Tuesday 30 January 1996
Security of the legislative precinct
Hon Allan K. McLean, Speaker
Thomas Stelling, Sergeant at Arms
Allan Hough, acting manager, Legislative Security Service
Claude L. DesRosiers, Clerk of the House
STANDING COMMITTEE ON THE LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY
Chair / Président: Arnott, Ted (Wellington PC)
Vice-Chair / Vice-Président: Hastings, John (Etobicoke-Rexdale PC)
*Arnott, Ted (Wellington PC)
*Bartolucci, Rick (Sudbury L)
*Boushy, Dave (Sarnia PC)
*Cooke, David S. (Windsor-Riverside ND)
*DeFaria, Carl (Mississauga East / -Est PC)
*Froese, Tom (St Catharines-Brock PC)
*Grimmett, Bill (Muskoka-Georgian Bay / Muskoka-Baie-Georgienne PC)
*Hastings, John (Etobicoke-Rexdale PC)
*Johnson, Ron (Brantford PC)
*Miclash, Frank (Kenora L)
*Morin, Gilles E. (Carleton East / -Est L)
*O'Toole, John R. (Durham East / -Est PC)
Silipo, Tony (Dovercourt ND)
*Stewart, R. Gary (Peterborough PC)
*In attendance / présents
Substitutions presents / Membres remplaçants présents:
Christopherson, David (Hamilton Centre / -Centre ND) for Mr Silipo
Clerk / Greffière: Freedman, Lisa
Staff / Personnel:
Yeager, Lewis, research officer, Legislative Research Service
Sibenik, Peter, procedural research clerk, Office of the Clerk
The committee met at 0901 in room 228.
SECURITY OF THE LEGISLATIVE PRECINCT
The Chair (Mr Ted Arnott): This meeting of the standing committee on the Legislative Assembly is called to order.
We have with us today the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, the Honourable Allan McLean, and we're expecting the Clerk of the House, Claude DesRosiers, shortly to arrive. Also Tom Stelling, who is the Sergeant at Arms, will be giving us a presentation about security issues. Mr Speaker, welcome to the committee.
Hon Allan K. McLean (Speaker): Thank you, Mr Chairman. It's a pleasure to be here.
The Chair: We're glad to have you here. I'd like to open the floor to you.
Hon Mr McLean: I want to give you a little history of the security in the Legislative Assembly and I want to go back from 1973 to the present.
In 1973, the commissioner of the Ontario Provincial Police placed a new policy in operation where, in all locations in the province, OPP officers who were employed in non-police duties would be returned to more traditional functions. They would be replaced by a new force to be called the Ontario Government Protective Service. This group would be trained to provide security for all government buildings. Night watchmen employed by public works and new recruits were combined to form this new force of 150.
The OGPS replaced the OPP in the Legislative Assembly building and the gentlemen ushers in the galleries of the House. Although members of the new force had been trained to provide security for government buildings, their attempts to work in the legislative environment were most unsuccessful. Members of the House were stopped from entering the chamber, many strangers gained entry on to the floor of the House and other problems arose during the first few years that the new force was in operation. To add to the difficulties, a rotation program that changed the OGPS personnel from the Legislative Building to other areas that the OGPS served resulted in the fact that no specialty training could be provided to the small group of security officers that the assembly required from this force.
Security for the Legislative Building, other than the chamber, during these years was not the Speaker's responsibility. The building came under the control of public works.
In December 1974, the Legislative Assembly passed the Legislative Assembly Act, and under the act, the Speaker gained control over the security in the legislative chamber and all other parts of the Legislative Building designated by order in council. The act stated that the Speaker shall establish security guidelines for these areas. While the Speaker was given the responsibility for security, he lacked the control over the staff engaged to protect the assembly.
In the fall of 1976, the assembly acquired a new Sergeant at Arms. One of the Sergeant at Arms' duties focused on making the most of this non-parliamentary protective service. The assembly's standing orders were changed to give direction over security personnel to the Sergeant at Arms, and verbal agreements were made to reduce the changes in protective staff around the House. Training sessions were established. Meetings were held with senior OPP staff to bring their attention to the problems the assembly was having with basic security. The security situation improved; however, due to a constant turnover of security staff, many basic problems continued.
A gunman killed and wounded staff in the Quebec National Assembly on May 8, 1984. That evening, the Board of Internal Economy met to consider the implications of this incident in Ontario. Present at that meeting were senior members of the OPP, and one of the points raised by the OPP was the need for weapons during this type of incident. Members of the board were very vigorous in their argument that the current staff, the OGPS, were not qualified to carry guns. The meeting ended with a request that the OPP report back to the board with recommendations to prevent this type of event in Ontario.
The major recommendation of this report was to bring a six-person OPP force into the Legislative Building; to have two of these armed officers in plain clothes in the public gallery, one officer in the main lobby and one more outside the door of the chamber. This recommendation was accepted by the Board of Internal Economy, and thus a detachment at Queen's Park was formed. The detachment was made up of a staff sergeant, a corporal and four constables from the OPP, and a staff of 35 from the OGPS, supplemented by 19 extra OGPS while the House was in session.
In 1988, a memorandum of understanding was signed by the Speaker and the Minister of Government Services. This memorandum gave the Speaker responsibility for the entire Legislative Building, grounds and parts of the Whitney Block. This memorandum was followed up in 1990 with an order in council confirming this agreement. Although this change brought this Parliament into line with other major parliaments, it presented major problems for the Speaker with security. The Speaker now had the responsibility for all of the Legislative Building, grounds and parts of the Whitney Block, and still did not have any direct control over the security staff working in his buildings.
To resolve this situation, an agreement was reached between the Speaker and the Solicitor General in November 1992. This memorandum of understanding confirmed the Speaker's authority under the Legislative Assembly Act for security of the legislative precinct and established a framework for the provision of security services by the OPP and the Ontario Government Protective Service to the Speaker on a chargeback basis.
On June 14, 1993, a mentally unstable woman walked on to the floor of the House shouting obscenities at the members. Speaker Warner requested a security review. With the results of this review, the Speaker attempted to establish a new security program for the precinct. The program dealt with access to the building for the public, as well as other concerns over couriers, parking, perimeter control, exterior surveillance and demonstrations.
This program was not accepted by some members; however, the Speaker decided to proceed with the changes. A staff committee comprising all three caucuses and assembly staff met to provide the Speaker with a method of implementing his program. The three caucus staff withdrew from the committee before the election this year, and since then, I have directed this staff committee to adjourn its meetings until I've had this opportunity to meet with you.
Earlier this year, after the Oklahoma City bombing and the Prince Edward Island incidents, the former Speaker instructed security to immediately put into place an identification check at all doors to the building and set up a courier scanning program, both of which are still in effect.
Over the last eight years, there has been a dramatic increase in the number and severity of security incidents, from attempted suicides, weapon offences, criminal activities, assaults, bomb threats, death threats and violent demonstrations within the legislative environment and in the community that surrounds us.
On October 18, 1988, a group of injured workers gathered in the building and rushed the doors of the chamber. On February 4, 1993, two women put on masks and attempted to attack the Premier during a media scrum outside his office on the second floor. On December 9, 1993, Power Workers' Union members attacked security personnel and charged through the front doors, trying to enter the building in an attempt to demonstrate.
On December 2, 1992, Labour minister Bob Mackenzie's Hamilton riding office was set on fire. On September 7, 1993, a bomb blew up at the back door of one of the Toronto cabinet ministers' riding offices. On June 9, 1994, gay-lesbian rights activists staged a demonstration inside the Legislative Building and refused to leave, causing security to physically remove them. Three security officers were injured. On September 27, 1995, during the opening of the House, a major demonstration occurred where outside police forces were brought in and used to prevent demonstrators gaining access to the building.
The present situation: In response to these and past security concerns, many improvements have been made in security over the years. The security staff now employed within the precinct are assigned to the assembly permanently and are no longer rotated between government buildings and the assembly. Special parliamentary security training is provided on a yearly basis. Security has been equipped with closed-circuit television systems for both inside and outside surveillance, portable radios, metal detectors and X-ray scanners, which are used daily to assist the security program. A safe mail program is effectively operated and a security audit of members' offices is carried out upon request. A duress button system is available to all members' offices and is effectively being used. As well, the staff photo identification program is beginning to prove effective.
However, there has been a reluctance to address one of the major problems that affects the security of members, staff, pages and visitors, and that is the lack of crowd management and assessment of persons wishing to visit members' offices, committee rooms and the chamber.
The Legislative Building draws approximately 250,000 visitors each year. Bus tours, school groups, walk-in visitors, members' guests and demonstrators make up this number. Security staff are expected to pick out from the quarter-million people the ones intending to harm, demonstrate or threaten occupants of the precinct. Without a well-managed entry control system, this is impossible.
As the committee is aware, I'm responsible for the security of the precinct. The Legislative Assembly Act states: "The Speaker shall establish guidelines for the security of the legislative chamber and other parts of the Legislative Building that are under his control."
On Thursday, October 5, I indicated to the House that I would be seeking the advice of the standing committee of the Legislative Assembly on how best to meet this obligation. To that end, I am requesting your committee consider the broad issue of security at the legislative precinct.
Of immediate and particular concern to me are controlled access to the building; requirements for members, staff and visitor identification; a protocol for public demonstrations; and crowd control and crowd management.
I am anxious to develop clear and fair security policies and guidelines that ensure a safe workplace for all occupants of the legislative precinct and those which do not unnecessarily impede or deter access to the building.
Due to the confidential and sensitive nature of security matters generally and reports on specific incidents in particular, I recommend that a permanent subcommittee on security be established which would include attendance by the Speaker and the Sergeant at Arms. The subcommittee would meet on an ongoing basis to review security in the precinct and provide me with recommendations.
With respect to the incident on opening day, the appropriate procedure would be for me to meet with the subcommittee to share the details of the report prepared for me by the security service. The report itself and the discussions around it would, of course, remain confidential.
Between the winter and spring session, which is happening now, I recommend the committee visit the House of Commons in Ottawa and the Quebec National Assembly. This will allow the committee to review two different security models and compare them with what we are doing in our assembly. I would be happy to join this committee for this visit. If the committee would find it helpful, I will arrange with my staff for a complete tour of our Legislative Security Service, which I understand is also happening.
I want to thank you for your time, and I know with your assistance we can achieve the level of security we require in this Legislative Assembly.
The Chair: We have a fair bit of time right now. Mr Speaker, would you consent to answer some questions of members of the committee if they have them at this time?
Hon Mr McLean: Certainly I would.
The Chair: I'll turn to the Liberal caucus first and turn it over to Mr Morin.
Mr Gilles E. Morin (Carleton East): I don't have any questions at the moment. I just want to hear the reactions of the others.
But perhaps I should raise the issue. I think what the Speaker is asking is very reasonable, makes sense; I don't like to use the words "common sense," but it does make sense. I don't see why we should not acquiesce to what he requests. Perhaps before we do so, we'd like to know what it would imply and what the security officials have to say so that we can maintain also the building in such a way that people can come in and out and visit it, because we're proud of this building, so that it doesn't become a fortress.
Some of you will have a chance to go to Quebec City and you'll see the type of system that they have over there. You'll see also how they operate in Ottawa. When someone wants to visit a member, there is a procedure that has to be followed. I agree with that. There's nothing wrong with that. Society has changed. Society evolves constantly, and we have to take the measures to protect this building, mainly to protect the members and protect the pages and protect all the personnel.
Mr Frank Miclash (Kenora): Thank you very much, Mr Speaker, for the presentation. The courier scanning program for the couriers coming into the building: What does that involve? I know there was some concern raised over that over the last couple of years.
Hon Mr McLean: I'll have to refer that to the Sergeant at Arms.
Mr Thomas Stelling (Sergeant at Arms): Just after the incident last summer, Speaker Warner asked us to quickly arrange for a method of scanning parcels that came into the building other than the ones that came through the post office, which we were already doing. We set up over a weekend a system, and it is still in effect in the receiving room at the northeast corner of the building, where people who are delivering packages to members or staff offices in the building take their parcel there, it's scanned by a sophisticated X-ray scanner that's able to detect plastic explosives, and at that point it is taken to the member's office either by way of the in-house messenger service or in some cases staff will come down from the member's office to pick it up.
It's not a perfect system. We did the best we could under difficult circumstances using existing resources, but it seems to be working.
Mr David S. Cooke (Windsor-Riverside): I just have a couple of comments and then maybe a question. Nobody in any of the parties has any difficulty, obviously, with accepting the fact that there needs to be adequate security. That's a motherhood statement. We've always had that view. It's always been a debate on the level of security and the balance between recognizing that this is a public facility, and the most public facility of any public facilities -- if people can't have access to their Parliament in a democratic society, then what does access to public facilities mean? I think that is something we need to continue to be aware of. We've got to keep all of this in some perspective. We've had some difficult situations around here, not just in the last few years but over the years. When there's a difficult debate that's occurring or a difficult piece of legislation that's being introduced, then there are demonstrations that have occurred. You mentioned the injured workers one in 1988. I believe there were some before 1988. There certainly have been since I've been around here, and I'm sure there were before 1977 as well. So let's keep this all in perspective.
The incidents that have occurred around here have been minor in the big picture of what has happened in other jurisdictions. My concern is that we're moving too far without adequate consultation and without any good reason. It bothers me to see cameras being put up throughout the building and I'm glad that some of those internal cameras that were going to be installed have not been installed. It bothers me that on occasion -- and I might say I even saw yesterday, looking into the west gallery, when a woman was appropriately being escorted from the gallery, that one of the officers grabbed that person and dragged her up the stairs. There was no need to do that. Nobody was threatening the members of the assembly. They were interfering with a vote, which is wrong. They were encouraged by a member to interfere with a vote, which is wrong. I don't support that activity, whether it's a member of my own caucus or a member of any other caucus. But I think you've got to be very careful.
I keep getting concerned that there's still not enough training, or that when an order is given to clear a gallery, that overwhelming order takes hold and people don't use common sense on how to execute that order. Quite frankly, yesterday I think we could have just continued to take the vote. There was nothing that was so overwhelmingly interfering with the vote that we couldn't just continue to do it. But when the order is given to clear, then I think it has to be done with some common sense.
I would also argue -- and you refer to it in your statement on page 4 -- about the day that Bill 164 was defeated and members of the gay and lesbian community were in the Legislature on the stairs and wouldn't leave the building. Therefore, as you say, they had to be removed. That's one option. The other option would be to maintain security around that demonstration on the stairs, let things calm down and have people exit themselves. There's more resistance and determination to maintain a demonstration when there's force being used to try to stop that demonstration. I think sometimes officers who are given instructions to do something seem to think: "Okay, we've been told to stop this demonstration and to clear people out. Let's do it." There were horrible scenes that day that I don't believe were necessary. Whether it's training, whether it's the way instructions are given, I think that's part of the issue.
I also believe that there is -- and this is something where we can't institute common sense. I've never been given an adequate explanation as to why the day that we were in my office putting up the children's petitions -- the Sergeant at Arms came to talk to us and said you wanted those down. That's fine. I don't agree with that, but that's fine. He was operating on instructions from you. But up further there was a plainclothes OPP officer taking pictures of me and my staff. I was offended by that. I don't have any idea what security risk were five people, who were staff, and one MPP. What right does anybody have, quite frankly, to intimidate staff to the point where a plainclothes officer was taking pictures? I raised that in the House, Mr Speaker, and not once have my staff been contacted or have you contacted me.
If you want us to take you seriously in terms of your determination to deal with security issues, then you'd bloody well better take our concerns seriously, and I think you owe me at least an explanation of why that incident occurred and why it wasn't even investigated. Nobody even investigated that particular incident. There have been incidences raised by Liberal members of the assembly and by members of our caucus about the level of security around this place, and never once has there been an explanation offered by you yet when we see truckloads of horses and officers for demonstrations that have occurred year after year after year, intimidating people from even coming near this particular place.
I want to cooperate and I do believe, yes, you have the legal responsibility under the act to deal with security. That's not how it has ever, in practice, been practised around here. Security measures have not taken place or been instituted without a consensus being developed between representatives from the three parties. I hope we will maintain that situation. Otherwise it's going to be difficult; there won't be support. I still believe -- and I'm not satisfied with the process that this committee is using -- that if we really want to deal with security issues, we've got to take a look at some of the incidences that have occurred around here so that we can learn from them -- not so that we can put blame, but so that we can learn.
I'm convinced that we could learn a lot if we would open up this process to some of the people who participated in the demonstration on throne speech day. I certainly will be during the two hours that have been made available to my caucus. I have invited some people who participated in that demonstration to come and appear before the committee. But I still am very concerned about who made certain decisions and why those decisions were made, why it was that nobody, none of the groups that were demonstrating -- and there really was only one group, it was a coalition of organizations. They were refused access to the front steps. They were refused access to the PA system. I think myself that it's a mistake what you have done out front, of not allowing any demonstrators to use the steps any longer to speak from, because that actually had an impact, in most instances, of keeping people away from the doors and having the demonstrations organized in a better way that provided for more security.
But, again, that decision was made. I certainly wasn't consulted. I'm a member of the Board of Internal Economy. I'm the House leader for our party. I was never consulted on that. You refused access to the PA system that day. The mess out front now of this place -- to have those metal barriers permanently installed -- makes this building look terrible. It looks terrible in a building that's supposed to be one of the most important and beautiful buildings in this community and in this province.
I have a lot of concerns about the process, I have a lot of concerns about incidences that have occurred here and I want to say again as bluntly and clearly as I can to you, Speaker, if you want cooperation on security from our caucus -- and we want to be part of that -- then it's going to require a response from you as well when we raise incidents, and at this point there hasn't been an adequate response. Not once, as I say, on incidents that I have raised with you in the Legislature, have you bothered to call me. Even though you said in the House that you would look into the matter, there has never been an investigation. Nobody has ever been contacted, any of the staff who were involved in that particular incident. So if you want confidence in your ability to do this job, then I think it's going to take more than referring a matter to the Legislative Assembly committee, making a statement before the committee; it is going to require real dialogue and real investigations when there are concerns that are expressed to you.
The committee's made a decision that you're going to go to Quebec and Ottawa and look at those systems. That's fine. I would argue that more important than any systems that are in place are the process and the communications between the three parties that are in this place and the Speaker's office. That will determine how security works around this place and whether it's successful, not any new technology that can be imposed on this place. It's going to be that basic, fundamental process that will determine whether we're going to have successful security arrangements around this place.
I'll finish by making one comment: again, common sense. we cannot ever have members of the Ontario Provincial Police walking around this building in their uniforms that they use when they're dealing with a crisis. I'm trying to look for the name of those uniforms. They're not the uniforms that are being worn today. They are the ones that the teams use when they're looking for criminals out in the bush. When I saw that one day, when there was supposed to be a demonstration out front, these officers walking around in those uniforms, to me that was frightening in itself, to get people that excited. I think the demonstration that day ended up having 200 or 300 people out front. I doubt whether democracy was being challenged that day in the province of Ontario. There's got to be some common sense used around this place. That is going to be more important than any technology you might discover or anything you might discover in Quebec City or Ottawa.
The Chair: Mr Speaker, do you care to respond?
Hon Mr McLean: Yes, I want to reply to a couple of the questions and the ones with regard to the posters in the hallway. It was brought to my attention that they were being put up, but I simply asked if it was within the rules of the House if that was permissible. I said the rules of the House will be enforced. They told me that was not permissible to take place, and I would think that all honourable members would obey the rules of the Legislature. My answer simply was whatever the rules are was what we will follow. That was the end of it, as far as I was concerned. The comments that you made with regard to the police taking cameras, I'm not aware of any of that that took place.
Mr Cooke: Mr Speaker, though, I raised that in the House with you on a point of privilege and you said that you would look into it. I raised it in the House. It's on Hansard's record.
Hon Mr McLean: I have, and it was against the rules of the House. You, I believe, would be aware that it is.
Mr Cooke: To have my picture taken by a plainclothes officer?
The Chair: Mr Cooke, if you'd give the Speaker a chance to respond in detail.
Hon Mr McLean: Oh, not that part of it. I was dealing with the other part.
On the other thing, with regard to the barriers that are installed out front, my understanding was they were taken down when they were remodelling the building and they were put back up after it was done. It was my understanding that they had been there for several years. If that's not right, the Sergeant at Arms would probably have a better answer than I, but that was my understanding.
The speaker that you had mentioned that was not put out there, I was not aware of the reason why it wasn't. After all, it was about my first day on the job and things were happening so fast that there were a lot of things that I was not fully informed of and I was not fully aware of what was taking place. Perhaps the Sergeant at Arms would have a better answer for you than I.
Mr Cooke: Could I just, Mr Chair, because I don't think that the Speaker has responded to -- I mean, this is just symptomatic. Do you not feel, as a member of this place -- and the Sergeant at Arms was there -- that if you were a member and you had a plainclothes officer in this building taking pictures when the only issue was in fact posters being put up on the wall, do you not find something offensive about that? We took the posters down. I admit, if that was against the -- I don't think it's against any standing order or the Legislative Assembly Act. I don't think I broke the law. But if in fact that was your ruling, fine, the posters come down, but do you not find it a little bit offensive that a plainclothes officer would be standing there taking pictures? And when that's raised by a member in the House, would you not follow up on that, as you promised you would in the House?
Hon Mr McLean: Yes, I would, and I perhaps am a little late at doing what you've asked me to do. I think you have to remember too that it was the first session of the House, there were a lot of things taking place. Perhaps my staff should have reported back to me a lot quicker than they have. Yes, I would agree with you.
The Chair: Thank you, Mr Speaker. We have a slide presentation that's been prepared for the committee and I'd ask the committee's advice. We could move to the Conservative caucus for questions, if there are any at this time, or we could start the video presentation. After the video presentation we would then turn to the Conservative caucus. Mr O'Toole?
Mr John O'Toole (Durham East): That's fine.
Mr Stelling: We had hoped to show you this before our tour tomorrow. It will just give you a kind of a highlight of what we're doing for security in the precinct and maybe it will help you understand some of the other issues. It may also give you some questions that you'd like to ask Al Hough, who is our manager here. Al is a staff sergeant with the OPP. With him is Inspector Hope, who does our incident commanding. He comes down when we're having a difficult incident and he takes control of the situation. Tomorrow they'll be with us on the tour and you'll be able to ask them questions on anything you wish. Right now, Al would like to give us a little bit of a slide presentation, if that's okay with the members.
The Chair: Would you state your name for the purposes of Hansard, please.
Mr Allan Hough: The last name is Hough, first name Allan.
As Mr Speaker outlined, the security at the Legislative Building is provided by the Legislative Security Service. The Legislative Security Service is composed of the following: As mentioned, there are both OPP and OGPS members who form the total detachment.
The Ontario Provincial Police complement of the detachment is myself -- I'm the staff sergeant; I'm called "the manager" as well, under the memorandum of understanding. There are also one sergeant, who is the operations manager, and four OPP constables. All of those OPP constables are in plain clothes and they're also armed. The Ontario Government Protective Service complement are all uniformed, and there are 50 of those members stationed throughout the building.
As Mr Speaker has outlined, security is provided in accordance with the Speaker's security guidelines and the memorandum of understanding. In other words, everything we do here is based on the guidelines that have been set out for us.
So, you ask, what are they? The first thing the Ontario Provincial Police do is provide a management role. That's myself and the operations manager. We are responsible for the OGPS, as well as for the OPP. We're also responsible for outside crowd control. That's anything from demonstrations to any activity that may be occurring on the front lawn.
General enforcement and investigations: It's pretty self-explanatory:
Security to the members, staff and general public.
Security to any visiting VIPs that may come to visit the Speaker or the Lieutenant Governor, for example.
They liaise with the Sergeant at Arms. Under the current memorandum of understanding that we have, I'm required to have a daily meeting with the Sergeant at Arms to discuss matters of security.
They also conduct security patrols within the legislative precinct. Again, these are right from the Speaker's security guidelines that are presently in place.
We also coordinate and liaise with the OGPS. Again, we're all one unit here. There is no separation; we all operate as one unit.
The Ontario Government Protective Service's responsibilities are the following: They provide general enforcement and investigations. If I can back up for a second, I just want to mention that the OPP are here only during business hours, Monday to Friday, 9 to 5. The other thing I want to mention as well is that the security for the Lieutenant Governor's detail, which is provided by the OPP, and the Premier's detail is not provided by the Legislative Security Service. It's provided by members of the OPP intelligence branch.
If I can get back to the Ontario Government Protective Service: They provide security for the members of Parliament, employees, general public using the building; security again for visiting VIPs. They liaise with the managerial staff. That will be members of ORC or any members who require their attention. They also conduct security patrols inside the building.
The OGPS also has another unit that we formed. It's called the entry control unit. It was a new initiative that we put into effect November 1, 1995, and it's a 10-person OGPS unit. The objective is to control access through all main points of entry to the legislative precinct.
The OGPS members are also posted at room 281, which is the Premier's office. There's also an OGPS at the chamber and OGPS officers in the Whitney Block, the tunnel area and also at the Whitney west door. These are posts that are all outlined in the Speaker's security guidelines of where officers shall be.
A further objective is to provide a consistent enforcement of entry control policies. As the Speaker mentioned, we had some changes with the Oklahoma bombing and stuff. This unit made it possible so we had a more consistent approach. In other words, the same people were doing the job all the time on a day-to-day basis, which has proven to be very effective.
They are also tasked with providing consistent response to emergency or crisis situations and those are responding calls involving demonstrations. They're out on the front lines, for example, yesterday with the demonstrators inside the barricades. They also respond to the duress alarms that I'm sure most of you have in your office. They respond to any sit-ins in the building, removal of persons from the precinct, clearing of the public galleries, and these members have received additional training to carry out their duties. Some of that training is crowd control, physical fitness and the use of force continuum.
There's also a sessions unit that's outlined in the Speaker's security guidelines. When the House is sitting, OGPS members must be at the following locations: the east and west public galleries, the Speaker's gallery, the government lobby, the opposition lobby, the main entrance to the chamber, the landing outside the west and east public galleries and also at the metal detectors. I just want to let everyone know here that with the metal detectors which are located on the fourth floor we screen all people who go into the public galleries, but we do not screen people who go into the members' galleries.
When the House is in session, the OPP have specific places that they have to be under the Speaker's security guidelines. They are in the east public gallery: remember they're in plain clothes. They're in the west members' gallery. They're in the main entrance to the chamber and the main lobby at the entrance to the main building. It should be noted there too that with the OPP members those positions can change depending on what the situation is.
You're going to be getting a full tour tomorrow, I understand, but I just want to go over the highlights of the communications centre that's located here as well. Again that's part of the Speaker's security guidelines. We'll go over the technology and what's in there tomorrow, but basically the responsibilities are for telephone inquiries from the public and government staff. They have telephone inquiries on the in-house phone system. Those are the white phones you see that you just pick up and you get right to our control room. They dispatch the OGPS members or the OPP members to the occurrences that take place in the building and they monitor the video surveillance and duress monitoring systems. Also, they operate the CPIC, which is the Canadian Police Information Centre. There's a terminal located in that office.
I just want to go over some general rules. These are right from the Speaker's security guidelines, just to give you an idea.
Access to the Legislative Building: Entrance is not generally restricted. However, under the Speaker's security guidelines members of the Legislative Security Service are authorized to refuse entry to any individual or group that intends to demonstrate inside the building. This has been in the Speaker's security guidelines for upwards of 20 years.
The members of the Legislative Security Service also act as agents for the Speaker under the Trespass to Property Act, which gives us the ability to charge and remove people if we deem that necessary.
The demonstrations and crowd control situations: "The Legislative Security Service manager," which is myself, "is responsible for the response." That comes directly from the memorandum of understanding signed between the two agencies, as the Speaker outlined.
"At a special event or situation" -- and that could be an opening of the Legislature or a major demonstration -- "if there's an increased level of security, it should be provided jointly by the OPP and the OGPS.... A security plan shall be prepared by the ministry," which is myself, "and provided to the assembly prior to the event or situation."
In our particular case what happens, depending on what the event is, I prepare a plan. I submit it to the Sergeant at Arms for approval from the Speaker to tell him exactly what we're planning on doing based on the information that we've received. That's standard policy that comes right from the memorandum of understanding.
Just to give you an idea of what we do here or why we do have security, these are just some of the things that we had in 1995. I'll give you a few minutes to go down the list there and read them and then I'll go to the next one.
You see that "0" up there. These are based on the categories we have from different years, so sometimes we have things and sometimes we don't. Demonstrations were down a little bit last year compared to normal, for the simple reason that the House didn't sit as often.
"Persons for observation" are just people who have come into the building who have caused us problems in the past that we just keep an eye on.
Those are pretty basic. The last one, which is a big one, is the amount of doors and insecurities that we find in the building that the OGPS do mostly after hours on their security patrols.
The Chair: Thank you very much, Mr Hough, for the presentation. I now turn to the government caucus.
Mr R. Gary Stewart (Peterborough): I want to go back to a couple of comments that were made at the start, before we saw the show, and one was a comment made that we should be very careful. I'm the new guy on the block, but I don't believe what we've seen in the last few months are demonstrations; they are becoming mobs.
I suggest to people who are thinking that we must preserve democracy, and certainly I'm one who probably believes as much about democracy and in democracy as anybody, but somebody's going to get killed and it's going to be an innocent bystander. It's not going to be somebody who's been aggravated by the people who are spotted in these crowds to agitate these people, but some innocent person.
A perfect example of it was last fall the time that we were evacuated. I happened to see a lady that we ran into an office and got her a secretarial chair because the lady was having an angina attack because she was so damned scared running through the tunnel there and she was popping nitro. That's the type of thing that's going to happen. I hope I'm not here and we're sitting around this room and in this committee and we'll all be saying: "Jeez, it's too bad that person was killed. It's too bad that person died."
I think what we should be doing is solving this thing in the bud and I think we'd better do it fairly quickly. It's nice to have all of the rhetoric that we're hearing, but this is not democracy; this is anarchy. When somebody comes and starts defacing this building, throwing graffiti on it, doing what they did yesterday, doing what they did over the last three months, I've a real bit of difficulty with that, and I can tell you, it'll get worse because of the agitation that's going on by certain groups.
They've got nothing to lose, and you could see that yesterday in there. One of the members -- and I know the member opposite said he doesn't believe in that and I believe he doesn't, but what you could see was happening in there was one or two people got up in that House and started yelling and hooting and hollering and those people got worse. Those people are going to get to a point where they are not under control, they are not responsible, and something's gonna happen.
If that's what you want -- I'm not very worried about me being shot or killed. That doesn't bother me too much because that's the nature of the beast. But I'll tell you, if I have a guest here or somebody else here who does, an innocent bystander, I have a real bit of difficulty with that. That's not a question, Mr Chairman, that's a statement, and I want to have it on the record that I said that.
The one thing that concerns me is where I see that there's a possibility of going to Quebec and to Ottawa. I understand that this committee was taken there a year ago to have a look at it. I understand possibly prior to that they did. I look at the cost factor of this thing: going down, looking at the security and coming back and not making any response or not making any proposals about it, unless we did not get some of these proposals that we have done.
I suggest to you, if we're going to go down, 15 or 18 or 20 people, to look at that, with the cost factor to this province either we'd better forget it or we'd better do something about it. I suggest to you that for a quarter of the expense we could have a few people coming up here and talking to us, where we could sit down and have a real conversation with them and some recommendations rather than spending $20,000 or $30,000 or $40,000 to go down and have a look at it.
I will vote against going down, but I will not vote against having people up here. Certainly the OPP officer and the Speaker and Tom, I think, must have access to these people who have set up that security. Surely to goodness, we can bring them up here at a whole lot less expense for this province.
The Chair: Mr Speaker, did you wish to respond to those comments at this time?
Hon Mr McLean: Yes, just briefly. I think if it's only the subcommittee, it's important that they see actually what they're doing. I think it's important the way Ottawa has changed where they allow the speakers and the way they have it across the driveway from the front of the building. I think it's got to be seen to realize the difference. They tell me that Quebec City is very, very stringent, and I don't think just coming up and explaining it, but I would think at least the subcommittee should go and have a look at it.
Mr Dave Boushy (Sarnia): Just one comment and one question. If there was to be minor disturbance in the east and west public galleries, to the Speaker, why should we discontinue the vote? Why don't we just carry on? I agree with Mr Cooke on that point. We could have carried on yesterday without any problem.
Hon Mr McLean: I can tell you why I stopped the vote was because I couldn't hear the names that were being called out. The table assistant who was calling the names out looked at me and I think I got the impression from him that we should stop it when we got to the end of that row. That was the reason it was done. It was so noisy that I didn't know who he was calling. That was the reason.
Mr Boushy: The second question I have, why do we have so many entrances to the building? Can anybody tell me?
Hon Mr McLean: That's the way the building was built.
Mr Boushy: Can't we just close a couple of them?
Hon Mr McLean: That's what this meeting is about and that's what this committee is looking at, access to the building, and that should be part of your discussion.
Mr Ron Johnson (Brantford): I have to say that a lot of what Mr Cooke said earlier I completely agree with, in particular with respect to him not getting the kind of information that he and his staff had requested in terms of the incident that he experienced. That I find very bothersome. I think that the Speaker and security here at Queen's Park have to be vigilant in addressing the concerns of members with respect to security.
But I think where we part company is with respect to the public galleries. I'm a firm believer that this is a public place, that this is a public building and should be open-access to the public. But at the same time there are rules to be followed, and when people break those rules, they do have to be escorted out. I watched --
Mr Cooke: I didn't say to keep them in.
Mr Ron Johnson: When I watched last night with interest as people were being escorted, I didn't see the security officers in any way act as I would consider to be inappropriate. In fact the people who were physically escorted out were those who were simply resisting. All of the ones I had watched being escorted out were first asked to leave, and many of them did. The ones who did not were then just gently touched on the arm and asked to leave. When they refused to do that, when they continued to disrupt the Legislature, it was then that they were pulled out.
Just to come to the defence of the security personnel here at Queen's Park, I think they did a marvellous job in clearing out the galleries. Quite frankly, it wasn't a violent affair at all. At the very worst you had a few people dragged out, and I honestly think that they probably deserved to be dragged out because they didn't obey the rules and then they didn't obey the security personnel when asked to leave.
I agree with a lot of what Mr Cooke said. At the same time, though, I think that the security people here have a job to do and what I saw last night was in keeping with what I would consider adequate and professional behaviour.
The Chair: Any response? No? Mr Grimmett is next.
Mr Bill Grimmett (Muskoka-Georgian Bay): I have a couple of questions. One relates to the staff sergeant's presentation. I wonder if I can just get a very brief explanation of the chain of command. Who essentially gives the orders? Who gives the instructions? Does the OPP instruct the OGPS staff on how to carry our their duties? Are you in charge of the OGPS people?
Mr Hough: Yes.
Mr Grimmett: Does that explain then why you have, for a small four-man complement, two administrative or staff people?
Mr Hough: That's correct.
Mr Grimmett: So at any time, if we deal with an OGPS person, they are in fact answerable to you?
Mr Hough: That's correct.
Mr Grimmett: All right. A question to the Speaker, if I could. In the five-page brief that you provided this morning, Mr Speaker, you recommend a permanent subcommittee on security be established. Would that be part of this committee?
Hon Mr McLean: That would be my hope, yes.
Mr Grimmett: Would it conduct its meetings in public?
Hon Mr McLean: Not necessarily.
Mr Grimmett: Are we in public this morning, Mr Chair?
The Chair: Yes, at the present time, Mr Grimmett.
Mr Grimmett: All right. I have some concerns about the security around here generally, which I've expressed at previous committee meetings, in that I'm not really sure what the security arrangements are and I'm glad that we're getting a full briefing on that.
My concern about a subcommittee on security is that I wouldn't want it to get to be a private little club that other members or the public are not aware what they do. I think it's important that in a public building such as this the security arrangements be something that are discussed in as public a way as possible. I do think security is a matter that the members should have on their minds frequently, but at the same time I'm not sure that delegating it to a few members is a good idea.
Hon Mr McLean: The reason I'm suggesting that is some of the problems we had last fall, when Mr Cooke and Mr Bradley and Mr Conway were raising the issues. I thought we might have a subcommittee that could meet with me to discuss those very issues as they happen to try to resolve some of those problems. That's why I'm recommending that we have a subcommittee that can meet immediately and discuss that issue.
Mr Grimmett: One further matter, Mr Chair. I want to echo the comments of Mr Stewart. We have quite a thorough binder here with a comparison of three other Canadian parliamentary situations. I suppose I could be convinced, but after reading this, I wonder what I would gain by going to Ottawa or Quebec that isn't in this document or that I couldn't obtain by asking people who've been on these trips or other members of the security force here. My comment would be that I certainly don't think it's worth the cost and I think we have the information now to make some decisions.
Mr O'Toole: Just a couple of questions directly to Mr Hough. Who initiated the November 1st 10-person entry committee, under what direction?
Mr Hough: It worked under the same direction as anything else would work here. It was a procedure put in place by my office; it was provided to the Sergeant at Arms for approval, and after approval was given, it was put into place.
Mr O'Toole: So that would be somehow reported up the ladder to the Speaker?
Mr Hough: That's right.
Mr O'Toole: So the Speaker would have some kind of approval authority there?
Mr Hough: Yes. It didn't change the security guidelines at all. In other words, we have to have an entry control unit under the security guidelines, and that's what that is. All we did was make it a 10-person Monday-to-Friday operation who would know the people and know the system on a daily basis, who would respond to demonstrations and see the same people on a daily basis.
Mr O'Toole: If I may pursue a tad further, you mentioned in your presentation -- which, by the way, was a very good presentation; it gave you a nice capsule overview, structurally anyway -- that there were 17 refused entries in 1995. Could you give me a specific example on what grounds you'd have a refusal?
Mr Hough: I can give you a couple. I can give you one, for example, from yesterday. We have somebody who's on the front steps, who's been demonstrating, banging on the doors, wanting to get in. He comes in through another door and wants to get in and go to the public galleries. Under the Speaker's security guidelines, he's not allowed to do that, demonstrate inside the building, so he's refused entry.
Another example I can give you is where we have people who are refused entry by letter. In other words, they have continually harassed staff in this building. They call us, and we issue them a letter to say that if they want to come to this building, they have to have a letter from that office or from some person in writing saying they can come to the building. If not, they're not allowed. In other words, the denied entry or the refused entry is based on the set of circumstances.
Mr O'Toole: What I'm speaking of at the moment, with your indulgence, is the balance we're always referring to. For your own safety and for our own safety, in terms of who controls what, there has to be a reassurance from me, in balance, that the Speaker, outside of the security force, has to be either involved or part of the decision-making process. If I push that down, personally I agree with many of the comments that have been made. The opening of the Legislature on the 27th and the presence of force in whatever form that was -- I gather from your presentation that you make the decision to call in the dogs or whatever.
Mr Hough: No, that's not --
Mr O'Toole: Who does that?
Mr Hough: It's exactly like it says in the presentation. It's a part of the memorandum of understanding. Every special event or plan has to be put through the Sergeant at Arms before anybody or anything is brought into this building. We do not do any of those decisions --
Mr O'Toole: I'll ask the same question again. Technically, at the end of the day, the government, whoever happens to be in the position we are in at this time, is accountable to the people, and I'm sure you understand that. If it appears that there are decisions that embarrass the government, the government is responsible. In that respect, is there a chain of command such that either you or Tom ultimately has to have approval from the Speaker, and is that the case for that particular time? Was the Speaker completely aware of what the contingency plans were, or anyone outside of the Ontario Provincial Police?
Mr Hough: Yes.
Mr O'Toole: So there were. There is a process so that there's some vetting?
Mr Hough: Yes.
Mr O'Toole: That's good, because ultimately, at the end of the day, the Speaker and indeed the government are going to be looked upon as being restrictive or restraining. I think I've established my need to know the protocol there.
There's another thing I'm really having difficulty with, and I think Mr Cooke has raised this, however emotively. The whole definition of "demonstration" to me is central to what we're talking about. Demonstrations both externally and internally are two different things, and I think there should be contingency plans that address externals -- in fact, demonstrations can be just that: they can be lying down, like Mahatma Gandhi. That's a demonstration.
The members here need to have a definition. If there are no demonstrations internally and that's one of the reasons for refusing admission, we need to have a real good handle on what the word "demonstration" means. It could be indeed putting up a child's poster, a day care poster. It could be any tacit act, lying down, quietly protesting the death of democracy, if you will. How would you respond to a demonstration of a passive nature? What would your normal standing orders now allow you to do?
Mr Hough: The bottom line is that demonstrations, under the Speaker's security guidelines, are not allowed inside the building.
Mr O'Toole: So on that particular day, Mr Cooke's incident was clearly out of order.
Mr Hough: That's correct.
Mr O'Toole: Good. And should be dealt with as such.
As a member, am I allowed to demonstrate? I'm a member and I'm up and I've got a placard like "Common Sense" or whatever -- some of the ones I've seen recently. Is that not a demonstration and should they not be removed from the building? We could do the same thing; there are a few sayings I could hold up. But is that not a demonstration?
Mr Hough: Again, if I can just clarify, yes, that is a demonstration and --
Mr O'Toole: How would you deal with it? Remove them?
Mr Hough: If it's a member, we'd deal with it the same way we did. I went up and talked to Mr Cooke, and the Sergeant at Arms went up, and they dealt with it on their own.
Mr O'Toole: Let's move it a little closer: other specific incidents of a demonstrative nature, perhaps around Bill 26. There was a demonstration; it was not dealt with. How would you deal with it, and who? Is it you? Is it the internal? Is it the OPP? Who extricates the demonstrator? Who gets rid of the demonstrator?
Let's say, for lack of a description, there was an incident during the introduction of a bill, and that form of demonstration which we're talking of could take any form; it could be lying down, sitting down, refusing to allow process to occur. Who's responsible? Is it the Speaker? I'm trying to find out here how we fix existing standing orders. They already exist. "No demonstrations in the building." That's clearly in your book.
Mr Cooke: Where does the demonstration take place that you're talking about?
Mr O'Toole: At this particular time, I'm talking about a member provoking a demonstration. A demonstration could be refusing to participate, it could be lying down, it could be holding up a sign.
Mr Cooke: Are you talking about in the assembly?
Mr Hough: Are you talking about a member? If it's a member, the Sergeant at Arms deals with the members.
Mr O'Toole: Okay. So now we've got a little bit of a change there.
Mr Hough: No, it's always been the same. If I go back to Mr Cooke's putting the pictures up on the wall, that's exactly what we did in that particular situation: I called the Sergeant at Arms to come up and talk to Mr Cooke on that day.
Mr O'Toole: In the particular case I'm talking about, if an occurrence of a demonstration happens within the legislative area, the Sergeant at Arms is required by his duties to do what? What is he required to do as part of his paid duties? Nothing or something? And what are the two options?
Mr Hough: Are you talking about what the Sergeant at Arms is required to do?
Mr O'Toole: A member in the Legislature is demonstrating and he's disrupting --
Hon Mr McLean: If he's in the chamber?
Mr O'Toole: Yes.
Hon Mr McLean: Then that's my responsibility, to call him to order or --
Mr O'Toole: Okay, you order him out and then the Sergeant at Arms comes and --
Hon Mr McLean: That's right, and removes him. He asks him to leave. He can tell you better, but I don't think he's to touch him or I don't think he's to --
Mr O'Toole: I think right there we're central to the issue of defining "demonstration" internal to the building, external to the building, and specific actions that have to be taken. If I could ask the Sergeant at Arms, what recourse do you have if there was indeed some activity inside the legislative area?
Mr Stelling: Within the legislative chamber, I act under the direction of the Speaker. If the Speaker names a member and suggests or tells me that I am to remove him, I will go over to the member and ask the member to accompany me out of the chamber. I usually ask a number of times, until I confirm that a person is not going to go. When I confirm that they're not going to go, at that point I would report to the Speaker that in my opinion, force was necessary. In the only incident that has happened in Ontario, I'm sure you're aware of what has happened.
The only other area that I can address in Canada was one that happened in BC a number of years ago, where a member refused to leave. He was not protected by fellow members, and the Sergeant plus some of the House staff picked up the member's chair and carried the member out.
In our case, it was not possible for me to get to the member who was named because of other situations.
Mr O'Toole: I appreciate your indulgence. I don't think we're going to get the answer to the big question here, particularly, but just one more little pursuit on this. As a new member, I've been led to believe that there's a punitive action; I was led to believe by members within our own caucus that if the Sergeant at Arms touched you, you lost a sessional day's pay. No? There's nothing at all. What if I'm ordered out of the House?
Mr Stelling: If it's just a regular naming, then you're out for the day and you can come in the following day.
Mr O'Toole: But you don't lose any pay.
Mr Stelling: No, sir.
Mr O'Toole: Are there any circumstances where you lose pay?
Mr Stelling: Not that I'm aware of, sir.
Mr O'Toole: That might be a nice option too.
Hon Mr McLean: Some jurisdictions have that. Saskatchewan has a $155-a-day penalty.
Mr Cooke: Mr Speaker, can we make it retroactive so that the Tory caucus member in third place, who wrote the book on a lot of this stuff, might be able to have it done to him?
Mr O'Toole: I think we're honestly trying to deal with a lot of the actual --
The Chair: Mr O'Toole, I'm hoping we can move to the Liberal caucus at this time. We have about another 45 minutes. It would be nice to have 15 minutes for each caucus to do another round. Thank you very much for your questions and comments.
Mr Morin I have first on the Liberal list.
Mr Morin: I'll be very short. We rely on experts to advise us; they have the knowhow, they have access to training. We ask them to make sure they bring in some security measures. I think there should be certain parameters, because at the end, the person responsible is the Speaker. I remember so vividly the incident in Quebec. The Speaker was on the spot; he was the one who was held responsible. If we don't do it, the Speaker has the right to do it; he'll impose it. But it can be done in such a way that it is not a control where we can no longer move. There's got to be some freedom. It is a democracy.
You talk about demonstration with a sign. A demonstration can be words in the House too. This is what democracy is all about: You have to voice your opinion, give a chance to the minority to voice their opinion. You're elected; you've got the power, for now. Tomorrow it's going to be somebody else. But democracy is to give the opportunity to the minority to voice their opinion with words -- not with violence, with words. There's nothing wrong in that.
At the same time, we're dealing with a different population. There's no question about it. Forget about 20 years ago what Canada looked like. That's finished, that's ended. We've got to take the measures and we have to adjust ourselves accordingly. We have to rely on these people. I trust these people.
Of course, it is based on training. Why was it that a member was prevented from getting in? Perhaps because that individual was not trained properly. That is your responsibility, to make sure your security guards are well trained constantly, and if they don't do their job, get rid of them and get somebody else who will do the job. We have to respond to the Speaker. We have to make sure we can move properly, can move without any problems, without any incidents.
Crowd control -- let me tell you, when you deal with a crowd, you deal with a beast, and there are certain measures that have to be taken. Perhaps if you have a chance, Mr Hough, with your experts, to explain: What is crowd control? What does it mean? What are the dangers? What measures do you have to take? Why, for instance, were there OPPs in the back close to University? I understand why they were there. It's training; it's security. If the front line doesn't work properly, you bring in the others to help them out. When you deal with a crowd, you deal with a beast. All they need is to be stirred and they get out of hand. All it takes is one bad incident, and we'll blame them and blame the Speaker.
But it can be done. Sure, you don't have to go to Quebec City, you don't have to go to Ottawa. You can bring in the experts. But at the same time, you've got to see for yourself. Maybe we don't have to go to Quebec, but at the same time we have to rely on these people. What is it we want? What can we do to prevent incidents? What measures should we take? The request there is very simple. There are incidents. There will be other incidents. We've got to be prepared to face those incidents.
There's no point, in my opinion, in debating this for too long. The perfect control, the perfect situation, the perfect setup will never exist. If I want to come in the House with a bomb, there are all kinds of artefacts that I can get today and I won't be detected. If my intention is to do something wrong, if it's to come in and kill someone, nobody can prevent me. At the same time, if you don't have any measures, if you don't have any control -- I don't know, let's not make it complicated. There's a way to solve that. It's done everywhere. Go and take a look in the States. Go and take a look how they control the White House over there. There is a gate around it. You cannot go there. Why is that?
Mr Rick Bartolucci (Sudbury): I was one of those people who was denied access and I'd like some answers to a few questions. Let me carry you through the entire scenario so you'll be able to better answer the questions.
But let me tell you from the outset that I believe in security, I believe in law and order. I was a principal of a school for many years who taught that respect for authority and democracy was very important. I was a police commissioner who constantly sided with the police because I believe it's important that there be some order and some structure in society.
Let me carry you through the scenario of September 27. I got out of the taxi after visiting a sick person in a hospital to enter access to this building. I had my temporary identification. The Metro horsemen were guarding the side entrance. I showed them my identification and immediately one officer drew back his horse to allow me through and said, "Sir, go ahead." There were obviously a lot of people on the stairs, and I asked them: "Would you please excuse me. I'm a member. I'd like to get into the building." I had no problem at all with the crowd. When I got to the door -- and I knew the doors would be locked, and I understand the reason -- I put up my temporary identification. Clearly, being a new member, people would not know me, lots of the security wouldn't know me. I left it there and I said, "May I come in?" "No." "Excuse me. I'm a member. May I come in?" "No."
I watched and listened with interest to your plan. Can your plan be so structured that it's flawed? I wasn't part of the demonstration, I didn't want to enter the building to be part of the demonstration, yet I was denied access to the building as a member. That happened to a minister without portfolio. It happened to Mr Conway. Why did it happen? There has to be an answer to why it happened. Was it a lack of training? Was it a bad judgement call? Was it an overreaction? I'd really like to know and I think all three parties would like to know. What is the answer?
Mr Stelling: May I respond to that? There were a number of incidents or events that took place on that day, and we'd love to share them with you, but because of the difficulties in that report we received from security of the events that day we think it should be something that's done in camera and we think it should be probably done with a subcommittee of this committee. That would be for this committee to decide, but definitely in camera.
Mr Bartolucci: So what you're saying then, through you, Mr Chair -- and I will respect your decision -- what you're saying then is that publicly we will never, ever know why three members of the Legislative Assembly were denied access to enter the building. Is that what you're saying?
Mr Stelling: Well, a decision was made that day, by me -- and I think this can go on the record -- by me, at a certain part of the time during that demonstration where I gave orders to lock the doors to this building. The decision that was made was made on advice from the experts in the field of what was happening around the building and that decision was made with the best of intentions. Unfortunately, three people were denied access and I apologize for that.
I think when you understand, when given the information of the day's events and what was happening at individual doors, you will see the reason for it. But it's the type of information that I think should be discussed in camera.
Mr Bartolucci: I didn't receive an answer to both questions now, but I'll even accept that. Let me ask a third question -- because there are all kinds of rumours floating around with regard to security, with regard to security being contracted out because of decisions that were either poor or weren't made -- is there any truth to the rumour that the security around this building may be contracted out to the 51st division?
Hon Mr McLean: There's been no plans for that at all, and that's going to be up to this committee, how we handle it.
Mr Bartolucci: So in fact, anything --
Hon Mr McLean: The Sergeant at Arms would like to respond to this.
Mr Stelling: Parliamentary security is probably one of the most difficult types of security that exists. It's easy to go in to a building like the Bank of Canada or IBM and provide security to them. It's straightforward, it's clear cut, you know what the job is and you put the devices in and you put the program together and it's a breeze. Anybody can do it.
Coming into parliaments, the whole game changes totally. One of the difficulties we had when the OPP and the OGPS first came to provide security for us is that they did it in the way that they would do it for the Bank of Canada or any other building, and it just doesn't work. So to have any outside security force come in to provide security in a parliamentary environment is asking to kill yourselves. You'd be put on the hot seat every day.
What you need is an inside group who knows what you need, can do it the way you want it to be done, and does it effectively. Personally, we've come a long way in the last 20 years and we're approaching a position now where we're almost there. We need some help from the members and we need some direction from the members of this House. Once we get that, I think you'll be very happy with your security program.
What Mr Cooke has said today has to be considered and what members of the government side have said has to be considered, but it has to be something that collectively you decide on. Security's arms are tied somewhat now. They can only go so far and they can't go any further because they don't feel they have the authority from you to do that.
If you're looking at outside policing, in my estimation, you're asking to ruin this Parliament. So you have to go with the people you have and you have to have input from the members and the Speaker and that's the only way it's going to work.
Mr Bartolucci: I'm happy you're saying that because I believe we should have our own security force here. I don't believe in contracting out, but I asked the question because it's obviously been a rumour that's floated about and I'm happy to hear you report that's not being considered.
I'd like to get back to my problem because it still is a problem for me, and it still is a problem for the House leaders. Will we ever have an answer to the dilemma of the three who were denied access to the building?
Hon Mr McLean: Yes, I would hope we would have an answer because I think there were some mistakes made and I think the way those mistakes were made -- the Sergeant at Arms wants it indicated that he would like to tell you in camera.
The Chair: Are there any further questions from the Liberal caucus? I've got about five minutes left for each of you. Mr Cooke for the New Democrats.
Mr Cooke: I don't have a lot of additional questions. I appreciate what the Speaker just said. With all due respect, Tom, it would just be okay for you to say that yes, a mistake was made; we need to know the details of how that mistake was made. I don't think we're going to find any special report that is going to come to any other conclusion than to say that at the end of the day there were all these contributing factors but a mistake was made, because at another door, at the same time that people were being not allowed in, Frances Lankin and I were allowed in. There was bad judgement that was used by some folks on that particular day. Everybody can understand what went on that day, that there were a lot of people under a lot of pressure, and no one is going to be saying that the human beings who were involved were somehow trying to sabotage Parliament. We know that's not the case. There was a mistake made, and a mistake made because there were hundreds of people around the building and people were frightened to death that if they opened up the door somehow some people might get in who actually might harm somebody. Probably some of the mistakes that were made were made for the right reasons but, none the less, they were mistakes.
I certainly do appreciate the fact that we're going to have an opportunity to look at that report in camera and then I would hope that -- I want to look at the report, but I certainly reserve the right that we discuss whether or not the report should be made public, because I don't believe reports like that should generally be kept secret. If there are particular things in it that can't be made public, then we release as much of it as we possibly can without putting anything at risk.
I do want to go back to one incident. I don't believe it's a big deal but I think it demonstrates a little bit about the judgement that I'm concerned about. I don't know who wants to answer the question, the Sergeant at Arms or a representative from the OPP. When we had this children's petition, it was not a demonstration. You can call it a demonstration. It was putting a children's petition up on a wall that obviously violated building policy. Quite frankly, I didn't know that it violated building policy, I really didn't. Maybe you, in your short period of time here, have had a chance to study every policy that exists. I haven't, nor will I. So when Tom came up and told me that this was inappropriate, that's fine. It eventually was brought down. I still don't understand, though, why there was a plainclothes OPP there taking pictures. I really don't understand that.
Mr Stelling: Maybe I can help you out on that one. Although members of the House were involved, there were other people involved in that demonstration who were not recognizable to security. Security do --
Mr Cooke: Let me --
Mr Stelling: If you don't let me finish --
Mr Cooke: No, no. Let's have a dialogue about this because --
Mr Stelling: May I try and answer the question?
Mr Cooke: All right, go ahead.
Mr Stelling: Security are not familiar with all of the employees who work in this building. On a regular occasion when demonstrations take place, if they're taking place within the building security often takes pictures of people in demonstrations. On this occasion, when I went up there, indeed, one of our officers was taking pictures. He was not trying to take pictures of the members, he was trying to take pictures of the people who were --
Mr Cooke: I jumped in a couple of the pictures. No, I'm just kidding.
Mr Stelling: When I went up there, I asked him to stop because I knew the participants in the demonstration. I knew who the people were. I recognized them as members of the House and also members of your staff. I think after our conversation, we agreed that you would remove the banners and take them off the floor, and you did that in a matter of minutes. I asked the officer to put the camera away, which he did. We do it on a regular basis if it's somebody we do not know. He did not know the participants other than the members and that's why they take pictures.
Mr Cooke: Let me just make a practical suggestion then, to you and to the OPP. There were five people there who were not members, so we're not talking about a huge demonstration. There were five people. I've been a member now for nearly 19 years. All the representative from the OPP had to do was come up to me and say, "Who are those five people?" and I would have told them that they were legislative staff, instead of standing there with a camera as if we're, quite frankly, in some police state. Just some common sense is all I'm asking and that's all that needed to be done.
The officer knows who I am. I've talked to him many times. I know who he is. All he had to do was come and say, "Who are these five people?" They looked pretty much like they were staff people. They all had their ID badges around their necks and none of them had coats on or anything. They pretty much looked like they were around here, and even if they were subversives, there were only five of them and we would have been able to handle that.
All I'm saying is that this is a very minor incident. If you want us to have a level of trust in the process and the exercise of force, then on things like that I'd like to see a little more common sense, even though it's a term I don't like using any more.
The Chair: Thank you very much, Mr Cooke. Any comments? Turning now to the government caucus, I have Mr Stewart next.
Mr Stewart: Just a couple of questions. The special group of OGPS people, the 10, do they have access to firearms if there was a concern or a problem?
Mr Stelling: We have removed firearms from the OGPS for a number of years now. They used to receive regular training. The training was not at the same calibre as the OPP. We do have six OPP officers in the building who are armed. We also have people with the Premier who are armed. I shouldn't say "we," but the OPP have people with the Premier who are armed and people with the Lieutenant Governor who are armed.
We should also tell you, and you will see tomorrow, that we have some weapons within the security office in the basement which our OPP staff are able to use if needed. So there is sufficient armed force in the building if it is needed.
Mr Stewart: You know, when we get talking about this type of thing, unfortunately politics enter into it and I've a bit of difficulty with that. I heard you make the comment -- either you or Mr Hough -- I believe you don't have the authority to do certain things. I guess it's like going to a plumber to find out how to put up wallpaper. I believe the plumber knows a little bit about how to do plumbing, and I believe that you people, whether it be the OGPS or the OPP, should be allowed to do a proposal saying, "This is what we believe you should have for security in this building, both for yourselves and the public."
Have you people, your groups, ever presented a complete plan to the Legislature on how you feel it should be done and, if not, why not, and could you do that?
Mr Stelling: We were able with the last Speaker, Speaker Warner, to spend some time with him developing proposals. The Speaker at that point formed a committee made up of the Deputy Speaker and the Chairs from the House and they fleshed out the proposals that we made to them, modified them a little bit and this was the base for Speaker Warner's new security guidelines and new security programs from the last Parliament.
From a security point of view, we were quite happy with them because what it did was, it started to filter people for the first time. By filtering what I'm suggesting is not denying access to people but putting people in the right area where they want to go. If they want to go on a tour, they go on a tour. If they want to go to a committee, they go to a committee. If they want to go the House, they go to the House. If they want to see a member, they go see a member. That's what that proposal did, and from a security point of view, that was great for us.
Right now, we feel we're standing in the middle of a stampede during the summer when the bus tours get up. We have two people at the front door dealing with 400 or 500 people all at once. It's just overwhelming. So what we wanted to do was to filter the people coming into the building, and that's what Speaker Warner's program was all about.
Mr Stewart: My point is that it appears to me that it has been watered down to what either you want or the OPP wanted back, and I guess that's my concern. Are we watering it down for political reasons or not? I go back to what I said. I'm not so worried about me, but I'm worried about some little old lady who wants to come and see what goes on in this House -- I don't know why she would with the conduct that we have, but some of them do -- that she's going to have a heart attack or she's going to be hurt or whatever. That's what worries me.
I believe you people, whether it be you, Tom, or the OPP know what should be done and I think we've got to start taking some advice from these people.
My final comment is that I agree with what Mr Bartolucci said, and I don't know whether you want somebody to move that we go in camera, but I would so do, to get the reason for it.
Hon Mr McLean: I've a couple of things I'd like to put on the record just before you go in camera for the committee to consider.
I have a letter from Annamarie Castrilli's legislative assistant with regard to some of the problems that he has had with regard to the upper galleries of the House. As a staff person, he has a badge or he has a tag and for him to go up into the gallery or anywhere, he's got to go through the metal detector. The question he's asking is why should he, as a staff member, have to go through a metal detector when he's already got a badge on. I leave that with the committee to deal with.
The other issue I would like to bring to the attention of the committee, I've had some requests from some of the members that they would like their spouses to have identification. I've talked to the Sergeant at Arms and I recommend that that happens, and I just wanted to bring that to your attention, because the security is tighter. I know my wife has even been stopped and asked, as have others, and if they had the identification, it would be more appropriate for them to be able to move freely.
Those are just a couple of the things, and the other thing that I have too is with regard to the confidential report. I read it and read it and I don't really see anything wrong with making copies for the members so they know what's in that report.
The Chair: Mr Stewart has moved that we move in camera at this time, I believe I heard him say. That means members of the committee and legislative staff are the only ones to be in here. I believe Hansard is to leave as well.
Mr David Christopherson (Hamilton Centre): Just a clarification: We're going in camera for the purposes of discussing that report solely?
The Chair: Mr Stewart, could you repeat it again?
Mr Stewart: I made a comment that they didn't wish to answer Mr Bartolucci's concern and I know it's been a concern on both sides of the House of what went on. They've said they would like to do it in camera, and I believe they should, because you can't tell the world everything about security. Otherwise, it's not secure any more.
The Chair: Is there consensus among committee members that we do that at this time, or do we require a formal motion?
Mr Bartolucci: I would love to move in camera, but the Speaker also said that he would love to do it with the subcommittee only. Is that correct?
Hon Mr McLean: No.
Mr Bartolucci: No? Okay.
Hon Mr McLean: If it's only the subcommittee that will go to Quebec and Ottawa, that'll be fine.
Mr Cooke: I'm sorry I wasn't here for the entire conversation, but in terms of the report being dealt with by the committee in camera, I guess I would feel more comfortable if, in the first instance, the report was reviewed by a subcommittee, and that there was a recommendation on whether -- I'm not one that agrees to reports being dealt with in private unless there's justification and the subcommittee can make that determination.
The Chair: Mr Stewart, do you wish to proceed?
Mr Stewart: No. I still move that we go in camera. I don't believe little pockets should know things. We are a group. We are the government, both sides, I think, we should find out because it could happen to me tomorrow and I would like to know why.
Mr Cooke: I'm sorry, just to make it clear, the only thing the subcommittee would determine would be when the whole committee sees the report, whether it's a public meeting or whether it's an in camera meeting. It will always come to the full committee.
Interjection: That's right. We'll still get it.
Mr Stewart: Well, I stick with my motion.
The Chair: Is there any further discussion, first of all? Mr Stewart has moved that we move into camera at this time. All in favour of Mr Stewart's motion, could you please raise your hands so that we can see here. Members opposed? The motion is defeated.
Mr Ron Johnson: Can I make another motion? I move that this report be referred to the subcommittee, where it will be determined at that point whether or not the report, when considered by this committee, will be either public or in camera.
The Chair: Any discussion to Mr Johnson's motion? Consensus? Okay.
I still have Mr Froese down to make some comments.
Mr Tom Froese (St Catharines-Brock): I'll keep it short. I guess I have a problem with the process of what has happened here. I understand that we're probably talking about, in the final analysis, the level of security. From those who are providing the security, I understand the difficulty. There's an old saying, "You're damned if you do and damned if you don't." That is so true in security. I can understand your position. No matter what you do, if somebody wants to use it for their own -- and these certainly are my comments -- political purposes, they're going to use it. So it's got to be a very difficult situation when you're dealing with delicate situations. Run-of-the-mill security, if there is any, I guess, is not that complicated.
What I have a problem with, now that we're getting some of the answers to some of the questions and concerns that were put forward before -- in my mind the answers to some of the concerns are fairly straightforward, fairly easy. This could have been dealt with shortly after the concerns were expressed. We've waited four months now to hear this, and then the whole issue is, "Is this in secrecy?" and all that, and it's really not. We're finding that there are legitimate concerns that were made and legitimate answers, and they're straightforward.
I would have loved this to be dealt with the day after the concerns were brought forward, because now we've had four months and we've spent all this time talking about a security issue when it was really no big deal. If I was a member who was not allowed into the building, yes, I'd have the same concerns. So we found out that there's another entrance that was opened up. Those concerns about coming in the one door, if we knew that the other door was open, wouldn't be a big issue that's been built up now over some time when, relatively, this could have been solved fairly quickly.
I'd like to see more of that. If there's an issue, if there's a concern of security on a specific situation, I think it should be dealt with right away, immediately, because we all realize that people in responsible positions make the decisions. The bottom line on some of this stuff is just, "I made the decision to do this for this and this and this reason," and you have to accept it. I think if this had been done, we probably wouldn't have spent all this time in the last two hours discussing the whole situation.
There is one question, though. When additional security staff is required, what's the process? When we go outside, do we go to the OPP, do we go to the city of Toronto? How does that work? What are the mechanics? What's the process? I'd like to know that.
Mr Hough: Under the memorandum of understanding, we, which is myself, have the opportunity to contact other agencies as we see fit. Again, we look at the situation, and it's all part of the plan that's presented to the Sergeant at Arms, to the Speaker, that "This is what we recommend based on the set of circumstances," be it a demonstration or a special opening, and that's it. So it's a combination, joint forces with OPP, Metro, depending on what it is.
Mr Carl DeFaria (Mississauga East): I just have a question on the incident that Mr Cooke indicated. Why wasn't that courtesy extended to Mr Cooke? If there was a member there with four or five people doing something that is against the rules but it's non-threatening, why wasn't that courtesy extended to him, someone telling him: "It's not allowed. Will you indicate to the people to stop doing it." Because it's quite embarrassing to a member to have the OPP coming and taking pictures without talking to the member and assisting the member.
Mr Stelling: It is our belief that that courtesy was expressed.
Mr DeFaria: So that courtesy was extended to him before the pictures were taken?
Mr Stelling: As the "demonstration" was happening, we believe that Mr Cooke was informed that it was not appropriate. I don't think Mr Cooke agreed with that, but --
Mr Cooke: It's a different issue with the picture-taking.
Mr Stelling: No, I think what he's asking is if somebody told you that you couldn't do that, and I think somebody from security told you that you couldn't do that.
Mr Cooke: You came and told me. That's not the question. The question is about pictures being taken by a plainclothes OPP officer.
Mr Stelling: This is another issue over here.
Mr DeFaria: The question is, before the pictures were taken, whether the courtesy was extended to you by informing you that this was not allowed, and then a certain period expired before somebody attended and started taking pictures.
Mr Ron Johnson: We seem to be going in circles over this incident with Mr Cooke. I guess what I'd simply want to say is that we've in some respects addressed the report. Can we request, through motion, from the Speaker or Sergeant at Arms two things: number one, a report of the security incident that Mr Cooke was involved with and that a report be submitted to this committee, along with the guidelines that security officers, OPP, use with respect to the photo-taking? Can we get something like that? Can this committee request that through motion?
The Chair: You can move a motion of that nature if you choose to do so, Mr Johnson.
Mr Ron Johnson: So moved.
The Chair: Could you repeat that?
Mr Ron Johnson: I would like to move that this committee receive a report from security officials with respect to the incident that Mr Cooke was involved in, accompanied with the guidelines that security officials use with respect to taking photos of security matters.
The Chair: Is there any discussion on Mr Johnson's motion?
Mr Cooke: Mr Chair, first of all, I hope we're not going to proceed in a way that we need a motion for every request for information. Normally, a member of the committee can say: "We need this information. Could we get it?" Unless somebody objects, you just go ahead, and I think that's how we should proceed on this. Could we get the pictures, too?
The Chair: If you wish.
Mr Ron Johnson: My concern is that those requests have already been made and we haven't got them yet. You've made those requests already, from my understanding, on a number of occasions. You've still yet to receive the report. So what I'm saying is that maybe it does take in this case a motion to get that report.
Mr Cooke: Yes. I just think the way that committees have normally operated -- it has the same force of the motion because we all agree. I would argue, though, that whatever reports you get will not be a report of the incident, because there hasn't been an investigation. None of the staff who were involved and none of the MPPs who were involved and none of the members of the press gallery who were involved have been contacted by the Speaker's office in order to put together an investigation of what happened.
Mr Ron Johnson: This motion would force them to do that.
Mr Cooke: That would be great.
The Chair: Any further discussion on Mr Johnson's motion?
Mr Froese: I'm not interested in the report. It can be dealt with with Mr Cooke and the Speaker and the security. As far as I'm concerned, it's an isolated incident and they'll deal with it on a one-on-one basis, and so I will vote against it.
Mr Stelling: Mr Chair, let me just answer what we have on that incident. We may have one paragraph in the incident book, and we're not even sure that we have the film. We may have got rid of it.
Mr Cooke: I was being facetious about the pictures, Tom.
The Chair: All in favour of Mr Johnson's motion will raise their hand, please. All opposed? The motion is carried.
Mr Bartolucci: On a point of clarification, Mr Chair: I appreciated and supported Mr Johnson's motion because I understood the intent behind it, but I also respect what Mr Cooke said. This committee will not be operating by motion, but by simple request for reports, correct?
The Chair: I should think that would be sufficient in most cases, Mr Bartolucci, as well as trying to achieve consensus on most issues, if we can do that.
At this time, since I see no further urgent questions, I would recess the committee for five minutes. We'd like to come back at 11 o'clock sharp and deal with at least three additional issues: the issue of travel, we have an agenda item, and there's been a request for some discussion on how we're going to get the public involved in our discussions. So the committee stands in recess until 11 o'clock.
The committee recessed from 1051 to 1101.
The Chair: It being past 11 of the clock, the committee resumes its sitting. The first item I'd like to deal with as Chair is the issue of travel and just perhaps give my recollection of what the subcommittee's discussion was.
We had a conference call shortly after new year to discuss this issue. The subcommittee, being the Chair and a representative of each of the parties, discussed how travel would be handled. Of course, we have a request from the Speaker to have the standing committee on the Legislative Assembly or a subcommittee of that committee travel to Ottawa and Quebec to look at their security arrangements and report back what our findings are in the context of our discussions here as to what we should be doing.
The subcommittee I think looked favourably upon that request but we didn't come to a conclusion, I guess it's fair to say, as to what exactly should happen. The Chair put forward the notion that due to the cost of the travel, a good compromise might be to have the subcommittee travel, along with the clerk of this committee and one researcher to assist in a staff capacity. We would only stay for one day at most in both of the destinations, Quebec City and Ottawa. There was some discussion about that.
The cost is a consideration as far as I'm concerned as Chair. It's approximately $1,000 per person who would be travelling if you include airfare and hotel bills. Conceivably, we could have up to 18 people travelling, if the whole committee went. If just the subcommittee went, I guess this committee would be charged the equivalent of approximately $6,000 to its budget -- again the Chair, members of each caucus, the clerk and the researcher. The Speaker of the House of course has indicated his interest and intention to travel. His travel costs would be incurred within his own budget, as would the Clerk of the House.
That's to the best of my recollection what we discussed in our subcommittee conference call. I know a couple of members have indicated an interest in speaking to this issue and I would open the floor now to discussion, starting with the Liberal caucus.
Mr Bartolucci: I'll support the Speaker's recommendation. Although I appreciate the concerns across the way, I think it is very important that the subcommittee see at first hand and can bring us back firsthand information. I believe it is very, very valuable to see security in other institutions and to see it at first hand. The cost is not prohibitive if in fact only the subcommittee goes when you think of what the returns could be for this Legislative Assembly and for the people who work and govern in it. So I will be supporting the recommendation that only the subcommittee travel to the two destinations.
The Chair: Mr Morin, do you have a comment on that?
Mr Morin: Yes. Somebody raised the issue a minute ago that we had been there last year. I think it was about five years ago we were there, and then the whole committee was there. It's so important that we send someone to go and take a look. Witnesses will never express as clearly what the situation is at their location, better than what you would see yourself, and we rely totally on those people who will go there. I was there five years ago. I've seen it and I would prefer to send somebody who hasn't been there. Mr Chairman, I think if Frank could go on my behalf it would be great.
If any one of you wants to go, this is not a perk. You're spending money for one purpose: to make this building more secure. So any newspaperman who comes along and criticizes us for having gone to Quebec City because we want to make sure that we establish a good system, let me tell you I could defend that any time. So even if there are five of you going, I don't care. I think it's a necessity that you go and see for yourselves so that you all come back enriched with some ideas, new ideas, so that we can come out with a good setup here. Again, that's not a perk; that's a necessity.
The Chair: Mr Morin I guess is the only member of this committee who was --
Mr Morin: That's right, and Frank I think should go on my behalf.
The Chair: Mr Cooke, did you have something to add to this point?
Mr Cooke: Yes. I will support the motion or the suggestion from the subcommittee for a couple of reasons: One, I actually think if we're going to limit it to the subcommittee, it's probably going to be less expensive to send the subcommittee than it will be to bring officials from Quebec City and Ottawa, because we're only talking, as you said, one from each caucus and one staff.
The Chair: Two staff.
Mr Cooke: Two staff. So five people altogether. I do not believe that there will be any criticism at all about it. It's already been reported that the committee's going to be travelling to Quebec and to Ottawa.
But more important than any of that, the Speaker has referred this matter to the committee and the Speaker has made a request that the committee go, even if it's only the subcommittee. Since this issue is being taken very seriously by the Speaker, I think we have an obligation to support the Speaker's request. It's not a hugely expensive request. The budget for the committees that the Board of Internal Economy has granted for this particular fiscal year, I would suspect that we're hundreds of thousands of dollars under budget because of the election. So it's well within budget. But more important, I think if you turn down the Speaker's first request of this committee, on the first major issue that he refers to this committee, I think that undermines the Speaker's role in the Legislature.
Mr John Hastings (Etobicoke-Rexdale): I would support the general idea that we have a subcommittee go. We're in a new era of some economic restraint. I can place some reliance and trust on those members who are part of the subcommittee -- and I'm not -- to go. I'm not sure, but I don't see any necessity for myself to go personally. We have to do it in an economic way and I think a member from each caucus, the Chairman and two staff will be more than appropriate. I would move a motion to that effect, and to bring back any relevant material, videotape or anything that would help those of us who weren't there to give us a better sense of the situation.
The Chair: If the committee would allow me to comment, I guess one of the reasons that we're talking about travelling is the fact that there is no record of the previous visits in a formal sense. I think it would be helpful if at this time the staff would be there.
Mr Hastings: I'll move that whereas this committee has not travelled to those two particular centres in the past, or at all, this makes the trip an essential necessity and justifiable in that context.
Mr Ron Johnson: The only concern I have -- and oddly enough, for the first time in a while it's not about the dollars, because I think it is a valuable trip -- is that the Speaker, as well as recommending this trip, has also suggested that we set up a committee for security. My only recommendation would be that it is that committee, if we do strike one, that goes on this trip. If we intend on establishing a small committee that will strictly deal with the security issue, then I would recommend that that is the committee that should go and not the subcommittee.
How you want to deal with that from the committee point of view now, I don't know, whether you want to establish that committee first and then send them or whether you want to send the subcommittee. There's no point in sending the subcommittee if members of that subcommittee have already been down there.
The Chair: The motion could read "a subcommittee of the committee," to allow various caucuses to sub in whoever they want on the subcommittee. I think that would satisfy your concern. Mr Froese, you had a comment?
Mr Froese: I'm trying to find out what the reason is to go. Is it to see other jurisdictions and what their security is and then report back? Do we have any information why these other committees that went didn't report back? I suppose we don't, but for the sake of going to find out what type of security other jurisdictions have, is the subcommittee going to come back with reams of paper that we have to read over and that's their report? Because how can you get in a nutshell -- the committee members, the subcommittee or whoever goes get a feeling and they see at first hand. How are they going to communicate that to the committee?
Over the years, as we've heard already, we have developed our security situation here and I would assume we've got the best knowledge of a made-in-Ontario situation. Quebec already, we heard, is more secure, more strict, whatever. The House of Commons is also probably a lot more stringent on security than we are. I guess I have a problem with even going.
The Chair: The Speaker's rationale, probably, for picking Ottawa and Quebec would be the following: Quebec I think has the highest standard of security of any legislative building in Canada, resulting from the incident that was discussed earlier in 1984. Ottawa has a slightly higher standard, I understand, than ours, but it's reasonably close to us geographically and in many ways they share the same issues that we have.
Mr Froese: Security is very important, there's no doubt about it, and I don't want to be misinterpreted that I don't think it is. The problem is, are we looking to secure this building more than we've got it now, and then if we do that, are we going to have problems with whomever with respect to that?
The Chair: Yes, as I see it, I think we'd want, as a committee, to have a general overview of the existing security arrangements, comparing them perhaps to other jurisdictions and working with the Speaker. But I think the intent of the Speaker is in some ways to enhance the level of security for the building. I can't speak for him but I gather that's his general intent.
Mr Yeager would like to offer some brief comments to the committee at this time about the previous trip.
Mr Lewis Yeager: I can if the committee wishes me to. As has been alluded to several times, the full committee did travel in February 1991 to visit with Speaker Fraser at the House of Commons, and the deputy Sergeant at Arms who was in charge of security, Frank Leigh.
I took complete notes of the meetings there with the proviso that a printed report not be prepared and that the notes didn't leave my hands. That's the difficulty with discussing security measures, that you can't provide reports easily that last in time. I do have fairly substantial notes that you might want to have a briefing on. Whether you find that a good use of your time I don't know. But that perhaps should occur in camera, because we did make the commitment to Speaker Fraser at the time that this material, although it is now five years dated, should remain confidential. That's the only comment I have.
The Chair: Thank you, Mr Yeager. Further discussion?
Mr Froese: From Speaker Fraser, was it commented on that no report would be given or that it would be in camera? It is very interesting to hear what is happening. You've got notes. There was no report made. My concern is that, coming back from Ottawa or Quebec, could we be involved in the same thing in that we've got notes but no report?
Mr Yeager: You can make whatever arrangements are suitable at this time. This was the arrangement in 1991, that they were prepared to give the committee a very frank briefing but they didn't want the material to be circulated beyond the committee members. That's what we've maintained to this point.
Mr Froese: Were those notes submitted to the -- all the committee went anyway.
Mr Yeager: All the committee members attended and there were not extensive committee discussions of security matters following that. This was handled by the Speaker and subcommittees and that sort of thing. There was never a very full discussion of what happened in Ottawa with that committee following our return. The issue never really came up until this committee has taken an interest in security again. The Speaker and the staff have handled security measures, and there's been a very extensive evolution both here and in Ottawa since 1991.
The Chair: Thank you, Mr Yeager.
Mr Hastings has moved a motion that a subcommittee of this committee travel to Ottawa and Quebec as per the schedule that's been prepared and all members have. All in favour of the motion, please raise their hands. Members opposed to the motion? The motion is carried.
Mr Froese: I don't know what the procedure is, but the motion did not -- before the vote was taken I wanted to amend the motion or add to it that we do get a report back from the subcommittee, or maybe that's understood, that the subcommittee just doesn't go and then we end up with the same thing that happened in 1991 and 1987.
The Chair: I agree with you very much, Mr Froese, and I'm sorry I didn't recognize you. The reason was that we were in the process of the voting, so I finished that. I think it is a given that the subcommittee must give a detailed report to the full committee, and it would be helpful to have at least some public record of what the findings are so that in the future we don't have to continue going every five years perhaps.
The next item we have to deal with that I'd like to raise is the concept of involving the public in these discussions. During the course of the conference call Mr Christopherson raised this issue, and I would perhaps turn to him to explain more fully what he wished to accomplish by this and what his plan is for public input.
Mr Christopherson: I was expressing a desire on the part of our caucus to have in some fashion public input into these discussions, given the fact that one of the concerns, among other important legitimate concerns that members have, that security has, the clerk, the Sergeant at Arms etc, but one of them is also a perception in the public that this building is becoming less and less accessible to them. That's a major departure from the mindset that's existed previously in Ontario. This has always been a building that people felt comfortable approaching, coming into, and now we're seeing letters to the editor; I'm hearing stories from concerned constituents in my riding. Others may have the same sort of thing.
The suggestion was made by I believe one of the government members in that discussion that the media represents the public interest, and oftentimes that's the case, but in this particular instance I don't believe that's applicable because the media, like us, work here and they have easy access, once they've got their badge on or they're known, and that's different from the role they play in reporting to the public what happens here. So I don't think that covers it off.
I'm open as to how we would do that. We can't exactly invite 11 million people to come in and give their opinions, nor can we ask them to hold a mini-election to elect a representative. So I'm flexible and I realize the limitations on it but I am concerned.
It was Mr Morin who made the point early in our discussions, and I agree with him, that as much as possible it's to the benefit of the work we do here on this issue if we can all agree. Unanimity of purpose and conclusion is important if there's to be buy-in, and I support that. I think that should also apply -- it will for us -- to the public perception of this process. If all we do is all the discussions behind closed doors are only people who are already sort of in the beltway, as they say in the States, then really the whole perception that this place is becoming a bunker is reinforced by the process that we've used to look at that whole issue.
I think we have a collective problem in making sure that there's a perception and a reality to the fact that the public in some way have input. We have some ideas and I'd be willing to dialogue with colleagues about that, but this is a really important part, as we see it in our party, but I also think for all of us here working as non-partisan members, if you will -- as much as that's possible, Ted -- as much as we can, in setting the rules that we look at this as a non-partisan effort. This is an important one for us.
The Chair: Thank you, Mr Christopherson. Mr Johnson, did you have a comment?
Mr Ron Johnson: Yes, just to support the concept of having the public involved in this process. Like Mr Christopherson said, this is probably one of the very few issues that truly can be dealt with in a non-partisan way. The security of this building affects us all equally and affects the public as well. I think perception is important, that we are perceived as listening to the public -- and that we do in fact listen to the public with respect to security and that this is an open Legislature.
I want to hear the ideas you have. Quite frankly, I don't have any, and maybe you can help us with that. I'm not sure how we can involve them, outside of going into a lengthy public hearing process. I don't know how we can do that, but I would like to hear the ideas.
Mr Froese: I'd like to support that motion as well. I think it's extremely important that the public understand what security is required here, as well as what we need to get from them. It's a good dialogue, in my opinion, to ensure that the public understands what we're trying to achieve here with the security; that there's an understanding from their perspective of how they get access to the building, but also that there is security needed and how that all works.
Mr Cooke: I certainly appreciate the openness that members are showing towards this option. What have we got? Three weeks?
The Chair: We've been allocated three weeks by the House leaders.
Mr Cooke: I forget these things. It's the first thing that goes.
I would suggest that if a few days were aside where we could have some -- call them public hearings, call them whatever you want. Obviously, we would not be able to advertise and open it up. Even if we had the whole three weeks, you wouldn't be able to do it that way, and we'd be talking about something much more limited than that.
I don't know whether the committee itself, to the clerk or to the Chair, has received letters about this particular committee and its purpose on security. I've received some letters. I believe the Speaker has received some letters. I assume other parties have as well. If the time lines were set, the subcommittee could take a look at it; you could review those that have expressed written requests already about being involved in the security issue, and look at what we have, and let's see the pool of names, and let the subcommittee make some decisions and set aside a few days to do that.
The Chair: I think it is a matter for the subcommittee; I agree, Mr Cooke. From the Chair's perspective, I've not received any mail on this issue and the clerk informs me that she has not. I think the Speaker has, though; you're quite correct.
Mr Cooke: I have a few as well.
The Chair: We could see your names as well. It would be a matter for the subcommittee.
Mr Miclash: I'm interested in knowing what groups, Mr Cooke. Who has expressed an interest?
Mr Cooke: The people who initially expressed an interest -- and when I went to a subcommittee meeting I expressed this very clearly -- are some of the folks who were involved in the demonstration on the day of the throne speech. I'm not suggesting that everybody be invited, but there were some who are well-known people in the province who expressed an interest in coming and talking with the committee.
Mr Miclash: I have no problem, Mr Chair.
Mr Bartolucci: I support the recommendation. I believe this is an important component of this whole process, so I'm fully supportive of it.
I'm wondering, is there a log-in at the main entrance? Those people who use this facility would be the ones best able to give us some insight into how security should be done or what they see. For example, if schools come in, they maybe would be a group we would want to take a sampling from, and if other groups come in and sign in. Is there any type of sign-in here?
The Chair: There's a record of school groups and tours that come in, I'm certain, through interparliamentary public relations.
Mr Bartolucci: Anything else? Just schools and tours?
The Chair: That's something we could check into.
Mr Bartolucci: We might want to take a sampling of them to come in and appear before us, what their experience has been, along with others.
Mr Morin: I'm a bit concerned about inviting the public to come and tell us how we should secure our building. I don't know how to express it, but it's just my gut feeling that we will ask all kinds of groups that will come here with different ideas and then -- it's a bit like playing cards. Do you show your trump to people? Do you tell people, "Here's the way the building is secured"? That's my concern.
We should have different groups that have been here, yes, if we accept that. Are they concerned about the security? I have people who are concerned that we don't have enough security. Of course, if we were to listen to others, this place would be wide open and they would walk in and do all kinds of things. They would have to put that aside.
What kind of groups do you want to invite? Who is the public that you're planning to invite? Who are they?
The Chair: That would be a discussion for the subcommittee. That's perhaps the intent.
Mr Stewart: Just a comment to Mr Morin. I don't think we're going to talk to the people about the actual security and tell them about it. I think the idea of Mr Cooke and Mr Christopherson was that we should let the people have some input on maybe how much there should be, whatever. I could support that.
One thing I would like to bring up, though, is back when we had the first meeting a few months ago, I asked to have put on the agenda that protocol, conduct etc in the House be considered during the two or three weeks we are going to be sitting. I would like that to be pursued as well. If there was ever a time for that to be also included with public input, it's now, because I'm getting a whole lot more phone calls and letters regarding our conduct in that House and lack of things happening and getting on with governing. I believe the people of the province are getting shortchanged with the way we conduct ourselves in there. I would ask that this be included when we have open meetings for the public.
It was on the agenda; it was agreed upon. I would ask that it be included.
The Chair: If I could speak to that briefly, I believe the subcommittee when we discussed this on our conference call, Mr O'Toole, having moved the motion and being the representative of the Conservative Party on that conference call, indicated his willingness to look at the issue of security and the issue of decorum in the Legislature as one and the same issue. He felt we could cover off the two sides of the issue in the same discussion. That is essentially my recollection of the subcommittee conference call.
Mr Stewart: That's great. If we're going to open up to the public, and I have no problems with that, I think we also should get the feeling from the public on how we conduct ourselves in there and what they would like to see as well.
The Chair: I certainly agree.
Mr Ron Johnson: Is it proper for me to move a motion now? Can I do that, or do we have to discuss this more?
The Chair: We're still having more discussion on the general concept. If you choose to move a motion, you can do that.
Mr Ron Johnson: We're sort of flogging it, that's all.
Mr Cooke: I understand Mr Stewart's suggestion and I understand how the Chair is trying to bridge the two items, but I think it's going to be extremely difficult to have meaningful public input on decorum in the Legislature at the same time we're having some limited public input on security around the place. I'm assuming we're really not looking at much more than a few days, given the schedule of the committee. It's going to be hard to do both of those issues.
I don't have in front of me the actual motion that sets up the committee for the break, but that has some meaningful direction for the committee. My only concern is that if the committee decides it wants to deal with decorum in the Legislature, there should be a proper referral and a proper process, but to try to do security and decorum and do all that in three days, all you're going to do is anger people who want to talk about one of the issues because you're trying to do too much and you can't get proper public input. There's no people more frustrated than when they see you're trying to pull the wool over their eyes and say there's meaningful public input when you're not. It won't be meaningful public input on two important issues like that if we have about three days.
Mr Froese: I'd like to reiterate what Mr Morin has said, that when the subcommittee discusses which groups are coming, there's a balance. My concern is that the public coming in could be only those demonstrators who couldn't get in the building -- and I feel strongly about this -- the pushing and shoving and so on and so forth, and they're going to say, "This is what you should be doing." On the other hand, there needs to be a balance to get proper input on the security, and I would emphasize that to the subcommittee.
Mr Hastings: Mr Cooke's concerned about getting greater public involvement in this place and trying to minimize or reduce the perception that there's a bunker image being created in this particular institution. Probably one of the best ways of doing it -- I see this memo from our committee clerk about the use of the chamber for non-parliamentary purposes. While you may be holding it for a later discussion, Mr Chairman, I'd like to reference this particular item.
If you look at the parliamentary channel where they hold House of Commons mock debates, it seems to me that if you really want to get an antidote against the bunker mentality that supposedly is being created around here, although I'm not necessarily subscribing to that thesis per se, one of the best ways is to encourage our young people. I don't know how Ottawa does it, the House of Commons, the staff, or the United Nations debating society, or the parliaments of the universities or the community colleges. Perhaps we ought be looking at having the Speaker play a greater role in the use of the facility when we're not in session. Perhaps we can learn something from the way those folks, when I watch the cable channel briefly, conduct themselves. While there was a little bit of heckling, they seemed to conduct themselves in a very professional way.
I would like to explore some ways we could harness the energy of those young people at a later date. Since we're always trying to get the younger children in here to act as pages, maybe we need some sort of program to bridge that time span from when they're 10, 12 or 13 up into the later teens and early 20s. That might be one specific positive way we could examine: how the House of Commons is doing that, whether there's a budget or how they go about that. It was rather exciting. They seemed to get outside sponsorships. Queen's University, I think, was the host of the last one. Maybe we need to look at that one particular item of many of that kind of thing that both members from the NDP are suggesting.
The Chair: I think some good ideas have come from the committee to assist Mr Christopherson in this discussion. Given the fact that this committee has given general agreement to the concept of putting together a process for public input, did you want to move that the subcommittee be authorized to --
Mr Christopherson: Yes, that's cool.
The Chair: All in favour of that motion?
Mr Grimmett: Can I just have some clarification of that?
The Chair: We're in the middle of a vote.
Mr Grimmett: I don't understand what the motion is that I'm voting on.
The Chair: That the subcommittee -- do you want to move it?
Mr Christopherson: As I understand it, what we're looking at is giving a mandate to the subcommittee to work out the specifics of how we might exactly roll out two days of having the public come in, given that there's not an obvious way to go but there seems to be a desire to do it, and leave the details up to the subcommittee as to how we would do that.
Mr Grimmett: That's fine.
The Chair: So moved. We're in the middle of a vote. All in favour of the motion? Opposed? It's unanimous.
Do committee members have any additional matters they'd like to raise with the committee at this time?
Mr Ron Johnson: I would only refer, since we have 20 minutes, to the two subjects brought up the Speaker, one of which involved staff in the public galleries and the other was some sort of pass for spouses. Those were indicated to be issues he wanted dealt with. I don't know whether we want to deal with them now. Is that a no?
The Chair: There's apathy in the committee.
Mr Ron Johnson: I see that.
Mr Morin: It's not a complicated issue. I don't think it needs --
Mr Ron Johnson: Let's deal with it. We've got 20 minutes. Let's do it.
The Chair: Okay. Would you like to start, Mr Johnson?
Mr Ron Johnson: Sure. Being new, I don't know exactly, with respect, for example, to staff in the public galleries -- the concern is that they have to go through the metal detectors. Whether it's a desire of this committee to change that I don't know. My feeling is that it's not necessary for them to go through that. Staff can get into the government lobby or the opposition lobby now without that kind of security, so I don't see why it's necessary, but whether we want to change that, I'd like to hear more discussion from other members.
Mr Morin: That's not a complicated issue. All it is is the training of the security staff. They recognize someone with a name tag and that person is already recorded here, so why would that person have to go through a metal detector? I think the argument Mrs Castrilli brings is quite valid. If the press can circulate everywhere, why can't your staff? They have a name tag so why would they have to go through the metal detector? The persons who have to be advised are the security staff -- what are the rules, what are the regulations? -- and to change it accordingly. Anyone with identification should be allowed to go in the gallery. What's complicated?
The second issue: If the wives are here, I think it's an excellent idea that they have a name tag. What's wrong with that? It's not costly. It's simple. I don't need a motion for that. Let's do it, period.
Mr Froese: Didn't the Speaker say he was looking into this and looking after it and had advised his staff? I thought he had said, especially with the spouse passes, that he thought it was a good idea and he'd advised his staff accordingly. Didn't he say that? I don't know.
The Chair: I don't recall exactly what he said.
Mr Ron Johnson: He said he'd leave it with us.
Mr Froese: Leave it with us, or leave it with him?
Mr Ron Johnson: Leave it with us.
Mr Bartolucci: He asked us for his input. He wanted our input into both of these situations.
Mr Grimmett: We have a group going on a trip. Presumably when they come back we'll be discussing these and many other issues. Why wouldn't we decide it at that time? We're going to be doing that during the course of this term, are we?
The Chair: I would think so.
Mr Grimmett: I think we should deal with it as part of all the security issues we're going to discuss. The staff may have some comments that we haven't heard in regard to Ms Castrilli's letter, which looks obvious to me, but there could be another side to this issue. I think we should deal with it when the subcommittee reports back.
The Chair: Okay. Seeing no other agenda items, I will conclude this meeting of the committee. I'd just ask all members of the committee who are coming to participate in the security tour tomorrow to meet here at room 228 at 10 am. Could members of the subcommittee plan to stay for a little while afterwards so we can have a subcommittee meeting after the tour is completed to discuss these issues.
The committee adjourned at 1138.
The committee met at 1305 in room 228.
SECURITY OF THE LEGISLATIVE PRECINCT
The Chair (Mr Ted Arnott): I'll call this meeting to order. Will the honourable members come to order. Mr Stewart, we're starting.
We have with us today the Clerk of the Legislative Assembly, Claude DesRosiers, and I want to welcome the Speaker back to the committee and appreciate his input. Mr DesRosiers, I understand you have a presentation. I'd like to turn over the floor to you.
Mr Claude L. DesRosiers (Clerk of the House): Thank you.
The Chair: I've been advised that the Clerk has requested that we move into closed session to have a frank discussion of the issues that we're faced with today, so I would indicate at this time we will move into closed session.
Mr Bill Grimmett (Muskoka-Georgian Bay): Isn't there usually a decision made by the committee that we go into closed session?
The Chair: It could be a decision of the committee, I guess. Are you challenging the decision of the Chair?
Mr Grimmett: I'm not challenging your decision; I'm just suggesting that when there is a decision to go into closed session, should it not be made by the group? Is that not the general procedure?
The Chair: If you would like to challenge the decision -- is there a reason why you prefer to keep it in open format at this time, Mr Grimmett?
Mr Grimmett: Under the specific circumstances, perhaps not. I just think, as a member of the public myself, I would have assumed that all sessions held in this building would be public unless determined by the group to be otherwise. Is that silly or what?
The Chair: Just due to the sensitive nature of the security issues, I guess if we're advertising where our weaknesses are and anyone in the public has an opportunity to view that, we might all be concerned about that. Do any members of the committee have any comments with respect to this issue? Are there other concerns? I could request, I suppose, a motion to move into --
Mr Frank Miclash (Kenora): I think it's the Chair's prerogative. I have no problem with that, Mr Chair. Go ahead.
The Chair: Are you satisfied with that?
Mr Grimmett: That's fine. I think, Mr Chair, though, that it is a sensible comment that when we move into closed session, there should be an explanation for it.
The Chair: Fair enough. We now go into closed session.
The committee continued in closed session at 1307.