Blue Line

Make RCMP police of jurisdiction for Parliament Hill, union urges

March 7, 2024  By Jim Bronskill, The Canadian Press

Mar. 7, 2024, Ottawa, Ont. – The union that represents front-line Mounties is urging the federal government to make the RCMP the police force of jurisdiction for Parliament Hill to bolster security.

National Police Federation president Brian Sauvé says the federal response this week to a commission of inquiry does nothing to further an important conversation about security on the Hill.

The Public Order Emergency Commission made dozens of recommendations following the government’s use of the Emergencies Act in early 2022 to quell protests in downtown Ottawa and at key border points.

The federal response says a working group is examining policing issues unique to the parliamentary precinct.


In early February 2022, the streets around Parliament Hill were swamped with protesters, many in large trucks that paralyzed downtown Ottawa for weeks.

Initially billed as a demonstration against COVID-19 health restrictions, the gathering attracted people with various grievances against Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his Liberal government.

Sauvé said in a statement Thursday the protests marked a profound failure to maintain public order in the national capital.

“The grounds of Parliament Hill are the physical and symbolic heart of our country and are frequent targets for protests and potential terrorist threats,” he said.

“The safety and security of parliamentarians, public service staff, visitors and Ottawa’s residents is critically important. Yet, time and again, despite repeated calls for change, there has been no movement toward improving policing and security in the parliamentary precinct.”

The Parliamentary Protective Service was created after a gunman stormed Parliament Hill in 2014. It is responsible for security on Parliament Hill, including both the buildings and grounds, as well as throughout the surrounding parliamentary precinct.

However, the police federation says PPS officers have extremely limited authority or capacity to address unlawful activity.

Previously, three different agencies shared responsibility for Parliament Hill. The RCMP policed the Parliament Hill grounds, with up to 200 RCMP assigned permanently to the Hill, the federation says.

Security guards reporting to the Speaker of the House of Commons managed security for the House portion of Parliament’s Centre Block, and a separate group of security guards, reporting to the Speaker of the Senate, handled security in the Senate wing of Centre Block.

The police federation contends that reinstating the RCMP as the police of jurisdiction on Parliament Hill would ensure the swift and efficient deployment of officers during crises.

Federation vice-president Dennis Miller said it would entail a Parliament Hill detachment of the RCMP responsible for the safety and security of the Hill, including members of Parliament.

Such a detachment might have 200 to 300 members who would be in place to assist with future protest scenarios warranting police intervention, Miller said in an interview.

He suggested the Parliamentary Protective Service could handle duties such as routine screening of visitors to the Hill.

The federal response to the commission of inquiry said a working group that includes federal departments, parliamentary partners and law enforcement agencies is examining policing of the parliamentary precinct and surrounding area.

It reaffirmed the federal commitment to continue discussions with the City of Ottawa to transfer a portion of Wellington Street, which runs in front of Parliament Hill, to the federal government.

The goal is to mark the legal and geographic boundaries of the precinct and clarify security and policing roles and responsibilities, the response added.

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