Yasin Ali charged with carrying concealed weapon on Parliament Hill
Toronto man, 56, appeared by video in an Ottawa court Wednesday
Yasin Mohamed Ali, 56, of Toronto appeared by video in an Ottawa court Wednesday to face a charge of carrying a concealed weapon.
Ali did not resist when he was arrested outside Parliament Hill's Centre Block in Ottawa on Tuesday by the Parliamentary Protective Service.
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Ali, a permanent resident of Canada, will be held in custody until his next court appearance on Friday, when he will be assisted by a Somali interpreter. His defence attorney also asked that Ali be assessed by a doctor.
The RCMP said Wednesday that the investigation is continuing, but added that there is no reason to believe the incident was politically motivated, or an attempted terrorist attack.
"I understand it is less a concern around so-called national security considerations than it is a mental health issue," RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson told reporters Wednesday. "There's a history of behaviours that are odd.
"We'll see more details as we go along but the best information that we have right now is that it's mental health, bad judgment, a crazy behaviour issue," Paulson said.
Meat cleaver tucked in pants
Sources have told CBC News that on Tuesday, Ali obtained a tour ticket from the parliamentary visitor centre on Wellington Street, and then entered Centre Block through the public entrance at the base of the building.
Security guards asked a man to remove his overcoat as he was about to pass through the metal detector.
The man reluctantly opened his coat, at which time the guards spotted a large meat cleaver tucked into the waist of his pants.
Ali has no known connection to the Ottawa area. He was staying at the Ottawa Mission homeless shelter, according to Riad Tallim, the Crown prosecutor assigned to this case.
According to court documents, Ali was convicted of assaulting a police officer and resisting arrest in Toronto in 2000. At a later date, he was convicted of breach of probation.
1st public scare for new Hill police service
The Parliamentary Protective Service was created in the wake of the Oct. 22, 2014, shooting on Parliament Hill.
That day, gunman Michael Zehaf-Bibeau ran on to the grounds, hijacked a ministerial car and stormed Centre Block with a hunting rifle and knife, after having shot dead Canadian Forces Cpl. Nathan Cirillo at the National War Memorial across the street.
Following the attack, there was criticism about confusion and lack of security co-ordination during the incident.
The RCMP had been responsible for security on the grounds of Parliament Hill, while the House of Commons and Senate had separate protective services inside the building.
The Parliamentary Protective Service, which assumed control of Hill security in June, reports to the RCMP National Division, "with accountability to the Speakers of the House of Commons and the Senate."
The April federal budget committed $36 million over two years to improve security on Parliament Hill.
With files from Karina Roman, Judy Trinh, John Paul Tasker