Senator Bob Runciman wants crackdown on PM protesters
Former Ontario solicitor general Bob Runciman is questioning why two activists who got to within an arm's-length of the prime minister this week were allowed to "walk away scot-free and smiling" — and he says he'll use his Senate seat to bring in new laws to deter similar future protests.
"People who sneak into these kinds of events, using phony ID, impersonate others, or conspire with others to do the same, should face indictable offences with serious fines and/or imprisonment," said Senator Runciman in a written statement sent to the parliamentary press gallery.
"The decision not to charge two individuals who impersonated wait staff, avoided RCMP security and got to within a few feet of Prime Minister Stephen Harper trivializes a serious security breach and highlights the need for new laws to deter future improper attempts to gain entry to events where designated persons such as the prime minister or Governor General are present."
To that end, he says, he hopes to bring in a private member's bill that would "beef up the law to more effectively deter similar attempts in the future."
The release also criticizes the prime minister's security detail for allowing the security breach to occur.
"There's no doubt the RCMP protective unit needs to be asked some very pointed questions, especially when one of the individuals on stage was — or should have been — on an RCMP lookout list."
RCMP look to prevent 'repeat occurrence'
In a separate statement Wednesday, the RCMP confirmed that while Monday's events are still under review, they have "identified the mistake" that led to the security breach and have taken steps "to prevent a repeat occurrence."
The RCMP said it is responsible for keeping the prime minister safe at all times, including "hundreds of public appearances across the country every year."
"The vast majority of those appearances happen without incident," it notes in the statement.
"The protection of VIPs demands a measured approach that balances the RCMP's duty to protect elected leaders against the public's right of free speech and access to public officials in a democratic society."