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Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs



Tuesday, May 17, 2022

[Recorded by Electronic Apparatus]



     Good morning. I call this meeting to order.
     Welcome to meeting number 22 of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs. The committee is meeting today to continue its work on the operational security of the parliamentary precinct along Wellington and Sparks Street.
    I would like to welcome the following witnesses in the first half of the meeting: Steve Bell, interim chief of the Ottawa Police Service; Michael Duheme, deputy commissioner, Royal Canadian Mounted Police; and Luc Beaudoin, director, Service de police de la Ville de Gatineau.
    We are not here to duplicate the work of other committees, so I will remind you of the wording of the motion we agreed to:
That pursuant to Standing Order 108(3)(a)(i) and (ii), the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs undertake a study on expanding the federal jurisdiction for the operational security of the Parliamentary Precinct to include sections of Wellington St. and Sparks St.; that the study consist of no less than five meetings; and that the committee report its findings with recommendations back to the House of Commons.
    I will also take a moment to remind all colleagues that we will try to adhere to the amount of time we have for questions, comments and responses. Whenever the response is longer, I will provide that time back to our colleagues to ensure the time is not taken away from you. This is so we can be mindful of the work the interpreters do. If we can refrain from interrupting each other, it would be greatly appreciated.
    I will also remind all members that we would appreciate all comments be made through the chair. To our guests, as well, we always address comments through the chair.
    We will now start by welcoming Chief Bell for opening comments.
     I'll remind you that your comments should be no more than five minutes, so if you can keep them to less than five minutes, it would be greatly appreciated.
    Please go ahead, Chief Bell.
    Thank you to the chair and committee members for having us here today.
    The Ottawa Police Service is the police of jurisdiction for the area we are discussing today. We understand how important this topic is for all Canadians. We all want to see a free, open and peaceful capital that the residents of our city, visitors and Canadians can fully appreciate and enjoy. This is crucial to our democracy.
    No one wants to see another unlawful protest as we saw in February. We have worked closely with the our city partners and have already taken steps to ensure that the conditions that led to the unlawful protest do not reoccur. We have also taken an enhanced police posture towards demonstrations and other events in the downtown core. We're working closely with the City of Ottawa to identify exclusion zones where vehicle-based events or protests are not allowed. We saw that this approach was successful during the last demonstration.
     The Ottawa Police Service has been policing Canada's capital since the 1800s. Policing is now more complicated than ever. We've adapted and we will continue to evolve as a police service, but as we consider changes moving forward, there are three areas I'd like to briefly discuss: jurisdictional responsibilities, infrastructure and resources.
    As the police of jurisdiction in the nation's capital, a city that includes several law enforcement agencies, we have always had a strong sense of co-operation and collaboration. We're used to dealing with questions of jurisdiction. For example, security services on Parliament Hill and with the parliamentary precinct in Ottawa are handled by the Parliamentary Protective Service and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. The RCMP is also responsible for protecting certain properties in Ottawa, such as foreign embassies and consulates, and for the security of designated Canadians like the Prime Minister and the Governor General.
    Any changes to law enforcement responsibilities within the jurisdiction of Ottawa will need to be clearly laid out. Who will do what and where? What are the exact boundaries? What happens when an incident or event crosses over these boundaries?
    If we're going to effectively respond to complex and shifting events, jurisdictional boundaries, responsibilities and collaborative strategies will have to be clearly spelled out. Statutory and regulatory jurisdictions will need to be determined so that whoever has jurisdiction has the necessary authorities and does not need to depend on ad hoc emergency legislation.
    The second issue we need to consider is infrastructure. Millions of tourists visit the nation's capital each year. We want to be an accessible and welcoming city. Ottawa should be a modern, livable city where residents can move about unobstructed, but in times of emergency and threat, we need to have the infrastructure in place that could protect key locations and personnel. Without infrastructure that can quickly be adapted for security, we are forced to rely on ad hoc measures like using heavy trucks and buses to block roads, which is a less effective and more disruptive method. We need to have infrastructure that we can put in place quickly and effectively, maintain for the duration of the threat and then reduce where appropriate.
    The third issue to talk about is resources. Although we can't predict the exact nature of the next emergency or security threat, we must be prepared to maintain public security and protect the residents of Ottawa in any event. This requires adequate resources, including staffing for response, threat assessments and inter-agency liaison. Where and how these resources will be secured needs to be determined.
    This concludes my prepared comments. This is a very important discussion for the City of Ottawa and all Canadians.
    I look forward to answering your questions.


    Thank you very much, Chief Bell, for those concise comments.
    I will now it turn over to the Deputy Commissioner of the RCMP for up to five minutes.
     Good morning, Madam Chair, vice-chairs and committee members.
    I'm Mike Duheme from the RCMP, deputy commissioner of federal policing. I would like to thank the committee for the opportunity to be here today.
    We support the committee's study on the feasibility of expanding the parliamentary precinct to include sections of Wellington and Sparks streets. As I understand it, the United States conducted a similar review to improve the provision of security services provided at Capitol Hill, following the events of January 2021. We look forward to any of the committee's findings and recommendations that can better address the safety and security of the precinct and the grounds of Parliament Hill.
    Like my colleague Steve, I would like to focus my discussion on three themes: jurisdiction, RCMP and the freedom convoy, and our role in PPS.
    To begin, Ottawa Police Service, PPS and the RCMP have different jurisdictional responsibilities. OPS remains the POJ, police of jurisdiction, within Ottawa. This means that if there is a violation of the Criminal Code, even on the grounds of Parliament Hill or within the precinct, it is usually the OPS who will investigate, make arrests and lay appropriate charges under the Criminal Code or provincial or municipal laws.
    The Parliamentary Protective Service mandate is ensuring physical security throughout the grounds of Parliament Hill and the buildings designated by the Speaker of the Senate and Speaker of the House of Commons that form the parliamentary precinct.
    RCMP has both a protective policing and investigative mandate in the national capital region to safeguard principal government officials and to investigate federal policing threats related to national security, transnational serious and organized crime, and cybercrime.
    Next, as we all witnessed, police services across the country responded to unprecedented and highly disruptive demonstrations and occupations. Throughout the convoy, the RCMP was engaged with its partners through its national capital region command centre.


    The command centre promotes real-time, effective, operational coordination among law enforcement and security partners during major events and emergencies in the national capital region. The centre, which brought together representatives from the RCMP, the Ontario Provincial Police, the Parliamentary Protective Service, the Ottawa Police Service and other groups, such as municipal partners and first responders, therefore enabled commanders directing responses to make timely and informed decisions when working with various policing partners.
    In addition, the RCMP, the Ontario Provincial Police and the Ottawa Police Service established an integrated command centre to improve collaboration and coordination of investigative activities to stop the disruption in the nation's capital. The goal was to end the blockade quickly and safely. I believe we all effectively achieved that goal, and I would like to thank all the police officers and law enforcement agencies who participated in this operation.
    Finally, I would like to talk about our role within the Parliamentary Protective Service. The operational head of the PPS is a member of the RCMP. However, the Parliamentary Protective Service is a separate entity from other law enforcement partners and takes its direction from the House of Commons and the Senate.



     It needs to be clearly recognized that PPS is separate and independent from the RCMP. We have distinct mandates and jurisdictional responsibilities, yet we are always willing to assist our partners as required. All RCMP frontline resources have been demobilized from the PPS, leaving the current director of the PPS as the only remaining RCMP member present at the Parliamentary Protective Service.
    In closing, we look forward to the committee's findings and recommendations. I would like to thank you for the time and the opportunity to speak about this important topic.
    Thank you, Madam Chair.
    Thank you so much for those concise comments.


    Mr. Beaudoin, you have the floor for five minutes.
    Madam Chair and members of the committee, I want to begin by thanking you for seeking the views of the Service de police de la Ville de Gatineau, the SPVG, as part of the review on this issue.
    The testimony of the SPVG will not directly address the expansion of the Parliamentary Precinct. Rather, our reflection will focus on the impact that major events occurring on Parliament Hill have on our policing, our municipality and our community.
    I will offer my testimony not only in light of the recent truck convoy protests, but also from previous experiences.
    At the moment, the City of Gatineau is the fourth-largest city in Quebec; it has a population of over 290,000. Together with Ottawa, we are the fourth most populous urban area in Canada, after Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver.
    The Service de police de la Ville de Gatineau covers an area of over 342 square kilometres.
    In accordance with the Quebec Police Act, the SPVG provides level 3 services. Our police service has over 700 employees, including 390 authorized police officers and approximately 85 temporary police officers. This makes it the fifth-largest municipal police force in Quebec.
    As of October 30, 2019, the National Assembly of Quebec has recognized the special situation of the Outaouais, particularly because of its geographic proximity to Ottawa and Ontario. Five bridges separate our two cities: the Cartier-Macdonald Bridge, the Portage Bridge, the Alexandra Bridge, the Chaudière Bridge and the Champlain Bridge. While some of these bridges fall under the jurisdiction of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, another is under the responsibility of the Sûreté du Québec.
    The Service de police de la Ville de Gatineau is therefore unique among Quebec's municipal police organizations because of its proximity to an interprovincial border and, consequently, its close partnership with the Ottawa Police Service, which is subject to the Ontario Police Services Act.
    So, although our two organizations are governed by different legislation, we provide excellent co-operation at all levels and mutual support to prevent and solve crimes, whether local, regional or interprovincial, as well as supervision for special events, to name but a few examples.
    While police service jurisdictions are clearly defined and governed by legislation that imposes jurisdictional boundaries, crime has no borders, and the issues that we face on both sides of the Ottawa River have a direct impact on our day-to-day work.
    It is clear that the current era is undergoing massive social change, which greatly affects police work. It is therefore vital that we take a holistic, in-depth look at these types of events in order to meet the public's expectations and help improve public safety, which is essential to maintaining public trust.
    Legal obligations frame police work in Quebec, such as section 48 of the Quebec Police Act, which states that their mission is “to maintain peace, order and public security, to prevent and repress crime [...] according to their respective jurisdiction.” To do so, “they ensure the safety of persons and property, safeguard rights and freedoms, respect victims [...] and co-operate with the community.”
    Section 69 of the Police Act reads: “A municipal police force shall have jurisdiction [...] in the territory of the municipality to which it is attached”.
    Under our mission, we have the duty to supervise protests in order to ensure the safety of participants, who are exercising a fundamental and recognized right, as well as the safety of the public. It is a fine line for police services to ensure the right to protest while ensuring public safety. This supervision must be conducted while maintaining traffic flow in accordance with municipal bylaws and provincial laws.
    This border environment creates a legislative complexity that public safety services must juggle. This requires maintaining a dialogue with the protesters as well as with the various partners and stakeholders involved in such events, be they public, private or community organizations. An event in or around the Parliamentary Precinct may require the involvement of six services: the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Ontario Provincial Police, the Ottawa Police Service, the Sûreté du Québec, the Parliamentary Protective Service and the Service de police de la Ville de Gatineau.


    The truckers' protest, which became an illegal occupation, required several operational meetings, as well as meetings with all the police services involved in order to establish an action plan. From a communications standpoint, many hours were also invested in advance to ensure team coordination and consistency in our messaging.
    In conclusion, whether or not the federal jurisdiction over the operational security of the Parliamentary Precinct is extended, managing events in the vicinity of this area has undeniable collateral impacts on the entire City of Gatineau. As a police service, we are responsible for implementing the necessary operational structure to manage the numerous issues related to a large-scale protest, including traffic, gatherings, crowd flow, communications, and crime and violence prevention, while maintaining our residents' sense of security.
    In order to fulfil our mandate, we must be involved from the first stages of planning, at both the strategic and operational levels. Depending on the scope of the situation and the activities planned, we will be able to adjust our response and be ready to face any eventuality. The current social climate, the increasingly rapid mobilization in various social movements and the polarization of discourse will undoubtedly lead the national capital region to experience other major disruptions of this type. These types of events require transparency and accountability to the public in order to maintain public confidence in police services.
    The Service de police de la Ville de Gatineau pledges its full and complete co-operation and hopes to maintain the support of political authorities in carrying out its mission.
    Thank you very much for this opportunity.
    Thank you very much.


     I regret not welcoming you at the beginning, Chief Superintendent Carson Pardy from the Ontario Provincial Police.
    Welcome to PROC.
    You have five minutes.
    Thank you and good morning, Madam Chair, vice-chairs and committee members.
    I'm here today representing the Ontario Provincial Police and our commissioner, Mr. Thomas Carrique.
    Under the Ontario Police Services Act, the OPP has a unique dual mandate to provide frontline policing services to 328 municipalities across the province, as well as to provide assistance and/or specialized support to municipal services upon their request.
    As it relates specifically to the freedom convoy and the associated illegal blockades in the city of Ottawa, the OPP's intelligence bureau commenced reporting to our policing partners on January 13, 2022. As of January 22, daily intelligence reports focused on the convoy headed to Ottawa and the anticipated protest movements across the province. Intelligence reporting was shared with more than 35 Canadian police, law enforcement and security agencies. As the convoy crossed over the Manitoba-Ontario border and travelled across the province until it arrived in Ottawa on January 28, OPP officers professionally fulfilled their duties without incident.
    In support of the Ottawa Police Service, throughout the occupation an increasing number of OPP officers and specialized resources from various services became engaged, ultimately contributing to an integrated plan and the establishment of a unified command.
    Simultaneously, our members responded to many convoys and demonstrations that consistently and repeatedly emerged in communities across Ontario, including but not limited to the critical blockade of the Ambassador Bridge, the blockade of Highway 402, multiple attempts to block Canada-U.S. border crossings, and demonstrations that posed risks to the area of the Ontario legislature.
    In addition, from day one when the convoy entered Ontario, we were responsive to requests for assistance from other municipal police services. This was a provincial and national emergency that garnered international attention. In response, the OPP and more than 20 other police services from across the country worked collaboratively to address public order emergencies that were unmatched in recent history.
     Protests and demonstrations are often complex in nature. The role of the police remains that of protecting the public, upholding the law and keeping the peace.
    The province's critical infrastructure and highways regulation under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act and the federal Emergencies Act were effective supplementary tools needed to help protect critical infrastructure and ensure the continuous and safe delivery of essential goods and services, while at the same time maintaining or—in the case of Ottawa—restoring peace, order and public security.
    As the committee is well aware, in addition to the critical events experienced in Ontario, the illegal occupation in Ottawa was accompanied by numerous other high-risk freedom convoy related protests and blockades across Canada. The OPP worked collaboratively with the Ottawa Police Service, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and other policing partners to develop a sustainable and integrated operational plan that was informed by best practices from other high-risk critical events and available police resources, along with concurrent and emerging operational requirements, in a number of police jurisdictions.
    Sufficiently trained public order officers were amassed from throughout Canada and deployed in an integrated, strategic and measured manner, which resulted in the collapse of the occupation. The situation and the associated events simultaneously taking place across Canada required unprecedented national collaboration to prevent injury, preserve life and protect critical infrastructure.
    I must note, however, that the Ontario Provincial Police's role here in Ottawa is not that of the police of jurisdiction, nor do we have the security responsibility on Parliament Hill. In the matter of the freedom convoy, we provided assistance and specialized support to our partners, the Ottawa Police Service.
    I look forward to answering any questions you may have of the Ontario Provincial Police. Thank you.


    Thank you for those concise comments.
    We will now enter into the first round of questions. It's a six-minute round, with Mr. Scheer, Mr. Gerretsen, Madame Gaudreau and Ms. Blaney. If we're mindful of time, we'll try to squeeze in a second half-round of questions. Otherwise, time is very limited, so I'll leave it to members.
    Mr. Scheer, the floor is yours.
     Thank you very much, Madam Chair.
    There were certainly a lot of allegations made at the time of the protests that have since been debunked. A lot of inflammatory language used by certain politicians and the corporate media to try to characterize these protests into something that they weren't, and a lot of those types of allegations have also been debunked.
     Many politicians and many media observers used the term “occupation”, in that Parliament Hill was occupied or that the protesters were occupying the precinct or parts of Ottawa.
     I just wanted to clarify that, because that's a particularly precise word with a lot of meaning behind it.
    Monsieur Duheme, are you aware of any parliamentary buildings that were occupied by protesters?
    Madam Chair, no, I'm not aware. We had good communication with the director of PPS, who in turn was communicating with the Sergeant-at-Arms, and I know there were communiqués that went out throughout members of Parliament to advise them, but I'm not aware of any Parliament buildings or those in the parliamentary precinct that were occupied.
    To Chief Bell, are you aware of any buildings near the parliamentary precinct that were occupied, where protesters entered buildings and occupied them?
    Thank you, Madam Chair. Specifically entering buildings, no, that wasn't part of what we saw. What we did see was our streets occupied with trucks, vehicles, with people who were terrorizing our community. That's what we saw. That's the reality. I think it's important that we try not to minimize the impact on our community and on our city.
    It's also important to use precise language, because the parliamentary precinct is very specifically defined and the word “occupation” means something very specific.
    I have one more question on this line, Mr. Duheme. Were you aware or did anybody in the Parliamentary Protective Service give you any indication that protesters were preventing access to any of the parliamentary buildings during the protest?


    I'm not aware, Madam Chair. The director did not brief me of any such circumstances.
    No buildings were occupied and nobody was prevented from entering any buildings on Parliament Hill. Thank you for that.
    Chief Bell, there were reports.... A number of security concerns that were raised during the protests arose from the number of trucks that were allowed to park outside this building on Wellington Street in front of West Block. Did the Ottawa Police Service receive any requests from the Sergeant-at-Arms or the Parliamentary Protective Service before the convoy arrived to prevent parking on Wellington Street? Was there ever a specific request from the PPS to prevent trucks from parking right on Wellington Street?
    Madam Chair, what I can say is that we continually worked with all of our partners, including PPS, to look at how we planned and managed the lead-up to the convoy arriving. Wellington Street as it exists now, currently, is the Ottawa Police Service's jurisdiction. Although we would not receive any direct request for parking or any sort of exemptions to parking rules, I wouldn't expect to see that, because it was a street that was maintained under our responsibility and I think something we're here specifically to speak about today.
    Many of the streets that were blocked during the protests were blocked by police vehicles. Is that true that many of the streets in downtown were blocked by the Ottawa police?
    Madam Chair, our responsibility as demonstrations unfold is around public safety and public security. We will block streets off as we identify public safety or security reasons, so there were a number of streets that we did ultimately block off, and that was to not allow further vehicles to access or not allow any sort of public safety concerns to exist.
    The trucks themselves were parked on several streets, but not on others. Were there any negotiations between the organizers of the protest and the Ottawa police as to where the trucks would be allowed to park and requests made to keep certain streets open? Was there that type of conversation going back and forth?
    Madam Chair, one of the things that we did very early on in the build-up to the convoy coming across the city and ultimately in our response to the occupation was that we took a look at several other protests that had occurred and findings and outcomes from those protests and demonstrations, particularly around the demobilization of them.
     One of the things that we identified that's fundamentally important, and is a practice that the Ottawa Police Services and almost every other police service across Canada uses, was to make sure that we have representative individuals who have direct communication with organizers that we can identify—
     I'm sorry. I only have about 30 seconds left. I would like to get a yes or no answer.
    Were there conversations, negotiations or discussions about where the protesters would be allowed to park their trucks? Please answer yes or no.
    We identified people to work with protesters and demonstrators to identify areas where we would see them come in and, ultimately, see them exit the city.
    Is that a yes? Were there...?
    Yes, there were definitely discussions about where they would go and, ultimately, how they would leave.
    I have one final question.
    Did the Ottawa police make a request to the federal government to invoke the Emergencies Act? Please answer yes or no.
    We were involved in conversations with our partners and the political ministries. We didn't make a direct request for the Emergencies Act.
    Thank you for that fruitful exchange.
    I walk these halls of Parliament often and get to gaze at the beautiful portrait of the former Speaker, Mr. Scheer, so I know very well that he knows the rule about addressing comments through the chair. I did not want to interrupt, because we are limited in time, but I will ask members to address comments through the chair, just as we've been able to see our guests do.
    Mr. Gerretsen, you have six minutes.
    Thank you, Madam Chair.
    Through you to Mr. Bell, do you consider what occurred in January and February an occupation of the streets of Ottawa?
    Madam Chair, I think we've been really clear about our view of what occurred. What started as a demonstration and a protest ultimately became an occupation of our streets—


    I'm sorry. I'm just so limited on time. I apologize.
    Mr. Beaudoin, during your opening remarks, you specifically used the term “occupation”. Do you still stand by what you said in your opening comments? Would you consider that an occupation?


     Madam Chair, I think we have to be careful about the vocabulary we use, and we have to take into account that what we say is interpreted in the other language.
     I am indeed talking about an occupation, because in Gatineau, a group of protesters appropriated land belonging to the City of Gatineau. It was an occupation of this private parking lot. However, I cannot comment on the appropriate terminology for what happened in Ottawa.


    Thank you.
    Mr. Duheme, when the incident was happening.... You're the closest connection to PPS, so that's why I'm asking you. Are you aware that the House of Commons and the PPS issued a “hold and secure”?
    Yes, Madam Chair, I was aware of it. It would have been the director of Parliamentary Protective Service who talked to both the Sergeant-at-Arms and the Speaker before doing anything.
    Do you know the last time a hold and secure was initiated? Does it happen regularly when there are protesters on the streets of Ottawa?
    Madam Chair, I was the first director of PPS in 2015. Since 2015, I'm not aware of any others.
    So the last time a hold and secure was issued....
    I had to arrive on Parliament Hill one day when they were clearing out the occupiers. There was a long construction fence—eight feet tall—set up along the entire Wellington Street side of Parliament Hill. They had to remove a chain in use, locked with a padlock, and physically pull back the fence so I could enter. There were about a dozen PPS and RCMP officers standing on the other side of the fence.
    Is that normal in accessing Parliament Hill?
    Madam Chair, what we experienced in the downtown core on Wellington was abnormal. You heard in Mr. Parson's comments that we'd never seen this before.
    Thank you.
    Through you, Madam Chair, I`ll go back to Mr. Bell.
    Is enforcing the law on Wellington Street, as it currently is, the sole jurisdiction of the Ottawa police?
    That's correct, Madam Chair. We are the police of jurisdiction for Wellington Street.
    Through you, Madam Chair, if another law enforcement agency were to come in to assist, there would have to be some form of formal mechanism to enable those officers to assist and enforce the law. Is that correct?
    Madam Chair, that is correct.
    Through you, Madam Chair, to Mr. Bell, when he made his opening comments, he talked about shared jurisdiction. It would appear to me, based on listening to his comments, that Mr. Bell is in favour of setting up some kind of infrastructure or set-up in order to have shared jurisdiction there.
    Did I hear that correctly, or am I taking a leap?
     Madam Chair, I think what you heard me speak about was the importance of this very discussion. We did talk about police of jurisdiction. Our responsibility as the police of jurisdiction, as different people come into different areas and the parliamentary precinct grows, would have to be clearly identified between us and any other party, like the PPS or the RCMP, to make sure that there are no gaps in our response. At the end of the day, for the entire city of Ottawa, the Ottawa Police Service is the police of jurisdiction.
    Do you think that it would be a good idea to extend the jurisdiction to Wellington Street for PPS and possibly RCMP, or however that would be worked out?
    I think this is a really important discussion. I'm very happy that this parliamentary committee has undertaken this discussion. I think it's a discussion we need to have with Canadians. We want to be an open, livable, progressive city that hosts the seat of Parliament and allows for the safe exchange of ideas and safe protesting within our area. We're very open to having that discussion and identifying exactly what the citizens of Canada want and how we would facilitate that.


    Okay, you're not at the point where you're saying you want to, but you're at the point of saying you're open to the idea of it and having a conversation about it.
    Madam Chair, absolutely. I think it's an important conversation.
    Given that you're the local police force in a city that also holds the capital, there's no doubt that there are added expenses for Ottawa police. Do you know approximately what those added expenses are as a result of being a police force in the nation's capital? Are you provided any funding from the federal government to accommodate and to offset the property tax dollars that would normally fund policing services?
    Madam Chair, in that past we've had very fruitful conversations with Public Safety Canada and have identified the extraordinary cost of policing here. At this point, prior to 2022, we receive $3 million a year to compensate for our activities. We're currently engaged in discussing exactly what that amount will be moving ahead, as well as looking at how we recoup costs for what has so far been a very anomaly-filled year.
    How much has it been this year?
    I'm sorry. We are out of time. The good news is that you can always send information to the committee to continue these conversations.
    Mr. Gerretsen, I'd say 50% of your time was through the Chair, so you get E for effort.


    Ms. Gaudreau, I know you will direct all your comments to the chair.
    You have the floor for six minutes.
    Thank you very much, Madam Chair.
    I have six minutes to ask a million questions, like a new parliamentarian.
     I'm going to take the liberty of asking my questions in quick succession. I would also like all answers to be succinct.
    I have made an important observation and I am thinking of the citizens of my constituency when I say this, people who were worried. We don't want this to happen again.
     What I have heard is that six police forces are working together. There have been changes after the terrorist act in 2014.
    Madam Chair, my question is for Mr. Beaudoin, but perhaps someone else could answer it.
    We are talking about a large command centre. When were other police services approached?
    I can answer. Mr. Bell can add his comments afterwards.
    When was it?
    This was done from the outset. In the week before the events, we had already started our discussions.
    All right.
    I'll now put the question to Mr. Bell.


    Madam Chair, as the convoy moved across the country, we had a unified intelligence group that was struck between ourselves, the OPP, RCMP and national security as well as other policing agencies. That progressed as the convoy came here to an integrated command centre between us, RCMP and OPP in or about the first week of the convoy occurring. The command structure was evolving as we moved ahead, but there were always succinct, constructive conversations between us and our partners in terms of planning and how we—


    That's fine.
    I wasted a lot of time. I think I understood.
    This happened in the first week, which means that no preventive measures had been taken. Everyone knew what was coming, but there was no mention of a command centre.
    Who's the ultimate responsible party? Six police departments to coordinate must be quite a headache.
    I'd like to reassure the people back home. I come to work here and I've been extremely worried.
    Who can answer me?
    Madam Chair, from the beginning, the lead in the operation was the Ottawa Police Service. We offered them our support.
     Madam Chair, it is my understanding that the Ottawa Police Service, our security partner, was unable to make prior interventions to preserve the safety of parliamentarians, among others.
     Some officers told me there was nothing they could do. They shouted and gave loud directions, but they didn't get through. I don't understand that.
    Can anyone explain to me what happened?


    Madam Chair, I would like to know who the question is for. If it's addressed to the Ottawa Police Service, Mr. Bell can answer it.


     Thank you, Madam Chair.
    It's important to realize that this was, as was indicated by every one of the representatives who spoke on police services today, an unprecedented incident. We had never seen this before in Canadian history. It hadn't happened across North America.
    What you've seen since then is the concerns of the safety and security of parliamentarians, the safety and security of visitors to this city and, mainly, of the citizens who live here. All have been front and centre. That's why you've seen the posture and stance that we've taken, moving ahead in creating an exclusionary zone where vehicle-based protests may not occur. We actively balance that with the need to maintain the ability for people to access Parliament and for people to be able to protest at the seat of our democracy.
    There have been lessons learned from the convoy, and you've seen those applied over a number of protest demonstrations since then with very successful outcomes.


    Madam Chair, I was not here in 2014, but those who were here mentioned to me that lessons were learned from that event.
    There have been adjustments to the RCMP, which has a specific parliamentary service for us. However, this applies to the perimeter of the Centre Block, which is currently being refurbished. However, those adjustments have not been expanded.
    If I understand correctly, lessons were learned from the events of 2014 and in 2022, new ones are being learned. In 2030, if something else happens, will we still have to learn from it?
    I want to be reassured. There are six police departments. For me to be reassured, we would have to expand the perimeter, have a big command and follow the lead.
    Is this what is needed to reassure the citizens and to reassure us, not to mention public safety for the citizens who come to the capital?
    Who wants to answer that question? Who agrees with that? Who thinks this is a solution?
    Madam Chair, I can answer part of that question.
    As was mentioned, six police forces were integrated. In fact, there were many more than six as different police forces from around the country came to assist us.
    What happened was an exceptional situation.
    In 2014, there were indeed recommendations. There were 67, to be exact, as a result of the events that occurred that year. Most of those recommendations were put in place by the Parliamentary Protective Service and the RCMP. It wasn't really a question of structure, in short.
    As the first director of the Parliamentary Protective Service, I can say that in 2015, there was already talk of expanding the operational security of the parliamentary precinct.
    I thank the witnesses very much; we could have put 10 million questions to them.
    I would really like to have recommendations in relation to what we have just experienced, so that we can learn relevant lessons, have a lead and work upstream, because all this is not normal. Unfortunately, there was a rally in the week that all this happened.
    Thank you very much, Ms. Gaudreau.


    Now, Ms. Blaney, six minutes go to you.
    I will do my best to ask every question through the Chair.
    If I may, through you, Madam Chair, I thank all of the witnesses for being here today. I really appreciate their testimony. I reflect on the fact that this was something that we have never seen before in this area or, in fact, in Canada, and that there were some serious concerns.
    If I could, through you, Madam Chair, I'll ask a question of Chief Bell. One of the things that we're talking about today is expanding the jurisdiction. In your testimony, you talked about how important it is to have things clearly laid out, so that there can be a collaborative method moving forward with any kind of incident that may happen.
    With the expansion of the precinct for Parliament, do you feel confident that those processes are in place, or is there anything that we need to do? Are there any modifications we would have to make to address the issue of a bigger precinct for Parliament?


     Madame Chair, I think that's actually the crux of the issue that we need to discuss.
    With the expansion of any territory within the parliamentary precinct, it will need to be clearly identified if PPS is taking on any new responsibilities. Does the Ottawa Police Service still provide the services it does as the police of jurisdiction across the parliamentary precinct, like responses to high-level emergency incidents, responses to criminal investigations or any other sort of criminal investigation?
    I think that is the crux of the matter. If it's expanded, we need to be very clear and deliberate in how we outline who is responsible for what.
    Through you, Madam Chair, again to Chief Bell, in your statements earlier you talked about the need for a deep collaboration.
    Are those structures in place now? Have we learned from the experience we lived through?
    I guess the other part of that question is that right now Wellington, in front of Parliament, the precinct there, is blocked off. We know that we had this motorcycle group come in not too long ago. Obviously, it was a very different reality. I'm just wondering if those collaborative methods are in place.
    Secondly, with our having that blocked off, did it have an impact on your ability to collaborate with the other partners to keep people safe?
    Madam Chair, I can't speak highly enough about the level of collaboration that exists within our city, particularly among our partners, many of whom you see here today—Gatineau police, RCMP and the OPP. Those structures do exist. They will continue to exist.
    I think what the ultimate takedown of the occupation identified is the depth of collaboration among all police services, policing organizations across Canada, that had to come together to manage the event. I believe those are continuing to become more entrenched and more ingrained in what we do and how we do it.
    I would be very satisfied with people understanding how co-operative we are as an organization in looking at how we deliver policing services for our communities.
    Madam Chair, there was a second portion to that question, and I'm going to ask if I can have it restated.
    My question was just around the blocks that are there now on Wellington and the impacts that had.
    Thank you, Madam Chair.
    My apologies for having to have it raised again.
    One of the key areas I talked about was the need in this discussion to have a dialogue around infrastructure investments. There are several infrastructure investments, like bollards around streets, that can easily limit the movement of vehicles through different areas. I would hope that would be a key and important part to this.
    We have changed our stance. We have changed our posture. We do harden areas like the downtown core of Ottawa to not allow vehicle-based demonstrations, and that's a posture you'll see us moving ahead. That has provided more safety and security to that area. It's something we will continue to use moving ahead.
    Thank you for that.
    Through you again, Madam Chair, perhaps I could ask a question of Deputy Commissioner Duheme.
    I appreciate your earlier statements. You talked a lot about the support for this study, the importance of having this conversation, and of course always the importance of jurisdiction, but you also talked about the need for integrated command centres.
    Could you explain to us a little bit about what you meant by that, and also what does that mean in the context of the potentiality of increasing the parliamentary precinct?
    Thank you, Madam Chair.
    With respect to the integrated command centre, in the national capital region, there is the NCRCC, the national capital region command centre. Any big event will have people coming together. It's law enforcement, the fire service, OC Transpo, la Sûreté du Québec across the river as well as SPVG, le Service de Police de la Ville de Gatineau, for a coordinated approach so that everybody knows what everybody's doing at any given time. If a decision is made with regard to a protest downtown, OC Transpo can shift its routes. Paramedics know the routes to take. It's very important.
    PPS does this on a daily basis. With any demonstration on the Hill, they have their own command centre to manage this. Depending on the size, that's when you see different partners come on board with that, but you always have a command centre when something of that nature comes along. We deal with it.
    Thank you.
    Through you, Madam Chair, could I ask what the impact will be on the PPS, then, specifically if the precinct grows?


    Madam Chair, I'm just speculating, but if it grows, obviously, additional resources may be required if the mandate remains the same.
    There is a coordination right now with OPS and RCMP, so it's to determine whether there's an additional role that PPS can take on if we decide to extend the precinct. I will leave that to the review committee.
    Ms. Blaney, would you like another minute right now, and then I can just not give it in the second round? Do you want to continue with your line of questioning?
    Sure. My last question has to do with the expansion of the streets and what that would include. With that inclusion, I guess.... I don't know.
    No, I don't have a question. It's for PPS and I don't think that they're here, so I'll just leave it at that.
    Excellent. Thank you for sharing that with us.
    Now, because time is limited, I am going to entertain a very tight second round, and it will preferably be four to five minutes for Mr. Vis, followed by four to five minutes for Mr. Turnbull and one minute for Madame Gaudreau.
    Ms. Blaney, I'll come back to you should you have a quick question.
    Mr. Vis.
    Thank you, Madam Chair, and thank you to all the witnesses here today.
    Through you, Madam Chair, Mr. Bell outlined in his exchange with Mr. Scheer that the people of Ottawa were terrorized. Can he please define what he meant by “terrorized” and whether anyone was charged with an act of terrorism under Canada's Criminal Code during, before or after the Emergencies Act?
    Thank you, Madam Chair. I can absolutely clarify that.
    There were no acts of terrorism. There were no charges laid around any of those acts. What I can say is that during the convoy, during the occupation, we received 2,200 calls for service, which resulted in 280 arrests from 410 different Criminal Code investigations, with 118 people charged and 466 criminal charges laid that continue to go through the court.
    What those identified was—
    I'm sorry, Mr. Bell, but I have a very short time for questioning. That was a comprehensive answer.
    My second question, Madam Chair, through you, is for Deputy Commissioner Duheme.
    At last week's declaration of emergency committee, my colleague Larry Brock didn't have time to finish a line of questioning about the RCMP's technical capacity to conduct non-invasive detection of explosive materials.
     I won't ask about the specifics of those techniques, but I do want to know if it is true that, for at least the first two weeks of the convoy protest, the RCMP denied or ignored requests from the Ottawa Police Service or the Parliamentary Protective Service to provide or lend its technical capacity?
    Madam Chair, I am unaware of any requests that we did not respond to.
    Through you, Madam Chair, to the deputy commissioner, do you deny absolutely that the Ottawa Police Service or the Parliamentary Protective Service made any such requests?
    Madam Chair, I'm unaware of any requests.
    Madam Chair, through you, to Chief Bell, do you agree with the deputy commissioner's statement?
    I am also unaware of any requests.
    Through you, Madam Chair, to Chief Beaudoin, were the Gatineau police capable of handling whatever spillover events occurred on your side of the Ottawa River during the convoy protests?


    Madam Chair, thanks to the collaboration of our partners and the coordination centre on the Gatineau side, we were able to plan and act accordingly.


    Thank you.
    Through you, Madam Chair, some of our Liberal colleagues have proposed, as we've been discussing, expanding federal security jurisdiction into downtown Ottawa. Given the previous answer from the chief of police from Gatineau, would having more federal entities exercising greater on-the-ground policing or security authority in the city of Gatineau help or hinder Gatineau's police service to do its job?



    Madam Chair, again, whether or not we extend federal jurisdiction over the operational security of the parliamentary precinct, it will require coordination between the various partners. That will be key to making this a success.


     Madam Chair, how much time do I have left?
    You have 10 seconds.
    Okay. Thank you, Madam Chair.
    Mr. Vis, I always enjoy you. Thank you so much for your concise questions and for not interrupting too much. Thank you.
    Go ahead, Mr. Turnbull.
    Thank you to everyone for being here today. It's an important conversation. I appreciate your leadership and hard work.
    I want to ask a very simple question, and I think I'll start with you, Mr. Bell. I think you answered this in your opening remarks, but I want to get it on the record one more time.
    Would you say that having optimum clarity of role and jurisdictional responsibility improves crisis management in an emergency situation like the occupation of our downtown?
    Madam Chair, I can absolutely say that is the case and what led to success.
    Thank you very much.
    Chief Bell, maybe I'll also ask you this. In terms of MPs' security and safety and their staff who work on the Hill, how many incidents were you aware of where MPs or their staff were either harassed or threatened in any way by the occupation?
    Madam Chair, I don't have that information at my fingertips. I'm unaware, but I believe that may be better directed to Mr. Duheme, who would be responsible for the initial response to those incidents.
    I asked you, Mr. Bell, on purpose, because I really wanted to understand that.... Certainly, from my perspective, the challenge in this study is that MPs actually cross through OPS jurisdiction when they travel from their offices, which are predominantly on Wellington and Sparks streets, to get to Parliament Hill. Those tended to be the moments within the occupation when many of those MPs felt less than secure. That's why I was asking you.
    Mr. Duheme, maybe I'll ask you a similar question but more related to ministers, specifically the Prime Minister. I know that there were trucks parked along Wellington Street just metres away from the Prime Minister's office. Certainly, this must have posed risks for you in terms of your mandate. Would you agree with that?
    I would agree with that, Madam Chair.
    Does Wellington Street, being in another police jurisdiction, create challenges in these types of unprecedented situations for you to, in fact, fulfill your mandate?
    That's correct, Madam Chair.
    Thank you.
    How can we prevent those types of...? I understand that we're talking here about an unprecedented situation. I'm certainly not trying to pit any police agency against another. We're really working together to try to see how we can prevent this from happening again and make sure that our Parliament can function. I understand that Mr. Bell's responsibility is predominantly for the citizens of Ottawa. The responsibility of Mr. Duheme and the PPS is to ensure that MPs can get to and from their workplace and be secure.
    Mr. Duheme, could you tell me how we could prevent this from happening? Would expanding the parliamentary precinct remove some of those vulnerabilities?
    I look forward to the review from the committee, but I do believe that if you expand it, it will have an impact on the main buildings on Wellington that we attend on a regular basis with the Prime Minister.
    Thank you.
    I'll hand the rest of my time to my colleague Mr. Naqvi.
    You have 30 seconds.
    Chief Bell, if vehicles are prohibited from Wellington Street, does that enhance the security along Wellington Street?
    Madam Chair, it enhances the security from any sort of risk or threat that could be borne by a vehicle, so I would say yes.




    Ms. Gaudreau, you have the floor for one minute.
    Thank you very much, Madam Chair.
    We now know that it was in the first week that all of this was orchestrated, that steps could have been taken beforehand, that the RCMP was responsible for all of this, that they had a direct link to the minister in question, the Speaker of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Commons, and that there was cause for concern for the safety of parliamentarians.
    Let us put aside what was happening on the street. Mr. Duheme, given section 79.54 of the Parliament of Canada Act, which talks about the safety of parliamentarians, how is it that we did not intervene beforehand, regardless of the rules of Ottawa or the province of Ontario?
    Madam Chair, what type of intervention are we talking about?
    I am talking about expending all the energy needed to ensure that parliamentarians were safe near the parliamentary precinct.
    Very well.
    In fact, we were in close communication with the director of the Parliamentary Protective Service, who in turn was in communication with the Sergeant‑at‑Arms, who also has a responsibility. Memos were sent to all the employees of the parliamentary precinct and to the elected representatives. In view of its mandate in relation to the latter, the RCMP had recommended that people go to two central points in order to ensure a police escort in an unmarked vehicle to Parliament. Some people complied with this recommendation, while others decided to go to the various buildings themselves.
    Thank you very much.


     Ms. Blaney, would you like a quick question?
    I would, Madam Chair, and if I could, I'll direct it to Chief Bell.
    One of the things I'm curious about is that, if the precinct is increased and that jurisdiction is increased, who would support small businesses, which I know suffered tremendously through this during the occupation. Who would attend those...? PPS is only in charge of Hill staff and MPs and stuff, so who would support the businesses in the jurisdiction if it were expanded?
    Madam Chair—and I think it's an important distinction—if the parliamentary precinct would be expanded under the current framework of the PPS, that would be for security reasons only. It would be a security posture similar to what's provided on the Hill now, expanded to an outside area. We would still remain the police of jurisdiction. We would still be responsive to any sort of Criminal Code incidents. It would continue to need to be a partnership between us and PPS as we moved ahead.
    Excellent. Thank you so much.
    On behalf of all committee members, I would like to thank all the witnesses for your time with us today.


    I thank you for your presence and for the information you have given us.


    Please know that we welcome submissions, so if there is other information you would like committee members to consider, we would not limit any opportunity to write to us. Please do, through the clerk, provide us any information.
    With that, I will suspend the committee for a couple of seconds while we switch over to the next panel.
    Thank you. Keep well and safe, everyone.



     I would like to resume the meeting.
     For the second part of our meeting, Minister Mendicino and Minister Tassi are here, appearing with officials.
    To keep our meeting rolling quickly, I will now pass the floor over to Minister Tassi for up to five minutes.
    I'm happy to be here today with two of my officials. Paul Thompson is my DM, and Rob Wright is an ADM.
    Thanks for inviting us here today. I fully appreciate the importance of this committee's study on expanding the federal jurisdiction for the operational security of the parliamentary precinct.
    Before we begin, I'd like to acknowledge that we are meeting on the unceded territory of the Anishinabe Algonquin people.
    As Minister of Public Services and Procurement, I am proud to be leading the restoration work on the precinct. Through this enormous undertaking, we are restoring one of the most important heritage sites in Canada. We are creating a modern workplace for parliamentarians while moving us towards carbon neutrality and climate resiliency. Our goal, working hand in hand with Parliament, is to restore, modernize and preserve the heart of Canada's democracy, and to ensure that it can be enjoyed by all Canadians for many years to come.
    Madam Chair, the precinct itself goes beyond Parliament Hill and includes the three city blocks facing the Hill, extending from Elgin Street to Bank Street. It also includes the Senate of Canada Building, with Wellington Street and Sparks Street running through and defining the precinct.
    In addition to Parliament, the precinct is the home of the office of the Prime Minister and the Privy Council, and the future indigenous peoples space. The Supreme Court is its next-door neighbour. Suffice it to say, this is one of the most significant spaces in our country. It cradles our democratic institutions, and it is where Canadians come to celebrate, mourn, reflect and express their democratic voices.
    As you can imagine, the precinct is a complex environment involving many stakeholders with varying and overlapping areas of accountability.
    As custodian for the parliamentary and judicial precincts, Public Services and Procurement Canada is responsible for their operations and for securing the authorities and funding to do so. My department also has an important role to play, not only in the planning and delivery of accommodations but also in helping to operationalize security requirements, which are determined by partners.
    Within my portfolio, the National Capital Commission has jurisdiction over federal land use and design, and it is responsible for the visitor experience along Confederation Boulevard. Finally, the City of Ottawa holds responsibility for all municipal infrastructure, including city streets.
    When it comes to security, Madam Chair, the landscape is no less complex, as my colleague, Minister Mendicino, will soon describe.
    As you well know, recent illegal protests have illustrated the challenges that come with multiple players and jurisdictional barriers. They laid bare issues of ownership and control, security and governance, which, particularly during the early part of the protests, undermined a coordinated and coherent response.
    But these issues are not new, and the complexities they bring reach far beyond security. In fact, more than a decade ago, the Auditor General reported that the complex governance and the lack of clarity pertaining to the roles and responsibilities for the parliamentary precinct posed a significant risk for the implementation of the long-term vision and plan. The Auditor General is currently undertaking a follow-up audit that is to be tabled in Parliament in 2023.
    Although we have achieved much over the past decade, including a strong record of delivering projects, many of the same risks remain. In fact, I'd say they have increased. Not only has the global threat and risk level continued to evolve, but the complexion of the precinct has changed. Within the next decade, approximately 50% of all parliamentary offices will be located on the other side of Wellington Street, meaning Wellington will no longer serve as a border for Parliament but will, instead, run right through its core.
    With a new sense of urgency to address security in the precinct, there is an opportunity to deal with the long-standing issues around governance more broadly.
    My department sees significant benefit in working with Parliament, the City of Ottawa and other key stakeholders to help clarify accountabilities, simplify the operational context and streamline decision-making to create a more safe, secure and accessible parliamentary precinct. Of course, one of our main objectives is to ensure access of the precinct to visitors.
    When we look at any issue, including security, we need to make sure that we consider how it affects all facets of our long-term vision and plan, ensuring we have solutions that work for local residents and all Canadians so that they can continue to take pride in their national capital.
    From my perspective, the key to putting a plan together that will result in real change will be collaboration and coordination, or to simplify it into one word, partnership.


     Parliament can count on Public Services and Procurement Canada as a partner in this important endeavour, and I'd be happy to discuss our work on this front.
    I look forward to your questions, and I look forward to working with this committee.
    Thank you very much.
     Thank you, Minister Tassi.
    Minister Mendicino, you have the floor.


    Thank you, Madam Chair.
    I will begin by thanking all the committee members for their study and their good work on this important issue.
    We are also joined by the deputy commissioner of the RCMP, Michael Duheme, who you now know very well.


    The government supports the committee's work to study the operational security of the parliamentary precinct, including sections of Wellington and Sparks streets, as my colleague Minister Tassi just alluded to. We look forward to your findings and recommendations.
    In my brief this morning, I’ll speak about the Parliamentary Protective Service, or PPS as it is well known to all of us, and to the illegal blockades that we witnessed during January and February of this year.
     Colleagues, as you know, the PPS is mandated to provide integrated physical security through the parliamentary precinct and the grounds of Parliament Hill. It was created following the security challenges that followed the terrorist incident in October 2014.
    Shortly after its creation, my office signed an MOU with co-signatories: the commissioner of the RCMP, the Speaker of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Commons. The goal of that MOU was to ensure a clear distinction of authorities and responsibilities.
    Today the PPS is comprised of personnel from the former Senate protective service, the former House of Commons security services and, as legislated, the director is a member of the RCMP. The PPS is a separate entity from other law enforcement partners, and it takes direction from the House of Commons and the Senate. This brings me to our most recent security challenge.
    Colleagues, in January and February of this year in Ottawa and at various locations across the country, we witnessed illegal blockades that disrupted the lives of countless Canadians. They harmed our economy and endangered our public safety.
    During the movement’s early stages, we saw a gain in momentum across the country, with a significant increase in disruptions in Ottawa, just outside from where we’re gathered today. Thousands were incited at our borders, legislatures, monuments and right here in front of Parliament Hill. Wellington Street was overrun by blockaders entrenching themselves with structures and propane tanks. As you recall, the Rideau Centre was shut down, and small businesses were shuttered. The 911 service in Ottawa was flooded with calls.
    All of this lasted nearly a month in Ottawa. Before, during and after the illegal blockades in our nation’s capital, the Ottawa Police Service was and is the police of jurisdiction. However, the RCMP was fully engaged with the OPS, the Ontario Provincial Police and other law enforcement partners, as well as the PPS, through the RCMP’s national capital region command centre. This allowed for real-time operational coordination among all partners. The RCMP, OPP and OPS also established an integrated command centre to develop and oversee a joint enforcement plan under the leadership of the OPS.
    All of these actions brought a safe end to the illegal blockades, restored order and ensured the safety and security of Canadians. During the blockades, I think we're all aware of the extraordinary service of the PPS in maintaining its operational and physical security in protecting parliamentarians, parliamentary staff, employees and visitors to the precinct and to Parliament Hill.
    I would pause to note that I think many of us saw the reports of those illegal blockaders who were deliberately and consciously trying to overwhelm the job that the PPS was doing, pressing beyond barricades and pressing beyond PPS. Indeed, that was a very alarming example of the way in which public safety was undermined. I do want to take a moment to thank the members of the PPS, the RCMP and indeed all law enforcement for the extraordinary work they did in restoring public safety.
    I eagerly await the finding of the joint parliamentary committee on the declaration of emergency and the public inquiry into the Emergencies Act that is being led by Justice Paul Rouleau.
    With that, Madam Chair, I want to reaffirm that the government looks forward to the committee’s findings and recommendations, and we want to thank you for your time and careful attention to this issue.


    Thank you.



    Minister Mendicino, that was very succinct and very welcome.
    You asked me to be fast, Madam Chair, so I was on the fast clock.
    Thank you so much. I just want to note it, and it's appreciated.
    We will now enter into six-minute rounds. We will start it with Mr. Scheer, followed by Mr. Naqvi, Madame Gaudreau and then Ms. Blaney.
    Mr. Scheer, six minutes go to you, through the chair.
    Thank you, Madam Chair. I will be splitting my time with Ms. Block, if that's all right with everyone.
    I have a series of very short yes-or-no questions to Minister Mendicino, through you, Madam Chair.
    Did the Ottawa Police Service request the federal government to invoke the Emergencies Act?
     We had consultations with law enforcement involving a number of very prescribed powers under the Emergencies Act prior to its invocation.
    Is that a yes or a no? Did the Ottawa Police Service request that the Emergencies Act be invoked?
    Mr. Scheer, there was a very strong consensus among law enforcement that the Emergencies Act was necessary, as stipulated in the letter from the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police who said that “unprecedented” acts of civil disobedience preceded the invocation of the Emergencies Act.
    Which police service during the protest made the request?
    Mr. Scheer, as I've said on a number of occasions now, we had robust exchanges with law enforcement—including the RCMP—including on the very prescribed measures under the Emergencies Act, which were used responsibly to restore public safety.
    I am pausing the time, because we love how the PROC committee functions, and we function at the procedure and House affairs committee through the chair. I would appreciate that all comments and responses be made through the chair.
    Mr. Scheer, I have paused your time. I will return the floor to you.
    I have a point of order, Madam Chair.
    In terms of the relevance of Mr. Scheer's questioning, I don't understand how his questions around the use of the Emergencies Act are relevant to the current study.
    I will note that there is another committee for the Emergencies Act. This committee, as I read the intent of the motion early on....
    I'm sure Mr. Scheer's comments are going to come to the purpose of this study.
    I'll give the floor back to you, Mr. Scheer.


    Surely, the minister should be able to tell us which law enforcement agency requested the invocation of the Emergencies Act.
    I have a point of order, Madam Chair.
    The line of questioning has become very repetitive. Once again, I find it to be irrelevant. It's been asked and answered, and Mr. Scheer should be moving on to his next question.
    Madam Chair, could I respond to the point of order without taking up my time on the questioning?
    If the members of the Liberal Party don't like the line of questioning, they're free to pursue a different line. We're talking about expanding the jurisdiction of the parliamentary police service in response to a series of events during which the federal government used the Emergencies Act.
    I'm trying to understand which of the police entities around Parliament Hill made that request. I think it is absolutely relevant when we're discussing and contemplating expanding the jurisdiction of the parliamentary police service.
    Thank you, Mr. Scheer, for making that point.
    I see Mr. Vis has a double hand up.
    Go ahead, Mr. Vis.
    Thank you, Madam Chair.
    I would be remiss if I didn't mention that when Mr. Turnbull put forward this motion, it was for political purposes in conjunction with the Emergencies Act. In addition, Mr. Mendicino specifically referenced the Emergencies Act in his opening statement. For the Liberal members to start playing politics right now is very dangerous on a very serious matter.
    I think the question is completely relevant and I would encourage you, Madam Chair, to enforce the rules of this committee, which completely allow for this line of questioning.
    Thank you, Mr. Vis.
    I have a point of order, Madam Chair.
    I am going to.... As you know, I have no problem suspending the meeting if we need to.
    I think this is important work that we are doing. I think Minister Mendicino is capable of answering questions.
    I will also state that I believe he has answered the question, but it is Mr. Scheer's time, and I am mindful of the comments that have been made.
    Mr. Gerretsen, I will give you a quick second.
    I have a point of order, Madam Chair.
    I think it is extremely unfortunate that Mr. Vis has implied motive towards Mr. Turnbull's rationale for bringing forward this particular study.
    I see that Mr. Scheer is laughing at that comment, as though he thinks it's funny that we're studying the security of members of Parliament—
    Are you complaining about assigning motive, Mr. Gerretsen?
     Madam Chair, I think that you should consider the points of order that have been raised and you should encourage Mr. Scheer to stick to the discussion that we're having, which is specifically about the jurisdictional boundaries and expanding the territory in which—
    I want to thank you, Mr. Gerretsen, and I want to thank all members for their advice and guidance. I would like to resume Mr. Scheer's time, so that we can continue.
    Mr. Scheer, I believe you received a response. You might not always like it. We're used to that, as well, but we move on.
    I'm going to start the clock again for you. I had it paused the whole time. I'm passing the floor back to you, Mr. Scheer, with your comments through the chair.
    I appreciate that, Madam Chair.
    I will point out that although my questions were responded to, I haven't received an answer.
    There are several police institutions responsible for the area around Parliament Hill. I'm trying to find out which one of them made the request for the Emergencies Act to be used. That is a question that the ministers should be able to answer.
    Mr. Mendicino has made statements about having consulted, so I'd like a simple answer to a simple question. Which police agency asked for the Emergencies Act?
     Again, I think Commissioner Lucki has clarified that there was consultation between the RCMP and the government prior to the invocation of the Emergencies Act. The government, in good faith, sought the advice of law enforcement prior to its invocation on very specific powers, which were then subsequently used by law enforcement to restore public safety at a time of unprecedented civil disobedience, in the opinion of professional, non-partisan police.
    Before passing over my time to Mrs. Block, I'll read, for the committee, Commissioner Lucki's testimony. She stated, “No, there was never a question of requesting the Emergencies Act.”
    It's very telling that the Liberals got very squirrelly when I asked this line of questioning. The RCMP have denied asking for the emergency measures act. Mr. Mendicino can't name which agency. I think that's very telling.
    With that, I will pass my time over to Mrs. Block.


    Thank you very much, Madam Chair.
     I guess I should ask how much time my colleague has handed over to me.
    It's just under three minutes.
    Thank you so much, Madam Chair.
    Thank you to our witnesses for joining us today. I have a number of questions I'd like to ask, but I'm sure with the limited time I have, maybe some others will follow up.
    Minister Mendicino, you stated in your opening remarks that you eagerly await the findings of the inquiry being undertaken by Commissioner Rouleau. My first question would be that this committee is now taken with the topic about security jurisdiction and the precinct security.
    I'm wondering if you would agree that this topic about security jurisdiction would naturally be one that Commissioner Rouleau would turn his mind to during the course of his inquiry. I'm wondering what your thoughts are on yet another committee taking up their time to do a study like this, given that we have already one committee undertaking to study the Emergencies Act and the invocation of it. We have an inquiry happening and we have your colleague, Minister Tassi, who is overseeing a group and study called the long-term vision and plan, which is looking at the precinct and all kinds of changes that may be taking place there.
    Madam Chair, through you, I would thank Mrs. Block for her question.
    Yes, and I think all of us on the government side are very grateful to this committee for studying the issue of jurisdiction and security in the parliamentary precinct. As I've said, law enforcement described the public order event last winter as being “unprecedented” in terms of its scope, size and disruption. I think we should take this matter very seriously.
    We look forward to not only your recommendations but to the recommendations that may be put forward by the joint parliamentary committee reviewing the invocation of the Emergencies Act as well as Judge Rouleau, who is undertaking an independent public inquiry.
    Really quickly, through you, Madam Chair to Minister Mendicino, do you support your colleague's proposal for a major expansion of federal security jurisdiction within Ottawa and across the river into Gatineau?
    Madam Chair, again I think Mrs. Block asks a very important question. Certainly I do think it merits a very robust conversation.
    In my view, following the emergency last winter, there is a need to consider whether or not we need to provide new tools and consider how different law enforcement branches work together to maintain public safety. I know that intersects with this committee's work because, of course, you are very much grasped with the issue of the parliamentary precinct.
    Thank you, and it's very timely because that is exactly the study that this committee is doing.
    There are six minutes for you, Mr. Naqvi.
     Thank you very much, Madam Chair.
    I for one, on behalf of my constituents, am quite grateful to this committee for looking at this really important issue. As you know, Madam Chair, I represent the riding of Ottawa Centre, where Parliament Hill is located.
     Wellington Street and Sparks Street are very much part of the fabric of my community, and this discussion around whether or not the parliamentary precinct should be expanded is of great importance to my community because, as we have learned, these are issues that are faced by the residents of my community on a daily basis.
    I want to thank the ministers for being here today. I'm asking these questions on behalf of thousands of people who reside in this area and hundreds of small businesses that also operate there.
    Minister Tassi, I will start with you. You started talking about the restoration project that the Parliament Buildings are going through. Maybe I'll start at 30,000 feet. Can you share with us your vision and your department's vision around the parliamentary buildings?
    Through the chair, what do you see in the future for this entire area as we're going through the restoration project?


    Thanks, Madam Chair. I'm pleased to respond to that.
    We have before us a wonderful opportunity with the long-term vision and plan that was commenced in 2001 and that we're working towards. We really want to create a space that is welcoming, that is safe and that is inviting for people to come to, not only for Ottawa residents but for people across the country and also from around the world. I think we are making great headway on the implementation of the long-term vision and plan.
    Right now, you can look at what's going on with Centre Block. That is the most complex heritage rehabilitation project we've ever undertaken. There's a beautiful welcome centre. We can look at yesterday's announcement of block 2 and having the design bid winner announced. We are moving forward on these various matters.
    I would add to that, Madam Chair, that the reason this is so important, and the reason we need to have the experts come in and have a collaborative dialogue, as I said in my opening remarks, is that there's so much effort that has gone into the long-term vision and plan we have to make sure that we get this right.
    There are three issues that are at question here: ownership and control, security and governance. These aren't new. They're long-standing. The work this committee is doing is important, and we look forward to the collaboration and working with the committee in order to come to a place where we are making the decisions that are in the best interests of Canadians.
    Madam Chair, through you, thanks to the minister.
    You just talked about block 2. It was a very exciting announcement. Many people may not know what block 2 is. As I saw it, it means building a new south block of our parliamentary buildings and creating a parliamentary square that, as I see in the drawings, also includes Wellington Street as a sort of pedestrian area, a more inclusive area for people.
    Can you share that particular vision as to how you see things looking perhaps five years from now?
    Thanks, Madam Chair, for that question as well.
    The announcement yesterday was a fantastic announcement. Seeing the design and the drawings that were there was really exciting. I know that many people have waited for this. John Ralston Saul made that comment when he delivered a speech.
    I thank the member for that request for clarification. I'm living the file so I'm very clear with what block 2 is. O'Connor Street, Metcalfe, Sparks and Wellington, those are the boundaries. The winning design is available online. I invite people to take a look at that.
    There are many advantages to this. One of the things I said in my conversation with John Ralston Saul is that now this can be a space where people who come to the Hill and take part in discussions can look out and see Parliament Hill right in front of them, which is absolutely fantastic, but there's so much more than that. We're very excited about this and look forward to moving forward with this plan.
    Chair, through you to the minister, Wellington Street is closed at the moment after the illegal occupation, and we know there's a desire by the community that lives around here to keep it as a street that is not accessible to vehicles, very similar to Sparks Street. Does your department have some thoughts on that particular active transportation and more pedestrian-friendly use of Wellington Street?
     Madam Chair, through you, the real key point here, and I made it in my introductory remarks, is that we take a collaborative approach that is coordinated, and we form the partnerships. I want to see that before we move forward we have engaged with all partners in order to ensure that we are going into this with eyes wide open, understanding the consequences of the decisions that we are about to make and the impact this is going to have. This dialogue is extremely important, and it's needed.
    If you look at memorial square, as an example, there is a monument there that is owned by PSPC. There are three landowners of that land. There used to be four, but Parks Canada passed over that land to PSPC. You can see the jurisdictional challenges. My main point today is that we have to have collaborative coordinated conversations where we are doing everything we can to get all of the information to make decisions that are in the best interest of Ottawa, Canadians, and we're willing to do that as a partner at PSPC.


    Thank you to the ministers for being here today.
    Excellent, thank you so much.


    Go ahead, Ms. Gaudreau.
    We're going to combine rounds one and two, so you have time.
    Does that mean I have seven minutes? I'm very happy about that. That will give us time to settle in.
    Thank you very much, Madam Chair.
    Those who know me know that I'm a practical person. I speak for my constituents, but also for all of us, as we have to keep ourselves safe.
    I noted some points in the opening remarks that I'd like to address now. A lack of clarity was mentioned, as was simplification. In the previous hour, it was pointed out that six services needed to work together. We then talked about an integrated operational centre, with a view to good governance. We were told earlier that this had been set up in the first week.
    Now, I wonder. We were told that the RCMP was responsible for ensuring the safety of parliamentarians, staff, and even citizens. That's not to mention the reason we're here today, which is the expansion of federal jurisdiction for the security of the parliamentary precinct and the simplification of all that. Ultimately, it's always a security issue.
    My children and some of my constituents told me that I shouldn't go there, that it was far too dangerous. They asked me how I could get there. I was practically harassed by my loved ones, who told me clearly that I wasn't safe. I said to myself that they shouldn't worry, that the government is there to keep us safe.
    I have often been asked why it took so long to take action when we had announced what was coming, and we could see what was developing. It wasn't about motorcyclists, but about truckers. We should have taken the bull by the horns, given the signal and announced that we were going to take control of the situation on behalf of citizens, staff and parliamentarians.
    Let's be constructive and assume that we're starting the scenario all over again tomorrow morning. Would you say that enough is enough, that we have to put an end to the conflict and take charge of the situation? Regardless of the parliamentary situation, would we take action? Would we have taken action the week before? I need reassurance. I'll let you answer those questions.
    Thank you, Madam Chair.
    First off, Ms. Gaudreau, I have to say that I very much like your pragmatic approach.
    Your question is important and essential to the work of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs.
    The government believes that lessons learned from the illegal blockades need to be studied. If it needs to be done, it's for exactly the reasons you've outlined.
    Let's talk about police collaboration. How was this good work done last winter?
    You have to understand the context. I would like to make it clear that the issue of security for members of Parliament and the people who work on the Hill is a shared responsibility between the PPS, the RCMP and the Sergeant‑at‑Arms.
    I think the agreement reached after the truly tragic 2014 terrorist act is working well, as it has strengthened communication.
    I hope the committee will come up with some practical suggestions to prevent another blockade.
    Yes, exactly.


    Madam Chair, I thank my colleague for her question.


     Through you, Madam Chair, I will keep my remarks brief.
    I totally agree with the point that is being made about the importance of getting this right. That's why this study is so important, as is recognizing that we have to have a number of conversations. You have to listen to a number of witnesses. We have to engage all parties and stakeholders in order to get it right. PSPC right now is in dialogue with the City of Ottawa, for example, on this very issue. It is important that we get it right.
    It's also important to recognize right now that it's challenging, because the jurisdictional issues and boundaries make it very difficult to act in ways that really protect the safety and security of people in Ottawa, of this area. That is why this discussion is so important.


    Thank you, Madam Chair.
    I would like to congratulate you for speaking in French. I appreciate it.
    Indeed, we learned from the events of 2014. We must also consider that the reconstruction of the Centre Block means that we have to revisit the Parliamentary Precinct, I agree.
    What hurts me is that we are in the capital and this kind of event has happened. I was a lifeguard. I wanted to save my neighbour, but I was asked whether there was any danger to me. Regardless of the rules, I had to ask myself whether I was intervening or not. The question we have to ask ourselves is: Is there a danger to us? The answer is yes. We don't care about the rules; we want to protect those around us.
    People are watching and listening, and I'm a little embarrassed. If we could leave our meeting with recommendations that would be implemented quickly to show people that we are responsible, that would reassure me. We're not in camera, people are watching. We know everything we've missed.
    There were 97 recommendations in 2014. Which of these have been implemented? Some probably haven't been.
    If we can be assured that we will implement the recommendations received, without parliamentary partisanship, then we can save lives.
    Thank you for your continued vigilance.
    Rest assured that we will always be on guard. No matter what happens, safety must come first.
    I am very uncomfortable having that I witnessed a lassitude before action was taken. Safety was at stake. In my opinion, what is missing from all this is the assurance of a commitment.
    I would like to see the pragmatic side that I'm demonstrating respected immediately, not in 2025 or 2030, when there will be a mass murder or some other event.
    Thank you very much, Ms. Gaudreau. Your comments are very well received, and I think, from what I'm hearing, the commitment is there.
    I would like to hear a yes.
    No doubt. In fact, it's a yes.
    We need to find the gaps and present your recommendation to the government, which is very eager to receive it.
    Thank you very much.


     If I may, Madam Chair, I would just add that security is our absolute priority. There is no question, and there's no laxity. It's actually the jurisdictional challenges and the obstacles that are currently in place that we have to address, which is, again, why this committee's work is so important.
    Excellent. Thank you so much.
    Ms. Blaney, it's over to you.
    Thank you, Madam Chair.
    Through you, perhaps I could come back to Ms. Tassi. I thank both the ministers very much for being here, but I've heard her mention again and again this idea of jurisdiction and the challenges with jurisdiction.
    Practically, what would the change be if the precinct were expanded? If collaboration is already happening, which it is, as I understand from the previous testimony, what would be different?


    Thanks, Madam Chair, for the opportunity to respond to that question. It's a good question.
    In terms of the work that this committee is doing, I think first and foremost we have to determine what the end objective is. After consultation with all partners, what exactly do we want the parliamentary precinct to look like? Do we want it to expand? What do we want Wellington Street to look like? What do we want Sparks Street to look like?
    These are determinations that have to be made in order for us to look at a path forward and implement an approach that is supported in collaboration and in partnership.
    Thank you, Madam Chair.
    I'd like to go back to Minister Tassi. I would assume that, through this process of all the changes that are happening to the precinct, there are conversations that are happening with the indigenous people of this land. I thank you for acknowledging them at the beginning of your comments. If the precinct does increase, if that is a process that is moved forward with, what discussions will happen with the indigenous community of this territory?
    As well, what will happen to the building that is there for the indigenous community? That's something that is on my mind. If this changes, what does that mean for that resource?
    Thank you, Madam Chair. Those are very important questions.
    One thing I will acknowledge is that yesterday, with the block 2 announcement, it was very clear that the indigenous peoples space is going to be respected and honoured. In fact, the winning bidder, when the media asked the first question as to what was motivating this design, talked about the indigenous space, the open piece of that space, and how it focused and looked right at Parliament Hill. It was very much a part of that. The winning bidder also worked with an indigenous architecture firm, from Hamilton, Two Row, which contributed in terms of design content.
    With respect to the question of dialogue, these conversations have to take place. I'm happy to turn it over to my officials to talk about what they see in terms of the number of conversations, but you're absolutely right about the conversations with indigenous peoples in that space in order to determine this. What does closing Wellington Street mean? How does it impact that space? What are we going to do in order to ensure that, whatever the plans are for that space, they are honoured and respected with respect to the pathway that we are moving forward? These are all discussions that are extremely important.
    There are many partners. You have Parliament. You have the PMO. You have the Privy Council. You have the PSPC. You have the NCC. You have the City of Ottawa. Then you have all the policing jurisdictional issues that vary. PPS is one. RCMP is another. City of Ottawa is the streets.
    This is why all these conversations are so important, so that moving forward we get it right in a respectful way that brings the greatest benefit to this wonderful opportunity we have here in Parliament to create a space that is welcoming and inviting for people around the world.
    Thank you for that.
    Minister Mendicino, I am just really curious. We know that there continue to be conversations about jurisdiction—who did what and when, what this should have looked like, and how collaboration between all of the different police forces should happen in the future. If the precinct is increased, I'm wondering what the potential cost will be for the PPS. Have there been any discussions about what that would look like and what next steps would need to happen?
     Madam Chair, through you to Ms. Blaney, I think that is a very pertinent question. As this study undertakes its work in exploring potential enlargement of the parliamentary precinct, there may very well be cost implications, as you allude to. I do think that is a consideration to take into account, if this committee makes that recommendation.
    I would simply encourage you, Ms. Blaney, and others on the committee to carefully consider how the different mandates work. This is what we mean when we say “interoperability”. For the PPS the primary mandate, as we all know, is protection, not enforcement of the law. In other words, not charging and arresting, but rather keeping all of us who work on the Hill safe.
     It is when you have an emergency like last winter where there needs to be co-operation between the PPS and the police of jurisdiction so that there can be enforcement. Even as you look at the perimeter and a potential expansion of that, I do think again, as you are implying in your question, that we should carefully plot out resources so that there can be that high degree of communication and co-operation to prevent another kind of public order emergency of the magnitude that we saw last winter from occurring again.


    Thank you for that, Madam Chair.
    I would ask the minister a following question. It would be helpful to have some sort of stance on what resources would be included. If the committee's going to make wise recommendations then knowing the costs associated with that would be really helpful. Hopefully your department can give us something so that we have it to consider.
    It goes back to the question that I asked Minister Tassi earlier around the precinct. We know that there were a lot of challenges with jurisdiction. We heard that from many people during the occupation. For me, I also want to recognize that I saw a lot of challenges, especially for people living with disabilities moving around that space. I had many confrontations in my ways in and out, talking about if they could just move their vehicles a few feet it would make accessibility a lot easier. I did not get very positive feedback from those folks at all, which was frustrating.
    If we could go back to that part, could you get us some sort of costs? The other part is, if this does grow, if that is something the government takes on, what will be the fundamental change in terms of jurisdiction and debating who does what and when?
    Through you, Madam Chair, to Ms. Blaney, I think that is an entirely reasonable request. I know that other colleagues also have a direct line of sight to the Parliamentary Protective Service. I think we'd be happy to share that information with the committee so that your deliberations can be properly informed, yes.
    Excellent, thank you.
    Now we will be going for five minutes to Mr. Vis, followed by five minutes to Mrs. Romanado. Please keep them tight. I will just notify members that we will be running about 10 minutes past this committee, but as long as members keep it tight we'll be out of here very soon.
    Mr. Vis, we'll go to you.
    Thank you, Madam Chair.
    Through you to Minister Mendicino, I believe—if I understand correctly—the proposal to expand federal security jurisdiction within Ottawa and across the river to Gatineau was signed by two parliamentary secretaries, including the Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister.
    Am I correct in assuming that the government is very open to expanding federal jurisdiction right now beyond the current precinct?
    Just to be clear, I would not say “right now”, to use your words literally, but I do think we embrace the conversation that is occurring at this committee and appreciate the study.
    Thank you.
    My second question, Madam Chair, is to Mr. Wright. I have two very specific questions.
    You frequently appear before this committee in respect of the various Parliament Hill construction projects, including the block 2 rehabilitation between Wellington and Sparks Street. Does the possibility of changing security jurisdiction require you to develop contingencies for these construction projects?
    I would say the devil's in the details. That's very important. As both ministers have indicated, getting this right is extremely important.
    At the same time, in terms of the prospect of transforming Wellington Street into a pedestrian zone, the timing for that conversation really couldn't be better, as the parliamentary precinct has changed and continues to change. Those three city blocks facing Parliament Hill were expropriated in 1973 for the expansion of Parliament. Increasingly, as Minister Tassi indicated, a number of parliamentarians will be located on the south side of Wellington Street. Within the next 10 years, approximately 50% of parliamentarians will be there.
    Wellington Street, which used to be a border, is now figuratively running through the living room of the parliamentary precinct, and Sparks Street is running through the backyard.


     I have another quick question for you, Mr. Wright.
    One of the things I look at as a parliamentarian when I come to Ottawa, as there are a lot of large assets—it's very different from my neck of the woods in suburban and rural British Columbia—is whether the Government of Canada does the little things right. One of the things that's been annoying me—I wrote to the Speaker about it—and that I'm worried about in expanding the jurisdiction is your department's ability to handle more responsibility.
    I mention this because the ability for your department to manage, say, the replacement of light bulbs in the Valour Building has been a very big challenge for you. In fact, for six months, I've been waiting for new light bulbs, as have many other parliamentarians in the Valour Building. Your department hasn't been able to fix that problem.
    Why should the people of Canada trust your department with an expanded jurisdiction when some of the little things, like lighting in an existing building, are so hard to accomplish?
    I'm going to pause the time and remind everyone that we go through the chair. Otherwise, it sounds really personal—
    Through you, Madam Chair.
    —like Mr. Wright is going to go and change the physical light bulb himself.
    I have the utmost respect for Mr. Wright.
    I have no doubt, so I wanted to remind everyone.
    Go ahead, Mr. Wright.
    Thank you very much for the question, Madam Chair.
    I couldn't agree more. The big and the small things are extremely important. Thank you for raising that. We'll respond to it immediately.
    Thank you, Madam Chair.
    Minister Tassi, through you, Madam Chair, Gatineau's public transit agency, STO, has proposed building a tramline into downtown Ottawa. An option under consideration would see it running at grade along Wellington Street, which I believe the NCC has supported. That option makes the pedestrianization of Wellington Street a likely outcome, which would naturally resolve many of the security concerns we've been discussing today, not to mention saving hundreds of millions of dollars by not digging a tunnel under Sparks Street.
    Minister, do you endorse this option for Gatineau's tram?
    Madam Chair, what I would endorse is to ensure that the project office that has been opened under PSPC and included in our budget, in order to ensure that studies are refreshed, that this subject is looked at and that we determine what the best pathway forward is.... That's why, again, I'm making this point about ensuring that we're talking to all stakeholders, that we're looking at the long-term vision and plan and at all the projects that are on the table as we move forward, and that all this is considered as we move forward. Of course—
    Thank you, Madam Chair.
    I have one other very important, quick question to the Minister, Madam Chair.
    Madam Chair, Minister Tassi has the responsibility for Ottawa's interprovincial bridges, either through the NCC or directly through her department. Under the proposal to have multiprovincial jurisdiction for federal security, would the minister be proposing any changes with respect to the bridges that connect Gatineau and Ottawa?
    Again, when we're looking at this, we have to ensure that we are looking at each of the things that are being proposed and what the impacts of those proposals are. The project office is open. They are looking at these very issues, so it's important that we support their work, and we will continue to support their work.
    Thank you, Madam Chair.
    Thank you, Mr. Vis.
     Thank you, Ministers and your officials, for your great exchange.
    Ms. Romanado, five minutes go to you.
    Thank you very much, Madam Chair.
    I'd like to thank the witnesses for being here today.
    Through you, my first question is to Minister Tassi. Welcome to PROC.
    As the minister responsible for the long-term vision and plan, what we heard a little bit about was Sparks and Wellington, but I have a question. When looking at the map that was provided by PPS, between the Prime Minister's office and the Senate building, there is a very important piece of land. It's very important to me. It is the War Memorial. What we saw happening to the War Memorial during the illegal occupation was absolutely devastating to those who have military families, and to Corporal Nathan Cirillo's memory.
    I'd like to know if there are any plans for the jurisdiction that is currently responsible for the War Memorial, to make sure that what happened during the occupation never happens again.
     Through you, Madam Chair, thanks for that very important question.
    Nathan Cirillo, of course, was from Hamilton, so we know the importance of this specific site, what it means to people and how important it is. This is a perfect example of why this committee is doing extremely important work, and we need to look at pathways forward. The War Memorial presents an interesting case, because as I have said, it used to be owned by four different landowners, but now it's three. The memorial itself belongs to PSPC, but think of the jurisdictional challenges when you have three landowners having to make decisions on moving the pathway forward. Ultimately, we were asked in PSPC to construct a barrier, a fence. It took time, because we had to ensure that everyone was supportive of that, that it was respectful and that was the pathway forward.
    That's why I see an opportunity here in this study to look at what the parliamentary precinct should entail. Should it be expanded? Should ownership be streamlined? How can everyone work collaboratively so that we ensure the safety and security of people, but also recognize the importance of these monuments to Canadians across this country?


    Thank you very much, Minister.
    I'll now go to Minister Mendicino. In that same vein, you mentioned the Rideau Centre and the LRT line. We also know that National Defence headquarters is above the Rideau Centre. I'd like to get any comments from you on the impact of the occupation, the shutdown of the LRT and the shutdown of the Rideau Centre, in terms of National Defence employees being able to do their work. Is that something we should be thinking about in terms of the expansion of the precinct?
    Madam Chair, through you to Mrs. Romanado, I can do no better than to adopt the words of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, in saying they were responding to an “unprecedented [set of] demonstrations, protests, occupations, and acts of civil disobedience.” When they said “unprecedented”, what I take them to mean is that never in the history of their professional experience had they seen a public order event of the size, scale, magnitude, and impact on people.
    I think it is terribly important that we never ever forget what occurred in the months of January and February. It is still very difficult to describe the consequences of the illegal blockades and occupation not only in the nation's capital, but at ports of entry in border communities across this country. I remember being engaged by our colleagues, like Mr. Naqvi and Minister Fortier, so we can't underestimate the impacts on the residents of this city.
    Thank you very much.
    Minister Mendicino, you referred to the 2014 attacks on Parliament Hill. I'd like to ask the analysts if they could circulate to this committee the “October 22, 2014: House of Commons Incident Response Summary”. I think it's helpful for us to see what actually happened the last time there was an incident on the Hill. I believe it already exists in both official languages. If we could have that circulated, I think it would be beneficial for this study.
    Thank you very much, ministers.
    Excellent. Thank you so much for that.
    I'm sure the analysts look forward to circulating that around.
    On behalf of PROC committee members, I want to thank both ministers for appearing. You have now become ministers two and three who have joined this invigorating committee, and we appreciate any insights you've provided. Please feel free to provide anything in writing should any thoughts come to mind that you think the committee should consider.
    Mr. Thompson and Mr. Wright, thank you for your time and attention as well.
    Please all keep well and safe.
    I declare the meeting adjourned.
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