Wilks said he had no apprehension about heading back into the House of Commons.

“Today was much more normal, with the exception that no visitors were allowed into the House today,” he said. Part of the House of Commons was still a crime scene, so the only ones allowed in were members of parliament and their staff.

“Other than that it started off at 10 o’clock and we continued with business at hand,” he said.

“Security here was amazing,” he said. “Hats off to not only the House of Commons and Senate security, but also the OPP and RCMP. I was able to get to my office this morning and then get to Centre Block. There were RCMP there and we were ID’ed to make sure we were members of parliament.”

Wilks said he hopes this doesn’t have an affect on Canada’s openness.

“This is referred to as the People’s House. Since 1867 anyone could come in here. Although under normal circumstances they go through security.”

He said certain aspects of security will likely be beefed up a bit.

“Their job is to protect us. They do a very good job at it and they have my highest regard for that.”

Wilks noted that things changed as a result of Wednesday’s events.

“What I’ve always said is that it seems that there is a little bit of complacency on the part of not politicians, but Canadians in general,” he said. “With regards to the fight is over there, as in Iraq, Syria, Iran and those areas in the Middle East, but it has moved here and the game changed. So we can’t say anymore that it can’t happen here, because it’s happened twice this week.”

Wilks was referring to the hit-and-run attack that killed a soldier in Quebec on Monday.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Masks are now officially mandatory in all City of Campbell River facilities. (Black Press File Photo)
Interior Health reports 49 new COVID-19 cases overnight

302 cases remain active; two in hospital

Cranbrook City Hall. File photo.
Council passes, adopts new bylaw to allow legal secondary suites

Cranbrook has formally adopted a secondary suites bylaw that will allow secondary… Continue reading

Cranbrook City Hall.
Council postpones land use discussion for proposed overnight shelter

An application for an overnight shelter will be presented at a forthcoming… Continue reading

Crisis line
Mental health crisis lines are busier than ever

The number of calls and the intensity of calls has increased. But the community is stepping up to help

At the Cranbrook Public Library
What’s happening at the Cranbrook Public Library

Mike Selby The Library is now open with extended hours (with some… Continue reading

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, Nov. 23, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. daily COVID-19 cases hits record 941 on Tuesday

Further restrictions on indoor exercise take effect

(Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Refuse to follow B.C.’s mask mandate? Face a $230 fine

Masks are now required to be worn by all British Columbians, 12 years and older

BC Teachers' Federation President Teri Mooring is asking parents of school-aged children to encourage the wearing of masks when possible in schools. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito)
LETTER: Teachers union encourages culture of mask wearing in B.C. schools

BCTF President Teri Mooring asks parents to talk with children about wearing masks in school

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speak to the media about the COVID-19 virus outside Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s inability to manufacture vaccines in-house will delay distribution: Trudeau

First doses of COVID-19 vaccine expected in first few months of 2021, prime minister says

(Pixabay)
All dance studios, other indoor group fitness facilities must close amid updated COVID-19 rules

Prior announcement had said everything except spin, HIIT and hot yoga could remain open

B.C. Liberal interim leader Shirley Bond speaks to reporters from Prince George via Zoom conference, Nov. 24, 2020. MLAs are being sworn in for the legislature session this week, many of them also by video. (B.C. legislature)
B.C. Liberal leadership contest will wait for election post-mortem

Interim leader set to face NDP on payments for COVID-19

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Product Care offers more than <a href="http://link.mediaoutreach.meltwater.com/ls/click?upn=pDYyTceU0YgTDdsd92GohdQJsmSiPFEkcB4MdMM0Qkoqb1aJA-2By5aWklKJXV6QRdyTteNjr2FccUOVLUe4t5Zw-3D-3D1ds-_KVyBcpjXADXifSWVpM8nQcAzSm9-2B6fEFnjVrTsOcu31irDHDxi5k0QTOIWCqMXUxaNbrf0yRzXSSpROCkfx3NkUtbr65Dkcw1J0by-2F-2BDdDiJGbcfhtjHWYSs66NwakeCCLYkj20e9ICIZsLcedqNZKBhsN0sGgBsInpdzsddYikUZkmQvFdxLJhakpgAA6aAJ5ScUoWR6vO9sM819vRB-2F6x7dsdfIaWa4ZgHxR4G7hauxgSJCsNI2bP5J62EFfM0aiDqRPwUPUjt7i5-2FMqpdJxrEBewnLky-2B3lE0JAmi5UsJBkJejuLOjsndZz4b7dNgbvt6KyewKuF0sxU2rpYgkAO9YAKc9STuFJd28Qn7jE0-2FqlB8HKOvpW150NHS-2BOMBcK5rkZ8YAuPqJy11k-2BgndiKB-2FWl2icAfbWtRGJPb8fM-3D" target="_blank">150 free drop-off locations</a> in B.C. (Pixabay.com)
Recycling broken or burnt string lights can reduce holiday landfill waste

In 2019, Product Care Recycling diverted more than 11.6 million light bulbs from landfills

Most Read