Kevin Vickers vows to serve with 'pride and dignity' as Canadian ambassador to Ireland
Published Thursday, January 8, 2015 9:19AM EST
Last Updated Thursday, January 8, 2015 2:41PM EST
Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers, who was hailed as a hero for his role in stopping a shooter on Parliament Hill, will now serve as Canada’s ambassador to Ireland.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s office announced the appointment in a statement on Thursday.
“Kevin Vickers has shown profound leadership and dedication to the security of Canada and its national institutions,” Harper is quoted as saying in the statement. “His extensive experience working with Parliament, as well as his bravery and integrity, will serve to deepen close bilateral relations between Canada and Ireland in the years ahead.”
Vickers promised on Thursday to represent Canada with “pride and dignity” in his new post in Ireland.
“As a Canadian with family on both sides hailing from Ireland, there could be no greater honour,” he said in a statement. “It has been an honour to serve as Sergeant-at-Arms and to work with such dedicated individuals serving both Houses of Parliament. I will cherish the time I have spent there.”
Vickers is credited with shooting the lone gunman who killed a Canadian reservist and stormed Parliament Hill’s Centre Block on Oct. 22.
Vickers was applauded as a hero in the House of Commons the day after the attack, and received international attention for his role in the takedown.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also praised Vickers for his bravery, while satirical talk show host Stephen Colbert compared Vickers to Bruce Willis’ character in ‘Die Hard.’
On Thursday, Speaker of the House Andrew Scheer thanked Vickers for his “heroic service to Parliament” in a statement issued from his office.
“Thanks to his exceptional leadership our security systems are stronger, service delivery has been greatly improved, and there has been major progress on the plan to preserve and renew our historic Parliament Buildings,” Scheer said in the statement.
Harper had more praise for Vickers when he was asked about the appointment during a government announcement in Delta, B.C. on Thursday.
“I don’t have to tell anybody or repeat his tremendous acts of heroism back on Oct. 22,” Harper said in response to a reporter’s question. “I think they speak for themselves and speak to his character, and I know he will do a tremendous job as ambassador to Ireland.”
The 58-year-old Vickers was named Sergeant-at-Arms in 2006 and ushered in tighter security guidelines on Parliament Hill during his tenure.
“Kevin Vickers has built a remarkable security team that does us proud each and every day,” Scheer said. “His actions, and the bravery displayed by the entire security team this past October, will never be forgotten.”
Prior to joining the Parliament Hill security force in 2005, Vickers served as a police officer for 29 years with the RCMP.
He also previously worked as an Aide-de-Camp for the Lieutenant Governor of New Brunswick, and provided personal security for a number of high-profile visitors to Canada, including Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Andrew.
The Newcastle, N.B. native has received a number of medals and commendations over his career, including the Queen’s Jubilee Medal, the Canada 125 Medal and the RCMP Long Service Medal. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency has also recognized him for “outstanding contribution to drug enforcement.”
Vickers will assume the ambassador role from Loyola Hearn, a former Conservative MP and House leader who was appointed in November of 2010.
Harper thanked Hearn for his “advice, dedication and outstanding service to Canada.”
Scheer congratulated Vickers and wished him “every success” in his new role as ambassador to Ireland.
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau praised Vickers for his “great courage and diplomatic skill” in a tweet on Thursday.
Kevin Vickers showed great courage and diplomatic skill as Parliament’s Sgt-at-Arms. Best wishes on his new role as Ambassador to Ireland.— Justin Trudeau, MP (@JustinTrudeau) January 8, 2015
A number of other MPs offered their congratulations and best wishes to Vickers on Twitter after the announcement.
Congratulations to Kevin Vickers on his appointment as Canada's ambassador to Ireland.— James Moore (@JamesMoore_org) January 8, 2015
Thank you Kevin Vickers for your service to Parliament and all Canadians. Best wishes as you become Cdn’s Ambassador to Ireland! #cdnpoli— Joy Smith (@MPJoySmith) January 8, 2015
Congratulations to Sgt-at-Arms Kevin Vickers on his appointmentt as Canada's Ambassador to Ireland, thank you for your service #cdnpoli— Wladyslaw Lizon (@MPWLizon) January 8, 2015
Best wishes to Kevin Vickers as he takes up his new post. He built a great security team that does us proud every day.— Andrew Scheer (@andrewscheer) January 8, 2015
Vickers will take over as ambassador on Jan. 19, after his credentials are presented to Irish President Michael Higgins.
Vickers’ position on Parliament Hill will be filled by Pat McDonell, Deputy Sergeant-at-Arms and Director General of Protective Services.