The Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence

Chair: The Honourable Colin Kenny
Deputy Chair: The Honourable J. Michael Forrestall

February 2002


What We Think

In Part 2 of the Report the Committee presents its observations and conclusions based on  the testimony it has heard over the past eight months, and about its fact-finding trips to eastern and western Canada and to Washington, D.C.  Part 2 is not an exhaustive catalogue of the issues of national security and defence. Rather it is a discussion of some issues that the Committee noted with concern during the discharge of its mandate.  Some of the observations and conclusions which follow are expressed in the form of recommendations, while others are flagged for further study by this Committee or by some other body.  The first section of Part 2 will cover Defence issues, the second will deal with National Security issues.


Defence: What We Think

The Committee’s Premises

·        The first obligation of the state is to guarantee the safety of its citizens.

·   To ensure our sovereignty and values as a nation, Canada needs to maintain an independent combat capable military force capable of working with our allies to defend our borders and national interests against any and all threats through operations in Canada and abroad.

·   Parliament has the obligation to provide the Canadian Forces with sufficient equipment, personnel levels and training to meet the demands it places on them.

·   The Canadian Forces demand of its personnel, as a condition of employment, 24 hours per day 7 days a week availability and the potential for deployment to life-threatening operations.

·   To maintain an effective military force, military personnel must be accorded a basic quality of life similar to all Canadians, and receive a reasonable pay reflecting the demands placed upon them.

·   Canadians are proud of the job the men and women of the Canadian Forces have performed over the years in defending Canada and in upholding our values including during the current hostilities in Afghanistan. They and their family members deserve our respect and full support.

The Committee’s deliberations and findings are based upon these premises.

1. Context

The fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 signaled the end of the 45-year bipolar Cold War. The result was a changed world, but hardly a peaceful world. Hostilities in Kuwait, Rwanda, Bosnia and the Balkans during the ensuing decade offer but a few examples of global military conflict. Canada’s national interests were involved in all of these conflagrations, since there can be no security and prosperity for Canadians in an unstable world. In each of these cases, Canada took military action both to improve the lot of other peoples and to defend its own national interests.

Disputes over borders and many other issues are prevalent in many parts of the world, including the Middle East, South Asia, Africa, Europe and the Korean Peninsula. This high level of instability has serious implications both for international peace and security and the healthy growth of global commerce.  Both these matters are of huge concern to Canada, a peaceful nation and a nation that depends on exports for its economic well-being. Canada is also a country largely built on immigration.   Many Canadians have personal interests in those areas of the world in which conflict persists.

The global proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, particularly in undemocratic states, remains a matter of ominous concern to all civilized peoples, including Canadians. This threat has been compounded in recent times by the hostile activities of non-state actors, particularly well-organized and well-funded terrorist groups. September 11, 2001 demonstrated clearly that threats to Canada’s national interests and national security are not as remote as many Canadians had believed them to be.

The threat is now on our own continent, potentially in our own skies, potentially on our own streets. The willful destruction of the lives of so many Canadians aboard the Air India flight from Toronto to London in 1985 should have served as an early warning, but the fall of the Berlin Wall lulled many Canadians back to sleep. Our Committee has attempted to assist in a reawakening. Canadians need to be aware of the state of their military and what role it might be called upon to play, in their interests, in the coming years.


2. Defence Funding

The Committee heard expert testimony from senior Department of National Defence personnel and from a number of defence-interest organizations. It also toured several Canadian Forces bases.  The Committee recognizes that government witnesses are bound by Government policy. As a consequence, the Committee was sometimes frustrated in its attempt to get a feel for debate going on within the Department of National Defence over the condition of Canada’s Armed Forces.  On the other hand, the Committee found that witnesses from the various non-official defence-interest groups, former officials and officers and from academia were less constrained, and were often able to provide a more candid perspective on the operational limitations placed on the Canadian Forces as a result of budget reductions. Some of these people have been characterized as “armchair generals” out of touch with reality. Quite to the contrary, the Committee found these witnesses to be:

·         knowledgeable;

·         genuinely interested in describing the effects of the significant under funding and over-tasking of the Canadian Forces;

·         concerned about improving conditions of service and the quality of life of the soldiers;

·         desiring an improvement in the capabilities of the Canadian Forces.


3. Defence Expenditures Historical Trend – Constant 2000 $

The following graph indicates that the Canadian Forces budget has been reduced by approximately 30 percent over the period 1988 to 2000.

Source: Public Accounts Estimates (Part III) and DND Economic Model


4. Committee Assessment

Based on witness testimony, as well as first-hand observation at a number of military units, the Committee concluded that the level of funding for the Department of National Defence is insufficient to meet the many tasks assigned to our military.  This limited funding has forced the Department of National Defence to focus on a cost-driven, resource-limiting approach to operations, capital acquisition and training in order to live within tight budgets.   The military has coped admirably with its financial limitations, but there have been severe and unavoidable consequences.  The bottom line is a significant deterioration of Canadian Forces equipment. Maintenance is becoming extremely manpower-intensive and expensive. Training has been curtailed, and personnel are being asked to perform at an unacceptably high level of operations tempo.

The Auditor General of Canada, the Conference of Defence Associations, the Federation of Military and United Services Institutes of Canada, and the Council for Canadian Security in the 21st Century have all stressed the need for additional funding for the Department of National Defence.  Their generally accepted minimal figure is a $1Billion increase per year, for five years.

How would this money be used? After analyzing our military’s capacities and the many demands on those capacities, and after witnessing the problems associated with the recent deployment to Afghanistan, the Committee found that additional monies are required to:

·        sustain current operations;

·        address the continuing “rust-out” of  equipment;

·        increase the number of personnel in the Canadian Forces;

·        increase training and capacity for new types of operations.


5. Defence Capability Underpins Foreign Policy

The Committee agrees with Deputy Prime Minister Manley that a credible foreign policy is dependent upon a robust defence capability. Canada’s capacity is far from robust. Canada continues to over task and under fund the Department of National Defence. In 2000, Canada ranked 17th of 19 NATO countries in Defence expenditures as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product. At 1.2%, it ranked ahead of only Luxembourg within NATO as well as Iceland which has no military forces.  As Mr. Manley so astutely stated in November 2001: “You can’t just sit at the G-8 table and then, when the bill comes, go to the washroom.  If you want to play a role in the world, even as a small member of the G-8, there is a cost to doing that”. 

It is noted in this context, that in order to address the new security environment, President Bush recently announced that the United States defence budget would be increased by U.S. $100 billion from U.S. $350 Billion to U.S. $450 Billion by 2007.



6. Budget 2001

The Committee was disappointed at the level of funding allotted to the Department of National Defence in the Budget of December 2001 that was designated to counteract terrorism. 

The amount may or may not have been what departmental officials specifically asked for to counteract terrorism. But it certainly falls far short of what should have been asked for to address huge shortfalls in other areas of need, as well as addressing the new terrorist threat.

The Committee’s analysis shows that funds provided to the Department in Budget 2001 did not address the overall under funding of the Canadian Forces.  There was an increase in the base budget of  $119 million, over five years, to expand Joint Task Force 2 (JTF).  An additional $210 million was provided to pay for the incremental costs of Operation Apollo (not anticipated when the annual budget was approved by the Government). There was $513 million for Research and Development into Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) Defence. That money is spread over five years and is to be shared with a number of other Government Departments.  As well there was a one time infusion for capital equipment.  Let us be blunt. These increases, while helpful, do not address the chronic, critical under funding of the Department of National Defence.


7. Results of Testimony and Visits

In particular, the committee noted that:

a.  The trained effective strength of the Canadian Forces is well below the currently-mandated 60,000 members required to execute the present government-tasked missions (by official departmental estimates, the trained effective strength of the Canadian Forces is now somewhere between 50,000 and 55,000).

b.  The Canadian Forces are over-committed in operations and have insufficient trained personnel to sustain the present level of operational tempo.  For instance:

                                           I.      the Navy is unable to sustain the present commitment of five ships in the Arabian Gulf. It will soon be reducing that commitment to three ships, a most modest naval contribution to the War on Terrorism; 

                                        II.      the Sea King operations are clearly over-extended; 24 of Canada’s overall total of 37 Sea King operational pilots are on deployment in the Arabian Gulf. Their activities cannot be sustained beyond six months.

c.  The Navy has a number of ships “tied up.” It has been required to introduce a “tier readiness” program, as it does not possess sufficient personnel, nor operational funding, to maintain its inventory of ships “ready for operations.”

d.  Many Canadian Forces personnel are not being provided with minimal training required for their operational assignments, reducing their effectiveness and risking lives. This observation was repeatedly made to the Committee during its visits, and was reinforced in the December 2001 report of the Auditor General of Canada, who commented in particular that many maintenance personnel are not being trained to meet the critical demands of their jobs.

e.  Operational training (including training at the brigade level) has been curtailed in order to ensure that vital equipment and personnel are on hand for overseas deployments. Lack of training will obviously have a long-term detrimental effect on the capacity of the forces to do their job effectively and as safely as possible.

f.   Flying hours of all air force fleets have been reduced:

-   The Aurora sovereignty flights in the Arctic have been reduced to two per year;

-    Prior to September 11th, there were only four CF 18s on air defence alert in all of Canada (two in the east and two in the west).

g.   Canada’s aging C130 Hercules require an inordinate amount of maintenance to ensure availability of flight. Rarely are more than half of these aircraft serviceable on any given day. 

h.           To meet continuing government tasking for NATO, UN and coalition operations, the Canadian Army is short 7,500 personnel. 

i.   The military has a shortage of field engineers and communications groups to provide deployment sustainability.

j.  The military is short approximately 200 project managers necessary for  large DND capital projects.

k.        Training budgets have been reduced to divert funding into operations and capital acquisition. This has resulted in extra work loads for qualified technicians and their supervisors, causing dangerous fatigue levels and also forcing a number of experienced senior technical personnel to leave the military.

l.      The Canadian Forces, particularly the Navy, has not conducted required maintenance on their major equipment. This was confirmed all by the Auditor General in her report of December, 2001. She said there is a huge backlog of work downstream, with attendant increased maintenance costs in the short-term.

m.         The Canadian Forces Reduction Program in the early 1990s was all too successful. There is now a critical shortage of experienced senior personnel, placing an increased strain on remaining members of the military.

n.          The Canadian Army Reserve lacks sufficient equipment to conduct company level training.

o.          The Office of Critical Infrastructure Protection and Emergency Preparedness has insufficient resources to take a lead role in development of national procedures to deal with attacks on critical infrastructure.

p.    Not withstanding the budget allocations of 2001, the Canadian Forces capability in the area of Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) response is feeble. CBRN is unequipped to deal with a crisis of any magnitude.

q.   Female members believe that their uniforms are not functional because they are not designed for their bodies.

r.   Members of the Canadian Forces appreciate recent pay increases, but they are still behind their civilian counterparts.

s.    The increasing number of days spent away from home, either during operations overseas or during training (operations tempo), appears to be the biggest single quality-of-life issue with the members of both the Regular and Reserve forces.


8. Canadian Forces Operations - Doing More with Less

The Committee believes that Canadians are greatly appreciative of the pride and determination that the Canadian Forces continue to demonstrate in all their operations, both domestic and overseas.  Wherever the Canadian Forces are sent, they do everything in their power to provide outstanding service to the mission and are clearly determined to “fight along side the best, against the best”.  However, the Canadian Forces are stretched to the breaking point. Decisions to deploy up to 4,000 personnel and to sustain them on a continuing basis are having detrimental effects on both equipment and personnel. This has caused a deterioration in equipment, a high turnover rate of personnel, increased instances of post-traumatic stress disorder and other health problems which have significantly reduced effectiveness.


9. Where did all the Troops Go?

The Committee notes that the Canadian Forces is unequivocally short of personnel. The Committee recommends that to sustain the level of tasking required of them over the last eight years, the Canadian Forces need at least 75,000 trained effective personnel. A workable breakdown of the Canadian Forces by element shows a need for: 14,000 in the Navy to provide it with personnel to fully crew all its war ships; 43,500 in the Army to increase by one brigade and fully man the existing three Army brigades and provide troops to accommodate the Army modernization program; 17,500 in the Air Force to permit it to expand its flying operations to meet national tasking and allow for project management personnel.

The estimate of the present shortfall, including necessary personnel, maintenance, additional training, spare parts and accommodation, is estimated to be approximately $1 billion per fiscal year.


10. Tunnel Vision on Terrorism

Canada requires conventional war fighting capabilities to respond to all types of threats and to participate in treaty and coalition operations.  This is not about “fighting the last war”; it is about fighting the war we’re in today. It is important that the Canadian military maintains combat capable forces ready to join coalitions and make a meaningful contribution.

Since the horrific attacks of September 11th 2001, Canada and her allies have focused on the War on Terrorism. In response to this attack, Canada has contributed 3,700 military personnel. The Canadian Forces are unable to sustain this commitment of operational troops to this mission indefinitely.  It is important to ensure that Canadians do not get “tunnel vision” on this one threat. There is too much instability on other fronts. We must ensure that the Canadian Forces are capable of meeting our defence commitments under Canada’s “collective security” policy.  Other missions undertaken by the Canadian Forces include peacekeeping, other coalition operations and assistance in dealing with natural disasters.  To maintain world stability, we must maintain our ability to project “conventional” but modernized military force beyond our borders. 


11. The Impact of Winning the Cold War/An Ounce of Prevention

To avoid the massive cost of wars, Canadian policy has traditionally been to maintain membership in alliances and coalitions. These act as a strong deterrent to aggressive international behaviour. They also have the benefit of containing conflict as far away from Canadian territory as possible.  Canada’s membership in NATO, NORAD and the United Nations are examples of our approach to collective defence. The 1994 White Paper on Defence policy committed the Government of Canada to the maintenance of a military that is multi-purpose, globally deployable, and combat-capable, with the ability to “conduct operations alongside the best, while fighting the best”.  But the Cold War ended and the romantic notion of a peace dividend gained currency. In the real world, an ongoing military premium must be paid, not for bellicose reasons, but to maintain the peace.  

The cost of armed conflict is immense in human and economic terms. In the 20th century, Canada was called upon to participate in two World Wars and the Korean War, at a tremendous cost in lives and hardship. We do not want another war of these dimensions. The human and financial costs of war far exceed the costs of doing everything in our power to deter war.

Over the past eight years, the Department of National Defence budget has been reduced by approximately 30 percent in real terms.  Unfortunately, the legitimate demand for domestic and overseas operations has not been reduced.

Ironically, peace has placed greater demands on the Canadian Forces. The bipolar standoff between the United States and Soviet Union was terrifying, but relatively stable, The post-Cold War world has become more regionally unstable. 

Since the mid 1990s, the pace of Canadian Forces operational deployments has increased to a level not witnessed since the Korean War. 

Increased operations on a smaller budget have resulted in insufficient funds for capital acquisition and maintenance in a world in which the technical sophistication of war has been increasing at an exponential rate. Both in terms of equipment and intelligence, we are falling behind both our enemies and our friends.


12. Coping with a 30% Reduction of Budget

Delays in replacing fatigued, outdated equipment have reduced operational capabilities, and saddled the military with a huge increase in the costs of maintaining older equipment.  For example, delays in the Maritime Helicopter Project have forced DND to make plans for operating the 40+-year-old Sea King helicopter until at least 2010. This drains time and funds to ensure safe flight operations of the helicopter, as well as to improve operational capability.  Upgraded radios and electronic warfare equipment are needed to ensure that these aircraft meet operational tasking and can operate effectively when on UN and other coalition operations.

The Committee does applaud the Department’s acquisition of equipment such as the Army’s Light Armoured Vehicle (LAV), the Canadian Patrol Frigates for the Navy, and the upcoming strategic air-to-air-refueling capability.  However, as the Auditor General observes funding allocated to capital equipment is dwindling at an alarming rate.


13.  Quality of Life

The committee was pleased to note that DND continues to address the issues raised in the Commons Standing Committee on National Defence and Veterans Affairs report of 1999, and that action had been initiated to address its recommendations. 

However, during visits to military units in the field, Canadian Forces personnel continued to document irritants that undermine what should be a decent standard of living with conditions likely to sustain family life.

Issues raised at every military unit were the extreme operations tempo demanded of Canadian Forces personnel, and inadequate financial compensation, particularly at the senior non-commissioned level. A list of other frequent concerns follows.


14. Health Service

Health Services remain an issue of concern for a large number of personnel, mainly in the following areas:

a.      Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder treatment, as noted in the Canadian Forces Ombudsman’s report of February 05, 2002;

b.     Treatment for personnel who encounter operational injuries;

c.     Treatment for personnel suffering from depression, and extreme fatigue;

d.     A more effective system to deal with family violence;

e.       Staff shortages in the Operational Trauma Service Support Centre (OTSSC);

f.       Lack of social support programs for families of personnel suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, depression, fatigue and family violence.

The Committee noted that in many parts of Canada there is a shortage of doctors.  This situation is particularly severe in smaller, isolated locations. As a consequence, while the Canadian Forces provide medical care for the military personnel themselves, family members often encounter significant problems in securing a family doctor in local communities. 

The Committee also was advised that the availability of French-speaking doctors is extremely limited in the Camp Gagetown area.  There is a similar shortage of specialists to deal with the special medical needs of some families.


15. Pay and Benefits

Despite the recent pay boosts, members of both the Regular and Reserve forces continue to believe that military pay is not sufficient to attract and keep good personnel, and does not match rates for similar employment paid to their civilian counterparts. 

This is particularly the case for enlisted troops and junior officers. In recent months there has been much verbal support for the military in Parliament, this has not translated into improved compensation where it is needed. These are still relatively poorly-paid people doing high-pressure, high-risk jobs.

Some of the major concerns the Committee heard regarding compensation while visiting Canadian Forces military bases were:

a.      The need to increase the pay of senior enlisted personnel;

b.     The need to remove the “compression effect”([88]) of senior non-commissioned officers;

c.     The need to ensure comparable pay with civilian or police counterparts for equivalent jobs;

d.     The need for some form of benefit, bonus or additional pay to cover appointments of responsibility (both for non-commissioned and commissioned officers);

e.      That “on duty requirement for 24 hours per day, 7 days a week” without standby pay or overtime should be reflected in the basic pay of Canadian Forces personnel;

f.       That an effective bonus program to attract and retain good personnel taking into consideration income tax considerations should be introduced;

g.     That the categories of specialists qualifying for skills pay should be expanded;

h.     The need for a pension plan for members of the reserve.


16.  Clothing and Personal Equipment

The Committee found that Canadian Forces personnel, particularly females, are unhappy with the design and tailoring of their uniforms. The following concerns were registered with the Committee:

a.       There is an inadequate supply of clothing designed and/or sized for women (i.e., well-fitting shoes and pants).  The “supply system” attitude appears to be one of using up all the old ill-fitting and poorly-designed clothing prior to ordering any of the newly designed female clothing;

b.     Protection vests supplied to women are poorly-designed, uncomfortable, and cumbersome.

Canadian forces personnel, as appropriate, also should be provided with operationally effective and comfortable clothing suitable for all potential geographic areas of operation.


17.   Other Morale Issues

There is clearly a high level of frustration among the maintenance personnel who work on the Sea King aircraft, due to the repeated postponement of the Maritime Helicopter Program, as well as alarmist media reports concerning the safety of the aircraft. 

Shortage of personnel in critical trades like this one has been detrimental to both operations and morale.


18.  Recruiting and Retention

While the recent and aggressive Canadian Forces recruiting program appears to be paying off, the Committee noted a number of issues that are counter-productive to a healthy level of recruitment and retention.  These issues include:

a.      Unacceptable bureaucratic delays in processing potential recruits. The Committee heard several sad stories of prospective recruits being told to return in six months for further processing.

b.     Reservists are being told that retrieval of their records and “accreditation” of their qualifications requires review by central agencies, resulting in extraordinary delay.

c.     The recruiting process is unacceptable when dealing with individuals who possess previous military experience. Just one example: former Canadian Forces pilots who were laid off when Canada 3000 ceased operations, were told that the re-entry process would be as long or longer than that of an initial recruit due to the need to obtain their “former Canadian Forces records” from an understaffed central agency which does not have automated records management systems.

d.     Canadian Forces advertising literature and recruiting campaigns should be more widely oriented towards all Canadians, and must be appealing to minorities.

e.      The extremely pressurized tempo of operations is an overriding source of discontent that no pay increase will solve;

f.       Greater effort is required to keep existing skilled personnel.  Shortage of Navy officers in both operations and engineering trades has caused an unacceptable workload for middle ranking officers.

g.     Coastal defence vessels operated by naval reserve are short-staffed, with the consequence that transfers from naval reserve to the regular forces are discouraged.

h.     Many Non-Commissioned Members in the reserve would like to see some form of job protection legislation to protect civilian employment while serving with the Canadian Forces. (The Committee heard conflicting views on this issue and is of the opinion it requires further consideration.)


19.  The Submarine Project

The Committee had the opportunity to tour the Canadian Forces newest submarines while visiting Halifax and learned of significant delay in this project. Further maintenance has been required to bring the boats up to “contract delivery standards”. Training has taken twice as long as anticipated. Adapting to Canadian communications and weapons systems of the first boat has taken almost three times as long as planned. 

In addition, personnel selected for the initial training were taken from lists of Canadian Forces personnel who had previous experience in submarines.  Consequently, the majority of this initial cadre is older than the average naval personnel, and will be retiring prior to the boats becoming operational.  The effect of this situation is that the boats will be short of trained personnel once they are declared fully operational.


20.  Qualification/Specialist Pay

The Committee learned that shortages in skilled technicians are largely caused by outside employers offering better salaries and quality of life.  The Committee believes   that the Canadian Forces should consider the introduction of a more widespread “qualification pay” program. 

In addition, the Canadian Forces should consider applying obligatory service to more “specialist” training. It is the Committees view that some form of increased specialist pay is less expensive than training new personnel. 

While the Department of National Defence has recently introduced a limited number of specialists bonuses, the current policy is extremely slow to start but very quick to end when the situations return to normal. The Committee recommends that this practice be reversed, or at least made more fair.


21. The Reserves

The Committee was able to visit a number of reserve units and found that morale was generally good among these dedicated Canadian men and women.  The Air Force Total Force Squadron in Winnipeg (i.e., comprised of both members of the regular and reserve force) appeared to be working well, with a reserve mission providing support to the training of air navigators.  Equally effective was the employment of reserves in the tactical aviation community.  Personnel were enthusiastic about their role in supporting Canada’s Griffon helicopters. 

The members of the Naval Reserve employed on Maritime Coastal Defence Vessels believe that they make a strong contribution to the naval mission.  While the Committee was unable to study the issue in depth, it did question whether the Maritime Coastal Defence Vessels could be employed more frequently to interdict ocean-going vessels as far out as the Canadian territorial limits.

The Canadian Militia, while providing excellent support to army overseas deployments still appeared to be concerned about a “national” mission.  As noted earlier in this report, the Committee is of the view that some Army Reserve should be employed across the country as Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) specialists assisting local first responders in dealing with these types of emergency situations.  This mission would strengthen the already-close ties the Militia has with local communities.

The Committee is pleased to note that the Canadian Forces have recently announced an enhanced capability to deal with CBRN situations, but believes that the regular force will be unable to provide regional teams to address the problem. It should consider employment of Reservists in this role, as well as the regional stockpiling of CBRN resources.


22. Requirement for $4 Billion Increase in Baseline Budget

The many shortfalls and deficiencies in Capital Equipment, Personnel and Operations and Maintenance have been outlined in this report. The Committee accordingly recommends an immediate increase to the Department of National Defence baseline budget of $4 billion.   

This amount is in keeping with the total increase recommended by other Canadian organizations, which have studied this issue in depth.  While they have proposed that the increase be phased in over several years, experience has shown that a variety of government exigencies can intervene to constrain or reverse multi-year commitments. The committee believes the case of the Canadian Forces is stark enough to argue that the total increase should be allocated immediately.

The Committee notes that such an increase in budget would be approximately 1.69 percent of Canadian GDP, up from the current level of 1.2 percent. It would move Canada to 12th place among 19 NATO countries, up from the current position of 17th, and at least put us in the company of the Netherlands and Hungary but still below countries like Portugal, Poland, Norway and the Czech Republic.

For those who might argue that such a sharp increase in funding cannot be readily or efficiently absorbed in one stroke, we would note that the Department of National Defence in the past has been able to deal with significant increases in time of need. 

While it is not the intent of the Committee to instruct the Government or the Department on how to allocate the initial  $4 billion, the following examples are offered as to how such funds might justifiably be dispersed. Other worthy approaches could be cited.


An Example of Possible Expenditure Allocations



In millions

In billions


Collective Training

Increasing Manning levels

Increased flying hours

Increased steaming days



Maintenance to support operations

Routine Maintenance

Additional 2nd and third line maintenance

Additional spare parts



Total Operations and Maintenance



$1.0 (25%)


Selective pay raise for military (weighted to the lower ranks level); retention and expanded specialist bonuses




Quality of Life program (personnel, training, post traumatic stress disorder treatments, housing and other infrastructure




Increase the military to 75,000 personnel



Total Personnel



$0.675 (16.9%)


Capital Equipment

Maritime Helicopter Project




Departmental Information Technology




Strategic Airlift




Aurora Weapons




CF 18 Smart Weapons




Satellite Communications




CF Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance




Upgrade M109 Artillery




Afloat Logistics Sealift




Joint Space Project

(Surveillance of and from space)




CBRN Training & Equipment




Army Vehicle Update




Research & Development




Miscellaneous Expenditures



Total Capital



$2.325 (58.1%)

Overall Total



- Operations & Maintenance

- Personnel

- Capital




$4 billion (100%)

This significant increase (just over 30 percent) in the base budget for National Defence is necessary to maintain an effective Canadian Forces. Canada needs to play catch-up, and quickly. Canada must not be allowed to fall behind in our commitment to the security of the nation. The Committee therefore recommends future annual budget increases, which are realistic, purpose-driven and adjusted for inflation.


23. Near Term Requirements

This increase in funding could permit the Department of National Defence to begin funding the following Canadian Forces activities that would fulfill current government tasking. It is understood that most of these projects are already included in the defence acquisition plan, but have been delayed due to financial limitations within the current budget:

a.      Proceed expeditiously with the purchase of 28 modern helicopters under the Maritime Helicopter Project;

b.     Purchase a national strategic lift capability to permit the timely deployment of Canadian Forces by:

I. purchasing eight strategic heavy lift aircraft to permit deployment of “outsize cargo” and

II. purchasing four afloat logistics and sea lift “roll on/roll off” ships.

c.     One more mechanized brigade group (equivalent to the first brigade based in Edmonton) and full manning of the current three brigades to provide a total of four fully manned brigades.

d.     Improve military information technology required to connect with other security and defence agencies and coalition partners by funding the Canadian Military Satellite Communications project;

e.      Replace the army’s medium logistics wheeled vehicles;

f.       Conduct a comprehensive Frigate mid-life update to extend the ships’ operational life;

g.     Purchase smart weapons for the CF18 and Aurora aircraft;

h.     Enhance Canadian Forces intelligence, surveillance target acquisition and reconnaissance capabilities through execution of a number of projects;

i.        Improve the Canadian Forces capability to react to Chemical, Radiological, Biological and/or Nuclear (CRBN) incidents.

j.        Provide the army with indirect fire support by upgrading the current M109 system with a 52 caliber 155 mm cannon upgrade with an integrated and automated fire-control system;

k.     Provide funding for the Canadian Forces joint space project to ensure ongoing civilian and military communications and surveillance capabilities of and from space, such as the RADARSAT II satellite which assisted authorities in responding to the Manitoba floods of 1997;

l.        Provide, as appropriate, all Canadian Forces members with operationally effective and comfortable clothing suitable for all potential geographic sites of Canadian Forces operations; and

m.   Set up a “strategic analysis team” comprised of representatives from academic institutions, strategic planners and experts from the research and development community to think “outside the box” in looking forward to future technologies and how equipment, tactics and strategies are likely to change.


24. Interoperability

The committee discussed “interoperability” with its counter parts in Washington.  While Canada, the United States and our NATO allies continue to operate under the same command and control procedures, concern was expressed at the rate of technological advancement within the United States forces.  It is evident that in the near future, the United States will employ technologically superior communications, weapons systems and doctrine that will far outstrip the capability of her allies.

The Committee is of the view that while challenging, interoperability with its allies should be pursued to the greatest extent possible.

Given the ever increasing cost of high tech military capability, it was brought to the Committee’s attention that the Canadian Forces should investigate specializing in certain military capabilities, mutually complementary with its allies.


25. NATO Enlargement

The committee received testimony from the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade prior to discussing this issue with  its counterparts in Washington during the fact-finding visit.  The Committee endorses the Canadian view that NATO enlargement is a good thing and should contribute to the maintenance of stability and security in the world. 

Given the large number of candidate countries under consideration for the second round of NATO enlargement however, as part of the Membership Action Plan (Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Slovenia, Albania, Bulgaria, Romania and Slovakia), the Committee is concerned about the impact such a large expansion will have on funding requirements and the governance of NATO. 

In particular, the Committee noted consensus (unanimity) is required for NATO decisions and a significant increase from 19 members will inevitably lead to slower decision making.  

26. Northern Command

Canada is fortunate that we have a long tradition of working with the U.S. military.  We have been members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and more importantly, have shared the air defence of the North American continent with the United States under the North American Aerospace Defence Agreement (NORAD) since 1958.  Under the NORAD agreement, the Commander in Chief of NORAD is appointed by, and reports directly to, both the President of the United States and the Prime Minister of Canada.

The United States moved to create a civilian Homeland Defence Organization after September 11th 2001 under the direction of Governor Ridge.  The U.S. military is in the process of developing a Homeland Defence organization that would encompass air, sea and land capabilities. 

While the final structure of this new military organization has yet to be determined, the Committee received briefings on a number of potential options during a fact-finding visit to Washington in early February 2002.

The Committee met with Secretary of defence Rumsfeld, Dr. Mason of the Permanent Joint Board on Defence, U.S. military planners and Dr. Miller of the National Security Council. All of them indicated that the United States plans to introduce this command by October 2002. 

The concept is based upon the present United States Commander-in-Chiefs Unified Command Plan.  It is intended that the command would be quite small, with a headquarters and support personnel.  Military forces would be assigned to the command by other agencies on an “as required” basis.  A number of US officials advised the Committee that Canada will be invited to participate in the new structure.

All U.S. officials who spoke to the Committee on the proposed new Northern Command indicated that one of the options under strong consideration was the NORAD model. Use of the NORAD model would mean that Canadian sovereignty and national security would be maintained, and that Canadian Forces would not be employed without the express authorization of the Prime Minister.


27. Defence Policy

During the testimony to the Committee, and in discussions with military personnel on visits to operational units, common complaints about insufficient resources, old equipment and the relevancy of the current defence policy persisted.        

The Committee notes that all of Canada’s principal allies have conducted some form of  defence review recently.  Examples provided to the Committee of reviews conducted prior to September 11th, 2001 included: the Quadrennial Defence Review in the United States as well as similar reviews in the United Kingdom and Australia.

Individuals and organizations from outside the Department of National Defence were unanimous in their opinion that the Defence White Paper of 1994 is outdated and not relevant to the 21st century.

In particular, the Conference of Defence Associations, in their publication “Caught in the Middle,” the Council for Canadian Security in the 21st Century in their publication “To Secure a Nation,” and the Federation of Military and United Services Institutes of Canada in their February 2001 publication on “Security Strategy for Canada” all state emphatically that a policy review is overdue. 

As a result of these and other testimonials, coupled with experience gained through fact-finding trips, the Committee is of the opinion that:

a.      the present roles and missions assigned to the Canadian Forces cannot be fully executed given the current levels of funding and personnel;

b.     the 1994 Defence White Paper has outlived its usefulness In particular, the current defence policy is not relevant in the new age of terrorism and asymmetric threats; and

c.     a Defence policy review is required in the near future to provide Canada and the Canadian Forces with a relevant defence policy for the first part of the 21st century. 

Committee believes that defence Policy should flow from Foreign Policy and that a Foreign Policy review should precede a Defence review.” 

Foot Notes:

The Committee believes it would facilitate its work and relationship with the Department of National Defence if:

a.    The Committee could be notified by the Department of major policy announcements and troop deployments at the same time as the media.

b.  The Department could assign to the Committee on a part time basis an experienced military officer similar to the officer provided to the Committee during its travel associated with this report.


National Security:  What We Think

The Committee’s Premises

·        Ensuring the security of its people is one of the fundamental obligations of any federal government.

·        Terrorism has assumed a vastly enhanced global dimension.  It no longer is limited to activities of individuals or small groups.

·        The threat of well -organized and well-funded terrorist networks will require new Canadian responses, which will require new resources.

·        Everything cannot be protected all the time.

·        Effective use of intelligence can minimize society’s risks.

·        The sooner and farther away threats can be identified, the better they can be addressed.

·        Limited resources place a premium on cooperation, internally and externally.

·        Exploiting technology can exponentially increase the effectiveness of security.

·        Insuring the security of Canadian ports has become a prerequisite for their economic viability.

·        Organized crime provides fertile ground for terrorist activity.

The Committee’s deliberations and findings are based upon the Committee’s premises.



The Committee focused on potential terrorist activity, examining areas where asymmetric([89]) threats are most likely.

The Committee heard testimony from a variety of witnesses in Ottawa and elsewhere. It visited major international airports at Montreal (Dorval) and Vancouver, as well as the seaports of Halifax and Vancouver and the inland port of Montreal. The Committee questioned a variety of organizations with responsibility for various aspects of security at these locations.

The Committee examined the capacities and security plans of the organizations, exploring for vulnerabilities that might permit circumvention by terrorists.

This report addresses:

a.      Security at Sea Ports and Airports;

b.      Border Issues:

c.     Emergency Response and Intelligence Coordination in Canada;

d.     The Need for a National Security Policy.

While more work clearly needs to be done, the Committee’s activities produced sufficient detail to raise concerns and to draw some conclusions on the state of Canadian security in the wake of Sept. 11, 2001.


1.  Security at Sea Ports

The Committee emerged from its hearings concerned about a broad range of security issues related to organized crime activities at Canadian ports that increase Canada’s vulnerability to terrorist activities.


A)  Port Authority Focus 

Port Authorities, appropriately, are primarily concerned with the economic viability of the Ports that they administer. Port Authority officials in Montreal, Halifax and Vancouver testified as to the economic importance of their ports to local, regional and the national economies. All told us that a significant portion of containers they handle are in transit to U.S. destinations. For example, more than 60 per cent of the containers handled at the Port of Halifax is destined for the New England States and the Mid-West.

Port Authority officials indicated that they had relatively little responsibility for security. Security issues are dealt with primarily by companies renting space at ports, often using private security guards backed up by municipal police forces.  In some ports there are joint task forces on crime, with representatives from Customs and Revenue, Immigration, municipal and provincial police forces (in Quebec), as well as the RCMP.  The Committee found that these task forces were a helpful source of information on the infiltration of organized crime at the ports.

The Committee heard testimony that organized crime organizations are generally active within the ports. Law enforcement officials related their concerns about the degree of infiltration of these organizations. Neither the police nor the Port Authorities could give the Committee statistics outlining the value of containers and merchandise stolen at any of the ports. Claims are made to hundreds of insurance companies, but these thefts are often not reported to any centralized policing agency that could put together an accurate statistical picture of the scope of the problem. Police at the Port of Vancouver estimated that the $4 million a year spent on policing and security at the Port represents a fraction of one percent of the proceeds of crime.  They noted the enormous loss of tax revenue in this regard.

Customs officers told the Committee that criminals can make whole containers disappear as they are being unloaded from the ships, either arranging to have them smuggled directly out of the port or hiding them on port property for later looting.  We heard testimony that inspectors rarely work alone because of the danger that something will happen to them. Containers had been known to be suspended over their vehicles during an inspection, to be “accidentally” dropped close to inspectors – a brutal warning that their lives are at risk.

Statistics presented to the Committee showed that an extraordinarily large percentage of port employees have criminal records. Police and other officials expressed concern that these people had chosen to work at ports because such employment presents opportunities for further criminal activity.

The implications of this lack of control of criminal activity at Canadian ports are clear. The Committee concluded that where organized crime flourishes, it does so because activities at any given port are beyond the control of the authorities in charge of the port.

Clearly, this lack of control creates fertile ground for terrorist activity, including covert immigration, and potentially the covert importation and shipment of weapons and other agents of mass destruction.

The Committee was presented evidence of clear-cut security lapses, such as the lack of adequate fencing and the absence of either effective pass systems or comprehensive background checks on people who work at Canadian ports or have access to them.

The Committee concluded that these lapses create national security problems, and must be addressed both in the interests of the economic viability of the ports themselves, and the security of Canadians and their North American neighbours.

The paramount concern of the Committee is the safety of Canadians.  It is also concerned that there will be an inevitable and potentially debilitating economic impact on Canadian ports if U.S. border officials conclude that they are not secure.  The U.S. government is likely to restrict container traffic from ports with reputations for criminal activity and the consequent potential for serious security breaches.  When we raised this issue with members of the U.S. Congress, they admitted that many of their ports also had a major problem with organized crime, which they must address.

It is clear to the Committee that the attacks of September 11 on the United States have launched a major re-evaluation of the vulnerability of ports of entry into the United States and throughout the world. The Committee believes that significant enhancement of Canada’s ports security is not only necessary, but inevitable, and the sooner the process begins, the better for Canada’s economy and Canada’s security.

Those ports that improve security first will gain a comparative advantage. 

“The Committee is of the view that Canadian ports could improve their competitive position in North America by moving immediately to significantly enhance security.”


B) Fences and Passes

The Committee is not at all satisfied that a proper system of entry/exit control has been set in place at the marine ports visited. The Committee believes that the perimeter of the ports must be securely fenced, that entrances and exits must be closely controlled at all times of the day and night, 365 days of the year.  Within the ports, highly sensitive areas should be closed off so they can be accessed only by those with proper security clearance.

Access to the restricted areas of the ports, and movement within the port generally, should be controlled by a system of electronic passes which would identify the card bearer and restrict that person’s access to appropriate areas.  These electronic passes are a perfect example of how exploiting technology can increase the effectiveness of security.

An electronic system, as opposed to a simple photo identity card, would permit varying levels of security, depending on the duties and security clearance of the pass holder.  While electronic passes are not foolproof, they can be automatically deactivated when the holder leaves his or her employment. The success of any system, of course, depends on prompt reporting of the loss or misplacement of all passes.

The Committee recommends a full review of the fencing and entry/exit security systems currently in place at Canada’s significant ports to determine their adequacy.  This review should also consider the introduction of national standards for port security systems.”  

C)   National Screening System

The system of electronic passes must be reinforced by the introduction of a proper screening system for port employees that will include police and security background checks. Canada Customs officers testified that they were occasionally subjected to acts of intimidation by dockworkers during patrols, or while engaged in searches.

The widespread theft of containers and the number of break-ins at ports are disturbing indicators of a high level of criminal activity. The Committee was struck by police comments concerning the sizable percentage of dockworkers with criminal records and the seeming lack of concern about this on the part of most Port employers and Port Authorities. 

At the Port of Montreal, the Committee was told that roughly 15 per cent of longshoremen and 36 per cent of checkers have serious criminal records. At the Port of Halifax, police told the Committee that 187 of 500 employees (39 per cent) whose records the police checked had serious criminal records. At the Port of Charlottetown, it was 28 of 51 (54 per cent).

The Committee is certainly concerned with the sizable percentage of employees with criminal records. But it also believes that criminal elements are unlikely to have a zealous interest in countering terrorist activities, and may knowingly or unknowingly engage in acts that assist terrorists. Even their relentless efforts to prevent Port Authorities from exercising control over activities at a port, so that they can go about their illegal activities, plays into the hands of any would-be terrorists who might be deterred by a more effective level of supervision.

The Committee is unanimous in its belief that an enhanced capacity to screen port employees for criminal activity, as well as for security reasons, is essential to reassure Canadians and Canada’s trading partners that our ports do not constitute a danger to their well-being.

Police expressed concern that unions continue to exercise excessive control over the functioning of ports.

This is exemplified by the traditional hiring hall model, whereby employers request the number of employees they need and the union determines who gets selected and where they will work.

“The Committee recommends the introduction of a compulsory background screening system at significant ports to identify from among those employees or candidates for employment those persons who are identified by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service as posing a security risk.”


D)  Issues Relating to Maritime Commerce

The Committee is of the view that the complexity and costs of providing adequate security at Canada’s sea and inland ports is not widely understood. The resource needs of the agencies responsible for security at Canadian ports (Canada Customs, Immigration and the RCMP, as well as municipal police), are not adequately funded to deal effectively with either criminal activity or the potential for terrorist acts.

Canada Customs and the RCMP rely heavily on information from informants and officials in foreign countries, together with statistical analysis of previous problems, to target their work. They explained to the Committee that, absent the resources to examine every container – and hundreds of thousands move through Canadian ports and border crossings each year – intelligence is essential.

Canada Customs and Revenue Agency officials testified that three per cent of cargo containers are routinely searched. The Committee learned that this degree of vigilance is not based on any study, or any sophisticated knowledge as to the optimal level of inspection that might produce an acceptable level of compliance and security. Rather it is based on the financial resources made available to hire and equip inspectors. While it should be noted that Canada’s inspection rate is more than double the average at ports in the United States, that in no way demonstrates that it is sufficient to deter widespread circumvention. 

Technology offers a new way of inspecting the contents of a container that is more thorough than just opening the back and looking inside, and much less labour intensive than completely unloading and inspecting the contents.

Customs officials at the port of Vancouver demonstrated a mobile machine capable of X-raying a container at the rate of one foot per second.  Within a minute, it allows Customs officials to “see” into a container and, on this basis, decide whether it should be “targeted” for a full inspection.  This is another example of how technology can increase the effectiveness of security measures.  The U.S. is moving forward quickly with technology.

“The Committee recommends that in Canada’s ports the Customs and Revenue Agency:

a.      conduct a sensitivity analysis to determine what level of examination of containers will provide effective security; and

b.     receive the funding necessary to equip significant ports and major border crossings with X-ray machines and other appropriate technology to inspect high risk containers.”


E)   National Enforcement Strategy for Security in Ports.  

The Committee has doubts about the capacity of individual enforcement agencies to deal with the overall security and organized crime risks at the seaports. The inability to ensure effective security control of commerce at the ports could have a devastating impact on their economic viability.

“The committee recommends that a public inquiry, under the Inquiries Act into significant ports be established, with a mandate that would include:

a.     a major review of security at the ports and the development of a national approach to recruiting, training, and the retention of security personnel;

b.     examination of the degree of control that organized crime has over Canadian sea port operations, as well as the relationship between such control and threats to national security;

c.     an assessment of the potential for use of Canadian ports to further terrorism;

d.     a comprehensive review of the customs, policing and security resources, including the role of private security agencies, which are required at ports;

e.     a review of the effectiveness of customs inspections of vessels and cargo arriving at Canadian ports; and

f.       a review of hiring practices at Canadian ports.”


F)   Universal Set of Security Standards

The sooner security threats can be identified, and the farther away from Canadian shores they are identified, the greater is the likelihood that they can be countered.

In Washington, the Committee was briefed by Commander Stephen Flynn, a representative of the U.S. Coast Guard and Senior Fellow in the National Security Studies Program at the Council on Foreign Relations about his proposed reforms to the international transportation system that would enhance this objective.  The reforms would begin at the world’s seven greatest ports, through which most of the world’s sea traffic moves.   The thought being if the seven ports agree, others would quickly follow to remain competitive.

These ports would be persuaded to agree to a universal set of effective security standards. In return for adopting these standards they would receive preferential access to the United States.

Containers would be loaded at inspected, well-supervised facilities that qualify as secure under this universal set of standards. The loaded containers would be equipped with monitors that would record any attempt to tamper with their seals. Movement of the containers would then be monitored through the use of a global positioning system.

Members of Congress and other administration officials who met with the Committee supported the thrust of this proposal. 

“The Committee recommends the Flynn model of enhanced port security with preferential access should be monitored closely and examined further.”


G)   Small Ports and Harbours

Of course, heavier security at major ports is not enough. Canada has thousands of kilometres of coastline, and hundreds of harbours and small ports with little or no security. On the East Coast there is a volunteer watch in some harbours and small ports.  The RCMP employs a limited number of small boats which can be used for patrol purposes. On the East Coast there is one RCMP vessel which has open sea capability and a second on order.

There are occasional Aurora over flights, and the Navy has set aside a limited number of days to assist Fisheries and Oceans and the RCMP.  Notwithstanding this, the Committee heard testimony from police and customs that Canada has no effective system to scrutinize foreign vessels landing outside major ports.

“The Committee recommends that the issue of the security of Canada’s coastline be examined, and a plan developed to broaden and tighten its security.”


2.  Airport Security

A)    Pass System

The Committee visited Vancouver International and Montreal’s Dorval Airport. In the course of these visits the committee heard evidence concerning different types of security passes and systems. None of the people briefing the committee were able to indicate how many passes are in circulation across the nation, but all estimates were in the tens of thousands. 

As already noted in the discussion of security in seaports, the Committee believes that use of electronic passes will allow the airport authorities to greatly enhance the effectiveness of airport security at a very low relative cost.

The passes varied in character from photo-ID, with different colours for different areas, to electronic passes encoded with information about the bearer. The latter can be programmed so that the bearer can only enter certain areas. They can also be deactivated if the need arises.

Controlling passes is complicated by the fact that pass holders work for scores of different companies. While a background check of new employees is carried out by the RCMP and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service,  the Committee did not hear of any follow-up investigation of unsuitable candidates, nor receive any information about the number of employees denied a pass.  Nor is it clear under what circumstances an employee might be asked to agree to additional security screening.

Of the tens of thousands of passes that are currently in circulation, the committee was advised that thousands cannot be accounted for, including those issued to employees of the defunct Canada 3000 airline, and others that have been lost, stolen or kept by employees who had quit their jobs without notice.

The Committee was struck by the freedom of access of employees who have airside passes, and appear to move relatively freely through restricted areas at airports.

The Committee recommends for airports:

a.     that a nation-wide system of electronic identification (smart passes) be introduced to control movement through high risk security areas;

b.     that a review be conducted of the entry and exit control systems that monitor the movement within secure areas of terminals and airport perimeters; and

c.     that more rigorous security and police checks be undertaken on all prospective pass recipients.”


B)  Passenger and Baggage Screening

The Committee was told that while passengers are screened for metal objects that could be used as weapons, there has been no comprehensive screening for explosives.

Baggage checked receives significantly less screening than baggage carried,  although an effort has been made to ensure that all baggage on a flight is matched to a passenger on board.

Given that many terrorists are prepared to commit suicide to achieve their ends, more rigorous inspection of both passengers and baggage is clearly in order. 

The technology and equipment is available that will substantially increase the effectiveness of security measures and the safety of Canadians.  All that remains is to acquire it and train staff how to use it.

“The Committee recommends that equipment be installed at all airports designated by Transport Canada to ensure that all baggage and passengers are screened for weapons and explosives and that, as reliable equipment capable of detecting the presence of chemical or biological or bacteriological agents becomes available, it also be installed.([90])”


C)   Private Security Companies

The Committee was also briefed on the low pay and high turnover of employees of security companies currently screening passengers at airports. Airport authorities stressed the importance of this work, the problems associated with boredom on the job, the paucity of training provided to those doing the screening, and the difficulty private security companies have retaining experienced personnel. The Committee also noted that inspection standards vary from airport to airport.

The Committee noted widespread dissatisfaction with the fact that this work is routinely sub-contracted to the lowest bidder, with little to indicate that this practice will change.

“The Committee recommends that a federal agency be created that will be responsible for selection, training, and supervision of persons and systems responsible for passenger and baggage screening at airports, and that this agency report to the RCMP.([91])”


D)  Mail and Cargo Delivery

The Committee did not have the opportunity to assess the security measures in place to deal with the millions of pieces of mail and packages that are processed daily at airports. The guaranteed time-line for delivery of courier packages and mail presents challenges to security. Tight delivery schedules mitigate against adequate time allotments for security inspection. This of particular concern given the massive volume of packages processed by courier companies and Canada Post flowing through Canada’s airports. 

The Committee notes that this probably represents another opportunity to use technology to increase the effectiveness of security.

 “The Committee recommends that the movement of mail and parcels at airports be reviewed to ensure adequate security inspection.”


3.  Border Issues

A)  Trade issues

The Committee heard evidence from both Canadian and American witnesses that the rapid and assured transit of cross -border goods is a major economic priority.  The enormous volume of  border trade – approximately $1.9 billion (CDN) in goods and services each day – is vital to Canada’s economic well being.  Pre-clearance procedures must be developed to ensure the rapid flow of low-risk shipments across the border.

It is essential that a system be developed that creates a  “smart border” through the use of technology and integrated enforcement agencies. Smart, sophisticated border systems have proven that they can reliably ensure the rapid transit of cargo and individuals clearly identified as being of low risk to security.

The decision immediately following the September 11th attacks to tighten security and impose more rigorous across-the-board inspections at Canada-U.S. borders created huge delays for routine shipments at border crossings. Travelers and shippers accustomed to crossing borders in minutes were often forced to wait hours, with trucks lined up for miles, engines running, and drivers unable to sleep because of the need to keep creeping forward in line. The impact on the economic movement of perishable goods, as well as on-time delivery merchandise, was significant.

The Committee supports the 30 Point Action Plan embodied in the “smart border” declaration signed by Canada and the United States on 12 December 2001.  The Plan has not yet been ratified, but officials from both countries hope to implement it by June. The plan would utilize existing, tested technology that has shown that it can combine speed-of-movement for identifiable low-risk crossings with effective border security. The plan also recognizes that both countries have finite resources, and that close cooperation is essential.

Delays at Canadian-U.S. borders are currently not substantially longer than they were before 11 September, but part of this improvement results from a significantly reduced volume of traffic. Reduced traffic means less tourism and reduced economic activity dependant on imports and exports. Each country recognizes the importance of maximizing border volume while minimizing security risks, and pilot projects with smart border systems have proven that this is attainable.


B)  Canada Customs and Revenue Agency Staffing and Working Conditions

During the fact-finding trips of the Committee to the west and east coasts of Canada, the Committee learned from both union representatives and management that the Canadian Customs service is under-staffed. From the unions’ viewpoint this means that, during the day, too many border posts are staffed by a lone customs officer, without the possibility of immediate support from either immigration officers or police. 

The Committee heard from customs inspectors that while three out of the four agencies on Canada-U.S. borders are allowed to carry arms, they are not. The inspectors believed that they need weapons to back up their designated authority to prevent illegal crossings at border points, and provided the Committee with a number of examples where they were unable to do so. 

The Union representing Customs Inspectors noted that part-time students carry out almost the same duties as permanent Customs officers, but the students receive only two to three weeks of training, rather than the eight to ten required of permanent officers.

“The Committee recommends that:

a.     the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency insures that all personnel on the primary inspection line are trained to the highest standard;

b.     the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency insure that no Customs Officers work alone at posts.”

“The Committee has not been persuaded that Customs officers should be armed.”

In Washington, the Committee listened to Members of Congress complain about the inadequate resources the U.S. government allocates on their side of the border, including under-staffed border crossings.  Since the Committee does not believe Canadian posts should be staffed by a single Customs officer, a combined Canada-United States post may turn out to be the optimal solution at many locations.

The Canada-U.S. border is already considered to be the world’s best example of how two countries can avoid the two extremes of a traditional, restricted border with its paralyzing red tape, and a full customs union, with the lessening of each member’s political autonomy such a union implies. The Canada-United States agreement to work toward a “smart border” should meet the economic and political needs of a border that is secure, yet encourages the free flow of people and goods.


4.   A Fundamental Challenge Facing the RCMP and CSIS

The Committee heard evidence that both the RCMP and CSIS have experienced difficulty recruiting analysts and officers with the linguistic, religious and cultural backgrounds necessary to help them carry out sophisticated missions. The gathering of intelligence is a time-consuming and complex task, but it is perhaps the key ingredient to dealing effectively with the covert activities of terrorists.

In the view of the Committee, solving this problem will be considered a test of the leadership of the Commissioner of the RCMP and of the Director of CSIS.”


5.   Canadian Security and Intelligence Service

Based on testimony from several witnesses, the Committee concluded that the current government funding that CSIS receives does not permit it to gather significant amounts of foreign intelligence outside Canada, even though it has the legal and parliamentary authority to operate beyond Canadian borders. The Committee believes that CSIS must be mandated to expand its capacity to gather foreign intelligence.

Again, the sooner and farther from Canada’s borders threats can be identified, the better they can be addressed. Effective foreign intelligence can minimize the risk of terrorism, both to Canadians, and its neighbours. Canada is not a large enough country to develop military might on the scale of the United States or some European countries. Canada’s forte in the fight against terrorism should be intelligence, but at the moment Canada’s intelligence capacity is inadequately funded.

A former Deputy Director of CSIS and a former Commissioner of the RCMP agreed that developing an off-shore intelligence capability within CSIS should be a priority. The Committee fully agrees with one expert witness’s testimony: “The first line of defence against terrorism is intelligence.”

The Committee learned that CSIS liaison agents are overburdened with the number of refugee and immigration claimant verifications they must process at overseas posts. The budget reductions at CSIS have resulted in fewer CSIS resources trying to cover a larger volume of work.

The Security and Intelligence Review Committee (SIRC), in its 2000-2001 Report, stated that CSIS conducted 125,928 background checks on potential immigrants and refugees to Canada, and reviewed 161,895 citizenship applications. 

CSIS staff have been overwhelmed by the backlog. Delays in processing applications keep lengthening. The SIRC Report states that CSIS took an average of two years to report to Citizenship and Immigration Canada on cases that raised security concerns.

“The Committee recommends

a.     that the lengthy delay in processing of Citizenship and Immigration Canada applications by the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service is unacceptable and that sufficient resources should be allocated to deal with delays; and

b.     that CSIS should be instructed to upgrade its intelligence operations overseas. 


6.  Oversight Requirements

Only the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service and the Communications Security Establishment have formal oversight review agencies. The Committee notes that the following departments and agencies are involved in intelligence gathering:

- Department of the Solicitor General, (National Counter-Terrorism Plan);

- the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, (Criminal Intelligence Directorate);

- the Department of National Defence (Director General Intelligence Division);

- the Office of Critical Infrastructure Protection and Emergency Preparedness (Information sharing with the security and intelligence community);

- the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (Security and Intelligence Bureau);

            - Citizenship and Immigration Canada;

            - The Canada Customs and Revenue Agency; and

- the Privy Council Office (Security and Intelligence and Intelligence Assessment Secretariat). 

The Committee notes that only two of these ten organizations engaged in this very serious and critical activity are subject to any external review process.

“The Committee recommends that there be an examination to determine which, if any, additional government departments or agencies beside the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service and the Communications Security Establishment require oversight bodies.” 

7.   The Need for a National Security Policy

As the Committee proceeded, hearing more witnesses and visiting more locations in the field, it became increasingly evident that executive direction and coordination of activities is required when dealing with national incidents, whether natural (eg. ice storm, floods, earth quakes), accidental (eg. toxic derailments, major oil spills), or premeditated acts of terror (eg. Air India, Sept 11/01).  

There is no national security policy that agencies at all levels of government can use as standard operating procedures or “concepts of operations.” Organizational charts reveal that the responsibility for major incidents is fragmented and relegated to different Ministries.

For instance, the Solicitor General is responsible for national security issues; the Minister of National Defence for military involvement and natural disasters. A host of other departments play a part in the management of catastrophic incidents. Each situation is pretty well treated on an ad hoc basis, requiring individuals at all levels of response (often different on each occasion) to relearn lessons of the past.

There are questions as to the level of coordination between the numerous departments and agencies involved in intelligence gathering and analysis.  Each of several organizations collects, coordinates, analyzes and disseminates intelligence information in a different manner. Some do so strictly for their own internal audiences, while others forward some of their intelligence to an under-staffed section of the Privy Council Office for assimilation into a package to guide senior government officials.

The Committee received a written submission from The Medical Officer of Health of the City of Toronto, a “ first responder” to disasters, who was clearly distressed at the lack of coordination and planning as it affected her office: “There is a clear need for better coordination among local first responders, health service providers at all levels and various provincial and federal departments in the areas of:

  a.      Sharing plans, resources, and intelligence;

  b.     Scenario – based contingency planning;

c.     Tabletop exercises, training and drills;

d.     Inventory management, distribution and deployment; and

e.      Criteria and procedures for threat/risk assessment and associated protective measures for workers and the general public”([92]).

The Committee was uneasy with testimony from representatives of D.N.D.’s Office of Critical Infrastructure Protection and Emergency Preparedness (OCIPEP).  While OCIPEP is admittedly in the early stages of developing its mandate, its representatives did not appear to have a good grasp of how their mandate should develop to address the protection of essential Canadian infrastructure. Since September 11, the agency’s role has become more critical, and the organization has been allocated additional resources.

OCIPEP should emerge as a key “facilitator” for municipal, provincial and federal agencies. It is essential for it to provide national leadership, and that it develop clear command procedures to deal with all kinds of emergency situations.

“Given the importance of National Security issues, and the need to have procedures and policies in place before incidents happen, the Committee recommends that a study be undertaken to develop a National Security Policy, which will examine the roles of all levels of government.”

([88]) Definition of “compression effect”: The compression effect is that the difference in pay between successive ranks becomes smaller and smaller.

([89]) Threats from non-state actors, like terrorists, using a variety of means possibly including chemical and biological weapons.

([90]) The recent federal budget included funding to implement this recommendation.

([91]) The recent federal budget included funding to implement this recommendation. The Committee is recommending a different approach to security in seaports and airports because seaports are oriented toward cargo and airports toward passengers.

([92]) See appendix for Dr. Basrur’s letter

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