Politics

Parliament Hill security shift risks confusion if attacked again: union

Roch Lapensee says putting the Mounties in charge of security for all of Parliament Hill may not be making it safer. Nearly a million dollars was spent last year arming Commons security guards, with another half-million requested this year to finish the job.

House of Commons Speaker Andrew Scheer says redacted OPP report coming soon

Scheer on Hill security changes

8 years ago
Duration 5:27
House Speaker Andrew Scheer updates the Commons committee on procedure and house affairs on changes made to Parliament Hill security since Oct. 22.

Will putting the Mounties in charge of security for all of Parliament Hill actually make it safer?

The head of the union that represents the existing internal security team thinks not.

None of the 225 guards currently patrolling inside the Parliament Buildings will lose their jobs under the new security plan, which is contained within the budget bill now before the House of Commons.

But union head Roch Lapensee says requiring a senior RCMP officer report to both the speakers of the Senate and the Commons — as well as the RCMP, potentially — risks creating confusion in the event of an incident.

It was the defacto head of the internal security service — sergeant-at-arms Kevin Vickers — who shot and killed a gunman who ran past RCMP officers on and into the Centre Block last October.

While several studies have been conducted on the security response that day and what could be improved, none have been made public.

An investigation into the incident by the Ontario Provincial Police is complete and House of Commons Speaker Andrew Scheer has received a report.

A redacted version of the report will be made public in the coming weeks, Scheer told the House of Commons procedure and house affairs committee Thursday.

Commons security now armed

Scheer also told MPs Thursday that $932,000 was spent last year on arming Commons security guards, including the purchase of new weapons and firearms training costs, some of which involved overtime.

Mark Watters, the Chief Financial Officer of the House of Commons (left), Andrew Scheer, the Commons Speaker and Marc Bosc (pouring water) appeared before the procedure and house affairs committee Thursday. (Rosemary Barton/CBC News)
An additional $535,000 has been requested for the next fiscal year, 2015-16, to continue arming guards.

New security procedures now require tickets to visit certain parts of Parliament Hill. Fewer bags will be allowed for visitors. Public tours are suspended during certain events that place higher demands on security.

Hundreds of local police departments across Canada have been contacted by Parliament Hill security officials to discuss regular patrols and other security measures for MPs' constituency offices.

A new emergency notification system is also in development for Parliament Hill to provide clear emergency information in the event of another attack.

Vickers: Oct. 22 "was beyond description"

8 years ago
Duration 4:09
Ambassador Kevin Vickers was back on Parliament Hill to help name the Ontario winners of the 2014 Lives That Make A Difference national essay contest.

with files from Rosemary Barton, CBC News

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