Evidence of meeting #36 for Procedure and House Affairs in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was security.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

  • Commissioner James Malizia  Assistant Commissioner, Protective Policing, Protective Policing Branch, Royal Canadian Mounted Police

11:30 a.m.

NDP

Alexandrine Latendresse Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC

Thank you.

11:30 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Joe Preston

Do you want to share that time, Mr. Cullen?

May 8th, 2012 / 11:30 a.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Sure, I'll take a couple of minutes.

Thanks for coming. This is a difficult task for you, to balance this. It's an unusual environment around Parliament Hill, particularly with respect to parliamentarians and our access on these heightened security days, so you have my...I don't know if “sympathies” is quite right, but hopefully my understanding.

This is probably before your time, but just for interest's sake, you mentioned at the beginning of your speech the number of protests that you deal with in any given year. I'd be curious to get a sense of the number of protests over, say, the last decade. Are we on a trend toward increasing, or are we decreasing? Is your job becoming more complex that way? Do we see more arrests, more people taken off the Hill?

You don't have to answer that now. If you know it, great, but you can also get that to us later.

As well, the incidents that have been mentioned by all parties are often in connection with a visit from the head of state from either Israel or the United States. I assume you have special protocol arrangements with those. Are there other nations on the list that require that different type of protocol arrangement with your force when they come here?

I'll leave it at those two questions. I'm not sure how much time I have left, so we'll go from there.

11:30 a.m.

A/Commr James Malizia

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

To start with your second question, yes, we do have protocols and arrangements with different countries. I shouldn't say “protocols”; I should say we negotiate security arrangements in the sense that we look to see the level required according to threat assessments. We have a threat risk assessment prepared, and then there will be advances conducted by the visiting country, no different from what we do when we travel abroad with our Prime Minister, let's say. At that point there will be different things discussed.

At the end of the day, the RCMP and the partners here are the ones who control security and decide upon what level we're going to put in place and what it will look like.

11:30 a.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

This is anecdotal—again, I don't know your world and what you have to deal with—but as a parliamentarian over the last eight years, there is a palpable difference when it's a president of the United States or a leader from Israel. I don't get the same difference when....

I think we have a leader from Poland coming next week. Is that right? My expectation is that it will seem like the same day on the Hill. I know you have final say, or I assume you have final say. Is the arrangement different?

11:30 a.m.

A/Commr James Malizia

It is, because it's linked to the threat assessment.

11:30 a.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Right. So it's if the threat assessment is different.

11:30 a.m.

A/Commr James Malizia

If you have a dignitary who's considered a higher threat, then of course wherever that dignitary visits the site will automatically ramp up because of the dignitary's presence. It changes, of course, when you have a dignitary who's a low threat. You won't necessarily see the same response.

11:30 a.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

And then we feel those small consequences, as parliamentarians, in terms of what we face when we come onto the Hill, depending upon that level of threat assessment.

11:30 a.m.

A/Commr James Malizia

You'll see the ramped-up number of members. Hopefully with the arrangements we have in place there won't be that issue of access anymore.

To answer your first question, sir, with respect to the number of protesters we deal with in any given year, we've seen an increase through the years. As I mentioned earlier, one of the complexities with....

I just look at my teenaged daughters; they're able to mobilize friends very quickly and efficiently. Those tactics are sometimes utilized by other people and protesters. It makes our job more complex, in the sense that what happens off the Hill has an impact on the Hill, and vice versa. We work very closely with the Ottawa Police Service and our other security partners.

11:35 a.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Is it harder to anticipate because of those tools?

11:35 a.m.

A/Commr James Malizia

It's challenging, but we're adapting, and we're building those relationships with the organizers of those groups to try to get advance notice when possible. But again, with social media—

11:35 a.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

They can be anonymous.

11:35 a.m.

A/Commr James Malizia

—it changes really quickly, and we have to have the ability to ramp up very quickly and ramp down very quickly as well.

11:35 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Joe Preston

Thank you, Mr. Cullen.

Mr. Comartin, you can take some more of his time after.

Mr. Hawn.