OTTAWA — The federal government has officially appointed a new sergeant-at-arms for the House of Commons, four years after the appointee took on that role in an acting capacity.
McDonell has been serving in the role as acting sergeant-at-arms and head of security for the House of Commons since 2015. He went through a federal appointment process the Liberal government revamped in 2016. His appointment took effect July 1st.
In an emailed statement, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said McDonell’s work during the “period of transition” had been exemplary. It added his appointment process had been rigorous, as well as “open, transparent and merit-based.”
The statement did not specifically address the length of time it took to confirm the acting sergeant-at-arms to his full position.
McDonell has had a long career with the RCMP and the protective service overseeing the protection of dignitaries, including the prime minister and the governor general, as well as the grounds of Parliament Hill and the Supreme Court.
The sergeant-at-arms is responsible for the safety and security of the House of Commons and also performs ceremonial duties such as carrying the mace, the symbol of the authority given to the House of Commons by the monarchy.
McDonell replaces Kevin Vickers, who shot and helped take down Michael Zihaf Bibeau, who barged into Centre Block on Parliament Hill with a rifle in 2014 after killing honour guard reservist Cpl. Nathan Cirillo at the National War Memorial.
Vickers was later appointed Canada’s ambassador to Ireland, where he served until early this year. He left to go into politics in New Brunswick.
Before Vickers was appointed in 2006, the office had been vacant for a year since his predecessor’s death.
Also on HuffPost: Here’s how Vickers announced he was entering politics.