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Motion to Recognize the Necessity of Fully Integrated Security throughout the Parliamentary Precinct and the Grounds of Parliament Hill and to Invite the RCMP to Lead Operational Security

 

Hon. Claude Carignan (Leader of the Government), pursuant to notice of February 5, 2015, moved:

That the Senate, following the terrorist attack of October 22, 2014, recognize the necessity of fully integrated security throughout the Parliamentary precinct and the grounds of Parliament Hill, as recommended by the Auditor General in his 2012 report and as exists in other peer legislatures; and call on the Speaker, in coordination with his counterpart in the House of Commons, to invite, without delay, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to lead operational security throughout the Parliamentary precinct and the grounds of Parliament Hill, while respecting the privileges, immunities and powers of the respective Houses, and ensuring the continued employment of our existing and respected Parliamentary Security staff.

Hon. Serge Joyal: Honourable senators, I want to address a point that might sound legalistic to some of you, but in reality, if we want to be effective, as the Deputy Leader of the Government has mentioned, we have to understand very well what the text means.

 

I would like you to take the text of Motion 82 and read it again. What does it say? Bear importance to each and every word. It says:

 

. . . and call on the Speaker, . . . to invite, without delay, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to lead operational security . . . while respecting the privileges, immunities and powers of the respective Houses . . . .

 

I underline what it says: "call on the Speaker, . . . to invite, without delay."

 

That doesn't mean that the Speaker will have to oversee the RCMP once the RCMP is in. If you read the French text, it says:

 

. . . qu'il demande, sans délai, au Président, . . . d'inviter la Gendarmerie royale du Canada à diriger la sécurité opérationnelle . . .

 

I paused a second and I said to myself, "What is the status of the Speaker of the Senate versus the status of the Speaker of the House of Commons?" It's quite clear that the author, the drafter of that motion, was thinking of the other side because if you look into the Parliament of Canada Act and ask yourself about the status of the Speaker in the other place, section 50 of the act governs it. I would like to quote it because, in my opinion, it's quite clear. Section 50 of the Parliament of Canada Act is entitled "Establishment and Organization" and deals with the Board of Internal Economy. Subsection 50(1) states:

 

There shall be a Board of Internal Economy of the House of Commons, in this section and sections 51 and 53 referred to as "the Board" —

 

— and the important thing —

 

— over which the Speaker of the House of Commons shall preside.

 

So in the other place, the Speaker is really, to put it in simple terms, the boss. He's the guy who runs the place, if you read subsection 50(2). And subsection (4):

 

The Speaker shall inform the House of Commons of any appointment made to the Board . . . .

 

In other words, he's the one who manages the membership of the Board.

 

Further on, in subsection 52.1(1):

 

Where the Speaker deems that there is an emergency, the Speaker may exercise any power of the Board.

 

It's even more compelling. He's the board, more or less. In any emergency situation, he doesn't even have to take the initiative of calling the board. He is the ruler. He is the boss. He makes the decision, and once the decision has been taken:

 

(2) The Speaker shall report to the Board any decision made under subsection (1) at the meeting of the Board immediately following the decision.

 

In other words, this motion to call on the RCMP to lead the security falls very rationally under the concept of the other place.

 

But insofar as our Speaker is concerned, there's no comparison at all. If you take the Rules of the Senate, what does it say about the status of our Speaker? Rule 2-1(1) states:

 

The Speaker shall:

(a) preside over the proceedings of the Senate;

 

He presides over the proceedings of the Senate, as Mr. Speaker sits in the chair. The Speaker shall also:

 

(b) rule on points of order, the prima facie merits of questions of privilege and requests for emergency debates; and

(c) preserve order and decorum.

 

That's the status of our Speaker.

 

Our Speaker doesn't have any administrative responsibility per se. Why? It's for a very simple reason. It is because our Speaker, according to the Constitution, is a government appointee. I will read section 34:

 

The Governor General may from Time to Time, by Instrument under the Great Seal of Canada, appoint a Senator to be Speaker of the Senate, and may remove him and appoint another in his Stead.

 

So our Speaker, being a government appointee, doesn't have the responsibility of the administration of this place because the administration of this place rests with us.

 

That's what the Parliament of Canada Act says in section 19. Subsection 19.1(1) says very clearly:

 

In this section and section 19.2 to 19.9, "Committee" means the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets, and Administration established by the Senate under its rules.

 

It is the Internal Economy Committee appointed by us — again, appointed by us, not by the government — that has the sole responsibility to administer this place. That's why, for most of the time, the Chair of Internal Economy has been a senator. In the past, it was our esteemed colleague Senator Tkachuk. Senator Kinsella was appointed Chair of Internal Economy, only in the last part of his term. Honourable Senator Nolin is now Chair of Internal Economy. But that has nothing to do with the status of the Speaker. Nowhere in the rules or the Parliament of Canada Act or the Constitution does it say that the administration of this place is in the hands of the Speaker.

 

This motion, as much as it calls on the Speaker to invite — it's worth the time that this motion lasts. But if I would be the RCMP representative, I would say, "Show me the boss. Who is the boss in this place? I want to negotiate." It won't be the Speaker. Once this motion is adopted as it is written, once the Speaker has called on the RCMP to lead security, then this is it. This motion's text doesn't invest the Speaker with any additional responsibility to look after the security of this place. It's still with the Board of Internal Economy.

 

Senator Moore: Yes, it is.

 

Senator Joyal: So if we adopt this motion and we ask our Speaker to call upon the police and the RCMP and the Speaker does so to give way to the substance of this motion, then this is it. The Speaker has no more responsibility. The RCMP can say, "I don't want to see the Speaker; I want to see the Board of Internal Economy," because there is nothing that says that in the future the Speaker will remain as the Chair of Internal Economy, unless we want to amend the Rules of the Senate — I'm looking again at Senator Tkachuk — or the Parliament of Canada Act and we provide that the Chair of Internal Economy is the Speaker.

 

With this motion, honourable senators, as it is written, there is an open gap for the future. There is an open gap in the immediate term and an open gap in the future because in the immediate term the Speaker has only one responsibility — to invite the RCMP.

 

Senator Moore: That's it.

 

Senator Joyal: And once it's done, that's it. It seems to me the amendments introduced by Senator Cowan ask the RCMP to report to the Speaker, and "to report to" means to be responsible to in legal text. To report to somebody means to be responsible to. This amendment is essential, in my opinion, if we want the Speaker to continue to exercise his responsibility insofar as this Parliament lasts. The life of this motion is as long as this Parliament lasts. So once it's over, when we have a new Parliament, if the honourable Speaker is not the chair of the Internal Economy Committee, all the responsibility in relation to the management of security will still be in the hands of the Internal Economy Committee. I think it's proper to do it that way. Why? Because when it is within the hands of the Internal Economy Committee, it remains within the hands of all honourable senators. Why? Because our Speaker is appointed by the executive government and can be removed at the will of the executive government. This is the law of the land as it stands now, honourable senators.