Proceedings of the Standing Senate Committee on
Foreign Affairs

Issue 36 - Evidence


OTTAWA, Wednesday, May 5, 1999

The Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs met this day at 3:20 p.m. to examine the ramifications to Canada of the changed mandate of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and Canada's role in NATO since the demise of the Warsaw Pact, the end of the Cold War and the recent addition to membership in NATO of Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic; and of peacekeeping, with particular reference to Canada's ability to participate in it under the auspices of any international body of which Canada is a member.

Senator John B. Stewart (Chairman) in the Chair.

[English]

The Chairman: Honourable senators, when we concluded our meeting yesterday on our reference relative to the post-Cold War role of NATO, primarily peacekeeping, I had a list of senators who wished to ask questions. At the top of that list was Senator Bolduc, who wanted to ask a supplementary question. I interrupted him, because I thought it was a question that should be dealt with as a leading question. I will now ask Senator Bolduc to ask that question.

Senator Bolduc: My question is related to the decision-making process within NATO.

As I understand it, NATO is a political organization that works by consensus. Let us suppose that in the area of one country -- a neighbouring country of a NATO member -- there is a security problem or some kind of turmoil. I understand that it takes a certain amount of time to take action, because there must be a consensus. However, if there is no consensus, they do not take action. We know that in the case of Bosnia, some countries decided to intervene and some countries decided not to intervene. Finally, NATO was at an impasse.

Would you please explain the voting requirements to expel a state from NATO? There is no common defence policy in Europe. In Europe, it is very tough to have a common international policy and a common security policy. When the United States decides to get involved, the matter is somehow resolved. However, if the U.S. does not indicate that it will take action, apparently it is difficult for the Europeans to decide for themselves.

I should like to hear more of an explanation than simply that it is a consensus and that they decide upon a unanimous consensus. I suspect that they do not give the same weight to Luxembourg in making a decision as they would to Germany.

Mr. Paul Meyer, Director General, International Security Bureau, Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade: You are correct in pointing out the variable geometry that has occurred in the past.

You referred to Bosnia. Indeed, at an earlier stage the United States was not prepared to get involved on the ground in Bosnia, although other NATO members were -- including Canada, France and the United Kingdom. That is an example where discussions were clearly taking place within NATO, but no consensus could be reached about having NATO take a role at that stage.

Eventually, in the aftermath of what was seen as a perceived failure of UNPROFOR, the attitude in Washington changed, and there was a willingness to get involved. There was the initiative in Dayton that finally resulted in a UN-mandated, NATO-led force. It was a good example of the various stages where, at one point, you do not have a consensus and member states get involved through other means and then, eventually, the situation is re-evaluated and a consensus that NATO should act is reached.

As an organization, NATO is unlike the International Monetary Fund, which has weighted voting. In the IMF, the bigger states, who contribute more, actually have more voting power. Weighted voting does not apply at NATO. Every state, theoretically, is equal. However, politically, there is a clear recognition that the opposition of the United States against a certain course of action will weigh much more seriously in council decisions than the opposition of Luxembourg. States are aware of their relative contribution to the overall political and military effort of the alliance, and they conduct themselves accordingly.

I would emphasize that 50 years spent working as allies have led to a remarkable degree of collegiality. NATO has addressed some thorny issues. There is a high success rate of countries making the necessary compromises in terms of national preferences in order to achieve a common result that can be supported by all. Does that response help in terms of the process?

Senator Bolduc: Yes. I understand that you mean that the countries discuss the matter and finally come to a decision. I understand that everyone agreed that Hungary should become a member, so Hungary did become a member. However, if Turkey or another state decides to get tough with a neighbour outside of NATO and NATO decides not to intervene, will they expel that country?If so, must the vote to expel be unanimous, or a two-thirds majority or what?

Mr. Meyer: There is no provision in the Washington Treaty for expelling a state from the alliance, although an individual state does have the right to withdraw from the treaty and from the organization. That would be the recourse taken if a state felt, for whatever reason, that it could no longer abide by the NATO principles and purposes.

In terms of a threat that a member state perceives, it always has the right to consult with other allies. If there is an actual attack, the obligations of collective defence come into force.

Senator Bolduc: I have the impression that the United States has built an interest in participating in NATO because of its military complex and because of the presence of American corporations in Europe. On the one hand, Canada does not have many major corporations involved in the area. On the other hand, it is less likely that we would participate in many locations in Europe because of the complexity of issues such as ethnicity.

We have been involved in 25 of these things, and at one time we spent 25 years in Cyprus. The more we have done this, the worse it has been in terms of international trade for Canada. We go there and do things, but we do not receive anything back in terms of trade or business. I know that security is one problem and business is another problem. However, you always give, never receiving anything in return.

Mr. Meyer: I suggest that we do get a lot back from a stable international security environment. We are a trading nation. Approximately 40-plus of our GDP derives from trade, and that clearly depends on the existence of a relatively secure environment.

I think we do receive benefits from maintaining that secure environment in a very commercial sense. I would also argue that we have had the experience of having to go and fight wars in Europe on two major occasions when we had neglected the security situation there. NATO has been a very successful organization in maintaining peace in Europe and in preventing us from having to return.

The Chairman: I have a supplementary question concerning Senator Bolduc's first question.You told Senator Bolduc that there is no specified vote by which a NATO country can be expelled from the organization, but some NATO countries have ethnic minorities. Yesterday, Senator Bolduc mentioned Turkey. I do not know how serious the Basque problem is now in Spain, but we certainly know that the situation in Northern Ireland is not as good as we had hoped it would be at this time. Has there been any consideration of how to deal with peacekeeping problems within NATO countries?

Mr. Meyer: NATO is not an organization that deals with minorities within its own member states. In the case of problems with the treatment of minorities in a member state, other institutions have the jurisdiction to deal with that -- for example, the European Court of Human Rights and the UN Commission on Human Rights. There is also the OSCE High Commissioner for National Minorities, and there are other bodies that can deal with maltreatment of minorities within a member state. It is not NATO, per se.

As to peace operations, I can only think of support by some member states for the situation in Northern Ireland. We have a very eminent retired general, John de Chastelain, retired Chief of Defence Staff, who has contributed to the peace process there. However, that process has not entailed sending contingents from other states.

The Chairman: You are saying that, insofar as the Yugoslavia-Kosovo operation is a peacekeeping operation or a peace-making operation, that is one thing, but that we would not engage in that kind of operation within a NATO country. Consequently, one concludes -- and I ask you to correct me if I am wrong -- that NATO is primarily a security organization rather than a general peacekeeping organization.

Mr. Meyer: Yes, as long as security is understood in a broader term than just pure military capacity. In a broader military sense, yes.

Senator Robertson: I wish to return to the issue of consensus that Senator Bolduc talked about yesterday. I read your response to the chairman yesterday, and I found it confusing. I should like you to clarify it, please.

The chairman was asking you a question about missions that do not involve Article 5 operations. How does NATO decide? He asked if a 100 per cent vote is required, or it is a loose consensus. I am not sure what a "loose" consensus means. How "loose" does it gets? That is another issue. You said that, whether it is a minor or a majority activity -- like the Kosovo initiative -- it is null state dissent.

Mr. Meyer: Yes. Literally, that is true. If a state opposes the operation, it will not occur.

Senator Robertson: How will they resolve the issue? I must use Kosovo as an example. If the bombing will not succeed and they cannot get an agreement to proceed to some other military strategy, what do they do? They cannot bomb forever, nor can they walk away. How do they get a decision? Do they go to the United Nations for an intervention there? What happens?

Mr. Meyer: The decision-making process remains the same and that is done by consensus. If there were to be a reassessment at some point concerning the political and military strategy being undertaken, that would occur within the alliance councils. If there were consensus to modify that strategy, it would happen.

Senator Robertson: And if there is no consensus, then nothing happens, is that right?

Mr. Meyer: It is under review. It would need a consensus decision to take a new step.

Senator Robertson: I understand that.

Mr. Meyer: I do not want to leave the impression that there is rigidity about all this. Clearly, it takes time to develop a common view of a way to proceed, and it will take time to alter that. This is a dynamic organization, and it responds to the environment and the circumstances around it.

Senator Robertson: Do you find with this consensus process that some of the smaller states, or the ones with smaller populations, are intimidated by the strength of the three or four larger states? Do they agree to the consensus because of intimidation?

Mr. Meyer: No. I do not think they agree because of intimidation. I could cite examples where a small state felt that something was close to its national interest and prevented NATO from proceeding or made it known that it was objecting. There are cases where nations -- even small nations -- have stood up for something that was important.

Having said that, I would emphasize that there is a common base of shared values and interests and, to a much greater extent than in any other international organization you could name, there is a willingness to make the compromises necessary to come up with a common approach.

Rear-Admiral Bruce MacLean, Director General, International Security Policy, Department of National Defence: I wish to comment on that from a military perspective.

From your perspective, you have an interesting situation in the context of Kosovo. On the one hand, what are the conditions for success diplomatically and militarily, and how do you achieve success? On the other hand, you have 19 nations seated around the table, and each has its own particular perspective on the issue. You must agree upon that consensus. Therefore, in that context, how important is the institution and its survival when weighed against success? Obviously, you want the institution to come through with flying colours and at the same time you achieve success, but that is not always easy. It can be an interesting and challenging time.

NATO has been around for 50 years and it is a successful organization. The balance between the small nations and the larger nations has been interesting. As Mr. Meyer has already mentioned, sometimes the smaller nations can provide a perspective that differs from the perspective of the larger nations. A different solution set comes about as a consequence of the discussion that occurs in the North Atlantic Council.

With these 19 nations, you are either inside the tent or outside the tent. If you look back at the history of Europe, much of Western Europe is inside the tent. That is a positive thing. Many nations were antagonistic towards each other for 300 or 400 years, and they now have this common set of values and a shared appreciation. We now have the EU. Many of these institutions have been built up since NATO was formed, and I am not sure that that is a coincidence. This has been one pillar of the building of Europe, in a sense.

It is not easy. It is not a perfect solution. It is not an organization without challenges and problems. However, in the context of the real world, it is an organization that tends to work effectively.

Senator Stollery: My question relates to the discussions yesterday in terms of the issue of parliamentary approval of moneys for the Kosovo mission.

As we all know, in this country's parliamentary system, the Crown is the head of state and conducts wars. Parliament's job is to give the money and question how the money is spent. In the Persian Gulf mission, the government came to Parliament for a vote of money over and above any amount already provided.

Does Appropriation Act No. 1, 1999-2000 include money that is being used to pay for the Department of National Defence activities directly related to the Yugoslavia-Kosovo mission? Does any other provision of the act grant the government money to pay for activities directly related to that mission? In what part of the Estimates would senators find these moneys?

I ask this because the subject was broached yesterday about the right of Parliament to question how these things are undertaken. As I understand our system of government, that takes place when we examine the Estimates, and the National Defence Estimates in particular.

Could you enlighten us on that?

RAdm. MacLean: I will try. You are absolutely right. Everything you have said is correct.

Certainly the annual appropriations granted to National Defence by Parliament include funds to DND and to the CF used to pay for all the operations that we expect to undertake in the course of a year.

The Chairman: What does "CF" mean?

RAdm. MacLean: I apologize, I mean the Canadian Forces.

The Chairman: I thought you meant the "contingency fund."

RAdm. MacLean: There is no line item in the 1999-2000 Main Estimates related specifically to Kosovo. That is not to say that at this particular juncture we do not have money, because we do have money for operations as a whole. However, the flexibility is not large, and we have a number of operations ongoing throughout the world today. It is evident that, as this continues, there will be a requirement to go back to Parliament and seek additional funding through Supplementary Estimates.

Senator Stollery: Mr. Chairman, I know you are interested in this subject. The questions then become obvious. Where is the money? An estimate must be presented to Parliament, and in it the government must answer the questions about the mission. I am not singling you out in particular, but these questions have not really been dealt with.

I asked yesterday about the legality, and I will not repeat what I said yesterday. Where do I see what it says in some treaty or agreement that relates to this? If I do not see that, what are the implications for Parliament if it approves a budget for something that does that not have a legal basis?

We are here to deal with the issue of NATO, and I understand that. However, I think it would be unrealistic, given the atmosphere and all of the questions about the Kosovo operation, if we did not raise some of these questions.

RAdm. MacLean: It is important to note that, when we are given the annual appropriations, they do cover the cost of CF operations, although not necessarily all of them. We cannot predict what may be required throughout the course of a year, but it is there to pay for the operations, and that may include elements like Kosovo.

A problem arises if there is insufficient funding to deal with the particular operation. In that context, one would need to seek additional funding through Parliament.

The Chairman: Am I correct in understanding that your answer is that Parliament has already appropriated money sufficient to cover a certain part of the Yugoslavia-Kosovo operation, although that is not specifically identified in a separate vote in the Estimates?

RAdm. MacLean: That is correct.

The Chairman: The money that has already been voted and presumably will be voted in the second appropriation act may well need to be supplemented by a supplementary estimate and another appropriation, perhaps in the fall?

RAdm. MacLean: It may be, yes.

Senator Grafstein: I have a supplemental comment on that. It would be more appropriate to direct it to political witnesses, but these witnesses might pass it on to their ministerial members.

The question that the Chairman and Senator Stollery raised is important. If you look at the ability of Parliament to deal with the question of war or belligerent action, military aggressive action, clearly that is the prerogative of the executive. That is undisputed.

Senator Stollery: Of the Crown.

Senator Grafstein: Yes. No one quarrels with that. Those are long-established principles, and our system is unlike the American one, where there is a constitutional requirement to deal with Congress. That is the difference between our system and theirs.

As I understand it, though, Parliament holds the executive to account in respect of that powerful prerogative by the measuring of the purse and by dealing with appropriations.

Can the executive allocate, out of general funds, specific support for a specific belligerent action without earmarking it in advance and estimating it so that Parliament can fulfil its constitutional responsibility to deal with the public purse?

The Chairman: Your question follows directly on those that have already been raised, but I do not think that we should ask these witnesses that question.

Senator Grafstein: I appreciate that, but it is appropriate to put the question on the record. Perhaps it will give the ministers an opportunity to come back and answer that.

The Chairman: We have arranged to hear constitutional lawyers on precisely such problems.

Senator Andreychuk: When the NATO mandate was changed, we were coming out of the East-versus-West situation. As I recall, we were also seeing a shift politically and economically in Europe with the European Union, particularly around Maastricht. There was great discussion about Europe maintaining and controlling its own defence forces through the fourth pillar, the WEU.

What roles, if any, do the WEU and the European security pillar play in Kosovo? How do NATO and this supposed European defence structure relate?

Mr. Meyer: The short response is that WEU is not involved in the NATO operation. Only NATO is acting in this situation. Of course, all the WEU member states are also NATO member states.

There has been a lot of discussion on the broader topic to which you allude, namely the development of what is sometimes called a European Security and Defence Identify, or ESDI. This remains a hot topic. There are implications from Maastricht and even more from the Amsterdam Treaty, which just went into effect at the beginning of this month.

The French and British leaders recently suggested that it is time to go farther, but the unfortunate reality is that it is not clear exactly what the outcome would be of such a step. The suggestion is that the WEU may be folded into the European Union. Instead of having a trilateral arrangement, with the EU focusing mainly on political and economic matters, the WEU on defence, and NATO on transatlantic, political and military areas, there would be a bifurcated arrangement. In such an agreement, the EU would contain some capacity and cooperation with NATO when there is a decision to use NATO in a certain event.

When there is a lack of consensus -- getting back to that term -- on NATO taking action, then other arrangements can be made to permit European allies or, in some cases, even Canada, to undertake an action. It would not be a NATO action, but it would be one that could benefit from some NATO assets being made available to a European-led operation.

That is a rough schema. It is a fluid circumstance. NATO, at its Washington summit, gave general support for this ESDI move, but it is also something that the European Union, at its summit coming up in June, will be considering further.

Senator Andreychuk: It troubles me that we seem to be deferring to Europeans to determine that, but the outcome often affects us and it will certainly affect NATO. Should we not be considering that in our future political analysis?

In Bosnia and during that first blush of European expansion, it was the Europeans who said that they would deal with the problem first, to put it bluntly. When that did not work, they asked why the Americans were not there and then, finally, NATO was brought into it. We must determine how we figure into the development, rather than waiting and seeing what evolves in Europe and being left to readjust ourselves and our commitments to meet their priorities.

Mr. Meyer: I agree fully. We should not just be passive onlookers. We have made known in consultations and in diplomatic dialogue with our European partners that certain things remain important from a Canadian perspective. We want to ensure that the development of ESDI is not at the expense of NATO solidarity and its continued significant role.

For instance, we want to see that NATO is able to exercise what I might term first refusal rights regarding any contemplated operation in the future. If NATO takes this up, it remains a NATO operation. The alternative of a European operation only arises when NATO decides, for whatever reason, not to get involved.

We have also spoken out strongly against the development of an EU caucus within NATO. This is a phenomenon we encounter in many other international organizations. The EU members meet amongst themselves and often present a position to the others with an attitude that says "take it or leave it." They may say that the negotiation was so long and so arduous that we must appreciate why we cannot now tinker with it.

This has been a problem elsewhere, and e have been insistent that we do not want to see that emerge within NATO. We have had assurances from our European partners that they do not intend to do that. We do have interests here, and we have made them known.

The Chairman: Is it not a fact that most of the aircraft and missiles used in Yugoslavia have been American? Why have NATO's European members not made a greater contribution? I set the United Kingdom aside. The Prime Minister there has been quite outspoken with regard to ground troops.

Is it a case that the Europeans, who grow richer and richer in some countries, are relying primarily upon the North American taxpayers for their defence?

RAdm. MacLean: I will answer that from a strictly military perspective. The Americans spend over Can. $4 billion on NATO defence. The other 18 NATO nations combined do not match the contribution of the U.S. In the Yugoslavia situation, it is inconceivable to have that type of operation without the U.S. playing a paramount role.

I go back to Senator Andreychuk's question about the WEU and ESDI. Mr. Meyer noted that we do not want another institution within an institution, or a WEU within NATO. However, they are important, particularly in the context of the Europeans' greater capability to undertake some of these initiatives.

Another element coming out of the Washington summit was the initiative on defence capabilities. That was probably the only real military pillar that was aimed, as much as anything, at trying to change the focus of NATO from this collective defence regime to a much more flexible organization.

From a military point of view, that means you must have forces that are more deployable and more mobile. In the context of Article 5, the soldier is sitting on the Rhine and the other soldiers will come from the east; it is a fairly set piece.

Peace support operations are absolutely the opposite. They are far more challenging, in some ways, because you may not know exactly where they will operate. You must get forces from point A to point B, so there is a deployability issue. Sometimes you must keep those forces in place for long periods of time. In a collective defence operation in the 1970s or 1980s, no one would have anticipated that an operation could go on for years. Yesterday, Senator Forrestall raised the point of how many people you need to support a particular group. There is a sustainability issue.

An interoperability element is absolutely fundamental. The Americans are so far advanced in terms of their technical prowess that keeping up with them is difficult. At the same time, the Americans need their allies alongside of them and if they are too far advanced, we cannot talk to each other. The Europeans recognize that. They must be more capable as a group than they have been in the past.

All of these things together suggest that in the future the Europeans must be able to do more in a collective European sense than they do today.

Senator Andreychuk: That raises the issue of whether, as they get stronger, NATO will -- or should -- get weaker and diminish its role. However, I will leave that to another debate with another group.

It used to be that the soldier on the ground was trained for war. We then developed peacekeeping and the soldier was trained for peace, but a relatively easy peace. Let us use Cyprus as an example, where we have the Greeks and the Turks and an area that we have patrolled for more than 25 years. The goal of peacekeeping was to defend two known groups, to create an amicable relationship with both, and to maintain neutrality while doing so. Those concepts were well understood by the soldier and by the public.

Somalia was the first test. It troubles me, because I served there for almost four years. The enemy was not really known. We thought they were all our friends, and then we learned that some groups had other activities.

We then instituted training for officers and forces on the ground to teach them how to work in a civilian situation. I was beginning to understand that process. Now we have the Kosovo situation, where I guess we are at war, and there are civilians involved. Can you give me any assurance that, when we put soldiers into that kind of unusual situation, they are properly trained and they understand the situation?

Our political concepts of peace and security have been changing so quickly that I believe it is very difficult for the soldiers on the ground in each of these situations to understand what is expected of them. I am very uneasy about whether they are trained, whether they have the right equipment, and whether they have the right attitude before going into these situations. I believe that we will have more and more of those situations.

How well equipped are we for this massive change and the situation of peace, security, attacks and wars, all going on at the same time in the same place?

RAdm. MacLean: You have asked a question that we should ask ourselves on a day-to-day basis. I cannot give you the answer. I can only tell you that it is an evolutionary process. In many ways, the equipment is not as much an issue as the training and the individuals that we put into harm's way.

I believe that we have substantially improved our command and control arrangements and our understanding of how rules of engagement must operate in varying situations. We have expanded our understanding of the bounds of peacekeeping, through to peace support operations, through to combat, through to war. We now realize that the continuum is much broader for peace support operations than was imagined in the 1970s and 1980s. We have had to institute a great deal more flexibility in our operations and the demands we put on our military personnel. It is much more challenging, complex and difficult than it was in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.

It is good news that the bipolar world has changed, notwithstanding the regional elements and the fact that the opportunity for crisis is substantially greater than it was in that same period. That does place a great deal of demand on our people.

It is the people side that must be foremost in our minds as we move into the next century. The equipment side is very important, but it must start with the individual. Much can be done with the right team, but if you have the wrong team, even with the right equipment you will not go far.

As I mentioned yesterday, despite the reductions that we have experienced, equipment-wise we are in better shape today than we were 10 years ago. That is an important element. As to whether we are where we want to be, we must always try to improve the situation.

Senator Andreychuk: To what extent can we, within the Canadian system, maintain control within NATO? We often have to give up command to one of our allies. Yet, we contribute troops on the ground. Do we have the ability within the changed mandate to refuse because the troops are not trained?

RAdm. MacLean: Yes.

Senator Andreychuk: In other words, while we have joined the consensus, if the mandate is changed by NATO can we refuse to put soldiers on the ground unless we are absolutely certain that they are sufficiently trained for the situation?

RAdm. MacLean: It is our responsibility, through the Chief of Defence Staff, to advise the government so as to ensure that our people are put in the field in the right role.

In the Gulf situation, for example, the Navy had a very competent logistics support ship and a couple of destroyers and we did not position that capability at the very front. The older destroyers were put there. They simply would not have been the right fit for the top end of the Gulf in that situation.

However, we did a useful job in providing logistics support and capability for the force as a whole. In fact, apart from the Americans, the Canadians were the only task force commander at that time, under Captain Miller.

You match the capability that you have with the correct role when you put them in the field. You must be very careful not to give them the wrong role, and it is up to the Chief of Defence Staff to ensure that that does not occur.

In Canada, no matter what sort of command and control relationship is put into play, we do have the opportunity to ensure that our folks are given the right mission. If we do not like the mission that they are given, we will say "no," and that does happen.

Senator Andreychuk: In terms of the UN involvement in Rwanda, why did we say that the UN was not properly equipped for that situation when we already had people on the ground?

RAdm. MacLean: I cannot answer that specific question.

Mr. Meyer: Ultimately, we withdrew our contingent from the UN peacekeeping operation when the Security Council authorized a force level that was inferior to what we felt was necessary to do the job. That was back in 1995. We made a particular point at that time of saying, "No, we will not continue to be in a situation where you have given us a mandate but not the resources to carry it out." It did not get a lot of attention at the time, but it was an important message because we have had that problem in the UN Security Council.

[Translation]

Senator Losier-Cool: My question deals with the importance of a good understanding of the role given to peacekeeping units. In every war, there are rapes going on, given that this is one aspect of power. This war is not different. Currently, there are some muslim women being raped. How can we prepare our personnel so that they can prevent these crimes from happening or help women who have already been victimized? When you talk about war, you are mainly talking about the presence of men in the field.

Mr. Meyer: I will mention the cooperation between the military peacekeeping personnel and other specialized United Nations organizations as well as non-governmental organizations that deal with the well-being of women and children who are often the first victims of war.

We have introduced in the peacekeeping training of Canadian Forces personnel, thanks to our Pearson Training Centre, some specific courses dealing with the gender aspects that arise in any conflicts or peacekeeping situations, in order to sensitize them to that aspect of the problem.

Senator Losier-Cool: It is important that an adequate training be given to soldiers or peacekeeping officers before they leave.

[English]

RAdm. MacLean: When you undertake a peacekeeping mission today, a large number of agencies are involved. Often, as happened in the case of Kosovo, it involves a great deal of institution building and revitalization. That involves not just the military but the police, the justice system, the laws, and relief and aid workers. A whole gamut of individuals must be put together. There must be greater opportunity for military individuals to understand how all these other agencies and organizations operate. This is an important part of what our people are now taught.

Today, peacekeeping is quite a bit more complex. It is not just going into the field and keeping two parties apart. It is a far more challenging task.

Senator Kenny: I was quite taken by the Admiral's response when he said that, equipment wise -- and I believe I am quoting him directly -- you are in better shape now than you were 10 years ago. I accept your comment that personnel are key, and that if you do not have the right personnel you have a problem. Let us set that aside for the moment and talk about equipment.

There are folks around this table who have been worrying about your equipment for a long time. Are you telling us to rest easy, that you do not have a problem? Can you set out for the committee a comparison of the amount you have in Estimates for 1999-2000 with 1989-90?

RAdm. MacLean: Senator, I am glad you raised that point, because I would not want to leave you with the perspective that we can all rest easy. The point that I made is that we must always continue to strive and to look ahead. We must recapitalize in equipment at all times.

To give you a sense of that, in many ways we are similar to a research and development organization. By that I mean we have to invest in the future. We invest in terms of our people. We must maintain appropriate levels of training. We must recapitalize our capital investment, which is what we are talking about here.

As a percentage of our overall budget, in the mid-1980s it reached a peak of some 26 per cent of our budget. Today, it is somewhere around 15 per cent or 16 per cent.

Senator Kenny: What were the total budgets in each year?

RAdm. MacLean: The budget in 1989, for example, was about $12 billion. Today, I think it is in the order of about $10 billion.

There is no question that we have had to do things differently. At the same time, we have reduced our overall regular force size from 89,000 to 60,000. We have also made other reductions in order to preserve, as best we can, the capital investment that we must have as we move into the future.

We have been successful in some significant programs. By and large, the navy has been totally revitalized in the last decade with new ships and with used, but very effective, submarines. There is still one significant element missing, which is the maritime helicopter program. There is an important but, perhaps, less urgent requirement for the maritime patrol aircraft. That is one example.

Today's navy is still a much better navy than we had 10 years ago. There is always some good news and there are always some areas in which we must strive for more.

What about the future? In the context of moving into the future, we have a number of policy pillars, and we articulated those yesterday.

We need to continue to strive towards meeting our recapitalization goals in a number of areas. The maritime helicopters, the Aurora update, and military satellite communications are three examples of areas where we must invest. However, by and large, I think we have done fairly well under the elements we had to replace during the 1990s.

Senator Lynch-Staunton: I had a chance to read the briefing notes which you left with us yesterday, and I want to get to this term "non-Article 5" on which Senator Stollery was quite eloquent and direct yesterday. I wish to try to get a better idea of how, exactly, it is being interpreted. Frankly, I am quite troubled by the nature of the operation in Kosovo right now. I will not call it a disaster, as Senator Stollery did yesterday, but in my mind it is certainly not a great success -- to date anyway.

I am more troubled by the fact that NATO is in there. In reading your notes, I tried to find some legal justification for that mission, and I understand that, in pursuit of its policy of preserving peace, preventing war and enhancing security and stability, NATO will seek, in cooperation with other organizations, to prevent conflict or, should a crisis arise, to contribute to its effective management consistent with international law.

I have yet to see anywhere where "international law," as most of us understand it, can support this operation. To continue with my thought, we are violating the territorial integrity of an independent nation. For whatever noble purpose, we still, to my mind, have violated international law. "Territorial integrity" is in Article 4 of NATO's articles of corporation. It is fundamental to the Charter of the United Nations, which recognizes sovereign states. By its action, NATO has violated the territorial integrity of a nation.

I know that President Havel last week made an eloquent plea, which, in effect, would lead us into the next century with the priority of human rights taking precedence over state rights. Noble as that thought may be, it has yet to become apart of international law by which nations should and must abide.

Even though NATO has gone into Yugoslavia for a very noble purpose -- we are not challenging the reasons for the inter- ference -- I should like to know the legal justification for such interference.

Mr. Meyer: Yesterday, I outlined yesterday the rationale behind the NATO involvement and the reasons that it was considered legitimate. I pointed out that international law is more than just the UN Charter, and that we also have an evolution of law through customary law.

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan can hardly be accused of not supporting the UN Charter and the role of the Security Council. However, h has also spoken out about the emerging international norm that sovereignty is not a defence for those who are engaged in massive violence against their own citizens. He said that he would not want to see the UN Charter used as a refuge for those who intend to engage in ethnic cleansing.

That is an eloquent comment from someone who is very much an embodiment of the UN system. He is not just a political figure who is spending a few years there, but someone who was an international civil servant over a 30-year career and who is now at the pinnacle of that body.

We must see a broader involvement and understanding of international law. I am glad that NATO did not stand idly by when the abuses occurred, and that we simply did not accept a defence of sovereignty as a justification for doing nothing in the face of the worst ethnic cleansing that Europe has seen since World War II.

Senator Lynch-Staunton: That is all very eloquent, but it is not very reassuring. It means that NATO or any other international organization can now interpret international law for whatever purpose it wants to achieve.

You spoke of Mr. Annan. We remember Mr. Annan's role in Rwanda, so I would not quote him too much about going ahead to stop ethnic cleansing.

What I am hearing is that, if something is happening that we find disagreeable -- for example, a crime against humanity -- we can, through NATO or some such organization, move right in. If so, what are the limitations, and why do we not move into other areas?

Senator Bolduc mentioned Turkey and the Kurds. Senator Stollery mentioned Spain. I will mention Chechnya. There was territorial integrity involved there, as well as massive ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. There was a terrorist organization. Yet NATO stood by as thousands of people were displaced and killed. Why one area of the world and not the other?

Mr. Meyer: Perhaps as a theme in your study you could examine the criteria that would be applicable in any UNFOR intervention.

I can only reiterate, as I did yesterday, that this in no way represents a repudiation of the UN by NATO. NATO affirms its continuing support for the United Nations. On the Kosovo problem, it had worked through the United Nations right up to the Security Council. At that point, however, there was some instability within the Security Council, and it was reluctant to authorize the means that were judged necessary to implement what the Security Council itself had put forward as its demands.

Senator Lynch-Staunton: My question, though, was: Apart from numbers and location, what differentiates Chechnya from Kosovo? What prompted NATO to decide to move into one and not to interfere in the other?

Mr. Meyer: I think that other factors came into play. I do not recall the facts in the Chechnya situation, and I would have to review the record in terms of the extent to which the United Nations was involved in reaction to the Chechnya situation. I do not know if there was an equivalent, consistent role in expressing requirements of Russia in that case in terms of its actions. That would have a lot to do with determining whether there was a further intervention.

Senator Lynch-Staunton: What is NATO's geographical responsibility for maintaining security of the individual? How far does its area go? It seems to be going into the Balkans. How far does it extend beyond the Balkans -- how far north, south, east and west? It will not go into Chechnya, for whatever reason. It will not go into Russia. Will it go into Scandinavia?

Does NATO have some geographical limitations as to the extent of its influence?

Mr. Meyer: Yes, I think it does. It is somewhat indicated in its initial documents to be the Euro-Atlantic area.

Senator Lynch-Staunton: What is that?

Mr. Meyer: North America and Europe.

Senator Lynch-Staunton: Does that include Quebec?

Mr. Meyer: I think Quebec is in North America, yes.

Senator Lynch-Staunton: Russia is part of Europe, so it would include Russia? You say Euro-Atlantic?

Mr. Meyer: Yes.

Senator Lynch-Staunton: What is "Euro?"

Mr. Meyer: It is the contents of Europe and North America. Again, as we mentioned yesterday, NATO is not trying to be "global cop." It is acting within its region and it is up to the UN or other regional organizations to respond to challenges outside of the Euro-Atlantic Region.

Senator Lynch-Staunton: NATO was not challenged by Kosovo. NATO decided to play a humanitarian role to resolve the problem in Kosovo, but there was no challenge to NATO as such.

My question is how far does NATO feel it can go into this kind of intervention and where? Is this an isolated case? We are rewriting law right now. We are changing all the rules of the game. We are taking a military alliance that was formed for defensive purposes and making it, if not the aggressor, certainly the attacker.

Does NATO know how far it will go in this direction, or is it working by the seat of its pants?

Mr. Meyer: Things evolve. I do not believe anyone has claimed to know exactly what the future will bring. However, you can see a pattern there. As we already noted in Bosnia, there was a role. Certain circumstances determined the action that is taking place in Kosovo, and similar factors would be brought to bear in determining any future situation.

The interests and values expressed in NATO remain valid. I agree with you that the international legal system also is not static. It is in the process of evolution. The kind of actions that have been taken already in various parts of the world have reflected new concepts of what is appropriate in terms of intervention, and I suspect that we will see further developments.

Senator Lynch-Staunton: You cannot really compare Bosnia with Kosovo, because Bosnia was a result of an agreement and both sides agreed that these forces would come in to try and maintain and uphold the conditions of the agreement. In this situation, however, the agreement fell by the wayside, obviously because it favoured one party over the other. NATO decided to move in, instead of doing what I feel it should have done, which is continue to negotiate.

We should look into where NATO is going. We know where it is now. I am learning here, but I have a feeling that NATO itself has yet to get a fix on how far it wishes to go in this operation. Who knows -- five years from now one of its major members may say that we should move in somewhere else and, before you know it, we will be involved in another operation like this one.

Mr. Meyer: That is why the consensus principle is important.

Senator Lynch-Staunton: There is no consensus. It is the big guy with the $400 billion defence budget who runs the whole thing with two or three other people.

Mr. Meyer: I beg to differ.

Senator Lynch-Staunton: You come back another time and tell us how Canada is influencing NATO's operations, and I will be the first one to applaud.

Senator Grafstein: Before I get into my own questions, I should like to pursue the propositions and questions put forward by Senator Lynch-Staunton, and that is the legal basis for the action.

I have not heard it in Canada, although I have heard it from others, that the justification in international law is that there is treaty law and customary law. Customary law works on a case-by-case basis, and here we have 19 nations that have essentially decided this is an appropriate action under given circumstances. We are not basing it on the UN or the charter; we are basing it on, essentially, an extension of precedent customary international law based on the alleged breaches of international conventions.

That is my understanding of the position and there is obviously, as Senator Lynch-Staunton said, a debate between the black letter law of the UN Charter and the black letter law of the NATO Charter. However, there appears to be this extension by customary law.

Given that circumstance, there is a serious question that has not quite been answered, and the U.S. did not answer it well. The question involves the application of the Geneva Conventions for soldiers who are put at risk in a state of war. If one examines the precise terms of those conventions, it is clear that, in order for one to protect soldiers under those conventions, there must be a state of war.

We have all agreed that we are not at war, but rather that there is a military action. The military action is defined as an extension of this collective action by NATO, but we are not at war in Canada. In fact, if we were at war, it would trigger a whole raft of domestic questions. In addition, the United States has clearly stated that it is not at war with Yugoslavia.

Does that not put Canadian soldiers at risk if an airman were shot down and captured? Would international law or The Hague Convention protect him, as would be the case if war had been formally declared? Have you looked into this question? I am sure that it is of concern to us.

I recall when this matter came up on CNN with the American prisoners. The State Department went through all sorts of convolutions, but they could never clearly say whether those three soldiers were protected by the Geneva Convention.

Mr. Meyer: Our understanding -- and I am not a lawyer -- is that those conventions relate to a state of war or armed conflicts. We are in a state of armed conflict, and all the provisions of the convention apply.

Senator Grafstein: Perhaps we could get a brief written memorandum on that, because it is a factual issue with which we should deal.

Senator Forrestall: It is important that I understand where we are going. As long as that question is up in the air, I will not be happy about the protected position of our men and women.

Have you heard, or can you tell me, of an international legal scholar who has said that the situation is tenable, that it is legal, that we have the right to be there and that all of the protections are afforded to our people?

The Leader of the Government in the Senate and I got into a shouting match in the Senate today over the assumption that everything is fine when it is clear that one side holds one view, and another side holds another view. Senator Grafstein has suggested that we receive a memo giving us an opinion on this at the highest level, and that is extremely important.

The Chairman: I do not know whether you have a list of competent scholars in that area in your pocket or not.

Mr. Meyer: No.

The Chairman: Since you have not, we will then undertake to get advice on this point.

Senator Roche: I wish to follow Senator Lynch-Staunton's attempts to find a legal justification for the NATO action. I should like to ask Mr. Meyer whether he could give us a precise legal justification. Can you give a precise citation, either outside of the UN Charter or the NATO Charter, that gives a legal basis for the action that has been undertaken?

You have been explaining the evolution of the legal systems and the fusion of the customary law quite well. However, what I am getting out of that is an ad hoc accommodation in this instance to give a legal cover for it. I should like to go deeper and ask you again: Can you give a precise legal citation to justify the NATO bombing?

Mr. Meyer: The short answer is no, I cannot. I am not a lawyer. If the committee desires as part of its studies to delve into international legal frameworks and conventions, I suggest that a separate session be convened.

I am relying essentially on material that has been prepared. I cannot give you chapter and verse.

Senator Roche: In the absence of a citation of a legal authority for this action, would you object if I characterized this as a violation of international law? The charter of the United Nations and the charter of NATO are quite clear that such actions cannot be undertaken without the consent of the Security Council, which has the role of a guarantor of peace and security in the world.

The question that many people have asked -- namely, whether or not NATO's action is legal -- is not one that should be swept aside in this instance. I should like the committee members to note that as they proceed with their deliberations.

The Chairman: We recognize that the question is important. We will try to have witnesses who feel that they are competent to deal with it.

Senator Grafstein: I wish to return to the heart of the NATO rationale, which is military effectiveness. At the heart of NATO is a military alliance and the purpose of that alliance is to deploy military forces in an effective way. That is the key rationale for the alliance.

I now wish to deal with the general question of the relationship between civilian control and military decision making as it applies to military effectiveness. In the decision-making process we have civilian control and we have the military decision-making process, and there is the question of how those combine or contradict each other with respect to the essence of NATO, which is military effectiveness in a given mission. We have a mission before us. I use this only as an example of the decision-making process. That goes to the heart of the matter. It is not just what we do, but how we do it and how effective we are.

Mr. Meyer indicated that there was a concern by other NATO members that when the EU caucused beyond NATO and came up with a position, that was not consistent with the decision-making process among the 19 members of NATO. You were critical of that.

Could you confirm whether the information I have received from the United Kingdom is correct with respect to an inner circle of decision making, both military and possibly political, made up of the United States, the United Kingdom and Germany? To this initial circle of decision making, France is added from time to time. My understanding is that from time to time, or at any time, Canada is kept informed by one of the members, most notably the United States. Essentially, however, there is an inner military and political circle.

Having in mind your earlier comment that that is not the way NATO is supposed to work, is my information correct?

Mr. Meyer: That is not correct, to my knowledge.

NATO operates in a collective fashion where all the members are represented at all the official meetings of the alliance. Nothing prevents member states from talking to each other separately or in other groupings, but I would stress that any official decisions or actions taken by the alliance are done with all 19 countries and only with those 19 countries.

Senator Grafstein: I am not quarrelling with that conclusion, I am quarrelling with the preliminary conclusion that some of this is, in effect, fabricated in advance. That is not to say that it is improperly fabricated, but it is done by a smaller circle and then presented, if you will, as a fait accompli by the EU caucus, which you quite properly said was undesirable.

Mr. Meyer: As I said, we would object to an EU caucus within NATO. I was not saying that they were doing so. That is one of the distinctions between the alliance and other organizations.

Senator Grafstein: Would Canada object to that inner decision-making circle?

Mr. Meyer: Yes, we would object to an inner circle. We have objected vigorously to the so-called contact group relating to the former Yugoslavia where certain countries were gathering together and directing some policy.

We have stressed both within and outside of NATO that we thought that that was not acceptable, particularly when NATO became engaged. When you are involved politically and militarily, it is essential that you have the right to decide on conduct. That should not be the preserve of any self-appointed inner grouping.

Senator Grafstein: Mr. Chairman, I raise this because you will recall that when NATO expanded, this committee had a serious reservation about the expansion. One of the rationales for that was the dilution of the decision-making process. More countries being added would dilute and be contrary to the decision-making process. I raise that issue in that context.

Let me turn to a more current situation, again with a view to exposing the civilian versus military relationship, which is vital for accomplishing military effectiveness. Let me give you some recent facts that started April 28 and continue up to today.

General Klaus Naumann, the chairman of the NATO military committee, has stated to the press recently that the military committee has not been effective in accomplishing its military objectives. Those objectives involved two points: first, that the bombing would convince Mr. Milosevic to return to the bargaining table; and, second, that the cleansing in Kosovo would be stopped. In this morning's The Globe and Mail and in other newspapers, General Naumann has indicated that those objectives were not achieved. He seems to lay the blame at the foot of the inability of the military to convince their political masters as to the appropriate strategic methodology -- the deployment, for instance, of land forces.

He is now retiring from his position, so perhaps we cannot give full weight to his statements. However, I respect General Naumann.

Added to that is another statement from April 30 by the current head of the Air Combat Command, General Richard Hawley, in an article that appeared in The Washington Post on Friday, April 30. General Hawley appears to support General Naumann's position that military decisions are prohibited by a lack of political consensus.

General Hawley was quoted as saying:

In our Air Force doctrine, air power works best when it is used decisively.... Clearly, because of the constraints, we haven't been able to see that at this point.

The article continued:

NATO's decision not to employ ground forces, he added, also has served to undercut the air campaign. He noted that combat planes such as the A-10 Warthog tank killer often rely on forward ground controllers to call in strikes.

Two senior military officers are now saying publicly that political constraints on the military have been counter-productive of NATO's political objectives in this rather difficult and delicate mission. Could you comment? Please give us Canada's view. Those are senior NATO officers from Germany and the United States. What is the Canadian military view?

Mr. Chairman, I will not quarrel if the witnesses are not able to do this and wish to await for the minister to advise them. I do not wish to put the military in an unusual position. However, to my mind, this opens up the question for this committee to examine.

Mr. Meyer: I will confine my comments to the process. We can all argue the merits of a particular strategy in Kosovo, but that is not really the purpose of this study.

The process is one of military subordination to the political leadership of the alliance. NATO's military authorities, in terms of the international military staff and the national military representatives that form the military committee, provide advice -- and I emphasize the word "advice" -- to the supreme political body, which is the North Atlantic Council of the diplomatic representatives of the governments. It is for them to use that advice as they see fit. Determining the political considerations, constraints and objectives is decisive in terms of providing further guidance to the military authorities. That key principle is well respected and adhered to in NATO.

RAdm. MacLean: It is always a question of the political guidance telling us what to do and the military, in a general sense, determining how to do it.

The mission throughout has been to degrade the Yugoslavian military capability. There are no guarantees and never were any guarantees that bombing, in and of itself, would bring Mr. Milosevic to the table. One cannot provide that certainty. However, we can continue to degrade that capability with the hope that Mr. Milosevic understands and realizes that he must or should stop. Otherwise, he will have very little left of his military capability.

Further, there are no guarantees that a military air campaign, in and of itself, will stop the ethnic cleansing. The surprise was the rapidity at which this was undertaken. It happened faster than anticipated. That is what I understand General Naumann to be saying or what was underlining his particular comments.

Senator Kenny: I am looking for more elaboration on the decision-making process within NATO. We all understand that every state is theoretically equal, but sometimes it appears that only the United States has an absolute veto. Put another way, one could possibly say that a NATO consensus consists of the United States and any other significant group of NATO members. Would you care to comment?

Mr. Meyer: I tried to give a sense of the process earlier in acknowledging that in a continuum of member states that range from Iceland and Luxembourg on the one hand to Germany and the United States on the other, clearly we have a differentiation of influence within NATO councils. There is no precise quantification of that, but it is a political reality and this is, after all, a political forum.

I served with our delegation at NATO for four years. I am cautious of the ability, particularly on matters of special importance for a member state, to get some accommodation from fellow allies. That is a reciprocal process, too. It works both ways.

A powerful country like the United States makes its will known in the alliance every time it speaks up. The Gulf War is a case in point. It was a massive undertaking. There was a lot of participation by NATO states, but the NATO organization, per se, did not engage, even though that would have been a U.S. preference.

I hope that sheds some light for you, senators. It remains a political process and a dynamic process. However, there is a practice and habit of mutual accommodation on matters of national importance.

Senator Kenny: As the politicians sit around the table, there is scepticism.

Senator Prud'homme: And it is growing.

Senator Kenny: No one believes that Luxembourg, Iceland or perhaps even Canada could have stopped the air attack on Yugoslavia.

Mr. Meyer: It would have been an unusual stance for Luxembourg to take. It is not that those states were somehow coerced into going along. This represented the political sentiment of the governments of those leaders and was energized by the sense of the values and interests the alliance represents.

In terms of Canada, I suggested in my statement yesterday that we have made a difference in alliance outcomes in certain areas. I would be happy to go over those. Sometimes these battles seem obscure from the outside, but within, they can be very protracted. I can point to specific outcomes in the summit we had where things that were important to Canada did gain reflection in the final product.

Senator Kenny: Perhaps you could comment on the relationship between contributions member countries make and their influence on the consensus.

Mr. Meyer: As I suggested, there is a correlation, but it is empirical and not systematized in the way that I referred to in respect to the IMF. Clearly, the political and military contribution that the United Kingdom or the United States makes gives their representatives additional influence vis-à-vis the Luxembourgs and Denmarks of this world.

Senator Kenny: Could you describe to the committee how each country's military and financial contribution is determined?

Mr. Meyer: There are several levels. My military colleagues will probably know more, but there are the defence program guidelines. Those guidelines involve an interactive discussion within alliance bodies to establish standards for the contribution by individual states. Each national military is looked at from a peer point of view, and some countries are urged to do more or to contribute more in certain areas. Rear-Admiral MacLean will fill in the details.

The political side is not subject to the same process. There is an expectation that countries will enter into diplomacy and be supportive of NATO's common objectives.

RAdm. MacLean: Ostensibly, on the military side we have a two-year rolling plan with a number of force goals. Ultimately, we will have a number of discussions, both with NATO and with the individual countries, and a number of visits between NATO headquarters and the 19 countries. Those should lead to an agreement in principle in terms of what the contributions, equipment levels and capability should be amongst the nations.

It is the reverse, in some ways, of what you have in an individual country. If you have a Treasury Board, as Canada does, which is at the centre and holds all the money, the aim perhaps is to give little out to the out stations. On the other hand, NATO, which has no money, tends to find a great deal of interest in each nation spending more. That is the sort of tension that you tend to have.

However, it is a good system. It is somewhat bureaucratic. The process is somewhat long, but it gives NATO members a very good appreciation of what NATO thinks. Also, it gives each of us a good insight into how the other nations are responding and how they should respond.

Senator Kenny: Everyone is aware of everyone else's contribution and calibrates their contribution carefully. How does Canada measure up, and where do we stand in the ranking as we are evaluated by our peers in NATO?

RAdm. MacLean: As always, you have to choose your measurement carefully. If you were to relate it to GDP, then Canada is at the low end as a contributor. On the other hand, if you look at the capability for Canada to be involved in various NATO missions and the capability that we bring to the table, our contribution can be quite significant.

We are a significant partner in the current Kosovo situation. Whether or not one agrees with our being there, Canada is making a very significant contribution as a NATO member.

It is interesting that we in Canada have always had to go somewhere. In the NATO context, because of our geography, we have had to go to Europe. European nations have not necessarily had to travel far. The issues I mentioned -- mobility, deployability, and sustainability -- are things that we have always had to address to a much greater extent than some of our European allies. Some of our larger European allies do not necessarily have the same kind of capability as we do. Our experience in peacekeeping for the last number of decades has allowed us, as well, to leverage up on that particular capability that is more significant than some of our European allies. As we move into the more flexible non-Article 5 requirements for the next century, we find Canada better positioned in some ways than some of the European countries.

It depends on your measurement as to whether or not we can, should or must be doing more. There is a sense that Canada makes a valuable contribution. Could we be doing more? From a NATO perspective, there will always be the sense that nations collectively should be doing more, but not necessarily Canada alone.

Senator Forrestall: Several things said here this afternoon have amazed me. I am learning, as are most of us here. Studies were conducted on the basis of the Gulf War, and published in MIT's International Security journal. Those studies examined training and equipment specifically. Their findings were very clear and carried a loud message not only for NATO members but for all countries around the world that would maintain forces for purposes of defending against man's inhumanity to man.

Their findings were straightforward. Equipment was key and training was secondary. Without good equipment, the best-trained men in the world could do little. I am surprised that we have now turned that around. We have the finest helicopter pilots in the world in my hometown, but they do not get much work because they are accomplishing only about 40 per cent or 50 per cent of the missions they are called upon to do. I would not want to cite the cost of that.

The Canadian naval vessel has on board the commanding officer of NATO's standing force in the Atlantic. I presume it has a Sea King on-board, because they had to wait for it to undergo another check before it left Halifax. I do not know how much flying it has done. Are we able to replace it or do we go and borrow a French or German one? Or do we move the commanding officer from the Canadian vessel and put him on a vessel that has that type of equipment? Equipment has got to be essential. The presumption, of course, is that you do not put a piece of equipment like that in the hands of people who are undertrained.

I am not inviting comment. I have another question to do with training that is equally important to me and that has been around for quite a while. The general understanding is that Canada will train its troops to the stage of mobile combat readiness. I have often wondered how we do that with the reserves. In the mix for rotation, you will have to call upon the reserve military strength. Will those reserves have the appropriate level of training for combat readiness?

In the same vein, is there retraining for those reservists who serve, return to Canada and three or six months later take on a second tour? Is there a retraining process in the interval while they are at home?

RAdm. MacLean: It would probably be appropriate for me to clarify my comments regarding equipment, training and personnel. I would not want to leave you with the impression that equipment is not essential. It is important that all three -- equipment, training and personnel -- are intertwined. You cannot pull any of them apart. In order to have an effective force, you must have the very best people, good equipment and the appropriate training to do the job.

Senator Forrestall: I would say the very best equipment and if you were to say that then I would agree with you 100 per cent. That is a far cry from the impression you left me with.

RAdm. MacLean: I did not use that word for a very good reason. Sometimes the very best equipment is not what is necessary for the job. You cannot parse it quite that easily. That is simply to say, if you have to choose one, you have to start with the right people. That is the starting point.

Turning to your point about the naval task group, we are certainly very pleased that a Canadian is in command of that NATO force at a time like this. It is very important. We are pleased with the capability that is embedded in that flagship. We think it is second to none in terms of the ability to handle that particular load. We have Sea King helicopters with that unit.

Senator Forrestall: Did you say that you have more than one?

RAdm. MacLean: There should be two. It is capable of carrying two helicopters. We expect them to do what they have to do. There is no question that those helicopters are old and need to be replaced. That has been evident for some time. But that is only one element, a very important element, of this very useful capability of HMCS Huron.

With respect to the reserves and the integration of reserves, it depends on which environment we are talking about and how those reserves are used. We have given the naval reserve, as you are aware, a very specific role in the context of inshore defence, harbour clearances, mine sweeping and coastal patrol work. They have been outfitted with some very fine vessels over the last couple of years. That is a growth industry for them as they learn how to do those particular tasks.

With respect to the army, it is more complicated because they are embedded into the regular force. When we have a mission, like the force in Bosnia, they are integrated at an early stage. They undertake the same training as their regular force counterparts. It takes three to four months before they are put in the field alongside the regular force personnel.

Senator Lynch-Staunton: Did you say that there should be two helicopters on the Athabasca or that there are two?

RAdm. MacLean: The ship itself is capable of carrying two. I simply do not know whether it is carrying one or two.

Senator Lynch-Staunton: My understanding is that there is only one. I do not know whether they need two.

RAdm. MacLean: You do not need two. We have had other ships participate in the standing naval force with only one. However, it is capable of carrying two.

Senator Lynch-Staunton: It can take two but there may be only one.

Senator Forrestall: Thank you admiral. It was my understanding there was only one.

RAdm. MacLean: You could very well be correct.

Senator Forrestall: It is not terribly important. The Lester B. Pearson Canadian International Peacekeeping Training Centre located at former CFB Cornwallis has grown. It has been there now for some time. I am not sure of the number of countries that have participated or the number of officers who have gone there to better understand, in an international setting, some of the rules and procedures involved in peacekeeping, but I know the numbers are high, very substantial. As often as I possibly can, whenever I can get home on a Thursday night, I go for dinner in the boardroom at Cornwallis. It is pleasant talking with those men and women.

Is there any indication that this institute is preparing people and making the job of peacekeeping easier? Is it making relations between nations involved in peacekeeping easier by keeping communications clear? Will it help to clarify the understanding of what each nation will do in a given situation or circumstance? Is there a visible, tangible relationship, or is it esoteric?

RAdm. MacLean: I cannot give you specific examples of graduates from that particular organization leading in the field today. However, I can tell you that I have visited it several times and I have been struck by the openness of the people, who are from all around the world, in their discussions with me as to how important and how vital this training has been to them in order to understand peace support operations. That includes people from the foreign affairs and military worlds. They seem to speak the same verse and song, as if it were planned, but I know it has not been because I have been there on several occasions. That is the only testimonial I can give of its effectiveness.

Mr. Meyer: I would comment on that. We talked about the changing nature of peacekeeping. There is a need for new training approaches, and the Pearson Peacekeeping Centre has pioneered, on an international level, courses that reflect new dimensions in human rights, co-operating with NGOs and relief agencies, civilian policing and gender sensitivity training. All of those elements have been incorporated in the curriculum at the Pearson Peacekeeping Centre. It has contributed to Canadian leadership in the training aspect as well.

The Chairman: We have asked Colonel Alex Morrisson to appear before the committee.

Senator Forrestall: We were told today that the relatively light 800 troops going over there will exit Canada through Montreal. Can you tell me on what? Have we rented something? Do we have a ship?

RAdm. MacLean: The equipment will exit via Montreal. It will be a commercial ship.

Senator Forrestall: Will it be a liner?

RAdm. MacLean: The personnel will travel by air but the equipment will go by sea. They will meet up in Greece and Macedonia.

Senator Forrestall: You will fly them over. That is what I would have thought, but I was left with the impression that they would go by boat.

Senator Whelan: Following up on Senator Forrestall's questions on equipment, is it possible for brand new equipment to breakdown?

RAdm. MacLean: Yes.

Senator Forrestall: Not as often as old stuff.

Senator Whelan: I am trying to get at the very fact that brand new equipment can fail. It can fail as badly as equipment that is 10 years old. Something manmade can fail. We should be concerned about that.

I am appalled when I watch NATO address the world to tell us what is happening -- especially when a man by the name of Jamie Shea talks. He does not project well. I think he should be replaced. He almost acts like he is enjoying talking about this terrible thing that is taking place. He creates a bad image. How can we replace him? Should we go through our minister to replace him? He is Irish, as am I, but I am not after him for his culture. He just does not do a good job. That is important when we are telling the people in Canada what is happening. He is involved in the English speaking part of the presentation but he does not project well.

The Chairman: I do not know whether you want to undertake to answer that.

Mr. Meyer: I will note that comment. There is a Canadian named Peter Daniels who is also on staff in the information area. Occasionally, he also does press briefings. You might like him better.

Senator Whelan: I have nothing against him, but it is important that a proper picture is presented when we talk to the public and Mr. Shea does not present a proper picture.

You talked about the ground forces. Is it not true that in the military the air power is a way to overcome everything? That is to say, we save everything and then put ground forces in place afterwards; is that not so? Many of us feel that the ground forces should have been sent there before all the land mines and everything were established and all the ethnic cleansing had taken place. We have failed with the Air Force.

RAdm. MacLean: Again, it depends on what you want to do. If you want to use the military as a tool -- as is the case in Kosovo -- to disrupt and to degrade his overall military capability, you can do that with air power. On the other hand, if you want to occupy land and territory and carry the battle to a particular nation, then it is difficult to do that with air power alone. It depends on the situation and the goals.

Senator Whelan: With all your modern surveillance equipment and the technology available to you today, we are told that you can see for miles whether there is cloud cover or not. Do you not think that we are not being told the whole story about what is happening in Kosovo?

RAdm. MacLean: I do not think information is perfect. Despite the advances in technology, you never know as completely as you would like to know what is happening anywhere. If you are asking whether or not Canada understands or knows as much as other nations, I think that we do. We have a good sense of what other nations know. The real issue is whether we know as much about what is happening in Kosovo. In that context, we do not have the people on the ground to give us that kind of information.

Senator Whelan: I have been briefed on this many times. The equipment was older then. Today, however, they say that they can identify the book that a person is reading in his or her backyard. The surveillance equipment is superior to what it was 10 years ago. I do not think we are being told the truth about what is really happening. They must be hiding information.

The Chairman: Time has run out because the staff needs an opportunity to prepare this room for the next committee. Senator Mahovlich is on the top of the list for the next meeting, although that may not work unless the same witnesses return.

I wish to thank the witnesses for being with us this afternoon.

The committee adjourned.


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