The Ontario Provincial Police are now conducting three investigations of the response to the Parliament Hill shooting two months ago.
The RCMP called in the OPP shortly after the Oct. 22 shooting to investigate the conduct of Mounties inside the Centre Block, where Michael Zehaf-Bibeau died in a shootout with security. The move was described as standard practice when law enforcement officers are involved in a death. On Oct. 29, House of Commons Speaker Andrew Scheer asked the OPP to investigate the conduct of House of Commons guards who were also involved in the shootout.
A month later, the OPP got another request. Their investigation had, until then, been confined to what happened inside the Centre Block building. On Nov. 24, the RCMP asked the OPP also to review Mr. Zehaf-Bibeau's approach from Wellington Street to the doors of the building, officials said in interviews this week.
RCMP Assistant Commissioner Gilles Michaud, who is in charge of National Division, told The Globe and Mail this week that the force will not make permanent changes to its practices until the external reviews are complete. In the meantime, rookie Mounties are being dispatched to Parliament Hill for two-month rotations to boost RCMP presence there.
"It's very difficult for us. There are a number of reviews that are ongoing right now, and until those reviews are completed and we have a better sense as to what the long-term security posture should be, I think we have to be careful not to make any quick decisions that we may regret in the future," Mr. Michaud said.
OPP Sergeant Peter Leon described the probes as three separate but linked investigations – one of the RCMP actions inside Centre Block, another of actions by House of Commons security inside Centre Block, and the third of Mr. Zehaf-Bibeau's approach to the Centre Block. The first two reviews are being led by Detective Inspector Shawn Glassford, while Detective Inspector Paul Yelle is in charge of looking at the events outside the Centre Block. The OPP have offered no timeline for completing the reviews.
The third review would focus on the RCMP, as Parliament Hill is their jurisdiction – House of Commons security is responsible for the inside of the Centre Block building. Mr. Zehaf-Bibeau shot and killed Corporal Nathan Cirillo at the nearby National War Memorial before driving his car a short way to a gate on Wellington Street leading to Parliament Hill. Unable to drive past the pillars, he got out of his car, ran partway up Parliament Hill, hijacked a cabinet minister's car, drove up to the Centre Block, got out and ran through the front doors.
RCMP officers did not stop his advance, but were chasing him. They stopped and took cover when gunfire erupted as Mr. Zehaf-Bibeau entered the building, and they later chased him inside.
During an Oct. 23 news conference, RCMP played security camera footage of Mr. Zehaf-Bibeau's approach, showing him getting out of his car, sprinting to the cabinet minister's car and eventually entering the building. Sources have told The Globe that House of Commons officials were shocked the RCMP played the video, in part because it revealed camera locations. Only Ottawa Police and RCMP spoke at the news conference, not House of Commons security.
In addition to the three OPP reviews, internal reviews are ongoing.
The House of Commons has made changes to security practices since the Oct. 22 shooting, including plans to arm all guards and eventually merge with Senate security.
Heather Bradley, a spokeswoman for the House of Commons Speaker, said this week the reviews include "security systems and procedures; what worked and where improvements are required," and other factors.