Proceedings of the Standing Senate Committee on
Defence and Security
Issue 6 - Evidence
OTTAWA, Monday, October 29, 2001
The Standing Senate Committee on Defence and Security met this day at 6:00 p.m.
to conduct an introductory survey of the major security and defence issues
facing Canada with a view to preparing a detailed work plan for future
Senator Colin Kenny (Chairman) in the Chair.
The Chairman: Good evening. It is my pleasure to welcome you to the
Standing Senate Committee on Defence and Security, whether you are here in the
room, watching on television or following us on the Internet.
This evening, we continue our study of major security and defence issues. My
name is Colin Kenny. I am a senator from Ontario and I chair the committee. On
my right is Senator Forrestall, from Nova Scotia, who is deputy chair of the
Let me introduce the other members before us. On my far left is Senator Banks,
from Alberta; on my far right is Senator Day, from New Brunswick; beside him is
Senator Hubley, from Prince Edward Island; and beside her is Senator Wiebe, from
Our committee is the first permanent Senate committee with the mandate to
conduct a survey on security and defence issues. Today, we continue our survey
of major issues facing Canada and we will be reporting to the Senate before the
end of February.
Recent events have focussed attention on the importance of intelligence,
particularly how it is gathered, analyzed and used. Last week, we heard from
witnesses from the Department of National Defence and the RCMP about their role
in intelligence activities. Earlier this month, two panels of experts from
outside the government gave us their views about how things should be done. This
evening we have before us two representatives from the Privy Council Office who
play a major role in the coordination of security and intelligence operations in
the federal government. In the second half of our meeting, we shall hear from a
university professor about the elements of a national security policy.
Let me begin by introducing our first two witnesses. Mr. Richard Fadden was
appointed Deputy Clerk of the Privy Council Office in June of 2000. He was given
additional responsibilities as Security and Intelligence Coordinator in February
of this year. A career public servant, Mr. Fadden joined the public service
through the Department of External Affairs and has served in Ottawa and was
posted abroad. He has also worked at the Office of the Auditor General, at
Natural Resources Canada and at the Treasury Board. With him is Larry Dickenson,
Assistant Secretary to the cabinet for security and intelligence. Mr. Dickenson
has had numerous diplomatic postings, including Canadian Ambassador to
Indonesia. After serving as Director of the Millennium Task Force of the Privy
Council Office and as Executive Director of the Millennium Bureau, he was
appointed to his present position in January of 1999.
Mr. Richard Fadden, Deputy Clerk, Counsel and Security Intelligence
Coordinator, Privy Council Office: Thank you for the invitation to appear
before this committee. Amid the hectic pace of dealing with the challenges
brought about by September 11, I welcome this opportunity to take a step back
and look at how Canada's S & I community is set up. You have already
received a fair amount of information and have heard from many quarters about
the impact of September 11 on Canadians, on global security and related
government responses - both real and contemplated.
I propose to try to put the current thread in Canada's anti-terrorism activities
into the wider context of the S & I community in Canada. You have asked me
to talk to you about Canada's S & I community and describe how its component
departments and agencies collect, analyze and disseminate intelligence. I will
try to offer insight on how these activities fit together and are coordinated,
hopefully illustrating for you both the nature and value of intelligence to
I will try to explain my role and that of the Privy Council Office. Much of that
is found in supporting and managing a range of key interdepartmental committees,
which are currently fully engaged. I will also try to give you a brief overview
of PCO's role in crisis management, emphasizing the counter-terrorism context.
Finally, I will offer some observations on the S & I community's efforts to
respond to emerging issues that are horizontal or crosscutting in nature. I hope
you have had an opportunity the look at some of the materials we left with you.
Like the global environment, the current security and intelligence environment -
the backdrop, if you will, for anti-terrorism - is now highly fluid and
unpredictable. Of course, while at the best of times, there can never be 100 per
cent risk management and prevention, September 11 has rendered intelligence
itself, and the challenges to its effective uses, of critical importance.
The core work of Canadian security and intelligence community is to contribute
to the safety and security of Canadians. The community must judge the growth or
decline of particular threats, and provide political leaders with well-founded
advice on appropriate prevention and enforcement action. The community works to
add value to decision-making and policy-making on the full range of matters
vital to Canada's interests in foreign relations, defence, economy and domestic
In doing its work, the community possesses a unique capability and authority to
collect and assess information that is not available from conventional sources -
colloquially speaking, secret information. The community must blend this
information with all other available information, including that produced by the
media and academia, and intelligence generated by foreign countries.
A quick word at this point on the nature of intelligence, Mr. Chairman, may be
helpful before moving on to a more detailed description of community players.
Foreign intelligence is information about the capabilities, activities or
intentions of foreign states, organizations or individuals. This information is
collected and used to support and protect Canada's political, economic, military
scientific, social and security interests.
The Communications Security Establishment works exclusively in the FI arena in
Canada, but several other components of our community also contribute, for
example, CSIS and Foreign Affairs.
Security intelligence is information about activities that could threaten
Canada's security. This includes not only terrorism but also espionage and
foreign-influenced activities that would cause a threat to public safety or
national security. Broadly speaking, the collection and management of security
and intelligence in Canada rests with the Solicitor General's department and
CSIS is the primary agency to collect and develop this kind of intelligence.
Military intelligence includes tactical intelligence about military threats,
capabilities and tactics that our military forces use to maximize their
effectiveness - in short, enabling us to win the war or manage the peacekeeping
activity and protect the troops. Military intelligence also includes strategic
assessments of what will happen next, where and why. This is the domain of the
Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces.
Criminal intelligence is gathered and developed primarily by police agencies,
including the RCMP, which, like CSIS, reports to the Solicitor General. It is
information about those persons and groups who commit crime, how they do it, and
the broad trends in criminal activity and its impact on society.
These four "INT" categories are by no means watertight. For example,
most terrorist threats in Canada have foreign origins and foreign intelligence
is critical to understanding those threats. All four forms of intelligence are
critical to: understanding the origins of the situation and assessing future
prospects; to protecting Canadians at home and in affected regions of the world;
supporting our deployed military, supporting a key ally contributing to an
international effort; and, to considering an dealing with any violence that
might spill over to Canada.
An important measure of success in a security and intelligence community such as
ours is how the various elements of the community work together effectively.
They must complement each other, communicate readily and avoid undue overlap in
competition for scarce resources. In later describing my role as coordinator, I
will explain how we in PCO work to optimize the overall effectiveness of the
I will move on now to sketch out the elements of our community and how it works.
Let me begin with the head of government, the Prime Minister. He has ultimate
responsibility for the national security of Canada and related intelligence
matters. To a considerable degree, this is why the security and intelligence
coordinator is located in the Privy Council Office. Individual ministers have
line department responsibilities for the activities of the sector, and are
accountable to Parliament for these activities. At another level, some of these
line ministers have co-ordinating responsibilities for their parts of the
To drill down further on departments and agencies, and try to sketch for you who
is primarily involved with that type of intelligence:
The Department of the Solicitor General has primary federal responsibility for
public safety and domestic security matters. The Solicitor General provides
policy direction to CSIS and the RCMP, and is directly responsible for overall
federal counter-terrorism contingency planning. As Minister MacAulay has noted,
he is accountable for co-ordinating Canada's counter-terrorism response, and the
National Counter-Terrorism Plan.
The CSIS Act gives CSIS a mandate to collect security intelligence in Canada to
counter espionage, sabotage, terrorism and subversion. CSIS also has a special
mandate to advise any Minister of the Crown on matters relating to the security
of Canada. This includes responsibility for providing security assessments,
which for our current discussions, largely means producing threat assessments
relevant to counter-terrorism. CSIS is best-placed to do this work, having
developed the greatest operational expertise in this area.
Canada does not have a foreign intelligence service along the lines of a CIA,
but CSIS can, under section 16 of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service
Act, assist in the collection of foreign intelligence within Canada in response
to requests from the Minister of Foreign Affairs or the Minister of National
Also reporting to the Solicitor General, the RCMP collects analyzes intelligence
to support criminal investigations, including those with terrorist links. The
RCMP is also primarily responsible for enforcing the Security Offences Act,
which deals with offences related to terrorism, espionage and offences against
internationally protected persons such as ambassadors accredited to Canada.
I wish to note that the RCMP and CSIS, for which the Solicitor General is
accountable to Parliament, enjoy a measure of independence. It has long been a
landmark of our system that criminal investigations are carried out independent
of the government of the day. CSIS, for its part, pursues investigations of
threats to Canada as defined in its statute.
With regard to the components relating to national defence, the Canadian agency
devoted exclusively to foreign intelligence is the Communications Security
Establishment, CSE. CSE is answerable to the Minister of National Defence and it
reports to me for its operations and policy, and to the Deputy Minister of
National Defence for administrative and personnel matters. CSE obtains foreign
intelligence by collecting foreign radio, radar and other electronic signals -
hence the term "signals intelligence." CSE also helps to ensure that
the Canadian government's communications are secure from the interception
efforts of others. In this respect, the Canadian Forces Information Operation
Group assists CSE in carrying out its mandate.
CSE's intelligence products and expertise support Canada's anti-terrorism
efforts, mainly by providing foreign intelligence that helps CSIS, the RCMP, the
Department of Foreign Affairs, and others, to understand those foreign conflicts
and dynamics which generate terrorism. Also, at DND, the Director General of
Intelligence, DGInt, is responsible for providing military intelligence to the
Canadian Armed Forces and to the government on issues involving the use or
potential use of the Canadian forces abroad.
While not a generator of intelligence per se, it is important to note within DND
the Office of Critical Infrastructure Protection and Emergency Preparedness
Canada, OCIPEP. OCIPEP provides national leadership, coordination and training
for critical infrastructure protection and national civil emergency
The Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade is responsible for
protecting Canadians and DFAIT employees abroad. Its Security and Intelligence
Bureau advises its ministers on such matters as security in their missions
abroad, the expulsion of foreign diplomats from Canada for security reasons, and
the management of terrorist incidents abroad involving Canadians or Canadian
interests. DFAIT works with the Solicitor General to represent and to promote
Canada's positions in international fora working to deal with terrorism, such as
the G8, and it is instrumental in developing Canada's contributions and
obligations under international agreements and conventions against terrorism.
To jump ahead a bit, the Privy Council Office is the home of the Intelligence
Assessment Secretariat, the IAS, which produces foreign intelligence assessment
for the Prime Minister, the cabinet, other PCO elements and other officials
across government. I mention the IAS at this point to underline their role in
the analysis of intelligence and as the only central assessment body in the
system. The IAS staff produce all-source - that is, using all the types of
intelligence - agreed-upon assessment that reflect input from across government
and cover a broad range of issues. The IA committee is the key interdepartmental
committee that addresses assessment issues and reviews strategic foreign
intelligence assessments or papers.
The IAS has developed a unique value-added role by concentrating on broad,
strategic assessments of world events and emerging issues and trends with
specific implications for Canadian policy, albeit written with policy-neutral
The Department of Justice provides legal advice regarding security and
intelligence issues, policy-making and specific cases.
Other significant players include the departments of Citizenship and
Immigration, Customs and Revenue, Transport and the Department of Finance's
Financial Transaction and Reports Analysis Centre, which monitors and analyzes
suspicious criminals and, if Parliament approves, terrorist-related financial
In light of the current environment and in terms of consequence management and
prevention, it is important to mention Health Canada, Environment Canada,
Agriculture and Agri-food Canada, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, the
National Research Canada and the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission.
Let me move on to the Privy Council Office and outline how my role originated.
The coordinator's role has existed since 1985. The Clerk of the Privy Council
has given me a mandate to coordinate and lead the sector on the Prime Minister's
behalf. The main rationale for the coordinator's position is that there is no
single minister responsible for S & I issues. Each of the departments and
agencies I have described has its own mandate and budget; most also manage other
programs that have nothing or little to do with security and intelligence. The
deputy heads of these departments and agencies are responsible to their
ministers. At the same time, however, on S & I, as on all matters, they are
mandated to work together on files with horizontal implications.
Yet, the sector must be more than the sum of its parts. The Prime Minister has
ultimate accountability to Parliament and to Canadians for the security of our
country. My role is to support him in that accountability and to ensure that the
key players work well together - that we address the right issues at the right
time, and that we collectively identify the correct responses, solutions and
courses of action.
My core responsibilities fall into four categories: Strategic trends analysis,
setting of national priorities, horizontal issues management, and managing
relations with our international intelligence partners.
Strategic trend analysis is a hallmark of the PCO role. We constantly monitor
the S & I environment for emerging and evolving trends that could have an
impact on our security. Each of the players in the sector does their own
strategic thinking from their own perspective and my part is to put the
individual views into a balanced overview. PCO has also come to play a role in
helping to understand the evolution of challenges and appropriate responses on
the horizontal, global scale. Just as issues such as terrorism, arms
proliferation, organized crime and immigration interact, the types of
intelligence must interact. Someone must be able to step back and ask the key
questions about how these "INTs" can help each and to deal with the
ethical, legal organizational questions that occur within the Canadian context.
Next is the setting of national priorities. Assisting with priority setting is
the most important part of my job, given normal times and normal circumstances.
I must ensure the presentation of intelligence priorities to ministers for their
direction. We do this once a year at the meeting of Ministers on Security and
Intelligence, MMSI, about which I will say more later when we get to the
committee structures. This is the key accountability mechanism which allows
ministers to set intelligence priorities to guide all the activities of the
sector in collection, assessment, production and in the overall management of
intelligence resources and programs.
With regard to the issue of horizontal issues management, many of the toughest
issues in the sector today are multi-faceted, wide ranging and horizontal in
nature. The potential complexity of issues in the area of national security is
clearly illustrated by the events of September 11. It would be hard to find a
comparable issue that has affected more government department, programs and
other levels of government and private sector interest. Such issues can only be
effectively addressed collectively by bringing the key players together to share
ideas, best practices and problems. This is one of my key functions - namely, to
facilitate such a style of management and cooperation.
Our international relationships give Canada invaluable access to intelligence,
technology and expertise that help us protect Canadians. The centrepiece of
these relationships is the alliance with our partners, the U.S., U.K., Australia
and New Zealand. That five-party alliance had its genesis in formal agreements
dating back to the Second World War, and it must be regarded as an essential
asset to be protected and cultivated. It gives us access to resources far beyond
what Canada has or could hope to develop on its own; simply speaking, we get far
more than we are able to give.
That being said, a significant development is the growth in the number of
international relationships beyond the five-party alliance. Terrorism is a
global threat and terrorists clearly ignore borders. In order to be effective,
police and security agencies have a world-wide interest in co-operating, sharing
intelligence and undertaking joint operations, if terrorism is to be thwarted.
The Privy Council Office helps to maintain these relationships by what might be
called the traditional diplomatic methods. We travel, host visits and meet with
their representatives. We have liaison officers in both London and Washington
who serve these functions and facilitate exchanges on intelligence assessments.
We also have a not inconsiderable role in setting the policy parameters of these
But most contacts with foreign intelligence services occur directly and
bilaterally between those services and Canadian government departments, our
intelligence agencies and our police agencies. My task is to co-ordinate the
players in the security and intelligence community to maximize the benefits of
I wish now to address how I approach the coordinator's role. The PCO function is
best played out day-to-day at all levels without a heavy hand. Cooperation is
built through constructive influence and agenda setting. To do otherwise in this
sector would be counterproductive and adversely affect the ability of others to
do their jobs. The individual accountability of each deputy head to his or her
minister must be given room for expression.
In my role as coordinator, I rely on the Security and Intelligence Secretariat
headed by Larry Dickenson, who is with me tonight. It works to provide a forum
for departments to discuss common concerns, help manage crises or hot issues and
coordinate work on horizontal matters that are important to the sector and to
the government as a whole. The secretariat also performs the traditional PCO
functions of providing advice to the Prime Minister and cabinet on a full range
of security and intelligence and supporting the intelligence committee
Let me turn now to security and intelligence committee structure. A vigorous and
well-accepted committee structure has always been essential to the Canadian S
& I community.
Working from the top down, let me touch upon the Ministerial Meeting on Security
and Intelligence, MMSI, chaired by the Prime Minister. This is held once a year
to set national intelligence priorities. Its membership has grown somewhat in
recent years and it can also address other major policy issues in the sector.
In addition, where there is a security and intelligence component within a
broader social policy, the Cabinet Committee on Social Union or an ad hoc
meeting of ministers may take decisions affecting the sector. In the current
circumstances, the Prime Minister has established, under Mr. Manley's
chairmanship, the Ad Hoc Committee of Ministers on Public Security and
The Interdepartmental Committee on Security and Intelligence, ICSI, chaired by
my boss, the Clerk of the Privy Council, and for which I am vice-chair, is a
committee of deputy heads from the sectors, departments and agencies. It reviews
major policy issues before they go to ministers and is the main executive forum
in the sector.
ICSI often acts through an executive subcommittee, which I chair. It meets more
frequently than ICSI and it is composed of the deputy ministers from the core
intelligence departments along with the Department of Justice. Executive ICSI is
effective in ensuring senior level attention to key policy, operational and
resource issues in a sensitive area. Currently, ICSI deputies, as well as
deputies of key concerned departments are meeting frequently, both to deal with
specific matters relating to the crisis and to support Minister Manley's
The Intelligence Policy Group, IPG, is the principal intelligence policy
coordination forum. Again, in normal circumstances, it usually meets bi-weekly
and is chaired by Mr. Dickenson. Assistant deputy ministers from the
intelligence community participate, as does Justice Canada. The IPG tries to
epitomize horizontal management in our sector. The members focus on those issues
that have a broad impact and identify courses of action and solutions for the
An ADM committee on public safety is also led out of the Department of the
Solicitor General. It provides a coordination and discussion forum for policy
and priority setting in law enforcement and public safety. This group and the
IPG maintain close links and have some cross-pollination in membership.
I think it may be helpful at this stage to sketch the role Privy Council Office
plays in terrorism crisis management and policy development. Again, I will offer
how it "normally" works while noting what I can about what we are
doing in these extraordinary times.
With the Deputy Solicitor General, I work continually to ensure that
counter-terrorism-related issues, preparedness, policy development and resources
are given proper priority in the intelligence community and in the cabinet
committee system I have described.
I will speak mostly about the NCTP, the National Counter-Terrorism Plan. Under
that plan, the Privy Council Office would play very much its traditional role of
supporting the Prime Minister and cabinet with information and advice, and
facilitating senior decision-making. We would work with the lead ministry,
Solicitor General, to coordinate special meetings of ICSI or ministers. We would
also have representatives on the NCTP's working groups and at the RCMP National
Operations Centre. We would particularly work to insure effective two-way
communication between the crisis management bodies and the Prime Minister,
cabinet committees and ICSI. PCO would play on a co-ordinated, central public
communications response as well.
I understand that you are interested in some ways in the frequency of meetings
of committees, and that's probably a good angle from which to talk about the
current role of the Privy Council Office in managing September 11-related
business. Let me first underline that this situation is extraordinary; the scale
of it, the variety and depth of programs and public issues affected, the work
demanded of ministers and public servants. This is probably unprecedented in
recent government and public service history. It is not an oversimplification to
say that all the processes and people I have so far described are working flat
A committee of deputy ministers, whose membership is similar to that of ICSI's,
meets at least weekly. It is dealing with substantive issues and
interdepartmental issues and working to support Mr. Manley's committee. We are
bringing to the table everyone who needs to be there and widening membership on
an ad hoc basis in dealing with the current multi-faceted concerns. The Clerk is
kept well informed of the major policy issues being dealt with by this group and
is participating in many of the key meetings.
ADM-level meetings and topic-specific working groups are also in play and we
have a broad ad hoc membership. IPG has essentially stood down temporarily to
allow for this.
Mr. Manley's committee is meeting often, on the order of roughly twice weekly.
Other core members are the Deputy Prime Minister, the Solicitor General, the
ministers of Finance, Transport, Defence, Justice, National Revenue and
Many PCO secretariats - primarily the S & I - are working to support this
group secretariat, and to ensure coordination with the broader policy agenda and
interests of the government. Mr. Manley reports regularly on his progress to the
PM and cabinet.
I apologize for going quickly, but I thought it would be better to save time for
The Chairman: It was helpful.
Before we proceed to questions, I should like the introduce Senator Stollery,
chair of the Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs Committee, and Senator
Nolin, who is the chair of the Special Senate Committee on Illegal Drugs.
Senator Banks: You talked about the way things work "normally"
and said that the present situation is not normal. It would be fair to say that
- notwithstanding the remarkable abnormality of the present situation and of the
events of September 11 - any terrorist attack at any level, on any scale, on any
part of North America, would be extraordinary and not normal. When those things
happen, nothing is normal. In that respect, I think I understand why the
structure is as complicated and as widely based as it is. To the uninitiated, it
sounds like an unimaginable hornets' nest of opinions and interests. However, as
you have explained so clearly, those interests do cut across all of those areas.
We have heard from experts in the area of national intelligence tell us that,
generally speaking, Canada's intelligence capabilities have been in rather
severe decline over the last few years. This committee has been told that, and
many of us have heard that suggestion put forward outside this committee.
In particular, we have heard that Canada's intelligence contribution
internationally used to be highly regarded - particularly with respect to
signals intelligence. We have been told that the gathering of information is one
thing and the processing of it and turning it into intelligence is another. We
used to be highly regarded in that field. We have become less so over the last
25 years or so, partly because of budget constraints and our incapacity to do
certain of the kinds of things that we used to do. We heard it suggested that in
those international meetings to which you refer, some people who have attended
them feel that the reaction is "Here come the Canadian free-loaders."
I suspect that things have been ramped up considerably. We know that certain
monies have been ramped up since the events of September 11, but I would
appreciate your telling us what you think of that assessment - which we have
heard from more than one person.
Mr. Fadden: That is a very critical question. First, it is important for
me to point out that, with the fall of the Soviet Union, a large number of
countries, including the United Kingdom and the United States, generated for
themselves what is called a "peace dividend." They cut back on their
defence resources and the resources that they spent on security and
intelligence. I am telling you nothing that you do not know by saying that we
have done the same. If you add to that the determination of the Canadian
government to deal with its difficult fiscal situation over the course of the
last several years, the amounts that have been available to the S & I
community have been reduced.
However, since budget 2000, if you take the S & I community broadly defined,
somewhat between $1 billion and $1.5 billion have been reallocated to this area
and of the $250 million that the ministers announced in response to the events
of September 11, a good chunk is going to traditional S & I.
Having said that, we probably have not ramped up as much as the other two
countries I have mentioned. We are not a world power. To a considerable degree,
what we do, we do well. The more important issue is whether we are doing what we
should be doing in pursuit of our national interest because we have to make
During the course of the Cold War, one of the real advantages of Canada in
respect to signals intelligence was our geography. The geographic advantage is
no longer there because Russia is not quite the enemy that the Soviet Union was.
The communications security establishment is trying to develop new ways of
fulfilling its mandate. That is a challenge for all signals intelligence
agencies because the global communications network today is not the same network
we had 15 years ago.
To try to sum up, we have been cut back as has been the case with many other
countries. We received an infusion of funds and interest. The key for Canada and
Canada's S&I community now is whether or not, for a variety of reasons that
involve national decision making, we make some decisions that reorient and
resituate the community. It is not how we respond to this crisis in two or three
months, but our actions in the coming three years or six years that is key.
Mr. Martin has indicated he will be giving a budget later this year. It will be
interesting to see whether there is anything for is S&I but, more
importantly, what sort orientation the world's S&I communities take in
respect to the fight against terrorism.
Senator Banks: That suggests that if we are going to make a valuable
contribution and be at the international table, which we value, we should
specialize in something and become better at it than everyone else, and so good
at it that we will be valuable contributors to that international table. I am
assuming that that is not going to lie in the foreign or offshore collection of
foreign intelligence, that we will continue to rely upon others to provide us
with that raw information. Is that a reasonable assumption? We do not have the
means now of doing any foreign intelligence beyond signals foreign intelligence.
Mr. Fadden: We have to be careful with definitions. We do collect
intelligence abroad through the CSIS, although it is limited by law to
collecting information relating to the security of Canada. As I was trying to
say in my opening remarks, the gap between foreign intelligence and security
intelligence is not as great as it used to be. CSIS is gathering some
information abroad that relates to counter- or anti-terrorism. I do not know if
you would characterize that as foreign intelligence or not. In some ways, you
can. In any event, there is some collection going on beyond signals
In respect of your broader question about specialization, I strongly agree with
you. The difficulty we are going to have is that Canada has a global foreign
policy. Having a niche security and intelligence community with a global foreign
policy creates a bit of a disconnect. It would be necessary for us to try to
identify within that global foreign policy those areas where we could
legitimately develop that expertise and pursue it.
Senator Banks: Like the processing of signals intelligence.
Mr. Fadden: That is an excellent example.
Senator Banks: I ask you the next question because we have asked it of
others. The answers we got did not satisfy me in terms of clarity. Canada
contains several nuclear generating plants, including the largest one in the
world, which could, theoretically, be a target for somebody wishing to wreak
havoc. In the event of either an accident, which happens, or an attack,
regardless of how it came about, there would be a problem. Who exactly would be
in charge of managing a nuclear disaster in Canada? I ask the question because
in almost every other respect of energy generation, there is a clear answer. In
the case of a nuclear accident, who is in charge?
Mr. Fadden: That is a very good question. Constitutionally, it is clear
that the federal government is responsible for nuclear energy and nuclear policy
in this country. That includes setting the security standards for that industry.
You probably know better than I do that the Nuclear Safety Commission just
issued upgraded standards for the industry about a week ago. In the event that
either disaster occurred, the honest answer is that the responders of first
resort are the provinces and the municipalities in which these nuclear plants
Senator Banks: They do not know that.
Mr. Fadden: With respect, in this country, we have taken the view that
civil order and the responsibility of the police, ambulances and fire companies
are provincial. If we had a nuclear disaster in any one of our major plants, we
would require police, health emergency response and fire companies. They are all
Having said that, they also constitute national vital points, which are of
considerable interest to the federal government. OCIPEP, which is a new
organization, is endeavouring to develop a national plan for training and
coordination. I am not trying to avoid answering your question. I am trying to
suggest that the answer is complex. You cannot say it is the City of Toronto
with Pickering. It is largely the Province of Ontario and the City of Toronto,
but the federal government does have a role.
Senator Banks: The Province of Ontario does not have any regulatory role
outside the immediate environmental/ecological one with respect to nuclear
energy generation. Nuclear energy is the only kind of energy generation in which
the provinces have no role. In the management of a disaster of the kind I am
discussing, in which, for example, large amounts of nuclear waste material were
discharged into Lake Ontario, who is in charge?
Mr. Fadden: Under the constitution, the police alert local jurisdiction
would be initially responsible. The hospitals and the health services most
directly related to the location of the plant would be responsible, but the
Canadian government would become immediately involved. There is a national
counter-terrorism plan that plans and coordinates that effort.
The corollary is that if the federal government were responsible for incidents
of this sort, the federal government would have to maintain at all of these
nuclear plants a full capacity to respond on the health front, the environment
front, the police front and the emergency planning front. Rightly or wrongly, it
has been decided by successive Canadian governments that that is not the way to
Senator Banks: I agree there would be a fire that would have to be put
out. There would be some injuries that would have to be looked after, and it is
clear those would have to be done by the local authorities. The question to
which I am trying to find the answer is whether an overarching umbrella
responsibility would have to come into play in order to coordinate the larger
parts of the question - not just those injured on the site, not just the fire
but the large question, the cloud or water or whatever. Are you satisfied that
somebody would be able to take responsibility and coordinate the efforts of the
respective agencies given their respective responsibilities?
Mr. Fadden: I would argue that if the disaster were caused by an act of
terrorism, the federal responsibility for national security would come into
play. If it were sufficiently serious, consideration would be given to invoking
the Emergencies Act, and, in that case, the default responsible minister is the
Minister of National Defence, although it is always up to the Prime Minister to
delegate another minister. If it were related to counter-terrorism, the federal
government would play a greater role.
There are also administrative provisions - and I do not think you are
necessarily referring to this - in terms of consequence management over the
longer term for federal reimbursements for costs incurred. That is probably not
the most perfect answer, but I am trying to give you as honest an answer that I
Senator Nolin: Mr. Fadden, in line with Senator Banks' question, I
understand there are actually intervention plans. You referred to changes that
might be brought to a plan that was recently disclosed by the responsible
Are there any exercises regularly carried out in order to make sure that the
plan is working? That might answer my colleague's question.
Mr. Fadden: I am not an expert in that field. I do not think there are
any exercises at the national level, no. But the Solicitor General organizes
regular reviews and exercises at the regional level.
I do not know if Mr. Dickenson, who is more familiar with that than I am, could
give you a better answer. I could easily get further information on that, but I
don't have the details right now.
Mr. Lawrence T. Dickenson, Assistant Secretary to the Cabinet for Security
and Intelligence: I do not think I have an answer on that specific point,
but as Mr. Fadden said, they do a table-top exercise where they simulate a
situation of a terrorist attack. They do, with cities, simulate an attack, and
every so many years they do that with the United States. It is not necessarily
directly related to a nuclear attack. It could be anything from a hostage taking
to some form of terrorist attack.
Senator Forrestall: Let me take another tack. Perhaps it might be helpful
if the witnesses were to tell us that the local director would not necessarily
Mr. Fadden: There is very little doubt that that would not be the case.
The local director is representing an agency that, by and large, is dedicated to
coordination, training and the development of plans. They are not meant to be
the on-site coordinators in any shape, way or fashion.
Senator Forrestall: I was not being facetious. I appreciate the
difficulty you have.
Another anomaly is your persistent use of the term "horizontal." I
believe that you are talking about integration and operations generally. Could
you give us a bit of an explanation as to your - I almost said fixation - with
the word "horizontal"? I think it is important to understand that term
in order to understand your remarks.
Mr. Fadden: The Government of Canada, as you know better than I do, is
organized on a vertical basis with public servants being responsible to
ministers who are responsible to Parliament. Having said that, it would be my
observation, in this sector, at least, that virtually nothing that happens of
any great import is restricted to one department or ministry's vertical lines of
responsibility. You find yourself having to take the vertical and merge it at
the top to get a coordinated, collaborative, well-communicated approach to life.
The response to the events of September 11 is a good example of that. At least a
dozen departments are involved, and if look at just the Canadian border, Customs
Canada, Immigration, the RCMP, the Food Inspection Agency and a variety of
others have all been involved in increasing the level of alertness at the
border. If this were to take place without any coordination, without the other
departments knowing what is going on, you would have some considerable
When I use the word "horizontal", I mean horizontal coordination
either brought about by the departments themselves, which sometimes happens, or
sometimes brought about by my colleagues and me.
Senator Forrestall: That is helpful. I wanted to look at some detail. How
many people are in the Privy Council Office, Security and Intelligence
Mr. Fadden: Let me look up the specific numbers. It is a relatively small
shop, and it is divided, by and large, into two parts.
Mr. Dickenson: My portion of the group to which Mr. Fadden is referring
has 20 people. That figure is split among those who work on foreign intelligence
type issues, those who work on security type issues, and those who work on
actual physical security of the building, of relationships, with Parliament and
the Prime Minister's protective detail.
Senator Forrestall: At your level, you work with all those departments
that are involved?
Mr. Dickenson: That is right.
Senator Forrestall: It may differ from time to time, but you work with
all of them?
Mr. Dickenson: That is right, through the committee structure. Perhaps I
could add a footnote while Mr. Fadden is reflecting on the other part of his
portfolio. In terms of the structure - both you and Senator Banks have raised
this - it has evolved over the last few years. The fact that budgets have not
been so robust has helped it evolve because you cannot afford overlap and
duplication if budgets are small.
Before September 11, we had re-instituted and made quite real the executive
committee of ICSI, which Mr. Fadden chairs, and it was meeting on an extremely
regular basis. We created, a year and one-half ago, the ADM committee on public
safety, which is a far more operational one. It was meeting on a regular basis.
After September 11, it was meeting virtually daily for the first few weeks to
manage horizontally the operational aspects.
Mr. Fadden: The other part on the S & I side is composed of about 29
people who work on the preparation of centralized foreign intelligence
Senator Forrestall: There are, roughly, 50 people between the two sides.
Since the events of September 11 are part of what we are dealing with, in a
sense, how often did briefings take place, for example, prior to September 11
and then after? Could you give us some sense of the increase in activity,
Mr. Fadden: I can try, senator. On the central assessment side, they
produce regular assessments for the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and they
produce one centrally for PCO every week. Since then, they have been producing
virtually twice daily a compendium of intelligence reviews and assessments about
what is happening in the world.
On the policy or the coordination side, since September 11, a committee of DMs,
which I chair, certainly met once a week, twice a week most weeks. Previously,
we might have met every three or four weeks. At the ADM levels, people also met
two or three times a week.
The difficulty we have is that you need to get people together to coordinate and
ensure you are sharing the same information base. You must not get together so
frequently that people cannot work, which is the underlying objective of all
this. It is a balancing act. However, at a minimum, our regular meetings have
tripled if not quadrupled.
Senator Forrestall: That is a lot of meetings. Do what degree does that
tax your existing staff?
Mr. Fadden: I would be less than honest if I did not say that it has
taxed the staff considerably.
Senator Forrestall: Would that be beyond its capacity to work and serve
well the end that you are trying to serve?
Mr. Fadden: That is a fair question. It has been okay until now. If this
level of activity continues beyond Christmas, I do not think it is sustainable.
People will become ill. Most people have worked every weekend since September
11, in many cases both days of each weekend, and pretty well every evening. I
want to stress, however, that the people on the front line, at the borders, the
RCMP, if anything, are having a tougher time.
Senator Forrestall: The whole community is having an extraordinarily
difficult time. I presume you have your oar in the water.
Mr. Fadden: Occasionally, yes.
Senator Forrestall: Are you a net producer of information or gatherer of
information at your level?
Mr. Fadden: That is a difficult question to answer. It is hard to answer
it "net," as you put it, Senator Forrestall. Personally, what I do is
I cause people to talk to one another. I cause things to be done. On the
assessment side, every day starts with an assessment being prepared for senior
decision makers on what we have learned overnight and later in the day. Since
September 11, and even before, very few days went by without two or three
A great deal of what I do is much like when the chairman called me to invite me
to appear and to tell me what you wanted me to try and say. One does some
preparatory work on meetings and then does follow-up meetings to make sure
everyone is on the same wavelength. I report regularly to the clerk, who reports
to the Prime Minister on what goes on. Some days are more operational than
Senator Forrestall: You say you report regularly. Is that on the basis of
"we will meet five times a day," or "we will meet as and when you
feel that you need me or I feel that I need you"?
Mr. Fadden: It is pretty well the latter. I have discovered that one of
the great advantages of my life and one of the great banes of my existence is
the PMO switchboard. They can find one anywhere, anytime, and it is used a great
deal. It is very much when there is the need. During the weekend, when the
United States initiated its military actions against Afghanistan, we met for
three days and talked into the evening. I know Mr. Capp talked a great deal with
the Prime Minister during that period. It is "as needed" more than on
a regular, relatively automatic basis.
Senator Forrestall: I will now move to the Intelligence Assessment
Secretariat. How large is that group?
Mr. Fadden: Approximately 30 people.
Senator Forrestall: Is that large enough?
Mr. Fadden: If you look at it in the context of Canada having a global
foreign policy, with a wide reach of interests, it is barely doing what it can
do. If you look at the world as being composed of a certain number of countries
and continents that are of interest to the country, does it cover them? Yes, it
does. Would I like to be able to say that we could have some backup, some people
who could spend more time on short term as opposed to long term? I would say
With the results of program review and a variety of other reductions, if we were
reduced at all, I would have to tell my masters that we could not purport to
deliver a comprehensive view. We are close to the limit, I think.
Senator Forrestall: That would be more true were we to extend to CSIS
that envelope to do offshore intelligence work, other than what it is doing
How big is the Assistant Secretariat to Cabinet office? I am wondering how far
we have to go because it is so vital and important.
Mr. Fadden: Mr. Dickenson's office is about 20.
Senator Forrestall: What about the Foreign Intelligence Section? How many
would work there?
Mr. Fadden: I am sorry, senator, I am not sure which you mean exactly.
Senator Forrestall: In international trade, for example, as a collector
of intelligence, whatever its nature, how many are charged with the
responsibility of receiving that information, assessing it and passing on to
your level of operation? It is not important if you do not have that number.
Mr. Fadden: I do not think I could. I would have to break it down. The
bottom line is that it is not a large number of people.
Senator Forrestall: That is fine. What is the role of the National
Mr. Fadden: That is a component part of Mr. Dickenson's shop.
Senator Forrestall: How many hats do you have?
Mr. Dickenson: I am multi-headed. In this office of 20 people, there is
my immediate support and myself. Then you have a small team that deals with what
we call operational security issues: The security of the Prime Minister's suite,
the security of PCO, liaison with the Prime Minister's protective detail and
with security people on Parliament Hill. That is a small group of about six.
Then, for the balance of that group, they are split into two small offices. One
office helps me in terms of providing coordination on foreign intelligence and
the advice to Mr. Fadden and on up to the clerk and the Prime Minister. The
other office deals with national security issues. These are three small teams of
about six or seven people each.
Senator Forrestall: Are there any other significant groupings that are
generally involved in bringing together the information that you must look at
and dispense in the right direction at the end of each day or week? Are there
any other significant departments?
Mr. Fadden: My advice on that would be the Solicitor General's department
plays a key role here and that partly reflects their portfolio. Within that
there is CSIS and the RCMP, but they are the central agency for those specific
agencies. We rely on them for policy advice and coordination, and frequently
turn to them to chair meetings that are more of an operational nature.
I would like to comment on your reference to foreign affairs. The intelligence
group that they have does not really generate intelligence. They coordinate the
foreign affairs participation in the horizontal management of the intelligence
community. They provide advice to their senior management and the minister on
the security of all those embassies and consulates around the world. They
provide advice on whether a foreign diplomatic resident in Ottawa is doing
something that they should not be doing and perhaps should be expelled. They
have a whole range of functions but it is not foreign intelligence collection.
Senator Forrestall: I appreciate your responses.
We were told the other day about the threat level; how high is it relative to
something that the great Canadian population might understand. The director of
the RCMP in the region told us that he would compare it with the level that they
attach to securing the American embassy.
In terms of these precincts here, and the men and women who work from them, do
you have a perception of the threat level? Could you let us in on that? I ask
this because there is a growing concern. People are looking after our physical
well-being, but I have a sense we may overlook the mental well-being,
particularly of many of our employees.
Mr. Fadden: Do you mean in respect of Parliament in particular, senator?
Senator Forrestall: Yes, what threat level would you assess? Could you
relate it to something we might understand?
Mr. Fadden: It is somewhat difficult because Canada, for a variety of
reasons over the years has not created levels of threat. NORAD, of which we are
a member, has a series of carefully calibrated distinctions. More broadly, we
have chosen not to do that to allow for a more nuanced response.
The threat against Canada has been characterized as significant, growing and
worthy of ongoing review. Within that category, Parliament Hill rates near the
top of the threat scale. Having said that, whether or not we like it, the
principal target on this planet right now is the United States, not Canada.
However, there are a variety of reasons why people might try to attack Canada:
because they want to try to drive a wedge between us and the United States;
because security there is so tight that you cannot get it; or because there are
significant United States interests in Canada.
Within Canada, Parliament Hill, the Prime Minister and a few other sites have
the highest level of threat. Mr. Dickenson and I read more intelligence than we
probably want to and there has been no specific or identified threat against
this country and none against Parliament Hill.
There have been instances where individuals who have been under surveillance for
one reason or another have given us cause to worry. That is about as far as we
can go, not because I do not want to tell you more. However, security here was
increased significantly because there are a half dozen individuals who we could
not quite get our hands on who had been seen on the hill and that caused
concern. We do not want to take a risk, so we suggested and it was agreed that
security could be increased.
I want to stress that we have no clear intelligence suggesting that there is a
threat against Parliament. We are trying to take preventive steps to ensure that
nothing will happen.
Senator Wiebe: At the first set of hearings that were held I expressed my
deep concern that security and intelligence systems in this country were rather
fragmented. At times, the right hand within the various departments did not know
what the left hand was doing.
I want to thank you for your presentation today; it has given me some level of
comfort, though not completely. The concern that I still have is that the
citizens of this country must rely on seven different ministers of the Crown and
the PMO to provide a comfort level of security.
We have responded to the unfortunate events of September 11 by increasing
budgets for manpower, new equipment and this sort of thing with which I
certainly agree. In comparison, the United States has a similar system to ours,
where that responsibility for security is divided up among many ministries. Here
we have a country that spent over $80 billion on security and they got caught
with their pants down.
Our security system has not been tested as severely as theirs. I am happy to
hear that you are meeting on a weekly basis, but have you looked at this system?
We are facing a new style of terrorism and perhaps we are spreading ourselves
too thin but making this the responsibility of seven separate ministries to keep
on top of what is happening and to react quickly in case something happens or if
some leads come to us.
In your agendas, have you talked about or considered centralizing some of the
responsibility and the work that is required out there in an effort to try to
respond more quickly?
Mr. Fadden: The short answer is that we are looking at the system. The
role of Mr. Manley's committee is to hear recommendations on this issue and
eventually to formulate them to the prime minister if they relate to machinery
or to Parliament if they relate to legislation.
Having said that, we are blessed in this country by having, fundamentally, one
police enforcement agency. The Commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police
was telling me the other day that there are 43 of his opposite number in the
We have a national police force that does provincial, some municipal and federal
policing, that does the enforcement for customs and immigration. There is no
separate secret service or bureau of alcohol, tobacco and firearms. In that way,
we are starting from a position of considerable strength. Our only intelligence
agency is CSIS.
It is true that there are a number of ministers involved, and I acknowledge your
point that the world has changed, but it has not been the tradition in the west
to give all responsibility in respect to security and intelligence to one
minister. There are historical reasons for doing this, and if I could be allowed
a personal opinion, there is some validity attached to those reasons.
More practically, I would argue that what we need to do is to ensure that we
have an intelligence-driven, risk management approach to this and that we have
the best possible sharing of operational data. I am sure honourable senators
have heard of the now infamous Ressam case which resulted in Canada being
characterized as a sieve. I think that is incorrect.
In the post-mortem to those events, we undertook a review of the sharing of
information. Even if information had been perfectly shared, even if there had
been only one agency, we are not certain that we would have caught him. Unless
we want to recreate in this country something similar to what was set out in
Orwell's 1984, it is difficult to catch somebody unless they do something
criminal. We are trying to ensure that the operational database from which
customs, immigration, transport, CSIS, and the RCMP are drawing is absolutely
shared, that they have access to everything they need.
In the United States, the director of central intelligence is a cabinet level
position that has broad coordinating responsibilities for the U.S. security and
intelligence community. If you had some American witnesses before you, they
would say that despite the not inconsiderable prestige and power of the director
of central intelligence, they have problems with fragmentation, too. You need
some degree of specialization in order to carry out some of these functions. If
you have only one minister or one entity dealing with all of it, you lose the
benefits of specialization.
This is an incomplete answer to your question, but there are some advantages to
having a highly specialized customs service that knows its job well and a highly
specialized and competent immigration service. The key for me is to ensure that
Whether we should have three ministers as opposed to six or seven is a fair
question. However, in respect to most ministers who deal with these issues, they
also have other responsibilities that are attached to them, so there is a
certain amount of logic involved.
I hope that was the beginning of an answer to your question. I am not trying to
evade; it is a difficult question.
Senator Wiebe: My comfort level as a result of your answers has increased
somewhat. It may be an impossible task, but in reference to the Ressam
case, you suggested that, had all the information been shared, that even then
this individual would not have been caught. The general feeling of the public
out there is that our intelligence service must develop a system or a centre of
intelligence that would ensure that that individual in the future would be
I would agree that our intelligence agencies should not be placed under one
minister. As you suggest, there should be two or three ministers involved. There
are tremendous advantages there.
Sharing of information is important, but how quickly that information is shared
is vital. An officer on the street who needs the information must go through
many hoops before he gets the kind of information to which he can react. Someone
conducting some investigations does not have the power to arrest, whereas a
police officer does. If we are going the react quickly to insure that incidents
like this do not happen again, there must be some move towards the smaller
Senator Hubley: I, too, found a great deal of information in your
presentation this evening. My question builds a bit off of Senator Wiebe's
It is established now that terrorism is a global concern. My question is going
to focus on the five-party alliance with the U.S., the U.K., Australia and New
Zealand. I am wondering if you could share with us how other countries are
coming on board.
More importantly, when they gather intelligence, is that something that is
assessed by each country? Does each country take information out of this
information that they feel is going to be pertinent to their particular country,
or is there somebody that assesses all the information these countries have
gathered from a particular trouble spot upon which we may be focussing? Do we
get a global sense of intelligence and security that we have to address, not
only on a national level but also on the global level, given the repercussions
that we have seen from the September 11 event?
Mr. Fadden: Senator, To reply to your question, we have to distinguish a
little bit between the kinds of intelligence about which we are talking. Even
countries as closely allied as the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States
do not share information that is not in their interests to share.
If we are talking about some forms of economic intelligence, we would not share
some things with them and they would not share some things with us. In respect
to counter-terrorism and terrorism, which is the crux of your question, we have
a strong sense that there is almost total sharing of information, both the
actual intelligence in many cases, and also the assessed intelligence.
One of the things that we have tried to do since September 11 is to fill in some
gaps that particular preoccupations of the United States have caused to develop
because they have reorganized their priorities. There is a good sharing of both
intelligence per se, and of assessed intelligence. Our sense is that we have a
common view of what is going on out there. I do not mean to suggest that we see
every piece of intelligence seen by the president of United States, but I do
have a good sense that the sharing is generalized and comprehensive.
Senator Hubley: Further to that, what other countries have shown an
interest in presenting their information, their intelligence?
Mr. Fadden: I could not give you the exact numbers, but CSIS, for example
has a large number of bilateral relationships with countries with whom they have
written agreements that they undertake subject to ministerial direction. It
would be fair to say that the countries of Western Europe are included in that.
A large number of other countries around the world are included, as well. The
United States has managed to gather a coalition of 120 odd countries now. Not
all of them have intelligence that is of use. Those who do, by and large, share
to the extent to which we can.
Senator Stollery: Thank you. It has been a very interesting presentation.
I understand why so many ministers are involved. Intelligence and information
comes from different places. If it were overseas information, ministries that
that have overseas interests would be involved. It is very interesting and quite
I will be brief on my question about Air India, on which you have heard me on
before. Why was not some of this activity undertaken when 320 people hit the
north Atlantic, and we have never been able to convict anyone?
My other point relates to budgets. What do you think about the fact that the
Americans spend about Can. $30 billion every year on intelligence? It does not
seem to have done them any good at all with reference to the attack on the World
They could say that more money is needed, which raises the question of how much
money is needed? The sum of $30 billion is a lot of dough for collecting
intelligence. It is not a small amount of money. Do we run that risk of needing
more money in Canada?
You have made a very impressive presentation. You noted that you are all worked
to death in this current atmosphere. It may be that you need more money. I do
not question that. However, do we not also run the risk of getting carried away
and wasting money, as the Americans seem to have done?
Yesterday, we all read about the Americans ordering 2700 new fighter airplanes.
They do not seem to be able to deal with the problem in Afghanistan, which does
not have much to do with airplanes. People are talking about an enormous amount
Do we run that risk of not riding the line between what you genuinely need to
run your operation without having heart attacks, but not becoming extravagant?
We do not want to make what I consider the American mistake.
Mr. Fadden: Although intelligence did not prevent September 11,
intelligence may have prevented any number of similar events in the past. It is
always hard to make that statement, but I know in respect of some of the things
that we do in this country - which are not public - some of the money we do
spend means that things do not happen. I make the general point.
In respect of the money that we might need or might receive, I tend to agree
with you. The key for us and for ministers will be to determine not so much the
dollars that they need to give us, but what they want us to do. Going about it
by toting up sums, if that is your implication, is entirely the wrong way to go
Senator Stollery: It is the risk that we run.
Mr. Fadden: Absolutely. In response to September 11, we are trying to
sort out where we have gaps in our coverage with which we must deal. The old
adage goes "I do not want to reward you for doing something poorly."
We do not want to spend more money on doing something badly.
In support of Mr. Manley and other committees, we are trying to see if there is
not a better way to do things. We are trying to see where there are gaps. We are
trying to decide whether there are, in some cases, real capacity problems. My
sense is that we will never get - even if you factor back the Canadian
proportion - anywhere near as much money as the United States has. We are trying
to sort out what needs to be done, why and how, and then, decide whether the
price tag attached to it makes sense.
It does not make sense for a department or agency to argue for a 10 per cent
increase. We need to know what they propose needs to be done that has not been
done and what they can discontinue doing, so they can do something that does
need to be done.
I agree with your concern. There is always a risk. We are conscious of it, and
we are going to try to avoid it. Certainly, my former colleagues in the Treasury
Board Secretariat are not losing any opportunity to make that point.
Senator Stollery: I am not making the point in the sense that you should
not have what you need. However, $12 billion a year on intelligence - which
would be what we would spend if we wanted to keep to the U.S. rate of
expenditure - may not get us $12 billion worth of information.
Mr. Fadden: I would be inclined to agree with you.
Senator Nolin: Mr. Fadden, this afternoon, Secretary Ashcroft made a
statement. He did not want to be alarmist, but he warned the Americans that,
within the next few days, terrorist attacks might take place.
In the light of the way you answered some of my colleagues' questions, I wonder
if you knew about the information which led Mr. Ashcroft to make that statement?
If so, why did Canada not issue such a warning?
Mr. Fadden: I think that, by and large, we have the same information as
Mr. Ashcroft, at least to a great extent. Canada and actually the United Kingdom
have taken an approach somewhat different from the one the United States took.
The Americans have deliberately opted for quite a visible response by alerting
the public in order to protect their citizens.
In Canada, we took some measures in various sectors of the economy, together
with the military forces, the police and the security. We decided that, without
specific information, we would not alert people, we would not frighten them.
Mr. Ashcroft, to a somewhat greater extent than his colleagues in the United
States, did that a couple times. He might be right to do so, but we simply opted
for a different approach. It might be that Mr. Ashcroft was holding very
specific information which brought him to do that. Through intelligence we are
reviewing consistently, I can notice suggestions, leads, the beginning of a
Very seldom are we asked to check X, or time Y; very seldom are we told that
something is going to happen. On our side, unless we actually had some evidence,
we wouldn't want to frighten people, but we try to pass the word around to those
involved, in order to alert them.
The Chairman: First, I refer to the latest report of the Special Senate
Committee on Security and Intelligence - referred to as the Kelly Report.
Recommendation 24 called for "regular and joint training exercises to
respond to nuclear, biological or chemical attack be conducted by the Department
of National Defence, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and $first responders'
throughout the country." Recommendation 22 proposes "that the
government support the training of $first responders'" and ensure that they
receive appropriate resources. Has that happened?
Mr. Fadden: Mr. Chairman, as comprehensively as former Senator Kelly's
report would have us do, it has not happened. On the other hand, a number of
steps have been taken. One of those is the prime minister's creation of the
Office of Critical Infrastructure Protection and Emergency Preparedness, OCIPEP.
That is an indication of the seriousness with which we view the situation.
They have received some funding for training and for coordination with first
responders. They are registering their interest and receiving some additional
funding to do this. They are working their way through a review of the National
Counter Terrorism Plan with the provinces and municipalities to move in that
direction. Some steps have been taken, but certainly not as comprehensively as
former Senator Kelly would have suggested.
The Chairman: Who decides what information comes across your door? Are
you asking for information or are people volunteering it? What is the system to
determine what hits the committee that you chair, or assist the clerk in
Mr. Fadden: The information is in two categories. My colleague, Mr. Greg
Fife, is the Executive Director of the Assessment Staff. He has a regular series
of product that come our way. He scans the universe as best he can; he knows
what is in the newspapers; and he knows if the PM is travelling. That would come
to us as a matter of routine. I might send the information on to the clerk or
the PM It is the regular flow of information. We have indicated, over time,
things that are of particular interest and that would be included.
The other category of information would be something that, for example, relates
to this crisis. In such a case, I probably see ten times more information than I
might have usually, if not more. The inclination is to try to provide us with a
sense of what is in the system. There is no way that I could physically do my
job if I saw every piece of information that is being produced. If there are
five or six pieces that suggest, to use Senator Nolin's example, there will be
an attack on Los Angeles, they might give me one as an illustration of what it
is like. I pass a fair number of those to the people upstairs.
The Chairman: I am curious about the structure of the Communications
Security Establishment, CSE. It is located in the Department of Defence, but it
reports to you rather than to the Deputy Minister of Defence. You then report to
the Minister. Why is it structured in such a way?
Mr. Fadden: That is a good question, and I asked that same question when
I was given these additional duties. I believe that, in large measure, it is
historical. At the time the defence minister was given responsibility for CSE,
it was judged that CSE had a mandate that went beyond defence. The Prime
Minister of the day wanted to ensure that it carried out its mandate in a way
that took into account the preoccupations of the RCMP and of foreign affairs. He
gave the Secretary of cabinet of the day responsibility for plans and
operations. Some years ago, it was decided that that would be delegated down to
my level. It is largely to ensure that it is not taken over by defence and that
military signals and intelligence become its sole raison d'être.
The Chairman: Earlier, a question was asked about further funding, and
you suggested it would be three to six years before it would effect any change.
Aren't you being optimistic? Would it not take longer?
Mr. Fadden: It would depend on what. For example, if Parliament were to
increase the appropriation provided to CSIS to hire more agents, it would take
five to six years to train a new agent, I am told. If, on the other hand, we
were to receive funding to do a broader job on the assessment staff, it would be
relatively easy to find an academic or specialist or two, hire them and put them
to work. On the CSE side, for example, a large chunk of what they would need
would be better, more modern technology.
It is hard to simply say that there is a time frame and no other. For some it is
a long haul, and for others, the return would be faster.
The Chairman: What have you learned about your system, your structure and
your people, since September 11?
Mr. Fadden: On a positive note, in almost any situation, people pull
together very hard and very well in a crisis. I have been struck by the fact,
quite honestly, that where we might have had an interdepartmental debate for
three weeks on an issue, because of the crisis people have moved along much
faster and we have tried to resolve problems. People have demonstrated their
ability to work hard and to work professionally.
On the other side of the coin, crises have a way of putting in sharp relief
difficulties and challenges. That goes back, to some degree, to Senator Wiebe's
question about the number of organizations and about the sharing of data. We are
doing quite well. Are we doing it fast enough? We have seen a couple of examples
that would indicate that that is not the case.
When there is a real crisis, and you are dealing with another country, they want
information right away. We are trying to work our way through new operating
procedures to ensure that people can be "put into automatic." When
there is no crisis, you develop an approach. You share information and you solve
problems on the basis of ongoing relationships.
In a crisis, you need quickly. It is like driving a racing car. You have to be
able to move into fifth or sixth gear quickly. I have found a couple of
instances where it would have been better had we had more standing operating
procedures that could have been clutched in right away.
The Chairman: On behalf of the committee, we are grateful to you for your
presentation. We recognize how busy you have been and greatly appreciate your
setting aside time for us this evening. Thank you for your presentation. We look
forward having you back before the committee before too long.
Our second witness this evening is Professor Douglas Bland, who is Chair of the
Defence and Management Studies at the School of Policy Studies at Queen's
University in Kingston. Dr. Bland retired from the Canadian Armed Forces as a
lieutenant colonel in 1990 after more than 30 years of service. He held command
appointments in Canada and Europe and staff positions also in Europe and the
Canadian National Defence Headquarters. In his research, Dr. Bland has
concentrated in the field of defence policy and management at the national and
His work has also focussed on the organization and functioning of defence
ministries and civil military relations. Tonight we have asked Dr. Bland to give
us his views on the elements of the national security policy. Please proceed.
Professor Douglas Bland, Chair, Defence Management Studies Program, School of
Policy Studies, Queen's University: Thank you for the invitation to be here
tonight and for the challenge to try to sketch out something that I will call
the "elements of national security policy."
As you might expect, I will take an academic approach to this topic. The brief
notes I have provided today are meant to be a vehicle for discussion around what
policies might be, how structures might be built or amended to manage these
policies, and how the combination of departments or agencies have an effect on
the outcome of policies.
I will begin by saying that there is a great deal of confusion in my field, at
least over what is meant by the term "security." It has many
applications in many fields, and it has a wide scope embracing personal,
security, military, social and environmental policies; and various other policy
fields. The first concern for policy-makers in Canada, who might be writing a
national security policy or drafting a "white paper," is to try to
work out what the term will mean for Canadians.
I would like to talk about some concepts and factors that I think will affect
the way policy is formulated, managed and administered, and the types of
security that derive from it. When I talk about policy to my students and to
other people, I take "policy" to mean "sets of decisions taken by
people of authority." In the case of national security, those sets of
decisions are about what is to be secured from whom and what, and how
"security" itself is to be achieved. They are the essential kinds of
decisions that need to be made.
In the international literature and the defence literature, there are scores of
definitions of what "national security" might mean. Some of those
definitions are narrow, some are broad, and some are unreadable. As one
prominent scholar suggested that the term "may not have any precise meaning
at all." Only an academic can say something like that.
If a broad definition of "national security" is taken, there is a
danger that there will be no obvious limits to policy. Policy may become
impractical in many specific ways, especially for people who are trying to
Security also works in different frameworks. There is personal security,
national security, international security, multinational security and, as Lloyd
Axworthy popularised, but did not invent, "human security." The term
can be meant to encompass everyone in the world. The difficulty with these types
of definitions is that they make it difficult for people to write practical
I have sketched out for you a definition of "national security" that
was current at the National Defence College in Kingston when I was there, before
its untimely demise. At the National Defence College, defined "national
The preservation of a way of life acceptable to Canadian people and compatible
with the needs and legitimate aspirations of others. It includes freedom from
military attack or coercion, freedom from internal subversion and freedom from
the erosion of political, economic and social values that are essential to the
quality of life.
I offer this suggestion, not because it is the answer, but simply because it is
homegrown and has been well considered over many years, and because it was
particularly useful in the context that we used at the National Defence College.
The essence of the definition is that national security is aimed at preserving a
way of life as defined by Canadians. It is a flexible notion in the sense that
the definition of "national security" can change as Canadians redefine
what they think is an acceptable way of life.
As an aside, you can see that in function now. Two months ago, the kinds of
security policies that are now suggested in Parliament and other places might
not have been acceptable to Canadians. From what I have read, many of the
proposed policies might be seen by some Canadians as too timid. As the
situations change, the definition of "national security," in a
practical sense, changes when you link it to what Canadians think is an
acceptable way of life.
I do not need to explain to anyone here that trying to define "an
acceptable way of life" for Canadians is a difficult task that is,
essentially, a political task. That involves conversations with Canadians.
The various definitions of "national security," when boiled down,
result in a context about which we are speaking today - to policies and systems
that will preserve people, political systems and institutions from unlawful
harm, armed attacks and violence. It is the degree to which people in the United
States are secure in this context. Although it does raise another controversy as
to whether we are securing ourselves against threats or against fears. That is a
problem that people need to address.
In my view, the concept of national security and the debate around national
security, are too often hindered by a close focus on threats. If you read the
papers and listen to conversations and commentators, the focus of attention is
almost always on identifying the threat. Why did you not understand the threat?
What about the threat? What happened?
I am a firm believer in the notion that threats are ambiguous and are not
apparent. Too much focus on the threat scenario in trying to identify where the
threats are and what they are can diminish the time spent in building a national
security policy. We need to think beyond threats. In our assessments of national
security policy, we need to think about vulnerabilities.
In other words, someone can threaten us as much as they like, if we are not
vulnerable to the threat, then we do not have as big a security problem as the
simple threat might indicate. As an example, if a terrorist group were to
threaten to cut oil supplies to Canada, policy-makers might not be too alarmed
if Canada had, beforehand, developed a means to ensure a domestic supply of fuel
in a crisis.
All threats are not equal and not necessarily to be addressed as though they
were equal. You cannot, in my view, understand threat to national security
without understanding, at the same time, whether we are vulnerable to the
particular type of threat.
That kind of construction takes us down another road to provide another way to
look at building a national security policy and a national security agency
practical means. A national security policy should concentrate on the means to
mitigate threats and to redress vulnerabilities, at the same time.
Threats tend to be diffuse and outside national control. You cannot do much
about people in a far away country who threaten Canada. However, threats can be
reduced by using a variety of traditional tools and approaches, including
diplomatic negotiations, treaties, redressing legitimate grievances, and so on.
National vulnerabilities, on the other hand, are much more concrete. They are
susceptible to national policies and national means of redress.
Thus, a national security policy ought to be aimed at developing the means to
identify threats and vulnerabilities, and at stipulating responsibilities for
managing those threats and for reducing vulnerabilities. That brings me to the
question that I was asked to address: What are the bare elements of a national
security policy, as I see them?
The first part of such policy must be a clear description of what is to be
secured, from what, from whom, and how that is to be organized. I suggested a
definition based on various works, including the National Defence College. A
Canadian definition of "national security" might be "the
preservation of a way of life acceptable to the Canadian people and the security
of people, national institutions, and freedoms from unlawful harm, armed attacks
and other violence."
Central to this kind of national security policy as an introduction are three
principal frameworks: deterrence against attacks; defence against those attacks
that you can identify; and then a credible ability to defeat attacks on our
national security. This will necessarily involve the linking of federal,
provincial, municipal and private spheres of responsibility.
A policy "white paper" might have the following types of sections:
First, as I have just discussed, it should have a statement of purpose. What are
the objects of national security policy and what are the main elements of a
conceptual framework for such a policy? Next, would be a statement of
responsibilities. This section should clearly state that, although national
security is primarily an obligation of the federal government, achieving and
maintaining our way of life is the responsibility of every Canadian and
necessarily must involve cooperation among provinces, municipalities,
non-government organizations and private enterprise.
The policy should clearly identify a specific federal authority, preferably a
cabinet minister, who would be accountable to Parliament for the management and
direction of the national security of Canada. Some may say that it is the Prime
Minister's responsibility to fulfil that function. In these more complex times,
that is not a proper answer.
Furthermore, I think the policy should identify the departmental or agency
structure that would assist this minister in his or her duties.
The third important statement would be a statement of what they like to call
around this town the "machinery of government," related to national
security. Here I think it is important that we have a comprehensive and
effective national security system, which necessarily will involve the
coordination of many agencies across governments and between governments, as I
think your previous speakers made clear.
No matter the sophistication of a new ministry or agency for national security -
or the rejection of that idea - it is still necessary to construct a single
mechanism capable of collecting and collating information that can be used to
produce intelligence. Subsequent tasks would be organizing, planning and
conducting overt and covert security operations; processing and managing
security-related judiciary matters; managing international security affairs;
and, finally, machinery to assist ministers in reporting to cabinet and
Some, if not all, of these functions are now carried out by the machinery of
government in Ottawa and in the agencies and in the RCMP and the Canadian Armed
Forces amongst others. However, they are scattered entities. The preferred
system for managing the scattered entities is to form ad hoc committees and
these are usually formed and operated only under duress and difficult
situations. They may be quiet entities in peacetime - rarely meeting until there
is a crisis. We have seen that demonstrated now.
The next important piece in such a policy is a statement of resources - a
general idea of the resources necessary to produce a national security system.
For any political leader, that will be a very difficult undertaking: to wrestle
from government and from existing departments and agencies the resources that
will be necessary for some new player in the field. If it were simply left to
one minister to try and define the resources necessary for this program, it
would be difficult to bring it into being.
Next, the policy should contain a statement of the need for international
control and coordination of national security planning. As we heard this
evening, many of those activities now take place. They need to be tightened up,
not just with our allies, but also within our own departments. As I understand
the national counter-terrorism plan, it was written to counteract isolated
instances of terrorist operation, the hijacking of an aircraft and so on. I
think I can see some of the practical difficulties that the plan faces because
it is facing functional departments.
For instance, I am told that if an aircraft is hijacked in Canadian air space,
it is the Solicitor General's responsibility to handle it. If the hijacking
takes place outside Canadian air space but is approaching Canadian air space,
then the Department of Foreign Affairs is responsible for the incident until the
airplane passes into Canadian air space and then it passes to the Solicitor
General. When the hijacked airplane is on a taxiway at a Canadian airport, it is
a Transport Canada problem. People working in the system tell me that they feel
they have a grip on how they would manage such a situation. That is just one
example of a security problem.
In another example, we have the oft-repeated scene of illegal aliens approaching
Canada in a rusty old boat. It is credible that the tracking of the vessel
begins with intelligence operations overseas - say in China or Hong Kong, It
then involves Canadian forces operations, Coast Guard operations, and police
operations. When the vessel reaches our shores, it involves Immigration,
Canadian forces, police operations and so forth. There is no central agency for
managing that. We depend upon the agencies and the people in the field,
particularly, to ensure that all the operations are joined properly together and
In our present environment, with all respect to officials and members of the
Armed Forces and the police agencies and so on, they are working as well as they
can within this somewhat cumbersome organization. They are working against
terrorist organizations and others that are single-minded, singly commanded,
properly directed toward their mission with little confusion. If we are to
combat those kinds of organizations, then we need an agile, centrally controlled
properly resourced institution to combat them. I do not think we can do it the
way we are doing it now.
In another field, we have noticed these same kinds of coordination problems
between foreign and defence policies. Many of you have been aware the
difficulties, over the years, in trying to get defence and foreign policies
working on the same track. Getting national security policy working on the same
track will be even more difficult without some significant changes.
We need to include a statement of continental security. This is important for us
and for the United States' sense of security. The Special Senate Committee on
Security and Intelligence might wish to look at the Permanent Joint Board on
Defence - an instrument that has been around since about 1940. It is a sometimes
active, sometimes less active institution. However, it has been the principal
means by which members of Parliament, senators and officials from both sides of
the border get together to discuss, in a rational and constructive way, the
needs for national defence. It would be worth checking to see if that board
could be expanded to include a broader sense of national security as well. That
type of agency could be important.
A Canadian national security policy and a national security system ought to be
constructed on a foundation of decisions about ends and means. It must address
the location of political responsibility and accountability. It must address the
methods for national coordination and control. It must address how we will act
in the face of international terrorism and how we will best bolster our
continental security with the United States.
With those brief remarks, Mr. Chairman, I am ready for any questions.
Senator Banks: Mr. Bland, I like what you said about needing to have an
agile response. I have been trying to place myself in the shoes of those who
attack. We must not - as has become common to say - fight the last war. You also
said we must have in place a defence system.
Would you agree that having a national line type of defence system, or its
equivalent, which would concentrate on how to respond if someone tries to fly an
airplane into a tall building, is a waste of time? We will not, in the
foreseeable future, be attacked in the old-fashioned conventional sense by
infantry with bayonets or by an identifiable air force. If we must now guard
most carefully against terrorist attacks, we must remember that the nature of
terrorism is to attack next in a way entirely unlike anything done before and
entirely unlike anything described in the newspapers as being expected.
As you say, we need an agile response - the ability to improvise and be
creative. There is a very good probability that the next attack will be
something that we did not think about, that no one contemplated. If terrorists
of any stripe or nefarious point of view want to do harm, it will be in a way
that is completely unexpected. Do you think that that is true?
Mr. Bland: That is a first-order question. Perhaps the safest way to
begin considerations of national vulnerabilities is to look at where we might be
surprised. I do not believe the terrorists are 10 feet tall. I do not think they
are all that smart, actually. They have just set out and noticed, for instance,
that we do not lock the doors of airplane cockpits. If we had locked those
doors, we may not have had these problems. If I had been spent a year scouting
out American airplanes to find some way to attack the World Trade Center, I
would have noticed that the doors are always open and that is a vulnerability.
We do not need people to anticipate exactly what will happen - because I do not
think they can do that. However, we need people who are alert enough to spot our
national vulnerabilities and to address those. We also need a system in which
someone is directly accountable for doing that. It is an important political
accountability to keep the system on its toes, to be acting on those
Imagine if, one week before the September 11, all airlines in North America were
suddenly ordered to lock those cockpit doors. The terrorists would have been
thrown off for another year or two as they were forced to decide on a new plan.
Analysis of our own vulnerabilities comes first. We then need an agile
organization that can quickly recognize problems, quickly get them to the
attention of people in authority, and quickly take action so that issues do not
fall into a committee process. I do not mean to misquote the earlier witness,
but I think he said that, before the disaster, interdepartmental committee
meetings were held on intelligence issues. We need a system that can react much
more quickly than that. In my experience, central control of decision-making
helps to speed things up.
Senator Banks: Even with the greatest expertise and the greatest
expenditure of funds, is it possible to have a plan that could take into account
every conceivable contingency, vulnerability and weakness?
Mr. Bland: No, of course not. That is an administrator's delusion. There
is no perfect system that can produce perfect answers. I do believe, however,
that there is a great deal of military science in history and in police
operations that will help us catch many of these actions before they happen and
put the perpetrators off guard. The idea is to make the terrorist's job very
Senator Banks: That applies to criminals, too?
Mr. Bland: That applies to criminals and internal subversives, whomever
these people may be. We need to make their jobs so difficult that they are apt
to make a mistake. If we make it very easy for them to act, we are just asking
In Canada and in most of the western world, we feel secure most of the time and
so we have developed very vulnerable societies. We need to look at that, but we
will not be able to anticipate every action. We may be able to forestall some
activity, frighten away some people, and deter others to a soft target. If we
are a hard target, they will go some place else. We might also be able to reduce
some of the damage created by these kinds of attacks.
Senator Banks: In regard to intelligence as it relates to security, it
seems we no longer need highly sophisticated electronic surveillance for
gathering intelligence because the current threat, it seems, does not employ
that stuff. Using cell phones is about as sophisticated as these people get. It
was suggested that if we want forewarning of people like Mr. Rassam, then we
must get back to using plain, old-fashioned spies. We must subsume the interests
of people and put spies in likely locations where these threats might arise.
That change in our attitude was suggested to us. Have you given any thought to
that kind of question?
Mr. Bland: I have not thought about that in any kind of disciplined way.
We must obviously use all possible overt and covert methods to collect
information that can be turned into intelligence. Bolstering our abilities in
overseas posts to collect information is important. I do not know how many
military attachés we have now. We have cut back because of spending reductions.
Those gentlemen had many important duties, one being to take photos of other
The U.S.-led campaign in Afghanistan and around the world is trying to make the
world unsafe for terrorists. The more we can have them looking over their
shoulder and worrying, the better off we will be. You might not catch them all,
but you will make them worry about what they are doing.
President Bush's statement that you are either for us or against us has made
some odd kinds of partnerships. Iran is saying these days that America is its
greatest friend. When you make the world unsafe for terrorists, you make the
world safer for us. If they think they are being spied on, listened to or
followed, if they become paranoid, it is all the better for us, in my view.
Senator Wiebe: I would like to go back to your paper, Mr. Bland, and the
elements of security policy. You have suggested on page two a definition of
"national security" from the former Canadian National Defence College;
I see nothing wrong with that definition. I think it is an excellent suggestion.
To apply my interpretation, the definition is problematic in how the way of life
might be determined. It is debatable. In this country, with elections every four
years, the electorate in this country will dictate to the government what way of
life they would like to see for themselves. Would that not be a natural way to
determine a particular way of life for our country?
Mr. Bland: Yes, I think so. That is what is going on right now in the
debates about the security bills and so on. It is the kind of conversations we
have all the time about building defence resources or police resources or more
courts and so on and so forth. It is a discussion about the way of life
Canadians want to live.
Perhaps that accounts for some of the shock that may be out there in the
public's mind. They thought they were living one kind of life and found out
rudely that it is not as secure as they thought it was.
Senator Wiebe: When we talk about security and a way of life, would it be
necessary to have security of economic values? I do not think so. What about
weather, for example, and food supply? Should we be looking ahead at five-year
weather forecasts to determine whether we will be capable of producing the food
that is required? This comes to mind now because right across this country we
have experienced a drought. It is not dramatic, but it did result in a 28 per
cent reduction in this country's normal production. Should that be considered as
a security matter as well?
Mr. Bland: That is an important question. I mentioned in my opening
remarks that the term "security" has become broader in academic areas
and policy fields to the point of perhaps becoming a difficulty. People will
tell you that the greenhouse effect, the attacks on the environment, and the
reason we are having droughts in Saskatchewan and better winters in Kingston
than in Ottawa is because of global warming. Lake Ontario is warmer. We have
nicer weather down there. People will say that a very important national
security problem for Canada is global warming and, therefore, we better have a
national security policy that embraces that sort of thing.
You can go into every policy field or perhaps every endeavour of human life. I
might debate that with some people. I do not think that what is important in the
context that we are talking about now - and in a traditional context - that a
national security policy needs to or would be useful if it embraced everything.
There is a very clear need to look at the degrees of insecurity and the
consequences of insecurity. The immediate consequence of insecurity is many dead
people on the ground and perhaps attacks on our institutions and so on. I would
think that a national security white paper would be useful if it was
concentrated in an area where we are talking about violent harm to Canadian
people, to our public institutions, and to our essential values like our
Constitution and so on. That is what I think is important.
Senator Day: Mr. Bland, I would like you to expand on your thesis in
relation to the machinery of government, if you would. Can we agree that the
collection of information could continue from many different sources and would
not necessarily have to come from one particular agency?
Mr. Bland: It would be advisable to educate our officials and people who
work inside and outside Canada - not that they are not educated- to highlight
the need for them to be alert to information that might be dangerous to Canada's
national security. They ought to be encouraged to submit it and use it. That is
Many of the agencies that deal with national security - whether it is the
security establishment or National Defence or the police - have developed
functional responsibilities for their aspects of security out of a long history
of different problems, and they are dealing with one problem and so on. Now we
are dealing with a more concentrated problem. It is essential to collect
It is critically important that the information collected be processed
centrally, not that only one view of the information or one analysis would be
done. However, if you are going to have an agile system, you need to have a
source to go to in order to find the collective answer. You should collect
broadly, analyse centrally, and then disseminate quickly from that source.
Senator Day: You see some analysis done for specific application purposes
by the RCMP or by National Defence, but you would also see a broader national
security analysis done of some of that analysis. Is that your thesis?
Mr. Bland: I believe so. You need technical analysis. You need the people
who know about the capabilities of weapons systems that opponents might have;
people who know about the operating systems of certain terrorist organizations,
and, people who are very familiar with the culture in this or that country.
These are technical people and they are a valuable national asset that needs to
be supported and financed and developed in the universities, government, and
At the same time, you need a core of officials who can draw appropriate
information and intelligence from these kinds of analysis. It is intriguing - in
some of the histories of the intelligence organizations - to find that the
reason there was unnecessary surprise is that one hand had a bit of information
about what was going to happen in Pearl Harbour and the other hand had a little
bit of the other information, but they never got together. They did not come
together in any meaningful way. There were no appropriate methods of
communication between these various agencies to bring the thing together
When we are dealing with what seem to be well-organized, centrally minded,
persistent organizations that are out to cause harm, it is difficult to respond
to those with slower, traditional kinds of ways of doing things. Your premise is
right: broadly collected, centrally analyzed.
Senator Day: Mr. Bland, you heard Mr. Fadden speaking earlier about
trying to provide that coordinating centralized role and all the other
departments, and analysis being fit in and mandated to be fed to the Prime
Minister. Is your basic problem with what exists now that they are feeding in to
the Prime Minister and there should be a separate minister responsible who has
that as a central function?
Mr. Bland: I did not hear all of the remarks. I did hear the end, and I
thought it was very interesting. Let me preface my remarks by saying that in my
experience, mostly on the military side, the problem is not collecting and
assembling and laying out a significant amount of intelligence. The problem is
to get the commander to read the intelligence reports. You can produce all the
stuff you want, but you cannot force it down their throats.
I am not saying that is what goes on in political circles, but it is frustrating
for people in the intelligence world to keep saying, "Boss, come on, look
behind the curtain, look what we found out." They have no time for that in
the day-to-day work when these things are not so important.
The difficulty for a co-ordinator, who is not the authority but who is a
co-ordinator of an activity, is that he or she does not have much to do until
there is something to be co-ordinated. In other words, if the various elements
of a unit do not want to talk to the co-ordinator then there is nothing to
coordinate. It is difficult for a co-ordinator to go out and give orders to the
various elements and say, "You produce for me by this time." The
response will be "That is not my job, I am not answerable to you for
that." The co-ordinator's job ought to be replaced by an accountability
position, someone who has central authority and is accountable to Parliament for
the state of national security, or at least the state of national intelligence.
With all due respect, and I have known many who have worked in the PCO and the
intelligence side for many years, their problem is enforcing their coordinating
role on departments that have other agendas and interests, and to force their
findings up through the system. A minister who might have to answer to
Parliament might solve some of those problems.
Senator Forrestall: I heard earlier something that I believe we have all
known but really do not want to confront. That has to do with the funding of
terrorism. There is sufficient evidence out there to warrant depositing of the
statement - fully right or fully wrong is not really important - that much of
the funding for terrorism comes from the profits of illicit drugs such as
heroin. This involves hundreds of millions of dollars. This does not necessarily
go to the source of present troubles in the world, but to many sources of
potential terrorism and subversive activity.
I do not know whether this bears pursuit, or whether it is possible to pursue it
or not, but I have been intrigued by the proposition that if you lifted the
prohibition on the illegal use of drugs it would disappear as a source of
profit. In other words, that which is produced for seven or eight cents at the
farm gate and translates into millions of dollars in the streets, with the
enormous profits that are attached, would no longer be available for the pursuit
of terrorist activities. Do you have a comment on that?
Mr. Bland: I have a comment onlyin a general way, because that is
outside my field. I have had some experience in conferences with Plan Colombia.
You may know of this plan, supported by the United States, to try to accelerate
the war on drugs in that country. Interestingly enough, if you went to academic
conferences in the United States months ago and talked about the national
security problem inside the States, drugs was a national security problem. That
is what was destroying or, in some regards, damaging the acceptable way of life
for Americans. Therefore, the war on drugs was launched many years ago.
I do not think that legalizing the use of cocaine, heroin and so on in our
streets is an acceptable way to solve our problem. There must be another way.
The consequences I have seen of the legal or illegal trade in drugs in Colombia,
Panama and other states will not be overturned by legalizing drugs. You will
still have huge problems.
The drug problem is changing its shape internationally. It is not just the kids
in our high schools using these drugs that create a problem for us, but in many
other states, such as Colombia, Panama and Guatemala, it is their own citizens
who are the target. They are the people using the drugs. They are the people who
are then susceptible to all sorts of criminal activities and so on.
Again, like global warming, the environment and other security matters, the drug
problem is something about which Canadians ought to be concerned. I take a
narrower view of the national security problem. I do not think that the war on
drugs needs to be related to that for us to live in a secure country.
Senator Forrestall: Thank you for that. Certainly Canada is moving in
that direction by itself. You would need to have those nations perhaps
representing 2 billion to 3 billion people on the face of this earth to move in
the same direction before it became effective.
Mr. Bland: Senator Forrestall, you are right. This country is a small
player in this matter. I believe Europeans consume more drugs than Americans.
These are huge problems that we might be able to redress somewhat, but not
Senator Hubley: Mr. Bland, you made a comment, "I do not think we
can do it the way we are doing it now." My question leads from that. Given
your military background and the work you have done on national security, were
you surprised by the events of September 11? Do you feel, in retrospect, that
they were predictable, that it is something that we should have been able to
address at that time? Are we moving in the right direction in our
Mr. Bland: Yes, I was surprised. I was as surprised as anyone else at the
immediate event, at its severity and its boldness. I was shocked at the
consequences. I am not alone in this. The room can be filled with people who
have been saying to the Government of Canada and to other governments, "We
better watch out what we are doing here. There is a national security problem.
The Cold War is over. We are not living in a dreamland. There are threats all
around us and many things that need to be done." People have been saying to
the Liberal government, and to the previous Conservative government, that buying
a peace dividend on the backs of the Canadian Armed Forces, the RCMP and the
intelligence systems was a poor policy and that some day it would jump up and
bite us. I believe that has happened.
We are now in the difficult situation of trying to recover from years of
inattention. If someone went to the Chief of Defence Staff this evening and told
him to go to the treasury and take as much money as he wanted, the Canadian
Armed Forces capabilities will continue to decline for the next four or five
years, depending on the category of capability you are talking about. It takes
that long to recover the capabilities that we will need in a variety of places.
Having looked at the data, our military equipment will be essentially worn out
in the next seven, eight or ten years - things like helicopters and all other
categories of machinery. We are in the difficult position of trying to recover
from policies of past governments. It will take us a long time. I do not know
the details, but I imagine that the same thing is happening to the RCMP. How
long does it take to train a constable to a standard where a constable can be
useful? How long does it take to train an intelligence person with skills to
work as an intelligence analyst? How long does it take to build a machinery of
government that will work?
We are trying to help the rest of our allies fight off terrorism while we are
trying to build or rebuild the ramparts. We have a difficult road to hoe here.
Throwing money at it will not solve it; it will just take time.
Senator Banks: We do have to throw some more money at it.
Mr. Bland: I agree absolutely, senator. In the defence field, the Auditor
General said $1 billion a year was needed just to stay still, to keep the Armed
Forces from rusting away. The comments in the Composite Defence Association's
recent report on the state of national defence are beside the point.
There is not any defence analyst or commentator outside of government who would
argue that the Canadian Armed Forces are in great shape, that they not only need
money for new helicopters, but money and direction to rebuild Canada's military
capabilities. That is not to say that military capabilities will solve terrorist
problems, but building and maintaining an adequate national defence capability
is part of a national security policy to deter, defend and defeat terrorists. We
are just starting this process. Unless, of course, people think that what
happened in September is just an event and it will be over, it will all finish
and we will return to business as usual. We have had terrorist acts for 10 years
in all sorts of different places. If people think that this is a continuous
problem, then we need continuous policies and attention by Parliament to solve
It is not going well so far, but at least the intelligence officers and other
people have the attention they need to bring the issues to the fore.
The Chairman: Professor Bland, your remarks tonight have been very
interesting. There has been a heavy federal emphasis tonight - naturally, we are
a federal body - but can you have a National security policy that is only
federal or national?
Mr. Bland: No, you cannot. A national security policy will necessarily
involve close cooperation with some kinds of agencies built within provinces.
Obviously, there is a need for coordination and there is coordination within
various police departments at the provincial level, the OPP, the Sûreté du
Québec, municipal police and so on. Efforts with funding and discussions about
how will we bring municipal and provincial leaders and institutions into this
policy field will be important.
It is not clear now for officers in cities such as Winnipeg or in other towns
how they as municipal police will actually work with what most of us perceive to
be a national problem. I am addressing a national security system. I do not mean
a federal security system, but rather a national security system.
The Chairman: You would see federal funding going to first providers like
medical officers of health, ambulance systems or firemen, and so on?
Mr. Bland: I do not want to get into federal and provincial sharing of
monies, but funds must be provided for these kinds of things.
I was in Winnipeg recently and they had the scare in the post office when
someone found an envelope with white material in it. The chief fire department
officer was complaining that few people on the fire department staff in that
large city knew how to approach the problem. They had one set of suits and one
small responder team. It was just beyond them, because it always has been
someone else's problem.
We have a national biological chemical warfare team that is available for the
Minister of National Defence. I think that includes 20 people.
The Chairman: I thought it was 14 people.
Mr. Bland: They probably have secondary duties as well.
A national security policy framework would include the kind of questions you are
asking. How many means do we need to reach our ends? That is important.
Many of the vulnerable targets or points in this country, such as hydro systems,
are under provincial legislation. Imagine how easy it is to turn off the lights
in Montreal and northern New York by knocking down part of the line coming from
James Bay to the south. You only need a tractor, a few pieces of rope and a
couple of pieces of dynamite and you can knock out that system. We would have
the ice storm situation all over again. That would be very easy to do. I do not
know whether the federal government can insist that the Government of Quebec do
something about that.
The Chairman: In your experience, what is the closest the federal
government has ever come to developing a national security policy? Have there
been efforts in the past?
Mr. Bland: I do not think we have ever had a national security policy to
the extent that we are thinking about it now. That is, one that embraces defence
and immigration law -an umbrella policy from which you hang these other policy
areas. The closest we perhaps might have come to that would have been during the
Second World War when the war cabinet - a small organization - directed
everything. The minister of everything - C.D. Howe - ran the economy; the Prime
Minister ran the relationships with other states. We had war production boards
and so on. There was a comprehensive federal direction of the national security
of Canada. Granted, Canada at that time was a smaller country, with a less
complicated economy, with fewer people, although the threat was probably greater
to most of us - a that threat was being managed mostly by our allies.
That would be the last time that we had such a thing. Senator Forrestall
probably knows these events better than I, but after the war, that committee was
dismantled. Even during Korea, I do not think we had anything akin to a national
security committee of cabinet. Over the years since the 1989 period, national
security has fallen off the political agenda except in functional areas like
national defence and somewhat for the police. There is no central accountability
evident in our national security planning.
The Chairman: In your outline to develop a national security policy - and
I like your framework - are additional costs inherent in this proposal? Do you
feel additional costs would fall out of doing the analysis?
Mr. Bland: The true costs will eventually fall out of doing the analysis.
What I say from my safe haven in the ivory tower is that governments should
spend what is needed for policy, not what is available for policy. What we have
been spending on National defence, is what is available. People have been saying
to the armed forces for many years, not just the last 10 years: "Here is
$12 billion; go see what you can do with that. How much defence can we get for
that? Do not come back for any more." The strategy is: "Here's what is
available from the federal pie - the slice is $12 billion - to do
The other approach, of course, is for experts and politicians to sit down and
come to a consensus about what is needed for national defence, and then fund it.
People say that I am dreaming in that area, but it is true. In Australia over
the last 10 years, they have set up such a system for national defence planning
where the government meets with their expert advisers to tell them what it is
they want. The experts then advise them of the cost and the government responds
that it is too expensive. They then refashion the model and eventually reach
consensus. Then you ensure that the officials and the officers who have agreed
that that is what they need are held to the fire to make sure they produce what
In drawing up a national security policy, people ought to concentrate on what is
needed. Once that has been decided, decide where to get the funds to provide
what is needed.
Senator Banks: We have had appear before this committee, senior members
of the armed forces, who certainly do not imply that everything is wonderful and
they do not want any more money. However, they also say that it is fine. This is
analogous to what you said earlier. You said that an analyst or a commentator
cannot be found outside the armed forces who will say that everything is fine.
Would you comment on that dichotomy?
Mr. Bland: Yes, I will.
Senator Banks: I ask the question because you just said that politicians
should sit down with military experts and find out what they need. We sat down
with them, and they told us they were fine.
Mr. Bland: The leaders of the Canadian Armed Forces are, in my view,
always in a difficult spot in a parliamentary democracy, unlike their American
counterparts who have, under the law, a requirement to serve two masters: the
President and Congress. In the American system, what is needed can always be
brought out in different ways. The chief of defence staff in Canada has one
boss, Parliament of Canada - the government - and he must tow the line. In my
view, over the last number of years many senior officers have decided that there
is more to be gained from co-operating publicly with the government than in
arguing with the government publicly.
Senator Forrestall: Amen.
Mr. Bland: I know these people; I respect them very much and I understand
the difficulties that they deal with every day. They are simply being pragmatic
when they say they can gain more by working with the government on many issues
than they can gain by arguing against them. It goes beyond the constitutional
notion that the chief of defence staff, obviously, cannot disagree with the
government in public.
There is a bizarre argument going on, with the usual supporters of the defence
establishment arguing with the people inside the buildings. The people inside
the building are arguing with the people outside the building - the so-called
"old generals" are arguing with their colleague inside the building
about the state of the armed forces, not now and not in the past, but in the
future. That is critical - where we will go and how things will improve or not
The problem rests almost entirely on funding for the future force and how we
will get there. It would not surprise me if some of the people who are now
speaking about the present state of the forces in a positive way, will say
something differently in a few years after they have left the force.
In concrete terms, people outside the Department of National Defence are almost
unanimously critical of the country's defence policy and the former conservative
government's defence policies during the late 1980s when the Cold War seemed to
be ending. They warned the politicians that if they did not do something in a
few years, we would have difficulties. The public statements by members of the
armed forces have indicated that things are difficult but okay.
However, the recent report by the Conference of Defence Associations contains
evidence they have collected from inside the Department of National Defence
Headquarters that is called, "The Level One Business Reports of the Senior
Leaders." They are talking about the generals and admirals who are in
charge of the armed forces - more bureaucracy level ones. In their business
reports, they are required to report to the chief of defence staff and the
deputy minister on what they have been told to do, what they have been asked to
do, what they have been given to do those tasks and the shortfalls.
Those internal reports - they are in the Conference of Defence Associations
report - contain a long list from the commander of the army, especially, the
commander of the navy and the commander of the air force saying that they cannot
meet government policy or sustain the commitment in Bosnia or keep the people in
the field. The list goes on. It is not just the people on the outside saying
these things, but it is also the people on the inside saying these things to
Perhaps that message is not getting through, but I have great faith in the paper
produced by the CDA, and I think it is worth reading.
The Chairman: Earlier in your testimony, Mr. Bland, you talked about the
desirability of having someone at the political level, other than the prime
minister, in charge of the show. You have just described to us some of the
differences between our system of government and the American system, for
example. Our Prime Minister has infinitely more powers available to him, by the
system's design, than a President of the U.S. could ever have.
Given the fact that prime ministers, historically, have jumped in every time the
balloon has gone up, why are you suggesting that it should go to someone else?
Mr. Bland: I am suggesting that for two reasons. As an aside, Mr. Hugh
Segal, Executive Director of the Institute for Research on Public Policy, IRPP,
and I organized a conference last December in Montreal around these kinds of
questions. The IRPP produced two journals with a collection of papers by
academics, practitioners and military officers addressing some of these
questions. I recommend them to you, and I will give the clerk the references
The difficulty here is somewhat contrary. Why would the Prime Minister's Office
not be the obvious place from which to run these things? In one respect, the
crisis is not severe enough. There are other things going on. There are all the
other national policies to run and they are not necessarily all linked to the
current crisis in terrorism. There are other things going forward.
As well, it will be difficult to sustain interest in some of these matters over
the next months and years as this thing goes along. There will be high periods;
there will be very boring periods for some people. I do not think that the Prime
Minister's Office is the right office to handle these things. It is much more
important to have someone who is almost solely dedicated to the question of
building a national security system.
In my view, we are starting from almost nothing, and we will have to construct
the policy, build a structure, bring the agencies together, try it out, run some
tests and work for years to try to build this thing. That requires concentration
by a minister.
I do not recommend the American model where they have appointed a secretary to
cabinet as homeland defender. That idea is rather horrific for us to
contemplate. We have enough problems of coordination now, why invent another
co-ordinator to take over these types of issues? The favourite device in Ottawa
is to have a commissioner to oversee these types of things.
My short answer is that responsibility for building and managing and being
accountable for the national security system ought to fall to the individual who
has most of the resources for that already. I think that is the Minister of
National Defence. Within the National Defence Act, there is provision to appoint
an associate minister of National Defence at the political level. We could have
three of them, if we wished.
We have done that in Canada before for different kinds of issues. It would be
appropriate to appoint an associate minister of National Defence for operational
security and to have then two voices in cabinet talking about these issues.
The minister of National Defence already has the makings for a national
operational centre down the street. He has a large number of trained staff
officers who are experienced in this field. The minister of National Defence
already controls our world-wide and nation-wide communication system for talking
to military people, and it could be used for all sorts of other things. He
controls, in some respects, the national security establishment through the
Communications Security Establishment. The minister of National Defence already
has most of the resources that would fall to these kinds of responsibilities.
It is very important that you always try to match responsibility with the
resources. If this national security responsibility fell to someone else, what
would they be doing? They would be writing memos to the minister of National
Defence asking for six helicopters, use of communications systems and so forth.
We would return to interdepartmental committee work trying to solve these kinds
Within our present structure, it is a good idea to concentrate responsibility
and accountability where the resources already lie and then to supplement them.
As an example, it would be a good idea to build a national security operations
centre. The one in the Department of National Defence is a military operations
centre. It is a fine place. I am sure you have all had a chance to visit it.
However, it does not have located inside it, routinely, RCMP officers,
communications people or CSIS people. You need to build a central national
operations and intelligence system under one minister.
Senator Banks: I will play the devil's advocate for a minute. It seems
that you have presented an argument against what you earlier suggested when you
asked why we would add another team to one that is already difficult to
coordinate. Such a person already exists in the Privy Council Office. There is a
Whoever has the responsibility must report to the Prime Minister in any event.
We would not want to suggest superseding that parliamentary authority. The Prime
Minister is the leader; the Prime Minister is responsible. Whoever it is would
report to him. That now exists. There is a co-ordinator of all of the ministries
that are involved.
Please respond to the argument that we ought not to add another team to make
things more complicated and get in the way of speaking directly to the Prime
Minister who is the ultimate authority in any case. He must be.
Mr. Bland: Senator Banks, I will try to be clearer. I am suggesting that
you enhance the structure that is already available. The Department of National
Defence has great capabilities within the system, the people and its training
structure and communications structure that can be used to construct a national
I am not talking about the minister of National Defence being the co-ordinator
in the sense that a bureaucrat is a co-ordinator. I am not talking about a
bureaucrat without parliamentary authority or statutory authority. I am talking
about a politician being the co-ordinator - a politician who is accountable to
Parliament for national security and would have to stand up and talk about it.
That is a quantum leap from being a bureaucrat who is a PCO co-ordinator for a
few years trying to get attention. It is critically important that national
security policy be located in some political office that would, of course,
report to the Prime Minister.
The Chairman: I want to test your theory further. How often do you think
that the chief of defence staff gets to talk to the Prime Minister one-on-one?
Mr. Bland: I researched that when I wrote a book on the chiefs. The CDS
would meet with the Prime Minister about three times in his three- or four-year
term. One meeting was upon taking the job; another was on some sort of issue,
and one to say goodbye. That is not to say they do not meet occasionally in
cabinet and other times.
In the last number of years, because of operations in the Gulf War, Bosnia and
so on, the CDSs have had more time with the minister and with the Prime Minister
- but not routinely.
The Chairman: How often do you think Mr. Fadden meets with the Prime
Mr. Bland: I would hazard a guess. I would say, not too often. I would
think that he probably meets with the clerk more than with the Prime Minister.
The Chairman: I think that is true. The clerk meets with the Prime
Minister once a day. If Mr. Fadden meets with the Prime Minister once a week, he
is doing much better than the CDS is.
Mr. Bland: We could debate that.
The Chairman: I am trying to make the point that the system is structured
so that the Privy Council Office controls the documents and the agendas. They
vet the material that goes forward. They are the people who present it to the
Prime Minister. You are suggesting a structure where the responsibility falls
into the hands of folks who see the Prime Minister on television from time to
time and are not in the same room very often. Why do you like that sort of
Mr. Bland: I would not think that everything would stay the same, except
change. I would imagine that if we were to develop a model organization, we
would include in it some sort of mechanism for more consultation. The fact is,
you might have an associate minister of National Defence at the cabinet table
who has primary responsibility for national security operations. That would be
However, one of the criticisms of the present system is that people in the
security world - in the Privy Council office or other places - still have a very
hard time bringing these issues forward. I do not imagine that the clerk brings
intelligence details to the Prime Minister every day. The records of meetings of
cabinet meetings on national security or intelligence security have been weak,
as I understand it.
The Chairman: Since September 11, the focus has been, largely, on
intelligence and counter-terrorism. What thoughts do you have for the Department
of Defence post-September 11 in terms of how their priorities should be shifted?
Mr. Bland: There is a need to be careful here. The CDS and the Deputy
Minister of National Defence have been careful about trying to ride the security
problem for new funds. We must be careful that people do not begin to think that
because we have this immediate problem of individual, small groups of terrorists
flying airplanes into buildings that we should now shut down our Hercules
replacement program to find the funds to address that problem.
I would hope to see an enhanced program to rebuild the Armed Forces to an
acceptable level, and then, to add funds and capabilities as necessary to deal
with some of these other issues.
We are dealing on the inside with essentially policing matters through support
to the police from the armed forces. We need to look carefully at building that
capability to support the police within the armed forces without attacking other
programs that are already on the books.
Perhaps we need to look at the JDF concept to build it up. Perhaps we need to
rebuild the concept that we had in the Canadian Airborne Regiment. I am not a
supporter of the Canadian Airborne Regiment, but the capability of that unit is
required. When the minister disbanded the Canadian airborne regiment, he
disbanded the capability of having a rapidly deployable, large-sized Canadian
unit that could go some place. We could use that capability today.
It would be important to rebuild this rapidly deployable force that we once had.
Those kinds of things are important.
I emphasize that it is critically important not to say, "everything else
that we were planning to do is now passé," and take money from this
program and that program to build something to address this immediate problem.
That would be an uncoordinated way to do things. We need a national security
policy overtop of a national defence policy.
The Chairman: Professor, you have made it a very interesting evening for
us. We know that you made a special effort to come here. We are grateful to you
for doing that. I can say, on behalf of the committee, that we would very much
like to have an ongoing communication with you. We hope to see you back before
us again soon. Thank you very much for a helpful presentation.
Mr. Bland: Thank you for the frank questions. I will go back to the ivory
tower and start working on the answers.
The Chairman: This Senate committee has been part of our survey of major
security and defence matters facing Canada. This evening, we have focussed on
the coordination of the security and intelligence function in our federal
system. We have also heard about elements of the national security policy.
The committee will continue its work next week when it travels to Montreal,
Quebec for a look firsthand at security operations at Dorval Airport and at the
Port of Montreal. In addition, we will meet a distinguished militia unit.
To those of you at home following our work, please visit our Website by going to
www.senate-senat.ca/defence.ca. We post witness testimony as well as committee
hearing schedules. Otherwise, you may contact the clerk of the committee by
calling 1-800-267-7362 for further information or assistance in contacting
members of the committee.