Skip to Content
 

Proceedings of the Standing Senate Committee on
National Security and Defence

Issue 19 - Evidence (morning session)


OTTAWA, Wednesday, August 14, 2002

The Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence met this day at 9:10 a.m. to examine and report on the need for a national security policy for Canada.

Senator Colin Kenny (Chairman) in the Chair.

[English]

The Chairman: Welcome to the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence. Today we continue our study of the need for a national security policy, and specifically our examination of security features at Pearson airport.

As chairman of the committee, I will introduce the members. The deputy chair is the distinguished Senator Forrestall from Nova Scotia. Since his appointment to the Senate, he has participated in all of the defence-related committees of the Senate. He has had a distinguished career in the House of Commons from 1965 until 1988. During his time in the other place, he was the defence critic for the Progressive Conservative party. In June 2000, Senator Forrestall published a report on air safety and security.

Senator Jane Cordy from Nova Scotia has a background in education and community service. She taught school for 30 years throughout Nova Scotia and has distinguished herself as a social educator. Senator Cordy is also a social activist and community volunteer for a number of important organizations such as Phoenix House, a shelter for homeless youth, and she is active with the Dartmouth Book Awards.

Senator Atkins, who is from Ontario, came to the Senate in 1986 with a strong background in the field of communications. He is one of the committee members with direct military experience, having served in the United States Army.

Senator Wiebe is a long-time farmer from Saskatchewan and has been involved with the cooperative movement. He was twice elected to the Saskatchewan Legislative Assembly in the 1970s and, more recently, he has just completed a term as Lieutenant Governor of the Province of Saskatchewan. Senator Wiebe has a strong interest in the reserves and served as the Saskatchewan chair of the Canadian Forces Liaison Council.

To my extreme left is Senator Kinsella, from New Brunswick, who is the Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the Senate. We are pleased to have you with us today, senator.

Senator LaPierre is from Ontario. Over the span of his career, Senator LaPierre has been a constant presence in the Canadian media working as a journalist, author, editor and commentator. Senator LaPierre earned a doctorate from the University of Toronto and was a faculty member with several other universities across our country. He has served as chair of Téléfilm Canada and as host of the electronic town hall meeting for the Citizens' Forum on Canada's Future.

Ours is the first permanent Senate committee with the mandate to examine subjects of security and defence. Recently, we concluded a seven-month study of major issues facing Canada. We produced a report entitled ``Canadian Security and Military Preparedness.'' The Senate has now asked us to examine the need for a national security policy. This morning we will focus more specifically on security questions related to Pearson International Airport.

We have before us Mr. Art Laflamme, senior representative of the Air Line Pilots Association. Capt. Kent Hardisty, who is also scheduled to be with us, has experienced flight problems; however, we expect him to join us later.

Mr. Laflamme, welcome. Before you commence testimony, we would like to swear you in. I would ask the acting clerk to come forward to do that.

(Art Laflamme, sworn)

The Chairman: Mr. Laflamme, please proceed.

Mr. Art Laflamme, Senior Representative, Air Line Pilots Association, International: Honourable senators, the Air Line Pilots Association, International appreciates the opportunity to appear before the committee. Capt. Hardisty sends his apologies and regrets that a flight cancellation yesterday prevented him from arriving in Ottawa in time for this morning's hearings. Perhaps we should not make any comments about the airline industry in relation to this cancellation.

The Chairman: Did they know he was coming?

Mr. Laflamme: I do not think we should read too much into this, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Hardisty is an executive vice-president of the Air Line Pilots Association, International and president of ALPA's Canada board. He is also a pilot for Air Canada Jazz.

I am ALPA's senior representative in Canada. My duties include government affairs and legislation. I am also the ALPAI staff member in Canada responsible for security matters following the tragic events of September 11.

ALPA represents more than 66,000 professional pilots who fly for 43 airlines in Canada and in the United States. As a representative of employees whose very lives depend on the safety and security of the air travel system, ALPA has, since its inception in 1931, devoted itself to ensuring that air travel is both safe and secure. ALPA has developed extensive knowledge and expertise in aviation security issues. ALPA has long been a leader in working with other parties in the United States and Canada to develop improvements to aviation safety and security. These efforts have been stepped up in recent months following the tragic events of September 11.

Our president, Capt. Duane Woerth, led the U.S rapid response team on aircraft security that was tasked with developing recommendations to be delivered to transportation secretary Norman Mineta. One of the many recommendations includes securing and reinforcing cockpit doors.

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration appointed ALPA National Flight Security Committee Chairman Capt. Stephen Luckey to chair a committee examining new security technologies. Capt. Woerth and other ALPA representatives have given testimony before Congress on numerous occasions since September 11. Most recently, Capt. Luckey appeared before the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation on July 25, 2002, to discuss aviation security issues. In Canada, ALPA representatives have appeared before the House of Commons Transport Committee and both the House of Commons and the Senate finance committees regarding security issues.

Meanwhile, security representatives from ALPA have been meeting with senior officials from Transport Canada's Security Directorate in Ottawa to discuss the vital issue of our nation's aviation security and to begin the development of a new aviation security blueprint.

ALPA pilots and staff have participated in the Aviation Security Advisory Committee chaired by Mr. William Elliot, Assistant Deputy Minister of Safety and Security, Transport Canada. Under that committee, our two working groups — the Aircraft Security Working Group and the Airport Security Working Group — have finalized their recommendations that are now before the Minister of Transport.

As the events of September 11 have demonstrated, airline pilots have a great personal stake in the successful development and employment of enhanced aviation security measures. To underscore the risks we face, I would like to pose two questions and follow them with answers: First, is there still a risk of terrorists assuming control of an airliner and crashing it into a building? The answer is an emphatic yes. Transport aircraft, regardless of whether they carry passengers or cargo, must now be regarded as potential human-guided cruise missiles if they fall into the hands of a suicidal terrorist. The September 11 terrorists were remarkably patient, thorough and well-trained, and they employed surprise attacks to great advantage using relatively innocuous weapons that they knew would go unchallenged through security checkpoints.

From their perspective, the operation was a great success, not only in terms of damage but also with respect to the amount of global media attention their acts garnered. History has shown that terrorists endeavour to repeat successes. Hence, we must assume that our enemies are planning for yet another airliner attack.

Second, if terrorists board an aircraft with the intention of hijacking it, will they be armed only with box cutters as they were before? Probably not. The element of surprise from a box cutter type of attack is gone; as well, small knives are now confiscated at security checkpoints. Hence, we must assume that terrorists will be armed with other weapons, which could include guns or explosives pre-placed in aircraft but not taken through passenger screening checkpoints.

We have an unfortunate habit of preparing for the type of security breach that most recently occurred after it has already taken place. This is the equivalent of locking the barn door after the horse has been stolen. Such tunnel vision is foolhardy and leaves us pitifully unprepared for the various types of hijacking attempts that may lie ahead. Terrorists will attempt to exploit the weak links in the system. Instead, we must address, to the best of our knowledge, resources and ability, all of potential threats that exist, not just those threats that we have most recently experienced. I believe that this committee would agree that Canada must take the necessary steps so as not to be viewed as a potential target of opportunity by terrorists.

To use the onionskin analogy, every layer of the onion must have a defence, from outside the perimeter of an airport all the way to the aircraft and finally the flight deck itself. ALPA is of the view that an essential element of a properly functioning security system to counter terrorist acts must focus on controlling access to aircraft such — in other words, only properly identified persons who have reason to be at or on board an aircraft, be they airport or company workers, crew members, maintenance workers or passengers. The present thrust, however, is to provide for security through screening points limited to passengers, crew members and other persons who access aircraft through a screening point.

Much has been done to improve security in this area. We are all familiar with the more thorough measures that have been put in place since last September 11. However, ALPA believes that adequate security measures have yet to be put in place to control access to aircraft other than by passengers and crew members. There continue to be vulnerabilities in the security system that allows fairly easy access to restricted areas and aircraft to unauthorized persons.

While they stand in line for screening to get to their aircraft, ALPA pilots are perplexed and infuriated with the easy access they see is available to their aircraft that would enable terrorist actions to take place. Examples of potential existing vulnerabilities are: access to passenger aircraft by baggage handlers, cleaners, caterers, maintenance and servicing personnel, et cetera; individuals posing as crew members using stolen uniforms and identification; individuals posing as armed law enforcement officials, including RCMP air marshals, using forged identification; cargo aircraft, where there is a lack of cargo screening and employees or others such as cargo and animal handlers carried on these aircraft; and charter and private aircraft that are boarded in areas of the airport separate from the terminal building.

There is a pressing need for a national pass system under the regulatory control and oversight of the Government of Canada with uniform, reliable, technologically-enhanced identification media being used by employees and others at airports, including transient crews and even trusted travellers. The absence of such a system continues to complicate efforts to further enhance aviation security.

It is our understanding that there are already initiatives underway in Canada to use smart card technology at certain airports. Also, we are informed that the Canadian Customs and Revenue Agency is studying this technology to facilitate its work at the border and ports of entry.

Rather than a hodgepodge of perhaps incompatible system across Canada that would stifle the free flow of goods and people necessary for the prosperity of Canadians, there is now an opportunity to take a national, coordinated approach. In Canada, ALPA and separate correspondents in meetings with Transport Canada have made repeated attempts to have this issue addressed as a high priority. Although there has been some acknowledgement of this subject by Transport Canada officials, a coordinated, timely, integrated and high priority approach is not apparent. ALPA also believes that it is highly desirable to have a national system in Canada compatible with any such system that could be implemented in the United States.

In conclusion, an effective security system needs to be able to identify both unsafe objects in luggage or on persons and undesirable and dangerous individuals. The focus of verification methods should be shifted from detecting objects to identifying high-risk persons and matching inspection and identification technologies to those risk groups.

Finite resources must be risk-driven and not unnecessarily expended on screening passengers and crewmembers who are no risk to security. Pilots in Canada and the United States are extremely concerned about devising a system whereby they can access their aircraft in a free and convenient but secure manner.

The airport working group mentioned above has recommended to the minister the adoption of a universal pass system to replace the often ineffective system that controls access to restricted areas of the airport at present. The new system would use uniform, reliable, technologically-enhanced, including biometrics identification, media with oversight provided by a centralized management system.

It is essential that Canada implement currently available electronic technology to positively verify the identity of each authorized person who enters an airport security area and who is not processed at the security screening checkpoint. Improper controls on airline identification media contributed to a suicidal former employee bringing down Pacific Southwest Airlines flight 1771 in 1987. We have known for some time that certain persons, almost certainly terrorists, have been stealing pilot uniforms and credentials. Creating a system that will prevent an impostor from gaining access to aircraft is long overdue.

A properly instituted, reliable, biometric identification badge would go a long way towards thwarting a would-be terrorist in possession of a stolen uniform who is trying to gain access to an aircraft with, potentially, a pre-placed weapon on board. All airport employees, armed law enforcement officers, crew members and those who require access to an aircraft should be screened via electronic and biometric identity verification as soon as possible. It should be required that airports install access control card readers at entry checkpoints for electronically identifying all those who require access to restricted areas of an airport and aircraft. ALPA requests that this committee recommend to the Government of Canada the adoption and implementation of this technology on an urgent basis through a national, coordinated approach with all appropriate departments, agencies and stakeholders.

Thank you for the opportunity to appear before this committee to outline ALPA's views on this critical issue. The association looks forward to working with Parliament, Transport Canada and other participants in the airline industry to ensure that there is a safe and secure aviation system in Canada. I would be pleased to respond to any questions that you may have.

The Chairman: Mr. Laflamme, you covered Capt. Hardisty's presentation fairly thoroughly. Would you have any objection if we attached the actual text of this statement to the record?

Mr. Laflamme: Not at all, senator.

The Chairman: May I have a motion from the committee?

Senator Wiebe: I so move.

The Chairman: I have a motion from Senator Wiebe that the material we have here be attached to the record. Is it agreed?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chairman: Would someone from the staff copy this and circulate it to those in the audience who do not have a copy? That would be helpful.

Mr. Laflamme, you identified yourself to us — I will not say cryptically — but, briefly, as being a senior representative responsible for security with the Air Line Pilots Association International.

Mr. Laflamme: Yes.

The Chairman: Could you qualify your experience further for the benefit of the committee? Could you describe to the committee your previous work experience, please?

Mr. Laflamme: Yes, Mr. Chairman, thank you.

I recently retired from the government after 35 years of service in the military as a military pilot and an accident investigator. I resigned from the military at the rank of major in 1981, and joined Transport Canada as an aircraft accident investigator. Following that, I was a manager and executive responsible for regulating the safety of aviation in Canada.

My final position with Transport Canada was as Director General, Civil Aviation where I led the aviation safety regulation program, which included the development and implementation of regulations, and the inspection, auditing and enforcement of those regulations. That applied to all areas of aviation, including airlines such as Air Canada and manufacturers such as Bombardier as well as private aviation and aircraft maintenance.

The Chairman: Thank you Mr. Laflamme. We now have a better picture of your background.

Senator Cordy: Mr. Laflamme, could you tell us what security checks a pilot or cabin crew must go through before being hired?

Mr. Laflamme: In Canada, to obtain a restricted area pass, which is issued by individual airports, a crew member, including both pilots and flight attendants, must undergo a background check, including a criminal background check, and must successfully pass that before be being issued this pass.

Senator Cordy: Could you also describe to us, and you mentioned it briefly, what you must go through when you are flying, working on the job, and you get to the airport?

Mr. Laflamme: Pilots and flight attendants arriving at the airport must prepare themselves for the flight, which involves extensive pre-flight analysis and briefings and then go to the aircraft. Since September 11, pilots at certain airports must process through passenger screening. At other airports they are being allowed to access aircraft through separate access points upon verification of the validity of their restricted area passes. In particular, in Toronto and Montreal, they are required to go through screening with the other passengers.

Senator Cordy: You made a suggestion to the minister that there be a universal pass system.

Mr. Laflamme: Yes.

Senator Cordy: How has the minister responded to this?

Mr. Laflamme: The minister has not yet responded. The final meeting of the Aviation Security Advisory Committee was at the end of June. Transport Canada has advised us that these recommendations were put forward to the minister. As yet, he has not responded to these recommendations.

Senator Cordy: It seems that it would be a fairly sensible solution, since the staff would have been screened even before they are hired. They certainly have a lot to lose if things are not right on the plane.

Lately, we have read a few newspaper reports about pilots who refuse to fly their planes because they feel there is a security risk on board the plane. What are the ramifications for a pilot if he or she refused to fly because they felt there was a security risk?

Mr. Laflamme: Under the law, the pilot is the commander of the aircraft and is empowered to make decisions to ensure the safety and security of that aircraft and the passengers on board. In theory, there should be no ramifications for a pilot making such a decision.

Senator Cordy: How does that work in practice?

Mr. Laflamme: We have not experienced any significant concerns in those areas in recent months. I am not saying there have not been any, but I would not say it has been a problem.

Senator Cordy: We have certainly heard a lot about passenger screening, particularly at Pearson airport. We are all people who fly frequently, and when we go through security screening as passengers, it seems to us to be very thorough. Airplane staff also go through additional security. However, there seem to be a lot of open areas where people who do not have security passes have access to the airplanes. This morning, you mentioned food and baggage handlers, as well as people on private planes who are at one end of the runway but have access to all of the airport facilities once they get to their planes. You also mentioned people who impersonate pilots or RCMP officers. It is a fairly scary situation in my mind that this number of people has access to airplanes without going through any security measures whatsoever.

Mr. Laflamme: We are concerned that there are vulnerabilities in the system allowing access with too few controls. To enter into a restricted area, a person should have a restricted-area pass or be escorted accordingly. With the lack of smart card technology and biometrics being used, we feel that the present systems can be easily bypassed.

Senator Cordy: Would biometrics solve with the problem related to those people who have private airplanes who, once they get to their airplanes, would have access to the whole airport?

Mr. Laflamme: We believe that it would. We feel that anyone who has access to that portion of the airport should have appropriate background checks and have access only through these identification media.

Senator Cordy: Would there have to be checkpoints at any and every entrance to the airport?

Mr. Laflamme: Yes.

Senator Cordy: How confident can a pilot be that the passengers on his or her plane have passed a security check?

Mr. Laflamme: We believe that the measures put in place since September 11 have been very effective in improving the security screening of passengers. We feel, though, that too many resources may be used in screening those who are known to be no risk, including yourselves. I recall going through Ottawa airport recently and an elderly woman, I would say she was in her late 70s, early 80s, was singled out and given a thorough once-over because they have to do random checks of a certain number of people. Her mickey and some personal hygiene items were confiscated from her carry-on bag. It seemed somewhat ludicrous to me that so much effort was being expended on such an improbable situation.

Senator Cordy: In some cases, it is equivalent to killing a mosquito with a cannon.

Mr. Laflamme: That is right. ALPA believes strongly that the resources, which we understand are finite, must be spent where they can do the greatest good in preventing security breaches.

Senator Cordy: The universal pass system would serve to alleviate some of that, because people who have previously passed inspection would be able to go through fairly quickly.

Mr. Laflamme: Exactly. We do not see this as applying only to airport workers or crew members, but also trusted travellers.

Senator Cordy: You suggest a universal pass system and biometric cards to control access to airplanes and to airports?

Mr. Laflamme: Yes, but under the strong regulatory control of a centralized body. We see the federal government in that role. Right now, airports are individually given this responsibility, and we feel that the controls are too loose from the centre with respect to the present pass system.

Senator Kinsella: Mr. Laflamme, to the general question, is air travel safe and secure in Canada, what is your answer?

Mr. Laflamme: My answer is yes. We do not believe the public should be unnecessarily worried. However, the events of September 11 demonstrated that we must maintain our vigilance and ensure, using the analogy of the onion, that all the layers have their appropriate defences. We do not feel that all those layers have proper defences, that they are not as good as they should be, and that is why we are appearing before your committee today.

Senator Kinsella: In your testimony, you referred to a study that came up with recommendations on aircraft safety that was forwarded to authorities in the United States. Have those recommendations all been implemented?

Mr. Laflamme: The requirement for strengthening of cockpit doors has been implemented. There are regulations requiring those to be in place by April 2003, and those regulations have been adopted in Canada as well.

Senator Kinsella: Were there other recommendations that have not been adopted?

Mr. Laflamme: The U.S. authorities have undertaken follow-up work with respect to looking at other aspects of security on board an aircraft. The focus today is airports, but with respect to aircraft, notwithstanding the reinforcement of the doors, there continues to be the requirement for that door to be open on occasion, either for the pilot to use the lavatory or to obtain a meal. Every time that door is open, it creates a potential opportunity for something bad to happen. If you are familiar with El Al aircraft, Israel has a two-door system, creating what is called a ``man trap.'' That situation is being currently studied, and we are in favour of that being looked at very closely.

Senator Kinsella: You made reference to the collaborative work that your association is doing with Transport Canada. I think members of the committee would be interested in some detail about the level of collaboration, the areas of irritation, and instances where recommendations are made and are not implemented. Would you explicate that relationship?

Mr. Laflamme: To give credit to Transport Canada, they have created the Aviation Security Advisory Committee and the working groups underneath it. I believe the collaborative work of the working groups has been fairly positive in reaching consensus on a number of recommendations that are now before the minister. These involve improvements to both aircraft security and airport security.

ALPA is particularly concerned with five areas. One is with respect to protocols, procedures and training for pilots and flight attendants with respect to events that could jeopardize the safety and security of an aircraft, from a verbally abusive passenger to a terrorist trying to break down the cockpit door. The United States has developed a comprehensive program or strategy in this regard. We do not see that that has yet been developed in Canada. We have sent a letter to Transport Canada in that regard recommending that it be given a high priority. That is one aspect.

Another is access to aircraft, which was the main thrust of my presentation today, so I will not repeat those details. A third is the air carrier protective program, run by the RCMP, known as the federal air marshal program in the United States. Right now, the air marshal will identify himself or herself to the captain before the flight, but we feel the protocols, procedures and training associated with such a major issue on board an aircraft have not been formulated. It could be as simple as the flight attendant knowing whether to duck or to assist in some way. These things have not been sorted out. I think we need to work out the air marshal program in a better manner in Canada.

Those are our major concerns. The remaining concern involves restrictions to the jump seat following September 11, and that is an inconvenience to our members who travel a lot. They feel that the flight deck would be more safe and secure with an additional crew member on the flight deck rather than preventing them from being there. However, again, we see this identification technology assisting in resolving that problem as well.

Senator Kinsella: I have one final question in this area. From a comparative standpoint of airport security, in a country such as Australia, are the targets of attack by the terrorist radically different when assessed from that theatre of the world? We know what happened in the tragedy of last September. Is the assessment of the potential targets something that really must be factored in? How does that translate? I understand that all the flights in Canada can reach New York or Washington, but for flights originating in Australia, it would be a little more difficult. Through your colleagues in the global pilot community, is there a difference between what is being done by SAS or Air Italia as compared with what is happening in Canada, the United States or Mexico?

Mr. Laflamme: There are certainly differences in other parts of the world. However, the International Civil Aviation Organization, following September 11, had its triennial assembly meeting at the end of September of last year and the focus, because of September 11, was on security issues. ICAO has done a lot of work strengthening the international standards for security that apply to all contracting states, which includes basically all the countries of the world. In that sense, security has been improved and strengthened internationally.

Certainly, the primary target for terrorists is the United States, and Canada, given its close geographical location, has to be concerned in that respect. I believe the other major targets are probably the United Kingdom and perhaps other states in Western Europe. Otherwise, I believe the threat level is less. I am not an expert in intelligence matters, but I think a very important aspect of aviation security is having the intelligence with respect to threat levels and applying the resources to those identified risk areas.

Senator LaPierre: Did you say that senators are not security risks, or did I dream that?

Mr. Laflamme: I am certain senators are not a security risk.

The Chairman: He does not know us very well, does he?

Senator LaPierre: I thought I would introduce him to a few senators, especially those on the other side of the house — but that is another matter.

That is a joke.

Sir, I want to ask you about access to the aircraft. I understand your being annoyed that you have gone through training and have done everything conceivable, and although everyone knows who you are, you should still be subjected to this. However, I think it is necessary. What bugs you, and which I think is a valid feeling, is that many people have access to the aircraft and can blow it up as easily as you can yet they do not go through this process.

We have received testimony over our period of time in which there seems to have been a deficiency in the area that you have demonstrated this morning.

Is that true of every major airport in Canada?

Mr. Laflamme: Yes, senator, we feel that that is true at all airports. Basically, a similar situation exists at all airports in Canada, and even in the United States as well.

Senator LaPierre: Let us take a little airport such as Bagotville. The Liberal caucus will meet in Chicoutimi and we will have to go through Bagotville.

It seems to me that there is some danger with respect to small airports if there is not strong security, because they feed into large airports. Is it valid to say that unless the same security prevails at these smaller airports that feed into major airports the door is opened to some potential danger?

Mr. Laflamme: Yes, senator. The new Canadian Air Transport Security Authority, which will be responsible for passenger screening when it is set up, has designated 89 airports where security screening must take place. However, we can come up with all sorts of scenarios where something could be planted on board an aircraft other than by a passenger at a smaller airport and end up in a larger centre. Therefore, the answer to your question is yes, similar security measures must be present at all airports.

Senator LaPierre: Also, should the same security measures apply to people who fly personal planes?

Mr. Laflamme: Personal planes can range from very small to very large. Certainly, as a weapon, a small plane does not have the potential energy to create much damage. We saw that in the unfortunate situation with the young teenager in Florida who flew into a building. We saw that it did not result in any significant damage.

Senator LaPierre: He did not have a bomb on it.

Mr. Laflamme: That is right. However, a small plane packed with explosives could do extensive damage.

Senator LaPierre: Therefore, this committee must concern itself with the aspect of private planes, which is increasing rather than decreasing.

Mr. Laflamme: That is correct, senator. I think it is a lower-risk area. However, it is a potential vulnerability.

Senator LaPierre: It seems to me that we can control the immediate access of anyone to the aircraft through the systems that you have demonstrated. However, there is the involvement of all kinds of other bodies, for instance, CARA — and I am not suggesting anything here — which prepares food for passengers travelling on board an aircraft. Other bodies provide other services at an airport. How do we deal with security issues as they relate to the bodies that provide such services? I do not know where you draw the line because I know that if we do not draw the line aircraft will never take off and we will have to use trains. That may not be a bad idea, though.

Mr. Laflamme: I firmly believe in a healthy and viable aviation industry. It is in our best interests that people are on the move and are flying comfortably and on time.

Senator LaPierre: On time?

Mr. Laflamme: On time, notwithstanding Capt. Hardisty's experience. The pilots of ALPA are working hard to make the system work as effectively as possible. However, every possible vulnerability in the system must have a pre- existing defence. That would include caterers, and so on.

Senator LaPierre: Is there a margin of risk that must be accepted? How do you define that margin of risk?

Mr. Laflamme: That is a good question, senator. Yes, the system must be risk driven. The level of risk that the public is prepared to accept must be the driver. The public, I believe, would want to accept a very low level of risk. I believe the public will also understand that no system is 100 per cent foolproof, but it must be almost foolproof.

Senator LaPierre: Does your association discuss the studies that deal with the acceptable margin of risk?

Mr. Laflamme: No. Our association does discuss risk, and that is why we are putting forward the argument that the resources should be directed to those higher risk areas. However, it is not our job to say what that level of risk is. That is the responsibility of the Government of Canada.

Senator LaPierre: My last area concerns how you identify a risk group. International wisdom seems to have already identified the risk group of terrorism. That turns out to be an Islamic Muslim-type person, which I find absolutely abhorrent as they are targeted. Will we start targeting all the Spaniards because of the Basque terrorism? Will we do the same with the Macedonians and all the people of Central Europe because of the difficulties there of terrorism, or all the people who live in Northern Ireland because of their constant foolishness, or every Colombian, every South American, and so on? From the point of view of your association, how does the Government of Canada proceed to identify the risk group?

Mr. Laflamme: ALPA certainly does not support racial profiling. However, we do support profiling in the sense that there are markers that can be looked at, such as age groups, whether tickets are bought one-way with cash, and so on. There are all sorts of manners of identifying risk potential. There are markers that can be used to help narrow those risk groups and resources can be applied.

Senator LaPierre: If, essentially, the target is the United States, as you have suggested, Canada is involved because we are their neighbours as are Mexico and the Bahamas. In fact, one or two of the terrorists on September 11 came from that part of the Caribbean. Central America is not too far away. Why do we think we have a greater responsibility to preserve the security of North America as opposed to these other people? They never seem to enter the debate. The Russians never seem to enter the debate, yet Siberia is about a foot away from Alaska. What does your association think about this international problem?

Mr. Laflamme: We believe that the economies of our two nations are inextricably intertwined and for a healthy aviation industry there must be, if not a full North American approach, at least a common Canada-U.S. or a compatible U.S.-Canada approach.

Senator Atkins: Thank you for coming here this morning.

Does ALPA support pilots carrying weapons?

Mr. Laflamme: Yes, ALPA does support weapons in the cockpit. May I explain that? This is under a very stringent program with standards with respect to the safe carriage of the weapon and with respect to very high marksmanship requirements and on a volunteer basis only. Perhaps senators will look at the alternatives. If someone breaks into the flight deck and gains control of the aircraft, what will be the outcome? It puts the military in an awkward situation of being forced to shoot down an aircraft, perhaps. The aircraft might be crashed into a building, killing thousands of people, or there could be one additional defence on board the air craft as a last resort. ALPA is not in favour of a loose program of arming pilots. This would be a volunteer program with the highest of standards.

Senator Atkins: In a perfect world, as aircraft are being produced, the cockpits would be reinforced to the extent that they would be far more secure. Would you still feel the same way if that were the case?

Mr. Laflamme: Yes, because, as I said previously, the door must be opened on occasion. Until and if ever a two- door system is installed, there continues to be vulnerability in that area.

Having said all that, in Canada ALPA itself is not forcefully pushing this issue. It is a major issue in the United States but not in Canada.

Senator Atkins: We read as recently as this week that a U.S. airline was under Chapter 11 and that American Airlines is cutting back significantly. Does that concern pilots — that is, that the airlines are cutting back on maintenance in order to meet the bottom line?

Mr. Laflamme: If they were, we would be the first to voice that publicly and loudly. Based on my former experience, I believe the cutbacks are in areas that are not safety or security related. However, if there is any evidence to the contrary, we will certainly speak out.

Senator Atkins: How do you know?

Mr. Laflamme: Pilots fly those aircraft day in and day out. They know if maintenance standards are not to the required level.

Senator Atkins: I always thought that pilots were beyond any question until American West had its little experience.

Mr. Laflamme: That was extremely unfortunate, I agree.

Senator Atkins: Are there any random checks on pilots?

Mr. Laflamme: In the United States, there is random drug testing of aviation employees; in Canada, there is not. However, there are equivalent rules in Canada with respect to alcohol and drugs and with respect to flying aircraft.

Senator Atkins: What about a system of random checks generally? What do you think of that?

Mr. Laflamme: There is always a percentage of the population that has difficulty with drugs or alcohol, and we believe that percentage is small among the pilot community. There is no evidence to indicate that random drug testing has been effective. It has been in place for a number of years in the United States and has not shown that any large group of pilots or other aviation employees have problems. We do not feel it is necessary. However, we feel that the issue must be addressed forcefully if problems are encountered.

Senator Atkins: I was not thinking only of drugs. In respect of random checks, I was thinking more about a system of undercover personnel. Having that system in place might send the message to people who are servicing the industry that they have to be more cautious about what they are doing because they would never know who is watching. Does the pilots association take any position on this?

Mr. Laflamme: We are not against undercover personnel being present to do the work of police — not at all. In fact, we would cooperate in any way we could in that respect.

Senator Atkins: I heard from a friend of mine who flew from Fredericton to Pearson and then from Pearson to Washington. When he arrived at Pearson for the flight to Washington, he was not only checked once, but he was checked five times. How are they managing the security at airports if they are putting people through that kind of procedure?

Mr. Laflamme: The new rules require additional screening for a certain percentage of passengers picked at random. Again, we feel that the process unnecessarily dilutes the effectiveness of security by spreading out the resources to those who do not present a risk. These additional measures should be taken to those who meet certain profile requirements or exhibit certain behaviours that indicate they could present a high security risk.

Senator Atkins: I assume that occurred because the flight was going to Washington, which is a major priority.

Mr. Laflamme: Yes.

Senator Atkins: Do pilots have any concerns about the assignments they are getting in terms of what blocks may be in place?

Mr. Laflamme: Pilots are a professional group. The system allows them to bid on aircraft types but not on routings, necessarily. That has not been an issue, senator.

Senator Forrestall: Mr. Laflamme, I was struck by your last comment that pilots are allowed to bid on the type of aircraft that they fly. I would have thought that they could bid on routes but not on the kind of aircraft — a 747 or a 727, for example. I did not think they had that kind of flexibility. The question is academic, I suppose.

I wish to follow up on a question from Senator Atkins flowing from evidence that we received earlier. There are three or four points. How confident are pilots about the security measures in place for aircraft on the ground such that it would be extremely difficult for anyone to tamper with the aircraft or introduce a hazardous element?

Mr. Laflamme: ALPA and the pilots would be very public if we had concerns about gross holes in the system. There are security measures in place, and we believe they are reasonably effective. However, the point of appearing before you today is to demonstrate that there are vulnerabilities that need to be addressed. We do not think that the situation is dire or that there is a crisis. The pilots fly their aircraft confidently knowing that the system is safe and reasonably secure. Is it as secure as it should be? That is the question.

Senator Forrestall: You are not bumping up against that line beyond which you would have to speak out.

Mr. Laflamme: Not yet, senator.

Senator Forrestall: One hopes you will never have to do that.

How confident are pilots about the security of their aircraft in respect of baggage, cargo packages and other mail placed on board? I ask that question with a great degree of seriousness. We have been told that Air Canada does not check the mail, and the post office has told us that they do not check the mail because they believe that process is the airline's responsibility. This leads to some measure of uncertainty and concern for the members of this committee. Could you comment on the generality of this, and on the mail, specifically?

Mr. Laflamme: My presentation included the example of existing vulnerability with respect to cargo screening. Cargo is not generally screened. The system relies on shippers to verify the security of the cargo. We feel that that creates vulnerability with respect to all cargo. The mail presents a particularly difficult area of concern.

Senator Forrestall: There are millions of pieces of mail.

Mr. Laflamme: Yes, there are millions of pieces of mail that are, basically, not checked.

Senator Forrestall: Is this a question of the cost factor? Is the post office afraid to do this because of the enormous costs that might be involved?

Mr. Laflamme: Certainly, there is a cost involved. Electronic detection systems and other technologies have great potential for the rapid and economical screening of cargo. Other methods are available for larger pieces of cargo, methods that are similar to the systems currently used in the cross-border trucking industry.

To answer your question, senator, we believe that this is one of those vulnerabilities that need to be looked at.

Senator Forrestall: Do you think the airlines are acting properly with respect to security when they also fail to take any responsibility for problems that could arise out of the mail?

Mr. Laflamme: We all have to do our part — the pilots and the airlines. However, we must do that under the umbrella of government regulation and leadership. We think the government must state what needs to be done in this regard.

Senator Forrestall: I would suggest to you that you have a major potential major problem, one that you are dealing with hundreds or thousands of times daily around the world — that is, the placement of unchecked bags of mail on board aircraft.

Mr. Laflamme: That is correct.

Senator Forrestall: I do not want to raise the hackles of anyone. If we do not have the ability to do this type of screening for economic reasons, surely we have the technology to do the screening.

What percentage of the mail would be carried on flights that have a full load of passengers? I am assuming that some mail moves on specialty aircraft, couriered aircraft,

Mr. Laflamme: Senator, I do not have those exact figures but a significant amount of mail is moved in the cargo hold of passenger aircraft.

Senator Forrestall: What specific measures would your organization recommend to improve the security of aircraft? In the old days we built fences around airports to protect people from airplanes. Now our major responsibility is to protect planes from people. What kind of a fence do we really have to build?

Mr. Laflamme: There are standards for fencing around airports. We believe security has to start with intelligence and threat assessment. Then it extends to the airport perimeter, including the fencing, the patrols and the security and defence measures at airports for the terminal buildings. There needs to be types of barricades to prevent truck bombs or whatever from potentially injuring or killing the many people who are in terminal buildings.

There need to be measures on the air side with respect to the restricted areas and how access is controlled there. The aircraft itself must have security measures on board, which might be cameras with monitors on the flight deck showing the cabin area, and reinforce doors with two-door systems, with appropriate locks that can be opened and unopened by the pilots when seated.

There must be the screening of passengers and cargo, the use of technologies related to detection systems, the use of sniffer dogs and so on. There are many things to be considered

Using the analogy of the onion skin, each of these layers has to have the appropriate defence system in place.

Senator Forrestall: I appreciate that. As an observation, I am particularly pleased to see you emphasizing intelligence as probably the area from where the greatest protection would come. I feel strongly about that.

We were talking earlier about defence of a province like Nova Scotia from the sea. Apart from reactivating the Halifax Rifles, there is no way that is superior to improved intelligence.

I wanted to ask you about the arming of pilots. Would you arm the pilot or arm the cockpit?

Mr. Laflamme: You arm the pilot. We feel it cannot be forced upon the pilot. It must be a volunteer system. The pilot must undergo extensive training on the proper use of a firearm and also pass marksmanship standards that are necessary for that environment. There must be the safe storage of that weapon before and after the flight. Arming all pilots is out of the question. However, ALPA feels that this is one more defence that can be added to the system, if done responsibly. If terrorists know that there is the potential of being shot if they try to break onto the flight deck, there will be less incentive for them to do so, and that might prevent such an act from taking place.

Senator Forrestall: Have there been weapon selection suggestions in terms of calibre and the type of technology, for example, stun guns?

Mr. Laflamme: ALPA has expertise in these matters. Capt. Luckey, who I mentioned before, participated in a volunteer program that existed previously in the United States. With respect to the technicalities related to the types of weapons and ammunition, ALPA does have some views on that.

Senator Forrestall: During your comments, you made the point that biometric identification would be one of the more secure ways of protecting our aircraft.

Mr. Laflamme: Yes.

Senator Wiebe: I imagine this would apply to anyone who has access to a particular aircraft, including those working within the airport and passengers as well. This is brand new technology. I understand it is very effective, but because it is new, it has quite a price tag on it. Has your association done any research into that? I am not aware of the cost.

Mr. Laflamme, I will put you on the spot based on your experience working with Transport Canada and as a pilot, as well as being a taxpayer. Who should pay for the cost of all this? Should it be the employer, the airline, or the Government of Canada?

Mr. Laflamme: By appearing before this committee, we can expect to be put on the spot. Could you repeat your first question, please, senator?

Senator Wiebe: Has your association done any research into the cost of biometric identification?

Mr. Laflamme: The technology is new in relative terms, but it is not new, new. Our understanding is that it is not overly expensive. Montreal Airport is starting a project next month using fingerprint technology to allow Montreal- based pilots to access the aircraft. This is being done voluntarily. ALPA does not see it as a tremendously significant percentage of the costs of security. It is very affordable. It would allow resources to be placed in higher risk areas. In that sense, we feel that it is both affordable and economical to do so.

With respect to who pays, the entire philosophy of user-pay enters into the equation. Is security a user-pay issue or is it a matter of national importance involving all of us? In that sense, security is a national issue, so it should come out of tax revenues rather than being paid by air travellers, which we feel would be unfair. ALPA is not against user-pay where the user gains specific and individual benefit from the use of a system. That is not the case here.

Senator Wiebe: You mentioned that Montreal is doing that on a voluntary basis. I would imagine that, for this type of program to be effective, the Government of Canada would need to mandate that that system be in place in every airport.

Mr. Laflamme: We feel that the Government of Canada should not only mandate it, but also set the performance standards for the system and ensure that it is meeting those objectives through its oversight system of inspections and audits.

Senator Wiebe: I could not agree with you more.

The Chairman: Mr. Laflamme, you commented on air marshals during the course of your testimony. Aside from flights into Reagan, how often do your pilots see air marshals on your airplanes?

Mr. Laflamme: It is not a frequent event. To be fair to the RCMP, this is a developing program. It is understandable that it is not that frequent an occurrence at this point in time.

The Chairman: Could you provide a ballpark figure?

Mr. Laflamme: I would say it is less than 5 per cent.

The Chairman: How many flights would you expect to have air marshals on board five years from now?

Mr. Laflamme: This is a risk-based issue. What level of flight coverage will provide the appropriate disincentive to terrorists? ALPA is not prepared to answer that question. We feel an air marshal program is an integral part of the defence mechanisms and should be on a sufficient number of flights to provide that disincentive. Going by most statistical standards, I would say that that would be in the 10 to 15 per cent range; however, I would suggest that that would bear some study and scrutiny before a decision is reached.

The Chairman: Which makes more sense to your pilots: arming them or having trained peace officers on board who have experience using the weapons?

Mr. Laflamme: That is a good question, Mr. Chairman. ALPA feels that there are defences for every layer of the onion. Air marshals are a defence in the cabin; now you need defences for the flight deck. Given the fact that not all flights are covered by air marshals, it is not inappropriate to discuss what defences are required for the flight deck or cockpit.

The Chairman: If you had a choice between having an armed and experienced RCMP constable or arming a pilot, which would you choose?

Mr. Laflamme: We feel that the air marshal program would be preferable to arming pilots.

The Chairman: In the testimony you provided, you spoke about vulnerabilities. These included access by baggage handlers, cleaners, caterers, maintenance and service personnel to the aircraft. In order to get the red airside pass, they need to go through a CPIC and a CSIS check. How do you feel about the fact that they are not searched in the same way as pilots? Their lunch bags are not opened and their duffel bags are not checked when they come to work.

Mr. Laflamme: As I said in my statement, we are perplexed and infuriated over the discrepancy. It does not make sense that there is 100 per cent checking on one side but not on the other side. There must be an equivalent level of safety. There do not necessarily need to be the same security measures, but there must be equivalent levels on both sides.

The Chairman: We heard from some of your former colleagues from Transport Canada that they had no way of knowing whether an aircraft groomer was bringing box cutters to work when he or she arrived each day. What is your comment on that?

Mr. Laflamme: That is the reason we asked to appear before this committee. The potential vulnerability exists and must be addressed.

The Chairman: You mentioned in your testimony that individuals using forged identification to pose as armed enforcement officials, including RCMP air marshals, are a vulnerability. What evidence do you have of that happening?

Mr. Laflamme: We do not have specific evidence. We know that it is a possibility, because the air marshal would only show his or her identification to the captain prior to the flight. Beyond that, how do we know that this person, or any other armed enforcement officer on the flight, is who they say they are? That is a potential vulnerability, more so in the United States given the extensive travel by armed individuals on board aircraft in the United States.

The Chairman: Aside from flights going into Reagan airport, do you know of any cargo or baggage checking going on at this time?

Mr. Laflamme: There is baggage checking. There are also airports with explosive detection systems.

The Chairman: Is there 100 per cent checking?

Mr. Laflamme: No. I know that in the United States there is that rule, which does not appear to be achievable by the end of this year. I believe steps are being taken in that direction in Canada, but certainly not anywhere near 100 per cent, even at airports with those systems.

The Chairman: Is there a system in place to identify high-risk baggage or high-risk cargo?

Mr. Laflamme: I cannot say there is not, but we do not know of any such system.

The Chairman: Do you think you should know about such a system if it exists?

Mr. Laflamme: I believe that since pilots are on the frontlines they need not only to know, but to be involved in discussions on proper systems to improve security.

Senator Atkins: In our dicussions about security on an airplane, you have talked about pilots being armed as a deterrent. In most cases that I have read about involving terrorists, they were suicidal anyway. You will not prevent that type of person from following his or her agenda by arming pilots.

Mr. Laflamme: I agree that a suicidal terrorist is a very difficult individual to deal with. However, we believe that these terrorists will only want to kill themselves if they feel that they have a strong likelihood of success in achieving their objective. If they do not see that happening, they will feel that their efforts are for naught. Hence, we feel there is still some benefit to arming pilots.

Senator Atkins: Just for the record, I liked your answer that you prefer air marshals over armed pilots.

Mr. Laflamme: Understood, senator.

The Chairman: Senator LaPierre, I understand you have a supplementary.

Senator LaPierre: I think it has been dealt with. It had to do with carrying weapons in the cockpit, an idea that I find to be silly. However, I am glad you are turning this matter over to the air marshals; it will have to be looked at very carefully.

Senator Day: I understand that the pilot has the ultimate authority as to whether to take off.

Mr. Laflamme: That is correct.

Senator Day: Is there a protocol with your employer as to when you should do that, as well as what to do if you should determine not to take off because you feel there is a risk from cargo or a passenger?

Mr. Laflamme: Reporting responsibilities are different at each airline; however, the regulations are clear as to the captain's responsibilities in this regard. For the most part, that is being respected by airlines at this time.

Senator Day: You stated that you are infuriated with respect to cargo, but you are not so infuriated that you will refuse to take off with cargo that is not checked.

Mr. Laflamme: Pardon me, senator, that comment was with regard to ease of access to aircraft by individuals carrying tool boxes, lunch boxes or whatever, because we have no idea what is being carried in them. We feel it is a vulnerability. Obviously, if we felt the situation were extreme, we would be more public. Pilots are still flying aircraft, but we want to ensure that this area is looked at.

The Chairman: Thank you, Mr. Laflamme, for appearing before our committee. We appreciate the assistance you have given us. We would ask that you tell your colleague that we missed him, but that you did very well in his absence. We have attached a copy of his statement to the record of these proceedings. We may well ask for you and your colleagues to come back before us again. We would look forward to hearing from you at that time.

For those at home following our work, please visit our Web site at www.senate-senat.ca/defence.asp. where we post our witness testimony as well as confirmed 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.

We will now hear from Ms Jill Sinclair, Acting Assistant Deputy Minister, Global Security Policy. Ms Sinclair has appeared before us numerous times.

Ms Sinclair joined the department in 1981 and has worked throughout her career on peace, regional security and disarmament issues. Ms Sinclair has also been the Canadian Ambassador for Mine Action, as well as the Executive Director of the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty.

Ms Sinclair, welcome back to the committee. We look forward to hearing from you. The floor is yours.

Ms Jill Sinclair, Acting Assistant Deputy Minister, Global Security Policy, Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade: It is a delight to be back with you this morning on this beautiful August day in Ottawa.

I think that you were hoping that Jim Wright, who is the Assistant Deputy Minister, would be here this morning, but he is taking some well-deserved leave.

Committee members, I will make a few opening comments. I had hoped that you would receive them yesterday in advance of today's meeting. I am sorry for the delay in getting them to you. I was enjoying the delights of Cape Breton until the weekend, and was only able to finalize these comments and get them to you yesterday. I will be delighted to take your questions.

Canada and the United States clearly enjoy a unique and rich bilateral relationship that spans the range of issues from political to economic to cultural. Our bilateral defence and security relationship is clearly of particular significance. It dates back to the 1940s. There are members of this committee who know it better than I. It goes beyond mere friendship and alliance, and encompasses genuine partnership based on shared values and common purpose. We are partners in NATO and NORAD. We are partners, obviously, through the UN system. We are partners in spirit and letter.

That is not to say, of course, that our bilateral relationship is entirely free of complexities. Any relationship has its complexities, as we know. Softwood lumber, the Farm Bill, differences over the International Criminal Court, fisheries issues, are all current issues in the press today. These differences exist. However, I think it is important that we keep them in perspective. We deal with these differences in the context of an overall deep and strong and, I would say, resilient and robust bilateral relationship that sees very many difficult moments but has managed to surmount them all.

In pursuing our security relationship with the United States, Canada has always strived to achieve simultaneous and complementary goals, protecting Canadian citizens and territory, preserving Canadian sovereignty, and contributing to global peace and security.

I might speak a little about these goals. Having the U.S. as our neighbour means that Canada and the U.S. can cooperate to the benefit of each in protecting our citizens. We can do this on an integrated, binational command basis with assigned forces, as we do in meeting the unique challenges posed in air defence under NORAD, or we can cooperate on a strictly national basis as we do in all the other domains. That is why we thought it was important to look at these arrangements and relationships in the new threat environment flowing from the horror of what we witnessed on September 11.

We all know how NORAD swung into action on September 11 to assert control over North American skies. NORAD has not returned to the status quo ante. NORAD has been profoundly affected, as we all have, by what happened on September 11. Indeed, work continues in NORAD, drawing in civilian authorities to improve the coordination between military and civilian authorities, and with NORAD itself to improve its own situational awareness of domestic air space.

As you know, NORAD was designed to deal with threats arriving from overseas, not within domestic airspace. It was looking outward, not inward. This is an important change to NORAD, which shows its relevance in meeting current and emerging threats.

Clearly, the events of September 11 impel us to look across the range of cooperative activities that we have with the United States to ensure that there are no gaps, and to determine if there are steps that should be taken to further enhance these already rich and comprehensive relationships. That is why the Department of National Defence and the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade have engaged with U.S. officials in reviewing these issues.

Here I should stress that the bilateral security and defence relationship with the United States is managed in a partnership between Foreign Affairs and National Defence. It is a very close relationship. I know you will be hearing from my National Defence colleagues this afternoon. We work together on a daily, hourly, moment-by-moment basis. My day often begins and ends with my Defence colleagues, in managing this relationship above all, but in dealing with all aspects of international peace and security.

Returning to our discussions with the United States, I can tell you that they are still at an early stage. The important issue at this point is to jointly assess what gaps might exist, what capabilities we have, and what might be done to meet new challenges. In our view, this exercise is defined by practicality. Neither side believes there is anything fundamentally wrong with the existing relationships. However, we need to assure ourselves that we are doing everything possible to ensure the security and sovereignty of our respective countries and of our people.

As committee members well know, Canada has taken an impressive series of actions to improve border cooperation with the United States, through the safe borders initiative. We are now looking at the defence security set of issues in the same light. I should be clear here and stress that we are not looking at complex new structures or integrated commands, we are looking at modest, practical measures that may or may not be required to enhance existing capabilities and capacities.

What are we talking about here? We are talking about ensuring effective interface between the civilian first responders and the military in those cases where threats might exceed the capabilities or capacities of civilian authorities. Here I might add a parenthetical comment. This is a very important issue because, when we are dealing with asymmetrical threats, it is the civilian first responders who will be out there before the military. If we think back to what happened on September 11, it was the fire department and the police department who were first at the scene. These are the people who are on the front lines in an initial response to these sorts of asymmetric threats. Clearly, they need to ensure they have the support of the military behind them if they are unable to deal with the situation.

As well, we are looking at our existing maritime and land cooperation, which is already extensive and functioning well, but we want to ensure — and, indeed, we must assure ourselves — that it could function well even when meeting the sort of horror we saw on September 11. This means we need to ensure that we share information on a timely basis. We must look at how we might respond to various threat scenarios. We need to examine the interface between our respective militaries and civilian counterparts, and to consider ways in which we can cooperate in monitoring not only our shared airspace but also our maritime approaches.

The Department of National Defence and the Department of Foreign Affairs are now involved in this assessment process, not only between ourselves, but also with the United States. We are looking at what consultative mechanisms and updated new arrangement procedures might be needed to meet this new security environment. We may well not need to do too much or we may need to do a lot. Several hundreds bilateral defence arrangements and mechanisms already exist between the two militaries, but we must ensure that they work.

Cooperation and coordination between to two militaries is not new, rather, it is second nature. Obviously, our bilateral security relationship with the United States is just one, albeit overwhelmingly important, instrument in the Canadian government's ongoing commitment to building a secure global environment for Canada and Canadians. Our commitment to a rules-based world, the importance of building global consensus around universal norms and standards through multilateral processes and treaty-based arrangements, our commitment to the UN, including peace operations, NATO, the OSC, our Commonwealth and francophone partners, our hemispheric neighbours within the OAS, our Asia-Pacific partners, and our rich relations with countries around the world play a key role in our ability to protect Canadians, to promote Canadian values and to promote a peaceful and secure world.

In looking at our bilateral security relationship with the United States and the ways in which we might enhance it, we will be endeavouring to ensure that all these relationships combine in a complementary manner to contribute to the safety, security and sovereignty of Canada and of Canadians.

I would be delighted to take any questions the committee might have.

Senator LaPierre: Ms Sinclair, I am at a loss. Sometimes I think I do not live on the same planet that some of you live on. I find the description that our relationship with the United States has some complexities to be an oversimplification. The forest industry of Canada is about to be destroyed, essentially by the capacity of the big boys in the United States to compel the United States government to act against us. They have great problems in their Farm Bill, and astonishing problems regarding American subsidies to farming, the refusal of the United States to accept the International Criminal Court and the issues related to the fishery. All of these things suggest to me that the rosy picture you have presented to us is not the real one. These matters of reality, which you call ``complexities,'' are manifestations of the soul of that relationship. Am I right in this assessment or not?

Ms Sinclair: Obviously, any relationship will have its difficulties. I could have used the words ``difficulties'', ``ups and downs,'' ``terrible moments,'' ``moments of despair'' and ``moments of hope.'' Clearly, we currently have many issues with the United States on all of the issues you outlined. If I, in any way, have diminished the importance of these key issues, I regret that. It is not my purview in the International Security Bureau to speak of those issues; I just wanted to ensure that we acknowledge that there are problems in the relationship.

Senator LaPierre: Our internal security depends on those who are referred to as, ``our friendly neighbour to the south of us,'' ``our best friends,'' ``our best allies'' and ``our best clients.'' However, it is these little things that demonstrate their willingness to really work with us as opposed to dictating to us what it is that we need to do. Sometimes I think that Canadians may object until the inevitable day when the American government will have its way with us. This has been the history of the Canadian-American relationship since Sir John A. Macdonald.

Ms Sinclair: I very much respect what you have just said. We must always be conscious of the fact that the United States is a tremendously complex place in the sense that it is not often that there are linkages made between what we do on the international stage with the Americans, and how they respond on the domestic front with the sorts of issues that you have talked about. The whole question of whether one can build credits with the Americans, whether one can influence them in different ways, is an important issue that need to be considered.

I apologize if I have characterized this in any way that diminishes the importance of and the difficulties respecting these issues. We are tremendously sensitive to them. My department, works hourly on the fisheries questions, on the softwood lumber issues and on the whole range of issues to try to ensure that the United States respects Canada's concerns, and that we are able to act for the benefit of Canadians.

Senator LaPierre: I would not question that. It is just that, at the end of the day, one must interpret things in such a way that it is possible to continue the relationship.

What does the department understand by the term, ``Canadian sovereignty''? This is a very important question because there are approximately 7,000 definitions of ``sovereignty.''

Ms Sinclair: There are indeed. That is, perhaps, why I smiled, because I do not know that I could give you a singular definition of ``Canadian sovereignty.'' Certainly, when we were talking about it in the context of the issue that we are discussing here, which is bilateral defence cooperation and ensuring the security and safety of Canadians, sovereignty is taken to mean that we have the control over what happens on our territory, that we do not enter into relationships that in any way compromise our ability to have the independent control of our Armed Forces, and that we do not have decision making taken away from the Canadian government and Parliament, where it needs to be. That is what Canadian sovereignty means here.

Senator LaPierre: How do you protect that in what you call bilateral arrangements such as that with NORAD, which seems to have jumped the gun and is now involved with domestic airspace. I understand ``domestic airspace'' to mean not United States airspace but Canadian airspace. NORAD, which is dominated by the Americans, is now the controller of the security of the airspace of my country, although it may have a deputy commander who phones the Prime Minister before the missile hits the ground. In other words, how do we tell the Canadian people that these bilateral arrangements will not limit their capacity to act in their own defence and that they should not consider their own defence only in relation to the need of the American people, who are the target, to defend and protect themselves from attacks like the one on September 11. How do we tell Canadians that?

Ms Sinclair: You have asked a number of related questions. You asked about bilateral arrangements. One way in which you ensure your sovereignty is by negotiating bilateral arrangements which meet your concerns. Bilateral arrangements, as with international arrangements, do not mean that you cede sovereignty and get nothing back. It should not be a zero sum game. If it is, then it is not useful.

In a bilateral arrangement, whether in the trade area or in the security area, you put in place provisions that ensure that the things you care about are taken into account and respected, and you specify that you have an agreed arrangement — either treaty based or politically based — that guarantees that.

In looking at bilateral arrangements with the United States, clearly, the parameters include the following: What are the implications of this for Canadian sovereignty, for Canadian government decision making, and for the will of the Canadian people? Those are all factored in.

One might argue that you enhance sovereignty by putting it into these sorts of arrangements because you have it written down and respected, and then you have some sort of dispute settlement mechanism if it is not. That is the intent and spirit of the bilateral arrangement.

With regard to NORAD — and you may wish to pursue this in more detail this afternoon with my colleagues in NORAD, who will be able to walk you through in detail the changes that have gone on in NORAD — you refer to domestic airspace. It is both American and Canadian domestic airspace. It is looking at a shared airspace. It is reflecting the sad reality that we must look at our airspace together. What happened on September 11 was neither theory nor a film. It actually happened. It was only because we were able to control the airspace that we were able to land the aircraft so successfully, to protect so many people in Canada, to make sure that we had a good sense of the threat environment, to be able to control things and to be able to get things moving again in a quick an efficient way.

This is not an infringement, I would say, on Canada's airspace. This is truly a joint effort to deal with the airspace as a common resource because the airplanes cross over at 38,000 feet and they do not respect borders. There are no fences up there. In respect of the command and control arrangements, I would suggest that you might want to raise this issue later today with my colleagues from the Department of Defence. This is an integrated bi-national command. NORAD is quite unique — and that is why I stressed the difference. Enhanced relationships with the United States where there are other areas of cooperation do not necessarily require the enhanced, bilateral, integrated mode. That is a major step in terms of what you are doing because it means that you are sharing command responsibilities and that you are able to task one another, although reporting up to the senior political levels still occurs. You may prefer to pursue those questions in detail later today.

Senator LaPierre: I have one last question. September 11 is important to Canadians but the events were not directed at us, at Canada, at our way of life or at our value system. Rather, it was directed at the Americans. We became involved largely because we are neighbours of that most powerful country. Everyone tells me that I must, therefore, defend my country from terrorist attacks, and I agree. However, must I defend my country from terrorist attacks at the expense of who I am? People are talking about pilots carrying guns in cockpits of planes and about guards carrying guns at our borders. We are about to develop the gung-ho, gun-toting attitude of the Americans. It seems that Canadians have not been informed well enough about what price will be paid to ensure that Canadian security and safety are first and foremost and about cooperating with the United States in ensuring their safety and security. I suggest that that is an entirely different approach on the part of your department.

Ms Sinclair: Senator, let me take your question in two parts. There is some debate about whether the events of September 11 were directed exclusively at the United States or at a way of life, at a values-based issue, as you suggested they may not have been. Allow me to explain one practical, legal, political obligation that we entered into willingly — that is, NATO and Article V. Canada is an ally of the United States in NATO. If we had been attacked on September 11, the United States would have come to our defence, just as our NATO allies would have done also. There is a political and legal obligation, aside from what some might suggest would have been a moral and spiritual obligation, to assist the United States. There was a requirement for Canada to act, and indeed we acted quickly.

The other questions that you pose, which are visceral and philosophical in nature, relate to the price of assuring Canadian security and whether people realize the implications of this, whether Canadians have thought this through to its ultimate end. I would suggest that everyone should contemplate these questions.

Senator LaPierre: What does that mean?

Ms Sinclair: That means that I am not able, in my current capacity, to give you a definitive response. Obviously, you have to think about the consequences of specific actions that would ensure Canadian security because you are talking about the impact on Canadian values, perhaps in respect of armed guards or armed pilots in cockpits. I cannot comment on that. Certainly, in my area of international security, if we do this with the United States, we always calculate the cost to Canadians and the implications for Canada's international relations. Sometimes it will make sense to do it. At other times, it will not make sense and therefore we should do it in a more modified way or perhaps not at all.

As I said at the beginning, obviously without strong enough language in the terms that you have described, we differ profoundly with the United States on issues of the International Criminal Court and on issues of disarmament. We articulate that in the strongest terms publicly and globally. Hence, we do not always make the calculation that we need to be with the Americans on all issues because it may be inimical to our interests and values. When it is, then we differ; and when we can reconcile issues, then we do that, too.

Senator Forrestall: I am interested in the current dialogue because it is critical to what we are doing. Mr. Chairman, may I say that I do not know who won the first round because we have not heard the outcome yet.

Ms Sinclair, you suggested in your remarks that having the United States as our neighbour means that Canada and the United States not only can cooperate but must cooperate to the benefit of each in protecting our respective countries and citizens.

Your second thought was that we could do this on an integrated, bi-national command basis in the same way that we meet the unique challenges of air defence under NORAD. You did not say that we could best do this on an integrated level. Therefore, I can only assume, knowing of your discipline, that that word occurred to you and you decided, for whatever reason, not to use it. May I ask why you would not have said that? Are there other ways we can do it?

Ms Sinclair: The language is quite deliberate, as you suggest. As the language of my presentation suggests, there are unique things about airspace command and control arrangements that would suggest that there is the need for an integrated, bi-national structure. While there may be differing views, the response to September 11 showed the importance of NORAD. We need quick response times and the threat environment is quite different.

When you consider the maritime areas, and land areas in particular, there are not the same kinds of pressures for response times. It is not always necessary to have a completely integrated command and control structure in order to ensure that there is the cooperation, the sharing of intelligence and the coordination of effort that one might want to have to ensure an enhanced ability in the maritime and land areas.

An integrated structure such as NORAD is quite a step. It responds to many of the issues that Senator LaPierre has raised. NORAD speaks to a willing ceding of sovereignty to a greater purpose, in a way that may not be required when you consider what we have to deal in respect of the threat environments of maritime and land. That is why the language is carefully chosen, and that is the basis of the philosophy behind the approach.

Second, we are currently in discussions with the Americans to determine the threat environment and what we need to do about it. It would be unnecessary at this time, indeed, imprudent, to jump to the conclusion that there is only one solution. There are many ways in which this could be accomplished. For example, there could be joint planning and monitoring cells. We have hundreds of existing bilateral arrangements that have worked well to date. Some people have questioned whether we need to enhance anything. Perhaps it works perfectly well as it is. That is the reason for the deliberate language in the presentation.

Senator Forrestall: The suggestion is, and it gives cause for the dialogue and the debate, that our sovereignty is under threat. I am not one who believes that. Rather, I believe that I can give up many things and still ``feel'' Canadian. It takes a great deal to intimidate Cape Bretoners, Nova Scotians and Newfoundlanders. I do not know as much about Ontarians and Canadians further west, but it would take an awful lot to remove that feeling of self, that identification of being Canadian.

If in the mutual search for means of protection, we have to find ways of broadening our cooperation, is that the area that our sovereignty, and the dialogue that accompanies it, is most vulnerable? Or is it not, as I have always viewed it over the years, in the communications field? Canadian television is the Blue Jays in Toronto and one or two other programs. If I want Canadian content, I listen to CBC radio, not Canadian television.

Is that the area where we are most vulnerable with respect to our sovereignty? Must we give up something in order to cooperate to a greater and higher extent?

Ms Sinclair: Senator, if the situation required us to give up sovereignty in order to enhance Canadian security, it is not a zero sum. We would be getting something in the event we were willing to cede sovereignty.

We are very much of the view that form should follow function. We need to determine, first of all, what is it that we actually need. Where are the gaps? Where are the concerns? Do they indeed exist?

We need to sit down with the Americans and say: ``Do our existing arrangements not enable us already to cooperate fully and effectively in the maritime domain or in the land domain? Is there much more we need to do?''

Rather than jump to the structures, we would like to keep the focus on what needs to be recalibrated in light of the new threat environment. This is not so much really an abstract consideration of whether we need an overall new defence relationship with the United States. We are in a different threat environment. We are dealing with asymmetric threats. As I said in my presentation, the first responders are civilians. The military is a back-up system. Do we need to look at enormous new changes to the bilateral defence relationship in order to ensure ourselves that we can secure Canadians?

Those are the questions we need to pose to ourselves. If we feel there are enormous gaps, then we need to ask: ``What is the price to pay for closing those gaps, and are there ways that we can do this that would have more or less impact on Canadian sovereignty?''

You ask if this is the area in which we are most vulnerable. It is a debate. Canadians are pretty resilient people, too.

Many considerations would have to be taken into account if there was a desire to go to a broader, integrated defence relationship with the United States. The first question we would say needs to be posed is this: Do we really need it? Then we need to ask: What do we need to do, and how best can we do it?

Senator Forrestall: You stress the importance of negotiating multilateral legal compliance instruments as a means of protecting Canada's security offshore. Can you give the committee some examples of the sort of instruments to which you refer? In what way would you see these instruments reducing the threat of an accidental launching of a nuclear missile?

Before you answer, I just want to say that I would hope that the dialogue that you and Senator LaPierre have entered into is currently an issue of concern at other institutional levels in this country. The universities have been silent recently. The military is so silent that you do not know whether they are with us or against us. Please, keep the dialogue alive.

Ms Sinclair: In regard to examples of instruments, there are many ways of protecting Canadian security. At Foreign Affairs, we believe it is important to put in place legal instruments and norms. It is not simply the letter of these instruments, it is the spirit that permeates them that enables us to deal with questions of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.

You have asked for specific examples, and I can cite a few. The chemical weapons convention deals with the complete prohibition and destruction of chemical weapons stockpiles. These are the sorts of instruments that are preventive action taken offshore of Canada. This means that we use an international norm, a treaty, to get rid of existing chemical weapons stockpiles and to establish an international norm that says that it is not considered civilized international conduct to have these weapons. This is a very important way of dealing with the chemical weapons threat. You try to deal with the weapons before they are developed or deal with the stockpiles by practical destruction methods.

Canada has contributed in financial ways to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. We have people on the team, which is based in The Hague. We have contributed to the destruction of chemical weapons stockpiles in Russia, for example. There are many things that one can do.

Similarly, there is a biological and toxin weapons convention. The best way of dealing with chemical and biological weapons is not to deal with them after the fact but to deal with their development. You have to have a robust legal norm. It means that you have to have compliance provisions such that if you suspect someone is in violation of those norms you have an ability to deal with them.

In regard to nuclear weapons, we have a non-proliferation treaty that acknowledges that there are five nuclear weapon states in the world but that tries to establish an international norm against the acquisition of nuclear weapons by any other countries.

Those are the sorts of instruments I would cite. They are deterrents, but they also have a practical dimension to them.

On the missile front, there is a regime called the Missile Technology Control Regime, which Canada chairs at the moment. We have been promoting the negotiation of an international code of conduct for missile technology. This is a frightening area of military hardware. With a small amount of biological agent, which is not that difficult to develop, and a delivery system it is possible to do a fair amount of damage. Those are examples of some of the instruments that we were talking about.

I may have addressed somewhat your second question about how they reduce the possibility. One does not wish to be naive. The world is not made up of Pollyannas. It is not enough that you have the spirit, norm and intent. You need robust compliance mechanisms to ensure that these treaty regimes work.

You also need to be willing to put money into dismantling nuclear weapons, dealing with excess fissile material that may be used for nuclear weapons and destroying stockpiles, and so forth. Canada is playing an important role here.

With regard to the ongoing dialogue, if it is any consolation, I can certainly say that in our extensive contacts with the academic community and the non-governmental community with which we deal the issues that Senator LaPierre raised are always passionately discussed.

Senator Forrestall: You will notice that we did not raise Iraq.

Ms Sinclair: I did notice that.

Senator Wiebe: Ms Sinclair, I wish to change the drift of questions somewhat. As you know, our committee is looking at the need for a national security policy in Canada. I have experienced frustration over the last number of months meeting with different departments and agencies. When one looks at meeting the security threats from offshore, there are port authorities, border authorities, the RCMP, CSIS and provincial and city police. The list goes on. Each group has a different deputy minister.

I am finding that there is a tremendous duplication of capital and financial and human resources. Is it necessary to be spending all this money doing the same thing?

One of the biggest concerns is that, because of all of this duplication, there sometimes appears to be an inability to communicate or to share necessary security information quickly enough to be able to handle the possible threat that may be coming.

My basic question is twofold. First, does your department and the Department of National Defence plan policy together? Second, how quickly can information that is necessary to some of the other agencies be shared? Quite often, the act has been committed prior to an adequate response to prevent it.

Ms Sinclair: Without wanting to seem simplistic or naïve, I think I can assure you in regard to the two questions Senator Wiebe has posed. The relationship between Foreign Affairs and DND is very close. My bureau is responsible for that interface, and we deal with our colleagues at DND on a daily basis. That means policy, even in its incubation phase, is considered jointly with DND, and with other departments as necessary, but primarily with DND when looking at security, whether it is a bilateral Canada-U.S. issue, a NATO issue, or many other issues. It is so close that we each have officers on exchange with the other. I have a colonel who works in my department. We have a foreign service officer who works in the policy branch of the Department of National Defence. We have tried to go further in terms of even infusing, on a daily basis, the culture, the thinking, the approach, and the intimate contacts that one has as being part of a department by cross-fertilization in this way.

I am sure that any mechanism can be improved. I was not exaggerating when I said that my day usually starts with a call to my colleagues at the Department of National Defence. We see each other on a daily basis and exchange information in many different ways. We plan together. We implement together. We do ``lessons learned'' exercises together. It is a great relationship.

I look at my colleagues in other parts of the world, including our NATO allies. I think we have one of the closer civil-military relationships in terms of foreign and defence policy.

I have been through many, many crises related to the Gulf War, Bosnia, Timor and all of these international security issues, where we have had to share information not simply with the Department of National Defence, but with the Solicitor General and our CIDA colleagues. There is an international security family that goes beyond my department. To the extent that any system works, we share information quickly. We put together taskforces. There is a sophisticated e-mail system that enables us to get material around and about to one another. Is it flawless? Is it foolproof? Does it always work as quickly as it can? Absolutely not. However, there is a very good flow of information.

There is also the role of PCO. When a crisis is emerging or it reaches a certain point, they play a coordinating role and bring us together through the Foreign and Defence Policy Secretariat.

Senator Wiebe: My second question relates to duplication within departments. Why is it necessary to have so many people within different departments doing the same kind of security work? Maybe I am not reading it right. You can probably give me a good reason as to why you should be there, for example. Why could the Department of National Defence not do your job, or why is it necessary for you to be working for the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade rather than the Department of National Defence? We are looking at ways to ensure the taxpayers' dollars are being spent in the most prudent manner.

Ms Sinclair: That is an excellent question. One could see it as being duplicative. On one level, it appears that we are doing the same thing; however, each department has a different mandate and view. The Department of National Defence has a very specific mandate with regard to the security of Canada and aid to the civil power. The Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade has a different mandate: promoting Canada's interests abroad and protecting sovereignty in different diplomatic and other ways.

I do not want to be predictable in my response, but I would say that it is complementary. I would say policymaking should be an iterative process. There should be a competition of interests to ensure that one has thought through the issue from the various points of view and stakeholder interests within Canada, to then arrive at the very best policy outcome. If you consolidate that in one person or place, after a while you might seemingly get coherence, but you might also get insipid policy. There are competing interests and different ways of viewing things. Someone might say, ``This would be the best thing we could possibly do.'' However, you may come back and ask, ``Have you thought about the impact of our relations with these countries?''

With having people look at things from different points of view, as you are doing in this committee, you end up with a much stronger and more robust policy, one that reflects the diverse interests of Canada and Canadians.

Senator Wiebe: If you come up with a policy in a certain area and you share that with the Department of National Defence, part of that policy may be implemented by the RCMP. The RCMP may then have to implement some of that through the cooperation of the Ports Authority. Do each and every one of these agencies then have input into that policy? Are we spinning wheels here? Who has the final say as to what will be adopted?

Ms Sinclair: The government does, in both Parliament and cabinet. The interdepartmental policy process is fraught with debates, divisions and disagreements. Some of them must go to cabinet to be resolved. Good public servants are supposed to resolve issues before cabinet ministers have to fight them out around the cabinet table. At a policy level, your policy counterparts gather around the table. I have done this on numerous occasions. You can have 25 different departmental representatives around the table, each one responsible for a different area. If one wishes to ensure that the policy is not just articulated and developed but actually implemented, one must have people who understand what it means to, say, the Port Authority. Someone can then say, ``This is absolutely mad. They do not have the resources or the capability.'' Then, you must engage Treasury Board and Finance to find the resources. The policy process is enormously complex. It takes a lot of work to get to a policy that works.

Senator Day: Ms Sinclair, I wish to begin by making a comment and then I will have a couple of short questions. My first comment supports your response about how we build good and robust policy. I will take a different position from Senator LaPierre in relation to how we perceive the attack on the World Trade Center on September 11. Some people might look upon that attack as being something more than an attack on solely the United States. I look upon that as an attack on our way of life as a democratic, free-trading country, one of the multinational trading countries. That icon was chosen for that reason. The fact that many nationals died as a result of that illustrates what was trying to be achieved in that particular attack. That is why I am of the view that we must participate in these discussions in relation to security on an international, bilateral and multinational basis.

From the point of view of discussions with the United States, after September 11 we heard much discussion of the possibility that some of those terrorists had come from Canada, that Canada was a sieve, allowing things to happen in the United States. We saw that in the media. That has been corrected and refuted, but I am not sure that the message has gotten through to the American people generally. I am wondering whether, from your point of view, the people with whom we are discussing and negotiating in relation to various joint security and military activities are now convinced that that image of Canada as being a problem for the United States and an opportunity for infiltration of criminal and terrorist activity is incorrect. If they are not convinced, I would think that that would make negotiations very difficult from the point of view of an equal footing.

Ms Sinclair: As you rightly point out, there was a terrible amount of misinformation in the U.S. press. Fortunately, we have been able to disprove all the accounts and have shown that Canada is not a sieve. Indeed, Canada has been part of the security solution for the United States. We have gone to great lengths to get our message across, to convey the reality of the situation, as opposed to the rather hysterical press reports that were being perpetrated in the United States.

With regard to the community that we deal with on this issue, I can say that we are dealing with a group of people who know Canada as a reliable partner, a trusted ally, so we do not have to deal with any of those psychological problems at all. I am referring to the State Department. They know the reality of the situation with regard to the work that we have done on the border. They know the reality that Canada is an international partner of the United States.

When one talks of the ``defence department'', there are clearly two countries and two militaries that have worked together, that have interoperated within NATO in numerous military missions, that have trained together, and cooperate on a daily basis. We do not really have any of those challenges to overcome in our small community.

However, I think there is still the broader issue out there with the American public. We always work with our embassy in Washington, with our consulate, to ensure we get the truth out there.

Senator Day: My concern is perception. I agree with Senator LaPierre that the fact that we cannot get some of these trade irritants resolved, such as softwood lumber, the Farm Bill in particular, and others, seems to suggest that it is maybe more than just the general public that does not have an appreciation of our relationship. It might be an administrative problem, and I am hoping that is not the case. You perhaps cannot comment further on that. The people you are dealing with seem to understand us, but they have to report to someone else who maybe does not.

I am not putting you on the spot. This is just a comment. I understand that the commander for what the Americans are pleased to call Northern Command, the way that they organize their military, is also the commander for NORAD. There was some discussion at one time about an expanded role for Canada in Northern Command beyond NORAD. Is that still an option, or has that been taken off the negotiation discussion plate at this time?

Ms Sinclair: As far as I am aware, the commander of Northern Command has not yet been confirmed. I think the person who is the current commander of NORAD has been proposed, but I do not believe he has yet been confirmed.

Northern Command is a strictly U.S. command. There is no question of Canada being involved in that command structure. It is strictly for the purposes of the U.S. integrating its forces in that command structure. This is not envisaged as a binational structure. Indeed, the whole process of the Unified Command Plan, you may recall, predates September 11. The Americans go through this regularly to ensure that their command structures work. It was sort of an anomaly that the Americans did not have a command structure that covered their own part of the world, because they have command structures that cover the rest of the world.

Again, frankly, that is for the Americans to decide. It has nothing to do with Canada, and there should be no expectation that Canada would have a role there.

With regard to an expanded role for Canada, the debate has often come back: Should one then have an expanded role for NORAD? That was the question I think Senator Forrestall was trying to pursue. Here we think it is too early to determine what the structure should be. What we need to do is determine what we need to do to guarantee our security and then determine what instruments we need to put in place for that.

With regard again to Northern Command and some of the details of the command structures, while I could answer in more detail, I think you would be better off in the hands of my DND colleagues this afternoon.

Senator LaPierre: If Northern Command is only an instrument for United States security, why is it called ``Northern Command''? Why is it not called ``Internal Security Command''? Everyone knows that the northern portion of North America is Canada. When you use the world ``Northern Command,'' you mean the entire North American continent, Mexico, Canada and the United States. Surely you do not need to be a scientist or member of DFAIT to know that. Why is it we attach so little importance to the very words ``Northern Command''? I think it is a very frightening imperialistic name. Canadians should be very worried about that and you are not, or your department is not at all.

Ms Sinclair: Thank you very much for that clarification.

On the issue of the title, again, I do not mean to be flippant on this subject, but it really is for the Americans to determine what they call their command structure. We do not have a say in whether they call it ``Northern Command'' or, as you say, ``Internal Command.''

Senator LaPierre: Do you not interpret why it is it they are calling it that as part of your policy development?

Ms Sinclair: Clearly, it is designed for them to be able to look at the entirety. You are right, they do consider Canada and Mexico in that same context, but it is for the purposes of how they deal with their security sphere. It should not impinge on Canadian sovereignty. This is the way they are organizing themselves.

They have a central command, for example, which covers Afghanistan, though it is based in Tampa. The wonders and ways of the U.S. command structure are worth contemplating, but I would not be overly distressed.

Again, using your Mexican example, the United States calls itself ``the United States.'' If you are in La Ciudad de Mexico and you say ``the United States,'' they think you are talking about the United States of Mexico. It is not the first time the Americans have played fast and loose with the English language.

The Chairman: In passing, they seem to refer to Maine as being ``the north country.''

Senator LaPierre: They do not know where it is, or to whom it belongs.

Senator Cordy: Ms Sinclair, it has been a very fascinating discussion. Having been born in Cape Breton, I understand your reluctance to leave what is truly one of the most beautiful places in the world.

We spent a bit of time talking about planning policy with the Departments of Foreign Affairs and National Defence. Could you take me through what exactly happens when someone in either department determines that he or she will develop a policy related, for example, to security threats offshore? What happens then? Who takes charge? Is it Foreign Affairs, is it Defence, or does it depend? Can you take me through that, for me to get a clearer picture in my mind?

Ms Sinclair: I would be delighted to do so. I share your plug for Cape Breton.

It depends somewhat on the issue. For example, let us take the issue of ballistic missile defence — not that we are addressing it here, but I will use it as a current example. The Department of Foreign Affairs has a policy lead here. This is not simply a military issue with defence implications; it has broader international security and disarmament implications because of the way in which it has been envisaged. We construct a committee — and I know this sounds terribly bureaucratic — with the Department of Foreign Affairs chairing it, along with the relevant people from DND. In this case, it covers a number of different departments in the Department of National Defence itself. We come together with our legal experts, our scientific experts, our policy people and those on the operational front and we work through all the dilemmas and dimensions of the issue. On other questions, it may be that the Department of National Defence has the lead.

However, where it is an overriding foreign policy issue, for example, the deployment of a peace operation, these are questions that go beyond the simple military operational questions to encompass foreign policies concerns. Therefore, the Department of Foreign Affairs would be in the lead on that.

Sometimes, we co-chair efforts. It very much depends on the issue.

I do not know if I have answered your question.

Senator Cordy: Would you start off with the two departments together and, as needed, bring in other departments, or would all the departments come together at the same time?

Ms Sinclair: It depends on the issue. Often, we will have many departments around the table from the outset. For example, on the issues of Afghanistan, one needed CIDA there from the outset because there was a development- humanitarian dimension. On many of the international crises that we deal with, there are issues of refugee flows and so on, so there must be other departments at the table from the outset.

Sometimes it will be in the more restricted setting of Foreign Affairs and Defence, but not often. Not many issues are so restricted in their orbit of interest that you would not have others there. When we are discussing deployments, we often have the RCMP there, as well as the Solicitor General, because we work on corrections questions. Peace operations now have often more of a civilian component to them than a military one, but you still need the military expertise at the table. You make it up, depending on the crisis and the situation.

Senator Cordy: That is very helpful.

You mentioned, and we certainly all agree with you, that NORAD would certainly have expected that any attacks would have come from offshore and not from within North America, particularly within the United States. How has NORAD changed — or is that a question better asked this afternoon?

Ms Sinclair: You will get more detail this afternoon. To reiterate, however, NORAD originally was designed to deal with the external threats. Therefore, its radar and whole operational mentality was looking outward. NORAD now recognizes that we need to do surveillance of the shared Canadian-American airspace within these countries, so they have made significant changes there. My colleagues this afternoon will be able to walk you through that in great detail.

Senator Cordy: Canada and the U.S. have done an excellent job of developing the Smart Border agreement. You suggested that we are now looking at a defence security set of issues. You talked about interface or communication between the first responders, who would be civilians, and the military. That to me would be within Canada, but how would that work within U.S.-Canada communications, between first responders and military?

Ms Sinclair: Again, I think my colleagues from DND would be better equipped to answer that. OCIPEP is situated within DND, so they will be able to answer in more detail. There are examples in the past of where we have cooperated together in responding to crises, for example, the flooding of the Red River Valley.

We need to know, first, who the civilian first responders are on both sides of the border. Second, if one side runs out of capacity or capability, we need to know if there are capabilities that could be tapped into on the other side the border. Third, we need to ensure that, on both the Canadian and American civilian side, we know the kinds of chains of command and communications mechanisms one needs to link into the military if there was need for military support. That is a dovetailing of effort that needs a bit of work still.

Senator Cordy: Is there any communication between first responders in Canada and the U.S. before a crisis occurs? Here, I am referring to the police or to the fire department. Would you be aware of that?

Ms Sinclair: It is beyond my area, I am afraid. You would need to speak to OCIPEP. Generally, however, there is extensive cooperation and contacts.

Again, if we look back to September 11, there was the response by the fire departments and the support that was offered immediately by their Canadian counterparts. They know their colleagues across the border. Could there be improved coordination in their areas? Probably so, yes.

Senator Cordy: I was fascinated by the discussion that started this morning between you and Senator LaPierre. For Canadians, there is always a concern of maintaining Canadian identity or sovereignty because the Americans are so large and spend so much money — much more than we are able to spend. How do we balance cooperation? I do not think anyone would deny that we must have cooperation in protecting North America. We cannot bite off our nose to spite our face. We cannot say: ``We are not getting involved with you in case we lose our Canadian sovereignty.''

On the other hand, we do not want to lose Canadian identity. How do we balance those two things? In your communication with Americans, that is one of the things at the top of the list, and you ensure that it is at the forefront, namely, that Canadian identity is maintained. It certainly is a concern for a number of Canadians. How do we balance that while doing what is best to protect our country from offshore attacks and while still saying that we are doing it in the Canadian way?

Ms Sinclair: It is good to be brought full circle on this issue. Clearly — and I may not have articulated as strongly as I should have, Senator LaPierre and also Senator Cordy — issues of Canadian sovereignty are very much at the forefront of our thinking when we engage in any discussion with any country. In that sense, whether it is the United States or the United Kingdom or China, our interest is in ensuring that Canada is secure and sovereign and that Canada is Canada. That means promoting Canadian values and Canadian identity. That is a given. That is in the air we breathe. That is the starting point.

Regarding maintaining the balance, in this specific area you must ensure that you just do what is required. You do not give more than you need to give. If there are real threats to Canada that we feel we cannot cope with on our own and we need to deal with them on a bilateral basis, then we must negotiate arrangements that will protect Canadian sovereignty, indeed, enhance it, by ensuring that we have a cooperative relationship with the United States, or whoever the other partner would be, that affords us that enhanced security but does not diminish our sovereignty. That is in the negotiations.

However, it can be very difficult — as we know from all of the issues you cited, Senator LaPierre, and all the issues that happen in everyone's part of the country — to ensure that we hold the line. Nevertheless, we do, and often we do not come to agreement because we held the line. It is not a question of giving up at one point. There are things that are absolutely viscerally important to us. You have to say, ``Where is the line?''

If push comes to shove — if we acknowledge that we will diminish definitively the security of Canadians because we do not arrange something in this particular area — you have to decide the balance. Frankly, that is not a decision that public servants make. That is when the government — that is, the Prime Minister and the cabinet — engages on the issue and decides what is in the best interests of the country. It is done with a great deal of care. Issues of sovereignty and how far you have to go in order to achieve that objective are always present when we are in these discussions, in these negotiations.

Senator LaPierre: Ms Sinclair, your department seems to lay emphasis on, or consider the basic instrument for the maintenance of our sovereignty, the legal instruments that you negotiate, if I have understood correctly. We have a considerable number of legal instruments with the United States, and they have broken close to all of them. For example, they have broken some of the NAFTA agreements; they have deigned not to sign the instruments of the International Court; they continue to use and pile up mines that they should not use; and they have chemical weapons at their disposal that have not yet been destroyed. Canadian culture, which is my great interest, is being threatened each day by Hollywood and its movie industry and by others. American lawmakers have threatened to lay waste the steel industry of Hamilton — because the heritage minister is from Hamilton — if the minister attempts to develop a policy for Canadian magazines. Thus I am sceptical about the American ability to maintain the validity of legal instruments. They have a tendency to not consider the rest of the world because they are determined to do exactly as they please.

Why does the Department of Foreign Affairs allow this fiction to continue? The legal instruments, in the face of evidence, will be essential to maintain national sovereignty. It may not be an important question but it is a bias, no doubt.

Ms Sinclair: Senator, it is an extremely important question, even if it does reflect a bias; but that is great.

Again, how can I answer such an erudite statement? I may have led you astray, initially. Legal instruments are but one way to protect our sovereignty — they are not exclusive. There are other elements such as political pressure and the examples that you cited, which are absolutely key. We all know what Jack Valenti wants to do to the Canadian cinema industry and that 90 per cent of screen time in Canada is given to American films. What more is there to do? There are some real challenges. You talked about the mine convention, as well. I was deeply involved in the ICC and other bodies, and I know that your depictions are accurate.

Not to be naive about it, but Canadians believe in a rules-based system and would like the world to be on a rules- based system. We must aspire to use these instruments, and we must construct them in a way that they are meaningful, that they protect our interests, that they advance our interests and our values, and that they do not give more than we receive. We need to put in place dispute settlement mechanisms so that we can use the rule of law to settle our disputes and not the rule of the iron fist. This is the Canadian value system and what we represent to one another and to the world. We have to try, at least.

If others wish to move sideways and trash these regimes, I would suggest that they do so at their peril because they may need them at the end of the day. We said this to the Americans. As you know, we fought back on all of these fronts, and we have proven our case, for example with respect to mines. They may not want to sign, but the fact is that we now have the vast majority of the world on side on this issue. We have established an international norm and even the United States, China and others who have not signed, are constrained by this norm.

I think we have to aspire to conduct our relations in this way. It may not always work, but I would suggest that it is the right way to work. What are the other instruments at our disposal? Lack of dialogue and resorting to conflict or armed force is surely not the answer. We have ascended to a higher level of existence than that, and certainly Canada is considered, on the international stage, to represent the best in a rules-based approach to the world. I do not know if that answers your question, senator.

Senator LaPierre: As usual, our security is in your good hand. However, you have changed your mind. On January 28, when you appeared before us, you stressed the importance of thinking ``way out there'', which means ``outside the box,'' to meet terrorist threats, traditional or non-traditional, to Canada's security. Today you said that I should be clear that we are not looking at the complex new structures or integrated commands but rather we are looking at modest, practical measures that may or may not be required to enhance existing capacities and capabilities. Is your department no longer ``way out there'', madam, in which case I could sleep peacefully at night with my dog?

Ms Sinclair: It is always a shame to have one's own words quoted, but I beg to differ with you. I do not think I have changed my mind and my department is ``way out there'' when it needs to be and when it is practical, and it is constrained when it needs to be. As it happens, when dealing with a multilateral situation, we need to be creative and we need to think outside the box. However, on this particular issue of cooperation with the United States, we have to be careful and make sure the form follows the function. Let us figure out what we need and then let us design the instruments.

Mr. Chairman, if I may, I wish to make a correction. I had not realized that General Eberhart had been confirmed this past Thursday. I was still in Cape Breton and in a different frame of mind.

The Chairman: Thank you for the correction. We thought the men in uniform would tell us that later.

Ms Sinclair, as always, it is a pleasure to have you before us. Your assistance to the committee is greatly appreciated, and the form certainly follows the substance, which we appreciate.

Those who wish may follow our work on our web site at www.senate-senat.ca/defence.asp. We post our witness testimony as well as confirmed hearing schedules. You may also contact the clerk of the committee by calling 1-800- 267-7362 for further information or assistance in contacting members of the committee.

The committee continued in camera.