Newsmakers of the day: Parliament’s security officers

’We are all, without question, in their debt’
House of Commons Speaker Andrew Scheer shakes hands with Const. Samearn Son as other security members look on in the House of Commons as they are honoured for their efforts during the October shooting on Parliament Hill, Thursday December 11, 2014 in Ottawa. (Adrian Wyld/CP)

Newsmaker of the day: Parliament’s security officers

With the tumult of question period finished for another day, the ceremonial mace was removed from the table in the centre aisle of the House of Commons so that this afternoon’s honoured guests could be invited to step forward and receive their thanks.

The great doors swung open and in marched several dozen officers from the security services that protect the parliamentary precinct. At the front stood Samearn Son, the officer who, though unarmed, confronted Michael Zehaf-Bibeau on the morning of Oct. 22 and was shot in the leg during the struggle.

As they had done the day after the shooting on Parliament Hill, MPs stood and cheered, as did guests in the galleries (the on-duty security neglecting in this moment to enforce the rules of decorum).

“Today, I would like to acknowledge, on behalf of all honourable members, the courage, professionalism and dedication of the personnel of the Protective Service of the House of Commons. We are all, without question, in their debt,” Speaker Andrew Scheer said when the applause paused. “We know we are safer because of you. Your actions that day will not be forgotten by anyone in the Parliament Hill community.”

Scheer singled out Son for recognition—”His selfless action, putting his own body in harm’s way, was a stunning example of bravery and brought further honour and esteem to the Protective Service”— and later left the Speaker’s chair to shake Son’s hand.

When the Speaker concluded his words of thanks, the MPs cheered once more as the guards filed out of the chamber. Son, his wife and two daughters watching from the gallery, was the last to leave and, to do so, he had to walk past Kevin Vickers, the sergeant-at-arms. Vickers struck a stiff salute as Son passed him and the MPs and spectators roared.