Proceedings of the Standing Senate Committee on
National Security and Defence
Issue No. 7, Evidence - Meeting of September 21, 2016
OTTAWA, Wednesday, September 21, 2016
The Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence met this day
at 10 a.m. to study on issues related to the Defence Policy Review presently
being undertaken by the government.
Senator Daniel Lang (Chair) in the chair.
The Chair: Welcome to the meeting of the Standing Senate Committee on
National Security and Defence for Wednesday, September 21, 2016. Before we
begin, I would like to introduce the people around the table.
My name is Dan Lang, senator for Yukon. On my immediate left is the clerk of
the committee, Adam Thompson. I would invite each senator to introduce
themselves and state the region they represent, starting with the deputy chair.
Senator Jaffer: My name is Mobina Jaffer, and I am from British
Senator Dagenais: Jean-Guy Dagenais from Quebec.
Senator Day: Joseph Day, New Brunswick.
Senator Beyak: Lynn Beyak, Ontario. Welcome.
The Chair: Today, we'll be meeting for five hours to consider issues
related to the defence policy review initiated by the government.
On April 21, 2016, the Senate authorized our committee to examine and report
on issues related to the defence policy review presently being undertaken by the
government. We are considering issues around Canada's possible participation in
future United Nations peace support operations as well as other issues related
to the review.
Joining us on our first panel of the day are officials from the Department of
National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces: Major-General Jean-Marc
Lanthier, Commander, Canadian Army Doctrine and Training Centre; and
Lieutenant-Colonel Brian Healey, Commander, Peace Support Training Centre.
The Canadian Army Doctrine and Training Centre headquarters provides
strategic staff support to the commander, Canadian Army, and staff support to
the formation commander. The strategic staff comprises the Directorate of Army
Doctrine; the Directorate of Army Training; the Army Lessons Learned Centre; the
Directorate of Lands Synthetic Environment; and the Army Digitization Office
Kingston. Although located in Kingston, these organizations function as
full-fledged members of the Canadian Army headquarters, which is located in
Ottawa. The formation comprises most staff functions normally found at a
headquarters and includes personnel, operations, logistics, communications,
finances and public affairs.
The Peace Support Training Centre is a joint agency multinational training
establishment located in Kingston, Ontario. It offers training to Canadian Armed
Forces personnel as well as additional governmental sectors and foreign military
members to prepare them for deployment to full-spectrum operations within the
current military operating environment. Formally established in December 2000,
the Peace Support Training Centre currently has 60 staff members and trains
approximately 1,000 individuals every year. Examples of courses include
pre-deployment training, hazardous environmental training, civil-military
cooperation and psychological operations.
Gentlemen, welcome to the committee. I understand you each have an opening
statement. Please begin.
Major-General Jean-Marc Lanthier, Commander, Canadian Army Doctrine and
Training Centre, National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces: Thank you
very much for providing Lieutenant-Colonel Healey and myself the opportunity to
talk about the Peace Support Training Centre. You have introduced what the
Canadian Army Doctrine and Training Centre is.
I am responsible for all land operations training in the Canadian Army. I
synchronize training with doctrine technology and operations. As you alluded to,
the functional areas for which I'm responsible include individual training,
collective training, professional military education, simulation, doctrine and
lessons learned. It is that portfolio put together that allows us to prepare our
soldiers and leaders for the missions we ask of them.
Lieutenant-Colonel Healey is responsible for all activities and training
conducted by the Peace Support Training Centre.
My opening remarks will provide you with an overview of what the PSTC does
and what it is. Later, if that is acceptable, we will tag team to answer your
questions. As a general officer, I know a little about a lot but not much about
specific things. That's why I have got him here, to provide me that depth.
Senator Day: We understand that.
The Chair: We have a lot in common.
The Canadian Armed Forces must be fully capable of operating across the full
spectrum of operations. They must be equally able to conduct war fighting, peace
enforcement, peacekeeping, provide humanitarian assistance, and often, a number
of these simultaneously. This dynamic and complex environment dictates the
requirement for the best and most comprehensive training possible.
Canada's Peace Support Training Centre or PSTC is a joint, inter-agency and
multinational training establishment, nested in the Canadian Army. It provides
specific, individual training to prepare selected members of the Canadian Armed
Forces, other government departments and foreign military personnel for full
spectrum operations. Located at Canadian Forces Base Kingston, PSTC's staff of
58 personnel consists of all three environments, Army, Navy, and Air Force, from
both the Regular and Reserve Force.
While it was officially stood-up in 2000, in fact its original stand-up was
in July 1996. The original role of the PSTC was to deliver pre-deployment
training to Canadian Armed Forces members and to others selected for peace
support operations, as well as to provide peace support operations training
assistance to Canadian and other foreign organizations.
Their signature course is the United Nations Military Expert on Mission
course. It is an accredited course by the United Nations. It has been accredited
since 1998. It trains selected personnel for deployment with the United Nations
as military observers, liaison officers or staff officers in headquarters. We
conduct three iterations of that course each year. It is open to both Canadian
Armed Forces personnel and members of foreign militaries.
Since April 1, 2015, we have trained a total of 109 military personnel, that
is, 85 Canadians and 24 foreign military personnel, during six iterations of
In July 2004, PSTC was assigned additional Centre of Excellence and
individual training responsibilities for Information Operations, Psychological
Operations and Civil-military Cooperation. A Centre of Excellence is an
organization designated to control the development of training. PSTC currently
conducts six courses related to its Centre of Excellence Responsibilities. Last
year, PSTC trained 261 Canadian Armed Forces members and 63 foreign military
personnel on these courses.
Of note, PSTC also has a Memorandum of Understanding with Global Affairs
Canada to deliver Hazardous Environment Training to foreign affairs personnel
and Heads of Mission. This five-day training package was delivered to 170
personnel last year.
It is, as I mentioned earlier, a complex and very dynamic and ever-changing
environment and we are continuously evolving. The training we deliver reflects
the requirements of that ever-changing operational environment.
Specifically, we've expanded our training curriculum to reflect the United
Nations' mandated training requirements related to gender, peace and security,
sexual exploitation and abuse, children and armed conflict, conflict-related
sexual violence, and other relevant human rights issues.
The peace support website provides unclassified information for anyone
deploying to various Canadian operations around the globe. The intent of the
website is to include material from the Canadian Armed Forces, other government
departments and close allies in order to provide relevant and timely information
for personnel deploying overseas on missions.
We also have a contract with the Peace Operations Training Institute to
provide online United Nations training for all Canadian Armed Forces and other
government department personnel. The Peace Operations Training Institute is a
public charity based in the U.S. It provides globally accessible distance
learning courses on peace support, humanitarian relief and security operations.
Their curriculum, which is in use at national peace training centres
worldwide, fulfils many training needs, including preparing for deployment to a
peacekeeping mission, increasing effectiveness in the field, complementing study
in the classroom, and increasing insight and knowledge of the UN system.
As part of its efforts to keep pace with the contemporary operating
environment, PSTC endeavours to remain connected with deployed and returning
personnel to capture lessons learned. PSTC also maintains active relationships
with other international and domestic training establishments and institutions
in the fields of Peace Support Operations, Civil-military Cooperation,
Information Operations and Psychological Operations. By maintaining currency and
relevance, PSTC maintains a sound intellectual base and subsequently delivers
the best possible training.
The PSTC is an internationally recognized training centre, and as such the
centre supports the Department of Defence's global strategy to achieve the
Government of Canada's strategic objective in three key ways. First, we
participate in a multitude of forums throughout the world. For peace operations,
we attend the annual International Association of Peacekeeping Training Centres
conference. It will be held in Sarajevo this year, and Lieutenant-Colonel Healey
will be departing on Friday to attend that conference.
We also attend the Association of Asia-Pacific Peace Operations Training
Centers conference, the Latin American Association of Training Centers for Peace
conference, and we attend a multitude of NATO events to discuss peace support
operations, information operations, psychological operations and
Second, we send our instructors to other nations to assist with the delivery
of their training and to build their capacity. For example, in the last 18
months, we've sent instructors to Australia, Chile, Colombia, Germany,
Guatemala, Indonesia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the U.K. and the U.S., so
quite a footprint.
Finally, we support other nations by hosting foreign instructors and
candidates at PSTC. That is a win-win for Canada. It helps build the foreign
capacity of our allies, and it currently enriches our own delivery of training
by leveraging the expertise, knowledge and experience of other nations. Over the
past year we've hosted 24 instructors and 75 students from 30 different
I would be remiss if I did not also note that PSTC has also conducted
university-focused professional development and training in Kingston in support
of Queen's University, Bishop's University and the University of Toronto.
In conclusion, I would like to highlight that the Peace Support Training
Centre has a longstanding history of excellence in providing UN-certified
training at the tactical level and has successfully achieved both operational
and strategic impact through its domestic and international partnerships.
Thank you for giving us the opportunity this morning to present to you PSTC.
We are ready for your questions.
The Chair: Thank you very much.
Colleagues, I'd like to set the stage, if I could. We have had a number of
days of hearings and there have been a number of questions in reference to army
doctrine or the question of engagement and what governs our Armed Forces when
they are deployed internationally. I just want to ask a general question so we
can get it on the record.
General Lanthier, what changes to the army doctrine have been made as a
result of the previous failures that we've witnessed as Canadians in UN missions
in the past in Rwanda, Somalia and the former Yugoslavia? What has changed in
the army doctrine that will best protect our troops and the men and women who
are deployed, if deployed?
Maj.-Gen. Lanthier: Thank you for the question.
Two key documents govern peace support operations in general. The first one
is the Canadian Armed Forces joint doctrine on peace support operations. The
last update of that doctrine was made in 2002 and really looked at the
contribution to different missions over time. Certainly the conflict in
Yugoslavia from 1992 to the early 2000s provided us with a very wide breadth of
experience. We've learned what is needed as a mandate. We better understand the
rules of engagement that are necessary to support the mandate. As higher level
mandates are defined, rules of engagement, or ROEs, are prepared and staffed
down and then promulgated to the troops. That then is encapsulated in that
At the army level, which I am responsible for, the peace operations support
field doctrine has also been updated as recently as 2009. We've done that again
by looking at all of the missions and through the process of validation of the
missions, deployment and return, and encapsulated those lessons. How do we
protect civilians? How do we ensure that the conduct of our soldiers reflects
the values and interests of Canada?
There is strict training on the code of conduct and the 11 associated rules
on the Canadian Armed Forces ethics and ethos that permeates the profession of
arms. All of that has formally become part of the training curriculum.
Our training regimen is also much more complex. We work with a plan, which is
then encapsulated in an army direction. That's how we've captured those lessons
learned. We have had the introspection to allow us to be able to move forward
and really deliver on the mandate the Government of Canada gives us.
The Chair: Colleagues, if I can just pursue this with one follow-up.
Do I take it, for the record, that the army doctrine that has been updated up
to 2002 and subsequent, that those particular principles agreed to within our
military are not negotiable with respect to our deploying in another
international forum? In other words, the United Nations or any other institution
cannot ask us to change what we believe our personnel are permitted and shall do
in certain cases if things were to go awry.
Maj.-Gen. Lanthier: Absolutely, sir. The law of armed conflict in
general — the protocol is The Hague and Geneva protocols — are non-negotiable.
They're internationally recognized and we adhere to those.
Unique to the Canadian Armed Forces, our code of conduct is clearly
enshrined. The UN has its own code of conduct, and ours is certainly as rigid,
if not in certain cases more rigid, and is strictly followed.
The Chair: I want to pursue this because this is very important. They
say they have rules, and then we learn that in certain incidents in other
countries around the world, they have run into significant difficulties because
those individuals representing the United Nations aren't necessarily doing what
they are supposed to be doing under the rules.
So my question is: What rules apply? Do our rules apply or do the United
Nations' rules apply? Then who is responsible?
Maj.-Gen. Lanthier: The Canadian Armed Forces' rules apply to the
Canadian Armed Forces. The United Nations' rules apply to the overall
contingent. Whichever is the highest standard is always what is applied.
As far as misconduct by a specific nation is concerned, if we take sexual
exploitation, for example, there are clear parameters in UN resolutions that
clearly define the conduct that is acceptable and the actions and repercussions
of not following this. So if a contingent, for example, is not respecting that
code, there are mechanisms to withdraw the entire contingent, and those are the
mechanisms under the UN rules to ensure compliance to that code of conduct.
The Chair: I could pursue that, but I will start with Senator Jaffer.
Senator Jaffer: Thank you very much for your presentations here today.
Can I get a bit of clarification before I ask my questions? The Pearson centre
is gone. Is that why you contracted with the U.S.?
Maj.-Gen. Lanthier: No, two very different mandates. PSTC is
concentrated on the tactical level of training. The Pearson peacekeeping centre
was at the operational and strategic level, conducting non-UN accredited
courses. One the reasons that the PCC eventually disappeared in 2002 when the
audit was done is there was not a requirement at that time to train Canadian
personnel, and the centre was mostly training foreign personnel funded by
Canada. That was one of the reasons that the PCC went the way it did.
So there are different mandates, different perspectives and different
Senator Jaffer: Why was it not training Canadians?
Maj.-Gen. Lanthier: In 2002 there was no requirement. The PSTC was
doing part of that training. We were using other institutions to train, so there
was not a requirement. As of 2002, we started to shift towards Afghanistan, and
that carried out until 2014.
Senator Jaffer: What you're saying is we were working more with NATO
than with the United Nations.
Maj.-Gen. Lanthier: Afghanistan was, in fact, the main effort. You're
Senator Jaffer: That's why we were not working with Pearson, right?
Now that we are looking again at peace operations, there is a need for something
like the Pearson centre.
Maj.-Gen. Lanthier: There is a need, but I'm not going to say for
exactly what the peacekeeping centre was offering.
I attended a conference yesterday at Global Affairs. Honourable Gareth Evans
and Honourable Roméo Dallaire were discussing the topics of middle power and
peace support operations. What is clear is we need a place where the different
partners, whether it's police, military, NGOs, other agencies or the corporate
world, in some cases, need to have a joint doctrine, a whole-of-government, a
whole-of-nation doctrine where we know each other's strengths, know how we
conduct business, and are able to contribute to the edification of what we call
a comprehensive approach to a problem.
The example of operations in Afghanistan speaks very loudly to it. We had an
outstanding relationship with then DFATD and CIDA. We had the policy adviser and
the development adviser embedded into the operations, and we had those intimate
relationships over the better part of 10 years. When the campaign in Afghanistan
stopped, that relationship slowly subsided because there was not an operational
When the next mission comes up, we will need to restart and relearn some of
the lessons we've learned the hard way. I believe there needs to be a forum of
some sort to allow the whole of government to work together and get to know each
other. This is not a pick-up game. It has to be rather deliberate in its
approach to maximize the objectives we're seeking.
Senator Jaffer: In Afghanistan — everyone here knows, but just because
we have people watching — our involvement was through NATO, not through the UN.
Maj.-Gen. Lanthier: It was a NATO mission as of 2006.
Senator Jaffer: We have had many witnesses before and also in the last
few days saying Canada is not ready to take on peacekeeping operations for many
reasons. There is the UN doctrine, the political and diplomatic aspects of the
mission, the negotiation and mediation skills, and the list goes on. Knowing how
well you prepare, I'm sure you've heard this being said. Are we ready?
Maj.-Gen. Lanthier: My view is different than some others. I am
responsible for land operations training. The way we prepare our troops is
through a very extensive three-year cycle. I'm sorry to go through the
mechanics, but it's important to understand why we do what we do and how I
believe we are ready to do whatever the government asks us to do.
Basically, for an entire year a brigade and a division — so about 10,000
people — are preparing and doing all the individual training courses, training
as a cohesive group, culminating to a brigade-level exercise in the month of May
at our Canadian Manoeuvre Training Centre. That's about 5,000 people we train
for the entire set of missions, including combat operations, and that's the
focus that allows them then to move in a generic fashion to any mission.
Once we have a known mission in what I call a "theatre of operation'' — so we
know the geography, the culture, the exact mandate mission and the rules of
engagement that will govern the rules of force — then we do what we call
"theatre mission specific training.'' That's usually a few weeks, and that
really focuses the training, which is very global, on a specific region so we
are ready and can react to all contingencies. We have to keep a high threshold
of training at all times to be able to react quickly because otherwise we're
Senator Dagenais: Mr. Lanthier, I would like to ask you about what you
referred to as "international knowledge to prepare members of the military.''
I know it might be difficult to answer this question, but do you have an idea
of how many personnel have acquired that international knowledge to help them
effectively participate in missions? Are we able to participate in multiple
missions in more than one place at the same time, since personnel has to be
deployed to more than one location?
Maj.-Gen. Lanthier: To answer the first part of your question, we
train about 5,000 people every year to achieve high operational readiness so we
can deploy them with just one additional training component tailored to the
Their knowledge does not disappear after this year of training. Personnel
remain on high readiness for one year and are ready to be deployed. In general,
there are always 5,000 personnel ready to be deployed, 5,000 who have just
completed training and 5,000 in training. This is also bearing in mind various
experiences on smaller mission. Since the Canadian Army is contributing in
Congo, Sudan, Iraq and Kuwait, this knowledge is applied everywhere they go. One
of the strengths of the Canadian Army is being agile, alert and able to spread
out its contribution.
Right now, we are making a major contribution in Iraq. From the army's point
of view, it is a bit more limited, but in Iraq we have an all-source
intelligence cell that supports operations. We are part of operation UNIFIER in
Ukraine. We are also part of operation REASSURANCE, a special NATO operation in
So our footprint is quite big. Logistical support is often a limiting factor,
but we can maintain our commitments at this time.
Senator Dagenais: I would like to return to what Senator Jaffer said.
Many former armed forces members have spoken to us about training, and you said
that the training available is sufficient. Another issue is equipment. It is
often said that people are well-trained and ready, but do not have the necessary
In your various missions, have you had issues with equipment renewal? We have
even heard that, sometimes, it takes 10 years make a decision about a tank or
light armoured vehicle. I do not think it takes 10 years to build a light
With regard to equipment, do you think you have the necessary equipment to
carry out missions or do you think you need more equipment or at least need to
Maj.-Gen. Lanthier: I was in charge of land equipment needs from 2007
to 2009 and I was responsible for defining requirements. Although I am no longer
responsible for that, I can draw on my experience.
We introduced several new vehicle fleets. You may have heard of the light
armoured vehicle 6.0, a vehicle with the latest technology that is the envy of
many and provides unrivalled protection against explosives and viewing systems.
We introduced the light armoured patrol vehicle, and 500 vehicles are being
purchased. We have just received the first vehicles at Gagetown.
We have modernized our communications and night sighting systems. So we have
the equipment. Yes, it is a lengthy process, because there are four steps for
each project, the whole bidding process, and the dealings with Public Works.
Depending on project size, good coordination is needed to get through the
Treasury Board process. So the bureaucratic process is slow.
Once operational needs are defined, however, we can acquire vehicles very
quickly. I am thinking of the RG-31 minesweepers, which can be acquired within
months. But these vehicles do not necessarily remain in the inventory after the
mission because we do not necessarily have the resources to maintain the fleets.
So we have some flexibility and I am confident that, with the new
acquisitions we are expecting, we will be very well equipped.
Senator Dagenais: When you say they do not stay in the inventory, what
do you mean? Are they sent elsewhere?
Maj-Gen. Lanthier: Some equipment is purchased for specific missions
and our long-term funding is not sufficient to maintain and update them. So the
equipment is sold — to other countries, for example, and in some cases, they can
even be given to the host country —, or, to be quite honest, the equipment is at
the end of its life cycle after the mission and there is no value in maintaining
it. That is the case more often than not.
Senator Day: I appreciate the comments of both of you.
The first point I wanted to make, general, is that you are the Commander of
the Canadian Army Doctrine and Training Centre. Is there another centre being
developed for the navy and the air force, and do you coordinate that? Can you
explain how that works for us?
Maj.-Gen. Lanthier: Each environment — the air force, the navy and the
army — have their own doctrine centre that produces a doctrine specific to their
environment. All of this falls under what we call joint doctrine, which refers
to when more than one service contributes to capabilities.
The Canadian Armed Forces Warfare Centre is where joint doctrine happens. The
rudiments of that doctrine are the cornerstone of everything else. That's where
it is unified so that we have a common and coherent vision.
At my level, I have the air/land integration centre in my headquarters,
because the army and air force work together intimately. We cannot deliver the
effects we need without the air force. So we have to have a common air-to-land
doctrine, the air/land doctrine. Think of it as a Venn diagram with many
Senator Day: Where is the warfare doctrine centre located?
Maj.-Gen. Lanthier: Shirleys Bay, sir.
Senator Day: Near Ottawa. Then when we go to the more specific
training for peacekeeping operations, you are an interagency organization, and
you have all three in Kingston with you?
Lieutenant-Colonel Brian Healey, Commander, Peace Support Training Centre,
National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces: On my staff, I have
representatives from the army, navy and air force. Once we conduct the training,
we actually bring in people from, for example, the International Committee of
the Red Cross, the Toronto Police Service and other UN agencies as available to
actually teach the courses. That's what we mean when we say "interagency,''
because we all combine to provide the training to enable our soldiers to produce
the effects the government wants us to produce.
Senator Day: You have a number of trainers. You talked about 5,000
trained each year for the army; I assume that's where that figure is from. But
that's primarily in Wainwright or out in Alberta in the summer exercise. How
many are on an ongoing basis, and how long would someone be in Kingston to go
through the training they receive there?
Lt.-Col. Healey: Our signature course, United Nations Military Experts
on Mission course, is 20 days. They would come to Kingston and do their
training, and then they would go back to their home units and get additional
That's our longest course — 20 days — but in terms of peacekeeping
operations, it's 20 days.
Senator Day: With regard to training and educating with respect to
gender sensitivity, language and that kind of thing, you can't do that in 20
days. How do you handle that? It's a critically important part of peacekeeping.
Lt.-Col. Healey: The United Nations Military Experts on Mission course
is consistent with what the UN calls their core pre-deployment training
materials. We incorporate into our training whatever the UN-mandated training is
for gender and cross-cutting issues, such as human rights, sexual exploitation
As General Lanthier mentioned during the opening remarks, our course has been
certified with the UN since the late 1990s. That certification process takes
place every five years. We recently had our course recertified. That means that
the training we conduct is consistent with all relevant requirements mandated by
the UN, including gender, peace and security, sexual exploitation and abuse.
Maj.-Gen. Lanthier: You are right that if is not part of the
curriculum on a daily basis, then we don't get the full benefit. So the CDS
issued a directive on gender-based analysis training in early summer 2016 — the
army. We are conducting that training — GBA+, it's called — across the forces at
different levels. In my organization, for example, all the leaders, all the way
to the instructor level, all the staff that develop policies, training
courseware — that's all part of the training curriculum necessary for them to
undertake. So we design the training with that.
I have directed for all training events, not only in Wainwright but
throughout the entire year, the series of scenarios that people will face, such
as other nations conducting themselves inappropriately, including sexual
exploitation, detainee abuse by local forces. All the types of incidents that we
may see are part of the scenario injected into the training. That way, we
develop that base, and people undergoing training can then truly understand what
the right actions are and how to consider those actions under the code of
Senator Day: Is that all under the umbrella of peace support training
or something separate?
Maj.-Gen. Lanthier: It is seamless. Everything we do is a
Senator Day: That's not just the 20 days we were talking about with
Maj.-Gen. Lanthier: There is a specific focus on that in the course,
but it is embedded in everything else we do.
Lt.-Col. Healey: I will add that when we have Canadians do the UN
Military Experts on Mission course, we have to send a certification to the UN
saying that a member has completed all the training in accordance with
UN-mandated training. At that time, the UN can decide they don't want to accept
that member for another reason, so they have the final say. As I said, our
training is consistent with their core, mandated training.
Senator Day: For our group, what is the name of that UN agency or
organization that does the certification?
Lt.-Col. Healey: It goes through the international training staff,
part of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations.
Senator Day: General, you made mention of Queen's University and other
universities, but you didn't the Royal Military College, and it's right there in
Kingston. Is there not some synergy with your organization and the Royal
Maj.-Gen. Lanthier: There is not a lot. I think Walter Dorn at RMC is
in direct contact with both the Canadian Army Command and Staff College —
Senator Day: Mr. Dorn was here a few days ago.
Lt.-Col. Healey: Those universities that we indicated in the opening
remarks have approached PSTC because they want to help educate some of their
honour graduate and graduate-level students, and they want to take advantage the
fact that the Peace Support Training Centre is actually in Kingston. So we do
have interactions with RMC, but we tend to do more with other universities
because they have a process.
Senator Day: But surely with the future officers graduating from RMC,
the sooner you expose them to some of the sensitivities of peacekeeping, gender
issues, et cetera, the better it would be. When do they get that training?
Lt.-Col. Healey: We need to equate RMC with a civilian university.
During the academic school year they are doing civilian studies. All this other
training actually happens in the summer when they go to their respective
For example, I'm an infantry officer. If I was at RMC, I would go to Gagetown
in the summertime. All those cross-cultural, cross-cutting issues, like human
rights, sexual exploitation and abuse, they will learn that in their
What the other universities are doing is their academics are coming in and
consulting with us, and we're sharing ideas as we move forward to determine how
best to prepare our soldiers for going on peacekeeping operations.
Senator Beyak: Thank you, gentlemen. I'm always gratified when I'm out
in the riding to see how many Canadians watch meetings of our National Security
and Defence Committee on TV, and I think it's because it is such a universal
issue in the world that we live in right now. Every meeting, every set of
witnesses, we learn something new. Thank you very much. I didn't realize the
scope of your work.
When we are deploying to another country, are there specific military
requirements within the doctrine that have to be in place before we go? Could
you share those with us?
Maj.-Gen. Lanthier: I'm not sure I'll answer directly, but please come
back to me if I don't.
We define very precisely training requirements in what we call the Canadian
Army operating plan. Those are the generic training requirements by which we
judge whether we have achieved the level of professionalism and technical
expertise we need. Then, when we have a specific mission, I issue, on behalf of
the army commander, what we call the high readiness direction and guidance. We
call that the Battle Task Standard. It is an exhaustive list of what needs to be
trained, under what standard, and what standard needs to be achieved. Then we
have different confirmation levels.
For example, on behalf of the army commander, I certify or confirm brigade
levels. Ten units, 5,000 people. A brigadier-general that commands a division
will confirm the battle groups. That's how we achieve the training requirements
that are expressly stated. For a specific mission, it will go as far as the
language, the culture, the political and socio-economic background. All the
aspects that form a nation will be presented and taught.
Senator Beyak: Thank you very much. That's good to know.
Lt.-Col. Healey: I would add that I identify that our training is
consistent with the core pre-deployment training materials from the UN. We add
Canadian-specific material to that, such as first aid, the "Road to Mental
Readiness'' and "Conduct after Capture.'' These are requirements in addition to
the basic training that the UN mandates in order to better prepare our soldiers.
The Chair: I will follow up on that before we leave the area with
respect to the instructors and the expertise in terms of understanding the
culture and the politics of a country to which you may deploy. The people that
are instructing, do they come from that country and do they provide the
expertise and nuances of what exactly is going on?
The reason I ask that question is that we have had witnesses tell us that we
are sometimes sending our military into places where we have no idea of the
political and religious doctrines that people live by and therefore no
understanding of the day-to-day dangers that our men and women can face when
they actually arrive in these particular theatres. The question is, do you
actually have people who understand it and live it and who will be able to give
the advice to our officers when they take this training?
Maj.-Gen. Lanthier: In terms of having the resident expertise within
either the PSTC or the Canadian Armed Forces, it is fairly limited. We rely
heavily, of course, on our attaché, a network, to get us part of that
information, but we have a relationship with Global Affairs Canada, where those
experts come in.
I will let Colonel Healey expand, because he manages that on behalf of the
army and the forces.
Lt.-Col. Healey: We engage heavily with Global Affairs Canada. They
have cultural awareness experts. For every course that we run, if we know the
particular area that Canadians will be deploying in, they send over cultural
awareness experts, and they will give all those details as you've identified in
order to provide the atmosphere of the environment that our soldiers will be
The Chair: I don't think you have answered my direct question, though.
I will relate it closer to home.
I'm from the Yukon, three time zones away. We have people in Ottawa
responsible for the Yukon in various aspects of how we live, but they don't live
there, and a lot of times they don't get it right.
My question is, if you're going to deploy to Mali or places of that nature,
which are very dangerous, we've been told that if the decision is taken to go to
a country like that, we had better have an understanding of what's going on in
the day-to-day operations of the country.
Do you actually have people from that particular country who give our troops
or officers that insight, as opposed to somebody who has maybe read a book?
Lt.-Col. Healey: For Roto 0, that's very difficult to do. However,
what we do is we go to our trusted partners, our allies, that have deployed to
those operations and bring them to Canada to instruct our courses.
Once we go through a number of iterations, we actually do what we call a
reverse TAV, or technical assistance visit, where we bring the commanders who
were actually on the ground, who have interfaced with the local population, who
have perhaps identified some of their friction points. They come back and help
inform the current training.
The Chair: I think that in part answers my question.
Senator White: Thanks to both of you for being here. I apologize for
I appreciate it when you talk about the training programs. It sounds like you
have a package you put together and you make changes to it, depending on if you
know where you're going. But you must be identifying capacity and capability
gaps as you go through that. How do you push that back to Ottawa? The highway is
not always that quick. How do you push it back to Ottawa to identify, "Look, we
are planning into go into Africa right now'' — or Mali or wherever it happens to
be, "and we think there are some concerns''? Or do you just say, "We're the
military.'' As somebody said yesterday, "We are a 'can do' organization.'' How
do you push it back so that you actually make sure those capacity and capability
gaps are filled as much as possible?
Maj.-Gen. Lanthier: I'll speak from an army level. The approach we
take is that once the initiating directive comes down to us, we identify the
mission parameters and requirements. We then map that against our capabilities
across all domains: Do we have the right doctrine, the right equipment,
training, facilities, weapons and ammunition? What is the art of the possible,
we do; and the rest, we identify where those gaps exist and the mitigation
This will be an iterative process. Are the mitigation strategies presented
acceptable? Is the residual risk acceptable in Ottawa and of course ultimately
to the Government of Canada? That will make the mission mandate or the
parameters of the mission evolve to a point where the residual risks are
acceptable. We will never put away all risks, but we will always deploy with an
understanding of the parameters and capabilities we have so that there is a
match with the two.
Senator White: Thanks for that. I appreciate that you're always trying
to tighten up those gaps. Our friend is from the Yukon, and we know that working
in isolated communities is the same thing; you end up with those same types of
gaps in some of the areas.
A number of years ago in Afghanistan there were questions around UN CIVPOL,
the policing side, being outside the wire and whether or not they received the
same level of training that the military received to be outside the wire. In
fact, they weren't receiving the same training at all. I know that at the time,
DFAIT — Global Affairs today — had looked at whether or not they needed to
change the training.
When you look at those new missions coming up, do you also engage the police
agencies to ensure that with the training you are providing, which is narrowing
gaps, is being provided to them, or do you actually engage them in your training
Maj.-Gen. Lanthier: When we conduct training, we will invite allies
and other agencies, so GAC. We will send policy advisers. We will send those
With regard to civilian police, unless it is theatre-specific training, not
the generic overall screening, there is not, at my level, a mechanism to do
that. I'm not resourced nor mandated to do that. I cannot answer at the higher
level, from an issue perspective, the approach for that, unfortunately.
Lt.-Col. Healey: Sir, if I may, we have a very good relationship with
the Toronto police force. As part of the United Nations Military Experts on
Mission course, there is the requirement for investigations, for interrogations,
for following up. They provide instructors who actually come down. By building
those relationships, they are actually exposed to the level of training that we
do, and so we talk to them. We also have a relationship with the RCMP with their
We have had these engagements and conversations, but as we've identified, we
need to do better on how we get the whole-of-government aspect together.
Senator White: I appreciate that relationship, but that's about
building your capacity when Toronto comes in there. I guess my concern is
whether or not the capacity is being built for those police agencies. It's not
just the RCMP; over 50 per cent of the police officers who actually go into
theatre right now are not RCMP. In fact, about 65 per cent are not RCMP.
Would it be possible for us to receive a copy of some type of syllabus that
shows us how that engagement works with police agencies? I am a little bit
concerned that, right now, we are seeing a lot of agencies come back. We had
discussions with Minister Goodale last spring about the fact that a lot of
police services are getting officers back with a number of different issues and
aren't even covered through Veterans Affairs from a medical perspective in the
same way that the RCMP are. Is it possible that I could try to figure out the
syllabus to see whether or not there is enough connection? Because I'm not
convinced there is. No disrespect. I respect what you guys do.
Maj.-Gen. Lanthier: If I identify a gap, it comes back to one of my
previous remarks where we do not have that forum or that ability to train
collectively, for everybody deployed to have a commonality of training,
understanding of the doctrine, combined and joint. I don't know if we'd be able
to provide you with something because I do not know, at my level, if there is
such a thing.
Lt.-Col. Healey: We do offer hazardous environment training. This is
for civil servants because we have a service level agreement with Global
Affairs. So we do have a package to prepare civil servants. Can that be
incorporated to better prepare police officers? I think that's a good question,
sir, and we'll look at that.
Senator Jaffer: The chair asked you a question about knowledge of the
area. I know Mali well. I have spent time there. One of your biggest assets —
and I'm sure you just forgot to mention it — is our own foreign service officers
who have worked for many years in Mali and have tremendous knowledge. Mali is
not a new country for our country because it's French speaking. Our foreign
officers have spent many years there, so we have a great base of knowledge in
that regard, which I'm sure you will access.
I want to go back to the Pearson centre. I was upset that it was closed
because I worked in that centre. I know that it helped to reach out to
civilians, and it helped you people to specialize in how to reach out to
civilians and in peacekeeping operations. How have you replaced that?
Maj.-Gen. Lanthier: It is not part of my mandate. It's a
Government-of-Canada-wide mandate, so my mandate is to focus the training at the
tactical level, for mission success at the tactical level. That is truly that
PSTC does as a subset of the overall training strategy. It's a bit outside my
Senator Jaffer: I have one last question. When I have seen great men
and women that you work with on the ground, I've seen you do really well with
not so much boots on the ground but the strategic advice that you provide. For
example, in Darfur, I observed with the AU the strategic advice that you were
giving your men and women. I believe that your strength is the training, the
expertise you bring, the high standard — I may be biased being Canadian — our
men and women have, our Canadian Forces have. That's the strength. Am I wrong in
that? Is that your strength? It won't be the numbers you send. It's the
competency and the knowledge that you share with peacekeeping operations.
Maj.-Gen. Lanthier: I think we've increased tremendously our knowledge
and ability to do what we call security force capability building. That's an
important thing to know. It can be done and we've done it very well at the
My first deployment in Kandahar in 2006 was to train a brigade, a battalion,
of Afghan forces, 205th Corps. Then, when I was deployed for a full year in
2011-12, it was to do the same thing but at a strategic level, helping the
development of the ministry of interior, the ministry of defence of the Afghan
I guess my message is: We have to address the entire spectrum. It you don't
develop the governance level, if you don't do security sector reform at the
highest level, if we don't make sure of that, from an economic perspective, a
justice perspective, a legal perspective, a constitutional perspective, if you
don't attack all of this simultaneously and follow through all the way to the
tactical level, then sustainability of mission success is compromised. It has to
be a truly whole-of-government effort focused across the wider spectrum of
Senator Beyak: You answered most of my questions just now in your
response, but something you said earlier raised another question. You said that
we need a place where the different partners can forge a joint doctrine. I
wondered if you think we need a new Pearson centre or if you have enough with
enhanced funding there, if we could meet new goals and objectives of the
government when it comes to pre-and post-deployment training for our allies in
developing countries that are sending solders to UN missions?
Maj.-Gen. Lanthier: Because there is not a recognized, formally funded
centre with clear priorities, it is done to the capacity of each organization.
The Canadian Armed Forces is unique in the sense that our whole life is
dedicated to training for contingencies. Global Affairs Canada and other police
corps or agencies do not have a training capacity. Their day-to-day job consists
completely of delivering a specific role against specific objectives.
Everything we do is a bit ad hoc and is at the whim of the party of the day
for that department, for that agency. We need to be able to create that space to
train so that it's not a pickup team that shows up but rather a team that is
thinking the same way about stabilization operations or peace support
operations. That, from my perspective, is a bit of a gap we have, and it needs
to be formalized. Is it a physical place? Is it a forum? Is it a series of
directions and guidance that establishes that? That has to be looked at, I
Senator Beyak: Thank you. That is very helpful.
Senator Day: It might be helpful for us to have on the record where
the Peace Operations Training Institute in the United States is located.
Maj.-Gen. Lanthier: We will have to take that one on notice, sir.
We'll get back to you.
Senator Day: Sure. That would be fine, just so we can put it on our
Lt.-Col. Healey: I actually have promotional material that you are
more than welcome to have a look at. It's online.
POTI is not a replacement for Pearson. POTI is the Peace Operations Training
Institute, a U.S.-based charity. It allows us to do blended learning so that we
can actually leverage some of the UN information. Their curriculum is based on
the system within the UN, so they provide scenarios and little vignettes that we
use to complement our training. It's a means to an end; it is not the end. It's
not a replacement for Pearson.
The Chair: I want to follow up on Senator White's question, and that's
the question of army doctrine and how it applies to all army members. We have
heard that the reservists are treated somewhat differently in many cases, as
opposed to those involved in the regular force. We've heard a number of stories,
not just during the course of these hearings but over the last number of years.
I would assume that the army doctrine would say that all members of your
force would be treated equally. So, if it does say that, why are we in a
situation where reservists and others are being treated differently for medical
purposes perhaps, for training perhaps? Can you explain that? And if your army
doctrine doesn't express that principle, why doesn't it?
Major-General Lanthier: From a doctrine perspective, the doctrine
applies equally, without any distinction, in terms of what we're trying to
accomplish. The doctrine is a guiding principle on how you conduct operations or
other activities and it applies equally.
The difference of course is that the regular force does that full-time. The
reserves do it part-time, a few nights and a weekend a month. So the level and
standard they can achieve over the same period is different and therefore
expectations in terms of training are different.
To deploy, the standard is exactly the same. That's why Lieutenant-Colonel
Healey mentioned we don't employ reservists on what we call Roto 0, because
often that deployment does not allows reservists to catch up and reach the level
and standard of training readiness that's needed. We recognize that gap.
The Chair: We're coming to an end here. I'm sure you've heard it here,
but for the record, even those reservists who go on full time, there are some
differences at the end of the day with respect to how they are treated. I think
that's what Senator White was referring to as well regarding the military. I'm
sure that is a cause of concern for yourself with respect to how benefits and
other things apply to them.
That being said, I want to thank our witnesses for appearing.
Senators, joining us on panel two today are Ms. Petra Andersson-Charest,
Director of Programs, Parliamentary Centre; and Mr. Paul LaRose-Edwards,
Executive Director, CANADEM. Welcome.
As background, the Parliamentary Centre is a Canadian-based international
non-governmental organization established in 1968. It offers legislative, social
and economic expertise to parliamentarians across the globe. Its current mission
statement resolves around a three-year strategy plan looking to improve
governance and citizen participation in the democratic process. Part of its work
includes conflict prevention and peace-building education for legislatures.
CANADEM is a non-profit, non-government organization established in 1996 by
Mr. LaRose-Edwards. Its main goal is to help with the mobilization and
preparation of experts that can contribute to international peace and security.
Its roster is currently composed of more than 25,000 individuals whose expertise
varies from military experience, governance experts and humanitarian response.
Mr. LaRose-Edwards, please proceed.
Paul LaRose-Edwards, Executive Director, CANADEM: Senator Lang and
committee members, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you. Like
Assistant Deputy Minister Gwozdecky in his testimony, I will focus on UN peace
operations in their broadest sense and on the civilian contributions that Canada
About halfway through my 35 years of international service with the UN and
others, I came to the enduring realization that most systemic change is driven
by innovative individuals making small things happen in their immediate work
environment. Such individuals develop workarounds and make things happen despite
organizational hurdles, and when there is a critical mass of innovative
make-it-happen individuals, then UN systemic change miraculously happens.
So in 1996, as part of Canada's contribution to strengthening UN field
operations, Foreign Affairs funded us to set up CANADEM, Canada's civilian
reserve. It is a vehicle to identify individual Canadians in international
service, to find ways to inject them into UN hiring processes ranging from P2
positions to the D1 and D2 diplomatic levels. We take pride in strengthening the
UN one expert at a time.
That remains our core role, enabled by our roster of 14,000 Canadians and
another 15,000 non-Canadians. Along the way, the Canadian and British
governments, the UN and others have funded us to not only find the right experts
but to hire and deploy those experts to join UN and other field missions,
including humanitarian emergency experts, election and ceasefire observers,
experts on governance and human rights.
I believe that one of Canada's biggest contributions to peace operations
could consist of getting more of the right civilians into those operations. Even
narrowly defined, peacekeeping operations are not foremost military. This is
counterintuitive, particularly as in most UN peace operations the number of
military personnel vastly outnumber the civilians. But as you know, the military
force commander reports to the civilian head of mission, invariably the SRGS,
the Special Representative of the Secretary-General. In peace operations there
is never a military solution. The enduring solutions lie in politics, rule of
law and civil society.
This has been validated most recently by HIPPO, the 2015 High-Level
Independent Panel on Peace Operations. HIPPO set out just four essential shifts
required for peace operations to better succeed. The very first one is that for
all peace operations:
Politics must have primacy. Political solutions should always guide the
design and deployment of UN peace operations and political momentum must be
Because of the importance of civilians in UN peace operations, therein lies
perhaps the biggest potential for Canada's renewed contribution to peace
operations. As you know, cost will always limit the size of Canada's military
contribution. In contrast, Canadian civilians on peace operations can be almost
cost-free to Canada, and so it would be easy for Canada to dramatically increase
the proportion of Canadian civilians in peace operations.
Peace operations normally hire their civilian personnel directly, so it is
merely a case of Canada making sure that stellar Canadian candidates are
injected into UN hiring procedures. Peacekeeping operations alone have more than
19,000 civilian staff, political missions have more than 3,000, and then there
are other types of peace operations. The UN pays their salaries so Canada can
increase its presence in peace operations at no cost.
But the UN hiring process is dysfunctional. Again let me quote from HIPPO:
There is no topic that elicits greater frustration in the field across all
levels of staff. Existing procedures for recruiting staff and bringing them
on board are onerous and slow. . . . Peace operations also need the
flexibility to bring on board for a specified period, and then release,
individuals with specific skills and experiences relevant to a particular
mandate or situation.
This long-standing UN hiring dysfunctionality calls for outside assistance by
Canada. By showcasing our best, more Canadians will be hired, Canada will
increase Canadian involvement and UN peace operations will be stronger. This
almost cost-free option for Canada is a huge lost opportunity. I say "lost''
because Canada for a decade had seized that opportunity and then jettisoned it
in 2007. Attached to this brief is a more detailed explanation of this
recommendation, "Rebuilding the UN-Canada Partnership: The Recruitment Piece.''
Let me touch briefly on UN humanitarian operations and their expanding
standby partnership mechanism and its ramifications for peace operations.
About 30 agencies worldwide are funded by governments to hire experts to be
seconded to UN humanitarian operations. The NGO I am with, CANADEM, is in the
top 10 of those 30 agencies. We receive $5 million annually from the British
government and $1.5 million from the Canadian government. So this option is not
cost-free, but it is an important mechanism for UN humanitarian field operations
to get the right expert at the right time for the right duration.
I flag this mechanism because there are calls for it to also apply to UN
peace operations. We recommend when this comes to pass that Canada looks to
provide that direct civilian expert assistance to peace operations.
I'm going to skip my comments on OSCE field missions because that might not
be of immediate interest to you, but I am happy return to it and talk about our
50 Canadians in the Ukraine with the OSCE special monitoring mission.
To further maximize the impact of Canadian civilians in peace operations, let
me set out two recommendations on how to further assist Canadians to enter, but
perhaps more importantly how to succeed in UN international service. In a
virtuous cycle, the better Canadians perform, the more they enable peace
operations to have an impact, the more Canadians will be promoted and the more
opportunity they will have to increase the impact of the UN and, by extension,
Canada. Just like the Canadian military benefits from training and field
leadership, field management, operational planning, et cetera, so too Canadian
civilians will benefit from field training, including how to maximize their
performance in advancing UN operations. We recommend that Canada stand up a
civilian training institution similar to the original Pearson peacekeeping
centre. Attached is a proposal on what that civilian training centre might look
Second, we recommend the creation of a Canadian civilian corps. It would have
a number of mandates, including getting more Canadians into international
service, providing individual Canadians already in international service with an
association that facilitates their international service, and would provide
Global Affairs Canada with enhanced connectivity with those thousands of
Canadians in international service. That recommendation is also attached.
Finally, we want to support Canada's action plan for the implementation of UN
Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security. Attached is our
recommendation that Canada unilaterally take a unique role in advancing UN 1325
reform by advancing the candidacy of strong women for international service
across the UN, including peace operations. CANADEM would inject strong women
candidates into UN hiring processes, but the UN would hire and pay them, costing
Canada nothing. This, I believe, could end up being the most important new
contribution that Canada could make.
Let me end my opening remarks there, and I would be happy to respond to your
The Chair: Thank you.
Petra Andersson-Charest, Director of Programs, Parliamentary Centre:
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair and committee members, for giving the
Parliamentary Centre the opportunity to appear before the committee today.
As the chair mentioned, the Parliamentary Centre is a Canadian
not-for-profit, non-partisan organization that for almost 50 years now has
supported good governance practices at the national, subnational and regional
levels. We have helped build the capacity of approximately 120 legislators to
better perform their law-making oversight and representative roles, working
closely with all institutions and actors of governance, including civil society
and the media. While our work is global, it might be interesting to know that we
started our existence as a support centre for the Canadian Parliament linked to
international affairs, trade and defence.
I will focus my remarks on why the Parliamentary Centre is supportive of a
whole-of-government approach linked to peace operations, and the importance of
ensuring that good governance is a critical component of this approach, to
reinforce security and build sustainable peace.
As you know, Canada is one of the countries committed to the 2030 agenda for
sustainable development. This agenda recognizes that there can be no sustainable
development without peace and no peace and security without sustainable
development. Our experience is also that there can be no sustainable development
without good governance.
Good governance can be seen as the immune system to help provide the
stability, reliability and predictability needed to ensure rule of law, citizen
security and a business climate that is favourable to investment and national
prosperity. This helps mitigate state fragility and conflict. Good governance
provides the best possible process for decision making that is inclusive,
transparent and accountable, as well as equitable and meaningful at all levels.
It is also the most effective way to empower nations to take ownership of their
own efforts to achieve sustainability and peace.
Peace operations require political will and the relevant capacity, as we
heard. Many conflicts are only resolved or prevented in the first place when the
different stakeholders can reconcile their views and agree on how to build a
stable functioning model of governance. Building peace and good governance can
therefore not be separated. The first cannot happen without the other.
Support to build strong and effective institutions should therefore be seen
as one of many tools in a comprehensive tool box that Canada can use for
conflict prevention, peace building and post-conflict reconstruction. We
recognize and strongly support the idea that a combination of tools and actors
needs to be used during the different stages of peace operations. Further,
referring to the chair's remarks earlier, the tools have to be adjusted
depending on the unique historical, cultural and political context of each
When engaging in peace operations, it is important that Canada moves forward
with a comprehensive and holistic approach built on cooperation and coordination
between different actors, such as the military, police, diplomatic corps,
civilians experts, and organizations like ours working on democratic
development, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.
The resources available for peace operations in Canada and elsewhere are not
likely to increase at the same pace as the security challenges around the world.
Canada will need to do more with less and be innovative in addressing these
This is why the Parliamentary Centre supports the whole-of-government
approach. Increased coordination between and within the Departments of Global
Affairs, National Defence and Public Safety is required to identify the gaps and
avoid the overlaps.
When we combine the knowledge of our highly skilled personnel from our
military and police force with that of Canadian organizations and experts, it
will add value to our peace operations. It is important that this joint action
is effective, efficient and results-oriented. It needs to be based on a common
understanding of what is a successful peace operation and have well-defined
criteria to determine progress and measure results.
To ensure that good governance becomes a critical component to reinforce
security and build sustainable peace, the existing gap in support needs to be
addressed. There is an increased focus on governance and international
development projects, and the revamped Peace and Stabilization Operations
Program at Global Affairs will help, but long approval processes are an obstacle
to effective, relevant and timely engagement.
When working with fragile states and countries making strides towards
peaceful development, time is always of the essence, and Canada does have the
mechanism to respond to natural and manmade disasters through the Disaster
Assistance Response Team, but the Parliamentary Centre recommends that a similar
mechanism be put in place to respond quickly when governance systems are failing
and result in escalating security challenges. This could be mirrored on the U.K.
across-government and fast-reaction mechanism called the Conflict, Stability and
Security Fund. The Parliamentary Centre is one of the organizations that has
been pre-qualified to participate in this framework.
In closing, the Parliamentary Centre would like to stress that to ensure the
success of Canada's peace operations, good governance cannot be overlooked.
I thank you again, Mr. Chair and committee members, for allowing the
Parliamentary Centre to be here, and I look forward to your questions.
The Chair: Thank you both for your presentations.
Senator Jaffer: Thank you to both of you for being here today and also
for the work you do. I'm going to start with Mr. LaRose-Edwards.
You may have mentioned and I missed it, but I know you also send people for
election observing and I know a lot of Canadians participate with CANADEM on
many of the elections you observe. Am I correct? You do that, right?
Mr. LaRose-Edwards: That's correct. As a matter of fact, we have
someone flying back today from Russia. They observed the Duma elections,
including someone from Whitehorse. We work very hard to make sure we get
cross-Canada representation, youth, older folks. I think about 55 per cent are
women. We try to get a good balance.
The Chair: I'm beginning to like you all the more.
Senator Jaffer: I also know that you have been pushing UN Resolution
1325. In your submission, you say that CANADEM has expanded its "1325 capacity .
. . with a view to resurging and re-establishing it UN reform function." You did
say — my colleagues all looked at me when you said it — that you were including
women. That's music to my ears, but I'd like to know more specifically how you
are included women.
With your election observing, I'm impressed in how you're including women,
but in the UN, what efforts are you making, especially for women in decision
making, not just numbers?
Mr. LaRose-Edwards: As you can see from the tenor of my comments, I
truly believe in the force of individuals who will make a difference, and
collectively then they reach critical mass.
To change the culture of the UN, you just have to have more women. Not only
have women in a proper representation, but let's be realistic. Looking at
women's issues, children's issues out there, women have more of an inherent
understanding of the challenges facing refugees, IDPs, people in crisis, so the
more women you have in the UN, the better. It needs to be across all levels. You
need people coming into the P2 level that 15, 20 years from now will be D1s, and
D2s, and you also need to populate the higher levels too.
The Chair: Could you tell us what a D1 is?
Mr. LaRose-Edwards: D1 is the first level of the diplomatic grade.
There is no P1. There are P2, 3, 4, 5, and then they become diplomatic;
diplomatic D1, 2, 3.
The Chair: Just so those observing on TV understand what we're
Mr. LaRose-Edwards: So the diplomatic positions are extremely
important. We look also to inject women into that.
I'm not too sure if you picked up on my point that, yes, I would like to
advance strong Canadian women, but we also have a roster of strong Third World
women from Africa and the Middle East in particular. That roster is somewhere in
the range of 16,000 right now, large numbers of women on there.
The UN just does not have very good mechanisms to get strong women into the
hiring process. I know a lot of people who want to hire women, and they say,
"Listen, we were presented with 15 candidates and there were only three women
and they didn't have a lot of qualifications.''
Senator Jaffer: Do you work with UN Women?
Mr. LaRose-Edwards: Yes, we've been working with UN agencies across
Senator Jaffer: No, UN Women.
Mr. LaRose-Edwards: Not currently. We're not actually funded to do
that work anymore.
Senator Jaffer: Okay.
Mr. LaRose-Edwards: Which is a little bit of the challenge for us as
an NGO. We can do things on the side, as we do.
Senator Jaffer: My next question is to the Parliamentary Centre. I've
been here for 16 years, and when I came here I worked a lot with the
Parliamentary Centre. I was very proud of the work you were doing in Kenya,
Tanzania, Ghana and Senegal. I have seen your work first-hand. I want to thank
you for your work, and I hope you continue to do it.
I have observed from afar, because I haven't been involved lately, the work
you've done in Indonesia, how you have included women and how that has built
their capacity, which has really been good. But I'd really like to hear from you
as to how you are implementing Resolution 1325, especially with women. How are
you building capacity? I know you're working in many countries in Africa as
well, so it would be helpful to see how you're involving civilians and how you
could help our peace operations in including civilians.
Ms. Andersson-Charest: Women have always been very central to our
programs around the world and, as you mentioned, in Africa in particular.
We always try and ensure that we work specifically with the women to ensure
that they have the capacity to take on larger decision-making roles and not
necessarily work in the traditional sense and the traditional, so to speak,
committees but are also members of the defence committee, the finance committee,
and so on, so they can have a true impact on their countries.
I will give you a couple of examples. This is a little while back now, before
the earthquake in Haiti. We had a large program where we trained women that
wanted to be elected members, to help empower them to run for the election and
to know what to do when elected, which is not very common when women come into
Parliament. They have very little training prior to — men and women, actually —
so that was a big focus of our program there.
We have worked with ECOWAS Parliament where we developed a gender strategy.
This was actually linked to conflict prevention and management in an overall
program to strengthen the regional Parliament in this capacity.
Recently, we worked with women parliamentarians in Burma, or Myanmar, where
we brought together women MPs and senators from both houses and from the
regional level with Canadian peers and also regional peers from Cambodia and
Nepal, to engage in common interests and see how they could work together beyond
the political divide for the interests of women.
Senator Jaffer: I want to take this opportunity to formally thank Mr.
Miller, who ran the Parliamentary Centre for many years. If you are ever
speaking to him, certainly the Parliament of Canada has appreciated the work he
did for the Parliamentary Centre and for Canadians, and it is good to see you
are continuing his work. Thank you.
Ms. Andersson-Charest: I will pass the message along.
Senator Dagenais: I have two questions, one for Mr. LaRose-Edwards and
one for Ms. Andersson-Charest.
Mr. LaRose-Edwards, a witness said yesterday that, in his opinion,
peacekeeping missions are essentially political missions. You touched on this
earlier in your introduction.
Based on your broad experience at various levels of intervention, can you
tell us who conducts a peacekeeping mission on the ground? Is it political or
Mr. LaRose-Edwards: It is completely the political side. I know the
HIPPO report is huge, and it is a hard read at times to grind through, but I
strongly recommend it. It makes the point, time and again, that as important as
the military is, as important as the police is, that the political agenda of the
mission and the politics not only within the mission but with local civil
society, local government and the region, drives everything. And the Congo is a
good example: "We are just going to throw in enough troops and it will sort it
out.'' No. We don't have enough troops in all of NATO to sort out the Congo. If
they cannot bring themselves to a political solution, it will not happen.
Politics drives everything, which is why we need to work harder at getting
stronger civilians into these operations who understand the politics and how to
work the politics.
You senators particularly understand the importance of politics. So, no,
there is no military solution. They are key, critical enablers, in military
speak, but they are not the ones that will make it happen.
Senator Dagenais: Would it be possible to conduct an effective
peacekeeping mission without military support?
Mr. LaRose-Edwards: Absolutely not. Well, there are some peace
operations that are purely civilian, but the big ones in the complicated areas
where there is a conflict or potential of conflict, the military is extremely
important. I don't want to diminish the military role. It is like saying we also
need logisticians and people flying aircraft for the civilians. But the solution
will be in enabling the local society, local government, to come to a political
resolution of the problems facing it and let us pull out.
So, no, we need the military. We desperately need the military to be better
aware of the politics they are getting into, and this is perhaps a shortcoming
right now. They are critically important, but they will not be the drivers for
Senator Dagenais: Ms. Andersson-Charest, I have a question for you as
well. It is a simple question, but your answer could be very helpful for us.
What is Canada not doing right now that it could easily do to be more
effective in preventing conflicts?
Ms. Andersson-Charest: I think the main problem right now is that many
of the departments don't work between them. They are like silos, so there is no
cooperation, coordination within Canada. And this is not just at the
departmental level; it's between organizations as well. We see the same also
when we work in various countries.
The Parliamentary Centre's approach has always been to look for partners and
working partnerships and complement other efforts that are there. This is really
the approach, and that's why I talked about the whole-of-government approach and
having a holistic approach. That will be the only way we will have success in
our peace operations.
When we build on the strengths from organizations like CANADEM and combine
that with other organizations that are also working closely with the
organizations on the ground, that's when you are going to get that complete
understanding of the situation in a country.
We will never say that we are the experts in any of the countries where we
work. We rely on our local partners to really show us what their conditions are,
and those conditions vary.
I'll give you one example. We've just started a project in Burkina Faso.
Obviously, there has been a lot of instability in Burkina Faso and the region
lately. But the reason why Burkina Faso is now not in the conflict is because it
has the political will, a strong civil society and the will to build stronger
We work directly with the national assembly there. The first intervention we
had was to do a needs assessment of the full assembly. What are the needs of the
MPs, the staff and the institution as a whole? Only then can we start our
But to know that, we also need to work with the local partners so they help
us understand the cultural differences between the different representations and
understanding the deep cultural and religious differences. Burkina Faso has made
great efforts to step beyond what is religion and so on, and that's one of the
reasons it's a stronger country and could play a large role in Canada's missions
in the region.
Senator White: Thanks to both of you for being here.
The discussion going on now about a peace operation in Africa is an example.
We have had a lot of witnesses talk about the fact that it's not peacekeeping
and that it's a peace operation, which I think, from what I understand, is a key
Mr. LaRose-Edwards, could tell us how your organization supports that, from
developing conflict-resolution techniques, to governance, to the pieces outside
of the military. Could you walk us through how that would happen, should we end
up in Mali, as an example?
Mr. LaRose-Edwards: Our primary role is a resource of Canadian
expertise. Now half of our roster of 26,000 are non-Canadians, so we can draw on
those experts and put those forward for engagements by those that are actually
working on the ground.
I will give you an example on the humanitarian side. In a humanitarian
emergency, suddenly one part of the UN, the UNICEF, WHO and others will need a
particular expert. They will contact us, and with either the British funding
that we have, the $5 million, or the Canadian funding, the $1.5 million, we will
hire the expert that they want and second them out to them literally in days. We
are a rapid response source of experts, sometimes prepaid, or sometimes just
saying: "Here is the résumé and contact information. If you want them, go for
it. Hire them directly yourself.''
We're a source of experts for the Canadian military if they are doing
training. We're a source of experts for Foreign Affairs if they are putting
operations on the ground. We are just about to be contracted by the Foreign &
Commonwealth Office to help them staff their fly-out teams with experts from
Africa and the Middle East.
We've got that kind of a roster, probably one of the best rosters in the
world. That's why the British use us, because we have a roster that those
individuals can't otherwise put their hands on. We are a source of experts, one
by one. Strengthening the UN and the international community one expert at a
time is one of our mantras.
Senator White: With respect to specific needs, you are able to walk
into your roster, and as we just heard from two military officers who were here,
try to increase the capability and reduce the gap?
Mr. LaRose-Edwards: Yes. In two examples on the police side, it was
not easy for the RCMP mechanism to put police experts into Haiti. So we did two
rotations, first of 25 and then of 20, where we hired equipped, armed,
uniformed, retired police, sent them down and attached them to the UN mission
there. Equally in Afghanistan, we put a police team there in 2002 when nobody
else really wanted to take that risk. We said, "We can do it. We're an NGO. We
can do that.''
We also put operations on the ground ourselves, but those operations usually
are not standalone; they are attached to some existing mechanism.
Senator White: So a UN CIVPOL and RCMP contingent, you can have 10 of
your officers in Haiti, for example?
Mr. LaRose-Edwards: Yes.
Senator White: Are they there as Canadians or as CANADEM?
Mr. LaRose-Edwards: It's a hard call. The Canadian government will use
us because for one reason or another it is complicated for them to actually hire
and deploy people through a Canadian government mechanism, and equipping them
with weapons was a good example in that instance. We had to do it on our own. We
actually had to go through the Americans to find weapons and stuff like that.
It's a long story.
Sometimes an NGO can say, "Here's the money; just make it happen.'' If you
fail, it's not going to reflect on us. We are just giving them money to try to
make it happen.
I don't want to overstate the case, but sometimes we have the ability to
operate where at a certain point in time it is difficult for either a UN agency
or the Canadian government to actually do it.
Senator White: Thank you very much for that. I appreciate it.
Senator Day: Mr. LaRose-Edwards, I'm reading from your presentation,
and an area you didn't go into was your relationship with the OSCE, and then you
talk about the observers in Russia. Were all of these observers found by you
from your roster and then loaned to the OSCE? Is that how it works?
Mr. LaRose-Edwards: Exactly. Let me make sure I get the figures right.
With the OSCE election observation missions alone, we have deployed 730
Canadians on 69 different missions. We are doing it right now in Russia. That's
something that the Canadian government is trying to decide whether it wants to
keep doing or not. I think it's a cheap option of giving one group of Canadians
some contact with things on the international side. They take it back to the
community and talk about it there, so that's good.
Quite apart from that, we have funds from the Canadian government to have 50
Canadians as part of the OSCE special monitoring mission in Ukraine. That's
ongoing and is a valuable contribution to the OSCE mission.
Senator Day: Are these individuals from your roster who work under the
direction of the OSCE?
Mr. LaRose-Edwards: Yes. We second them, and they have day-to-day
command and control.
One interesting thing on the OSCE —
The Chair: For the record, could we define OSCE?
Senator Day: Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.
The Chair: Just so our viewers understand what we are speaking about.
Mr. LaRose-Edwards: The Organization for Security and Co-operation in
Europe is a Cold War construct of the Warsaw Pact and the NATO countries who
found this as a way to try to lower the tension during the Cold War. It has
lived on beyond that and its name no longer applies. Everybody just calls it the
OSCE. One of their components is called ODIHR, the Office for Democratic
Institutions and Human Rights. They're critical in election observations. They
are a very good outfit.
The OSCE has other operations. They have 3,000 civilian personnel in 19 field
operations in Eastern Europe, in the Caucasus. And of those 3,000 civilians,
only 17 are Canadian. They are totally cost-free to Canada. They serve as
volunteers, and all their costs are covered by the OSCE. We could easily
increase that number to 100 to 200 out of 3,000, but we only have 17. This is an
area that I think would really be useful. I know you are looking at UN peace
operations, but this is a similar kind of entity and similar kind of activity,
peace and security.
Senator Day: Ms. Andersson-Charest, could you describe for us where
you get your funding?
Ms. Andersson-Charest: It is mixed. We are an NGO, so we are
completely project funded. We don't have any other resources. But right now, our
funding is about 60 per cent from the Canadian government and 40 per cent from
other donors, including the U.K. and the EU. So it's very mixed.
Senator Day: That 60 per cent from the Canadian government, are there
any strings attached to it?
Ms. Andersson-Charest: It's directly linked to a project. We have no
core funding whatsoever.
Senator Day: That's what I was looking for. So you would have to
negotiate each project and then determine whether you could get into it based on
the funding that might be available?
Ms. Andersson-Charest: Yes, and it is hard for organizations like ours
because it doesn't give us the predictability to be active and respond when the
Senator Day: You described yourself as an NGO, and now I understand.
Do you have a roster of people who go around the world helping nations with
respect to governance and the legislative process?
Ms. Andersson-Charest: Yes, we do. We don't have a formalized roster
like CANADEM. What we do is draw on the expertise of acting members of
Parliament, senators and former parliamentarians. We work closely with the
Canadian Association of Former Parliamentarians and we work with experts in the
When we have a particular need — I'll give you an example. In Ukraine, your
colleague Senator Andreychuk was part of a group that went there, together with
the Honourable David Pratt, retired Major-General Charles Sullivan and an
international expert named David Law to discuss with peers on the parliamentary
oversight of the security and defence sector in Ukraine. This was an opportunity
where they brought together different stakeholders in Ukraine for the first
time. They had not talked about this topic together. By bringing them together
and sharing their experiences — because we strongly believe in peer-to-peer
exchanges. There is nothing as effective.
Senator Day: You found David Pratt as one of the former
parliamentarians, and you found Senator Andreychuk as a current parliamentarian?
Ms. Andersson-Charest: Yes, as a senator.
Senator Day: That's a resource for you. We are all parliamentarians
sitting around this table as well, presumably.
Ms. Andersson-Charest: Yes, and we are always looking to engage our
elected members and senators.
Senator Day: My colleague from Yukon would like to know whether he has
to register or would you contact him?
Ms. Andersson-Charest: We do keep a CV roster, so please send your
information along and I will make sure we keep you in mind for future
Senator Day: I have a question of Mr. LaRose-Edwards, and that is with
respect to funding again. You explained the $5 million from the U.K. and the
$1.5 million or $1.3 million from Canada. Is that core funding or
Mr. LaRose-Edwards: As Petra knows, Canadian NGOs never get core
funding. In 20 years we've never had core funding. It's always project-related,
which makes it a little difficult but doable. I'm not complaining. It would be
nice to have core funding, but that's a luxury we will never have.
Senator Day: Are you speaking about an average when you give those
numbers? Is that the average for this year?
Mr. LaRose-Edwards: The average for this year will be about $5 million
from the British. I think because the numbers are increasing in the costs of
having the folks in Ukraine and other activities with the Canadian government,
that's probably going to get close to about $4 million this year. Our biggest
funder is the British government. We are in negotiations with government from
ECHO, the European Union humanitarian arm, on another initiative we have on the
Senator Day: When you take funding from the U.K. of $5 million, for
example, presumably you would be expected to do something for the U.K. on their
roster of people or those from the U.K. who are on your roster to try to place
them instead of Canadians.
Mr. LaRose-Edwards: No, actually the British are extremely good on
this one. When we get a request from a UN agency, UNICEF, for example, that they
need this kind of expert, many of the experts we are providing right now are
from developing countries from Africa or the Middle East because they have a
unique skill set and awareness. The British government is extremely supportive
of that. Every once in a while we will hire someone who is British — we don't
preclude the Brits — but that is not one of their criteria for funding.
Senator Day: We are doing a defence policy review and looking into the
new expanded initiatives of the current government with respect to peacekeeping.
In our report, if we said we felt the type of work you are doing is worthwhile,
fits in with and complements this expanded role of peacekeeping internationally
and that there should be core funding, you wouldn't object to that.
Mr. LaRose-Edwards: We would appreciate that immensely.
Ms. Andersson-Charest: If I may add to that, core funding can be
dangerous as well because some organizations just feel comfortable and don't
feel that they have to work as hard.
I think what we really look for is predictability and knowing that when there
is a need for the work that we do that it doesn't take a year or two, in some
cases, before we can actually start our work. By the time we have submitted a
proposal and get approval, often the original intent of the intervention is no
longer valid; that's the reality of today. That's why I encourage you to look at
the current whole-of-government mechanism in place in the U.K. to really bring
together organizations and consortia and have them prequalify for particular
work. This is a very effective way of engaging organizations.
I'll give you a bit of information about this mechanism. It's focused on
three different lots. It has three thematic areas: first, governance security
and justice; second, conflict prevention, stabilization and peace building; and
third, defence support services. All complement each other in an overall
approach to peace operations.
In the last fiscal year, this budget was the equivalent of CA$1.78 billion.
The process there is that the consortia are pre-qualified. When there is an
intervention that they want to do, they give advance notice to the consortia
that have pre-qualified. When the terms of reference and the detailed approach
of this intervention come out, the consortia have two weeks to prepare proposal.
Within two weeks we know who the winner of the bid is. That is one example.
Senator Day: Thank you for that.
The Chair: Each of you has touched on the whole-of-government
approach, if we do deploy or become involved in any given conflict or theatre in
the world, so that we're not helping to create those civil institutions that
should be in place so these people can take care of themselves.
We're being asked to review the defence policy review, but it has been said
by a number of witnesses that the foreign policy of the government isn't really
being reviewed in concert with the defence policy. Do you believe Canada needs
to undertake a foreign policy review to complement the present ongoing defence
Mr. LaRose-Edwards: I don't think there is any need to do that. I
think Foreign Affairs already has a good idea of what needs to be done out
there. Because Canada had retrenched a little, the scope of things to do is
I would strongly encourage the government to just get moving, start doing
things and see where that leads. That's how international affairs are driven.
You make your plans and then you start to change them immediately because the
situation out there changes.
I don't think there is any need for review. I don't think there was need for
a review on the development side, either. I think Canada has been doing this for
a long time, and if we don't know what needs to be done at this point in time,
perhaps there is something wrong. I don't think there is anything wrong.
Collectively, we have some good ideas. Let's just start doing them.
Ms. Andersson-Charest: I agree with that point. We were involved in
the international assistance policy review, and it had a similar focus as the
defence policy review, with having a holistic or whole-of-government focus. But
I think it's in practice where things need to be looked at to avoid continuing
to work in the silos that exist within Global Affairs and other departments
because that really hinders effective interventions.
Senator Beyak: My question is a simple one, but it might be a long
answer. I appreciate your presentations. You answered all the questions I had.
Do you feel parliamentarians understand the work that you do, or do we need
to have a better understanding?
Mr. LaRose-Edwards: Most parliamentarians would not know what we do.
We're a pretty small outfit in a sense, even though we've got a roster of 26,000
and we're doing a lot of things out there. Obviously they need to rely on civil
servants as our interface with what the Canadian government is doing.
I'm delighted to have been invited here and I would be delighted to meet with
any of you separately, but the reality will always be that we are flying a
little under the radar, and that's okay. We are small; we just get on with it.
Ms. Andersson-Charest: I think parliamentarians probably understand
the work of the Parliamentary Centre better than anyone, although we are not
very known to members of Parliament and senators. We have not been working in
Canada for quite some years now, so we are doing our best to make sure that
we're reminding you whenever we have the chance. We really appreciate this
I think what is important is that we continue feeding the message about what
Canadian organizations can do to complement efforts by the UN and other
international organizations to add that approach that is so valuable. We've
experienced first-hand that we were chosen as a partner because we are a
bilingual organization and we take the time to listen to needs, and we target
our support based on these needs.
So I think the message that we need to give to members of Parliament and
senators is don't forget that we exist and that we can actually complement the
work of others.
Mr. LaRose-Edwards: One short little hot pursuit: I would encourage
all of you if you are interested in working internationally to register with us.
We have of a number of serving senators; we have all sorts of former
parliamentarians and former senators registered with us. The idea is if someone
is looking for your kind of expertise, whether for a two-week mission or
two-month mission or longer and you're the right individual, we would contact
you. Your name never goes forward. As a matter of fact, nobody even knows you
are on our roster unless you say, "Yes, put my name forward. Put my resume
forward. I'm interested in that. I always wanted to go to the Central African
Republic in its hottest period and stand on the front line so, yes, sign me
up.'' So I encourage people to register.
The Chair: I want to thank our witnesses. It has been very
enlightening and I am very pleased that we had this opportunity to spend this
Joining us on our third panel today are General Jonathan Vance, Chief of the
Defence Staff; and Lieutenant-General Christine Whitecross, Commander, Military
Personnel Command. It's a pleasure to welcome you both back to the committee as
we explore issues related to the defence policy review, UN peace support
operations and, of course, issues of importance to the women and men of our
Before I invite you to make opening remarks, on behalf of the committee, I
would like to congratulate you, Lieutenant-General Whitecross, on your recently
announced promotion to head the NATO Defence College in Rome. As our most senior
female officer, you make us all proud, and we know you will take on the
challenges of NATO with as much passion as you brought to bear on issues under
your command in Canada.
At this time, I would like to invite our Chief of the Defence Staff, General
Vance, to make his opening statement. We have one hour for this panel. Please
General Jonathan Vance, Chief of the Defence Staff, National Defence and
the Canadian Armed Forces: Thank you for your introduction, Mr. Chair,
senators, ladies and gentlemen, and thank you for inviting me again to appear
before this committee. It's a real honour to do so.
As I understand it, I've been asked specifically to speak on Operation
HONOUR, but I also know that the questions can take us in many different
directions. I am happy, though, to have this opportunity to provide you a brief
update on our efforts under Operation HONOUR.
As you recall, this was my first order to the Canadian Armed Forces. Its
objective is to eliminate harmful sexual behaviour from within our ranks. I
acknowledge that this is an ambitious goal, but I will not accept a lesser
Joining me today is Lieutenant-General Christine Whitecross, who is
supporting this operation. I will make the point here that all of my commanders
are in the process of actively supporting this operation, as are all members of
the Canadian Armed Forces.
Like you, I'd also like to note publicly how very proud I am of General
Whitecross as she was recently named the next Commandant the of NATO Defence
College in Rome, a prestigious post. It's good news for NATO and great news for
I will begin with a few short remarks, following which I will be pleased to
take any and all of your questions.
Mr. Chairman and senators, we are taking short-and long-term measures under
Operation HONOUR. In the short term, we are supporting victims more effectively
and responding more decisively to incidents, and in the long term, we will
understand our military culture better as it relates to harmful behaviour and
change it to ensure that all members are treated with the respect and dignity
that is their due.
More effective victim support and decisive leadership will help create an
environment that encourages incident reporting and ideally works to prevent.
This in turn helps to build a culture that is more supportive and more
responsive to the needs of our members.
During the first year of operation HONOUR, we focused on those immediate
measures. As to victim support, the Sexual Misconduct Response Centre provides
members of the military with confidential support and advice. Despite what
critics say, the centre is independent from the military chain of command and
focuses exclusively on victims.
In addition, we continue to improve the support we offer. Those responsible
for the military chain of command have received training and information on the
best way of supporting victims of sexual misconduct, as have health care
workers, chaplains, the military police and legal officers. These supports
encourage former victims to talk about their experiences now. In the first six
months of this year, we saw a 22 per cent increase in incidents reported to the
About half of these are old cases predating Operation HONOUR. This
demonstrates to me that at least some of these victims now believe, perhaps for
the first time, that we will hear them and take action.
Every report of a sexual offence, new or not, is investigated by dedicated
teams within the Canadian Forces National Investigation Services, CFNIS. These
investigators have received specialized training to deal with sexual offences
and can lay criminal charges against any member of the Canadian Armed Forces.
When an investigation determines that an offence has taken place, we are
taking decisive action to deal with perpetrators. Since January, 8 individuals
have been convicted of sexual misconduct-related offences and another 55 have
been subjected to administrative action.
In the most serious cases, I ordered that people be relieved of their
command, or I removed them completely from our ranks because they are not worthy
of being part of our organization.
Honourable senators, I can assure you and all Canadians that we are taking
I would now like to talk about the more long-term objective of operation
HONOUR, specifically as regards the change in culture. In the past, our
institution was slow to recognize the need for change since so many aspects of
our culture are important to us.
Like so many of my brothers and sisters in the profession of arms, I take
great pride in being a member of the Canadian Armed Forces. I consider it an
honour and a privilege to serve in the uniform of our country.
Our culture is what gives us the resiliency that we demonstrate today, the
fortitude to have weathered the storms of world wars, Korea, UN missions and
Afghanistan, but there are also aspects of our culture that have caused and
still contribute to harmful, inappropriate sexual behaviour. We must identify
those factors and eliminate them.
We have taken the first steps in this direction. Over the summer, more than
40,000 of our members completed a StatsCan survey on harmful sexual behaviour
within our ranks. The results are being tallied and will be made available in
late November. As I said a few weeks ago, I expect them to be sobering.
The survey results will give us the information we need to conduct a detailed
analysis of our military culture, covering such areas as recruitment, training
and education, leadership and the chain of command, the influence of social
media and language, to name but three.
In conclusion, Mr. Chair, I am encouraged by the progress we have achieved to
date, but incidents of harmful sexual behaviour are still occurring, and this is
unacceptable. So I will continue to lead Operation HONOUR. The leadership of the
Canadian Armed Forces and indeed all members will be compelled to support its
execution, and we will do so until every member in uniform is treated with the
respect and dignity that is their due.
Thank you for your time, and I will be happy to take your questions.
The Chair: Thank you very much, general. I want to say we appreciate
very much the update on Operation HONOUR, and it's obvious you have been doing a
lot of work over the last number of months in respect to that issue.
Before we begin, I'd like to lay the framework in respect to the question of
international deployments and the National Defence review that we've been
involved in for the last number of days. I have an overall question that we'd
like to get on the record, because we read a lot in the newspaper, and sometimes
it's accurate and sometimes it isn't.
Could you walk us through which three countries in Africa are being given
serious consideration for deployment? And could you identify the main risks
posed to Canadians in those countries? Also, can you tell us, in any deployment
that would take place, what equipment or personnel needs must be met by the
Canadian Armed Forces to be able to take such a deployment, and is it going to
take a period of time before that equipment and personnel could be put into
I know that's a series of questions, but the committee would like to be
Gen. Vance: Thank you, Mr. Chair and senators. I'm grateful for the
In fact, what I'm doing right now to support government decision making — and
ultimately I'll be in a position to provide advice to government — is to look at
all of the ongoing UN missions around the globe and make an assessment that
follows the following logic.
One is to look at the nature of the conflict itself. So whether this is
occurring in Colombia, in the Middle East where there are UN missions or in
Africa where there are missions, look at the nature of the conflict and then
make an assessment of what would need to be done to address the nature of the
conflict. Then look at what the UN is doing under its mandate to address the
nature of the conflict and determine whether or not there are any gaps or
whether the UN mission is effectively pointed at the heart of the problem. Then
look at what Canada could contribute to any one of those missions to make a real
difference on the ground to directly address the nature of the conflict, the
resolution thereof or to prevent further conflict.
And I've not completed this study. It's only at that point where I'll be
prepared to look at what is out there in terms of the things Canada could do,
make my assessment and offer advice as to what Canada might do. It's then up to
the Government of Canada to determine what we will do.
This is a process. You've heard the minister speak on this repeatedly, and
I'm grateful, frankly, for the wisdom of giving us the space necessary to do a
full assessment, right from the root of the conflict all the way through to what
might be done about it. I will put that before the minister and, ultimately, for
decision making as we determine where best Canada can contribute to actual
progress in terms of anything that can be done as it relates to the nature of
the conflict and what the UN is doing.
Now, you've also asked about risks. The risks change and are different
between and throughout mission areas. Therefore, as it relates to the equipment
that we would bring, the training that we'll do, the numbers of forces that
would be put into play, whether we play a direct role on the ground or an
indirect role through capacity building, all options in terms of what the
military, along with a whole-of-government approach, may bring to actually
addressing the nature of the conflict and doing some good are what's in play
right now. When the minister speaks of doing the assessment, this is exactly
what's going on.
My staff and I are working very hard, have done reconnaissance efforts, will
continue to do reconnaissance across the continent of Africa and elsewhere to
understand exactly what it is we might do. I will try and build options for
government as to how it is that we might best contribute.
I think the "start state'' of the Canadian Armed Forces in terms of its
expertise to provide capacity building, technical expertise, enablers or,
indeed, troops on the ground to deal with the challenges, again in the context
of a larger whole and including multiple government department efforts is very
good. I think we are well poised to do the necessary military tasks in some of
these conflict areas.
I never let pass an opportunity to remind people that in most instances the
nature of the conflict and the things that you can do about it, maybe 20 per
cent of it can be managed by the military. The other 80 per cent speaks to root
causes, speaks to challenges of the nations they are dealing with, and no matter
how much military force you put at it, it's unlikely to solve the root causes.
That said, I am confident that UN operations and Canadian Armed Forces in
those operations can contribute to the necessary condition-setting and can
contribute to establishing secure environments, protection of civilians,
improvement of the performance of the UN forces, a whole range of things that
will contribute fully to that part that the military can do. But I must insist
always to state that it takes more than just the military to solve these
challenges, which largely sit in social, political and economic space.
Senator Jaffer: Thank you very much for your presentation. Before I
start, I want to take this opportunity to thank you and, through you, the men
and women who work for you, to say to them thanks for the service they give.
I've had first-hand experience working with our men and women in Darfur and
South Sudan. The communities used to say that they would come during the day,
they would work, and in the evening they would build orphanages. I'm very proud
to say this is what our men and women in uniform do. So thank you for the work
Gen. Vance: Thank you.
Senator Jaffer: In your statement today you spoke about the challenges
with sexual assault. I have followed this very carefully, and I can genuinely
look you in the eye and say that you have made so much progress, and you
certainly have taken on this issue. I commend you for the work you've done.
Certainly in the last year or so, you've made great progress.
That is where I am so optimistic that if you go in the field, especially with
peace operations, what you have learned here, you could use that. We know the
terrible challenges the peacekeepers and the civilian population have, so I'm
hoping what you have learned you can help others to learn as well.
General Vance, I'm sure you think a lot about this when you think of peace
operations, and I'd like your opinion. I am very concerned about the impunity
that exists, not here but with the peacekeepers overseas, and I will leave this
thought with you. I'm hoping that you will lead the way to stop this impunity.
I've just come from a conflict zone, and one of the reasons women have lost
faith in peacekeeping is because they felt that they get away with. That is the
word; they get away with it — impunity. So I leave that thought with you.
The chair talked about risk. I can't think of a more risky situation than the
one you had in Afghanistan with a NATO force. No place in Africa is as risky as
Afghanistan, so risk exists anywhere you go.
My bigger question to you is on strategic intelligence, knowledge that you
can provide. We talk about numbers, and I see from things that we have been
provided that at the moment you have around 103 men and women in peace
operations, approximately. I think where Canada can add — and I'd like your
input — is not the numbers you provide but the competency and the strategic
planning. You have seen that happen, and I think that that's where our strength
lies. I would like your opinion on that.
Gen. Vance: Thank you, senator.
I won't necessarily address all of the points that you made, but in general I
agree with you that the performance of UN contingents needs to continue to
improve. There are a lot of UN forces deployed, and the UN as a body and the
nations that provide those forces deserve to have them operate at a very high
level of competence and expertise and with respect for populations. Failure to
do so could simply add fuel to an already damaging situation, so I could not
agree with you more. When a UN force arrives and is employed, things should
improve across the board, and if they do not, then I think all of us would have
issues with that.
As for your comment relating to the strategic influence that we can have as a
country with the unique and high-value assets the Canadian Armed Forces can
bring to bear, I agree with you. I think that it not only resides in the area of
equipping or the things that are equipment-based, such as aircraft, intelligence
collection and dissemination capability, our de-mining, our counter-IED people.
All of that also has the marriage between the platform and the people.
I think the most valuable resource that Canada will put to this will be its
people, Canadian Armed Forces people or people working in whole-of-government,
that will take the view that I described earlier, where we understand the nature
of the conflict. We understand what it is that needs to be done. What is it that
the UN or other organs are trying to get done? Are there any gaps? Is there
anything that we can help with in terms of the very nature of the mandate or in
the execution of the mandate that exists? So I think we will bring to bear a
powerful analytical skill set with our people and then try to be practically
useful within a very focused, strategic effort, to make a real difference.
I know there are skeptics. I am an eternal optimist in many ways as it
relates to the employment of force, but I'm also a realist. I think that we have
to look very practically at what it is that we can do. Look hard to put the
right forces in the right place at the right time to achieve those effects. We
can't solve everything, but we can do some good.
I'm certainly looking at this as a long-term effort where — and I've said
this many times — the best use of military force, in many respects, is conflict
prevention in the first place. If you can't prevent it, try to mitigate it. Try
to eliminate harm as you do so. Try to seek conflict termination conditions.
Sometimes that means the use of force, sometimes a lot of force, but ultimately
it has to lead to something. So one of the things that the Canadian influence, I
hope, will be is to try to lead to some conclusive improvement, and we will
bring whatever assets to bear in a timely way, keeping in mind that at the
centre of that are our great people.
The Chair: Colleagues, time is running on for us. We have five
senators who have questions. I would ask that the preambles for the questioners
be somewhat short, and I would ask the general — I know he can be concise.
Senator Dagenais: I would like to thank our witnesses. Since there is
no preamble, I will proceed with the questions right away.
General Vance, a number of witnesses have told us this week that peacekeeping
missions, such as the one we are involved in in Africa, are political
operations. The witnesses have even said that decisions were made at the
political and diplomatic level.
Can you tell us how that works? Can this hierarchy sometimes put our
servicemen and women in danger? In my opinion, they have the best training to
assess the dangers.
Gen. Vance: I would like to answer in English, if you don't mind.
Senator Dagenais: By all means.
Gen. Vance: That is a very good question. I am more comfortable in
English, I'm sorry.
Senator Dagenais: Of course.
Gen. Vance: Senator, it's an important question. I am of the opinion
that organizations like the United Nations and a number of coalitions and
alliances we belong to that seek to deal with conflict in a way and ways to
prevent it, to ameliorate it, to reduce its impact, to mitigate the consequences
of conflict, to seek termination conditions as peacefully as possible and, where
we use force, to protect ourselves or to achieve those limited military
objectives that eventually lead to a peace, that is certainly the doctrine that
I espouse. That, in my view, is the doctrine that I would argue most Western
I can think of no chief of defence that I know or work with around the world
that wouldn't first try to find ways to prevent the conflict, to mitigate it.
The use of force should never be done just for the sake of using force. I think
that's a bit of a motherhood statement, but sometimes people misconstrue what it
is that a military can do. We set conditions for better things to happen. That's
the intent. That's the ultimate objective.
So I believe that the UN is a valuable institution through which, given a
correct analysis and a correct application of military forces, those forces can
help to lead to the other things that need to occur in the political, social and
economic space to provide real and long-term change.
Sometimes it takes a great deal of time to set those conditions. Peace
support operations, peacekeeping, operations that seek to reduce harm, to
protect people while larger political decisions and economic decisions are
ongoing, those are valuable too, but they've got to be effective and they've got
to lead to something. They've got to lead to a better condition, ultimately to
the very nature of the reasons why there's a problem there in the first place.
So I reject the notion that this is done simply for political reasons and
putting troops in harm's way, into risky areas, for anything other than the true
merits of the value of the use of military force.
I will wrap up here, Mr. Chair, because I know that you want me to be
Anywhere you need to use the military as opposed to any other instrument of
government is, by definition, risky. It is, by definition, an environment that
demands more than what you could do with any other group of people. So the fact
that risk exists ought not to be the main reason why you wouldn't deploy. It's a
factor. We would mitigate the risk, and we're experts at doing that.
But a risky mission that has great potential for success may be a mission
that you want to invest in, and in the military, we do risk. We're good at that,
if we can mitigate it. If the risk is not mitigatable and is out of all
proportion and at the same time there's no hope of moving forward, then it's
probably the wrong mandate and it would very likely be a mandate on which I
would advise the government that it would need to do more work with the UN
before you would commit troops.
So we find ourselves in an excellent position right now to ponder missions
for our military that will address, appropriately, some of the most challenging
conflicts of our age, and that's where the UN is right now.
The Chair: Senator Dagenais, do you have a quick follow-up?
Senator Dagenais: Thank you for your answer, General Vance. I have
another question for Lieutenant-General Whitecross.
We hear a lot about what women have to offer on peacekeeping missions. Do you
have any specific examples of the number of women and the role they will play in
missions such as the one in Africa?
Lieutenant-General Christine Whitecross, Commander, Military Personnel
Command, National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces: I will answer in
English if I may.
Thanks for that question.
I would offer that when women in uniform are deployed on any type of
operation, you're getting a different perspective on the situation on the
ground. It allows you to communicate, in some cases, with different partners on
the ground that you wouldn't necessarily get if you were only a mission of men.
I think we learned that very well in Afghanistan. It's not just women. I would
venture to say it's also anybody of different cultural backgrounds. It allows
you to expand your force-enabling functions, as it were, on the ground.
I would also offer that in many ways we think differently in terms of impacts
to, perhaps, some of the softer things, whether it's women's issues or
vulnerable populations, and it gives us an ability to provide a better option to
the operational decision making on the ground because you're getting a far more
holistic or comprehensive look at the situation.
Gen. Vance: I agree wholeheartedly. In fact, UN Security Council
Resolution 1325 recognizes the fact that the addition of women into and the use
of a gender-based analysis framework and tool set to look at conflict is the
only way to look at it in its entirety. Many of these conflicts have men in the
forefront, women are behind, and of course the solution to a state or national
tragedy needs to affect the whole population, not just men.
As I said before, you can't necessarily do it with military force alone. It
needs to be a holistic effect. Gender-based analysis is what we've adopted,
along with many of our allies, as a way to look more holistically at the nature
of the conflict. It means that you operationalize your employment of women; you
operationalize your ability to perceive and change the impact on the ground to
women, vulnerable populations and so on.
Tangential to this, but not exactly part of it, would be some of the child
soldier initiatives that are ongoing.
You can't go in and just use one blunt instrument to deal with some of these
challenges, and gender-based analysis, plus the role of women in the field,
seeks to address this.
Senator Kenny: Welcome, general. My first question is along the lines
of Senator Dagenais' first question, and it has to do with force protection and
how you will mitigate risks. I'm looking for examples that the public will
relate to, because they're going to have a say, eventually, in whether we should
pursue these missions in the future. I dare say that the debate that's coming up
in Parliament will also touch on that question. I think it would be very helpful
if you could give us some examples of how one goes about minimizing the risks to
soldiers on peace support operations.
Gen. Vance: Thank you, senator.
Force protection is a baseline factor that we always consider no matter what
operation we are going on and no matter where we are. We tailor the force in
terms of its composition, its training, the equipment that it has and the rules
of engagement that it follows to ensure that it is well-equipped to deal with
the obvious threats, as well as the changes to the threat environment that could
Specifically, in mitigation, I issue the ROE to the troops. They're issued
under my authority. Our troops do not operate under UN ROE; they operate under
Canadian ROE. I never relinquish Canadian command of those troops. At no time do
Canadians operate outside of the full command of the Chief of the Defence staff.
Yes, they will be given tactical missions by UN commanders, but these are
We have learned a lot since the days of Bosnia and Rwanda, and one thing
we've learned is you're never out from under Canadian command, or their ROE. To
that end, I'm able to determine the sufficient force required to mitigate and
respond to and protect our troops. I make certain that that goes in there as I
deploy and tailor the force to go in.
It is clear that sometimes the UN will not ask for the total force package
that we think is necessary to go in and assure force protection. In instances
like that, we have the ability to do voluntary national contributions or, in
fact, work to change the nature of that which has been requested through the UN
and DPKO to get the right force package on the ground because in our opinion it
needs more force.
I'll give you a specific case in point. The Dutch went into northern Mali to
respond to that mission's requirement for forces in the north and the ability to
prevent violence up there. They brought in attack helicopters, patrols, snipers
and special forces, and introduced the notion of intelligence gathering for the
first time in that mission. That was happily accepted by the UN because that was
the military instrument required for the job.
We're going to do the same thing. The lowest common denominator will not be
just looking at what the UN is asking for. We will also put a Canadian stamp on
anything we do, anywhere. We have learned the lessons of the past.
We also have the ability to produce very good tactical, operational and
strategic indicators and warnings in terms of potential danger to our troops,
and we can provide and change the equipping on the ground, on the fly, if we
Finally, I would say that anywhere we go in the world, we ensure there are
national command elements — someone in charge — in proximity to them that
understand completely what is going on, on the ground. They may be outside the
UN chain of command but looking at Canadian interests. If there's a problem, we
will react very quickly.
Senator Kenny: The last time you were here, general, we talked about
how the JUSTAS project wasn't meeting expectations. Our impression now is that
it's still not meeting expectations and not moving forward. Can you give the
committee some advice about how we should best look at that issue to see what's
causing the delay? JUSTAS, UAVs: Where are they going in the Armed Forces? Why
don't we have a program that's functioning? It's been here for a decade and
we're seeing no progress.
Gen. Vance: Senator, with all due respect, you may not be seeing it,
but it is a project on our books. We are in the process of a significant policy
review that will look at all aspects of equipping the Armed Forces into the
future. You've heard the minister speak of looking holistically at the systems
that we bring to bear. The very fact that we're doing a policy review will help
us prioritize and fund the program that is considered essential to achieving the
policy. That's where JUSTAS sits right now. It's inside a wider effort on policy
Senator Carignan: Welcome. I have been listening to witnesses for
weeks, since we started working on this file, and we have heard and noted that
the investment in our armed forces is insufficient. We made a commitment to NATO
to spend 2 per cent of our GDP on the military, yet we are having trouble
spending 1 per cent.
We have to increase our presence in Africa, along the coasts, but we are
having difficulty. As a country, we have the longest shoreline in the world and
probably the fewest patrols and boats per thousand kilometers of coastline.
There are also problems with respect to training the reserve. Moreover, I have
heard you say that we should have an impact or at least make a significant
I am watching what is happening in Africa right now. Economically speaking,
China is everywhere. It will establish its first military base outside China by
camping 10,000 soldiers in Africa. More than 100,000 Blue Helmets are already
deployed in various countries in Africa.
How can Canada make a significant difference in Africa as part of a
peacekeeping mission with the resources it has, the priorities it must consider,
and the omnipresence of other countries that have strategic economic interests
to protect? How can we make a significant difference? How many soldiers do we
have to send in order to have an impact? What should we do?
I think it is an impossible mission which is both symbolic and political.
Gen. Vance: Senator, quite frankly I don't share your assessment that
it is mission impossible. What you've described in terms of our mission sets, in
terms of where we want to get to in the North, what we're doing in the maritime
space, is valuable. I'd add to that a significant presence in Europe, continuing
efforts in the Asia-Pacific region, ongoing defence and security of Canadians
across the country from coast to coast to coast, our ability to respond to
counterterrorism incidents and our ongoing mission in the Middle East. There is
a lot that the Canadian Armed Forces is doing and is absolutely capable of
The nature of the defence policy review is to get a good view of all that and
make the necessary decisions by the Government of Canada to determine where it
wants to go in the future. As it applies right now, the force right now is fully
capable of doing that which has already been announced. Regarding operations in
Europe and the Middle East, the Prime Minister and the minister have announced
400 to 600 Canadians in uniform to be involved in UN operations, which some or
all may be in Africa. We have not made those decisions yet. We have ongoing
commitments inside the North, in Canada, to NORAD and our efforts in
Because of the way we train, the expertise of our people and the equipment
and human capital that Canada can bring to bear, 400 to 600 Canadians will make
a difference. We know this already; we see it all the time. Yes, you can send
large numbers from other countries around the world, and they do a good job,
too, but it doesn't take away from the fact of adding to the very nature of what
it is that we're trying to do in terms of addressing the nature of a conflict
and trying to do something good.
I would take one issue with how you described my opening comment. You said
that I said we would make a significant difference. I didn't say "significant.''
I said "make a difference.'' But making a difference over the long term in a
place like Africa, the Middle East, or anywhere else where there's a UN
operation, every bit counts. As a nation that trains and prepares its military
well, we have the ability to make an impact that is out of proportion to the
numbers of people we have on the ground.
I believe that is true, but we have to set ourselves realistic, wise missions
to do. It's not just throwing Canadians at a problem. As I described previously,
I'm doing a detailed analysis of what needs to be done to address the nature of
the problem. What is it that the UN thinks it's going to do and is that enough?
Is it too little? Are there gaps that Canada can help with, or does the mandate
need to change completely because it's pointed at the wrong thing? And then we
bring to bear, after careful analysis and advice to government, the best
possible military solution that will only, as we know, address about 20 per cent
of the problem anyway. Military forces are unlikely to be the ones that solve
all of it, but we can contribute to it.
What we will also bring to bear is the weight of the analysis of what we as a
country can do. What is the best thing to get done? How can we do that? Whether
there are 400, 600 or 10,000, every little bit helps.
I would make a point that we have discussed and had the Chinese reach out to
us in terms of helping them, collaborating with them on peace support
operations. We have things that we can offer. We have international
expeditionary and operational experience that they do not. I think there are
ways that a few Canadians could help that 10,000 perform better. You don't
always have to be the one holding the bayonet to make things go well. You can
have a wider influence.
I honestly believe that 600 Canadians there, another 400 or so in Latvia,
also on a pretty significant peace operation to deter any aggression into
Europe, Canadians trying to do capacity building in the Middle East and
Canadians in uniform supporting government objectives in Asia-Pacific all
contribute to the wider effort by the Government of Canada to contribute to
international peace and stability; so 600 will count.
Senator Carignan: The Auditor General told us that the difference
between the investments in training reserve members and in training force
members could pose a considerable risk — not to say "significant'' — in terms of
the training and equipment provided. I do not want to take out my steno notes to
see what was said because this is not a cross-examination.
Can you tell us about what you have done or what you intend to do to follow
up on the Auditor General's report to ensure that these deficiencies in training
or investment in equipment do not result in loss of life on a peacekeeping
Gen. Vance: We have accepted the Auditor General's report. Most of the
report indicated challenges of record-keeping regarding how the reserves were
trained, which pointed to, perhaps, a deficit in terms of how they were trained
I can assure you, and everybody that is interested, that we will not deploy
reservists that are ill-prepared for operations; we just won't. We don't do
that. I think the legacy of our operations in Afghanistan, where we proudly had
up to 25 per cent of task forces deployed, we made an important point. Every
visitor that came to Afghanistan saw that, hey, there's no difference between
regular and reserve. That's because we have a good training regime that ensures
pre-deployment training and equipping. So if there is something that a reservist
is missing in terms of a skill set, that gets topped up before they go.
Now, I do acknowledge, and we will be addressing it in the defence policy
review, that we need to look broadly at the reserves. We need to look at the
investment in the reserves. We need to make certain that the baseline capacity
and equipping of the reserves in Canada meets the objectives of how it is that
we would employ the reserves. So I acknowledge that.
I assure you that it is my job, the job of the army commander and ultimately
the job of the minister to make certain that we completely eliminate those risks
by making certain that the people that are deployed are well prepared to deploy.
And that is the legacy, in that case, of the Army Reserve. That's the legacy
that we have and that we'll continue with. We need to look more widely, then, at
the care after deployment with reserves, to make sure they are properly
reintegrated and their mental health is accounted for as well as we do with the
I appreciate the question because it gives me an opportunity to perhaps
dispel this sense that we would simply take someone who is ill-prepared and send
them on operations. We don't roll that way. We don't work that way; we never
have, never will.
Senator Beyak: My heartiest congratulations to you, General
Whitecross, and my admiration.
I want to commend you both for your work on Operation HONOUR as well. We want
to remind Canadians that a few bad apples shouldn't spoil the whole bunch. We
have an honourable history of world-class Canadian Armed Forces, and the actions
of a few have to be addressed but not to the detriment of everybody else.
General Vance, given your previous personal experience as part of UN
peacekeeping missions, can you tell us the key lessons you learned and how you
plan on avoiding the pitfalls in the future? You already addressed it in your
answer to Senator Kenny.
Personally, I believe Canada is one of the only countries in the world where
the Department of National Defence is not controlling the procurement. It's done
by Public Works. Is that true? I don't think that seems like a good idea. Has
there been any consideration to bringing this back under DND, to streamline the
bureaucracy and the overly complex system of procurements?
Canadians ask me all the time: Why does every government overturn the
procurement process of the one before? It costs a lot of money to renew the
contracts, to get out of the contracts, to pay the interest. It seems like a lot
Gen. Vance: Thank you, senator.
On the UN question, I think we've learned a great deal about operations in
general over the last couple of decades because things have changed. The world
has changed. They changed as we went into a different kind of peacekeeping in
Sarajevo; they changed in the Balkans; they changed again on 9/11. The nature
and character of conflict has at its root some enduring characteristics, but how
it manifests itself and what we do in conflict to try to get to an improved
outcome is changing, and it's changing all the time.
I think the most enduring lesson learned is very much like our minister has
been speaking of: You need to understand the situation. You need to assess the
situation. You need to understand exactly what it is that you might get done out
of that and what the military force that you bring to bear would do as part of a
The advent of comprehensive approach, whole-of-government, 3D is relatively
new. That means that we acknowledge that the military is not necessarily the
solution, but it can lead or set conditions to a solution. It can help
sometimes, and sometimes it cannot.
So understanding when to use force and when not to use force, when to use
military, when not to use military, that too is part of the art and science of
all of this. Making certain that there are some outcomes that are worthy of
pursuing and that have half a chance of getting done, given the mandate and the
way forces are arrayed, is an enduring lesson for me.
We do need to understand that intractable conflicts sometimes take time. Most
of the conflicts that we're dealing with today, where UN forces are today, are
long and intractable and take and use the UN presence as a matter of a
stabilizing influence, an influence that helps mitigate the conflict and
prevents it from getting worse, reduction to the harm that comes, while the
important social, political and economic work happens to address what's really
behind all of it, the nature of the conflict itself.
As for procurement, I'm quite satisfied in my own mind that where the
Canadian Armed Forces sits, what my job is, is a stated requirement. I look at
the policy that the Government of Canada has as it relates to defence. What is
it that you want us to be able to do in the Armed Forces? How well and how long
do you want us to do it? I look at all the factors. I determine from that,
through a number of different processes, and it's ongoing, how we need to do
that. Is there any delta or deficit between what you're asking me to do and what
I can do? I think that's the appropriate place for the military to be.
With regard to the wider procurement effort, I agree with you that it does
get looked at a lot. It needs to be looked at a lot. It's complex business. It's
stewardship of the public purse. It is trying to do the right thing and looking
at horizons that can go out 40 or 50 years as you're buying major capital
I'm quite satisfied that the process that's in place, where Defence states a
requirement. The actual procurement effort is a wider, multi-department effort
led by the procurement department, but then Defence has a role in that. So we're
not absent from the process.
As your CDS, I am able to state the requirement and that's what I need to be
able to do. Yes, there is always room for improvement. One cannot say otherwise.
The Chair: Thank you, general. We're going to go a little over time,
if that's okay. We do have a number of other questioners.
Senator Day: General, you can see from the wide range of questions
that this is an area generally that this committee is very concerned about and
I'd like to focus on your presentation and the harmful sexual behaviour
aspect while you're here and while General Whitecross is still within reach. I'd
like to thank you and commend you very much since you've taken over as chief to
say this is a priority and we will be dealing with this. Part of dealing with
this, in my view, is deterrence and communication. That's why I'd like to spend
a little bit of time fully understanding your points.
You mentioned that since January, eight individuals have been convicted of
sexual misconduct-related offences. Are all eight of those individuals now gone
from the Armed Forces?
Gen. Vance: Senator, I'll take that one on notice. I don't know their
exact disposition as of this moment. Sometimes the majority of them would be, or
they are incarcerated and will be, or they're going through a process. So I'll
have to take that on notice in terms of the actual disposition of those eight
Senator Day: Thank you for that.
You mentioned that another 55 had been subjected to career-impacting
administrative action, and then you go on to say that some have been relieved of
their duties and some have been dismissed from the Armed Forces. I think it's
important from a communications point of view that we understand just what
action is being taken and that this is being treated as a serious situation.
In a number of different paragraphs in your presentation you refer to
culture. You say that one of the longer term goals of Operation HONOUR is to
change culture. Now, are you talking about culture within the military, or are
you talking about Canadian culture generally? Have we done any analysis and
comparative study between our Canadian Armed Forces and other armed forces,
maybe within NATO or otherwise, of friends that could help us in doing this
study to determine whether this is a military culture that we need to change or
if it is something peculiar to Canada?
Gen. Vance: Thank you, senator. There are a range of questions there.
I will take on notice, in fact, to provide you the disposition, to the extent
that we can — acknowledging that there are privacy issues around people who are
undergoing administrative sanctions — the best possible exposure of the details
of all they are doing.
Senator Day: Yes. I understand that.
Gen. Vance: I have to agree with you from the outset, though, that
part of doing an increasingly better job on Operation HONOUR is to get the data.
We're early into it yet. Get the data but also communicate that data to people.
We have to do a better job of that. I acknowledge that in the report. I have
taken on and asked General Whitecross and the team working on this to better and
more completely expose people to the punitive efforts that have gone on.
Deterrence is one part of it. This first year we focused on victim support.
We focused on making sure that victims had a voice and on the chain of command
to ensure that they took a victims-first approach. That is increasingly getting
better, and I think the results bear that out. Nonetheless, I can't let up on
that; victim support first and always.
Senator Day: Yes.
Gen. Vance: But at the same time we want to try to prevent. Culture
will change through many avenues. One of them will be to ensure that people know
it is unacceptable behaviour and what behaviour is unacceptable, and failure to
abide by those standards will result in punishment. So it's got to be clear,
plain and well-communicated. We need to do a better job at that. We will be
undertaking that before the next six-month report, but I couldn't agree with you
more; people need to see the results.
At the same time, these are also my people in the Armed Forces. I need to
give them due process, the respect of privacy where it's warranted and so on.
I just want to make certain I answer your question completely here.
Senator Day: A comparative study would be helpful, if we knew some of
that was going on.
Gen. Vance: Right.
I think all Western Armed Forces that I know of and am familiar with are
dealing with this in one form or another. And I think all societies through
other institutions — be they universities or other organizations, even
professional sports teams — are dealing with this in its different forms.
Suffice it to say that military leadership, the chiefs of defence that I
speak with and certainly inside Canada, the stakes are so high in an armed
forces where the corrosive influence of this inside the ranks can detract from
morale, can detract from operational focus, can prevent people from wanting to
join the Armed Forces, which indeed would mitigate badly against our ability to
increase the diversity in the Armed Forces because diversity is increasingly the
strength of military operations.
The nature of conflict, as you heard General Whitecross describe, needs a
broader cross-section of people involved in it. So bringing more women into the
Armed Forces — and I've pledged to try to get to 1 per cent per year over the
next 10 years to increase the percentage of women in the Armed Forces for the
very reasons that diversity, not just with women, but with indigenous people,
visible minorities — increases our operational capability. I admit that I'm
doing this for perhaps operationally selfish reasons. It's not just a good thing
to do; it's a good thing to do because it makes us better in conflict, and
that's why we're doing it.
Senator Day: I have a question with respect to the 40,000-member
survey that you have just completed and what you're going to do with that. Part
of it is to analyze the harmful sexual behaviour within the ranks, but then you
go on to talk about a detailed analysis of military culture. There's the word
"culture'' again. In that study, you refer to a number of things that I don't
have time to get into, but I would like to know whether part of that study, or
otherwise, will deal with the high frequency of suicide within the military.
Gen. Vance: Thank you, senator.
This won't point specifically at suicides. I think that's another body of
work that we're undertaking, and we would be delighted to return, at the
chairman's request, to talk specifically about the care of our people, ill and
injured, and suicide.
I suspect there are some crossover points where someone's life has been
altered as a result of sexual misconduct to the point that they considered or
have acted out on suicide, but I don't have those stats, and the StatsCanada
survey won't necessarily answer that for us.
I can say, though, very briefly that culture is a mix of a whole bunch of
different factors that make us who we are. I think broadly speaking that our
culture in the Armed Forces is positive. We value health and fitness. We value
adherence to rules and regulations. We value those things that Canadians value,
and in fact we try to represent Canada effectively in the world. We value
discipline. We are an instrument that, yes, is capable of using force, but it's
governed. It's managed carefully when we do so.
So there are a lot of parts of our culture that are good, but there is a part
of our culture that perhaps in the course of doing all sorts of other good
things devalues individuals in some instances, does not recognize that the
nature of conflict is changing so rapidly and the issues of diversity, of being
diverse, being capable of taking care of your own, indeed being good to one
another, will transmit into better operational capability. Warriors treat each
other well. They always have and they always will. You even treat an opposing
side well when they put their hands up.
So I think it's deep-seated. It will take a long time, but we can certainly
start to deal with behaviours.
The Chair: Thank you, general.
I believe Senator Kenny wanted a final question as well.
Senator Kenny: General, we're assuming that you will be using CJOC to
command and control the peacekeeping missions overseas. If that's the case,
would it be possible for you to arrange for the committee meet CJOC and go out
to Star Top and get briefings out there?
Gen. Vance: Mr. Chair, I'd be delighted to extend the invitation now
for the committee to come to CJOC at your convenience. I would recommend, as it
relates specifically to peace support operations, that you allow the analysis
period to be done and the government decision making and the initial work that
will be necessary to commence the deployments and scope the deployments. But I
think there would be a point in time in the future where a visit to CJOC would
be valuable to see what's unfolding and how it's unfolding.
Senator Kenny: It was in the context of the report that we're
preparing for the minister. How soon is it due?
The Chair: Well, it will be the next couple of weeks, in November.
Gen. Vance: I see.
Mr. Chairman, I'd be delighted for you to visit any part of the Armed Forces
any time you want. Specifically, if you think it would be of value to go to CJOC
headquarters and get the view of the world from the operational level, I'd be
delighted and I hereby extend an invitation to you.
The Chair: General, before we conclude, my initial question was which
three countries were the priority countries in Africa under consideration for
the purposes of possible deployment. Could you give us those three countries so
that we understand on the record just exactly what we are seriously considering?
Because we read everything in the newspaper.
Gen. Vance: Mr. Chair, I'm not prepared at this point. I'm not working
with priority countries. There is no such thing as priority countries. I'm
looking at Africa, broadly speaking, and where the UN missions are in Africa.
I'm looking globally as to where UN missions are, and we'll do an analysis, as I
described to you earlier.
As to the notion that there are priority countries or not, I am not using
that. That's not governing me. I'm looking at it more holistically than that.
The Chair: We can accept that. Just following up on that, what time
frame are we dealing with? Are we dealing with another 60 days? You must have a
timeline that you're moving on to try to make a decision. Can we get a better
understanding of what we're dealing with as far as time?
Gen. Vance: On when the government would make a decision on what the
missions are? Is that what you're asking me?
The Chair: Yes.
Gen. Vance: I'm not in a position to be — that's a question best for
The Chair: I'll leave it at that for you in that respect.
I have one other immediate question that perhaps you want to speak to us
about. It's come to our attention that there's been the removal of the defence
minister, the finance minister and the resignation of the interior minister in
Iraq, which is obviously causing political instability. What effect will that
have in respect to our participation with the troops that we have there?
Gen. Vance: Some of those removals are dated, had occurred in the
past, and we were absolutely well aware of them.
To put it briefly, the situation in Iraq is such that the removal of the
threat of Daesh and its military capacity, which may come in the months ahead,
is but one part of a wider challenge in that region.
I have said it today and I'll say it again: the military can address a subset
of the problems, can set conditions. We are operating right now to ensure that
the clear and present danger of a military or violent overthrow of the
government of Iraq and casting Iraq and the region into chaos at the hands of
Daesh is not going to happen, and we've, in fact, reversed that. At some point
Daesh will be militarily less significant or insignificant, dismantled in Iraq.
However, Iraq as a functioning, successful unitary state moving into the
future with influences and influencers all around its internal, political,
economic and social challenges will also need to be addressed. My belief is that
the work we're doing now militarily in Iraq is the first step in a long journey
to ensure the success of that region into the future. Eliminating Daesh as an
entity in Iraq and Syria doesn't solve all of the problems of Iraq and Syria. It
removes some of the "needed-to-be-removed'' to prevent further chaos, but
there's lots of other work that needs to be done.
So as to the effect of political instability, I can't comment specifically on
those ministers, whether it's good, bad or indifferent. But political stability,
the rule of law and democratic principles being followed, all of that is of huge
importance to the long-term success of Iraq.
We prevented a short-term calamity that would have been the Islamic State in
Baghdad, but there's lots more to go.
The Chair: Colleagues, I would like to thank General Vance and
Commander Whitecross for being here this afternoon. We want to thank you for the
work you do on behalf of the men and women in uniform, as well as the Canadian
Lieutenant-General, again, please accept our congratulations on your
appointment to NATO.
Joining us for our fourth panel of the day is Commodore Brian Santarpia,
Director General, Plans, Strategic Joint Staff, Department of National Defence.
The Strategic Joint Staff role is to provide military analysis, strategic
direction, support and advice to the Chief of the Defence Staff of the Canadian
Armed Forces. The Strategic Joint Staff is composed of five divisions, each
representing a distinctive area of expertise: operations, support, plans,
strategic initiatives, and coordination.
Commodore, welcome to the committee. I understand you have an opening
statement. Please begin, sir.
Commodore Brian Santarpia, Director General, Plans, Strategic Joint Staff,
National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces: Mr. Chair, members of the
committee, thank you for giving me the opportunity today to discuss the Canadian
Armed Forces' capabilities for peace support operations.
Just before I get into that, I'd like to quickly explain what I do. As you
said, I am here representing Major-General Charles Lamarre, the Director of
Staff of the Strategic Joint Staff. That's the organization that provides advice
and support to the CDS. I am the Director General Plans, which means I lead the
preliminary stages of planning in conjunction with other government departments
and with other elements of the Canadian Armed Forces.
With that said, I'll get to Peace Support Operations. My first point is that
this is not a theoretical discussion. The UN Department of Peacekeeping
Operations currently oversees 16 peace support operations, and Canada currently
has 28 personnel deployed on five UN missions. A further 70 personnel are
deployed as part of the Multi-National Force and Observers, a non-UN
peacekeeping mission in the Sinai, and five personnel are deployed as part of a
NATO mission in support of the UN in Kosovo.
However, what I intend to discuss is our capacity to project more robust
forces on Peace Support Operations. Allow me to quickly explain how I will frame
my remarks. I will start with a review of our doctrine for Peace Support
Operations. I will then outline our capabilities. I will explain what the United
Nations actually requires, and will conclude by summarizing how these three
The Canadian Armed Forces' doctrine places peace support operations on a
spectrum or continuum of conflict. Imagine a line with peace at one end and
nuclear war at the other. Between these two extremes lie overlapping natures of
conflict, such as peace support operations, counter-insurgency, conventional war
and so on. Peace support operations, depending on the nature of the particular
conflict, can span from benign traditional peacekeeping operations all the way
to conventional war in a peace enforcement environment; in other words, at that
high-end moment of initial-entry peace enforcement. The most aggressive weapons
of the Canadian Armed Forces' arsenal, from CF-18s to Leopard 2 tanks to
submarines, may be appropriate. This isn't to say that we'll be using those
platforms on every mission, but to say that there is no such thing as a peace
support operation-specific capability. Everything that we have may be used on a
mission, depending on the nature of that mission.
This brings me to the less theoretical and more practical portion of the
discussion on the capabilities we actually have. These can be summarized in
three points: We can do it, we can enable it, and we can teach it.
Firstly, we can do it by generating scalable task groups ranging from
individual observers to large formations based on sea, land, air and special
operations forces. These groupings can address threats across the whole spectrum
of conflict. This includes peace support operations. By virtue of a training
system that emphasizes coordination of capabilities and effects from the start,
our forces are very good at reorganizing into task-tailored groups for different
missions. Our training system is also very good at ensuring all soldiers,
sailors and aviators have solid foundation skills and it is adaptive to ensure
that the final stages of mission-specific training are appropriate for the
theatre in which our forces will be deployed. We also understand that the UN has
its own validation criteria, and we are prepared to meet UN requirements in
screening and training validation.
Secondly, enabling UN missions is an area where we can play an outsized role.
While the UN is rarely short on infantry manpower, its missions are frequently
struggling to maintain a critical mass of specialized logistics and what we call
enablers. These are the kinds of capabilities that exist primarily in developed
nations' forces that have the budgets and technical expertise to maintain such
things as advanced field hospitals, helicopters and heavy air lift, explosive
ordnance disposal, counter-improvised explosive device capabilities, route
clearance packages, unmanned aerial systems and intelligence surveillance
We have these capabilities. We don't have them in high numbers and we may
have to explore burden sharing with partner nations if we want to commit for a
long-term mission, but these are the capabilities that make UN missions vastly
more effective. So, too, do the highly trained staff officers who can coordinate
all of these capabilities to make sure that the sum of a multinational force is
greater than the whole of its parts. Not only are our staff officers well
trained, but by virtue of Canada always operating as part of an alliance or
coalition, our staff officers are experienced in managing the added layers of
complexity introduced in multinational headquarters.
In addition to their experience and training in coordinating resources,
Canada's staff officers bring an additional capability to the mission in their
bilingualism. While many of our partner nations have multilingual officers, they
do not all have functional capabilities in English and French, which are among
the most critical languages in UN missions. Further, the UN is constantly asking
for larger uniformed female participation. We are in a position where we have a
female presence at all deployable rank levels of our forces, who are not only
highly skilled in their specific trades and jobs, but who can provide role
models to the female population in post-conflict societies.
Thirdly, we have a number of means of teaching peace support operations. You
have already heard about the Peace Support Training Centre, but we have other
programs currently focused on training foreign forces. We have the means and
experience to train soldiers and officers in individual skills, such as basic
soldiering or staff planning and leadership skills. We can train them in
collective skills, working from section to battalion levels or higher.
We can train them in mission-specific tasks, or in support tasks, and we can
either do this here in Canada or abroad, either in a mission location or in
support of a third nation preparing to deploy on a mission. We did this on a
continual basis in Afghanistan and Sierra Leone, for example, and have been
doing so on an episodic basis in Niger.
This brings me to the question of what the UN currently needs. The Department
of Peacekeeping Operations publishes periodic updates on the evolving
peacekeeping environment and the gaps in different missions. Its current
requirements closely mirror the areas I mentioned previously when I discussed
support: engineers, hospitals, military police, special forces, intelligence
surveillance reconnaissance, unmanned aerial systems, utility and attack
The UN is not short on infantry soldiers able to patrol and deter belligerent
factions. It is desperately short on the means to find and predict the movement
of those belligerents, the engineers to ensure infantry can patrol without risk
from explosive threats, the medevac helicopters to rapidly evacuate casualties,
the hospitals to attend to those casualties, and the staff officers to ensure
that all those pieces are working together. Canada can fill many of those gaps.
What does that mean? We have the forces to work across the spectrum of peace
operations. We have the training infrastructure in place to generate formed
bodies of any size or configuration. We can train others to do the job, and we
have the niche capabilities that many other troop-contributing nations currently
Thank you. I will be pleased to answer your questions.
Senator Jaffer: I appreciate that you have set out in detail all the
different ways we can help. The question I have been asking is not to look at
the thousands of boots on the ground — and what I've seen that has worked, and
you can agree or disagree, is that Canada doesn't have the big force that other
countries have — but rather the strategic planning and the assets that we can
bring to a peacekeeping operation to help men on the ground. I'd like you to
expand on that. Is that what we are looking at, or are we looking at men on the
Commodore Santarpia: I can say that we provide all the possible
options through the chief to the minister. If it's a UN-specific mission, the UN
asks all the contributing nations for all the possible capabilities that it
needs and doesn't limit its ask to any one nation for any specific thing.
The process we follow is to receive all of those asks, to understand them and
to do our best to assess those asks against the capabilities that we have and
against the mission in order to provide the chief the best possible advice. So
we look at both the specialist enablers and troop contributions of infantry; we
look at all of those options and provide them to the chief for consideration.
Then he passes that advice, as he sees fit, to the minister, and that's where
the decision would be made.
Senator Jaffer: Correct me if I'm wrong, but we had a different
mission in Afghanistan and then we changed it more to a training mission. It
would be useful to know, not details, but what the thinking was and why it was
better for us. I think it worked well for us. Is that the kind of thing we're
looking to provide in the future?
Commodore Santarpia: As I understand the thinking — and I wasn't at
the joint staff during Afghanistan, but like all of us I watched closely — that
was what was needed at the time. In the initial parts of the mission, the
ability to apply force as part of an alliance was felt to be needed. As the
mission progressed, what was needed was to do capacity building, as we say, in
Afghanistan. That became the training mission.
The advice that the chief of the day passed to the government was that, as
the situation changed, we could best effect success on the ground by changing
our contribution to the need. I believe that's always the case; every Chief of
the Defence Staff wants good analysis of the situation on the ground, the root
causes, what the existing contributions are, where the gaps are and where we can
best apply our resources and capabilities against the need.
Senator Dagenais: Thank you for your presentation, Commodore. I would
like to get back to the role of the military in peace missions, including those
in Africa. We all know that many servicemen and women are deployed in the peace
missions in Africa include. We also understand that you have commitments in
other countries where forces are already deployed. In your opinion, do those
commitments significantly reduce the Armed Forces' overall capacity? If so,
would you still be ready to respond to other situations, domestically or
elsewhere? Do we have enough forces in place to respond to unusual circumstances
in Canada as well, such as the ice storm?
Commodore Santarpia: Every time our forces are needed, we act quickly
to understand the request. We try to fully understand the specific needs, not
only for missions, but for all the other requests we receive as well.
Before we advise the chief of staff who in turn advises the department, we
carefully consider whether the decision to assign our forces to a new mission
would be detrimental to other missions. It is very important for the chief of
staff and the minister to understand that.
I cannot say there is never an impact. It is a choice the government must
make and we always ensure that our leaders and the ministers understand the
impact of their decisions.
Senator Dagenais: If the government intends to expand its role in
various countries to respond to UN requests while still remaining active in
NATO, what would the new personnel requirements be for the coming years?
Commodore Santarpia: Are you referring to soldiers?
Senator Dagenais: Yes. The government is open to requests from the UN
and NATO. Responding to their requests is fine as long as we have the capacity.
Among other things, that will certainly mean recruiting new military personnel
in the coming years. Are there any recruitment plans? We are very familiar with
the difficult situation of reservists. The government seems very generous, but
do we have the capacity to respond to the requests and to train new military
personnel? Those people have to be trained.
Commodore Santarpia: We do not think that the planned missions will
require more military personnel than we have on strength at present. A review of
the military is underway, so we will see what our total strength is.
If Canada accepts a UN mission, that does not mean we need more soldiers to
carry out the mission.
Senator Carignan: Could Canada not find a less risky way of having a
greater impact in fighting terrorism or improving protection in Africa? There
could be Canadian interests to protect. Consider for example the CTF-150 you
led, brilliantly, by the way. Would it not be helpful for Canada to continue to
be part of this kind of force or increase its participation? Would that not be
more useful for Canada, pose less risk and be more consistent with our
Commodore Santarpia: It is not up to the military to determine which
missions are best for Canada. It is always a political choice. We advise the
decision-makers on each request made to the Canadian Armed Forces for UN, NATO
and domestic missions. The military leadership gives advice on the potential
risks and the important aspects of each mission, but it is up to the government
to decide. I think it is very important for this choice to be up to the
Senator Carignan: Can you summarize the mission you led in command of
the CTF-150 force and tell us about the resources you needed to achieve results?
Commodore Santarpia: That mission is still ongoing. It includes
members of the navy and the air force. It will continue this year with another
rotation, and the 150 group will be responsible for all multinational operations
in the Western Indian Ocean. The mission's objective is to prevent terrorists
from using the ocean to transport drugs and so forth. Canada decided it was a
useful mission, for us and for our allies. We will continue in that vein. We do
not need a lot of personnel to form a command in Bahrain, where 31 force members
are deployed, including seven from Australia. It is not a very expensive mission
but it is very effective. The government has said that it will continue this
mission this year. It would be helpful to have ships in the region.
Senator Carignan: What is the cost and what aspect of this mission are
you most proud of that has had the greatest impact as a result of your
Commodore Santarpia: The most important thing is working with our
allies and maintaining good relationships with them. There are 30 nations that
are part of the allied maritime command. The most important thing is maintaining
our good relationships with all the members. They are not all members of NATO or
other allied forces. This group includes Pakistan and all the Persian Gulf
countries. We must maintain ties in order to be able to work together
The Chair: I want to follow up, if I could, on Senator Carignan's
questions about the reservists. The numbers that have been given to us are that
they're understaffed by as many 7,000 positions, if you take the number of
21,000 as the optimum Reserve Force, yet we only have approximately 14,000, in
one manner or another.
We were also had indication from the Auditor General that he was coming out
with a report that was going to indicate that the army was having difficulty
recruiting. From the strategic planning point of view and your responsibilities,
you must have full knowledge of this. How does this affect your ability to do
what you do if it is true that staffing and the ability to provide the personnel
are becoming very questionable? Could you comment on that?
Commodore Santarpia: Absolutely.
We are aware of the situation with the reserves, although it doesn't actually
affect my group's planning. My group tries to understand what the missions are
and the resources available are, but only at the force-generator level. The
advice the chief gets about whether the army, air force, navy or special forces
can generate the specific capabilities that he needs he gets from the commanders
of those elements as opposed to the Strategic Joint Staff.
At this point, we haven't had any instance where we needed to change our
planning from a mission based on the strength of the reserves. The militia gets
handled by the commander of the army, so he's generating the necessary forces to
fulfill all of the requirements under our force posture and readiness.
The Chair: I don't think I'm getting an answer here. The fact is that
if these numbers are correct, and I'm assuming they are, we're 7,000 personnel
short in the area of reservists to be able to do certain things. We're taking on
other responsibilities now. We've gone on to Latvia. We're in Kurdistan and
maybe a deployment into Africa. When we talk broad numbers, we're talking maybe
1,800 personnel from the military, which translates into probably 3,600 to 5,000
by the time you figure rotation and all those things that come into effect. Is
that not correct, in broad numbers?
Commodore Santarpia: I'd have to sit down and think about how we're
generating the numbers.
My point on reservists is that we generate reservists of a different class.
There are Class A reservists who parade weekly and do regular training at their
militia and reserve units. If we need to bring them forward for a specific
mission, then they become what we call Class C reservists and they work full
time. So there's no issue with generating them for the Class C work.
The Chair: Sir, I understand that, but I go back to the second part of
my question about the ability of general recruitment for the military itself.
The Auditor General indicated to us that he was coming out with a report and
that it was going to indicate that there may be substantial problems. Is that
true, and if it is, how is it affecting your planning?
Commodore Santarpia: I'm not sure it's true, because the
responsibility for generating reservists belongs to the environmental
commanders: the commanders of the army, air force and navy. It would be
premature for me to give that direction or advice to you, because I don't
actually have the details on that.
I do know that it's not affecting our planning because there's been no
challenge. When we've wanted a certain number of Class C reservists to fill a
mission, the service commanders have had no difficulty at all. It's usually
smaller numbers, and it doesn't represent an important portion of the total
Class A reservists. So you're drawing certain numbers to do a specific mission,
and they're fairly small numbers.
The Chair: I understand that aspect of it, but looking at the numbers
and what we're doing as we expand our objectives and commitments, then obviously
we want to know what kind of effects it will have for you to do your job.
I want to go into one other area. We've been doing an ongoing study on the
question of the various terrorism possibilities that affect this country and
also disasters that could affect this country. One of them is the question of
electromagnetic pulse attack, either from countries such as North Korea or
others. The other possibility is a consequence of a natural solar storm that
could cause a power outage for up to three weeks. Is your organization involved
in planning for such scenarios? If you are involved with those types of plans,
who else is involved with you?
Commodore Santarpia: No, we're not involved with that planning at the
strategic level. My group is very focused on how we get folks deployed and how
we get that advice up to the chief. That's really been the focus of the planning
inside my group.
The Chair: So that's basically your responsibility, then?
Commodore Santarpia: Absolutely.
Senator Jaffer: I have a question on the Pearson centre. I understood
that the Pearson centre would have helped with involving civilians and police
components. With the loss of the Pearson centre, where are you reaching out to
get that kind of training?
Commodore Santarpia: I'm sure you heard this morning from General
Lanthier. We have a peacekeeping training centre in Kingston. To date, that's
where we've been getting expertise on this.
We're working on plans. As we answer the government's demand to be more
involved in peacekeeping, we are considering how we would use that centre and
considering options for deploying Canadian Forces people to other peacekeeping
centres in order to help out. Every option is on the table for consideration,
and we'll bring all of those options up to the chief to consider.
Senator Jaffer: If I'm not mistaken, I understood that the training
you were getting from there is online training from the U.S. We are different
from the U.S. I know that a lot of army and combat things are the same, but the
Pearson centre brought a different perspective than we would get from online
education from the U.S.
I respectfully suggest that that's not the source we should rely on, because
we pride ourselves on doing things very differently, and we are respected around
the world because of who we are. I feel we'll lose that if we get rid of Pearson
and get our training from a U.S. online centre.
Commodore Santarpia: I certainly couldn't provide you with better
detail than you got from Major-General Lanthier about how much is provided by
our own people and how much is provided online. I'm sure you've got a better
briefing than I had on it recently. But I do believe that we also give training
in person in Kingston, and I know that we give training in centres in other
parts of the world.
Senator Beyak: Given North Korea's recent nuclear tests and the Senate
committee's 2014 recommendation on ballistic missile defence, what are your
thoughts on whether we should be joining?
Commodore Santarpia: We're always looking at that. As you know,
there's an ongoing defence policy review, and there's been a lot of discussion
about whether that would be part of the advice. I'm not part of the defence
policy review, so I don't know how that will turn out. Again, it's a very
important question that I'm glad that the Canadian Forces and the Government of
Canada is considering. It will be a Government of Canada decision about whether
we should or not.
The Chair: Colleagues, I want to thank our witness for appearing, and
I apologize for going over time with our previous witnesses.
Joining us on our final panel of the day are Lieutenant-Colonel (Ret'd) John
Selkirk, Executive Director, Reserves 2000; and from the Institut militaire de
Québec, Brigadier-General (Ret'd) Richard Giguère, President.
Gentlemen, welcome. I understand that you each have an opening statement.
Please begin, Brigadier-General Giguère, followed by Lieutenant-Colonel Selkirk.
Brigadier-General (Ret'd) Richard Giguère, President, Institut militaire
de Québec: Hello. First of all, I would like to thank you for inviting me to
take part in this meeting. By way of introduction, I will tell you a bit about
the Institut militaire de Québec.
The Canadian Armed Forces' training system rests on four pillars: education,
instruction, experience, and self-development. Self-development refers to the
training or studies undertaken by learners themselves to upgrade and further
develop all of their knowledge, intellectual or professional competencies and
abilities in order to improve the desired competency level.
In general, self-development takes place outside of official professional
development activities, and this is where the Institut militaire de Québec,
founded in 1929, comes into play in the Quebec City region. We offer annual
conferences, usually four of them, on topics related to defence and security.
These are offered to the Quebec City region defence team, the Joint Task Force
(East). We also hold a conference in March, jointly with the Hautes études
internationales, Université Laval. This year will be the eighth Quebec City
University — Defence Conference, and the focus will be on broadening the concept
Now for my presentation. The development of Canada's new defence strategy is
very interesting to consider at this time, even though there is no consensus on
the answer to such a simple questions as "Are we at war?'' either here in Canada
or in the capitals of our major allies. In 1916 or 1941, the answer would have
been unanimous. But today, it gives rise to a debate, both political and
academic, pointing to the complexity of today's security environment.
Traditional threats, of pitched battles and open warfare, have not disappeared.
More terrorism does not mean fewer traditional threats. So we are not in a zero
sum game. The question is how we perceive the risks we face and how we combat
Adapting to today's realities is no easy task. Let's not forget La Petite
Guerre, the term used to describe the method of asymmetrical warfare on American
soil during the Seven Years War that took its inspiration from the frontier wars
waged by Native Americans. It is a form of warfare that was often called
barbaric and antithetical to the ethical and moral compass of the time. Could we
now be involved in La Petite Guerre 2.0? Do contemporary conflicts constitute a
major trend that will define the future or are they just a passing anomaly?
Questions about Canada's defence strategy require immediate answers to
basically simple questions: what, where, when, how, why, with whom and with
what? I say the questions are basically simple, but, in practice, we know full
well that the answers to the questions are not so clear. In fact, I come from a
school of thought that maintains that, unfortunately, there are no simple
answers to complex questions. Nevertheless, I will try to provide some avenues
for thought by addressing the following points. What are the major global trends
that affect military thinking, in my view? For which emerging challenges could
the Canadian Armed Forces be better prepared, in my view? What are the desired
or desirable changes in our policies and procedures?
With regard to major global trends, first and foremost, despite our old
sophisticated strategies, the suddenness with which crises arise and spread
immediately in the infosphere puts additional pressure on decision-makers.
Consider for example the fires in Fort McMurray in May or the attacks in Nice in
Our experience of time and space becomes compressed. Crises immediately fill
the infosphere, often dramatically, with people demanding an immediate response.
This implies that decision-makers must be able to count on personnel that are
equipped, trained and capable of rapid deployment.
This acceleration of time also means that there is much less time to prepare
our military tools and build them up to strength. Hybrid wars have also become
topical. They have porous distinctions between conventional and irregular wars,
between combatants and non-combatants, and between the legal authorities that
Are we in a time of permanent war? Most of our frames of reference apply to
more conventional wars and conflicts, to wars with a beginning and an end. We
therefore have to continue to blaze trails in this terra incognita, at
the same time as we are constantly engaged in action. It is like having to
change a tire on a car going at full speed.
We now have coalitions rather than traditional alliances. This has two
effects on Canada: how do we see traditional institutions, do we support them,
or do we look elsewhere? Canada seems to have made choices, such as the
impending deployment of troops to Latvia and placing troops at the UN's disposal
for eventual use as peacekeepers. But are these traditional alliances effective
and efficient? Do they respond to today's realities?
The other impact is Canada's real influence in emerging coalitions, like the
one currently deployed in support of the security forces of the Republic of Iraq
that are fighting Daesh. We have no historical reputation that allows us to play
with the big boys in these new coalitions, despite the fact that, relatively
speaking, we are powerful.
The Westphalian system is in a shambles. The breakup of state structures in
many places puts the legitimacy of responses into question. Sovereignty over
borders, for instance, is open to question. The emergence of pseudo-states is
another factor; armed forces may or may not be legitimate. And what of the
responsibility to protect?
Finally, there is a trend towards dehumanizing the battlefield. To what
extent will drones or robots occupy the battlefield tomorrow, and what will be
the legal and ethical consequences of such a deployment of artificial
Our security and armed forces must be prepared for emerging challenges, and
what must we think of the use of security and armed forces in our own territory
if an enemy comes here? Is the distinction between force from within and force
from without still valid and useful today? France and Belgium, for instance,
deployed an important military contingent on their own territories following
terrorist attacks there. Is such a scenario possible in Canada? If so, how?
We are also seeing a broadening of the concept of security which was always
traditionally perceived in its military version. But today's security is
economic and environmental, societal and political. In hybrid conflicts, armed
forces are no longer the final word.
Finally, there is a return to peacekeeping operations. For a long time, we
were the archetypal blue berets. For Canadian soldiers, the bad memories of our
UN missions in the 1990s cannot be downplayed. Our soldiers must be provided
with the tools and the legal authority to allow them to fully carry out their
tasks when they are deployed.
Canadian soldiers remember the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda. Particular
attention must be paid to the mandate of each mission, to the extent of support
from the permanent members of the Security Council, to the rules of engagement
in effect, and to the nature of the chain of command at operational and
Finally, regarding desired or desirable changes to our policies and
procedures, the procurement process for military equipment must be depoliticized
so that it can proceed through changes in government without upheaval and
without changes in its fundamental direction. The current state of the Royal
Canadian Navy and the coming need to replace our fighters are food for thought
A government-wide approach should be fostered, as the limits of military
intervention are quite quickly reached. Dialogue between civilians and the
military must be encouraged. The military wins battles but it no longer
automatically wins wars. In the Afghan campaign, we had good cooperation between
departments over time.
Along those lines, it is refreshing to see the launch of the Peace and
Stabilization Operations Program, which, according to the government, is an
integrated approach that will lead to better coordination of foreign policy,
defence, development and national security matters.
The military can certainly create a secure space in a theatre of operations,
but genuine, permanent stability comes with governance and development, which
are more in the purview of our civilian colleagues in the bureaucracy. More than
ever, we need Team Canada in its entirety to take the field!
Let us consider a strategy focused on risks and threats. Our strategy must
match the identified risks and threats and not be fit into available budgets. We
must plan the strategic exercise without constraints imposed by resources, and
then decide on the priorities later.
In my opinion, the idea of working on a defence strategy without a similar
exercise for our foreign policy is a little surprising. Does the defence policy
depend on our foreign policy, or the other way around? If a review of our
foreign policy is also on the menu, but scheduled a little later, what will be
the impact on a newly designed defence policy? How can we link our foreign
policy, our defence policy and our national security without synchronizing the
planning? Is there a policy hierarchy, and if so, who leads what?
Clearly, the external and internal environments of the government are
increasingly intertwined. And the line between domestic and foreign policies is
increasingly blurred. The dangers of the proliferation of all sorts of weapons,
of international and domestic terrorism, of espionage, the risks for economic
security and information security, organized crime and international corruption
represent a challenge for an increasing number of government agencies that are
not always used to working together.
The classic view of security definitely no longer applies in this context. In
a 2002 article published by Laval University, I asked whether it was not high
time to hope that Canada will set up a large department of security, with
everything that concept entails, to minimize the impact of our traditional
silos. I think this question is still relevant today.
In conclusion, Clausewitz said that war is a chameleon because it changes its
nature in each particular case. Academic experts agree that there is not one
definition of war, but a number, depending on the approaches and levels of
analysis. We therefore have to live with those ambiguities, doubts, incidences
of war that reason sometimes has a great deal of trouble explaining.
Most importantly, the objectives to be achieved must be clear. To paraphrase
Sun Tzu, someone who has no objectives is not likely to achieve them. It is not
easy for leaders in the current security environment to define a final outcome
that makes sense; it is not easy to answer the simple question: When will we
know that we have won?
Adapting to contemporary and future realities is no easy feat and has always
been a challenge for past generations. The shelves of the libraries of great
military schools are full of histories of campaigns, accounts of war, in which
understanding the situation made the difference between victory and defeat.
Marshall Foch asked: What is this really about? It would be worth asking such a
simple question more often.
Let's ask the right questions, let's provide efficient and effective answers.
Let's focus on the contemporary defence and security environment, the risks and
threats. The appropriate resources will come later, after the decision and
choices made by our leaders. These are decisions and choices that have carried,
that are carrying and that will always carry serious consequences for our sons
and daughters who wear the Canadian flag on their uniforms and who are what we
hold most dear.
Lieutenant-Colonel (Ret'd) John Selkirk, Executive Director, Reserves
2000: Thank you, honourable senators, for having me here again.
I would like to first say that I believe the Canadian reservists, Army
Reservists in particular, are and have proven to be excellent peacekeepers. But
before I discuss the merits of that premise, I would like to say just a few
words about the Canadian Army in which they will be working to do that
The Canadian Army has proven to be outstanding in peacekeeping and peace
support roles. In my opinion, and the opinion of many of my colleagues in
Reserves 2000, that is so because the Canadian Army is professional, well
trained and led by long-service officers and senior non-commissioned members. It
is trained, organized and equipped to fight a high-intensity war, which is the
most difficult of military tasks. It thus brings to any peacekeeping or peace
support mission the knowledge, the confidence and the critical enablers, such as
robust intelligence, communications and logistical capacity, and, if necessary,
the firepower to enforce the mandate of the mission.
But, and this is my point, maintaining the army at that high level of
war-fighting competence is not cheap, and I believe that there are people in
Canada who think that perhaps peacekeeping can be done on the cheap. I don't
believe it can be done on the cheap for the very reasons I just explained,
because it takes a professional army to do the job as well as we've done it over
Towards the end of the last century, army reservists started to play a
greater and greater role in Canadian peacekeeping operations. Starting with
small numbers of augmentees to regular units, by the time of the last rotations
to the former Yugoslavia, complete infantry companies were comprised of
reservists. And they were not found wanting in performing that more traditional
peacekeeping role, nor in new roles that reservists started to assume, such as,
for example, the provision of civil-military cooperation teams, a capability
that is at the heart of capacity building that Minister Sajjan spoke to you
about earlier this year.
Those teams of CIMIC, as we call them, were all reservists, as were other new
influence activity capabilities that were introduced during the Afghan campaign.
Due to their civilian qualifications, reservists bring skills to peacekeeping
operations that may not be found in the average regular unit. Educational
professionals, municipal administrators, policemen, fire prevention, community
health, these are but a few of the skills found in many, many primary reserve
units and can be enormously useful in nation building.
And it's not that we ever had a shortage of people who wanted to go. There
were always more reservists who wanted to go than there were positions for them.
On that final point, I want to raise my flag of caution, which I raised
before this committee before, I think as early as about 2011, and that is the
shrinking of the Army Reserve. The Auditor General, in his May report, said that
the Army Reserve in fiscal year 2014-15, although funded for 21,000 positions,
there were only 13,944 active and trained soldiers. According to testimony by
the Commander of the Canadian Army to the House Standing Committee on Public
Accounts on June 7 this year, he could by that time only muster 13,243. So
that's a drop of some 700 soldiers in that period of time. I don't know of
anything that has happened in the last few months that would have reversed that
The Auditor General, as you're probably aware, has reported that the Army
Reserve has been shrinking by about 5 per cent a year for the last, at least,
five years. However, recent announcements by the new Commander of the Canadian
Army do provide some hope that things can be turned around, because if they are
not, Canada will be unable to take advantage of the very positive attributes the
Army Reserve has proven in the past it can bring to peacekeeping and peace
That concludes my remarks.
The Chair: I want to thank both of our witnesses.
Senator Dagenais: I am happy to see you again, Mr. Giguère. Our paths
crossed in Fort Lennox two or three years ago when I accompanied Prime Minister
Harper. I remember the occasion very well. Thank you for your presentation.
Today, in spite of peace missions that are, I believe, essentially political,
but which involve military support, do you think that we would have reason to
believe that sometimes bad decisions are taken and imposed on the armed forces
in order to further a certain political image of the country or the government?
BGen Giguère: We have learned a lot of lessons since the 1990s. As I
said earlier, we remember the Balkans and Rwanda. If the decision is made to
deploy a contingent of Canadian military people, and we learn that a group of
close to 600 military will be available, I hope that the lessons learned during
the 1990s will be applied and that we will deploy the soldiers with an
achievable mandate. The rules of engagement have been the main problem.
You see, when we were in Afghanistan — I have been there twice — our rules of
engagement were more permissive. The soldiers did not abuse them, but this
allowed them to do their work.
In the 1990s, it was simply the rule of self-defence that applied for the
Blue Helmets, which led to the difficulties that occurred. I hope that this
time, with the new mandates, the soldiers will have rules of engagement that
will allow them to do their work well.
People will say that we learn a lot of lessons, that we take a lot of notes
following our exercises. Are these lessons truly learned and remembered? I can
only hope that that is the case, since that is the only way we will succeed in
the field, a success which will certainly reflect well on Canada. We have to pay
close attention to the aspects I mentioned.
Senator Dagenais: I have another question for you, Mr. Giguère. We
talk a lot about the training of the military. Do you think that the military is
It is all well and good to provide training, to conduct missions, but do you
feel that the equipment is adequate? We know that sometimes some things are
purchased, but certain witnesses mentioned earlier that it was increasingly
fastidious to acquire equipment because of the various stakeholders involved,
and that it took longer and longer to obtain the equipment necessary to conduct
BGen Giguère: I think that the Afghan mission left us with a very
acceptable stock of equipment. That was not necessarily the case in the
beginning, in 2000 or 2001, but rather toward the end, if you recall, when there
where acquisition projects while we were there. I think that the vast majority
of that equipment, which served us well in Afghanistan, can be very effective
during peace missions.
Things are never perfect, and we still hope to obtain new equipment. I
retired last year, and the equipment we had at that time in the armed forces
would put us in a good position to conduct a peace mission.
Senator Dagenais: Thank you very much, Mr. Giguère.
Senator Jaffer: Thank you. My question is to Lieutenant-Colonel
We've been listening to many witnesses over the last few days and also before
that. There is a question — and you would be the best person to answer this —
that the reserves in the U.S. are treated in a better way and have better
training than what we are doing. Is that correct? What should we be doing?
To further clarify, yesterday we heard from the Auditor General. I don't know
if you heard what he said, but he was saying that we are not doing an adequate
job in training our reserves. I would like your comments on that, please.
Lt.-Col. Selkirk: First of all, I'm not an expert on the United States
Senator Jaffer: No, just from what you know.
Lt.-Col. Selkirk: They have quite a different system. I know they are
well-equipped. I believe they have a lot of policies in place, personnel
policies primarily, that suit the part-time reservists that form the bulk of any
reserve force. Other than that, they are certainly capable, but the United
States is more than capable of putting tremendous resources to any problem, so
it's no wonder that they are as capable as they are.
For our Army Reserve — and I can only speak about the Army Reserve — we are,
as I've explained, well under strength. That is a situation that has been known
for years. Nothing really was ever done. The new Commander of the Canadian Army
has certainly issued instructions that will hopefully look after the very worst
problems that caused that diminishment in strength. The first and biggest
problem was the recruiting system, which was incapable of attaining the goals
that were set for it. Those goals were too small. He's going to change how
recruitment quotas are set, and the whole recruiting process is to be returned
to the army and taken away from the central Canadian Forces Recruiting Group.
That's an enormous step in the right direction.
With regard to the long-standing issue of money that was appropriated for
reserves not being spent on reserves, a new accounting system that is supposed
to be put in place will not allow that to happen in the future. That's a very
He's looking at the number of days of training that part-time reservists will
get. That will help with retention.
His goal is to have all recruit training done within the school year that the
recruit joins at the local armoury where the unit exists. That will enormously
help what we call training attrition. Training attrition in the Army Reserve
right now runs at 50 per cent. If you hire 10 recruits, only 5 of them ever make
it past the recruit stage, let alone further development beyond that. It's been
a very inefficient system for a number of years.
I think those factors plus new missions will perhaps encourage young
Canadians to become more involved. So if we put all of that together — and I'm
the eternal optimist — I think we're on the cusp of a new era if the leadership
can bring it forward.
Senator Jaffer: Can you clarify, please, why central recruiting was
Lt.-Col. Selkirk: Why it was ineffective? I don't know why, but I can
tell you the results. For example, somebody looking for a part-time job in the
Canadian Army — that is, to become a reservist — the average wait time from the
time that individual walked into the armoury and said "I want to join'' until
they enrolled was over 180 days. You can imagine that the best and brightest of
the young Canadians that came forward were not going to wait 180 days for a
part-time job; they will go somewhere else. That's just one inefficiency I can
tell you about. Why that took so long, I have no idea, but I guess I could get
rich if I could figure it out. It was bad.
Senator Carignan: My question is addressed to our two witnesses. We
have heard a lot of members of the military and other persons. Finally, what I
have understood is that the decision to deploy the army on a peace mission
rather than elsewhere, such as to Ukraine for instance, rather than choosing to
maintain a presence in the Arctic here in Canada or to participate in other
missions, is a political decision. It is an entirely political decision.
The army representatives tell us that they will get ready, and if they state
that they are ready, they will go on the mission and do what they have to do.
But I have trouble measuring the impact of that decision. Everyone makes a
difference in life, and I am convinced that if there is a mission, Canadian
soldiers will make a difference. However, if the point is to make an important
contribution, for Canada, in terms of political decisions, is it not more
relevant to further our NATO commitments, for instance, and to aim for an
investment that corresponds to 2 per cent of our GDP? One that will allow us to
support our armed forces, to better equip them, to respect our NATO obligations,
and to train our people so that they are ready to participate in future missions
during which Canada could make a considerable contribution?
I am looking at the statistics; we are the country in the world that has the
most kilometres of coast line, and we have little equipment to monitor it
properly. Our presence in the Arctic is an issue as well, and we are going to
encounter a Russian presence there often. Are there not locations where Canada
could have a greater presence, within its means, and should we not invest our
energy in improving our army and its equipment rather than sending 400 or 500
soldiers to the African continent, where there are already 100,000 Blue Helmets,
of whom 3,000 are from China? Is this the best decision to further Canadian
interests? I would like to hear your opinion on that.
BGen Giguère: In my opinion, decisions on deployment in the military,
in whatever context, are always political. The issue here, and I addressed this
in my presentation, is to see to what extent we wish to support traditional
alliances that go back to the end of the Second World War.
We have a choice; we see that there are other things that are emerging, ad
hoc coalitions such as we see in Iraq at this time where, in my opinion, Canada
does not have the same weight.
As for NATO and the UN, we benefit from the fact that Canada was a founding
member of those two organizations. In any case, regarding NATO, we have always
answered "present.'' As for the UN, we answered "present'' until the 1990s. Now
we are resuming that.
The question we have to ask ourselves is the following: to what extent are
those two organizations important for our country? If the answer is that they
are important, then we have a choice. As for UN missions, we can provide funds,
we can provide advice.
I often make sports analogies. When we play hockey, we have two choices:
either we can be on the ice, or on the bench. Those who have the most influence,
in my opinion, are those who are on the ice. If we decide to invest in a mission
or if we decide to reinvest in the UN, deploying soldiers on the ground — I
agree with you, senator. What can 600 Canadians change when they are part of a
deployment of 120,000 soldiers? Perhaps more than we think, because our Canadian
Blue Berets have a good reputation.
Can we continue in that vein and improve what is happening in United Nations
missions? Perhaps. In my opinion, once again, if we decide to reinvest in the UN
— and some will say that the objective is to obtain a seat on the Security
Council — altruism has its limits, even for a Canadian. So, perhaps that this is
one of the elements that will contribute to improving our reputation and our
record. However, I don't think there is only that. If you look at the
composition of the UN forces currently, and examine certain missions that are
having serious problems, the addition of Canadian soldiers would make quite a
Lt.-Col. Selkirk: I'd like to say briefly that I think you can make an
argument that the greatest peacekeeping operation Canada ever participated in
was the formation of NATO and maintaining NATO, and NORAD and maintaining NORAD.
That kept the peace and probably saved more lives than we could ever tally up
and imagine. Of course, that's an expensive operation, as I said.
Where we send Canadian soldiers is obviously a political decision, but I
think that the role of the Canadian Forces is to have as many well-trained,
well-equipped, well-motivated soldiers, sailors and airmen as we can have, and
we have to live within a certain budget. That's why we continue to say: Do more
with reservists, because they don't cost as much to maintain.
Senator Carignan: I would have another question, on the French fact
specifically. How do you see the presence of francophone soldiers in Africa? We
know that several African countries were colonized by France, and that
consequently several African countries have a French heritage. France can
sometimes be perceived as the colonizing country, and this can lead to certain
frictions, a disadvantage Canada does not necessarily have. Can the francophone
fact be a relevant element in a future mission, and how can we optimize this
francophone advantage Canada has?
BGen Giguère: The comments I hear about that are that despite the fact
that we speak French, people over there do see Canadian francophone soldiers and
French soldiers very differently. I spoke with several businessmen recently who
told me that Quebeckers are well received in Africa. People make the difference.
In the days when I was commander of the Quebec sector of the land forces, the
Americans had created the Africa Command; it was a good opportunity to deploy
francophone soldiers, because the Americans are somewhat outside their comfort
zone in Africa, whereas we are used to working with American soldiers, while
being able to communicate with African francophones. I literally considered us a
link between the forces that were there. And so I perceive the deployment of
francophone soldiers in those regions as a positive thing.
If possible, Mr. Chair, I would like to get back to the missions and the
recruitment of reservists. Thank you.
No one jumps for joy at the recruitment statistics we currently see.
Lieutenant-Colonel Selkirk talked about the situation of the reserves. We have
to ask ourselves why a young person of 18, 19 or 20 would want to join the armed
forces today. The answer might surprise us.
In the beginning of the 1980s, when I joined the Canadian armed forces, what
we heard is that we were paid well every 15 days, and would get a good pension.
That is what people said. However, I have a son who joined up, and his reasons
are totally different. This generation of young people is looking for
challenges. Over the past years, many of them joined the armed forces strictly
to go to Afghanistan.
So, we absolutely have to find a way to keep our people in the army. Earlier
we were talking about the recruitment problem; however, I think is imperative
that we look at the issue of attrition. It is not profitable to lose a good
soldier after four or five years of service. We lose them after four or five
years because they lose interest in what they are doing.
I am not telling you that we have to send our soldiers to war. That is not at
all what I mean, but sending them on training missions such as we did in Kabul
in 2012, or on peace missions that are well structured and well organized, could
have a positive impact.
Senator Carignan: What you say is interesting. Perhaps the army should
question its recruitment and hiring system, and its priorities. Recently I came
across a book entitled Vandoo, written by lawyer René Vallerand, one of my
former classmates who joined the Royal 22nd Regiment to go to Afghanistan, to
meet that challenge. He was probably 35 or 40 years old at that point. There are
some people who have a passion for challenges.
Do you not think that the army should do a market analysis, so to speak, and
broaden its recruitment criteria, without necessarily targeting 18 or
BGen Giguère: That is a good point. We are in fact hiring people who
are a bit older. In Saint-Jean, there have been courses for recruits where at
graduation we saw a father and son graduate as soldiers together. Earlier,
Lieutenant-Colonel Selkirk referred to the extraordinary skills civilians can
contribute to the Reserve Force, for instance as mechanics, electricians or
police officers. They have a full range of skills that we can put to excellent
One of the problems I encountered when I was in Quebec, and
Lieutenant-Colonel Selkirk mentioned this, was that the recruitment system for
reservists was extremely cumbersome. At a certain point, regiments recruited
them directly. If you wanted to join the Voltigeurs de Québec, you went and
knocked on their door and they gave you a uniform. The process was much quicker.
Over the past few years, I have heard people say that we need to go back to a
system like that one. In that way we would avoid situations where people wait
180 days before being called up. Often, when they are called after 180 days,
those young people have found a job at Canadian Tire or Walmart. Perhaps we
should look closely at returning to a decentralized system to recruit our
reservists, and give more flexibility to the militia units. I am convinced that
such a measure would be very helpful.
Lt.-Col. Selkirk: General Giguère, that's exactly where the new
commander of the Canadian Army wants to go. He wants to have people enrolled in
a matter of days — not weeks, not months. So he's on the right track.
The Chair: I wanted to follow up on that because I think it's
important for the record. You outlined a number of initiatives that you have
been told were going to be undertaken. The major one that I heard you express
was identification of the monies for the reservists and it would stay in that
envelope and could not be taken from the envelope for other aspects of the
military. That was one.
Lt.-Col. Selkirk: Yes.
The Chair: The question of recruitment was going to be changed. The
question of in-house training, where possible, was going to be embarked upon,
and a number of other initiatives.
My question to you is: When do you expect these broad policy statements that
you just made to be put into effect?
Lt.-Col. Selkirk: The restoration of recruiting to units, he wants to
have that done by April 1 of next year, 2017. It will take a while for these
measures to get some traction and bite and actually see results at the end. It's
not all guesswork. It's based on my experience. But it is going to take a number
of years to turn this thing around.
If we start to see an increase in trained strength in six months' time, I'd
say that would be a very good sign. But right now, as the Auditor General
identified at the house Public Affairs Committee, the trend is still going down.
The Chair: He indicated that to us yesterday and the question of
recruitment came up as one of our questions.
I do have a specific question for you. Is the current pay scale for
reservists adequate? That's another factor.
Lt.-Col. Selkirk: I can't answer that question because I've never
asked our network to give me any information on that. I believe it is adequate,
but that's just my personal opinion based on no scientific evidence. So I don't
know the answer.
I don't know how to get an answer that's a good one. You'd probably have to
engage people who understand the generation of Canadians that we're talking
about here and look at what they could get that would be comparable elsewhere on
a part-time basis. That's the only way I could know to go about it.
Senator Day: I wanted to make sure that the delegation of recruiting
was going down to the units, as General Giguère mentioned, as opposed to just a
Lt.-Col. Selkirk: That I don't have the answer to either, senator. But
from everything I have heard his intention is to return it to the armoury. Now,
if an armoury has three or four units in it, if there was a centralized
recruiting process in that armoury, I think that would be just fine.
Senator Day: It's still local.
Lt.-Col. Selkirk: Yes.
The units that are hurting the most — and you can see the statistics from the
Auditor General's report — are those that are not located in big urban centres.
That's because often the recruiting offices were some distance away and all
sorts of impediments like that. So those units are really hurting. It's our
opinion that the current footprint of the reserve army across the country is
just about right. They are, after all, in — I used to know the number — most of
the ridings in Canada. It's our opinion that every Canadian should have access
to a reserve unit, with the exception of people in the Far North and so on.
So I think the statistic actually is that 90 per cent of Canadians, I believe
is the number, live within an hour's drive of a reserve unit. We want to see
that continue because there's no reason why the people in, say, Leeds-Grenville
should be disenfranchised if you close the unit in Brockville. That wouldn't be
Senator Day: The chairman mentioned two of the major challenges. One
is budgeting and making sure that the regular force wasn't robbing some of that
money initially designated, and the result of that has been the reduction in the
number of training days, which is impacting on recruiting. We've learned that
along the way and you've helped us with some of those points. So if the
budgeting aspect is under control and the recruiting is under control, what do
you see as the biggest challenge for the reserve element at this stage?
Lt.-Col. Selkirk: Part of the recruiting story must be that recruit
quotas have to be sufficiently large so that units can grow. Recruit quotas for
about the last five years were set below what one could predict as the rate of
attrition for individual units, so that was obviously a downhill slope anyway.
That problem has to be resolved.
After that, the biggest problems, I think, in order to maintain units at a
healthy strength is the attrition side, as the general mentioned. There, some of
the problems are, as I said, the attrition of recruits running at 50 per cent.
That has to be sorted out. I think doing the training locally within a school
year will be a big step in the right direction for that.
Then there's the attrition of the trained soldiers thereafter. Yes, giving
them exciting jobs and interesting things to do is part of that, but we have to
keep in mind that because the units are now so low in junior leaders, you can't
overwork those people, otherwise they're going to quit because by the time they
get to be junior leaders they might be in five years or so. That's perhaps when
their civilian careers start to take off. Somehow all these things have to be
balanced, and the fewer people you have around, the tougher it is to balance.
The real solution is to get those units up to strength again.
The Chair: Following up on Senator Day, could you give us an update on
the proposed civilian-military leadership program? What exactly is the status
and where is it moving to?
Lt.-Col. Selkirk: It's my understanding that the department has said
yes, this is a good idea, with a great deal of prompting from the previous
minister's office, by the way. I don't think it would have happened otherwise.
The department is apparently saying, "Yes, this is something that we should be
Regrettably it seems that, within the individual services now, the thing has
stalled. I think the navy is quite keen on it, but I understand that really
nothing much has happened in the last several months with the army.
I don't know how many more sessions you have, but I would suggest that you
might want to call as a witness Mr. Rob Roy, who is the guy who has really
championed this for many years now. He could tell you exactly where things
My understanding is that it hit a certain plateau and stopped there.
The Chair: Before we conclude, Colonel Selkirk, did you want
clarification on some of the statements made by the Auditor General in respect
to deploying reservists overseas?
Lt.-Col. Selkirk: I would like to say that I went through the Auditor
General's report myself in great detail. It was a very good report from the
point of view of the future well-being of the Army Reserve. However, he did get
into some things that I would term more "administrative,'' perhaps. It's all
important, but I think it would be wrong to put too much emphasis on the fact
that, for example, reserve units don't do a good job of recordkeeping about
who's been trained, how long ago they were trained and all that minutiae.
Computers can be helpful, and maybe we should be there, but we're not there.
Units right now are facing bigger problems. So I understand why, perhaps, it's
not in good shape.
But, as far as I'm concerned, that should not be an issue with whether
reserve soldiers can deploy on peacekeeping missions or on any other kind of
mission. The kind of training we're talking about is all individual skills for
the most part — some very low-level unit skills.
Before any reserve soldier has deployed either to the Balkans or certainly to
Afghanistan, they had to be integrated into the regular unit they were deploying
with, and that regular unit had to go through an exhaustive training process,
all driven by the need to build teams. The sections, platoons and companies all
had to work together, and the unit had to work within the context of the task
force it was part of. That takes a lot of time.
My contention is that reserve soldiers who want to go on these missions start
off at the bottom level in that team-building process. They already have to have
jumped through a number of hoops even to get there in terms of individual
skills, like shooting. The unit will have several months — usually three months
before they went to Afghanistan — to get their unit ready. The leadership will
know whether those individual soldiers are ready. During the Afghanistan
mission, some reservists were found to be lacking, and they didn't go.
It's not a problem. I read an article in The Globe & Mail this morning
where the Auditor General seemed to say that there could be reserve soldiers
deployed who would be so ill-trained that they would be a harm to themselves or
to their colleagues, and I don't believe that. The unit commanding officer is
not going to take anybody with him who he hasn't the confidence in to do that
The Chair: Thank you for clarifying for the record.
I'd like to thank the witnesses for appearing today.
(The committee continued in camera.)