Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for being here.
Mr. Speaker, you indicated that around $6.5 million will be needed for implementing new security measures and you described some of them. Others, obviously, you can't. Quite obviously, as estimates, this dovetails with aspects of the budget implementation act, wherein there's a new organization of security on the Hill with regard to something called the parliamentary protective services, the PPS. That's what we're now going to be calling it, PPS.
It won't be any surprise to you that at least this opposition party has some concerns about how all of this could play out. It's important for everybody to know that the new bill requires that the new director of the PPS be an active member of the RCMP, who will serve under the dual authority of you and I believe the Speaker of the Senate. Apart from the PPS being entrusted with security throughout the precinct and on the Hill, there's also some reference to “an arrangement” for the RCMP as an independent entity to somehow fit into all of this.
The employees association for the House of Commons protective services has just appeared before the public security committee to express some of its concerns, and I think they relate to how well this money is going to get spent. Are there problems?
Ultimately, they say, “Our concerns about upholding parliamentary privilege remain”, and the organization “does not believe that it is in the interest of our democracy to give control of security within the Legislative power to the Executive power, this said”—and this is important—“with the utmost respect for the quality of the work of the RCMP in its primary mission—which is not the protection of the Parliamentary Precinct.” That's the concern that's been put on the table by the current people who are protecting us within the buildings as such, and I think we need to take them seriously.
The first question I have is this. Is it clear from the way this has now been structured that you, as Speaker, and the Speaker of the Senate will jointly be in charge of appointing, or deciding, and/or recommending the new director of the service? Is that clear? Or could that turn out to be something that comes from elsewhere in the system?