I think what disturbs me most about this Third Party Leader house break-in story is this bit near the end:
According to the RCMP, it is “mandated at all times, during both private and official functions, for the personal protection of the Governor General of Canada, the prime minister, their families and residences.”
The RCMP says it is “responsible for the safety” of Supreme Court and Federal Court judges, as well as federal cabinet ministers. Its protective policing unit also provides security for Parliament Hill, Rideau Hall and the Supreme Court of Canada.
However, its website does not mention mandated protection for any additional politicians.
This would seem to be a glaring omission, because there is certainly one politician who does merit this protection: the Leader of the Opposition.
Partisans may protest over this, but the simple fact of the matter is that, under our parliamentary system, the Official Opposition are the de-facto government-in-waiting, the folks in the best position to replace the old lot when the electorate gets tired of them. Stephen Harper recognizes this, which is why he began the unofficial practice of appointing new Opposition leaders like Michael Ignatieff and Thomas Mulcair to the national Privy Council. (He didn’t do so with Stéphane Dion because, as a former cabinet minister, Dion was already a member.)
Since Stornoway, the Opposition leader’s residence, is an official government residence, it shouldn’t be too much of an issue to have a security detail there. Mr. Trudeau, of course, is a different matter: even though he heads the traditional “Natural Governing Party,” right now they’re in third place in Parliamentary rankings, and as a third party leader he doesn’t have as many entitlements. And since his parliamentary home is in Rockcliffe, one of the more exclusive neighborhoods in Ottawa, having neighbors complicates the issue further.
My own personal feeling is that, yes, Mr. Trudeau should have some form of security due to his job, and yes, it should be paid for on the federal tax bill, because Mr. Trudeau is the national leader of a party that still has official party status. (Neither the Bloc nor the Greens can claim this.) I’d have to hear some pretty serious-minded arguments to reconsider this position, and I think most people would agree.