The House of Commons and the Senate are launching negotiations with the RCMP to tighten security on Parliament Hill while preserving the public's access to the grounds and historic buildings.
In a statement on Wednesday, the speakers of both chambers said the Mounties now need to enter into talks with MPs and senators over plans to put the RCMP in charge of security throughout the parliamentary precinct.
The plan is to correct the flaws that were exposed on Oct. 22 when a gunman was able to run through Centre Block before being killed.
"Now the work begins," said Vern White, a Conservative senator and former Ottawa police chief. "We describe what we want, they describe how they are going to do it and what the cost would be."
Mr. White, who is the co-chair of a working group looking at security on the Hill, said the system will be similar to "what we see in the provinces and the municipalities that have the RCMP provide a contract service."
Under the current system, House of Commons and Senate guards are responsible for security inside the buildings on Parliament Hill, with the RCMP in charge of securing the surrounding grounds.
Sources said the decision to concentrate all powers within the national police force, which has received the assent of the House and the Senate, was driven by Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
The current House and Senate security guards will keep their jobs under the new plan, but they will act under orders from the RCMP.
"Parliament's Protective Services will continue to work closely with all of their security partners to continuously improve security in the Parliamentary Precinct," House Speaker Andrew Scheer and Senate Speaker Pierre Claude Nolin said in a statement on Wednesday.
"The requirement to provide security for all parliamentarians, employees and visitors will continue to be balanced with the requirement of ensuring reasonable access to the Parliamentary Precinct for all Canadians," they added.
In an internal memo this month, RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson cautioned much work was still to be done before the RCMP could take over the security role.
"While I have been engaged in some preliminary discussions with officials, I must write to you today to caution that there are a lot of steps to be taken before this becomes a reality," Mr. Paulson said to members of the RCMP National Division, which is in charge of security in key federal properties.
The RCMP did not respond to questions about their plans for security on the Hill on Wednesday.
Mr. White is calling for a security system that includes "greater time and distance between a threat and what we are protecting most, which is Parliament."
The goal will be to ensure that anyone with terrorist intentions can be spotted far away from the House and the Senate, possibly at the Wellington Street entrance to the grounds.