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Good afternoon and thank you for joining us.
In the hours, days and months after the tragic events of October 22, 2014, we wanted answers – we all did – that is a natural reaction when our safety and security are threatened. That is why the RCMP asked the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) to conduct these independent reviews shortly after the events unfolded and why I am here today.
I first want to thank the OPP for their diligent work in conducting these thorough reviews. The events of that day still resonate with our membership, our partners and the Canadian public.
With this tragic event also came the opportunity to re-examine how we provide security on Parliament Hill and how to best improve our operations.
We have all seen the video of Zehaf-Bibeau making his way from Wellington Street to the front doors of Center Block. What you could not see from the video, was that an RCMP member posted on the North-West side of East Block was alerted to the presence of a gunman on the Hill by a bystander, who was trying to seek cover in her police vehicle.
The member observed the gunman getting behind the wheel of a black parked vehicle, and as she was getting back in her police cruiser, she communicated to other officers the presence of the gunman on the Hill. Unfortunately, the details of the gunman being behind the wheel of the commandeered vehicle did not come out clearly on the air. The RCMP member on Top Drive heard the communication and turned his car around but was unaware that the black car coming his way was driven by the gunman and he did not intercept him.
Inside, Zehaf-Bibeau was bravely confronted by an unarmed House of Commons security officer at the entry way. As this security guard tried to take the gun away from Zehaf-Bibeau, a shot went off from his gun, hit the floor and then hit the officer in the lower leg. The officer subsequently let go of the gun. Zehaf-Bibeau turned towards a second unarmed House of Commons security guard, pointed his gun at his stomach, but did not fire before running up the stairs of Center Block towards the Hall of Honour.
From the top of the stairs and through the Hall of Honour, four armed House of Commons security officers engaged Zehaf-Bibeau, who returned fire, narrowly missing one of the officers. The House of Commons security officers' actions forced Zehaf-Bibeau into a small alcove near the Library of Parliament. This containment enabled the Sgt-at-Arms to make his way to the opposite side of this alcove while four RCMP members made their way down the Hall of Honour, without the benefit of cover, in a formation designed to engage active shooters.
When the RCMP officers were within four meters of Zehaf-Bibeau, he fired one round narrowly missing them. As the Sgt-at-Arms courageously left his cover to shoot at Zehaf-Bibeau, an RCMP officer moved in and engaged the gunman at the same time. Zehaf-Bibeau succumbed to a significant number of bullet wounds.
Three reports are being released today. Two of these were prepared by the OPP and one After Action Report was led by the RCMP's National Division.
The first report is on the Independent Investigation into the death of Michael Zehaf-Bibeau. On October 23, 2014, and on October 29, 2014, myself, and the Speaker of the House of Commons, respectively requested the Commissioner of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), to conduct an independent investigation into the shooting death of Michael Zihaf-Bibeau and what occurred inside the House of Commons on October 22, 2014.
The second report, is a review with partners led by National Division, that was initiated at my request, on October 24, 2014.
The objective of this internal After Action Report was to provide a factual account of key areas related to the response to this event and to make recommendations and provide lessons learned to facilitate the continuous improvement of security services on Parliament Hill.
A total of 33 recommendations were generated from this specific review.
Thirdly, on November 24, 2014, RCMP Deputy Commissioner Mike Cabana, responsible for federal policing, requested the assistance of the OPP Commissioner in conducting a review of the RCMP's involvement in relation to the incident examining the actions of the RCMP officers from the moment Michael Zihaf-Bibeau entered the grounds of Parliament Hill to the moment he accessed Centre Block.
From this report came 66 recommendations. Some of the recommendations have already been implemented and a majority are currently being actioned. Others will take additional analysis and consultation with our security partners.
Due to tactical security information and techniques, the recommendations have been vetted out. However, I can tell you that the recommendations are divided into three main sections: Operations, Communications and Governance.
The operations recommendations include elements such as physical infrastructure, access control, tools and equipment, training, planning and response capacity.
Communications encompasses the management of both internal and external communications, stakeholder and public awareness activities and the technical interoperability of radio communications.
The recommendations on Governance speak to roles and responsibilities, decision making, policies and procedures. As part of this, the OPP recommended the creation of a unified security force for the Parliamentary Precinct.
It is our hope that these reviews provide us with answers and demonstrate we are on the right track in mitigating future threats on Parliament Hill.
Our members should be commended for their actions which assisted in eliminating the threat on that fateful day. As the reports outline, systemic gaps allowed the gunman to make his way to centre block, not human error.
Neutralizing the gunman and threat was a team effort, a team of dedicated and brave individuals from the House of Commons Security Services, the Sgt-at-Arms and the RCMP. I am proud to be serving with all of our members, and with the House of Commons Security Services and the Senate Protective Security. I would put my life in their hands any day!I assure you that the security team will continue to protect Parliament Hill and the precinct, its employees, parliamentarians and visitors.
- Release of the Reports on the Terrorist Attack of October 22, 2014
- RCMP Security Posture, Parliament Hill, October 22, 2014
- Independent Investigation Into the Death of Michael Zehaf-Bibeau
- External Engagement and Coordination: Parliament Hill Incident on October 22nd, 2014 - After Action Review
- October 22, 2014: House of Commons Incident Response Summary