Motion No. 14
That this House, following the terrorist attack of October 22, 2014, recognize the necessity of fully integrated security throughout the Parliamentary precinct and the grounds of Parliament Hill, as recommended by the Auditor General in his 2012 report and as exists in other peer legislatures; and call on the Speaker, in coordination with his counterpart in the Senate, to invite, without delay, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to lead operational security throughout the Parliamentary precinct and the grounds of Parliament Hill, while respecting the privileges, immunities and powers of the respective Houses, and ensuring the continued employment of our existing and respected Parliamentary Security staff.
Mr. Speaker, I am a proud Canadian. I have always been a proud Canadian. My family are all proud Canadians, and everyone in the chamber and watching this debate is a proud Canadian. This is a good starting place.
Canada is a true symbol of democracy in the world today. We live in the best country in the world, and one thing that is valued greatly is that we are a safe country. That is the first duty of the federal government to maintain and enhance.
This government has become a global leader in upholding democratic values and protecting human rights. Under the leadership of our Prime Minister, Canada has gained prominence for our moral clarity in the universal fight against terror. Through its spirited initiatives, Canada's influence on the international stage has grown and matured immensely.
Parliament Hill is the most important symbol of Canadian democracy. We have an obligation to protect this symbolic institution and to ensure the safety of visitors, employees, and elected officials. It is imperative for security within Parliament Hill to be integrated and enhanced.
We particularly owe a standard of care to Canadian visitors and international visitors to Parliament Hill. Public access must be maintained within a protective framework. Canadians cannot but be influenced by international events, and we then witnessed the event of October 20, with the murder of Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, followed by the events of October 22 at the National War Memorial, with the killing of Corporal Nathan Cirillo and the subsequent attack on Parliament.
More recently, the terrorist attack at Charlie Hebdo headquarters in Paris has strongly reaffirmed our concerns that terrorism knows no boundaries and that in order to maintain our freedoms we must secure ourselves in the optimum way.
The Auditor General's report, in 2012, indicated the need for an integrated parliamentary security force. While we believe that the ongoing unification of the House of Commons and Senate security services is a good first step, a fully integrated security force is also required.
On October 22, there were four distinct police security services, each with its own jurisdiction between the Parliament buildings and the National War Memorial. These were the House of Commons Security Services, the Senate Protective Service, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and the Ottawa Police Service. It is overdue that Parliament has an integrated security force to ensure seamless response to threats.
Today's motion is an administrative starting point to create, under the operational command of the RCMP, a fully integrated parliamentary security force which will provide for one chain of command and one point of accountability. The RCMP has a national presence that has access to rapid response training, security assessments, and intelligence, which are all essential in meeting today's evolving threats.
Today's motion calls upon the Speakers of the House and Senate to invite the RCMP to lead this operational security. I have confidence that the Speakers will ensure that this unified force will not alter or negatively impact the existing immunities and essential parliamentary privileges of members of Parliament. This enhanced security model will provide protection for visitors and parliamentarians, balanced with the goal of ensuring reasonable access to our Parliament for all Canadians.
The Auditor General identified that it is necessary to balance the desired level of access with sufficient security to ensure that risks are mitigated. The security measures implemented by the new integrated security unit for the parliamentary precinct will have policy oversight from parliamentary authorities.
It is the government's objective to advance the transition with all security stakeholders as soon as possible. A transition committee coordinated by the Speakers of both Houses will work with senior officials on a transition plan.
The House of Commons security force is a backbone of Parliament Hill. Their individual efforts and courage on October 22, 2014 are admired and respected to the highest degree, and we thank them.