Proceedings of the Standing Senate Committee on
Issue 1 - Evidence - December 9, 2015
OTTAWA, Wednesday, December 9, 2015
The Standing Senate Committee on National Finance met this day at 2:30 p.m. to examine the expenditures set out in Supplementary Estimates (B) for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2016.
Senator Joseph A. Day (Chair) in the chair.
The Chair: I call this meeting to order.
This afternoon we will resume our examination of Supplementary Estimates (B) for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2016.
This Standing Senate Committee on National Finance considered the Main Estimates earlier this year and then the supplementary estimates that followed. Members have reconvened this week as a committee in order to provide the Senate's input and the Senate's understanding with respect to Supplementary Estimates (B).
We were very pleased to have the Treasury Board here this morning, but this afternoon we have with us representatives of the Parliamentary Protective Service: Chief Superintendent Michael Duheme, Director; Sloane Mask, Deputy Chief Financial Officer; and Jean Forgues, Administrative & Personnel Officer.
Thank you very much for being here. Chief Superintendent, will you be the spokesperson? If you have a few introductory remarks, we typically will go from that into a question and answer period.
Chief Superintendent Michael Duheme, Director, Parliamentary Protective Service: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for giving me the opportunity to spend some time with you this afternoon.
I recognize that for many of you our paths have yet to cross. I'm a new face for you, so let me introduce myself: Mike Duheme. I was appointed the new Director of the Parliamentary Protective Service following the change in the Parliament of Canada Act. As you mentioned, sir, with me is Sloane Mask. We recruited Sloane from the Senate side to come and look after our corporate finance. Jean Forgues looks after the admin personnel office.
We're here today to speak about the Parliamentary Protective Service Supplementary Estimates (B). This obviously is the very first estimate in the history of the newly created PPS. It was created following the Royal Assent of Bill C-59.
In the MOU, if honourable senators have had a chance to read it, there is a note signed by the Speaker of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Commons, the Commissioner of the RCMP, as well as the Minister of Public Safety, stating that "If needed, the Director will seek additional funding in the year of the implementation through the Estimates process," and that is why we're here today. Specifically, the $3.1 million that was submitted will be used to fund items in support of security enhancement initiatives that were previously approved by the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration.
Upon Royal Assent on June 23, 2015, the mandate for security throughout the parliamentary precinct and the grounds of Parliament Hill, including the obligation to obtain the necessary funding to support these initiatives, was transferred to the PPS.
Additionally, while the legislation provided for the transfer of the amounts appropriated by Parliament to defray the expenditures of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police related to its guarding and protecting the grounds of Parliament Hill as well as the former Senate and House of Commons Protective Services, no provisions were made for administrative and corporate resources. As such, this funding will also be used to support administration for the transition period, established to manage the creation of the new parliamentary institution as well as various aspects of the transition to a unified force, including legal, human resource and financial management issues.
These requirements were not anticipated at the time the 2015-16 Main Estimates were prepared in December 2014.
I am now available to answer your questions.
The Chair: Thank you for your comments. Could you explain to us why you are asking for $3.1 million?
Let's define the parliamentary precinct for the record. The protective service you are now heading is for the parliamentary precinct. Could you tell us what geographic area and what buildings are included with that?
Mr. Duheme: Everything that covers Parliament Hill, as well as the 34 buildings identified within the precinct, which is signed off on by the Speaker of the House of Commons and the Speaker of the Senate. PPS is involved at different levels for different precincts. The number of bodies required varies from one area to another, depending on the type of work being done there. The 34 buildings are spread out within the Ottawa region.
The Chair: So they're not necessarily physically connected to one another.
Mr. Duheme: No, not necessarily.
The Chair: Or in the geographic area that we normally think of as being Parliament Hill.
Mr. Duheme: No.
The Chair: Do you keep people on site at other areas?
Mr. Duheme: There are some on site and some where just the access control into the building is contracted out. It depends on the offices that are there.
The Chair: You had some notes that you were following. For the purposes of preparing a report, I wonder if we could have a copy.
Mr. Duheme: As soon as we're done, I'll provide you a copy.
The Chair: I do very much appreciate you making yourself available on short notice. We're all working under short notice. Normally we would have had an opportunity to review your notes beforehand, but in this instance we certainly understand.
Senator Mockler: Could you explain to us in detail where the $3.1 million for security services will be allocated?
Mr. Duheme: Yes, indeed. To break down the total amount, the first one relates to — I am going to read it to you.
"Security enhancement initiative" and increased posture on Parliament Hill. Following the events of October 22, what was formally the Senate Protective Service —
The Senate security service had undertaken a review. It made certain observations and recommendations, including that of enhancing its security posture. In addition, regarding the arming of officers, there was to be mandatory training, and in order to maintain that going forward, we had to increase resources. The initial proposal was for 12, and the service confirmed that. Afterwards, the proposal was submitted to the Board of Internal Economy in December 2014, and it approved an envelope of $700,000.
Senator Mockler: And what about the other amounts?
Mr. Duheme: The amount allocated to the Financial Increase rubric covers salary increases for the period from October 2014 to September 2015, that is to say a salary increase of 1.5 per cent.
The other amount was for a salary bonus for the armed officers, which is related to arming the Senate officers. The $300,000 amount also relates to the bonus. That covers all of the activities that took place before the creation of the Senate Parliamentary Protective Service, which it did not have time to include in the main estimates in order to obtain the necessary funding. That is why we have included it in our submission.
Senator Mockler: I want to congratulate you, sir, on the security services, both on the House of Commons side and on the Senate side, in light of the events of October 2014.
Will our Parliamentary Protection Service officers wear the same uniform, or will they have a different uniform?
Mr. Duheme: Our unit will always have two uniforms, because the RCMP officers must keep theirs, and they must follow the RCMP code of practice. However, operationally, in connection with the training to be provided, everything is being done jointly and in a standardized manner so that ultimately, aside from the two different uniforms, the officers will be trained in the same way, they will respond in the same way, and they will understand how the other group works. The objective is to offer standardized training to everyone.
To reply to your question, our plan was to have common uniforms by December 3. Unfortunately, we were unable to respect that timeframe. The supplier had a few problems. We are now targeting January 26 for the distribution of new uniforms.
After the holidays, in January, everyone should have the same uniform. The uniform will be a dark navy blue with a new shoulder patch unique to the Parliamentary Protective Service. It will be a new outfit. I am anxious for that day to come, because it is the first step toward greater integration of the services.
Senator Mockler: Is the RCMP code of practice different from the one that existed previously on Parliament Hill? Has there been a fusion of the codes of practice?
Mr. Duheme: Not yet. The members of the RCMP are strictly subject to their code of practice. It applies to the members of the RCMP. We cannot apply that code to those who are not RCMP officers.
To reply to your question about the codes, working groups are as we speak examining the possibility of integrating the various policies that exist among the different security services of the House of Commons and the Senate, for the purpose of drawing up a policy unique to the Parliamentary Protective Service.
The former House of Commons security and the former Senate security will integrate these policies together so that we have a unified PPS approach.
In the very beginning, when the Parliamentary Protective Service was created, the agreement was to respect the commitments and policies already in place for each of the entities concerned until the new service created its own policy.
Senator Mockler: Do you think that the sum of $3.1 million you are requesting is sufficient? How will you ensure better security on Parliament Hill?
Mr. Duheme: Most of the money being requested will not change the security we provide. $1.1 million of the $3.1 million actually dates from the period before the creation of the Parliamentary Protective Service. The rest is to create the structure that will allow us to manage daily business and plan for the future. We have given ourselves a two-year timeframe to draw up a real picture of the financial and human resources needed for the entire Parliamentary Protective Service.
We have not yet reached the point where we can begin to analyze each position. Before October 22, the positions were conceived for unarmed officers. Now that the officers are being armed, the positions will probably change. We have not begun that study yet. We began a first study of the entry point where vehicles are searched. At this time, in that place, there are six or seven RCMP officers — assigned to the Parliamentary Protective Service, of course — and two agents from the Parliamentary Protective Service who were formerly with the House of Commons and Senate security service, who are giving us a hand. That ratio could easily be reversed in order to use the resources elsewhere.
Now that the executive structure has been drawn up, the other structure, that of the managers and officers, has been established. What remains is to submit it to the Speaker to obtain his approval. We are now beginning to look at each of the sectors and locations to see whether things are effective, efficient and logical.
For instance, when you go in through the Senate entrance, you will see that there are now two security officers outside. If there is an altercation, it is preferable to have two officers. We saw that when there was an incident involving a person carrying a knife. We intercepted that person at the search point at the main door. Because of the contact and cover principle, we always post two people. Three people are also posted inside, one of them is armed and is always behind the console and watches the surveillance camera screens. When the officers were not armed, that was necessary. However, we are now wondering if it is necessary to have an armed person posted behind a console while the cameras are also hooked up to a central operational command post. We wonder if it would not be simpler from now on to have that person simply answer the telephone and facilitate access.
That is the type of reflection that is behind this; we want to ensure that the officers will be posted in the right places. Our intention is not at all to create an empire. Our purpose is, rather, to see what is needed and what has to be put in place.
The Chair: To follow up on the point you are making in terms of the common dark blue uniform, recent young graduates from the RCMP Depot in Regina are not indoctrinated, but they're made to very much respect and have pride for the RCMP uniform. When they get stationed here with protective services, do you take them out of the RCMP uniform that they've worked so hard to get and put them in another uniform?
Mr. Duheme: Maybe I wasn't clear. The RCMP will remain in its own uniform.
The Chair: Okay. I misunderstood that.
Mr. Duheme: I wouldn't even go down that road.
The Chair: No. That's good. I'm glad we clarified that.
Mr. Duheme: I wasn't clear when I answered the senator's question.
The Chair: The former Senate protective group and the former House of Commons protective group will come together and wear this common uniform.
Mr. Duheme: Mr. Chair, you'd also include the scanners in that group. The scanners have a distinct uniform right now. Again, going with my vision of being one unified force with two different uniforms, the scanners will have the same uniform as the rest of the PPS people.
The Chair: In terms of hierarchy of authority, how does the RCMP match in terms of rank, for example?
Mr. Duheme: The rank is very similar. We have the same rank structure. Within the RCMP, it's corporal, sergeant and staff sergeant. A commissioned officer becomes an inspector, superintendent, chief superintendent.
Given what I have observed from both sides, it's the same structure. As we move forward with the org chart, it's normalizing so that when we refer to "inspector," we know that it is exactly an inspector. Regardless if it's RCMP or PPS, it's all the same thing. We know inspectors that are in charge of three or four teams.
The Chair: Does PPS have RCMP in the protective service?
Mr. Duheme: Yes.
The Chair: RCMP is in there — not an adjunct to it, but part of it.
Mr. Duheme: The Parliamentary Protective Service is made up of the three entities together.
The Chair: When we're doing the annual appropriation for the RCMP, will those RCMP members who are with the protective service be paid out of the protective service appropriation or the RCMP protective service appropriation?
Mr. Duheme: Right now Ms. Mask is working on getting a picture of the actual budget from the former Senate security, the former House of Commons security and the RCMP. When we have that picture, we will present it to both Speakers to get the budget. Then we will have to work on how the funds will be JV'd back through a memorandum of understanding with the RCMP. That's still in the works. It's a work-in-progress.
The Chair: Sometime in the future, as the Senate Committee on National Finance, will someone be able to come in and tell us how that will be done?
Mr. Duheme: Yes.
The Chair: We will keep in touch with you. Thank you.
Senator Chaput: In response to a question put by Senator Mockler, you mentioned that a part of the money you are requesting was to improve the service posture. I presume that you are referring to the fact that officers will now be armed? What did you mean by "improve the posture"?
Mr. Duheme: Before the creation of the Parliamentary Protective Service, the Senate had asked for 12 additional people. This followed a study carried out on the events of October 22. Now, officers are armed. When we arm officers, they have to undergo an annual qualification exam. They must also be given tactical training.
Senator Chaput: That was my next question.
Mr. Duheme: The resources they had at that time did not provide a structure or work schedule that would have allowed people to take training. There was a minimum number of staff, and they could only take training in the summer, when things were less busy on the Hill.
Senator Chaput: Here is my second question: do you have to reimburse the RCMP for costs related to parliamentary security?
Mr. Duheme: Yes. The process and the mechanism are still being discussed. Ms. Mask was a member of a working group also attended by a representative of the House of Commons and of the RCMP, to discuss financial matters. These people are analyzing all of the costs involved in providing security on the Hill.
For instance, if the RCMP provides tactical and intervention experts to the Parliamentary Protective Service, it is quite probable that the Parliamentary Protective Service will be charged for the cost of that team. We are attempting to determine the average expenditures.
In other words, when I submit the budget to the Speaker, I will be able to give him the total costs, including the cost of the help the RCMP provides to us during the year.
Senator Chaput: Do you have some idea of the percentage of costs the services provided by the RCMP represent?
Mr. Duheme: No, not yet. The RCMP had a detachment on the Hill, in the Parliamentary security service, which had a budget. RCMP services accounted for about 42 per cent of the costs.
Senator Chaput: Has eliminating the RCMP as a partner ever been considered? Will the RCMP always be a part of the three units?
Mr. Duheme: Yes and no. The ratio of members belonging to the RCMP is being examined. I know that the fact that I am wearing an RCMP uniform may be confusing, but I am the director of the Parliamentary Protective Service. I should be wearing civilian clothes.
In the study I mentioned earlier, nothing is hidden. The RCMP-related costs are higher than costs for non-members. This review, which has not yet begun, will help us to determine which tasks must be performed by police officers.
As I explained earlier, ultimately, everyone will receive the same training. The only difference, aside from the uniforms, is that some will have the status of peace officers, and others will not. That is what we are looking at. We want to minimize resources without cannibalizing the other groups. There is a need for both. Our job is to balance the needs.
Senator Chaput: That leads me to my last question, regarding the use of official languages and the image projected by Parliament, be it at the Senate or in the House of Commons, when we are greeted at the entrance door by the Parliamentary Protective Service.
Do you have a policy on the use of official languages, especially French? If so, in that policy, does a certain percentage of officers have to be bilingual?
Mr. Duheme: The former Senate and House of Commons security service did indeed have a policy on bilingualism.
The challenge for the RCMP, at this time, is that we have cadets who come from the RCMP Depot Division for an eight-week period. These cadets are not necessarily all bilingual.
We are working on staffing permanent positions with bilingual officers. Unfortunately, I do not have the exact percentage of bilingual officers, but I will be happy to send you that information.
Of course, when you work on Parliament Hill, you have to provide service in both official languages.
Senator Chaput: What you have just said is excellent, but is it written down in a policy? If you were unfortunately to be run over by a bus tomorrow morning and someone had to replace you, would that point be well integrated? Would your replacement say and do the same thing as you have?
Mr. Duheme: He would have to.
Senator Chaput: Is it written down somewhere?
Mr. Duheme: No, but the RCMP is subject to the Official Languages Act, and there has to be a certain percentage of bilingual officers. Unfortunately I cannot provide you with the exact data.
We do however provide an information sheet to unilingual anglophone officers, so that they may communicate with a bilingual member who will be able to provide the service. It is a band-aid solution, for the moment, but the idea is to have bilingual officers.
Senator Chaput: Perhaps I should not add this, but I am going to. I think that the Senate and House of Commons official languages policy is applied more rigorously than that of the RCMP, and so I would not want the one to affect the other adversely.
Mr. Duheme: Indeed.
The Chair: Thank you, Senator Chaput.
Could you tell us how many total you have in the protective service, how many person years, I guess is the terminology that you use? Does that include the RCMP? How many are RCMP?
Mr. Duheme: Following the creation of the PPS, we're looking at roughly around 556 people that make up the PPS; hence, the need for a structure to support all of this. There are some within that structure that will be contracted out to existing sections on the Senate or the House of Commons side.
Out of 556, there are about 136 positions for the RCMP that are not all filled, and then there are another 313 for the former House of Commons security and close to 100 for the Senate.
The Chair: They are all part of the 556?
Mr. Duheme: Yes, they're all part of the newly created PPS.
The Chair: And are there any plans to move towards parity in remuneration and benefits for all of these employees?
Mr. Duheme: I think out of fairness to the members that are there, now that they're going to be doing the same job under one unit, we have no choice but to look at that. Eventually it will be on the radar and on the list of things to do. I'm surprised, actually, that the associations haven't been knocking at our door yet, but it's something we have to look at because they're doing the same job and should be paid the same amount.
Senator L. Smith: Chief, between Mr. Forgues and Ms. Mask, have you guys looked at your projected costs? Have you looked back at what it cost the Commons and what it cost the Senate? Where is the comparable cost going to be in terms of your cost of operation?
Sloane Mask, Deputy Chief Financial Officer, Parliamentary Protective Service: Right now it's very difficult because we were created on June 23, which doesn't align perfectly with the fiscal year, which runs from April to March. However, right now we're looking at a budget of about $40 million, including the combined amounts from the Senate.
Senator L. Smith: If you added up the Commons singularly, the Senate singularly and the RCMP, how would that $40 million compare to what these portions cost historically?
Ms. Mask: It's very much in line with the historical portions, with the additional amounts for the security enhancements initiatives, as well as the additional resources required to manage the administrative aspects of the transition.
Senator L. Smith: So we're looking at a budget of approximately $40 million, give or take.
Ms. Mask: Yes, over the prorated period.
Senator L. Smith: Chief, you came to Internal Economy and gave us an update when we first met you a couple of months ago. As you look at your new operation coming together, what are your challenges? What are you happy with? What are you not happy with? Where is the cultural evolution of your group at this particular time?
Mr. Duheme: The interoperability right now is probably the best success story we have, and that didn't exist pre- October 22 —
Senator L. Smith: And your definition of that?
Mr. Duheme: — in the sense that communication-wise, with the flick of a switch, we can patch everyone through on the same channel. Right now, on a day-to-day basis, because of the activities on the Hill, there are two separate channels, one for inside and one for outside. If there is an incident, we just activate and everybody is on the same common channel.
Senator L. Smith: They're on the same common channel, but are they on the same common channel, if you know what I mean? When the incident occurred, everybody worked hard together, but we were on different channels.
Mr. Duheme: No, that's going to come through training. There is a lot of work being done with Superintendent Mike O'Beirne, who is responsible for operations with me on that date when we met. Seventeen different SOPs have been drafted and will be shared. That is a big step. Having standard operation procedures will be a common way of operating within the precinct and on the Hill. That is a big plus.
With regard to challenges, I will go back to a success story. We are looking at integration on several fronts: interoperability, integration with regard to our intelligence units and integration with our training cadre. When you come by the VSF, you will probably notice that there are RCMP members and former House of Commons and Senate PPS there. That is a big plus for us because most of the people do identify the people as they come in through the VSF.
The Chair: What is the VSF, for the record?
Mr. Duheme: Vehicle screening facility.
There is also the operational command centre, where all the radio communications funnel through. There is integration being done there. We have members who are embedded within the RCMP at 1200 Vanier.
Regarding the SOPs, the challenge is time wise, namely, building the structure and probably managing expectations. It is not because we have just integrated three different units that we are ready to go. We have to deal with three different collective bargaining agreements and over 100 years of culture in each separate entity. It will take a while before we change that culture.
Senator L. Smith: What are you hearing back from each of those cultures? What type of feedback are you getting?
Mr. Forgues, you are the HR guy. You might get even more of it. What are you folks hearing back from your cultures?
Jean Forgues, Administrative & Personnel Officer, Parliamentary Protective Service: I think we have come a long way; we still have a long way to go. Essentially, it is just the start. The cultures are still very distinct. I would say there is a Senate culture, a house culture and an RCMP culture.
I think that especially when we get into joint exercises and joint training, the barriers will start coming down. Just co-locating these people at VSF — Joe is talking to Jack; Jack is an RCMP person and Joe is a former Senate person. All of a sudden, you have a relationship that starts and that is how you do it.
Senator L. Smith: Chief, as you look at that right now, are you 10 per cent integrated, 20 per cent, 30 per cent? In your own mind, where are you? You are the coach. You are looking at the people and making value judgments, too, as you see the different players evolve.
Mr. Duheme: It would be difficult for me to put an actual percentage down.
Senator L. Smith: That is a good political answer and you are sitting right in the middle of the group.
Mr. Duheme: As we move forward with the structure — and that, to me, is important — at the executive level there is myself, Mr. Forgues, Melissa Rusk, who is sitting here on the side; Michael O'Beirne, who is in integration; and Alain Laniel, formerly from the Senate. There is a good parity there and a great chemistry in terms of work.
We are bringing it down to another level where we are seeing inspectors working together. There is a daily operational briefing every morning that Superintendent O'Byrne has and people are around the table. The integration is there; it is just rolling it down further.
With everything we are doing, we are trying to get everyone involved. Melissa had the strategic planning group and we invited people to attend. We had a mixture. We had three different cultures in the room preparing the future mission and vision values for PPS.
We are chipping away, but there has to be willingness. There is still some resentment because, let's face it, some people didn't want this integration, but we are working through that.
I usually go for a little walk every second day and talk to people and they seem pleased. They are anxious to see all these different changes. My only concern would be that the changes are not coming fast enough because our team is swamped with different priorities and we are not getting there as fast as I would like. But we are chipping away and headed in the right direction, without a doubt.
Senator L. Smith: If I understand correctly from what you are saying, at your senior levels you feel a degree of more comfort as you are progressing. You are bringing it down through the various secondary and third levels — I'm not trying to be disparaging to the folks — and you are working it down through your organization. If you had to look at a timeframe where you have expectations and your team has expectations, what is the timeframe of expectations to get yourself to the point where you have some degree of satisfaction for the whole operation?
Mr. Forgues: Bill C-59 allowed us to submit for a single bargaining unit. Recently, on November 20, we submitted for a single bargaining unit. That would be an amalgamation of the Senate association, the house association and the scanners.
If that happens, that will strive to amalgamate the three cultures, because you do have the three camps.
To answer your question, a few things have to happen that will be game changers. If they do happen, they will be very beneficial.
Mr. Duheme: If I may add, Senator Smith, we have just gone through an exercise with finalizing the org chart that will be presented to the Speakers probably next week. After that, we want to meet with all the supervisors, from the first level supervisor all the way up to the chief and present that. Then we want to show it to the members.
There is a sense with the members that they don't really know where to report because we haven't changed the structures right now, and it wouldn't be fair to manage someone under three collective bargaining units. As we move forward, we are trying to restrain it to keep the groups somewhat together, but people will see themselves on that org chart and will know who to report to. I am looking forward to that.
The other thing we are looking forward to is September 2016, when the entire PPS family is moving into 180 Wellington. They will be sharing lockers downstairs and going up to the briefing room and then heading out to their posts. That is a big plus there because they will start to be integrated. The uniform is one, but once they move under a common roof, it will be a huge step.
Senator L. Smith: In terms of your reporting, to whom do you report? The two Speakers?
Mr. Duheme: Yeah. I report right now — and Mr. Gilles Michaud for the RCMP, the assistant commissioner — ultimately to Mr. Paulson, the commissioner.
I am dealing more often right now with the clerk's office than the Speaker's office because of the vacation period and whatnot, but I did meet both the new Speakers. We are planning a meeting so I can brief them as to where we are going and the way forward; how they want to operate.
Senator L. Smith: I am sure you are adept now, but with the two Speakers and Mr. Paulson at the RCMP, you will be dancing and have to be quick on your feet.
Mr. Duheme: It is an interesting world.
Senator L. Smith: How do you feel about that?
Mr. Duheme: We are probably going to have growing pains; there is no doubt. It is new, but from what I have seen so far, with the engagement from both institutions, everyone has a willingness to make this work. There is no doubt we are heading in the right direction.
The Chair: Senator Smith is deputy chair of the committee. That is why we had all these good questions.
Senator Rivard: I think my colleagues have asked every imaginable question, but I will add a final one. At this time, Parliamentary security service officers are unionized. I am sure we have already looked at their salary and benefit conditions, as they compare to those of the RCMP.
In percentage terms, do you have an approximate idea of the difference between the two? Is it 20 per cent, 25 per cent? You may not have that information, but it can be said that historically, the RCMP has been the best paid police force in Canada. So there is no doubt that soon parity will be demanded.
Is there some collective agreement process that is being looked at so that that comparison can be made, and an increase, or retroactive parity, be granted? Or is it only at the end of the collective agreement that is in effect currently that that request could be made, and at a certain date, parity would come into force?
Mr. Duheme: The short answer is no, but I will explain that. We have to respect existing collective agreements, including one which will expire in 2017.
However, when it comes to amendments to the legislation, after a 120-day period, we have 30 days to submit a request to the council, so that the employer can make their intention known. Our intent was to negotiate the collective agreement. We would look at the various existing conditions at that point.
Having read both conventions, I did not note any major differences between them. There are some minor differences, but the texts are similar. That will come with time, following the decision on whether we are to go ahead with a collective agreement, if we suggest staying at three or going down to two.
Senator Rivard: As you say, it remains to be seen. I have one last thing I want to bring up. We saw what happened in Paris on November 13, and we saw how much damage three people caused with automatic weapons. Going back to October 22, we were still relatively lucky, as there could have been two individuals with automatic weapons instead of one. As for the damage caused in Paris, there were 1,000 people at the theatre that was targeted. But when you consider the fact that the two main parties were holding caucus meetings close to the entry to Parliament Hill, with about 100 people on each side, had shooters been armed with automatic weapons — as the crazy gunmen in Bataclan were — there could have been a real massacre. We can never be too careful when it comes to tightening the security rules for the good of the people working here.
Mr. Duheme: I completely agree with you, senator. I am working closely with Gilles Duguay, of the Senate, and Pat MacDonald, of the House of Commons, to figure out how we can monitor the entire Hill and develop measures to strike a balance between the desire to develop airtight security and the right of Canadians and tourists to come visit the Hill. We are trying to achieve that balance.
We have begun discussions with an organization called Defence Research and Development Canada, whose experts are carrying out a threat assessment. We will look at the measures to be taken to increase or improve existing security on the Hill in order to deal with today's new reality. Granted, people are limited by their imagination in terms of what they can do. The sad Paris events are a reminder of the vulnerabilities in certain locations. I would point out that, during the tragic incidents in Paris, the media were talking about "vulnerable targets" — places with a lot of people and little police presence. These are sad events, and we have to look into this matter.
Senator Rivard: Thank you and good luck.
The Chair: Thank you, Senator Rivard.
Mr. Forgues, perhaps you could clarify a point that you made to a question asked earlier by Senator Smith about one bargaining unit to deal with the three different entities. How does that work with the RCMP officers who are here for a period of time and then they will be posted somewhere else, whereas the other two security groups, the House of Commons and the Senate, are more permanently here? How will that work out?
Mr. Forgues: The RCMP is not a unionized employer.
The Chair: Not yet, no.
Mr. Forgues: Not yet. The comments I put forward were strictly for non-RCMP members. Joining into a single bargaining unit applies currently to the Senate association, the house association and the scanners. Those are the three for which we proposed a single bargaining unit. When we applied to the labour board, we had a series of operational reasons to back up that application, such as one force, et cetera.
That is in front of the board right now. They haven't gotten back to us yet, but it is being decided. There is a possibility of next steps. We could be called to a hearing; they could make a call right away. It's their call, essentially.
The Chair: In your view, that could function well, even though the RCMP, who are part of the parliamentary precinct security, are going to be represented under a different association.
Mr. Forgues: Yes, and I believe that because they are under the RCMP Act, they have to remain RCMP officers in rank and file, right up to the commissioner.
The Chair: Is the long-term plan to keep the RCMP as part of the protective service?
Mr. Duheme: Yes, no doubt. The only thing we are looking at, as I mentioned earlier, is reviewing the position and the structure and asking ourselves if we really need a police officer to do this. If everyone will be trained to the same standard, that is when we have to start doing that reflection: Do we need an RCMP police officer presence here, or can we substitute it by someone from the PPS who doesn't have peace officer status?
The Chair: Would that be contracted out, or would they be part of the PPS?
Mr. Duheme: They would be part of the PPS. The RCMP are part of the PPS. They are within the structure. The budget presentation to the Speakers will include the resources of the RCMP within the PPS.
The Chair: Do you see any role, for example, for retired members who are part of the corps of commissionaires?
Mr. Duheme: There could be roles. I'm looking at the example I provided at the outset, the fact that we have armed guards behind desks that are viewing cameras that are being reviewed elsewhere. Do we really need an armed presence? As we go through the different areas within the buildings, we'll have a better understanding of what we really need.
The Chair: So there is no corps of commissionaire members working at the parliamentary precinct at this time?
Mr. Duheme: No. I wouldn't venture down that route. It would probably add another complexity. We realize there are three different entities. Do we want to bring a fourth one in, or does that become an employee of the Senate or the House of Commons instead of going with a corps of commissionaires? Those are things that we would have to evaluate.
The Chair: The security provided to the Prime Minister and the Governor General, is that within your realm or is that a separate group?
Mr. Duheme: That is a separate group. It is what we refer to as the PMPD, which is the Prime Minister Protection Detail, part of the RCMP. That's a separate unit altogether that reports through the National Division under Mr. Gilles Michaud. It is the same thing with the Governor General. The RCMP has a detachment with the Governor General, and they are responsible for ensuring the security of the site and also the security of His Excellency.
The Chair: Who has authority when they come on Parliament Hill?
Mr. Duheme: We are informed every time they come here. Pre-October 22, when the Prime Minister would come to the main door, plainclothes House of Commons security individuals would take charge and escort him into the building. With the change in the legislation now, the PMPD of the RCMP is allowed to enter Parliament and continue the escort with the Prime Minister.
That is going well. The PPS is involved and we know every time they come on the Hill. We provide a liaison person to them who is aware of the various contingency plans and who will help out if required.
The Chair: That liaison person is just when they come on the Hill?
Mr. Duheme: Yes.
The Chair: Can we assume that you are already interoperable with those two other groups?
Mr. Duheme: Yes.
The Chair: That doesn't present a problem?
Mr. Duheme: No. It worked well at the Speech from the Throne and it continues to work well.
The Chair: Good.
Are there any questions that flow from those questions?
Senator Mockler: We are conforming to the Official Languages Act, right?
Mr. Duheme: Yes.
Senator Mockler: Okay. So if I go to the next level —
Mr. Duheme: I just want to correct something. I don't have the percentage of resources to confirm that we are conforming. I would be happy to get back to you with the number of positions that we have that are bilingual and the number of people in those positions, but I can't say with certainty right now that we're conforming 100 per cent because I don't have those numbers with me.
Senator Mockler: As long as our actions comply with the Official Languages Act. I understand that you will send us the information once you know what the percentage is as far as compliance goes. Is that right?
Mr. Duheme: That's exactly right. It's as if I was currently giving an overview of the resources we have today, so as to determine whether we are acting in compliance with the Official Languages Act. If that is not the case, the objective will be to recruit bilingual staff from across the country.
Senator Mockler: Can you give us an overview of a dry run? If an incident took place, such as an accident involving a parliamentarian, what would be the role of the Ottawa Police Service? Does it still have a role to play in the process?
Mr. Duheme: The Parliamentary Protective Service does not have a mandate to investigate. Its mandate is strictly limited to providing protection — in terms of access, site control, search of vehicles and individuals. Any investigations that relate to national security are referred to the RCMP. If the investigation is criminal in nature, depending on the crime committed, the case is referred to the Ottawa Police Service.
Senator Mockler: The Ottawa police?
Mr. Duheme: Yes.
The Chair: You have no further questions?
Thank you very much, Chief Superintendent, Ms. Mask and Mr. Forgues.
Mr. Duheme: Mr. Chair and honourable senators, thank you very much. I count on your support as we move forward with this new entity and build it so that we are an example to the rest of the world.
The Chair: We count on your security. Thank you.
(The committee adjourned.)