Proceedings of the Standing Senate Committee on
National Security and Defence

Issue 5 - Evidence, December 2 (Afternoon session), 2002


OTTAWA, Monday, December 2, 2002

The Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence met this day at 12:45 p.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: I should like to welcome Mr. John Nelligan, senior partner with the law firm of Nelligan O'Brien Payne, and Mark Audcent, Senate Law Clerk and Parliamentary Counsel. It is a pleasure having you here before us. We understand you are here to advise us on the rights of Parliament and parliamentarians, and we look forward to hearing from you in that regard.

Mr. Mark Audcent, Law Clerk and Parliamentary Counsel, Senate of Canada: Honourable senators, your chair has asked me to speak to you on the subject of your rights and obligations, as well as the rights and obligations of your witnesses, in the context of your current study on the need for a national security policy for Canada.

The law of Parliament is found in section 18 of the Constitution Act, 1867, and section 4 of the Parliament of Canada Act. The privileges, immunities and powers enjoyed by the Canadian Senate and the House of Commons are explained in detail in various doctrinal authorities, of which I shall mention here the work of a former law clerk of the House of Commons, Mr. Joseph Maingot, Q.C., entitled Parliamentary Privilege in Canada, second edition.

I begin with the question of the ability of your committee to compel the production of information. Rule 90 of the Rules of the Senate provides as follows:

A standing committee shall be empowered to inquire into and report upon such matters as are referred to it from time to time by the Senate, and shall be authorized to send for persons, papers and records whenever required, and to print from day to day such papers and evidence as may be ordered by it.

In an excellent article published in the spring 1995 edition of the Canadian Parliamentary Review, entitled ``The Powers of Parliamentary Committees,'' Diane Davidson, then general legal counsel to the House of Commons, wrote: ``Committees have virtually unlimited powers to compel the attendance of witnesses and to order the production of documents.'' Later in the same article, she writes: ``There are legally no grounds upon which a witness can refuse to answer a question.''

At issue today is your witnesses' need to reconcile their obligations to share with you the information you require in order to carry out your order of reference with their obligations to comply with the laws that you, as parliamentarians, have put into place to promote airport security. Witnesses and potential witnesses have expressed concern about their need to comply with the Aeronautics Act, the Canadian Aviation Security Regulations made pursuant to that act, the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority Act and the Canada Evidence Act.

My conclusion is that none of the legislation mentioned is an impediment to your obtaining what information you need to conduct your study. The obligation of your witnesses is to appear as summoned and to answer if so ordered. The underlying policy is that the business of Parliament is the pre-eminent business of the nation and that freedom of speech is essential to proceedings in Parliament.

That said, should you ask a witness for information that is sensitive information or potentially injurious information the disclosure of which might otherwise be protected, you would no doubt want the witness to advise you and the witness would be entitled to draw that fact to your attention. In such circumstances, your committee might excuse the witness from answering, arrange to receive the information in camera or order the witness to answer notwithstanding.

By the law of Parliament, proceedings in committee are proceedings in Parliament and enjoy absolute privilege. Unless the Senate waives the privilege, the word of any person speaking in a Senate committee proceeding cannot be questioned in any court or place outside of Parliament.

This position is consistent with a stream of authorities, including the United Kingdom House of Commons, the Ontario High Court of Justice and the Canadian Attorney General speaking in the House of Commons.

In 1939, a member of the U.K. House of Commons, Mr. Duncan Sandys, wrote to the Secretary of State for War on the subject of the unsatisfactory state of air defences. The Attorney General wrote back to him to ask the source of his information. The matter ended up being studied by a select committee, which in its report concluded as follows:

Your Committee are of the opinion that disclosures by members in the course of debate or proceedings in Parliament cannot be made the subject of proceedings under the Official Secrets Act.

Joseph Maingot discusses the case on page 115 of his text.

In Canada, a similar question came up before the Ontario High Court of Justice in 1977. Joe Clark and five other members of the federal Progressive Conservative Party had applied for judicial review of the uranium information security regulations, made under the Atomic Energy Control Act. The regulations provided for the security of information relating to certain uranium transactions, and the applicants sought a declaration concerning their rights as members of Parliament. Chief Justice Evans held as follows:

Following the authorities set out above, I have come to the conclusion that a Member of Parliament may utilize information proscribed by SOR/76-644 in Parliament, and may release the information to the media. However, I hold that the privilege of the Member cannot be extended to protect the media if they choose to release the information to the public. Nor do I consider that the ``real'' and ``essential'' functions of a Member include a duty or right to release information to constituents.

In the following year, a Mr. Cossitt, MP, made statements in the House of Commons that the Attorney General for Canada advised the House must have been based upon highly classified national security information. The Attorney General also said that the member's use of the secret information he was not entitled to have was contrary to the national interest. However, the Attorney General concluded, in his remarks made in the House on March 17, 1978, the following:

However, by law, his statement cannot constitute the foundation for a prosecution under the Official Secrets Act since it is well established that no charge in a court can be based on any statement made by an hon. member in this House.

For greater certainty with respect to witnesses, let me quote from Maingot at page 36:

The Bill of Rights, 1689 is not restricted to Members; whatever protection is afforded the Member is equally afforded to the non-Member under the same circumstances. Accordingly, witness, petitioner, counsel, and others whose assistance the House considers necessary for conducting its proceedings are protected by the ``rule of Parliament being that no evidence given in either House can be used against the witness in any other place without the permission of the House.''

According to Maingot, at page 14, ``Contempt of Parliament may be more aptly described as an offence against the authority of the House.'' In his words:

As in the case of a Superior Court, when by some act or word a person disobeys or is openly disrespectful of the of the authority of the House of Commons or the Senate or of their lawful commands, that person is subject to being held in contempt of the House of Commons or Senate as the case may be; therefore it will be seen that the Senate and House of Commons have the power or right to punish actions that, while not appearing to be breaches of any specific privilege, are offences against their authority or dignity. These may include disobedience to their legitimate commands or libels upon them, their offices, or their Members.

Honourable senators, I propose to end by commenting briefly on the specific legislative provisions that are alleged to be impediments here. These, of course, must be read and harmonized with the law of Parliament.

Subsection 4.3(2) of the Aeronautics Act authorizes the Governor in Council to authorize the minister, by regulation, to make orders, which the Governor in Council has done in section 3.1 of the Canadian aviation security regulations. Subsection 4.8(1) of the act prohibits a person other than the minister from making a disclosure of the substance of any order made by the minister ``unless the disclosure is required by law or is necessary to give effect to the order.'' Since the law of Parliament is part of the law of the land, and since the law of Parliament requires a witness who is ordered to answer to do so, the prohibition in this statute is inapplicable.

Subsection 4.8(2) of the act only addresses the question of the ``production or discovery of any order'' of the minister, requiring that the minister be given a chance to make representations. In any event, its application seems limited to judicial as opposed to parliamentary proceedings. Your committee could take notice that, if you wish to order the actual production or discovery of a ministerial order, you might wish to consult the minister first.

Subsection 32(2) of the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority Act requires the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority, authorized aerodrome operators and screening contractors to keep confidential any information the publication of which, in the opinion of the minister, would be detrimental to air transport security or public security, including financial and other data that might reveal such information. It follows that this prohibition is intended to apply to information that of its nature is of the kind used by these actors and not other airport security actors. It also follows that the minister must have predetermined that release of the information would be detrimental, since he must have formed and communicated his opinion.

Although I do not believe that this provision could justify a refusal to answer, it would certainly justify drawing the committee's attention to any expressed concern of the minister.

Finally, there are sections 38.01 and 38.02 of the Canada Evidence Act. The essence of the legislative scheme they embody is to prohibit disclosure of potentially injurious information and of sensitive information in a proceeding without the consent of the government, to be obtained in a variety of ways and circumstances.

On their face, these provisions might be thought to apply to the Houses of Parliament and their proceedings. Parliament has jurisdiction over the Houses, and Part I applies to ``all criminal proceedings and to all civil proceedings and other matters whatever respecting which Parliament has jurisdiction.'' The Houses are bodies with the jurisdiction to compel the production of information. The definition of a ``proceeding'' is ``a proceeding before a court, person or body with jurisdiction to compel the production of information.''

However, the better view is that the Canada Evidence Act does not apply to the Houses and their work. In the words of Maingot:

As part of the ``grand inquest of the nation,'' the committee is free from adherence to rules of evidence such as the hearsay rule, the requirement of relevance, and the rules of natural justice. Rather, it is governed by considerations of public policy.

According to Katherine Dunkley and Bruce Carson, in a paper published by the Library of Parliament as backgrounder BP-141E, 1986, entitled ``Parliamentary Committees: The Protection of Witnesses, the Role of Counsel and the Rules of Evidence'':

The legal rules of evidence do not apply in parliamentary committee proceedings except as a basic requirement that they be relevant to the inquiry.

Finally, in the words of the U.K. Select Committee on the Official Secrets Act:

Privileges enjoyed by either House of Parliament or by the members of either House in their capacity as members can be abrogated only by express words in a statute.

The Canada Evidence Act contains no provisions making it expressly applicable to the proceedings of the Houses and of their committees, and holding that it is applicable would have bizarre constitutional implications such as the review of Parliament's proceedings by the courts.

In conclusion, honourable senators, having examined the constitutional context and the authorities invoked, I have concluded that none of the legislation invoked could justify the refusal of a witness to obey an order to appear or an order to answer. Failure to appear or to answer could be found to be a contempt of Parliament. That said, your committee and its witnesses will of course want to remain vigilant to monitor the need and propriety of publicly disclosing information that is sensitive or potentially injurious to airport security.

The Chairman: Thank you very much, Mr. Audcent. Mr. Nelligan, do you have a statement?

Mr. John Patrick Nelligan, Senior Partner, Law Firm of Nelligan O'Brien Payne, LLP, Ottawa: I am privileged to appear before you today. Mr. Audcent asked to me review his original opinion. I, of course, had gone over the same ground as counsel for the Pearson inquiry some years ago. I must say we came to the same general conclusions.

I was a founding director of NAV CANADA, and then served for five years after its incorporation. I am generally familiar with Department of Transport problems.

That having been said, I feel that this committee is entitled to get all the information it requires to carry on its investigations, subject always to assisting a witness in protecting as far as possible those things that a witness considers confidential or barred by statute.

The difficulty is that in many cases the committee does not know what witnesses consider confidential or otherwise until they appears before it. Perhaps witnesses should be encouraged to express their concerns before they appear so there can be some dealing.

Certainly, that was what we did in Pearson. We would have meetings with the witness and try to convenience them and yet get the essential evidence before the committee.

That is all I can usefully add, subject to your questions.

The Chairman: That is very helpful, Mr. Nelligan, and we appreciate you bringing your vast experience to this subject.

Senator Smith: To the best of my knowledge, I believe there have been two entities that have declined to appear before us. One is the Canadian subsidiary of a multinational U.S.-based courier service. I do not know that I need to go down that road today. The other is a Canadian public entity, namely the GTAA, the Greater Toronto Airport Authority, which is an entity established under statute. It is not a Crown corporation but it is a public body. We have had several letters from the president and chief executive officer, Mr. Turpen, who basically says that his people will not come.

I will throw the first question out to both of you. Have you had a chance to review that correspondence? If so, do you find merit in any of the arguments presented as to why they are declining to come?

Mr. Nelligan: I have read the letter. Frankly, I think the gentleman is confused as to your rights and his obligations. He may have some concerns. He broadly takes the position that you are being generally indiscreet. I do not think that is a ground for refusing to appear. If he has any difficulties about any particular bits of information, then he might, in courtesy, let you know what they are, and you might be able to decide whether you want to ask questions on it. However, he has no right to deny a formal request by you, bearing in mind that you might have to go the subpoena route. That having been done, he is answerable to this committee. The normal procedures can be undertaken to have him cited for contempt if he fails to appear.

Mr. Audcent: I agree with what was said.

Senator Smith: In Mr. Turpen's letter dated August 20, he says, in the last sentence:

Any discussion you may wish to have with the GTAA on this topic can only occur after the necessary approvals have been obtained from...

I will finish this off and come back to the question.

...the Attorney General of Canada...

I believe someone from that department will be here later today; therefore, that individual obviously did not have any trouble attending here.

...and the Minister of Transport...

Mr. Collenette will be here later today; he obviously did not have any trouble attending here.

...and the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority Act.

We have already heard from CATSA. Is there any basis whatsoever that these three authorities have to approve him appearing?

Mr. Nelligan: No basis at all. If he wants to consult with them first, that is his business. If, as a result of that consultation, he wants to raise certain concerns with this committee, that is his business. However, apart from that, his obligation is to appear. If he feels he has a problem, he should tell you about it, and then you can deal with it in all good faith. However, he cannot refuse to appear, and you do not have to go to anyone except your own Senate to get instructions as to who should or should not appear before the committee.

Senator Smith: Right. We have had other authorities, such as the RCMP here, who, if we delved into sensitive areas, did not have a problem. I will just set the law aside for one second and ask you to comment on this: There are such things in life as common sense and good judgment. Assuming that we have common sense and the best interests of the Canadian public at heart, if we ask a question that genuinely does get into a sensitive area and something might be compromised if it were answered totally and fully, how would you see that playing itself out in an appropriate way, were that to happen?

Mr. Audcent: Where the witness feels he or she has grounds not to talk to a parliamentary committee, the witness can draw that point to the committee's attention, discuss why he or she feels that perhaps the question should not be answered and put it up to the committee whether the question should be answered or not. The committee at that point can take it under advisement. This could be done prior to the question, as Mr. Nelligan suggested, if one can foresee that the conversation will go in a particular direction, and that would be wise. It can also be done right on the floor of the committee hearing.

The point is that a witness has the right to say: ``Should I be required to answer this question? Are you aware that answering this question might affect the public interest in this, that or the other way?'' At that time, the committee can take it under advisement whether or not the committee wishes to order the witness to answer the question.

Senator Smith: Would there be anything to prevent us from going in camera, getting the information off the record?

The Chairman: Senate committees can only go in camera in certain circumstances, and the committee would need the authority of the Senate to do that.

Mr. Nelligan: Frankly, I think that is a deficiency in the rules, an obvious gap in the rules. However, it can be remedied quickly by going back to the Senate and getting the authority to have the hearing in camera.

The Chairman: You recognize that it is in the rules?

Mr. Nelligan: Yes.

Senator Day: I want to get my mind around subsection 4.8(2). You deal with that at the bottom of page 6, when you talk about ``discovery of any order'' of the minister. As you refer to earlier on that page, the order, in effect, is a regulation, is it not, under 3.1 of the Canadian aviation security regulations? Is that the order?

Mr. Audcent: Honourable senators, as I understand it, the structure is that the act authorizes the Governor in Council to make regulations. It also authorizes the Governor in Council to allow the minister by regulation to make the same regulations. Then the act puts in a provision outlining that if the minister makes the regulations they will be subject to certain confidentiality requirements.

There are two confidentiality requirements. The second confidentiality requirement is the one you are talking about, which is subsection (2), which talks about the ``production or discovery of any order'' of the minister.

For the actual text of the order, one would have to look at the application of subsection 4.8(2). I do not think that subsection 4.8(2) applies, but since it has been considered by Parliament to be good public authority, your committee might want to consider, before you do put it on the public record, whether you actually want to put the text of a ministerial order on the public record.

Senator Day: Mr. Audcent, are you aware of any order that has been made by the minister? Before we meet with the minister, we should be aware of what orders he might have made? Are you aware of any he might have made under subsection 4.3(2) as referred to in subsection 4.8(1)?

Mr. Nelligan: That is just it. By the very fact it comes under this, we would not know.

Senator Day: It is not inconceivable then that the manager of the Toronto airport could say to us, ``I cannot answer that because of an order of the minister.'' However, we do not know what the order is.

Mr. Nelligan: When that problem arises, you can deal with it. However, I still feel that even there, after you heard representations, if you felt it was necessary for the purposes of this committee, that is our interpretation of it, you could still require him to answer it. However, certainly there, I would take some pains to ensure that it did not get promulgated any further.

Mr. Audcent: I could give you the generic categories in which the minister is authorized to make the orders; however, as was pointed out, the orders, themselves, are protected by law, and so we would not know about them.

Senator Day: Would it be your advice to us that we should, when we speak to the minister, ask him if he has made any orders under that particular subsection?

Mr. Nelligan: I think that has to be decided on your side of the table.

Senator Day: With respect to the request that we made earlier, it was a request through our clerk to have the person attend. You described it as a formal request, a subpoena-type request. Is it your view that in order for us to exercise or put forward our position that the Parliament of Canada has priority over these other pieces of legislation we should subpoena the person?

Mr. Audcent: The ordinary practice of Senate committees is to invite witnesses to appear. If the witness declines to appear, the practice is to issue a second invitation and, in that second invitation, to mention the parliamentary powers of the committee. Perhaps the person has not understood the role of Parliament. At that point, if after the second invitation, you feel you need to hear from this witness, then you can have a member of your committee file a certificate saying that the information is necessary to your study and proceed to have a committee decision ordering the person to appear.

Senator Day: We do not normally swear witnesses in. Do you have any opinion as to whether we should or should not swear witnesses in?

Mr. Nelligan: On the Pearson inquiry, for matters of policy, it was decided that everyone would be sworn, because it would be rather invidious to require some people to swear and other people not to swear. On the other hand, anyone who tells an untruth before this committee is subject to penalty whether or not they have been sworn.

Senator Day: That is my understanding.

Mr. Nelligan: To that extent, I do not think it is actually necessary, particularly when so many of the witnesses are giving an opinion and it is only on factual matters that you want the witnesses sworn. You will have to make that decision yourself. You have a power of control, although there has been no oath taken by the witness. Once the witnesses have been sworn, you can refer them to the criminal courts for perjury if need be. I believe that has happened in Senate experience, a few years ago.

Senator Day: That is a good point.

Senator Smith: I should like it noted in the minutes that Mr. Nelligan raised a good point. At the appropriate time, perhaps this issue should be on the agenda so that we may discuss whether this committee should refer rule 92(2) to the Privileges, Standing Rules and Orders Committee. That rule contains a provision such that a committee may go in camera if it is dealing with any of the following: wages, salaries, other employee benefits, contract negotiations, other labour relations, other personnel matters, consideration of a draft agenda and/or a draft report. It is totally appropriate for us to consider sending a request to the Rules Committee, which I happen to be on, for an amendment to add one additional item. You can put that on the agenda at the appropriate time.

The Chairman: Prior to your joining the committee, Senator Smith, there had been a discussion of this, to seek dispensation from the Senate for information that, in the committee's view, was sensitive. We would be able to obtain it, in that respect.

Senator Smith: What is the status of the recommendation?

The Chairman: We thought we would have our order of reference and our budget before we moved on that.

Senator Smith: I am happy to champion that cause at the Rules Committee.

The Chairman: That is noted and appreciated.

Senator Banks: In the normal rather than the legal sense, can the minister order the operator of an airport not to appear before this committee?

Mr. Nelligan: With all due respect to the minister, he has no control over who appears before this committee.

Senator Forrestall: I am one of those people who have tried for the last four or five years, perhaps longer than that — 15 years at least — to get the Canadian government to rewrite the Aeronautics Act. The one under which we are operating was written in 1927. Do you think that would be a good idea?

Mr. Nelligan: I am sorry but I missed part of the question.

Senator Forrestall: I have been trying for a number of years to bring attention to the Aeronautics Act. The act was written around 1927. It has now become akin to the Canada Shipping Act, having had so many additions and interpretations that it no longer makes sense.

Do you think it might be time to encourage the government to rewrite the Aeronautics Act, to bring it into the present century from the nineteenth century?

Mr. Nelligan: It is similar to steamships and steam railways — they are so afraid to go back and start over, in case they make new mistakes. They would rather stick with the ones that they know.

The Chairman: Mr. Nelligan and Mr. Audcent, on behalf of the committee I should like to thank you for your advice and counsel, which was to the point and succinct.

Our next witness is RCMP Deputy Commissioner Garry Loeppky, who is accompanied by Superintendent Ray Bonnell. Honourable senators will recall that Deputy Commissioner Loeppky appeared before this committee in January of this year. Today, he will be speaking to us about airport security, including both policing and the air marshal program.

Commissioner Loeppky, welcome to the committee. The floor is yours.

Mr. Garry Loeppky, Deputy Commissioner, Operations, Royal Canadian Mounted Police: Superintendent Ray Bonnell is the individual who looks after our airport policing program and is ultimately accountable to me. He is here if there are technical issues that I might require his assistance on.

I should like to open by reading a short statement, after which I would be delighted to take honourable senators' questions.

It is my pleasure to be here today to appear before this Senate committee in order to assist you in what I consider very important work. As the RCMP's deputy commissioner responsible for operations, I can assure honourable senators that national security is of the utmost importance to our organization. The RCMP, through its intelligence- led operations and initiatives, works in concert with its local, national and international partners to ensure Canadian security and to safeguard the travelling public.

I am here to give the committee an overview of the RCMP's role in airport policing and to provide honourable senators with an update on the Canadian air carrier protective program, commonly referred to as air marshals, which I should point out is somewhat of a misnomer within the Canadian context. In previous proceedings of this Senate committee, I am aware that both of these areas of concern have been raised. The information that I am about to provide honourable senators will alleviate some of your concerns and answer many of your questions.

I should like to touch an airport policing. Historically, the RCMP has been involved in airport security and has maintained a strong working relationship with Transport Canada, who has the overall responsibility for security at Canadian airports. During the 1990s, through program review, local airport authorities assumed the responsibility for airport security. As a result of this decision, the RCMP discontinued its airport security program, since it was no longer a part of its federal enforcement mandate.

Today, however, the RCMP has an active federal law enforcement presence and provides investigative assistance to other federal enforcement agencies such as the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Health Canada and Citizenship and Immigration Canada at Canada's international airports.

RCMP activities at these airports are conducted in both uniformed and plainclothes functions, and involve active investigations in areas such as drug enforcement, customs and excise, immigration and passport, proceeds of crime, economic crime, national security investigations, as well as the enforcement of various other federal statutes.

In 2000, following a federal government decision and subsequent Treasury Board funding, dedicated federal enforcement sections at airports were created in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver international airports. One hundred uniformed members were deployed, with 40 going to Montreal, 40 going to Toronto and 20 going to Vancouver.

The mandate of the federal enforcement sections at airports is to combat organized crime within the designated airport boundaries by providing enforcement to larger, dedicated RCMP federal enforcement sections, to the local police force of jurisdiction and to other government agencies, in an integrated manner.

From a national security perspective, the RCMP operates eight national security intelligence sections at the following international airports: Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Winnipeg, Toronto's Lester B. Pearson, Ottawa, Dorval and Halifax. These national security intelligence section resources conduct threat assessments and ensure the timely acquisition and dissemination of intelligence on an ongoing basis amongst our partner agencies involved in national security.

At the Vancouver, Edmonton and Halifax international airports, the RCMP is a police force of local jurisdiction. As such, it provides general policing services, as well as specialized services for the protection of civil aviation. This is an important element of the local or Canadian airport authority's overall airport policing and security program. These services are delivered through various separate federal, provincial and municipal policing arrangements.

Other police services having local jurisdiction at other international airports provide similar services to their respective airport authorities. For example, Peel Regional Police services provide this service at Toronto's Lester B. Pearson International Airport.

I should now like to touch upon the Canadian air carrier protective program. Immediately following the terrorist attacks of September 11, air safety was a paramount concern not only in Canada and the United States, but also throughout the world. The United States responded immediately by placing extremely stringent conditions on flights in and out of Reagan International Airport in Washington, D.C. These conditions included the granting of landing rights exclusively to air carriers having armed aircraft protective officers or air marshals on board. This precondition included all flights originating from Canada destined for Reagan International Airport.

The Government of Canada, in the interests of national and international safety and security, agreed to assist the airlines with meeting this precondition. As a specific example of the government's commitment, Transport Canada requested the assistance of the RCMP in order to maintain Air Canada's landing rights at Reagan International Airport.

In response to this request, the RCMP offered interim arrangements for the temporary secondment of necessary members to deliver on-board security to Air Canada flights. This specialized service commenced on November 12, 2001, on flights from Toronto and on January 14, 2002, for flights from Montreal.

This new RCMP initiative, called the Canadian air carrier protective program, provides specialized aircraft protective officers aboard international and domestic flights originating from Canada deemed to be at high risk. The selection process in determining what flights APOs will board is based on a risk threat assessment provided by the Civil Aviation Protective Intelligence Unit, which is located within the Criminal Intelligence Directorate of the RCMP. This unit was established by the RCMP in conjunction with Transport Canada and has been liasing with its colleagues in the United States and with other intelligence organizations both domestically and internationally to develop profiles based on threat assessments on possible high-risk flights.

Under the proposed public safety act currently before Parliament, Bill C-17 and formerly Bill C-55, designated officers from the RCMP will have access to both advance passenger information and passenger name record data. Advance passenger information is basic information for each passenger, such as name, gender, date of birth, citizenship and a travel document number. Passenger name record is information related to the traveller's reservation, such as flight number and itinerary. The RCMP access to this passenger information will ensure the delivery of an effective Canadian air carrier protective program, which will ultimately help to ensure the safety of the travelling public.

Specifically, these proposed provisions require that an air carrier must, upon request, provide a designated RCMP officer with passenger information for the Canadian air carrier protective program for the purposes of transportation security or the investigation of threats to the national security of Canada.

Transport Canada is the lead agency in this civil aviation initiative. Since April 1, 2002, funding for the Canadian air carrier protective program has been managed by the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority, or CATSA, a Crown corporation under the authority of Transport Canada.

As per the memorandum of understanding between CATSA, Transport Canada and the RCMP, the Canadian air carrier protective program is mandated with preventing the control of an aircraft from being seized by any person or persons who do not have legal authority for assuming such control, by using the appropriate measures to neutralize the threat.

The relationship between the air carriers and the program is handled by Transport Canada. It is the air carrier's responsibility to train and inform their personnel. The RCMP provides information pertaining to the air carrier protective program for the air carrier's standard operating procedures. This deals specifically with such issues as communications procedures, chain of command, and crew involvement in emergency situations. In the standard operating procedures, the role of the aircraft protective officers is clearly defined as ``to prevent the control of the aircraft from passing to any person or persons who do not have legal authority for assuming or seizing such control by using measured responses appropriate to the level of threat.'' This includes the use of deadly force where deemed necessary.

Subsequent to fulfilling our role on flights into the United States, Transport Canada has since put in place the necessary security measures and legal framework to allow aircraft protective officers on board domestic flights. The aircraft protective officers are especially trained to react to any security threat on board an aircraft that may jeopardize the integrity of or unlawful interference with civil aviation and respond to threats of death or grievous bodily harm. Aircraft protective officers will not intervene in incidents on board that are normally the air carrier's responsibility.

The RCMP, along with other stakeholders, most notably the air carriers, have been actively involved with Transport Canada in the development of new training requirements for crew members and also toward improving aircraft protective officers' awareness and safety training in regard to flight safety issues. However, the air carriers continue to develop their own procedures to meet the objectives outlined by Transport Canada.

The safety and security of the public and RCMP members is paramount in this program. RCMP officers assigned to these tasks are highly qualified and receive additional training that can be adjusted to meet new or changing demands. The RCMP's aircraft protective officers wear plain clothes on board the flights to remain inconspicuous and blend in with other members of the travelling public. From its inception, aircraft protective officers have been recruited from within the ranks of the RCMP. Specialized training is ongoing for RCMP members and the ability to rotate personnel in and out of the program is seen as being a very important component of the success of such a program. It is seen as important because it allows members to keep vigilant by ensuring that they are current and that the program runs at optimal efficiency.

At this point, the RCMP believes that the program is best served under the current staffing process. Furthermore, the success of the program hinges on the confidentiality of the program. It is imperative that the flight crews be aware that discussions of the air carrier protective program, and specifically the identities of the aircraft protective officers, must be on a need-to-know basis.

As of April 1, 2002, the RCMP is committed to providing the air carrier protective program service for the next five years. In order to develop and monitor the program, a national policy centre was created at headquarters in Ottawa under the direction of the Protective Policing Directorate.

In closing, I want to reiterate that the air carrier protective program is only one of many Government of Canada programs supporting the objectives of the proposed new public safety act tabled last October. With enhanced intelligence- and data-sharing capabilities on the ground between Canadian and international partner agencies, we can anticipate the delivery of more efficient and effective enforcement measures in the near future to ensure the safety of Canadians and the national security of our country.

I am now prepared to take your questions. However, to ensure the integrity of the air carrier program, the safety of the travelling public and the long-term commitments that we envision, I would ask for your understanding that the disclosure of certain information into the public domain would have serious implications for the program and could compromise it. As a senior member of the RCMP, I have responsibilities that include the protection of the program's integrity, protection of the public and the safety of our members.

I would be happy to respond to your questions.

Senator Cordy: Am I correct that the legal framework requirements are that the pilot and the chief flight attendant be notified that there is an officer on board?

Mr. Loeppky: That is correct.

Senator Cordy: They would know the seat number or identity of the person?

Mr. Loeppky: That is correct.

Senator Cordy: After hearing testimony this morning, I asked a question regarding who would be notified. My previous understanding had been that the chief pilot and the chief flight attendant would be notified, but the information I got this morning from the witness was that everyone on board would be aware that there was an officer on board. Is that information correct?

Mr. Loeppky: No, that is not exactly how the process works. We have committed to ensure that the pilot of the aircraft is notified that there is someone on board and that the in-charge flight attendant, that is, the person responsible for the flight crew, is notified of the presence of an aircraft protective officer on board. If those people choose to share that information with other flight crew members, that would be their decision. Our position is that we will share it with the captain and the in-charge flight attendant, who would obviously be involved in any case if there were an incident on board.

Senator Cordy: Is it the norm that all crew members are aware that someone on board is carrying arms, or is that out of your control after you have let the two people know?

Mr. Loeppky: We share that information with the pilot and the in-charge flight attendant.

Senator Cordy: Are they told whether they can or cannot share that information?

Mr. Loeppky: We have not given them specific instructions on that. We have simply asked for their cooperation to ensure that it does not go beyond. If they choose to share it with their in-flight crew, that is their decision, but we have not given any specific direction on that.

Senator Cordy: You have also stated that carriers are responsible for training, which I understand. Is there any discussion whatsoever between the RCMP and crews as to what exactly their responsibility is should the officer on board be required to take action because of an individual on board who they would prefer not be there?

Mr. Loeppky: Obviously, if one of our people on board must take action, it is at the very end of the process because it is to avoid having someone take control of the aircraft, and we would not get involved before that.

In terms of the actual crew training, I understand that Transport Canada is in the process of developing that, in terms of ensuring that there is a standard to which the flight crews must be trained. Of course, the airlines will ensure that they meet those requirements.

Senator Cordy: Would the RCMP be asked for recommendations in terms of what training crews should have in dealing with an officer on board?

Mr. Loeppky: Yes. We have been involved in discussions with that, to ensure that our input is on the table.

Senator Cordy: I am often at the airport in Halifax, where RCMP do general policing. What exactly do you do in the airport? Sometimes the RCMP officer will ask for my photo ID before I enter into the screening area. What does general policing mean in Halifax?

Mr. Loeppky: General policing includes everything from responding to front-line complaints from that local community, as it would in any community, in other words, the police force of local jurisdiction, from petty thefts to motor vehicle accidents out in front of the building to a whole host of normal police duties. It also involves very close cooperation with the local airport authorities in terms of responding to concerns that they have, as you mentioned, where there is police presence requested to verify documentation and that type of thing. It is a more general role.

That of course is supplemented by our federal presence. Our national security investigation sections are there, as well as Canada Customs, Immigration and Transport representatives. They assist in things like threat assessments, gathering intelligence, working in an integrated way with the other partners in that airport. We may also have federal presence there in terms of drug enforcement personnel on specific files, that type of thing.

Senator Cordy: We have been told that at Pearson the criminal element is playing a vital role in moving things through the airport that should not necessarily be moved through the airport. We were told that the RCMP asked to go in undercover, to see if they could find out who was responsible, but that the unions turned them down. The RCMP was not allowed to do undercover work at the airport, to find out who was involved in doing illegal activities at the airport. Would you be able to comment on that?

Mr. Loeppky: In some of the airports, primarily the ones where we have front-line policing responsibility, we provide support in terms of background security checks; we assist in CPIC checks, those types of things.

In Toronto, first, we have significant numbers there, a total of about 65 RCMP. We work in an integrated way with the Peel Regional Police, who do the front-line policing at the airport. We also work there with representatives of the OPP, the Toronto Metro Police and certain federal government departments. We deal with activities at the airport that come to our attention, say, through Canada Customs or Immigration. We work together in an integrated way through a very multidisciplinary approach to try to address that problem.

With respect to us being precluded from conducting an investigation at Toronto Lester B. Pearson Airport, I am not specifically aware of that situation. I know we conduct significant investigations at Lester B. Pearson Airport. In terms of being precluded from doing an internal investigation, I am not aware of that, so I cannot comment.

Are you aware of that?

Mr. R.J. Bonnell, Superintendent, Officer in Charge, Protective Services Branch, Royal Canadian Mounted Police: No, I am not aware of that.

Senator Banks: We are aware of it.

The Chairman: It was a Metro Toronto Police operation. It was not RCMP.

Senator Cordy: Sorry. Thank you for correcting that.

You said that you do background checks on individuals who are going to work at the airport. Nevertheless, we have heard — and I stand corrected that it was the Metro Toronto Police — that organized crime is taking place at the airport. How can that be, if background checks have been conducted? What types of things do you look for when do you a background check?

Mr. Loeppky: There are two issues to that question. When we assist in doing background checks, we check the Canadian Police Information Centre, CPIC, for outstanding warrants, for criminal records, for those types of things. We provide that information to the airport, for them to make the assessment as to whether that individual can be hired. There is ultimately a process in place for individuals who have questionable backgrounds, and the airport in question makes a decision on that. We simply provide the background information on CPIC.

Not all organized crime activity at airports or activity at airports necessarily involves people with previous criminal records. I think that is a fair statement to make, in terms of clarifying that a simple CPIC check to determine a previous record may not necessarily capture all of the issues.

The Chairman: You replied to Senator Cordy, commissioner, that you informed the captain in charge as to the presence of an aircraft protection officer or officers. We have had testimony that, in fact, the information is not going further than that. Our information is that it stops at the captain and the in-charge person in the cabin. The reaction we have had from flight attendants is that they are very concerned that they do not know. They are concerned for a number of reasons, first and foremost being that they do not know what they are supposed to do in the event of a problem. They do not know how they should react in the event of a problem.

The sense that I have taken from your testimony so far is that you communicate the information to the person who is in charge in the cockpit and the person in charge in the cabin, and it is their business if they deem to communicate it further.

Mr. Loeppky: That is correct, senator.

The Chairman: What advice would you give them, as far as communicating it further is concerned? Is it an appropriate thing for them to do, or not?

Mr. Loeppky: The internal structure of the flight crew, from my understanding, is that issues having to do with the safety of passengers or the aircraft are immediately brought to the person in charge. They would obviously be notified immediately and be aware of that.

In the United States, the entire crew is advised of the presence of an on-board aircraft protective officer. Part of that is driven by the fact that the mandates are somewhat different, I believe. In the United States, the aircraft protective officers are also mandated to respond to unruly passengers and to incidents that are driven by other factors in wanting to assume control of the aircraft. Our mandate is to prevent an unauthorized person from gaining access to the cockpit. Hence, there may be rationale for having the crews in the United States notified. However, in Canada, our role is to prevent the control of the aircraft from being taken over.

In response to your question, I believe that having the pilot and the in-charge flight attendant aware of our attendance and role is probably sufficient. However, it is important to say that this is an evolving program. Perhaps where we are today in terms of how it is run may not be where we are in a year or two from now because we are learning as we go along.

The Chairman: I appreciate your answer, commissioner. You have offered an important distinction for the committee to reflect upon, that is, that the aircraft protection officers are under instructions not to intervene except when the cockpit is in danger. That is different from the situation in the United States, where air marshals, as they like to call them, would intervene in the event of air rage or someone trying to intimidate a flight attendant or another passenger. What you have described is the aircraft protection officer not doing anything in the event of a disturbance on the plane unless, in his or her judgment, the cockpit was in danger; is that correct?

Mr. Loeppky: That is correct.

The Chairman: What you are describing to this committee is a situation where they will only move in the most extreme circumstances. They will only move when they are convinced that the door to the cockpit will be penetrated; am I right so far?

Mr. Loeppky: Yes, that is correct.

The Chairman: What we are hearing from flight attendants is that they do not know what they are supposed to do when that happens. They do not know if they see a third person getting up how they should respond. We have had people speculate that if a flight attendant saw an individual with a gun get up the attendant would clout the person with a bottle of wine, if he or she had a bottle in their hand. Flight attendants making up security policy as they go along is not a terrific idea.

These people have told this committee that they would like guidance and training on this. It seems to us that while Transport Canada may be responsible for preparing the ultimate program you are the people who understand the situation. As such, you are the most obvious people to say, ``Here is how we would like people to behave in the event that one of our APOs has to take action.''

My question is: Why are you not doing that? Why are you not informing the entire crew? The attendant in charge may be at the back of the plane serving a snack. The problem may be at the front of the plane. Why should the up-front attendant not know how to react in the event that an APO decides that there is a problem?

Mr. Loeppky: The training that we talked about earlier, that we will have some input into, is currently being developed. I agree that we need to ensure that the training that will be developed by Transport Canada in conjunction with us requires some input from the crew in terms of the reaction that is required from the crew. That is part of that training that will take place.

Senator Atkins: Following along on that same line, we did hear from a flight attendant who had been flying for 30 years. She said there had not been a change in the manual in over 10 years. It is now almost a year and a half since September 11. Are you not concerned about the time lag vis-à-vis putting new measures in place to protect the public? The same witness also said that there had been no new training. She said there is a refresher course once a year that lasts for half a day, if they are lucky. In view of the new circumstances, does this not concern you?

Mr. Loeppky: I believe that with the evolution and implementation of the program there is a need for training to be developed and implemented that is complementary to our role and consistent with what we are trying to do in terms of aircraft safety.

I believe we have had three meetings that have involved Transport Canada, the union representatives and the airlines in terms of having an informed discussion about the air carrier protective program and our role.

Certainly I agree that training is important. My understanding is that training programs are close to being completed.

Senator Atkins: The impression that I received was that there was a question of money. Taking someone out of their normal duties and giving them, say, a week's thorough training, who pays for that, the airlines, Transport Canada or who?

Mr. Loeppky: My understanding is that Transport Canada sets the standards and develops the policy. The airlines are required to provide the staff for taking that training.

I understand the financial burden that it creates. However, I believe the bigger picture is the question of airline safety. There are obviously funding issues that relate to that, but I do not think we can lose sight of the end objective of the training, that is, to have a safer environment within the aircraft.

Senator Atkins: The same witness to whom I referred earlier went as far as saying that, with respect to their bids for monthly assignments, there are some assignments that nobody wants to bid on any longer, because of the concerns for their own safety.

I know you have been asked this a hundred times, but we have had conflicting evidence. What is your view about pilots carrying weapons?

Mr. Loeppky: I very much question the need for pilots to carry firearms. There are many issues around that, dealing with everything from the aspect of firearms safety, storage, the constant need for re-certification and the fact that the pilot's main purpose is to fly the airplane. I question the overall benefit or value of having a pilot with a firearm in his possession.

On balance, there are many other mechanisms that need to be put in place and that can be put in place without having to resort to pilots carrying firearms. I know that issue has been debated in other environments. There has been a significant amount of discussion on the subject. There is the question of the safety to the individual himself and to the remainder of the flight crew. Not all incidents will involve a potential hijacker having a firearm; there may be many other factors. Minimizing the number of firearms on board is probably very appropriate.

Did you want to add something, Mr. Bonnell?

Mr. Bonnell: I wanted to mention one thing on the question of the crew being advised. This is a new theatre of operation for us. We are learning as the program evolves. There are pros and cons. For example, if the flight crew were aware, it would be easy for a potential hijacker to take one of the airline attendants hostage and demand to know where the air marshal is on the plane. As we thought through those processes, we came to realize that there are pros and cons about notifying versus not notifying.

We are trying to ensure that at the present time our people are trained to work independently in this new environment and enclosed space. However, we do not want to make anything different for the people who work in that environment daily. We want to be compatible with the crew and to fit in and work with them.

Senator Atkins: They might argue in favour of their personal safety, especially in regard to the training factor, and the sharing of information.

What do you think of cameras in the cockpit?

Mr. Loeppky: I suppose cameras that video the rest of the aircraft so that the pilot and the co-pilot can monitor the activities in the back would be helpful. While that is beneficial, the reality is that if there are secure doors on the cockpit area one would hope that will allow a certain measure of access to the cockpit.

Obviously, the more tools that are in place to give you more advice and knowledge are helpful things. The issue of security is a staged and incremental process. Something like that would be another level of awareness for the pilots to have in terms of the situation in the remainder of the aircraft.

Senator Atkins: Do you think the double-door concept will work?

Mr. Loeppky: It certainly will act as an additional measure. Is it foolproof? No, it probably is not. However, in some cases, it certainly would allow the flight crew to take additional actions beyond simply having to grapple with someone. They would at least have some time to make some decisions.

Senator Atkins: The configuration of some planes is such that one wonders how they will implement it.

Mr. Loeppky: There is no question that it will certainly be an expensive and a difficult issue.

Senator Atkins: Since 9/11, has any authority developed a plan to confront another disaster of that type that would be implemented the minute it took place?

Mr. Loeppky: Are you speaking specifically of a disaster involving an airliner?

Senator Atkins: Yes, or airlines.

Mr. Loeppky: We learned a lot from 9/11. More than 2,000 aircraft landed in Canada. We accommodated over 40,000 passengers who had not expected to arrive here. In terms of the capacity to do that, our contingency planning is much better, especially as far as support services are required. I am referring to the management of volunteers and those types of issues, which actually posed some challenges for our front-line people. Because there is a huge number of volunteers, that becomes an important part of the process.

In terms of the ability to respond to an incident involving an airliner here, I think we are much more prepared. We have additional capacity in our organization in terms of having done some additional training and readiness. I am talking not only about ourselves but in terms of working more closely with other federal government and provincial government departments.

Senator Atkins: As well as the Americans?

Mr. Loeppky: We are working very closely with our U.S. colleagues in terms of looking at how they have managed situations and the gaps they have identified in terms of how they responded. We have learned a lot from them.

Senator Atkins: Would you go to the same extent that they did on 9/11, that is, grounding everything around the world, which they, in effect, did?

Mr. Loeppky: I guess it depends very much on how the situation evolves. I am not sure we can forecast every eventuality. Unfortunately, there will always be an unknown element. As we look back at 9/11, we ask ourselves whether there was something we could have thought about and asked ourselves, ``How could we have planned for this?''

The reality is that terrorist groups will use a variety of approaches in the future that probably will not mirror 9/11, that will, in fact, take different approaches. I reflect back to the incident that took place last week where there is some information about missiles being fired at a commercial airliner.

Senator Forrestall: Perimeter security is what concerns me. I want to ask several supplementary questions because I am a little puzzled.

With regard to the positioning of cameras in the cockpit, for example, do we have the technology to transmit to the ground in real-time those images so that the crew, and the pilot in particular, would have the advantage of people on the ground helping him, advising him as to what he must or should do?

Mr. Loeppky: I am certain there is the ability to have a real-time live feed to the ground. Each day in Toronto alone there are well over 1,000 aircraft that land and take off. When I look at doing that over North America or throughout the world, it strikes me as a pretty significant challenge to try to implement a process like that.

Second, we have to evaluate the true benefits of having direct feed to the ground when the crisis is in the air and the situation will have to be resolved there essentially before it gets to the ground.

Senator Forrestall: There has been a reduction in the numbers of personnel at airports. Is there a reason for that, other than the changing of airport responsibilities?

Mr. Loeppky: Could I use Lester B. Pearson as an example?

Senator Forrestall: It is all right, sir. We have been picking on them for several months now, with good reason.

Mr. Loeppky: At one time, there were probably 290 people at that airport. I believe the number is now somewhere around 168, which includes the RCMP, Peel Regional Police, as well as some presence by the OPP and Toronto Metro Police. Those are officers with peace officer status. I am not sure to what degree they are supplemented by private security firms. The Canadian Corps of Commissionaires also play a significant role in terms of ensuring that doors are secure and not being used inappropriately by individuals and those types of things. The fact that the numbers are down does not necessarily reflect a reduced level of presence of personnel.

The other thing is that technology has changed over the last number of years. In our protective mandate, we certainly have seen resource changes in other areas of responsibility, which is due simply to technology, on the protective side in terms of VIP security and those types of things. Technology has had an impact in terms of being seen as more efficient.

When we had 290 people there, they were primarily RCMP. Today, we have 168. The reality is that these are probably very much more focused on being intelligence-led operations. We are more integrated with other federal government departments. They actually form part of multidisciplinary teams.

We see that not only in airports but also in the integrated border enforcement teams and the national security enforcement teams. There is a more multidisciplinary, multi-functional team effort to bring the various pieces of intelligence and organizations together so that the various enforcement bodies will be more effective.

Numbers in themselves do not necessarily tell the true story. There is a lot more that underpins that 168 than mere numbers might suggest.

Senator Forrestall: I want to come back to the question of surface-to-air missiles, their ability, their relative low cost and their wide availability. What are we doing, if anything at all? We are all familiar with landing or waiting in a lineup to take off and seeing cars parked at the end of the approach lights, watching planes land and take off. We know that it is difficult to effectively police this. Even the hand-held, surface-to-air missiles are mostly active, not passive, devices, perhaps three miles on take off, perhaps eight to ten on approach in their range. The lateral is another question. That is an enormous amount of territory to try to protect.

On the other hand, no flight is secure from the trunk of a car; nothing we can do will secure it. This is one of several instruments available to the sick mind.

Is there anything we can do, or is it just a matter of hoping and praying? Are we doing anything?

Mr. Loeppky: I hope we do more than hope and pray.

Obviously, that is a concern and a new type of threat has arisen. I do not believe that trying to expand the perimeters of airports to the degree where you could totally eliminate that threat is a practical solution. The key lies in being much more strategic, having the intelligence beforehand on groups or individuals that would be likely to become involved in that type of activity. This particular incident involved a missile or what is believed to be several missiles. The reality is that a number of types of threats could arise for aircraft that are approaching airports or departing that clearly pose a similar type of threat.

Taking an intelligence-led approach and having our integrated national security enforcement teams and national security investigations sections engaged in developing the information and the intelligence on groups that are active in those types of things is where the key lies.

We must be much more proactive and intelligence-led because if we are to try to react to that type of situation, then, in my view, everything else has failed. We need to be much more proactive than trying to deal with the individual sitting in the back of a pickup truck at the end of a runway with a missile launcher. That is a threat. I do not discount that, but we must be more sophisticated than simply just trying to address those types of threats.

Senator Forrestall: My next question deals with the warning of possible missile attacks against U.S. commercial airliners. Lawmakers in the United States urged the Bush administration yesterday to act promptly to protect U.S. airlines.

I ask you to act promptly to protect Canadian airlines from attack. There is a question in my mind — not that we should not make some effort to identify means of achieving this — namely, who should do it? Should it be the Canadian military? Should it be the national police force?

Mr. Loeppky: Do you mean in terms of identifying those types of threats?

Senator Forrestall: I mean taking action to defend against it. We invite you people to place your life and body on the line everyday on the highways of Canada, but this is something slightly different.

Mr. Loeppky: One of the things that we do, obviously, is engage in ongoing discussions not only with Transport Canada but also with CSIS, all the federal partners and the international partners, in terms of the evolving threats and assessing how to deal with them.

In this particular occasion, I believe you need to look at who has the ability to respond to something like that. Is it a question of trying to protect the aircraft? Is it a question of trying to deal with the individual? I am firmly convinced that a coordinated, integrated approach and ensuring that we are at the table together and that there are no stovepipes in terms of sharing information is the only way to deal with these situations. We will never get there if we try to remain in any kind of stovepipe in dealing with key information that may be in one department. It must be shared.

Senator Forrestall: That comes back to my question: Who should do it? Physically on the ground, who should do it? Should we be looking at mobilizing?

Mr. Loeppky: I do not think you can mobilize to deal with one particular threat because the threat could come in a whole host of ways.

We are constantly doing threat assessments with CSIS and our other partners in terms of asking what are the new trends. What events that have taken place in the last year and a half, from Bali to Mombasa to the attack on the French tanker in the Gulf, do we need to assess? What are the approaches to be taken? What are the threats? How are they manifesting themselves, and how do we need to respond?

Obviously, if it were something that is clearly within the capacity of the military to respond to, then the military would take that responsibility. If it is an issue that deals with public safety, in my view, we as a national police force would be responsible for that.

Senator Forrestall: It is my personal view that al-Qaeda has been at us, unbeknownst to us, or at least, unvoiced in a coherent way, for several years. September 11 was just a critical mid-way point of many minor distractions to highlight a major one. The use of missiles against aircraft is at least seven or eight years older than that. It has been done time and again.

How do we cope with such a costly defence? That is only one; there are many other ways that our lives can be disrupted. As we identify them, unless we jump on them and get them under some kind of control, there will not be much we can do.

Mr. Loeppky: I certainly agree that this is a fairly recently identified threat against a civilian airliner, and it is a matter of looking at whether that threat is likely to manifest itself in other parts of the world and how we address that. It is part of an evolving process that we need to be aware of and assess how we will respond, and, obviously, we will respond. We have not seen that method used before, although the capability has been there. It is a new trend, I suppose, in terms of threat against commercial aviation.

Senator Forrestall: Finally, I have a supplementary question to a question asked by Senator Cordy, which was commented on by Senator Banks.

I find it a little disconcerting to hear that you did not know of an incident that we learned about through our questions to witnesses, namely, the attempt to resume police forces for real reasons, such as to infiltrate the workforce undercover in order to identify wrongdoing and being denied, whether by the union directly or by the company itself. What disturbs me is that you were not made aware of that incident in the normal course of sharing intelligence by someone anecdotally saying, ``Last week Toronto Pearson told us that they were not putting people on their staff for the purpose of spying on other people.'' Did that not ever come to your attention?

Mr. Loeppky: No, it did not. What did come to my attention, I believe as a result of an appearance before this committee, was that there had been an issue that identified a gap between our service and the Peel Regional Police Service. We followed up directly with the chief and the deputy chief of Peel. They assured us that there were no gaps in terms of our working relationship. I realize you are talking about Toronto Metro Police, but anything similar that would come to our attention I would take to heart because that is an issue that strikes at the heart of what we are trying to do in terms of integrated policing.

Senator Forrestall: Would that include sharing intelligence?

Mr. Loeppky: Yes.

The Chairman: I have a couple of comments. The issue you are referring to came to this committee directly from Peel Regional. The officer in charge of the airport detachment did want to look into it, but the fact of the matter is that Peel Regional communicated it to us.

We have had testimony at every airport we have been to that organized crime is rampant. RCMP officers have testified before this committee listing the number of groups that are involved. Have they been giving us accurate information?

Mr. Loeppky: I would hope so. If not, we have a problem with our organization.

In the past, we have undertaken investigations. I do not recall the exact number today but I can certainly provide that. We have done investigations at airports where there have been arrests as a result of criminal investigations involving employees that are there. I certainly would not want the message to be left that there have been no investigations and no results.

The Chairman: That was not the question, sir. The question was: Are you as a force and are you in a corporate sense concerned about organized crime being active at Canadian airports? Is that a problem we should be worried about as a committee?

Mr. Loeppky: I am concerned about organized crime anywhere, but obviously airports and seaports are a concern because they are border points and they speak to the integrity of our borders and of our border policies.

The Chairman: This leads me directly to your comment about sufficient police at Pearson. We received testimony from Inspector Landry, who quoted the exact numbers you are giving us, and then he went on to comment that it was that way in spite of dramatic increases in landing passengers and cargo. This committee was left with the distinct impression that he was pointing out to us that he was shorthanded.

Is it your position before this committee that you have sufficient police at these airports now and that there is no requirement for additional policing?

Mr. Loeppky: In any situation, if we have additional resources we can do more, not only in terms of enforcement but also in terms of prevention, education and other areas. Those particular numbers represent people who are actually stationed at the airport. If you look at the integrated enforcement model that we have in the Toronto area, many of those investigators would touch airport issues where there is activity at the airport that is involved in their investigations. They would obviously consult with these people but there is a greater integrated presence or availability of people that would be there to assist if necessary, support units.

The Chairman: That seems to be contrary to the testimony that we received in Vancouver, where it was suggested to us that by having the Richmond detachment there you had better coordination and better opportunity to provide support. I am a little confused.

Mr. Loeppky: In Toronto, we have the combined forces special enforcement unit, which is a multidisciplinary multi- organizational task force that is headed up by the RCMP. If there were an investigation they were undertaking, a component of which involved activity at the airport, obviously they would focus on that activity at the airport as it contributed to their overall investigation.

Perhaps I am not being clear on the issue, and I apologize for that, but there is additional support and surveillance units, those types of things, that could be brought to bear if there is a particular file that we are working on at the airport. The situation is no different from Richmond because the only difference is that we are the police force of local jurisdiction there.

The Chairman: After visiting three of our major airports, we have come away with a clear impression that the police were shorthanded, overworked and understaffed. The impression you are giving us now is that that is not the case. I want you to have an opportunity to clarify the record one way or another so the committee has a clear understanding of the RCMP's position on this.

Mr. Loeppky: No. If you were to look at any environment, whether it is an airport or a community in a city, you can always use more people. It is a matter of being intelligence-led in terms of setting the priorities of where resources are directed and ensuring that the most effective use is made of them in terms of the greater public safety issues.

To take the example of an airport, a police service may make the decision not to enforce parking issues if there is a greater threat that pertains to airline safety. I would suggest that more resources could always be put to good use. It is a matter of deploying in the most effective way the limited resources we have.

The Chairman: I am belabouring the point, but certainly I do not think anyone on the committee had the feeling that Inspector Landry or any of the other officials who gave us this information were giving us the information because they felt they were adequately staffed. They were giving us the information because they felt they were not adequately staffed and it is still not clear to me what your position is, deputy commissioner.

Mr. Loeppky: Are we adequately staffed? I believe we are adequately staffed to provide the aspects of flight safety and airport safety.

In terms of being able to investigate all the activity that is going on at the airport, do we have adequate resources for that? Probably not, because when you do a scan of activity in any environment, and the Toronto airport is an environment like any city environment, there will always be activity that you can accomplish. There will be some things that, because they are directly attributed to safety at the airport, they do not have a direct impact, that you may not be able to do at that point. That is part of where the threat assessment, the risk-analysis process must be put in place so that you do the most important things in the most effective way possible.

The Chairman: On the subject of organized crime, we also heard testimony to the effect that where organized crime is flourishing is fertile ground for terrorists to operate. Is that a view you share?

Mr. Loeppky: Most terrorist groups, whether they are involved in activities or fundraising, are involved in some type of criminal activity. Obviously, that is an opportunity for them to do that.

Senator Banks: I wish to go one step further. You are a police officer. There are a lot of competing public interests in Canada, and we know what they are. However, most Canadians would agree that there are not many that are more important than the questions of peoples' lives, our sovereignty and our border integrity.

Mr. Loeppky: Absolutely.

Senator Banks: Do you think public policy on those issues ought to be determined by the resources that are available to them, or should it be determined in terms of their necessity and the resources should follow in terms of the importance?

Mr. Loeppky: You have to look at the aspect of necessity and determine what resources are required to ensure that public safety is assured.

Senator Banks: If I could use an example that I used earlier, although I hate this kind of analogy, if your house is on fire, I do not think you want the authorities to be asking questions about how much it will cost to send two fire trucks instead of one to your house, notwithstanding that it looks like it might be a two-alarm fire. Should we be having a discussion about how much that will cost, how much water we will use, how many firemen and what will be left over, before we send the necessary resources, without regard to their cost, to take care of business?

I am frustrated by the answer to that question in an airport security context.

Mr. Loeppky: My short answer is that I do not think you can compromise public safety based on dollars.

Senator Banks: I agree.

In that respect, I will put one simple proposition to you. Thank you, gentlemen, for being here and taking this, because I know that these questions do not always pertain to you, although you do spend some of the money.

I want to refer to the stovepipes that you were talking about. I want you to understand the proposition that I am going to put to you and ask you to comment on it based upon a serious frustration, which I certainly have and I think some of my colleagues share.

We have heard, in recent times, three different answers about the question of policy with respect to armed police officers on airplanes. Inspector Landry talked to us, as the chair has just said, about what he regarded — and I think it was fair for us to infer — as short-staffing, as well as the fact that, at his count, there were 56 agencies that had enforcement or regulatory responsibilities at Pearson. Since then, I have found another dozen or so that also have interests in that respect. As you mentioned in your remarks, at Pearson alone there are responsibilities shared by the RCMP, by Peel Regional, by the OPP and by the Metro Toronto Police. As has been referred to here before, there was a situation in which the Peel regional police knew that there was something afoot and wanted to put, as they had previously, undercover officers in place to work on the airside. That permission, where it had not been denied before, was denied. Despite the fact that there was a multi-jurisdictional investigation unit involving all of those forces at Pearson, you did not know about it.

I am not criticizing you, I am just saying that the interoperability that you were referring to, the horizontal rather than the vertical information transfer, does not seem to us to be happening. Even though everyone is saying that things are okay, that it is working and information-sharing is taking place, I have a tough time believing that, given that four police forces are operating at Pearson, the information that goes on among the police officers working for those four forces is the same as at Edmonton, where there is one police force. I do not believe that. Our American counterparts do not believe that. In fact, they are envious of us because they have even more agencies than we who are concerned about this, and therefore more problems with information-sharing. I understand human nature; I understand bailiwick protection and the natural frictions that arise in jurisdictional matters between police forces. They cannot be denied. They are irrefutable.

Would it not be better, if you were the king of police and had to decide how to police our airports, the airlines and airplanes that land at them and the business that goes on with them, to say that we will have one authority dealing with that rather than 59, and one police force rather than four?

Mr. Loeppky: If I can pick up your point with respect to the comment at Pearson and the issue that seems to be outstanding about the operation that I am not personally aware of. It is something we will follow up on, but I want to point out that we are involved in literally thousands of initiatives across the country and many operations. This may be a situation about which local members of the RCMP were aware but one that may not have come to my attention. In a big organization, something like that could happen. I want to be sure that that clarity is there. We will follow up on that.

Senator Banks: I am only using that as a microcosmic example of the fact that things probably happen when there are four police force that three of them do not know about from day to day. That would be less likely to happen if there were not four police forces.

Mr. Loeppky: As you expand the number of players, there are opportunities to ensure that the various authorities, the various mandates, are brought in and you have a more multidisciplinary approach. You have Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, which can bring intelligence to the table with respect to organized crime involving smuggling endangered species through airports. Where we need to improve is in terms of the sharing of information through technology enhancements. There is gap in behaviours, in ensuring that people do not view things in stovepipes but look rather at the broader issues of public safety. There is an obligation to ensure that that occurs.

The short answer to your question — that is, if there is one agency doing everything, versus 20 agencies, whether there is a greater likelihood of a gap in terms of missed information — I would agree with you that there is.

Senator Banks: I do not know how practical it is, but I think it would be a lot better if the RCMP, in which force Canadians have pre-eminent trust, were responsible for airport security.

You mentioned that armed officers on airplanes would only intervene in a situation where it appears that someone is trying to gain access to the cockpit and, therefore, control of the airplane.

Mr. Loeppky: Yes.

Senator Banks: What if someone does something that is completely loony and life-threatening to passengers but makes no move towards the cockpit? In other words, I am asking you to expand upon the mandate that is given to armed officers on airplanes. I expect it goes a little beyond someone trying to smash through the door of the cockpit.

Mr. Loeppky: We are very clear, in terms of the agreements under which they would take action, that it must involve an actual threat to the cockpit and the safe operation of the aircraft. The reason for that is that terrorist organizations that would want to take control of an aircraft obviously might try a number of other approaches to flush out the protective officers on board. It is a question of ensuring that you do not compromise the identity or the responsibility of those who are protective officers.

Senator Banks: In order that the airplane cannot be used as a weapon?

Mr. Loeppky: That is correct.

Senator Banks: I appreciate that if a diversion were caused, let us say by someone appearing to be drunk or being obstreperous with a flight attendant, and an armed officer were to make him or herself known, then that might cause a problem. However, what if someone stands up in the airplane, has no intention of taking over the airplane or the airport, but intends to kill everyone on board with a bomb, or attack other passengers for whatever reason? Are there no other circumstances, other than someone heading straight for the cockpit door, in which an armed officer can intervene? What about in cases of life-threatening harm to passengers?

Mr. Loeppky: We train our people that it is their responsibility to ensure that the aircraft is not taken over by someone.

I spoke at this committee last time I was here about whether an officer would act if there were a serious incident on board. In the situation that you have described with people getting killed, obviously there comes a time when staff must rely on the good judgment of the individual on board as well.

Senator Day: My question is in relation to testimony that we have had of background checks being performed for workers in restricted areas at airports.

We are told that the RCMP does a check for criminal activity, and CSIS advises with respect to people that may be on their list of subjects. Can you confirm that that is done?

Mr. Loeppky: Yes. We do the criminal record checks and the outstanding warrant checks in those areas for which we are the police force of jurisdiction. In the other areas, it would be the local police force of jurisdiction that provides that assistance to the local airport authorities.

Senator Day: I assume that that is done periodically and that it is certainly done when a person is first hired. Is that sufficient information from a security point of view to forego any day-to-day checking of those individuals as they go to work, in your view?

Mr. Loeppky: In other words, is there a requirement or a need for a periodic update for security clearance, security checks and those types of things?

Senator Day: Divide my question into two parts, please. Is there a need for a periodic check of the kind that the RCMP and CSIS do? Also, on a day-to-day basis, should there be a physical check of kits when employees go through security? Do they need a security badge, or is the information that you gather with a periodic check sufficient?

Mr. Loeppky: From my perspective, there is value in doing periodic updates because a number of things can happen from the time someone was cleared in an initial security check. Unless there is a process in place, I am not sure that you would capture any new information that has been reported either to CSIS or to the RCMP.

In terms of a physical security check, I am not sure that it would provide anything obvious, although clearly there is a benefit in that if they are at all involved or suspected to be involved in any type of activity that could compromise the aircraft's safety.

Senator Day: They would not have been hired in that instance?

Mr. Loeppky: No, but as I mentioned earlier, not everyone involved in illicit activities has a criminal record. There may be value in doing the physical checks of which you speak.

Senator Day: Is it your view that it is reasonable to do random checks, or should the check be of everyone every time, in the same way it is done for passengers boarding aircraft?

Mr. Loeppky: First, I recognize that security is the role of Transport Canada, but I can give you my opinion. Every step you put in place to enhance security is a positive step. It obviously enhances security. However, whether that is a step that is being pursued, I could not say.

I know that is not a very good answer to your question. It is like going through any screening process. Obviously, the more steps you put in place, the more secure the situation and the more confidence you have in the integrity of the process. Therefore, it would obviously enhance that process.

On the other hand, it has to be balanced against the practicality of having constant checks. Is the information telling you that workers are bringing in things that they should not be? In my view, the level of security must be based on a risk assessment. Are there indications that things are being brought in and, if so, how do you deal with that?

Senator Day: Do you have sufficient information as to the operation of an airport to make a recommendation in that regard to us?

Mr. Loeppky: No, I do not.

The Chairman: Deputy Commissioner Loeppky and Superintendent Bonnell, I thank you for attending here. Your testimony has been of great assistance to this committee and its work. We look forward to having you appear before us again. We find what you have to say very helpful and instructive.

I should now like to welcome the Honourable David Collenette, Minister of Transport.

Minister, it is a pleasure to have you here before us. We understand you wish to begin by making a statement. Please proceed.

Hon, David Michael Collenette, P.C., M.P., Minister of Transport: I should like to thank honourable senators for this opportunity to appear before you today and for the ongoing work you have been doing with respect to security in general and transportation security in particular. I know you have heard from many witnesses over the last several months, including my officials, the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority, the office of the Auditor General and industry representatives.

As you know, Mr. Elliott, my Assistant Deputy Minister for Safety and Security testified last week and this morning and has tried to give you the benefit of his expertise.

I will not repeat what has already been said on a number of occasions, but I will comment on a number of selected items to provide some clarification. I will then be happy to discuss matters in more detail.

Over the last year, we have come a long way in terms of airport security.

[Translation]

Even before 9/11, we had a solid, well-established security system in place. Following the tragic events of September 11, 2001, we strengthened aviation security. As you are aware, the December 2001 budget allocated $2.2 billion to enhance aviation security.

CATSA was created to establish a more consistent and integrated air transport security system across Canada. CATSA's operations are carried out in compliance with Transport Canada legislation and regulations. CATSA has been designed to provide the benefits of flexible delivery mechanisms and sensitivity to local needs.

[English]

While the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority is responsible for delivery, Transport Canada continues to regulate and monitor CATSA's provision of security services. This separation between service delivery on the one hand and regulating and monitoring on the other enhances checks and balances in the system.

Since September 11, 2001, we have taken action in a variety of areas, including the Canadian Air Carrier Protective Program. Established initially to provide RCMP officers on board flights to Reagan International Airport, it has been now expanded to cover other selected domestic and international flights. Transport Canada, CATSA, the RCMP and key stakeholders are working to implement and expand the program.

I will now turn to the subject of airport restricted areas. Honourable senators are aware of the recently announced initiative on the screening of non-passengers entering restricted areas. I have assigned responsibility for this program to CATSA.

The International Civil Aviation Organization, ICAO, has recommended that states, in addition to the screening of passengers, screen other people at random when they are accessing restricted areas at airports. This approach seems to be reasonable. In addition to random screening, screening of non-passengers could be targeted in appropriate circumstances.

It is important to understand that screening is not the only means to maintain the integrity of airport restricted areas. There are various mechanisms and procedures that complement screening, such as the restricted area pass system, security clearances for employees and existing access controls.

[Translation]

I have also recently assigned to CATSA the responsibility for developing and implementing, in cooperation with Transport Canada and airports, an enhanced restricted area pass system. It is anticipated that this system will include the use of biometrics and will be supported by centralized databanks.

Concerning explosives detection systems, in the December 2001 budget, the government of Canada committed more than $1 billion over the next five years for the purchase, deployment and operation of state of the art explosives detection systems.

[English]

The deadline agreed to at ICAO meetings for the screening of checked baggage for explosives is January 1, 2006. We are encouraged that CATSA is well on its way to completing its work in advance of this deadline.

In respect of background checks, since 1986 Transport Canada has been conducting comprehensive background checks on airport workers, with the support of the RCMP and CSIS. Everyone, including airline pilots, other flight crew, airport employees and baggage handlers, who work in restricted areas at airports must obtain a security clearance from the Minister of Transport prior to being issued a restricted area pass, RAP.

We are working with other departments and agencies, including the RCMP, CSIS and Canada Customs and Revenue Agency, CCRA, to make further improvements in the security clearance process. This has included significant investments in technology, including automatic fingerprint identification systems.

[Translation]

We are making continuous improvements. We realize that ongoing improvements and refinements are necessary to safeguard the integrity of our civil aviation system.

Transport Canada is working with other departments and agencies, with stakeholders, with our counterparts in the United States, and on the world stage through the International Civil Aviation Organization, in support of this objective.

[English]

Canada can and does play an important role at the ICAO meetings. One of the major factors in our favour is our solid international reputation. We are leaders in many areas and other countries look to Canada for guidance and support.

Civil aviation is a global enterprise and steps must be taken to improve aviation security in all states. That is why we took the lead in pledging $350,000 towards the ICAO's oversight audit program and why we have been providing technical expertise to the organization in support of aviation security. We recognize that improving transportation security must be done in partnership.

I recognize and thank the committee for the constructive role you have played and will continue to play in support of the improving transportation security in Canada.

The Chairman: Thank you, minister. Does either of your officials wish to make a statement?

Mr. Collenette: No, you have heard from Mr. Elliott and Mr. Pigeon.

Senator Wiebe: I appreciated the opportunity this morning to ask a question of Mr. Elliott in respect of security audits at airports in respect of the screening systems. Mr. Elliott gave us an answer so I will not repeat that topic.

The final question that I asked him this morning, which has been of great concern to me over the last number of years and especially since 9/11, is the matter of duplication. I congratulate the government for setting up the public security committee after 9/11 to coordinate the various agencies of government that look after security, policing and the general safety and security of the people of Canada.

Is this special committee looking at the need to do, or the possibility of doing, an audit within the government of the security and policing agencies that now exist throughout Canada? For example, we have the RCMP; and as a result of 9/11, another agency has been created, CATSA. As we travel around this country, we realize that there are numerous agencies doing an excellent job. However, should we turn more of the responsibilities over to a single agency? What comes to mind, of course, is one of the most respected in the country, the RCMP. Are we losing or gaining security by having such a large number of agencies within various departments that encompass five cabinet ministers? Should we consolidate some of this effort?

Mr. Collenette: The government responded rapidly to the problems of September 11, 2001. The Prime Minister established the public security committee, under Mr. Manley's leadership. That has worked rather well in bringing the various departments together. Unlike in the United States, where the Department of Homeland Security has just been authorized by Congress — it will take a considerable amount of time for that to become organized; it will be a line department — we have decided to take existing line departments and coordinate them at a central level — at the cabinet level. We have acted quickly. I would say that in some cases and in many cases we have acted more quickly than the United States acted.

With respect to the audit of all of the various functions, each department conducts its own evaluation of its own programs — it self-audits. However, the Auditor General is mandated by Parliament to audit value for money, to ensure that the money being spent is for items that Parliament has approved. Of course, the Auditor General is an officer of Parliament.

Between the ongoing audits by the AG, the departmental audits and the overall audit that comes from Mr. Manley's public security committee, we have a pretty good handle on the effectiveness of programs. I should tell you, although this is not the focus of this meeting, that I am sure to re-appear before the Defence Committee about marine security. We are working on assessing our various initiatives on marine security issues. Hopefully, we will take some further action reasonably soon.

That has been generated at the cabinet committee level by the ministers in consultation with the departments.

Senator Wiebe: If I may follow up on that, it is certain that the Auditor General will be looking at the financial audit area of matters. What concerns us is the transmission of vital information, as Senator Banks mentioned earlier to our previous witness from the RCMP, and the sharing of that information, which should be shared on a horizontal basis between the different agencies. At one time, the RCMP's responsibility was not only port police but also airports and various other areas. Now, we are finding that port policing falls under the Department of Transport. It is now turned over to local policing, so there is much duplication occurring. There is the possibility of some technical and security information, which may be vital in solving a case or in reacting quickly, that may not be shared by the different agencies.

Mr. Collenette: We do not find that to be a problem. In fact, we have extraordinary cooperation, particularly with the RCMP. We worked on it under the protective program to put police officers on board planes and, of course, in respect of airport security issues.

I do not think there is any problem with information sharing, or with protecting fiefdoms, if you will, with respect to security. I have not seen any of that, nor has it been raised at cabinet committee. There has been a great level of cooperation.

There are people in it for their own ends that misrepresent the facts. I will give you an example. The Ports Canada Police under the former Canada Ports Corporation Act, discharged security at the ports.

As a result of a government review of programs, budgets and function, and after extensive consultation with police forces, municipal leaders and others in the port community, we disbanded the port police. Those functions were then taken up by the police forces. The RCMP is still involved in the ports in terms of dealing with federal criminal matters, as they are at the major airports.

What is different is that we have devolved a lot of normal law enforcement matters, which are the purview of local enforcement agencies, to the Vancouver police, or the Halifax police in case of the ports, or in the case of Pearson airport in Toronto, the Peel Regional Police under MOUs with the airport authority, and in coordination with Transport Canada and the RCMP.

We have our jurisdictional issues sorted out. It is a question of ensuring that the methodology is there and that the programs are accurately enforcing security. I do not see any evidence of duplication. I do see evidence of great cooperation.

Senator Meighen: I should like to have a clarification. On page 4, the second paragraph of your statement, I am not clear as to what it means when you say:

The International Civil Aviation Organization has recommended that the states, in addition to the screening of passengers...

I presume that means general screening, 100 per cent, when you say ``screening.'' As opposed to ``random screening,'' ``screening'' must mean everyone.

Mr. Collenette: We are talking about the screening of passengers. All passengers are screened.

Senator Meighen: General screening of all passengers?

Mr. Collenette: Right.

Senator Meighen: Let me continue:

The Civil Aviation Organization has recommended that states, in addition to the screening of passengers, screen other people at random when they are accessing restricted areas at airports.

This approach appears to be a reasonable one, you say. That would be the random screening of people other than passengers accessing restricted areas at airports. Am I correct?

Mr. Collenette: Yes. All passengers are screened. We are talking about non-passengers.

Senator Meighen: Right.

Mr. Collenette: These could be pilots, people working for the commissary, mechanics, anyone else with access to secure areas at airports.

Senator Meighen: You finish off by saying that ``screening of non-passengers could be targeted in appropriate circumstances.''

Your objective, if it is not already in place, is to randomly screen people other than passengers when they are accessing restricted areas of airports, and the future target is to screen all such people. Am I correct?

Mr. Collenette: No. By non-passengers, we are talking about a random process. However, it is not inconceivable, depending on the risk, that at any one time all non-passengers may be screened for a period of time. If we have a security threat at Pearson or in Ottawa, or anywhere else, then that will be taken into account. It is not inconceivable that all those people are screened. Some airports have been doing random screening of non-passengers, and some have screened all non-passengers.

Senator Meighen: All the time?

Mr. Collenette: They have at certain periods of time.

Senator Meighen: I see. It is not necessarily an objective to screen all non-passengers all the time?

Mr. Collenette: No. I hate to point this out in terms of security, but the problem there is that it comes down to the cost-benefit analysis. There is only so much money you can throw at a problem.

When you are dealing with non-passengers, everyone with access to secure areas at airports have security clearance. I recognize that when Mr. Elliott testified last week honourable senators questioned him on the validity of background checks and so forth — and that is a debate I will not get into. The important point is that there is a level of screening.

I should tell you that this is a level of screening that the Americans did not have before September 11, 2001. They adopted the screening process that we had, which was put into effect by the Mulroney government as a result of the Air India bombing. In that sense, we are ahead.

We take the view that the people who are most likely to pose a risk are passengers, because there are no background checks on passengers. We know something about those people who have access to restricted areas; the system knows something about them. If there is intelligence as to the potential of an incident, then the airports can and will screen everyone until that state of apprehension has passed.

Senator Meighen: I understand the statement then.

I am sure my other colleagues will take up this whole area of non-passengers and what security measures are enforced in their regard, because it is something that has concerned the members of this committee. We have not fully satisfied ourselves that people such as groomers, cleaners of all kinds, ramp attendants and so forth, or people who work for organizations other than the airport, are subjected to adequate screening.

In that regard, let me ask about fixed base operators and private charters: What is the level of screening there now? Certainly from my own experience, although I have not travelled often that way, I noticed that the screening was not particularly thorough.

Mr. Collenette: Are you talking about private jets and Shell Aerocentre, for example?

Senator Meighen: Yes, or charters.

Mr. Collenette: First, you are looking at a smaller number of people who get on these planes. Generally, they are regular customers.

On Friday, when I was coming from Newfoundland and the Challenger was diverted to Toronto, I noticed that there was someone on the ramp ensuring that I did not get off that plane and that someone who was unauthorized did not get on board that plane.

Senator Meighen: Who was that person? Who is he or she employed with?

Mr. Collenette: I believe that person is an employee of the airport authority. I will have to get that information for you. Perhaps it was an employee of the operator, Shell Aerocentre in this case, under contract to the GTAA. We will get that information for you.

There was a hole in aviation security right after September 11, whereby we were concentrating only on the main terminals and all of the passengers and forgetting about these side operations, such as you find in Ottawa and at every major airport. Even smaller airports across the country, such as Gander and Stephenville, et cetera, have these private centres.

The nature of the aircraft and the employees is generally well known. We view the risk of security breaches there to be less than at the main airports. However, there is an extra level of security now.

Senator Meighen: In terms of the new airports now under construction, for example in Toronto and Ottawa, do you know whether the department has taken any particular steps to accommodate technology such as vapour detectors for baggage? In terms of the new airports where construction has not started yet, are there any requirements for new design features that your department is insisting on in the light of the experiences that we have all been through?

Mr. Collenette: Absolutely. In the cases of Ottawa and Pearson in Toronto, the large international airports, there was already a provision being made in their capital plans to ensure that they had the appropriate space for this extra equipment. In the case of existing airports, there will have to be modifications made. That is one of the reasons it takes time to get this equipment up and running.

I am surprised that we are ahead of our plan in getting a lot of the explosive detection systems in place. You may have noticed that, as of the end of September, passengers are not required to turn on their cell phones or laptop computers. We changed the regulation by virtue of the fact that the EDS equipment is, by and large, installed at all airports.

Mr. Collenette: He said 56 airports, covering a large number of people. We are in a period of transition. However, in answer to your question, new airports must make accommodation for any new equipment, and they are. The existing airports are making changes before it is installed.

Senator Meighen: What about the priority of baggage checking, an area to which not much attention was paid prior to September 11 because the assumption always was that a hijacker would blow himself up? You might now be able to get a bag on, although Canada has been ahead in terms of insisting that passengers travel with their bags, ahead of the U.S. Checking baggage that is checked appears, from the testimony that we have heard, to be a bit behind the requirements we would like. What about the insistence on vapour detection machines, and so on?

Mr. Collenette: First, as I said in my speech, under ICAO's rules, we are moving to where all baggage is screened by 2006. Canada was ahead of many jurisdictions, including the United States, as a result of the Air India bombing, in terms of the matching on international transborder flights. We are now extending that to domestic flights, and we are increasing the amount of baggage checked as quickly as we can. Much of that depends on the systems that are put in place to do that.

Senator Banks: May I say how good Mr. Elliott has been before us.

Mr. Collenette: Having read his testimony last night before I went to bed, I can tell you that I agree.

Senator Banks: He has been helpful to us.

We have been asking him some questions that contain some political aspects, and as such he has not been able to satisfy me. It is the question that Senator Wiebe and Meighen raised and to which you referred to earlier when you said we are moving along with the screening of checked baggage as quickly as we can.

As I said to Mr. Loeppky, who appeared earlier, those Canadians who are sufficiently insomniac to have been following this committee meeting on CPAC or otherwise would have begun by now to share some of our frustrations with the alacrity with which that happened, and the odious comparison — and all comparisons are odious — between our achievement to those ends and that of the United States.

Let us assume for the purpose of my question that we agree more or less with the United States, or they agree with us, that the screening of checked baggage needs to be made more complete than it has until now. They will have substantially achieved that in most of their airports, if our information is correct, by next month. There will be some airports in which they have not, and their congressional inquiries have been assured that those things will be fixed by, at the outside, 2004.

Our aimed at a date is the 2006 date contained in the international convention. Obviously, we are closer to the Americans than we are to Ecuador or Spain and have more interest in ensuring that our trade and the movement of people across the border are efficacious.

To what would you attribute, whether it is Canadian prudence or American cowboymanship, that they set as a target 2003 and we have agreed to a target of January 2006?

Mr. Collenette: The ICAO recommendation is 2006. We are living within that. If we want to talk about the difference between Canadians and Americans, we are always a bit more cautious. We have accepted the ICAO target.

The Americans did put December 31, 2002, as their completion date. As you rightly point out, the Department of Homeland Security legislation that just passed Congress has extended the date to 2003. Frankly, I will believe it when I see it because the U.S. has such a complex system. They may not yet achieve that, and they may have to have an extension. Rather than our setting deadlines that we cannot meet, we are setting a deadline that we know we will meet, and I think we will probably be ahead of that deadline.

I am surprised at the rate this equipment has come on stream, especially when people have said that there will be such a call on it that we will not get it deployed fast enough. That has not been the case with us. We are ahead of schedule, and it is not inconceivable that we will come in at the same time as the U.S.

Senator Banks: That would be lovely.

Mr. Collenette: We do work with the U.S. There is a history of great cooperation on the aviation front between Transport Canada and the U.S. DOT and the FAA. That is why I think that, of all the departments, right from the moment the FAA informed us that they were closing the skies, we were able to respond in a seamless fashion — the systems, the procedure and the trust were there, going back 50 or 60 years.

Senator Banks: Is there any money impediment to our arriving at those goals sooner rather than later?

Mr. Collenette: No.

Senator Banks: Is all the money that is needed available?

Mr. Collenette: The $2.2 billion that has been appropriated for CATSA using the security charge assumes that it will be spent within a certain period of time, but there is flexibility within the system to bring expenditures forward. That is a question of getting money re-profiled within the five-year envelope. Money will not be a consideration.

Senator Banks: You have had a great deal to do with CATSA. I should like you to speak to us about CATSA and expound on it. It is, for all intents and purposes, a creature of Transport Canada, and language like that has been used in presentations that have been made to us. They report to you.

Mr. Collenette: Technically, it is a creature of Parliament. It is a Crown corporation. I am responsible for that Crown corporation in Parliament, but it operates at arm's length and on a day-to-day basis. For example, the CEO, who just came before your committee last week, was chosen by the board of directors without recourse to me or anyone else at Transport Canada. That was an arm's-length process. Where it is not arm's-length is the fact that CATSA gets its security marching orders from the Minister of Transport.

Senator Banks: Do you have an ongoing, overarching memorandum of undertaking or understanding or agreement between Transport Canada and CATSA that sets out what they do, or are they constrained solely by the act?

Mr. Collenette: No. Mr. Elliott will tell me the exact title of the document that I authorized — in effect, I call it their marching orders — but it is a memorandum of instruction as to what they should do and it mandates them. We recently changed this with respect to the screening of non-passengers and the enhanced security pass system, which I announced awhile ago. This committee had been arguing for that, and which the aviation security committee that we set up also looked at and recommended to us.

Senator Banks: In purely layman's terms, you can instruct CATSA, for all intents and purposes, on what they do within certain constraints?

Mr. Collenette: All security has the responsibility under the law under the Minister of Transport. It is a question of me signing orders and instructions. In terms of their day-to-day operations, whom they hire and how they discharge that is their responsibility.

Senator Banks: You just referred to a question that we have been addressing with some frustration, as you would have seen if you have read some of the transcripts in our discussions with Mr. Elliott, about where the buck ends. We understand from what you have said that the buck, in terms of airport security and many other things, ends with you. You are where the buck ends as far as airport security is concerned. Am I correct?

Mr. Collenette: All aviation security comes under the Minister of Transport through a number of statutes, primarily; they are not exact.

Senator Banks: We have been asking questions of various witnesses about the efficacy of the number of different agencies that have to do with it. Senator Wiebe referred to the number of ministers that have to do with questions of airport security. Obviously, that is true. However, are you considering convergence for the sake of efficiency and for the sake of breaking down what Mr. Loeppky referred to as ``stovepipes'' and most of us referred to as ``silos'' from time to time? When you have silos, there is at least the question of communication. If there are no silos or if a silo gets bigger or fatter, the question of communication, at least theoretically, should lessen. In examining the whole question and starting with what I presume is a clean sheet of paper as regards airport security, are you thinking about the consolidation and convergence of operational responsibility, as opposed to policy responsibility, having to do with airport security?

Mr. Collenette: There has been consolidation with CATSA, in terms of the screening of all passengers and baggage, as well as the screening of non-passengers and the development of the security pass system now. With respect to other departments that operate, they do not operate on a stovepipe basis. Transport Canada is the landlord for all the airports. These are owned by the Crown and operated by Transport Canada in right of Her Majesty. Therefore, if there is any one minister or department that calls the shots, to use your layman's parlance, it is us. We are involved in every decision.

For example, there was some discussion about the designing of customs facilities at Pearson airport and there were issues there. The airport authority wanted to try another approach and look at some form of commingling of passengers, but we were involved with CCRA in the whole determination as to what was appropriate. Therefore, my department leads the coordination, but other line departments, such as Immigration, CCRA and the RCMP, are also involved.

On the area that we can come back and talk about on another day, on marine, we are the lead security agency within the 200-mile limit. That is an area that is much more complicated and that, as you have correctly pointed out, bears further examination, study and action. That is now underway.

Senator Banks: If you were to determine that it was in the best interests of security that there be a national airside access program and resulting pass system, rather than a bunch of regional programs, and I suppose the passes could have different colours but operate on the same technological basis, you could, by virtue of being the landlord, more or less mandate that. Am I right?

Mr. Collenette: Yes. We are not just the landlords but, under the Aeronautics Act, the safety regulator. I wear two hats. One is to enforce the lease, and there are certain things we can do under the lease of the Crown's airports. The Crown does not own Hamilton airport; it is owned by the city of Hamilton. It is becoming a passenger operation with in excess of 500,000 passengers a year. We exert no authority over the lease, but we do exert authority over all safety and security by virtue of that responsibility.

Senator Banks: Having considered the question of passes and airside access and whether they should continue to be issued by individual airport authorities, what is your present view of the question of imposing a national airside access pass regime?

Mr. Collenette: We are introducing a national pass system using biometric technology. That was part and parcel of the announcement I made the other week.

When it comes to air and airport security, whatever we say goes.

Senator Banks: Will that program cover all people who have airside access in all of Canada's 89 airports?

Mr. Collenette: Everyone who has access to a restricted area will come under this pass system.

Senator Smith: I only want to deal with one area, but I should like to give some background on it. Let me say at the outset, Minister Collenette, that your department and you, by virtue of being here today, have been most cooperative with the work of this committee. The same is true of CATSA and the RCMP, who were here earlier today. Both Air Canada's management and union reps have appeared and cooperated fully. CCRA was here some months ago, and there have been other bodies and other experts that have also appeared and helped the work of this committee.

There has been only one public body that has simply refused to attend. I tend to regret this because I am from Toronto, but it is the GTAA. They account for a third of the passenger volume in this country and they raised the spectre that they did not want to discuss security measures in public because it might compromise them. In reality, this has not been an issue whatsoever because whenever there has been slight treading on sensitive areas we have been alerted and common sense prevailed.

I want to quote one sentence from the letter they wrote.

Any discussion you may wish to have with the GTAA on this topic can only occur after the necessary approvals have been obtained from the Attorney General of Canada under the Canada Evidence Act and the Minister of Transport under the Aeronautics Act and the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority Act.

We had a serious and considered opinion written by the Law Clerk of the Senate that says there is absolutely no basis for this whatsoever. We retained a second opinion from John Nelligan, a prominent Ottawa lawyer widely regarded as having a high level of expertise in this area. They both said there is no basis for this whatsoever.

I wish to draw this to your attention, but also to ask you if you can think of any reason why the GTAA would not appear, from a policy perspective. You may want to have Mr. Pigeon comment on the legality, as to whether there is any basis for their trying to avoid it by seeking these approvals that all our experts say are not required.

Mr. Collenette: First, under the auspices of the ground lease with the GTAA, the GTAA is obliged to give the Minister of Transport or his representatives unfettered access at any time without notice. There is no problem from the point of view of Transport Canada with respect to access at Pearson airport, and we have a good relationship.

There is no obligation under the terms of the ground lease that forces the GTAA to allow a third party, meaning anyone other than the Minister of Transport or his immediate staff, to avail themselves of the same privileges.

Far be it from me to speak to the GTAA. Perhaps you and Senator Kenny can correct the record, but it was my understanding that the committee contacted the GTAA to go to the airport for an examination similar to the ones given in Montreal and Vancouver. They said they felt, in the interest of security, that this was not to their liking. Instead, I believe they offered to come and testify to the committee. I think that did not sit well with the committee and, therefore, the briefing did not happen.

The Chairman: To correct the record there, minister, they were then invited to a formal hearing. When they offered to do that, they were then invited to a formal hearing that week.

Mr. Collenette: Did they not come?

The Chairman: They refused. They also refused to meet with the chair privately.

Mr. Collenette: In this case, we believe that they exercised their right to not come to the committee. I am prepared to take it up with the GTAA, but they have no legal obligation to appear under the auspices of the ground lease. My officials and I, as the minister responsible, are those who can answer questions regarding security operations at the airport.

I will undertake to explore this issue more fully and get back to you to ensure that you are satisfied. Certainly, all things being equal, the largest airport authority in the country would want to cooperate with Parliament and government.

I will get to the bottom of it.

Senator Smith: We could subpoena them. If they did not attend, they would be in contempt of Parliament. We have not wanted to go that far. We were disappointed that it would have to come to that. However, we will provide Mr. Pigeon with all the correspondence.

The Chairman: In fairness, Senator Smith, the matter is academic. We had witnesses come from Air Canada, the unions, the pilots association and a variety of other places who answered all of our questions.

Senator Smith: Perhaps it is.

The Chairman: It is more for the record.

Senator Day: They did talk, Mr. Minister, of the Aeronautics Act. I have a copy of the section of the Aeronautics Act here. Subsection 4.8(1) states the following:

No person other than the Minister shall disclose to any other person the substance of any order that has been made by the Minister under subsection 4.3.

They seem to be hiding behind the Aeronautics Act. Did the minister make an order under section 4.3 that would preclude the Greater Toronto Airport Authority from coming to a committee meeting?

Mr. Collenette: My understanding is that under the ground lease their only obligation with respect to disclosure on security matters is to the Minister of Transport or his representatives, not to a third party. I do not know if Mr. Pigeon would like to clarify that. He is the lawyer.

[Translation]

Senator Day: Is there an order from the minister?

Mr. Pigeon: I am aware that the minister has set regulating orders. On the basis of the bail, I think the minister was right in what he said. With respect to section 4.8, that covers an order from the minister, there exist minister's orders for the Department of Transport. It means there are laws, regulations and minister's orders, as well as what is called ``Aviation Security Measures.''

When the committee had asked for the ``Aviation Security Measures,'' there were objections raised to the committee. I think it was the basis for discussion.

[English]

There was a discussion regarding whether the witnesses were free to disclose aviation security measures given the existence of section 4.8(1). At least, I understood the discussion to be in that context.

The Chairman: It is unfair to ask Mr. Pigeon these questions without having the benefit of the testimony that we had from Mr. Audcent.

Senator Day: I am ignoring their testimony. I was wondering if there were an order. If the minister made an order, that is the end of it.

The Chairman: No, it is not. If you follow the advice that we got earlier this morning, the Parliament of Canada Act trumps that.

Senator Day: I do not think we need to get into balancing the Parliament of Canada Act versus this or that. I was trying to understand why the GTAA would come to the conclusion that they could not appear by virtue of the Aeronautics Act.

Mr. William Elliott, Assistant Deputy Minister, Safety and Security Group, Department of Transport Canada: The security measures, when issued by or on behalf of the minister do contain a prohibition from disclosure. However, there has been no order by the minister that would indicate to any witness that he or she could not come and talk about security issues to a Senate committee or elsewhere. There are provisions in the Aeronautics Act and in the security measures themselves that indicate that individuals should not provide details of those measures.

Senator Day: However, there is nothing that says that they cannot appear. It is one thing is to come —

Mr. Collenette: I have no jurisdiction over them to say that they cannot appear. One of the senators was talking about the potential of a subpoena. On the other hand, the Government of Canada has no legal right under the terms of the lease to order that a third party go to Pearson airport and go through the facilities.

Senator Day: We understand that.

Mr. Collenette: Rather than getting bogged down in the detail of this, we should perhaps try to resolve the issue with the GTAA. Perhaps there has been some misunderstanding on their part, or your part, as to what should or should not have been done.

Senator Smith: Put aside legal terms, in which I do not mind talking because I have been a lawyer for many years, we have had uncooperative vibes from them, and we find that very disappointing.

Senator Banks: To finish the point, and I will stop after this, we did not ask them to come here in terms of the ground lease. They refused to come here not knowing what questions we might ask. It may well be that when they came here they might have found some questions that they would be unable to answer for one reason or another. No one suggested that you, minister, should order him or her to come here. That is not the point.

As Senator Day said, they are hiding behind those acts as though you had prohibited them or that they were prohibited from coming here. When someone comes here in answer to a request, or as we would rather not, a subpoena, they are perfectly free to call to our attention that it might not be in the national interest that they should answer a particular question. However, that does not allow them not to come here and hear what the questions might be.

Mr. Collenette: I think, senator, that are you absolutely right. The issue is not one of attendance from their point of view, but one on substance. They are correctly saying that if they attend they are not at liberty to disclose any of the security regulations made by the Minister of Transport unless I agree to that disclosure, to which I would not agree in certain circumstances. However, that does not stop them from talking to you in a general sense about what has happened at the airport. We will try to sort it out for you.

Senator Banks: Thank you. Have we asked that a copy of Mr. Audcent's opinion be made available to Mr. Pigeon?

The Chairman: It is to be shared with Mr. Pigeon before he is asked to comment on the issue.

Senator Meighen: There seems to be some confusion. I think that Mr. Elliott has heard this analogy. We are not likely to ask for the keypad code for entry to a room. We might ask whether there is a keypad that has to have the right code in order to gain access.

Mr. Collenette: I can answer you. Yes. There has to be to secured areas.

Senator Meighen: You might mention when you are talking to the GTAA that that is the nature of our question. Is there security in certain areas, and what form may it take. You do not have to tell us there are 14 plainclothes officers stationed at such and such a place, and details like that. No member of the committee will ask those questions. If such questions do arise, we would certainly expect them to say that they cannot reveal that. However, to reveal things in the public domain, generally speaking, and to reveal steps that have been taken to improve security at their airport does not seem to us to be a matter of national security.

Mr. Collenette: I agree. We could probably give you those answers anyway, to save you the aggravation.

Senator Forrestall: Minister, you could probably clear up a lot of these problems if you would rewrite that act. It is now 70-some-odd years old.

Mr. Collenette: Which act is this?

Senator Forrestall: The act that you hide so many things behind, the Aeronautics Act.

Mr. Collenette: We have amended it a number of times since September 11.

Senator Forrestall: There are so many amendments, but you do not write a new act. You will not write a new act. I do not want an answer to this; it is a comment and an observation.

Mr. Collenette: I can say on that particular point, Senator Forestall, that we are now consulting with stakeholders for some considerable amendments to the act, but we did amend the act in Bill C-44 and in Bill C-42, which became Bill C-55, which is now Bill C-17. It is my intention to seek cabinet's approval for a more generic makeover of the act in the New Year, which means that a new bill will come forward next fall.

Senator Forrestall: That would eliminate many of these problems. Everything stems from the old Canadian National Railways Act, having to do with appropriation, a lot of other little niches of law that are comfortably hidden. We have no ulterior motive except to serve the people we represent, the same as your motivation. We are here to try to be frank and honest with the people we represent.

I have questions relating to a couple of areas — extra airport land, approaches and takeoff patterns, the dangers of hand-held missile launchers and their potential, along with the high profile they have had recently. That is a profile that started building eight or ten years ago, a warning that has been issued on a regular basis by the United States, Britain and other intelligence agencies for a long time. They are effective. They are inexpensive. They are readily available. I wonder what we are doing with respect to our own airports.

I recognize the difficulty of trying to police the footprints of taking off and landing aircraft. Are we doing anything about that? How would you describe our concern with respect to this? Is it a pretty low priority or does it warrant being looked at? Have you, for example, thought about whether this is an airport responsibility or whether it is a military responsibility?

Would you share with us some of your views on this if, indeed, you think it is an important matter.

Mr. Collenette: It is very important, honourable senators. The incident last week in Kenya really ups the ante, if you will, and it opens up an entirely different front in terms of threats to society.

With respect to the Minister of Transport, I have responsibility for everything to do with the security within an airport perimeter and in the skies. When you talk about outside of the airport, you are then talking about law enforcement agencies of record. In the case of most of the country, it is usually local police or the RCMP acting as the provincial police under an MOU or, in the case of Quebec and Ontario, by the Sûreté du Québec or the Ontario Provincial Police. It is a combination of policing agencies that are involved. Of course, any issue of anti-missile defence would then involve the Department of Defence.

I can tell you what we are doing as a result of last week. We are working now with the other agencies at the federal level, and then there will be discussions at the provincial level to ensure that there is an appropriate response. The appropriate response really has to come from the intelligence field. We have no intelligence available to us that suggests that any facility in Canada is susceptible to a hand-held missile defence. That does not mean to say it could not happen. However, in the kind of society that we live in, we really have to ascertain the risk, otherwise we would, in effect, be living in a very restrictive state. We would have airports in the country manned with anti-missile defences, much as in a theatre of war. That is impractical, expensive and intrusive on a democratic society and the rights of individuals to go freely within the society. There must be a balance there.

We are concerned. We are trying to ascertain whether other measures should be put in place. We have no security assessment to think that we are a target. We are also a part of ICAO's group studying this matter because they referred it on an urgent basis to one of their committees.

Senator Forrestall: Do we have representation?

Mr. Collenette: Yes. We are a big player at ICAO. I believe it is a case where we can brag. Canada is the world leader in aviation security. We have an incredible responsibility. We are a big player in the world, not just because we have many people that use civil aviation, but because we are the regulator of our airspace, which is overflown by flights to and from the U.S., which is the biggest market, to Europe and to Asia. Plus, of course, along with the British, we have total and absolute authority on the North Atlantic, which is the world's busiest airspace. That is the reason we were so heavily involved last year when there were 500 planes in the sky at the time the FAA closed the airspace.

We are a big player, we are respected, and we are quite active with ICAO.

Senator Forrestall: I appreciate that very much. I wish you good progress with respect to it.

As to my question relating to baggage detection systems, we were told that the delay in installing the checked baggage detectors was, in part, due to the fact that there are only a few firms in the world manufacturing this equipment and that there is quite a demand for it.

Mr. Elliott explained to us this morning the three-year difference in U.S.-Canadian target dates. He did mention that funding over a period of years, as we have set it up, might encourage the delay.

You are not only suggesting, you were fairly affirmative in your comment that this three-year gap may well not be a gap at all. How could this be when, we understand, about 20-some United States airports are going to be 100 per cent up and running within two or three months' time? Why do you say that when we are still looking at 2006?

Mr. Collenette: I have no information to confirm what you have asserted is correct about the Americans. In fact, my suspicion is that their target of December 31, 2002, was overly ambitious. I mentioned that to my officials and that has since been borne out by the 2003 deadline. It is not inconceivable that they may not need that deadline.

As far as we are concerned, we will meet it as quickly as we can acquire and deploy the equipment. As I said to you earlier, I am quite surprised by the way in which we have been able to install much of this equipment across the country at 55 of the largest airports. That was certainly ahead of schedule and ahead of what was predicted one year ago, when everyone was talking about the scarcity of this equipment.

Again, I would rather comment on Canada than on the U.S., but I am sure that we will not be too far off target with them. In fact, it is not inconceivable that we could come in ahead of the Americans. As Canadians, we just do not set artificial deadlines that we then have to change.

Senator Forrestall: Minister, could I just pick up on one other thread. We have not pursued any evidence of, had any evidence of or called upon any witnesses to talk about the causes for the fears that we have. For example, we will not let the Prime Minister fly, unless it is unavoidable, on commercial aircraft. That is a pretty smart idea.

However, I have some concern that we will let the Deputy Prime Minister fly, we will let you fly, we will let four or five other senior cabinet ministers who are long on experience and who possess capacity and knowledge of current government operations continue to fly on public aircraft.

I have the view, and have had it for some time, that it is far more comfortable for Canadians boarding an aircraft to know that there is not a target onboard. I am not talking about the Peace Tower but I am talking about the likes of your smiling countenance, minister. Very particularly, you know the point that I am trying to make. I am sure you have looked at this question and I am sure it has been studied. Do we lessen the degree to which we reduce the risk for the flying public by asking you ladies and gentlemen to find other means of travel, other than the rail?

Mr. Collenette: Senator, I am overwhelmed at the generosity of your comments and compliments, and I accept them with grace.

I should say that, with respect to the Prime Minister, there is only one Prime Minister and obviously, as the head of government, that individual should only be flown on government aircraft. With respect to the rest of us, there is a great amount of talent within our caucus and, if the unforeseen happened and I was eliminated, I am certain that there would be no lethargy on the part of the Prime Minister to find an equally talented person to take over.

I do think that Canadians, in general, would not be comfortable with the rest of us — ministers — floating around in government aircraft on a regular basis. Also, I have to tell you, as the minister responsible for aviation security, I have no hesitation in travelling on any of our aircraft.

Senator Forrestall: I did not say you did. I said that the people who may have to travel with you might have that fear.

Mr. Collenette: Do you mean that I am a target and therefore they are taking a risk?

Senator Forrestall: Exactly.

Mr. Collenette: It is odd to hear you talk about this because right after September 11, I determined that I would board an aircraft — an Air Canada flight — to go to Halifax, within two days of the events. I wanted to ensure that I was seen at the airport and seen passing through security because I wanted to send a strong message that our security regime was good before September 11, and that it would be even better.

In the weeks after September 11, I heard many comments from people who were quite delighted to see some of my other colleagues and me travelling commercially They realized that we had faith in our own system. None of us is an undue risk taker in life and none of us wants to make the ultimate sacrifice just for the sake of being a hero, but we believe the system to be safe and secure. Therefore, that provided comfort to people. I do not think they felt more at risk because someone like me was on board. In fact, I think they felt a degree of comfort by the fact that an elected official, responsible for aviation security, was on that aircraft.

Senator Forrestall: I flew the first day that Canadian planes were allowed to resume flying. I was grateful because I had work to do and I did not want to drive or to take the train. I do not mean to talk about myself on this issue but rather to talk about prominent Canadians who might be a target. I think of the Governor General, for example, who may be a target for a variety of reasons.

Mr. Collenette: The rule is the same for the Governor General as it is for the Prime Minister. The Governor General travels on government aircraft, although I should tell you that that is not exclusively the case.

Senator Forrestall: We know that. That is part of the reason that I asked the question.

Mr. Collenette: That is a decision that, I suppose, she took.

Senator Day: Mr. Minister, I understood your answer to Senator Banks' question earlier about money not being an issue with respect to the implementation of programs. It was not a money issue. I should like to expand that question. Are there any programs that you do not have on-line now that you would like, or you believe should be, implemented with respect to air safety that, for either financial reasons or other reasons, you cannot implement at this time?

Mr. Collenette: No. We pretty well have it right in terms of what we need and therefore the amount of money that we need. We have the Aviation Security Advisory Committee that is in ongoing work with stakeholders to see what improvements can be made.

When we brought on the two most recent regulatory changes with respect to national passes and random screening of non-passengers, we certainly had some internal discussions about whether the money was there. It was determined in conjunction with CATSA, the Treasury Board and the Finance Department that there was sufficient flexibility in the $2.2-billion budget over five years that that could be carried. If there were another unforeseen security regulation that required additional money, then the government would have to appropriate that.

Senator Day: You are not holding back on any programs that you would like to see implemented.

Mr. Collenette: No.

Senator Day: With respect to the $12 security fee, have we operated long enough under that program that the public can be made aware of how much revenue is likely to come from it? Are you satisfied that that is a reasonable figure and whether it should be greater or lesser?

Mr. Collenette: I am in the luxurious position, with respect to the security fee, of being the spender and not the generator of revenue. That is the responsibility of the Minister of Finance. When we sat down with the then Minister of Finance last fall in preparation for budget, we gave a number of scenarios. It was his determination that the flat fee should go forward.

There were concerns expressed at the time that this would unduly affect short-haul flights. I do not have specific evidence that that is indeed the case, although one could certainly say that, anecdotally, this has occurred. I know that WestJet, in particular, has redeployed aircraft to longer-haul routes. There have been considerable difficulties expressed by Air Canada on short-haul routes. However, Mr. Manley is reviewing this with his officials.

The options at the time were to adopt a flat fee, which Mr. Martin ultimately chose, or to set up ad valorem, whereby there are different tariffs depending on the distance travelled, or to use the American norm, in which they basically split the costs 50/50 between the travellers and the U.S. Treasury. The then Minister of Finance believed that the principle of user-pay with respect to the airline industry had been well established and well accepted by the travelling public and that this would not be a deterrent to travel.

Now, travel has continued to lag beyond earlier levels, but I do not think that it is only because of the air security charge. The U.S. has been in a recession. The revenues generated for Air Canada, in particular on transborder, where they had 60 per cent of the market, were enormous. That certainly must be taken into account, as well as the fear factor. Americans were much slower than Canadians to return to the skies, and they are still not there in the same proportion as Canadians are.

If you look Air Canada's latest quarterly results, international air traffic is up. Part of that is because a lot of people see Air Canada as being a safe way to fly and a good quality airline, and Canada not being a target country, notwithstanding the recent allegations that we are on the security target lists of al-Qaeda. I am not totally convinced that the security fee is to blame. Mr. Manley is looking at that with his officials, and he will have to make the call.

I have the responsibility to ensure, through CATSA, that the monies are spent appropriately. Mr. Manley has the responsibility to determine whether there is revenue there to cover the expenditures, which we believe there is, and whether or not the fee regime should be changed.

Senator Day: Is there some time in the future that the Canadian public can expect to see projected revenues from this particular fee versus all of the different expenditures that are taken out of that revenue?

Mr. Collenette: That must be made public in the Estimates, and you will see that. The Auditor General has access to those figures. After she has concluded her analysis, I am sure Mr. Manley will set out the facts on how much has been raised over this period of time and how much has been spent.

When Mr. Martin originally talked about a review in September, the expectation in the industry was that there should be a change and, therefore, the change should be made in September. In fairness to him, I believe he said the review would be in September. That review is ongoing. It is up to the Minister of Finance to decide whether or not to conclude that review quickly or whether it should be part of the next budget cycle.

Senator Day: From my point of view, it would be preferable to see that come from either Mr. Manley's department or your department, rather than through the Auditor General.

My final question is with respect to training for a major aircraft catastrophe at an airport or otherwise. Who is in charge at a major airport? Is your department in charge? Does your department take the lead? Is there some ongoing training in relation to emergency preparedness?

Mr. Collenette: Certainly we have contingency plans that must be put in place. Even at the small airports, there have to be certain norms that are met. At the larger airports, the required emergency services in terms of fire, police, ambulance and other support services must be in place.

If there were a big jet crash, similar to at Pearson about 30 years ago, a DC-8 stretch where 118 people were killed, that is a massive accident. There are security procedures that are put in place by the airport. At that time, it was Transport Canada, and in this case it would be the GTAA. Under the emergency response, the required police and emergency services would be there for a disaster of that magnitude.

There was an issue raised after I became Minister of Transport when an Air Canada regional jet crashed on approach to Fredericton's airport in your home province. There was an issue as to whether or not there was the required emergency response at the time. However, the Transportation Safety Board in effect said that the issue of emergency response was not one that concerned them at the time. What was at issue there was the landing of that plane in certain weather conditions, and whether or not a decision should have been taken to pull the plane up.

In terms of actually responding, you will find that the people in Fredericton responded quickly. In fact, only one person was killed in that terrible accident.

Senator Day: Is there some training that is ongoing or a simulation? I take it from your answer that you set the regulations; however, it is the airport authority that is responsible for taking the lead on this.

Mr. Collenette: Yes. All airports in this country must have an emergency response capability. We are having some degree of discussion and a bit of controversy with some smaller airports on Canadian aviation Regulation 308 and the emergency response times in smaller communities. However, we feel that there must be a balancing of the element of risk and what is financially feasible. At most of the airports in this country, there is no issue in terms of devising emergency responses and ensuring that those procedures are put in place.

Senator Atkins: There are two types of training: training for those on the ground and training for those who are in the air, such as flight attendants. We had an excellent presentation from a flight attendant. We asked her the question about whether there had been any changes in the manuals since 9/11 in terms of procedures or security questions. She has been there for 30 years and she said that there had not been any changes in 10 years.

I have two questions. First, does it not concern you that there is not more urgency injected into the whole system? Second, the flight attendant told us that there had been absolutely no changes in their training process on an annual basis. She said she is lucky if she gets half a day's training on security questions. She does not think that that is adequate. Do you have any response to that?

Mr. Collenette: In the aftermath of 9/11, the focus was on making airports and aircraft secure. Almost all of the commercial aircraft in the country now have been fitted with strengthened cockpit doors, which would have prevented the problem from occurring at the World Trade Center.

With respect to training for flight attendants, this is something that is ongoing. There are discussions and consultations now underway with the various stakeholders. I suspect that there will be some security changes that will be coming shortly.

However, in response to what happened in the World Trade Center attacks, we had to deal with the immediacy of the problem, which was at the airports — airport screening, on-board police on certain flights and on random flights for all Canadian carriers, and the strengthening of the cockpit doors and other improvements to the planes. There is still work ongoing with Mr. Elliott's people and the industry to make the planes themselves safer. Who knows what happened on those flights that went into the World Trade Center, the four flights, as to whether or not a different level of training or certain training enhancements could have prevented that from happening. I am not sure that is the case.

Senator Atkins: They indicated that the guidelines for training come from Transport Canada.

Mr. Collenette: Right.

Senator Atkins: It has been a year and a half since 9/11. It seems surprising that there is not some direction and some enforcement with the airlines that would address these kinds of issues.

Mr. Collenette: You are assuming that the existing regulations are inadequate.

Senator Atkins: If you talk to our witnesses, the answer is yes.

Mr. Collenette: I do not know specifically what they believe is inadequate.

Senator Atkins: One of the things they talked about is their own protection if there were any disorder in the fuselage of the plane.

Mr. Collenette: We have addressed that with respect to the screening for sharp objects. Many of us had penknives on our key chains. With respect to the steel knives, we are not sure they constitute a hazard — in fact, we may be moving to say that they may go back on board planes. Certainly, the people who speak of should feel secure that there is less likelihood of box cutters or other dangerous objects coming on board, as a result of what has happened since 9/11.

Although I was not fussy about having a police presence on planes, because I feel that security should be dealt with on the ground and in terms of the physical attributes of the aircraft, the fact that there is presence on random flights by RCMP and on all flights to Washington's Reagan airport should give some comfort to those people. Also, the cockpit doors are now reinforced.

Senator Atkins: They are in some planes.

Mr. Collenette: No. I know with respect to Air Canada, WestJet and all of the major carriers, 527 aircraft had to have strengthened doors done, and it has been done.

Senator Atkins: The double door has not been done yet.

Mr. Collenette: I know the airline pilot's association is not satisfied with the strengthened door — they want double doors — and those are issues that are being looked at. Those are measures that demonstrably affect the safety of flight attendants as they do passengers.

Senator Atkins: What is your view about pilots having weapons?

Mr. Collenette: I am totally opposed to it. I do not think that we want to go down that road. We will have some issues with the Americans here, because as they get their program up and running, we will have to face issues such as what we do if a pilot is armed landing on Canadian soil. Those are issues that are now under discussion.

I did not like the whole idea of putting RCMP on the planes. In a civil society, surely, what we should be doing is ensuring that the security is tough, so that the wrong people do not get on planes, objects do not get stowed on planes, and the cockpit is secure.

In fact, when I came in as Minister of Transport, I was not happy that the pilots were so generous in allowing cockpit doors to be open. I had ongoing discussions with my officials about and with the aviation community about having those doors locked. There was an incident where a deranged individual on a British Airways flight going into Nairobi on a 747 almost brought the plane down. Therefore, I ordered a change, over the objections of the pilots. They were not happy, but they went along with the way we worded it. There has not been a peep out of them since 9/11, to the contrary.

To me, an airline pilot is a pilot. We want that individual to focus on being a pilot, not a law enforcement officer. My understanding is that President Bush, and at the DOT, my counterpart, Mr. Mineta were not in favour of that, but the U.S. Congress passed the law. We have to deal with the law. I do not know what the ramifications are for Canada. We will have to ascertain that.

However, as a Canadian, I do not like the idea of arming pilots. What is the next step, armed bus drivers, taxi drivers and subway drivers? We will end up with a firearms regime like that of our American friends, and I would say we have a better society here because we have better gun enforcements laws. It is a cultural issue that we should draw the line at. If you think I have a firm opinion on it, you are right.

Senator Atkins: Would you put cameras in cockpits?

Mr. Collenette: I suppose that is an issue. Have we looked at that? Is that under discussion?

Mr. Elliott: Minister, you have not mandated surveillance cameras, but we have had discussions with carriers and unions about that. I think major carriers are looking at that. Some of the door designs for strengthening cockpit control measures do incorporate surveillance cameras.

The Chairman: Minister, thank you very much. It has been a fruitful afternoon for the committee. We appreciate your being here. We also appreciate the assistance your officials have given us. It has been extensive and thorough. We are looking forward to receiving the information that they are forwarding on to us, and we are grateful for that.

The meeting continued in camera.