Proceedings of the Standing Senate Committee on
Issue 35 - Evidence
OTTAWA, Tuesday, May 4, 1999
The Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs met this day at 3:35 p.m. to
examine the ramifications to Canada of the changed mandate of the North
Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and Canada's role in NATO since the demise
of the Warsaw Pact, the end of the Cold War and the recent addition to
membership in NATO of Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic; and of
peacekeeping, with particular reference to Canada's ability to participate in it
under the auspices of any international body of which Canada is a member.
Senator John B. Stewart (Chairman) in the Chair.
The Chairman: Honourable senators, our witnesses today are from the Department
of Foreign Affairs and International Trade and from the Department of National
Before we hear opening statements, I wish to remind the members of the committee
that the focus of our mandate is on the changed role of NATO, specifically as
it concerns peacekeeping. We are not primarily concerned with Yugoslavia and
Kosovo. However, I must be realistic. Those events are a recent, dramatic
example of peacekeeping. Consequently, we cannot avoid referring to that
particular operation, but let us remember that we are concerned with the overall
concept of peacekeeping by NATO.
The strategy for our meetings is to begin with some basic information, and we
are relying on these two departments to help us obtain that information. We
will turn to outside witnesses later. I anticipate that we will conclude by
asking members of the government to appear and, if it seems that we are making
mistakes, to put us right. Whether or not they will succeed would be a matter of
speculation at this point.
Mr. Paul Meyer, Director General, International Security Bureau, Department of
Foreign Affairs and International Trade: Honourable senators, we applaud your
effort in commencing a study of NATO at a time of great transformation in the
alliance. You have already done some important work in terms of your 1996 study
on relations with Europe. I also recall the innovative work on the new
challenges facing peacekeeping that this committee did in 1993.
NATO is in the public minds and on the pages of our media more than it has been
at any other time in its existence. I would say nothing is more important right
now than what the alliance is doing in Kosovo, which involves members of our
armed forces. This action is changing the lives of many in the Balkans. Vital
as that task in the Balkans is, however, it is only part of an evolution in the
alliance that has been underway since 1989.
I would like to take a few minutes to tell you what Canada has been trying to do
as part of that evolution, that change and adaptation of the alliance. I will
also talk about what we have accomplished.
It may be helpful to begin with the objectives that the government pursued for
the recent NATO summit in Washington. This summit was initially set up to mark
the 50th anniversary of the alliance. It also had to deal with some very
fundamental tasks and changes in the organization.
As I review some of these aims, I will indicate the extent to which we were able
to achieve our objectives. I hope you will appreciate the extent to which NATO
has evolved over the last decade. It has moved from a defensive alliance with a
primarily military focus to a much broader political organization. It is well
equipped to deal with the broad range of political and military challenges that
will arise in the coming decades.
The preparations for the Washington summit focused on three issues. The first
was vision -- the need to provide a clear and comprehensive statement of the
alliance's purposes as it entered a new century and a profoundly different
The second focus was tools -- the need to revise the NATO's 1991 strategic
concept, which identified key challenges before the alliance and also gave
guidance on the political and military structures that would be required over
the longer-term in order to meet these challenges.
The third focus was enlargement -- the question of a further expansion of the
alliance. As you recall, the Washington summit also marked the formal
integration of three new members -- Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic. It
is now an alliance of 19 members.
A vision statement was issued in Washington. We saw the need to retain public
support for the alliance as it entered into a new realm and a new environment,
and we wanted that statement to reflect the common values that underline the
alliance. We also wanted the statement to underscore NATO's commitment to
operating on the basis of a very broad definition of security, including human
NATO's vision should commit the alliance to enhanced stability through greater
internal consultation, as well as through partnership with non-members, and
through cooperative mechanisms. The statement should commit the alliance to
providing for our common defence while still acting to promote and protect the
values of its members and partners throughout the Euro-Atlantic area.
Though it may not be a literary masterpiece, the Washington declaration set out
a vision that provided a cogent and compelling explanation for the alliance's
rationale and vision of the future. Copies of these documents will be available
to the committee, if you have not already had a chance to look at them.
The second key product was a strategic concept. This really is the central
public policy statement of the alliance. It describes the environment in which
NATO operates, the challenges that arise from it, and the means that NATO
intends to employ in addressing those challenges. That concept was initially
issued in 1991 in the immediate aftermath of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the
termination of the Cold War. At the alliance's last summit, in Madrid in 1997,
it was determined that, given the major transformation changes in the security
landscape, it would be appropriate to revise that strategic concept and issue
it at the 50th anniversary summit. That was indeed done.
Canada argued that the revised strategic concept should confirm the alliance's
political aims in conflict prevention and crisis management, as well as its
contribution to peace support operations. Canada argued that a broad approach
to security should be supported, and that it should encompass consultation,
dialogue, partnership and cooperation. It should ensure that the alliance forces
would be able to provide a credible common defence, but would also have the
characteristics to perform new missions commensurate with the alliance's values
and security interests.
We also advocated a new and specific recognition of the transatlantic link that
the alliance embodies in so many ways, a concept that should also define the
relationship with other institutions, particularly the UN and other
institutions within the Euro-Atlantic. Such recognition would allow them to
operate in a harmonious way.
We felt the concept should also permit the alliance to make significant
contributions to further progress on international arms control and disarmament
measures, recognizing their relevance to alliance security objectives. We
wanted to ensure that a description of this broad approach to achieving our
security goals was addressed. Our view of the diminishing role of nuclear
weapons was also noted.
We also wanted to ensure that, after the Washington summit, there would be an
ongoing review of alliance policies relating to weapons of mass destruction and
the various roles that non-proliferation and disarmament measures could play in
that regard. There were questions of defence and civil precaution, as well.
Each of these goals was essentially accomplished. Our representatives can take
some credit for their advocacy and their ability to translate ideas through the
prism of the consensual forum of NATO. Our goals have been reflected in the
final common documents.
From the beginning, Canada had advocated an inclusive approach to enlargement.
We felt that the alliance had a political obligation to the new democracies in
Europe, and that as those democracies emerged they would demonstrate their
credentials in terms of making a contribution to the overall goals and purposes
of the alliance. We were somewhat disappointed that others around the alliance
table did not share our view that the time was right for another round of
enlargement. Let me remind you that three new members were brought in at the
50th anniversary summit. There was a sense that time was needed to adjust with
these new members before making any firm commitments to further enlargement.
That said, a progressive membership action plan was agreed to in order to help
prepare these countries politically, economically, institutionally, legally,
and militarily, so that they would be in a better position to take up alliance
membership at a later stage.
Mr. Chairman, your study is much broader than the subject of the alliance's role
in Kosovo. However, I think it was important for the alliance to demonstrate
that it was handling the Kosovo crisis in an effective manner. Emphasis was
placed on the consultative function of the alliance -- pointing out its
capacity to bring political and military assets to bear in pursuit of a goal
that resonates with the underlying values of the democracies that form the
Membership in NATO remains a central pillar of Canada's foreign policy. I hope
that my remarks have demonstrated that Canada is not only active in its
participation in the life of the alliance, but that it is also at the forefront
of efforts to ensure that NATO continues to adapt, helping it to remain capable
and relevant to future security challenges, as it has done in the past.
Membership in NATO provides very significant benefits for this country. It is a
means of providing a cost-effective defence against any external aggression. It
provides consultative mechanisms that give Canada the ability to influence
responses to security threats throughout the Euro-Atlantic area. It affords us
access to modern technology to broaden the capabilities and experience of
Canadian forces. It allows for participation in NATO exercises, and the
development of intra-operability, which contributes to the effectiveness and
flexibility of our own armed forces. In short, our participation in the
alliance represents a benchmark in Canada's international commitment, and
demonstrates our determination to continue acting with like-minded democracies
to advance our interests and those of the international community.
The Chairman: Rear-Admiral MacLean, do you wish to make an opening statement at
Rear-Admiral Bruce MacLean, Director General, International Security Policy,
Department of National Defence: Honourable senators, thank you for allowing me
to provide a starting point for your information-gathering process.
I wish to focus on a couple of issues that are important from a specific DND
point of view. What is it that we are doing today? And what is it that we might
do? In particular, I wish to speak about numbers. From our perspective, that
will be the most germane part of the discussion.
It is important to go back to the 1994 defence white paper, which evaluated
where we were with respect to NATO. At that time, the government made the
commitment that Canada would remain a full and active member of NATO, and that
the alliance's fundamental and primary role would be revived for the collective
defence of its member states.
The interesting part is that things have changed, and you are here today, in
part, to examine what that change means for Canada. NATO can make a greater
contribution to collective and cooperative security than is currently the case,
and we have a reservoir of military competence and capabilities to make this
greater contribution to peace support operations.
The cornerstone of Canada's military role in NATO is Article 5 of the Washington
Treaty, which says:
The parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or
North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently
they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of
the right of individual or collective self-defence recognized by Article 51 of
the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Party or Parties so attacked
by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such
action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and
maintain the security of the North Atlantic area.
As we move into the next century, the important new strategic concept for this
group is the non-Article 5 operation, and we frequently hear it mentioned. What
operations might we undertake for purposes other than the defence of one of the
allies? In the pursuit of its policy of preserving peace, preventing war, and
enhancing security, NATO will seek, in concert with other organizations, to
prevent conflict. Should a crisis arise, NATO will seek to contribute to its
effective management, in accordance with international law, including the
possibility of conducting non-article crisis response operations.
In a nutshell, those are the two major issues that we see now. As we move into
the more dynamic -- and perhaps less understood -- 21st century, perhaps we
will be doing more than we did during the Cold War.
What is our peacetime contribution to NATO? We have one frigate serving with the
Standing Naval Force Atlantic on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This
year we are in command of that particular NATO force. We also operate, on an
occasional basis, a frigate or destroyer with the Standing Mediterranean Naval
Force, and we did that as recently as 1998. We see a ship operating in this
formation about once every three or four years.
We have some 200 staff officers serving in various headquarters -- for example,
in Brussels, at the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers in Europe, and in
Norfolk, Virginia. We also have 125 personnel in the NATO Airborne Early
Warning Force in Germany. In addition, we undertake training opportunities with
our NATO allies on a regular basis.
In the future, we will also have the opportunity to provide a service called
NATO Flying Training in Canada, or NFTC. Currently, Denmark and the U.K. are
participating. We also provide the opportunity for other allied forces, like
Germany and the U.K., to conduct training in Canada on a cost-recovery basis.
The Netherlands spent some $130 million in 1997-98.
That is what we do in peace time. What is it that we might be able to do in a
more challenging crisis situation, or indeed, in a war? In the white paper, we
looked at this in the context of general contingency capabilities, not just for
NATO, but in terms of all of our commitments overseas, including the UN or
coalitions of like-minded countries.
In that context, we could deploy some 10,000 personnel at any one time, and we
could do it within three months. This force would be a mix of army, navy, and
air force units. It would include elements such as a joint task force
headquarters and a maritime task group consisting of up to four destroyers,
frigates or submarines, as well as a support ship. It would also include three
separate battle groups of about 1,000 to 1,500 personnel, or a gate group. In
addition, there would be an infantry battalion group of about 1,000 people,
plus a wing of fighter aircraft, which could be up to about 30 to 35 aircraft,
and a squadron of tactical transport aircraft -- the Hercules aircraft.
We could not provide long-term support for that force, so after about six months
it would either have to return or we would have to undertake some kind of
mobilisation in order to continue to maintain it overseas.
What we can provide, however, and what we would view as our sustainable
contribution, is a force of up to some 4,000 personnel. Again, it would be a
mix of army, navy and air force personnel, but some 4,000 people could be
deployed within a relatively short period of time, within about three weeks or a
If we were to deploy those 4,000 people, there would be a couple of navy ships,
a battle group of about 1,200 personnel, an infantry battalion group of about
1,000 personnel, one squadron of aircraft -- including up to 18 fighters --
some Hercules aircraft, a communications element, and a headquarters element.
As I have already pointed out, Canada would also mobilize further national
resources if it were necessary in order to fulfil Canada's obligations under
Article 5 of the Washington Treaty.
Canada's financial commitment to NATO is in the order of $160 million a year.
This represents approximately 5 per cent of the overall NATO budget. In
addition, we are providing about $10 million over five years to ease the
transition for the three new members to NATO -- Poland, Hungary and the Czech
Republic. These funds are to assist these countries to become better NATO
members. We will be providing language training and some staff opportunities at
the Canadian Land Forces Command and Staff College. There will also be an
opportunity for on-the-job training with Canadian organizations. In addition,
we will provide an opportunity for expert delegations to go to these countries
from Canada in order to assist them and to ease that transition into NATO.
Although not specifically related to NATO, HMCS Regina will be deployed to the
Persian Gulf in June in order to assist in UN operations there. We currently
have a battle group under NATO command in Bosnia. In addition, an infantry
battalion group will soon go to Macedonia as part of the peace implementation
force for Kosovo. A squadron of fighter aircraft, made up of 18 CF-18s and
about 275 personnel, was deployed to Aviano. We have recently participated with
CIDA in delivering aid to both Kosovo and Albania. About 70 people were
deployed during that operation.
We are currently involved in some 23 peace support operations around the world.
Compare that to the period between 1948 and 1989, when we were involved in a
total of 25 operations, both domestically and internationally. Some of these
operations were very substantial, and some of the operations I am talking about
today only involve one or two people. For the sake of comparison, however, it
is interesting to note that we have undertaken some 65 operations between 1990
and 1998. The operational tempo around the world has indeed increased since the
end of the Cold War.
In addition to the peace support operations and the army, navy, and air force
personnel operating in Canada, we also have approximately 1,000 personnel
deployed with the U.S. in NORAD operations. The NATO Airborne Early Warning
Force, as I mentioned earlier, has about 125 personnel.
Once we have deployed to the Gulf, and once we have deployed to Macedonia
sometime in the summer, we would anticipate that we would have as many as 3,318
folks on operations abroad. I hope that provides you with a sense of where we
are today, and what we might be able to offer in the future.
The Chairman: Before I turn to other members of the committee, I have a couple
of questions of my own that might help to clarify what will follow.
The Senate refers to peacekeeping in the mandate of this committee. We hear
again and again that the operation in Yugoslavia-Kosovo is said to be about
human security and the enforcement of human rights. That statement begs the
following question. Do human rights exist in East Timor; do they exist in
Tibet? If the operation in Kosovo is for human rights, why is NATO not
intervening in these other places?
I noticed that in both the initial statements we heard today, emphasis was put
on security in the North America-Europe area. That seems to be much more
specific than the view that the purpose of NATO under peacekeeping is to
enforce human rights or human security.
It would be helpful for the committee and the public to know how broadly the
term "peacekeeping" is interpreted. Is it concerned with worldwide
human rights? Or is it concerned with security, primarily in the NATO area?
Mr. Meyer: Mr. Chairman, we could take up the rest of your hearing with that one
question, which is rich with various elements. In a way, your question reflects
the fact that we are in a period of evolution, even flux, in terms of our
understanding and interpretation of terms that were old, friendly, reliable
concepts for so many years, but that are now taking on new dimensions. There are
I am cautious with peacekeeping, although it was a vocation with which we were
very comfortable for many years. However, as this committee's work earlier in
this decade acknowledged, there were some radical changes. A concept that we
thought was rather familiar and stable for four decades has come to involve
dimensions like the absence of the consent of the parties. The absence of a
national state structure, the so-called failed state phenomenon, has been
something that we have had to face throughout this decade in places like
Somalia and in Eastern Zaire.
The change in terminology that you alluded to also reflects a realization that
the nature of peacekeeping has altered significantly. We are almost having a
continuum of intervention, ranging from very modest to high level involvement.
Our participation ranges from election and other, unnamed military observers,
through to introduction of a force to separate combatants who have agreed to a
peace settlement, and on to enforcement operations in which there is not a
In short, the nature of peacekeeping has changed. There is no longer a
one-size-fits-all approach to the issue, whereas there is clearly a requirement
for the international community to respond. It is becoming more complex. The
image of a continuum with various degrees of the application of force, and with
various partners in the process, should be kept in mind. It is a work in
progress. It is being developed through many applications and practice. In that
sense, it has moved ahead of the theory.
In response to why NATO is intervening in a situation of abusive human rights in
Kosovo and not in East Timor, the simple answer is that we are a European or a
Euro-Atlantic regional organization whose competence is essentially within that
region. The UN is a global institution. From a Canadian perspective, if the UN
were able to broker an arrangement for bringing peace in East Timor, we would
be very supportive of that. Also, the fact that NATO acts in Europe does not
preclude regional organizations elsewhere in the world from dealing with
problems in their neighbourhoods when they feel that it is required.
I would hope that the NATO initiative vis-à-vis Kosovo is not seen as a
repudiation of the value of human rights elsewhere in the world, or as an
indication of a lack of Canadian political support for dealing with those
The Chairman: Are NATO members committed to automatic participation in all NATO
missions? I emphasize the word "all" because I believe there may be a
distinction between one kind of mission and another kind of mission. Would you
answer that question?
Mr. Meyer: Mr. Chairman, under Article 5 of the Washington Treaty, nations are
obliged to assist in the case of an attack against another member state. It is
up to the nation to decide exactly what sort of assistance it will bring
In non-Article 5 operations, a nation decides whether or not it will
participate. If it decides to participate, it determines what the nature of its
contribution will be. With the present operation in Kosovo, you see a range of
degree of participation among the NATO member states. There is an appreciation
of political solidarity, however, so that even if states do not participate
militarily in a particular operation, they do show solidarity for the political
The Chairman: One last question and then I shall turn to my list. In the case of
missions that do not involve Article 5 operations, that is, defending a NATO
member, how does NATO decide? Is a 100 per cent vote required? Is it sort of a
loose consensus? The word "consensus" is used, but it is not always
clear precisely what degree of agreement is required for consensus. Would you
explain that word?
Mr. Meyer: One hardly needs to tell a parliamentary body that consensus has its
nuances as well. However, the basic point is that decisions are taken
collectively; that every member state has the prerogative to oppose a course of
action. If NATO takes a step -- whether that step is a minor one, or a major
one like the Kosovo initiative -- it is on the basis that there is no dissenting
opinion among the member states for undertaking this operation.
Senator Lynch-Staunton: Thank you for your presentation. I also want to get a
better idea of the decision-making process in NATO. For instance, the addition
of three new members was done by NATO itself. There was a general consensus at
the decision-making level. Did no member say that they would have to go to
their own country, Parliament, or domestic government for approval? How far
does NATO's autonomy to make decisions without referring back to individual
countries' Parliaments or governments extend?
Mr. Meyer: The key term there is "governments." The governments are
represented at NATO; it is an intergovernmental organization. Those governments
provide the instructions for the representatives around the council chamber,
and those decisions are binding on governments. It is for each individual
government to determine what process of parliamentary consultation or
legislation it may require before committing itself to a certain course of
Ultimately, in something like the enlargement question, which involved an
amendment to the Washington Treaty, it was implicit that each member state
would need to fulfil the requirements for ratification. Now, they do differ
among member states, and it did involve some submissions before legislatures.
Does that answer your question?
In terms of the actual history of the enlargement decision, you would have to
trace it back to the Brussels summit of January 1994, where there was a
selective decision that NATO would move towards enlargement. NATO subsequently
produced a study outlining some of the considerations that would be taken into
account before inviting members to join, and that study was produced in 1995.
There was a lively debate both inside and outside NATO, in the governments and
beyond governments, about which countries might be appropriate to take in and
what cycle the aspirant country was in to promote their candidacy. Finally, at
the Madrid summit in 1997, a decision was made to invite Hungary, the Czech
Republic and Poland to join, and to begin the so-called access negotiations
that eventually led to the development of protocols that amended the Washington
Treaty and formally gave them membership status.
Senator Lynch-Staunton: As long as NATO was a defensive alliance and the
additional members shared that defensive alliance with the same objectives, one
could ask: How did the decision-making power become so concentrated and
autonomous? Now however, the whole nature of the alliance has changed to the
extent that it has even initiated aggression. I sense that the decision-making
process remains the same -- that NATO can make these decisions by itself. It
has altered its purpose -- more or less on its own -- and is committing
individual countries to actions that all of them may not share as
enthusiastically as they might have done when NATO was first formed.
Mr. Meyer: This whole process has been done with the support of all of the
Senator Lynch-Staunton: By NATO member states. I am trying to stay away from the
political aspect as much as possible, but are you aware of any of the 19
countries debating the recent decisions?
Mr. Meyer: Yes. That obviously occurred within our own Parliament.
Senator Lynch-Staunton: Before the decision was taken.
Mr. Meyer: I do not know the processes in all the member states in terms of the
nature of legislative consideration. Are you referring to the decision to back
up diplomacy with force vis-à-vis political sentiment in Kosovo?
Senator Lynch-Staunton: Let us leave that one aside.
The Chairman: I have asked that we have witnesses to deal with the competence of
the Crown in Canada relative to treaties as compared with the competence of the
executive branch in the United States to deal with treaties.
The U.S. Constitution makes Senate agreement necessary for a treaty or an
amendment to a treaty. Therefore, the basic laws of the countries are
different. We will have expert witnesses. It is important to clear up this
Senator Lynch-Staunton: I am trying to examine NATO's authority to take key
decisions, more or less on its own, without individual Parliaments being
obliged to ratify that decision before it is implemented. Does the consensus
approach exist, no matter what the decision might be?
RAdm. MacLean: Fundamentally, the most important aspect is that NATO does not
make decisions. The national governments collectively make decisions in NATO.
For example, as we moved up to the initial bombing campaign, various nations
were able to gain that executive authority to be able to commit earlier or
later than others did. However, NATO was unable to move forward until all of the
governments, individually, had come to the conclusion that they were able to
support the issue at hand.
It is important to understand that NATO cannot make decisions autonomously; they
must be made in the context of national government positions.
Senator Bolduc: We have the impression that the decision-making pattern
resembles the European Commission in Brussels. For the last 10 years we have
been talking about a democratic deficit. It appears that the decision-making
process to which you refer is not carried out as it would usually be carried
out in Canada. We do not speak of a democratic deficit in Canada, but they
frequently do in Europe. That aspect of the NATO decision-making process is the
same pattern as in Europe. It is not a typical North American political
Mr. Meyer: I would like to ask my colleague to respond to that comment. He has
some experience with the European Economic Commission, and he could contrast
the Commission's practices with those of NATO.
Mr. Charles Court, Deputy Director, I.D.R. Division, North American and
Euro-Atlantic Security and Defence Relations, NATO NORAD Section, Department of
Foreign Affairs and International Trade: There is a basic common factor between
the European Union on the one hand and NATO on the other, in that they are both
made up of states. In both councils, the ministers or ambassadors who represent
the member states act on the basis of the instructions that they receive from
Those governments each follow their own national decision-making procedures.
They have constitutional procedures to provide those instructions. Therefore,
one gets the impression that the council is deciding things on its own. There
is political shorthand that people use to identify the locus of
decision-making. However, the people making the decisions represent the
governments that make up the organization in question.
I will refer to the revised strategic concept. It speaks about conflict
prevention and crisis management, and various things that the alliance has said
are recalled. The part that goes to the point here says that, while taking into
account the necessity for alliance solidarity and cohesion, participation in
any such operation or mission will remain subject to the decision of member
states in accordance with national constitutions. Therefore, the basis on which
NATO will act is clearly spelled out.
I hope that helps.
Senator Lynch-Staunton: That has been helpful to me. To summarize, NATO is made
up of government representatives who are themselves responsible to their
governments to get whatever approval or support they need. It is not up to NATO
itself to engage in that. That seems rather obvious. It is good to know that if
Canadians are complaining about not being consulted enough or not being allowed
to vote on certain things, it is because in a sense Parliament has given this
authority to its government. It is up to Parliament to get that authority back
if it wants it. It is not up to NATO to become involved in that debate.
Mr. Meyer: I think that is well put.
Senator Forrestall: I understand the reasoning behind the admonishment not to
enter into the legal area because experts will be arriving. What is the status
of the troops who are now involved in Yugoslavia? Under what authority are they
there? Are there orders in council, or some other instrument?
RAdm. MacLean: It is under the direction of cabinet that our troops are in any
part of the world, whether it is a peacekeeping mission or whether it is any
other operation. The executive decision of cabinet is the important element.
There is a consultation in Parliament in almost all cases; however, it is the
executive authority of the national government that causes those troops to be
Senator Forrestall: The instrument, to your knowledge, is not an order in
council but a directive to the chief of the military forces?
RAdm. MacLean: A duly recorded cabinet decision would cause the Chief of Defence
Staff to issue orders to deploy his forces abroad.
Senator Forrestall: What is the line of communication from the cabinet? Is it a
direct line through the Minister of National Defence?
RAdm. MacLean: Yes. It is certainly captured as a recorded decision, and then it
is transmitted through to the Chief of Defence Staff.
The Chairman: I might be able to assist. There would be a minute of cabinet,
which the Minister of National Defence would communicate to his deputy
minister. Is that correct?
RAdm. MacLean: I believe it goes to the Chief of Defence Staff as opposed to the
deputy minister, and he or she must actually authorize and prepare the
Senator Forrestall: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
What is the status of these men and women? Are they combat troops now, or are
they troops that would have another description? What is the difference between
their status on their bases here in Canada and on their peacekeeping bases, if
that is what the mission is, in Yugoslavia?
RAdm. MacLean: First and foremost, they are soldiers, sailors, and members of
the Canadian Forces. The important element when they are deployed is to fully
understand what the mission is. That is, the lines of authority, the mandate of
the mission, and the capability of the Canadian Forces -- or of that particular
component -- to participate in that particular mission. That is an essential
part of ensuring that the right troops are sent to the right mission.
Senator Forrestall: You are coming closer now to my final area of concern. On
the question of rotation, you suggest that we may have in excess of 3,000 men
and women there.
RAdm. MacLean: We will. If and when the 800 are deployed, and if the additional
ship goes to the Persian Gulf as scheduled this summer, we will have in excess
of 3,000 people abroad, that is right.
Senator Forrestall: In this theatre alone?
RAdm. MacLean: No, worldwide.
Senator Forrestall: How do we intend to rotate these troops, or do we intend to
do so? How do we intend to rotate the troops in Bosnia? I know how we would
probably do it physically, but where are the men and the women coming from?
RAdm. MacLean: You have hit on a very important and key element when undertaking
any kind of peace support or peacekeeping operation. Increasingly, these
missions can last for a long time, measured, in some cases, in years. Cyprus,
of course, is perhaps the longest peacekeeping operation that we have been
engaged in, and it has lasted over 20-some years. However, we know how long we
have been in Bosnia, and we must keep in mind the potential for some kind of
peace implementation force in Kosovo. Consequently, the sustainability of your
forces is an absolutely vital element. In part, it is wrapped up with the exit
strategy from the mission.
In terms of getting from today through to two years or three years down the
line, you will have to rotate that capability once every three months or six
months -- or whatever time is determined to be the most appropriate. A good
rule of thumb would be that you would probably need, for a long-term
sustainment or long-duration mission, something in the order of three to four
troops for every person that you send overseas.
Senator Forrestall: Therefore, we would need virtually a division?
RAdm. MacLean: No.
Senator Forrestall: It sounds like you are getting close to a division.
RAdm. MacLean: Let us take the army as our example. We have some 20,000
personnel in the army today. That is regular forces; it does not include the
reserve component, where there is an additional 25,000 to 27,000 personnel.
Therefore, in the context of providing 2,000 to 3,000 folks overseas at any
given time, that is sustainable, assuming you have the right mix.
The interesting thing is that, in today's situation, it is not necessarily the
infantry that may pose a problem. It may be some of the more specialized
elements that are attached to the force, such as logisticians, engineering
troops, medical personnel. That may be the more difficult element, even though
they are much smaller in terms of numbers.
If you have 3,000 personnel overseas, you would need something in the order of
9,000 to 12,000 personnel in total to be able to work that kind of long-term
sustainment. One must bear in mind, though, that it is not just as simple as
looking at large numbers. You must also look at various components of the
force, and it may be some of the smaller, more specialized elements that cause
you more difficulty.
Senator Forrestall: Have we commenced, or do we have a regime for, the training
of these additional men and women?
RAdm. MacLean: We are always in a process of preparation for a particular
mission. Therefore, if we have a rotation in Bosnia today, we have identified
who the next contingent will be six months from now. We will then ensure that
the next group to go over is given the appropriate training at the right time
so that they may then deploy and participate to the right level. That process
then starts all over again.
In the context of what we have been talking about, we do not need to increase
the overall numbers of the forces to meet the commitments that we are currently
Senator Meighen: As I understand it, we are not currently in a state of war.
What difference, if any, is there with respect to remuneration or benefits for
the troops in this theatre, either by reason of their serving there or in the
tragic event of their death?
RAdm. MacLean: I am probably not the best person to respond to that question,
but all of our personnel are on active service and can be deployed to any area
of the world on short notice. We do have a regime of compensation which applies
while they are there, and it provides an additional premium, depending on the
particular hardship, as well as after-care when the personnel return. I cannot
give you the actual specifics.
The Chairman: We may wish to return to that later when we have witnesses who can
deal succinctly and confidently with the question.
Senator Di Nino: As we all know, the role of this committee, as mandated by the
Senate, is to take a look at NATO's changing or evolving role. NATO was
originally dedicated to the defence of its member states, but one now would
also include the preservation or protection of human security. That change, if
I understand it correctly, emanates principally from the Washington Treaty,
which I believe has now been adopted by all the member states.
Has the Government of Canada undertaken a dialogue with Parliament, and is it
required to do so, to accept this evolution of NATO's mandate?
Mr. Meyer: I do not know all the details of what parliamentary consultation may
have taken place. In a way, this has been a progressive adaptation, or
evolution, if you will, almost since 1989, with the fundamental change from the
confrontation that existed during the Cold War. There has been a succession of
both summits and twice-yearly meetings of foreign ministers and defence
ministers, from which have come communiqués and statements suggestive of
this process. It is difficult to point to one particular time, because it was a
process that did evolve.
I think it enjoyed the broad support of the Canadian public and its
representatives in terms of the kind of direction this represented. There was
the acknowledgement that, having been liberated from the Cold War
confrontation, we should be seeking to develop facets other than purely the one
of military buildup to resist some massive invasion. In that sense,
particularly in terms of the emphasis on the political dimension of the
alliance, it has really been a Canadian refrain from the beginning.
Lester Pearson is often associated with Article 2, which is sometimes called the
Canadian article, of the Washington Treaty. He was very prescient in that that
article speaks about promoting the free, democratic institutions that encourage
harmonious economic interaction between states. He recognized that if one were
to interpret the alliance exclusively in military terms, then once the threat
for which the alliance was created disappeared, the rationale for the alliance
itself would also disappear.
The Chairman: This question came up when Senator Lynch-Staunton had the floor. I
said at that time that I think it is an important question and that we would
try to get witnesses competent in this area to deal with it. I believe the
question you are asking is: What role do the two Houses of Parliament have to
play in the assumption of a new NATO mandate; and, specifically, what role do
they have to play when a particular mission is undertaken?
I undertake to get you witnesses who will deal with these questions and who will
claim to be authorities. I do not think these witnesses are claiming to be
authorities on that particular question.
Senator Di Nino: Mr. Chairman, thank you for the intervention. I would be happy
if the witnesses were to say that it is beyond their authority or expertise to
answer a question of that nature. That is probably a better answer than the
ones that we are getting now, and I do not mean to demean the witnesses. I
think they are doing the best that they can. However, the Chairman is probably
right in the sense that these kinds of questions should be asked of someone
I have another two questions to ask. Once again, if the answers are not within
your purview, please tell us.
In terms of this new responsibility that NATO has taken upon itself, if it feels
that within the NATO geographical sphere there are issues that require its
intervention, is it correct to assume that perhaps NATO will deal with them
other than through the established, historical way of dealing with them through
the United Nations? When I ask the question, I keep in mind the geographical
limitations that you dealt with before.
Mr. Meyer: There is a clear commitment to work through the United Nations and to
be supportive of the primary responsibility of the United Nations, which is for
maintaining international peace and security. That was recognized in 1949 when
the treaty was signed. The primacy of the UN is acknowledged.
Senator Di Nino: Why did NATO not follow that course in the Kosovo situation?
Mr. Meyer: I would say that it was working through the United Nations in terms
of the process and in terms of the demands on the Serbian regime to cease its
actions in Kosovo. A series of resolutions was passed by the UN Security
Council demanding that support for the political process. Where that consensus
broke down was with the refusal of Russia, and China in particular, to authorize
all necessary means to ensure that the conditions enumerated by the Security
Council would be respected. NATO governments felt that what was at stake was
sufficiently dire, in terms of the crimes against humanity that were being
perpetrated, and which are also part of the international legal framework, that
it justified action, despite the lack of a Security Council mandate for the use
of all necessary means.
Senator Whelan: Mr. Chairman, I have never attended a NATO meeting. However, I
have attended many other meetings under the auspices of the United Nations and
the OECD. I sometimes thought I was an intruder, since I was there as a
minister and an elected representative. One was left wondering what went on
after those meetings, since the officials stayed behind. Thus, I have strong
reservations about some of these things in which we get involved and how they
If I understood correctly, Mr. Meyer, you are the director general. How long
have you held that position?
Mr. Meyer: Since September 1998.
Senator Whelan: Admiral MacLean, do we have a tank brigade?
RAdm. MacLean: No, we do not.
Senator Whelan: When were they disbanded?
RAdm. MacLean: I really do not know. I can only assume that it would not have
been in the last 40 to 50 years.
LCol. Don Craig, Directorate of NATO Policy, Department of National Defence: We
have not had an armoured brigade since World War II. We have three armoured
regiments with mixed equipment, but not in a brigade format.
Senator Whelan: I remember being on the foreign affairs and defence committee
when I was a minister in the other place. I remember many discussions about our
winning the war by air and that tank brigades were obsolete. Perhaps
Lieutenant-Colonel Craig can tell us whether he thinks we could win the war by
bombing, by tank brigade, by armoured brigade, or whatever. I was a strong
defender of the tank brigade when I was on the committee.
RAdm. MacLean: Senator, we still have tanks today in our inventory. Certainly,
in the context of all the components of the Canadian forces, that is, navy,
army, air force, and in the context of the army and the infantry, the artillery
and armour are integral, essential components necessary to achieve mission
success in the context of, let us say, wartime. In the broader, more strategic
sense of the alliance, there are national components which must all be brought
together as well.
To say that any individual component, whether it is air force, army, or navy, is
sufficient, is probably not correct.
Within our national capability, missing an essential component of an army, navy
or air force will probably prevent us from doing what we must in terms of both
national defence and participation in crises where Canada is called on to help.
To sum up, you are absolutely correct that a combat capability, as expressed in
the context of armour or tanks, is still an important element, but that in
itself is not sufficient to win any particular day. The same probably applies
to any of the other constituent parts, like air power and naval power.
Senator Whelan: Admiral MacLean, you speak as if this conflict will go on for
much longer. You are speaking about weeks and months ahead in planning to have
troops in certain positions. You are not very optimistic that the situation in
Kosovo will be resolved?
RAdm. MacLean: I am not sure that I made any comment on how long the situation
in Kosovo might last.
Senator Whelan: You mentioned the ship would be there in June.
RAdm. MacLean: That ship will be deployed to the Gulf in June, which is not at
all related to the Kosovo situation. I was discussing the broader sense of UN
and NATO operations.
Senator Whelan: How many million people have been killed in conflicts since the
Iron Curtain came down and the Cold War disappeared?
The Chairman: I do not know if they have these statistics at hand. Let us assume
that millions have been killed. Would you complete your question?
Senator Whelan: I abhorred the Iron Curtain regime, but how did that compare
with what is happening in Kosovo now? My wife came from Yugoslavia, of German
descent from before the last war. I know that country fairly well. I know they
had built a beautiful country but it was run with an iron fist, so to speak.
The UN did not move into Rwanda on time, even when asked to by our Canadian
generals. The incompetence of the UN prevented the saving of hundreds of
thousands in that area. Troops should have been sent there sooner.
I have strong reservations about the lack of competition in world activities.
There is only one superpower now. We have a tremendous desire for armament and
equipment of every description, and new technology. I have not been active in
the government for the past several years, but I find that perhaps we are just
The Chairman: I do not know that that is a question.
Senator Whelan: Perhaps it is not a question. It is my feeling that we had a
significant amount to do with the fact that the Iron Curtain came down.
The Chairman: We will record your views.
Senator Whelan: The chairman is great at recording his own views, too.
The Chairman: That is right. All important views are recorded.
Senator Roche: Mr. Chairman, Mr. Meyer referred to the decision taken at the
NATO summit to begin a review of nuclear weapons policies. I express my
appreciation to those Canadian officials who carried that view forward in
What are the standards of this review? What are the criteria? What is the
schedule? Which body of NATO will actually conduct the review? Will governments
have an opportunity to submit papers? Will international bodies of esteem in
this area, such as the International Court of Justice, be consulted?
Would you take those questions and speak on the context of the forthcoming NATO
review on nuclear weapons.
Mr. Meyer: Thank you, senator, for your supportive words. I recommend to those
interested in this question, paragraph 31 of the Washington summit communiqué.
Senator Roche: I have read that.
Mr. Meyer: That paragraph describes the context. On the specific element of the
timeline, the North Atlantic Council will propose a process to ministers in
December 1999 for consideration of options. The options relate to possible
conference and security measures, verification, non-proliferation, arms
control, and disarmament.
As to the scope of that review, it remains to be defined. We will take an
expansive approach. Interested member states can present material that they
think is relevant to those options. As I enumerated them, they are fairly
extensive. Much could come under that rubric.
Senator Roche: Will the review be finished in time for the non-proliferation
review conference in April 2000, which is a critical international gathering
with respect to the future of nuclear weapons?
Mr. Meyer: I do not think it has been determined when the review will be
Senator Roche: Senator Di Nino referred to the decision taken by NATO to begin
the bombing and use the military route to solve the crisis in Kosovo.
I do not necessarily wish to quarrel with that decision. It is pretty well known
that I am vigorously opposed to that decision on the grounds that it did do an
end run around the United Nations. I would say, with respect, that perhaps you
truncated your recitation of what went on at the UN in answering Senator Di
The reason I bring this up is my concern, and the concern of this whole
committee, about the future of NATO. How will NATO make its decisions in
future? How will the NATO countries' governments make decisions going beyond
the original Article 5 into this new mandate, which is rather amorphous, I
think you will agree.
How will we make those decisions with reference to the continuing international
authority of the United Nations Security Council as a guarantor of peace and
security? Will NATO take its own actions any time it does not agree with the
United Nations Security Council? What will that do for world security, which
must be built on the cooperation of regions around the world?
Mr. Meyer: Senator, in my view, the short answer to that is no. This was an
exceptional circumstance. The alliance has reiterated its view on the primacy
of the UN Security Council. It worked arduously to have the council be
supportive of the work in Kosovo, which, of course, is of concern to many
countries outside of its membership. I would not extrapolate from the Kosovo
intervention that somehow NATO will turn its back on the UN and carry on in
some sort of maverick fashion.
Senator Roche: Do you suppose it might help if the committee then addressed
itself to a statement that never again should there be a NATO action that is
not supported by the United Nations Security Council? Would your thinking lead
in that direction, for the committee's guidance?
Mr. Meyer: As a personal view, one might examine the nature of that
interrelationship and what might be NATO's scope in the future.
However, that action does not represent a repudiation of the role of the
Security Council. Indeed, many of the current diplomatic and political efforts
by NATO member states involve trying to restore that consensus on demands that
the Security Council had put forward at an earlier stage.
Senator Stollery: Many people say that the Washington Treaty is a very simple
and straightforward document of 14 articles, devised at a time when the issues
were very simple: the rise of the Russian threat and the need for collective
It is a very straightforward and simple document. It seems that with the fall of
the Berlin Wall, the usefulness of the document ended and circumstances
Mr. Meyer mentioned the concept of a non-Article 5 intervention, and I believe
that is what we are talking about. We look at Article 5 in the treaty and see a
very straightforward piece of writing. It is very unequivocal. It is a mutual
defence agreement in case a member is attacked.
I believe the public may have been left behind when the strategic concept was
updated to make it fully consistent with the alliance's new security
Having read much of the material provided by our staff, I find it difficult to
justify this non-Article 5 intervention that has also been questioned across
the country. Clearly, the bombing campaign is not working. The longer it goes
on, the more people ask what this is all about. How did we get into this? The
reply is that it is a non-Article 5 intervention.
I find it difficult to see the legal basis for a non-Article 5 intervention.
Senator Roche has said, and I think he is right, that it is something of an end
run around the Security Council. You say, well, the Security Council cannot
agree. Yet Article 1 of the UN Charter is very clear.
Things seem to have gone somewhat haywire here. We have a non-Article 5
intervention and I would like to know the legal justification for it.
The Chairman: You are not asking specifically about Yugoslavia or Kosovo, but
about all such actions, past or future?
Senator Stollery: Which you referred to, Mr. Chairman, in your questions at the
Mr. Meyer: This is not the first non-Article 5 involvement of the alliance. I am
sure you are familiar with its role in Bosnia and that was also non-Article 5.
Senator Stollery: However, the United Nations specifically asked for that
intervention. There is a considerable difference.
Mr. Meyer: I grant you that. I am simply saying that this is not the first time
there has been a non-Article 5 mission.
The basis for the action, as I tried to articulate before, related to support
for demands that had been expressed by the international community but that the
Security Council was unable to act on to determine whether they were actually
There was a decision by the political leadership of the alliance that the
questions at stake were of such importance, that the humanitarian laws that
were being violated, and that were also a part of the structure of the
international legal system, made it legitimate for countries to take the action
that they did. That remains the basis for this action.
Senator Stollery: What are these humanitarian laws, so that I may review them?
Mr. Meyer: My colleague from the legal bureau could probably respond to you more
extensively. However, the humanitarian laws involve the International
Convention on Political and Civil Rights, the Geneva conventions, and the
optional protocols regarding crimes against humanity. Those are applicable in
the case of what was happening in Kosovo.
Senator Stollery: When the chairman spoke of East Timor, I would have spoken of
somewhere closer to home, that is, Spain, home of the Secretary-General of the
United Nations, where the minister of police was put in prison for human rights
violations against a Basque terrorist group.
There are many of these places, but I will not pursue the point, except to say
that I find it difficult, even with your assistance, Mr. Meyer, to fully
understand the legal justification.
The Chairman: I have a question for you, Senator Stollery. You seem to be saying
that there is not a sufficiently clear criterion as to when NATO should act
without the prior approval of the Security Council. You say that NATO seems to
act on its own in some instances and not in other instances.
I was getting at that at the very beginning of our meeting, and I noted that
these witnesses spoke about security in the North Atlantic area. While Spain is
within that area, some of the other examples are not.
Therefore, there seems to be something other than human rights and human
security and concerns such as these operating in this instance. I am not
suggesting that they should not operate, but it would be nice to know all the
considerations that are on the table.
Senator Stollery: Mr. Chairman, in particular, in the original Washington
Treaty, it mentions the Algerian Departments of France, where, as we all know,
human rights violations are enormous. That area was actually mentioned in the
Senator Lynch-Staunton: While the Bosnia mission was not authorized by the UN,
did the Security Council not pass a resolution more or less delegating NATO as
its agent in that area and, in effect, giving it tacit approval?
Mr. Meyer: Yes, the involvement of NATO in Bosnia was at the behest of the UN.
Senator Lynch-Staunton: Therefore, there was a UN sanction for action in Bosnia
that we do not have for Kosovo.
Mr. Meyer: That is correct. At least, we do not have a UN sanction as yet.
Senator Lynch-Staunton: I do not wish to argue with you about genocide, but it
has yet to be proven that genocide was committed in Kosovo. The word is used,
but it is misused and abused. You used the word, but there is no proof yet.
Senator Prud'homme: Misused.
The Chairman: Order, please. Senator Lynch-Staunton has the floor.
Senator Lynch-Staunton: You used the word "genocide." I want to know
on what basis you claim that genocide is being committed in Kosovo.
Mr. Meyer: Actually, I did not use that word. I used the term "crimes
against humanity". Our legal advice is that that term is more appropriate.
It is not evident, I understand from our legal advisers, that genocide is
taking place under the terms of the genocide convention. However, there are
clearly crimes against humanity as defined in other international legal
Senator Mahovlich: I heard on the news yesterday that Russian soldiers are going
into Kosovo. Did NATO approve that?
Mr. Meyer: I have not heard those reports. Part of the view on an eventual
implementation force in Kosovo is that it should be open to Russian
participation, in the same way as Russian troops currently participate in the
NATO-led force in Bosnia. Therefore, there is a prospect of that occurring, but
it has not happened yet.
Senator Bolduc: NATO governments apparently decide to intervene when they
perceive danger in their areas. What would happen if the Turkish army decided
to inflict ethnic cleansing on the Kurds? Would we have to go there, too? That
happened in the past, so it is possible, and Turkey is a member of NATO.
Mr. Meyer: Obviously, the Turkish government would be held responsible for its
actions, but that is a hypothetical scenario.
The Chairman: Senator Bolduc, your question is interesting and important, but it
is too big and too important to be raised as a supplementary. We will return to
that question and give it all the attention that you wish to have it given.
Senator Prud'homme: When the Soviet Union collapsed and there was only one
superpower left, we didn't give much thought to NATO's new role. What should
NATO have become once one of the potential enemies was gone?
I've been to Kosovo, to Albania, to Zagreb and Dubrovnik, et cetera -- not for
the government, but because the Americans had asked me. I came to the
conclusion that the main danger was the terrible poverty in those countries.
Today, people are knocking on the door wanting to join NATO. There are nine
possibilities, with immense problems in which we could be involved, because as
Senator Stollery said, with mutual defence we have no choice. Senator Bolduc
mentioned the Turks. He went south. He could have gone to the north. In South
Georgia, many people would like to join Turkey. Of course, other people would
not accept that.
We have refused to acknowledge that all these new, emerging democracies wanted a
kind of Marshall Plan of economic development. Now we see an immense military
plan. As Eisenhower said, beware of the military-industrial complex. Those are
the most dangerous people.
Everyone to whom I have spoken in the diplomatic corps says that when these
countries cannot get economic aid, they need only knock at the door of NATO and
everyone will help them.
Have we really reflected on the true meaning for Canada of the expansion of
Tomorrow, Canada will have a clear conscience. We will take 5,000 refugees and
spend $100 million. Without a shadow of a doubt, we will create the future
Palestinians of the Balkans, with all the exclusive aspects of that.
After 52 years, 700,000 Palestinians still live in refugee camps, but we do not
talk about that. Are we creating something similar because of our lack of
The Chairman: Senator Prud'homme, I think that is a question for the ministers.
Mr. Meyer: Mr. Chairman, I have a few words to say, and it is for you to judge
whether they are appropriate as a response. I would say that Canada was
thinking about the utility of enlargement and was fully convinced that this was
the right thing to do as part of integrating these new states into western
institutions. What is right for the Council of Europe and for the European Union
is also right for NATO; for the security realm as well as for the economy and
social and human rights. I believe that this is indeed part of ensuring that
democracy and peace will be long-lasting.
The economic dimension is definitely very important. There will be a meeting
later this month on a so-called "stability pact" for Southeastern
Europe that is designed to recognize the economic challenges those countries
must face and to coordinate western and international financial institutions to
assist, which is also essential.
Finally, one of the purposes of the NATO action to enable Kosovars to return to
their homes in safety is exactly to avoid the re-creation of the
Palestinian-type refugee camps for an indefinite period in other countries.
The Chairman: Honourable senators, you will recall that at the beginning I said
that our concern was the new role of NATO, and specifically the matter of
peacekeeping. As I predicted, we have talked about Yugoslavia and Kosovo. I
hope that we will all use what we have heard about Yugoslavia and Kosovo as
evidence relative to the peacekeeping question, because we do not have a
reference specifically on Yugoslavia and Kosovo. We have a peacekeeping
reference and this is adduced as one example.
As we have run out of time, I ask the senators who are on my list of questioners
to ask their questions at our next meeting, which will be tomorrow afternoon at
3:15, at which time we will have before us the same witnesses.
Thank you very much, honourable senators.
The committee adjourned.