Mr. Speaker, hockey season is in full swing. In June, one team will win the Stanley Cup. Imagine if come September, all those players end up in the American league. No, my comment is not out of order; I will speak to the motion and you will see what I am getting at.
I am wondering what the hurry is. This motion is not the result of a recommendation by the joint advisory working group on security. In fact, the group was not even ready to make its recommendations. We know where it is heading and that is fine. However, the Conservative motion has been expedited and we should know where we are going with it. The motion states that this new system will be enforced without delay, although we have no idea how things will actually work. It is sort of a blank cheque. The members on the front benches have not told us where we are heading with this motion. The Lord only knows, but I sure do not.
There have been many speeches concerning security-related incidents on Parliament Hill. Each time, the NDP mentioned how important it is to co-ordinate the work of everyone involved. This is nothing new and we continue to believe that. Ultimately, what we are doing on this side of the House, Mr. Speaker, is defending your powers. We want the existing security services to continue to maintain order on the Hill. Despite the good work done by the RCMP on the ground, we do not want control over this work to be taken away from Parliament Hill's security services. It is not very complicated.
Some members on the other side have said that the changes are insignificant. There is nothing insignificant about directly changing how orders are managed, reported and given. The government is interfering with this Parliament's freedom to work independently. Some will say that I am paranoid. However, one day, Mr. Speaker, you may no longer have the right to say “Order”, because that will be someone else's responsibility.
I said at the start that we support the integrated co-ordination of security. Evidently, our security services need better integration, better co-ordination, better communications, better equipment and better training. In short, they need resources, training and tools. We do not need to change everything. We have learned some lessons from the events that took place. We want to improve the processes and we want to do something worthwhile. Nevertheless, there is no need to change everything. We can do all of this without necessarily turning everything upside down, as the government wants to do with this motion.
Furthermore, this would be a lot to ask of the RCMP. On the one hand, we would be asking them to do their job on the ground, and on the other hand, we would be asking them to ensure the security of Parliament Hill. Who would the RCMP report to? To the Minister of Public Safety, of course. That is the hierarchy, and it is only natural for RCMP officers to think so. That is part of their training. Incidentally, our former sergeant-at-arms was a former RCMP officer, but he worked in the context of the House. There is no reason not to continue working in this fashion, only with better tools. The RCMP is not a security agency. It is much more than that. RCMP officers do an excellent job on the ground and they should continue to do the work they excel at. On this side of the House, we do not want officers to have to do things that they are not trained to do and that they do not necessarily want to do either. With the kind of training they are given, they can do other things besides act as security guards.
The government's motion was based on the Governor General's report, but the report talked only about integrating, without saying how. What is more, the government has never said what it is trying to accomplish. Will handing the whole thing over to the RCMP improve things? I have yet to hear anyone across the way tell us what we stand to gain from this.
They say that the government will ensure that the staff currently assigned to parliamentary security will keep their jobs, but no one seems to know how that will work or whether all the jobs will be kept. When a security guard retires, will he be replaced by an RCMP officer?
The security guards are worried about their futures, and the future of their group. Let us not forget that. We have to think about the impact our actions will have on other people. The government wants to improve Parliament's security, and everyone in the House agrees on that. However, we cannot go about this in any old way and forget what was done in the past.
During the sad events of October 22, these guards gave us their all, and we recognized that here when we gave them a lengthy ovation. Despite that, a few months later, the government is now moving this motion. Let us put ourselves in their shoes. They must think that their actions have already been forgotten and are not worth very much. It is extremely unfortunate that the Conservatives seem to want to move on with something else to solve a problem.
Mr. Speaker, this calls to mind the expression, “you do your job and I'll do mine”. It is very important for everyone to have a specific role in providing security to Parliament. We currently have different groups that provide security here and that provide security for all those who visit Parliament on a daily basis. We are talking about the security of not just parliamentarians, but also visitors. That is how Parliament can be open to visitors.
This motion represents an arbitrary decision. It is unfortunate that the government did not wait for the findings set out in the report of the joint security committee. The government ignored the separation of powers and used the tragic events of October 22 to advance its own agenda instead of trying to resolve the fundamental problems.
Our security officers are dedicated. They have proven their courage and bravery. They do not deserve what is happening to their profession. Their service won them the Stanley Cup. I do not think they should be sent down to an American league.