The Ottawa truck convoy cost parliamentary security millions

OTTAWA — The parliamentary security bill for the so-called “Freedom Convoy” that jammed streets in downtown Ottawa for three weeks cost $6.3 million, with parliamentary security officers racking up another $4.5 million in overtime above that, MPs heard Thursday.

That tab doesn’t cover any security changes that may be needed from now on to confront the “evolving threat environment” on Parliament Hill, said Larry Brookson, interim director of the Parliamentary Protective Services (PPS).

Those costs are part of a broader request for an additional and ongoing $9.8 million (or 10.9 per cent) increase to the PPS’s $100.7-million budget after three years of almost no increases.

PPS officials appeared alongside Deputy Commons Speaker Chris D’Entremont and senior officials at a parliamentary committee to explain the need for a bigger security budget, at a time when the protective services were bracing for yet another weekend of protests on and around Parliament Hill.

D’Entremont presented the budget requests and also outlined an overall request for a $19.3-million increase (or 3.5 per cent increase) to the House of Commons’ $563-million annual budget.

Brookson said security changes are still under discussion, offering to answer MPs in more detail during a portion of the meeting that was later closed to the public.

In terms of the overall Commons budget, D’Entremont said about $13.8 million of the $19-million increase is due to cost-of-living increases for MPs and officers’ salaries and allowances. The rest is to cover information technology requests, pension contributions, office budgets, committee operations, conferences and MPs’ travel, along with adjustments to employee benefits plans.

Several MPs grumbled that committee and subcommittee meetings have been canceled because of the lack of interpretation services. D’Entremont and other officials said there are not always enough interpreters available — in part due to work-related injuries caused by MPs who interrupt, crosstalk and speak loudly over each other, which has been found to cause auditory harm to interpreters trying to simultaneously translate and interpret their comments.


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