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

11:40 a.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Thank you, Chair.

Just very briefly, Assistant Commissioner, and more for curiosity's sake, I'd like to get the actual stats from you in terms of what the trend lines are for protests on the Hill and for arrests on the Hill. It's just for my own benefit and sense of what's happening for you folks in your reality.

For my second question, just to be very specific about protocol, it seems that this balance we're trying to achieve between security and members' privileges to gain access to the Hill is well achieved when you have that accompaniment or the booklet or some combination. That seems to be the obvious solution you've landed on.

Is that just standard protocol now so that we don't keep coming back to this Groundhog Day moment every year, where someone got denied and someone got sent down a tunnel and all the rest...? Would this not be achieved by simply ensuring that you always have, at these key checkpoints, a House of Commons staff member who can verify our identities and proceed with things?

11:40 a.m.

A/Commr James Malizia

Well, we have the master security planning office, which is comprised of House of Commons, Senate, and RCMP security, to work through these matters. I'm going to ask the officer in charge of protective operations, who is here with me today—Chief Superintendent Marty Cheliak—to ensure that it's enshrined, brought forward, and documented as the way forward for all three parties.

11:40 a.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Right. In a sense, your members, especially—as Mr. Comartin said and you confirmed—those who come from off the Hill and have no experience with this, are put into an impossible situation when someone like me comes up and says, “I'm an MP, so let me through.” They've been given security protocols and they have a very high-level dignitary, and they're going to play to safety and deny access or try to find some other solution. This just seems like the easiest way to take care of this so that we don't have to keep talking about it.

11:45 a.m.

A/Commr James Malizia

It is certainly the easiest way. The backup would be the booklet for a member, to verify—

11:45 a.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Right. So we shouldn't see occasions in the future where neither of those two pieces are in play, just so we don't again have a member standing there and trying to get to the House.

Thank you.

11:45 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Joe Preston

Madame Turmel, did you have a question?

May 8th, 2012 / 11:45 a.m.

NDP

Nycole Turmel Hull—Aylmer, QC

Thank you, Mr. Chair. I have more of a comment than a question.

Prior to March 2, we were regularly asked to identify ourselves when a new police officer was on duty. I have really seen a difference over the past two months. I mentioned this last week at committee. From what I could see, in many cases, a new officer was accompanied by a more experienced one and the message would be conveyed immediately. I really appreciated this. As we often arrive at the last minute, we want to get through the security perimeter quickly. So I really do appreciate this improvement.

11:45 a.m.

A/Commr James Malizia

Thank you very much, Ms. Turmel.

11:45 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Joe Preston

Assistant Commissioner, thank you for coming today and sharing your thoughts with us. I think you've shared with us some solutions.

As Mr. Cullen said, this has kind of been a Groundhog Day for us. This committee has looked at this exact same breach of privilege a number of times over the years, so hopefully we can make this a more permanent solution.

11:45 a.m.

A/Commr James Malizia

Thank you.

11:45 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Joe Preston

Thank you for coming today, and thank you to your colleagues for coming with you.

We'll suspend for a minute. With the permission of the committee, we'll go in camera.

[Proceedings continue in camera]