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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 hill.

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.

A/Commr James Malizia

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

11:30 a.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP 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 NDP 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 NDP 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 NDP 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 Conservative Joe Preston

Thank you, Mr. Cullen.

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

Mr. Hawn.

11:35 a.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin NDP Windsor—Tecumseh, ON

Absolutely. That's very generous.

11:35 a.m.

Conservative

Laurie Hawn Conservative Edmonton Centre, AB

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Let me add my personal thanks for everything you guys do as a force.

I have just a couple of really quick questions. Just to be really clear, at Westminster, they show cards all the time for entry?

11:35 a.m.

A/Commr James Malizia

It's my understanding that they have to present a card.

11:35 a.m.

Conservative

Laurie Hawn Conservative Edmonton Centre, AB

And in D.C., my recollection is everybody has cards all the time.

11:35 a.m.

A/Commr James Malizia

I don't recall. It has been a while since I've been there.

May 8th, 2012 / 11:35 a.m.

Conservative

Laurie Hawn Conservative Edmonton Centre, AB

That is my recollection, though it's a little bit apples and oranges because of the threat environment in D.C. versus the one here, but I think on balance we get treated pretty genteely, I would say.

I have just one other quick point. When we have somebody like the President of the United States or the Prime Minister of Israel...obviously I don't want specifics, but suffice it to say that the people they bring with them have a fair bit of influence on the security arrangements. And likewise when the Prime Minister goes somewhere, our folks with him have a fair bit of influence on the security arrangements wherever he is.

11:35 a.m.

A/Commr James Malizia

We'll negotiate those security arrangements to see what's reasonable. When we're receiving foreign security forces, we'll ensure that we have an appropriate number of members overseeing who's present and what's in place, and they integrate with us as well. So we take that responsibility, but it's very structured in the way we go through operational plans, and at the end of the day we have the last say.

11:35 a.m.

Conservative

Laurie Hawn Conservative Edmonton Centre, AB

I'll just add to Harold Albrecht's point that I'd rather have a little extra security than be faced with the consequences of not having enough.

Thanks so much.

11:35 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Joe Preston

Mr. Kerr.

11:35 a.m.

Conservative

Greg Kerr Conservative West Nova, NS

Ditto.

11:35 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Joe Preston

Great.

We have a cooperative group today. I'm pleasantly surprised.

Mr. Comartin.

11:35 a.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin NDP Windsor—Tecumseh, ON

Well, just to get on the record with regard to my colleagues on the other side, this isn't a question of giving up. It's not necessary to give up the historical privileges we've had. It's a question of how it's enforced and how our services are deployed.

Just quickly, with regard to the policy you've enunciated now in terms of what instructions go to your staffing, is that policy reduced to writing?

11:35 a.m.

A/Commr James Malizia

It's in the process of being written. I've put it in the form of an e-mail, but it's in the process of being worked into our standard operating procedures.

11:35 a.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin NDP Windsor—Tecumseh, ON

Are those procedures public?

11:35 a.m.

A/Commr James Malizia

No, they're not public.