Proceedings of the Standing Senate Committee on
National Security and Defence

Issue 9 - Evidence, January 28, 2003 


EDMONTON, Tuesday, January 28, 2003
(17)

The Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence met this day at 2:00 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: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to the Senate Standing Committee on National Security and Defence. It is my pleasure to welcome you to our continuing study on the need for national security policy. Today, we are looking specifically at the role of first responders in that context.

My name is Colin Kenny. I am a senator from Ontario, and I chair the committee.

On my immediate left is the distinguished senator from Nova Scotia, Senator Michael Forrestall. Senator Forrestall has served the constituents of Dartmouth as their member of the House of Commons for 25 years and for the past 12 years as their senator. Throughout his parliamentary career, Senator Forrestall has followed defence matters, serving on various parliamentary committees, including the 1993 Special Joint Committee on the Future of Canadian Forces, as well as representing Canada at the NATO Parliamentary Assembly.

On my immediate right is Senator Tommy Banks. I am sure he is well known to you. Senator Banks is one of our most accomplished and versatile senators and entertainers. He is an international standard-bearer for Canadian culture, a Juno award winner. He was the host of the Tommy Banks Show from 1968 to 1983. He is chair of the Senator Standing Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources, and currently his committee is studying Bill C-5, the proposed species at risk legislation.

Beside Senator Banks is Senator Jane Cordy from Nova Scotia. An accomplished educator, she also has an extensive record of community involvement. She has served as vice-chair of the Halifax-Dartmouth Port Development Commission. In addition to serving on our committee, she is also a member of the Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology that recently released its landmark report on health care. She is an active participant in the NATO Parliamentary Assembly.

Sitting beside her on my far right is Senator Michael Meighen from Ontario. A highly successful lawyer and patron of the arts, he is also chancellor of the University of King's College in Halifax. Senator Meighen has a strong background in defence matters, having served on the 1993 Special Joint Committee on the Future of Canadian Forces. He is the chair of our Subcommittee on Veterans Affairs, and he is also a member of the Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce.

Beside Senator Forrestall, just to my left, is Senator Joseph Day. Senator Day is from New Brunswick. He holds a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering degree from Royal Military College in Kingston, an LL.B. from Queen's University, and a Master of Laws from Osgoode Hall. Prior to his appointment to the Senate in 2001, he had a successful career as a private-practice attorney. Senator Day is deputy chair of the Senate Committee on National Finance and a member of the Senate Committee on Transport and Communication. In addition, he serves as deputy chair of our own Subcommittee on Veterans Affairs.

Beside him is Senator Norm Atkins from Ontario. He came to the Senate in 1986 with a strong background in the field of communications. He also served as an advisor to former Premier Davis of Ontario. During his time as senator, he has championed the cause of the Canadian merchant navy veterans and is a member of the Subcommittee on Veterans Affairs. Currently he serves as chair of the Senate Conservative Caucus. He is also deputy chair of the Senate Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration.

Beside him and at my far left is Senator David Smith. Senator Smith is from Ontario, a lawyer by training. He is a distinguished practitioner in municipal, administrative and regulatory law. In the 1970s, he was elected as councillor and deputy mayor of Toronto and was a member of the House of Commons from 1980 to 1984. In the Senate, he also serves on the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee and on the Committee on Rules, Procedures and the Rights of Parliament.

And on my far right is Senator Jack Wiebe. Senator Wiebe is from Saskatchewan. He is one of Saskatchewan's leading citizens. He has been a highly successful farmer, a member of the Saskatchewan Legislative Assembly, and Lieutenant Governor of Saskatchewan. In the Senate, he is deputy chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry. Currently, that committee is looking at the impact of climate change on farming and forestry practices across the country.

Our committee is the first permanent Senate committee with a mandate to examine subjects of security and defence. Over the past 18 months, we have completed a number of studies. After seven months, we completed a study on major issues facing Canada and produced, in February 2002, a report entitled ``Canadian Security and Military Preparedness.'' The Senate then asked our committee to examine the need for a national security policy.

Thus far, we have released three reports on various aspects of national security, the first being ``The Defence of North America: A Canadian Responsibility,'' in September 2002. The second report is entitled, ``For an Extra 130 Bucks...Update On Canada's Military Financial Crisis: A View From the Bottom Up.'' It was published in November 2002. Our most recent report is entitled, ``The Myth of Security at Canada's Airports,'' which was published just last January.

Today, we continue our study on national security by focusing on the work of first responders. In times of national emergencies or disasters, we look to you to respond quickly and effectively. We look forward to hearing from officials from the City of Edmonton about the city's plans for dealing with emergencies and the relationship with officials and other levels of government, especially OCIPEP, the Office of Critical Infrastructure Protection and Emergency Preparedness.

Today we are looking forward to hearing initially from Councillor Stephen Mandel, who is Deputy Mayor of the City of Edmonton.

Councillor Mandel, the floor is yours.

Mr. Stephen Mandel, Deputy Mayor and Councillor, City of Edmonton: Good afternoon, honourable senators and representatives of Edmonton's emergency services. I am very pleased to be here today to welcome you to our fair city. May I extend a special welcome to Senator Banks, who is now at home.

As a city councillor, I applaud the fact that you are here to consult with our city and region's first responders on issues around national security, and I recognize the importance of all of us working together to reach a common goal. I am sure that we can all agree when I say that local government has the most experience in dealing with local emergencies, and it is important for us to be involved when national security issues become local emergencies.

For the kinds of things we are dealing with now, the possibility and the probability are on a national scope. Quite simply, we have limited financial resources. We cannot cope on a local level, nor should we expected to, and we cannot do it without the support of other orders of government.

Edmonton City Council welcomes the opportunity to have our city and region's first responders share with you what they are doing. Edmonton and the Capital Region are leaders in many areas, and emergency response and preparedness is one of them.

I have a certificate, a plaque, to present to you, Senator Kenny, if I may come forward. On behalf of our city council and the mayor, I wish to present you with a small plaque. We welcome you to the city, and thank you very much for sharing our time.

The Chairman: Thank you so much. We are looking forward to the hearing today. We have had a terrific visit with your fire chief, and we have seen some very impressive equipment. I will accept this plaque and take it back to Ottawa with me.

If I may, in return, I should also like to present you with a plaque.

Mr. Mandel: I must apologize, Mr. Chairman, but city council is actually sitting at this time. I must go back to deal with the business of city politics. As such, I will leave you in the wonderful hands of our esteemed group.

Mr. Deryl Kloster, General Manager, Emergency Response Department, City of Edmonton: Mr. Chairman, if I may, I will provide some introductory remarks.

On behalf of all Canadian first responders, allow me to commend you for your desires to review a critical portion of the quality of life we as Canadians enjoy — that is, our ability to know that we are prepared and able to respond effectively in times of crisis.

Historically, Canada's first responders have performed extremely well in terms of crises. We have worked well on our plans to handle natural disasters. On September 11, 2001, a series of events rocked our sense of security and safety. As we watched the Twin Towers come tumbling down in New York City, we realized that terrorism is not just something that happens over there, across the pond, that it happens right here in North America, in Canada, Alberta, and, yes, potentially even in Edmonton. The question all of us must ask is this: Are we ready? This very sobering piece of reality has sunk in, and all three orders of government and the private sector are rethinking and refocusing our efforts not just on natural disasters but on man-made disasters. Our Canadian government has set a priority around this new need, dedicating the needed dollars to support activities nation-wide. In Alberta, this same refocusing has happened. I am pleased to say here in Edmonton, we, too, are in the midst of a shift.

As you will hear, Edmonton has moved forward in an aggressive and cooperative manner to ensure that this key area in North America is ready to handle things if things go wrong. We are asking for and receiving federal dollars to purchase and deploy new types of equipment. We are asking for and working towards the ongoing needed support that is required to train and to continue to maintain our needed level of readiness.

I should like to introduce the members of our team and ask them to give a brief presentation to you around specific areas. The first person I should like to call upon is Mr. Bob Black, who is from the Office of Emergency Preparedness. He will address the vulnerability of the capital region.

Mr. Bob Black, Director, Office of Emergency Preparedness, City of Edmonton: Good afternoon, senators. For the next few minutes, I should like to discuss the unique security and safety vulnerabilities in Edmonton and the surrounding region and set the stage for the two following presentations.

Now approaching a population of 1 million persons, the Edmonton region is a vibrant growing area. Traditionally known as the ``Gateway to the North,'' the Edmonton region has expanded its horizons in the last few decades to embrace large commercial and industrial concerns. There are common, natural and man-made threats that one would find in any of Canada's major metropolitan areas.

However, I should like to focus on some of our unique challenges. Edmonton is located in tornado country. Although the last major tornado strike on the region occurred 15 years ago, the memory is fresh in the minds of Edmontonians. Tornado activity is common in this part of Alberta. In our emergency planning, preparing to respond to a major tornado is a priority.

As increasing urban sprawl expands the region's inhabited footprint, the likelihood of a deadly tornado strike on a populated area also increases.

Edmonton also has a very strong commercial focus. One of the most obvious examples of this is our large shopping complexes, including the West Edmonton Mall, which is the world's largest indoor mall and slated for expansion. On major shopping days, tens of thousands of shoppers crowd their stores and attractions. Any predictable concentration of humanity on this scale offers a challenge to security and safety, particularly in the current international situation.

However, by far the most striking area of vulnerability is the sprawling petrochemical industry located generally in the east of the region. With more than five major refineries, 20 major chemical plants and over 400 associated industrial concerns, the petrochemical concentration in the Edmonton area is now the second largest in North America. The petrochemical industry in this region has strategic and continental importance. Raw petrochemical products, including natural gas and oil from the tar sands, are transported to Edmonton, processed, and then piped, trucked and trained across the continent. A significant amount of the petrochemical products that fuel eastern Canadian and U.S. plants either originate in or are shipped through Edmonton, and any major disruption, by accident or attack, could have serious local, national and continental ramifications.

Petrochemical shipping routes add to the challenge. Not only are major pipelines found in and under some of our most populated areas, but also major trucking and rail corridors run right through the city. You may have noticed a major rail yard directly under your approach path into the airport earlier today. The security and safety concerns of this are obvious. While the safety record of the industry is excellent, clearly the focus of most of our emergency preparedness is in this area.

These concerns regarding the petrochemical and hazardous material threat have driven several initiatives.

First, the petrochemical industry is located in numerous municipalities and counties, and it is likely that any significant spill or other event would cross jurisdictional boundaries. However, more important, the impact of a major event would cross these boundaries. For that reason, to be effective, any emergency response plan must be regional in nature with a full participation of industry. Second, it makes sense to leverage the existing knowledge and expertise Edmonton has developed preparing for a petrochemical emergency towards reacting to a deliberate chemical or biological attack where the techniques of response are very similar.

I do not mean to overstate the situation. Edmonton and the surrounding region remain healthy and safe and a wonderful place to raise a family. However, there are several unique vulnerabilities that require us to plan our response in a unique manner.

Mr. Kloster: With that sense of the Edmonton region and our take on the importance of preparing and planning in a regional sense, I should like to now introduce the chair of this unique approach in our area for planning and preparedness, Mr. Dave Hill. Mr. Hill is the corporate safety manager for EPCOR and represents the public/private partnership that we have forged in the capital region.

Mr. Dave Hill, Chair, Capital Region Emergency Preparedness Partnership: Honourable senators, I sit here today as the chair of the Capital Region Emergency Preparedness Partnership, or CREPP.

Let me first outline briefly the background of CREPP and then talk about its membership and who is involved in the partnership. I will also tell you about an initiative that we undertook last year and the outcome of that initiative. I will also give you the message that we would like to leave with you as senators looking into this very important issue.

Let me first address the background of CREPP. As identified by Mr. Black, the Edmonton region has some interesting anomalies. It is important to recognize that the area that CREPP represents has a population of just under 1 million people — quite a significant population base. The other thing, as identified, is that there is quite a bit of critical infrastructure within that region. That critical infrastructure is important not only for the region, but also for the province and the country as a whole.

CREPP has been around since about 1988. Initially put together, there was a recognition by emergency planners in the area that there needed to be integration between organizations in the event of a major emergency or disaster within the area. A classic example is the tornado that went through here in the 1980s. That was quite significant in pointing to the need for CREPP and organizations to work together in times of disaster.

One of the things to point out is that the perception of need of regional preparedness is identified not only by the people who are involved within CREPP, but also by provincial and federal studies that have been done on this area. Several studies have identified that regional preparedness makes a lot of sense and that it should happen.

I want to talk a little bit about the membership. As the handout shows, there is a cross-section of individual organizations who have responsibility within emergency preparedness — everything from non-governmental organizations such as the Red Cross to utilities to municipalities to health authorities. A number of different organizations have a role in emergency preparedness. However, what is important is they can prepare within their own organization, but also we have to have a unified approach in the event of disaster. It is also important to mention that the people who sit at the table of CREPP are the emergency planners; they are the people who know emergencies and who understand the capabilities and the vulnerabilities.

Last year, we took on a fairly major initiative, the CREPP initiative. We asked ourselves how we could approach disaster and emergency preparedness within the region. We came up with four key issues, and because of that we set up teams to deal with each one of those issues. They are as follows: planning and coordination; communications and communications between organizations; unified training, so that we all understand each other; a specialized equipment and dangerous-goods response that was required.

When we completed that work, we understood quite clearly that a regional approach to emergency preparedness is not a short-term matter. We have to look at it as a long-range plan and be prepared to support it on a long range in order for it to be effective.

Often, if we take a short-term approach to things, we actually cause consternation for member organizations. For example, if we purchase equipment, the purchase of equipment is the one-time cost. However, there are ongoing costs related to the equipment — operations, maintenance, training — to keep that equipment effective. It is important to understand that the member organizations have these concerns.

With respect to the status of our initiative, it was submitted to the Prime Minister's office, to the Alberta premier's office in 2002 and to the respective departments within those jurisdictions. We have received feedback letters back from both levels of government.

From a CREPP perspective, our perception, based on our responses, is that at neither level of government is there a process in place to support regional preparedness, even though several studies identify that this is a key component to emergency preparedness.

Your committee's activity is very timely and certainly very appreciated. CREPP has been around since 1998. We do not plan to go away, but our ability to do things will be limited depending on resources that become available to us. The partnership is made up of people familiar with emergency planning and knowledgeable about the vulnerabilities. It is a regional approach. Federal and provincial studies show that the regional approach optimizes the effectiveness and efficiency of disaster response and preparedness.

In conclusion, we would like you to know that from a CREPP perspective support from a federal level for regional preparedness is key for us.

Mr. Kloster: Senator Kenny, I should now like to introduce our fire chief, Mr. Randy Wolsey, who will share his thoughts about this new reality that we face and focus on the CBRN threat.

Mr. Randy Wolsey, Fire Chief, Fire Rescue Services, City of Edmonton: Honourable senators, before I begin my presentation. Let me commend the committee for starting their review in Alberta talking with fire crews at a fire station. As a fire chief, I do not actually deliver any service; the people who deliver the services are those firefighters, those men and women in the fire station who respond to the needs of our community. Similarly, with our EMS personnel and our police personnel; it is the people out on the streets who actually deliver the service. We are the administrators. If we do anything special, it is because we are able to supply the resources to our staff, to help them deliver the service. Hence, I commend the committee, because you started at the street level, to see exactly what can and cannot be done from our first responders.

The Chairman: Your philosophy, chief, would qualify you to be a senator. You should know that.

Mr. Wolsey: Thank you.

A short time ago, we met with the Province of Alberta and a number of major centres from Alberta to talk about how we would deal with terrorism activities and what we call the chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear events, the CBRN issue. We came up with a plan, It was identified that there was some funding available for the purchase of equipment, and it was going to be, as identified to us, one-time funding.

We met. We identified the equipment that we felt was necessary. We felt that it would be less costly if one city or one centre purchases all the equipment, for the seven major centres in Alberta. Edmonton was selected because of our expertise in that area and our administrative capability to procure the equipment. We received $1.8 million, 75 per cent from the federal government and 25 per cent from the provincial government. We were to procure equipment so that we could respond to the kinds of emergencies which have evolved basically since September 11, the disaster in New York and Washington as well.

That equipment is in the final ends of the procurement. We have received a little over 50 per cent of the equipment. It has been distributed, as we have received it, to the other centres. Part of our responsibility was the training of staff on the new equipment. Part of the cost of procurement, hence, included the initial training for that equipment.

Our challenge, however, is the ongoing training costs and the ongoing maintenance of equipment. There will also be costs related to the deployment of that equipment.

In the city of Edmonton, as an example, we operate a fire department, have done for more than 100 years. We staff our fire stations so that they can respond to the needs of our community. However, there is another issue out there, the CBRN issue and dangerous-goods issue. That issue is not just a City of Edmonton problem; it is a regional issue, a Northern Alberta issue and a province-wide issue. In order to be able to respond to a potential problem, we must ensure that we have people trained and equipment ready to respond on a moment's notice.

Large communities are in a better position to respond, to some extent. Smaller communities within Alberta are not as well equipped and cannot do it, and so they rely on us to respond to them. The costs for our response to them and having the necessary equipment and staffing to stand by is, at this present time, being borne by the City of Edmonton. We believe that the federal government bears some responsibility here, because some of these issues are federal issues that we are responding to — the terrorism issue, for example. There should be some assistance provided to us for training and maintenance of our resources and some assistance provided to us as we deploy those resources, specifically outside the city of Edmonton. We are under the understanding that there is a fairly large amount of training dollars available from the federal government to be able to do this kind of stuff.

Interestingly enough, we do not know how to access it. We have had tremendous difficulty finding how to actually access the dollars. We are told that the funds are there, but we do not know what road we are supposed to go down or what process we are supposed to follow in order to access them.

Of course, the City of Edmonton is a local government. Our role is to work through our provincial government. We have found that there are a number of roadblocks to accessing money.

In the plan that we developed with the province, we took a seven-city approach. There are seven major centres in Alberta. Beginning in the north and moving south, they are: Fort McMurray, Grande Prairie, Edmonton, Red Deer, Calgary, Lethbridge and Medicine Hat. It is those centres that we would help deploy.

There are three levels of deployment. The first level is the local community identifying a problem, and then deploying one of those centres to go there to assist and to confirm the problem. There are two major centres, one from Northern Alberta and one from Southern Alberta — Edmonton for Northern Alberta, Calgary for Southern Alberta. They would be called to assist and to mitigate the effects of the incident. That is the approach that we have taken in Alberta, and we believe that that is the most cost-effective approach to serve the citizens of Alberta and Canada as we go through the process.

Again, our biggest challenge is providing the training. We estimate the training for CBRN to be about $1 million annually, staff training to operate the specialized equipment that is now available. Some of the equipment is very technical and very specialized. We have trained about 80 people at this time in the city of Edmonton, and our needs are around 120 to maintain training on a regular basis in order that we would have sufficient staff to deploy in the event of an emergency.

We commend the federal government on putting forward money at the outset. As has been said, those initial capital costs are only a portion of the costs that need to be put forward in order for us to deliver a successful service to our community to ensure the safety of our community.

Mr. Kloster: In summary, honourable senators, we are facing a new reality in Canada and, indeed, the world. Canadian first responders must come to grips with these new threats and prepare for the expectation that we will respond. In order to do this, it goes without saying that financial support for capital and ongoing operating costs of this equipment is an absolute must. We look to other orders of government in Canada to provide that support.

The Chairman: Thank you very much, Mr. Kloster. The presentation was very interesting. We also found the briefing material that came ahead of time very useful. It assisted us considerably in our preparation, and we are grateful for that.

Senator Banks: As the committee goes across the country, we have been frustrated at times by a disparity of information we sometimes get.

Mr. Hill, I should like to address my first question to you. We have had, I think it is fair to characterize it as, assurances from federal sources, including very much the Office of Critical Infrastructure Protection and Emergency Preparedness, hereinafter referred to as OCIPEP, that everything is fine, that everything is taken care of. You have said, just moments ago, and the chief said, that it is not fine in respect of training. The one-time buying of the equipment, as the chief showed us today, is not good enough. Obviously, the equipment has to be maintained, and obviously, if it is going to do any good, a lovely piece of equipment sitting there without somebody who knows how specifically and precisely to operate it with accuracy is a boat anchor.

You said that you know that there is training money there. Who have you asked about how to access it, and what has the answer been that you have received? I am presuming that you have asked OCIPEP. It seems to me that that is their job.

Would you please fill us in about that.

Mr. Hill: Our specific initiative has gone forward to — the one made to the Prime Minister's office was copied and was referenced to OCIPEP. So they received our specific request from our partnership.

Training is a component of that. Actually, our initiative states that we need to start off with overall regional protocols and response before we can actually train people on regional response. We have not gone forward specifically to ask about training. We have gone forward with an overall long-term request for funding for a regional response.

Now, the City of Edmonton has done some other specific things, and I will turn that part of your question over to Chief Wolsey.

Mr. Wolsey: When we met with the province, we talked about equipment. We also talked about the need for training. It was identified with us that there was a training program being developed that would support our initiatives with CBRN in particular.

Senator Banks: Being developed by who?

Mr. Wolsey: By the federal government.

In September, they asked us if we would send some first responders, people on the floor that could actually go look at the training program that was being developed. We sent people to Ottawa, They spent time reviewing the training programs and made suggestions and recommendations on how they could change it to make that training program more effective. It has disappeared into the woodwork, however. We do not know where that training program went nor do we know when it is ever going to surface again, and we are concerned about that.

Senator Banks: At that stage, were you talking directly with OCIPEP?

Mr. Wolsey: We were dealing directly with the province who was dealing with OCIPEP.

Senator Banks: Is it theoretically possible that there may have been some answer, from what you have got so far from the province, that you have not received yet, or not?

Mr. Wolsey: I do not think that is the case. The reason I say I do not think it is the case is that just last Friday I met with the province and they told me that they did not have any answers from OCIPEP.

Senator Banks: Can you deal directly with OCIPEP?

Mr. Wolsey: Senator Banks, the protocol is that we deal with the province. While I say that, there are times when we have meetings and OCIPEP is represented at those meetings when we are meeting with the province.

Senator Banks: But that is an understood line of communication.

Mr. Wolsey: It is a protocol.

Senator Banks: Mr. Kloster, I know all comparisons are odious, but yesterday we were in Regina, and Mr. Hill mentioned a list of priorities that you addressed when you set out the plan, and communications was the second most important thing. If I remember correctly, in Regina they thought that communications was the most important thing, on the basis that you can have all this wonderful equipment and all these trained people, but if they cannot in an event talk to each other, it does not work very well.

I note that your organization in particular does not include the police — not CREPP, but your organization, does not include the police department.

Mr. Kloster: Senator Banks, the Edmonton Police Service is part of the City of Edmonton programs, although the Edmonton City Police Service reports directly to a police commission. The rest of my staff report directly to city council. So that is the one anomaly, but nonetheless, Edmonton Police Service is still a City of Edmonton service.

Senator Banks: So when it comes to communications in an unhappy event, whatever causes it, assuming there is a command centre set up, some place to deal with an emergency, can that command centre talk to everybody?

Mr. Kloster: Senator Banks, maybe I could ask our Office of Emergency Preparedness director to just comment on that because that is something that we have been working on and, in fact, are ratcheting up.

Mr. Black: Senator Banks, each of our departments have unique communication systems, certainly the police and then fire and emergency medical services. Within our emergency operations centre, we actually have a senior policeman, senior fireman, and senior EMS officer sitting side by side to exchange information, and that information exchange is done at that level, not on a common radio system.

Senator Banks: Each of those independent and discrete systems can be contacted from the same room in that event; correct?

Mr. Black: That is correct, Senator.

Senator Banks: Do you think that that is the best way to do it, or should there be some magic button that you can push when there is a tornado or something blows up that would allow a commander to talk to everybody? I presume that when an event occurs, somebody makes a decision as to who is going to drive the bus here. Either the fire chief is going to be in charge or the police chief is going to be in charge or emergency medical people are going to be in charge, depending on the nature of the event. Would it be preferable, and are you contemplating a communications system, for that person, whoever it is, to push a magic button and talk to everybody, talk to the helicopter, talk to the air ambulance, et cetera?

Mr. Tom Grue, Superintendent, Edmonton Police Service: Senator Banks, we do have the present ability to communicate by radio to all three services: the fire, ambulance and police.

Senator Banks: That does exist?

Mr. Grue: Yes.

Senator Banks: Great.

The Chairman: Would that include the RCMP as well?

Mr. Grue: We do have a patch-over capability with the RCMP, although that capability is somewhat strained at times because of technical problems. Usually it works, but not always.

Senator Wiebe: In discussion with one of your crew this morning, Chief Wolsey, I asked the question of whether they have access to satellite. You cover an area from Red Deer north to the Northwest Territories, where cellular phone access can be difficult. I understand that there was a tornado that struck here a few years ago and that at the site there was no communications by cellular because there was a dip.

I asked the individual whether it would be to his advantage to have satellite communication, and he said yes, that it would be one of the greatest assets.

Have you or anyone in your organization looked at satellite communications in regards to emergency measures, because one of the first things that are going to be taken out is our communications? If they blow up our satellites we will have to revert to smoke signals. I think the safest and most advantageous would be the satellite hookup.

Mr. Wolsey: I have reviewed satellite phones to a great extent. In fact, prior to coming to the City of Edmonton, in the city where I previously worked, we did purchase the Meridian system, only to find out a year later that it went out of business.

Of course, that does not mean that satellite systems are not good. They are very valuable. However, they are very costly. Our usage of them on a day-to-day basis would not be extensive, but they are very costly to maintain. We have limited dollars and budgets, and I guess just like the federal government and the provincial government, we have to weigh those expenditures against the value they deliver for us and for the community. Currently, we do not have enough money in the budget to be able to provide those kinds of communications systems in lieu of the other things.

Mr. Black: Senator Wiebe, I would like to add to that. In the purchasing of this CBRN equipment that we just went through, we asked exactly the same question through the province to OCIPEP that you just posed. We used the example of having to deploy resources outside cell phone coverage and asked if we could use the money allocated to buy some satellite communications, and we were told no. It was not CBRN equipment. We could not purchase it. We understand the need, but whoever was managing the money had a different perspective on the issue.

Senator Wiebe: Do you have any idea what the cost would be, for example?

Mr. Black: Not offhand, sir.

Mr. Wolsey: Approximately $5,000 per satellite phone, and then there are airtime and maintenance charged on top of that.

Senator Banks: Since Meridian went down, would such a system that is viable now exist?

Mr. Wolsey: Yes, I believe there are secure systems that are operating right now; however, whether they are going to be viable in the future I cannot say. Many of satellite phone companies have struggled financially, one of the reasons being the initial major cost of purchasing the phone and then the cost of operation.

Senator Banks: Mr. Black, I just want to make sure that we understand this clearly. It was the federal government that said no to you about satellite phones; is that correct?

Mr. Black: Again, in dealing with this issue we had to go through the province. Our request was forwarded to Emergency Management Alberta, who is our contact, and their response to us was that satellite phones were not on the list of equipment that had been authorized by the federal government.

Senator Banks: Under the Joint Emergency Preparedness, JEP, program.

Mr. Black: That is correct, senator.

Senator Banks: I just want to make sure we have a clear picture, Mr. Kloster. I think that it is appropriately addressed to you.

You have centred here a responsibility for the northern part of the province, including Red Deer or up to Red Deer or something like that. I am assuming that the intensity of equipment, or the critical mass of equipment, is centred in Calgary and Edmonton, the two centres, and that there is a lesser intensity, lesser high degree of equipment and expertise centred in the other five cities that you identified as the main city; is that fair and right?

Mr. Kloster: Yes, that is correct.

Senator Banks: So in the other five cities, they would, in serving the area immediately around them, be able to identify the general nature of our problem and then holler for whatever help they thought was appropriate. This has to do with a question that was asked earlier about the possibility of locating that stuff. You said, chief, that the greatest sense is made by locating it in a place which has the critical infrastructure and the critical mass to maintain it, but those places are also more likely than Bruderheim, with all due respect, to be a target.

So were those places chosen because of the demographic facts, period, that is to say, these are the largest population centres, so that is where we are going to put this stuff, and is that the right idea? For example, should we locate the mass of the equipment not in Calgary and Edmonton but in Red Deer, which is a less likely target, and have the means of delivering it quickly to someplace else? Does that make any sense at all? Have you made the choice based on the right criteria? Is population the answer?

Mr. Wolsey: The decision was not necessarily made on population; it was made on the capability of responding and also the capability of supporting, to some extent, the infrastructure for that response.

For example, we went to Station 2. Station 2 does not sit there waiting for a CBRN call, nor do they sit there waiting for a dangerous goods call. They are also an active firefighting crew, and they respond to other events, fires and motor vehicle accidents and medical calls. However, they have a specialty as well, and as such we are able to break them away when a dangerous-goods call comes forward. We are able to break them away when there is a CBRN incident, and we are able to break them away and supplement their loss to the city with the other surrounding stations. Therefore, that it is the critical mass that allows us to do that.

Senator Forrestall: I wanted to, if I could, carry on a little bit in the vein Senator Banks had started because the whole question of communication has caused us some concern, many of us for long periods of time. Too often, we have run across examples of activity being circumvented because of inability to communicate. I do not know really what the situation is with respect to satellite communications, but I do know personally that it is absolutely necessary that, much sooner than later, the police chief, the RCMP and the military have a capacity to communicate with everybody else in this emergency services provision.

Having said that, could I ask a couple of supplementaries to Senator Banks' thoughtful examination.

Coming back to communications, Alberta remains one of the few provinces in Canada, if not the only province, that wholly owns a radio broadcasting system. Presumably, authority is on the books should it ever be required for the province to usurp or bring into action its rights as the owner and request the opportunity to speak to the people of Alberta. It at least has a communication capability. However, that radio station does not reach all points in Alberta, so we have a breakdown again in communications.

Why cannot we have, given the number of radio stations, the capacity to flip a switch to tune into every radio station? Is there any value in developing at least the concept of the ideal communication system? Would there be any merit in the premier, say, having the capacity, with the flick of a switch, to talk to anybody listening to any form of public broadcasting or private public broadcasting? Is there any merit in that?

Mr. Kloster: Senator, there are several answers to that question. First of all, in Alberta, and it may in fact be in place in other provinces also, there is a mechanism that is available to emergency response agencies to in fact impact local media with emergency broadcast. There is a system in place. The dilemma with that system, as you pointed out, is that it does not cover the entire geographical area. That is one of the shortfalls with that public-broadcast mechanism, but it is in place.

Is there an opportunity to improve, to drive for a wider level of service? The answer is yes. I think Chief Wolsey has hit the nail on the head when responding to Senator Banks. It is a matter of trying to decide where we are going to spend scarce resources in an attempt to make sure that we are prepared to do the best we can if something goes wrong.

Senator Forrestall: This capacity was very expensive, five, six, certainly 10, 15 years ago; it was enormously expensive and very cumbersome, not easily handled nor maintained. It is quite different today. It is very compact. Everything is digital, of course. There is nothing to them, that I understand; they are solid and reasonably free of repair necessities. I appreciate that very much.

I will now turn to the subject of equipment. I appreciate and understand, as we were told this morning, that there is not much point in the City of Edmonton, for example, designing a piece of equipment that might be taken up by Halifax or Toronto or Ottawa or any other city in Canada, because Edmonton is such a unique base, with its petrochemical and oil industries, such that whatever they would design for here would not be what would be required in Windsor, Ontario, say.

Can you tell us a little bit about that magnificent piece of equipment you have? How did you go about doing that? Was it done in-house? Did you bring in consultants, or did you just put on your thinking caps and let evolve what appears to be a very excellent piece of equipment?

Mr. Wolsey: Senator Forrestall, just for clarification purposes, you are referring to the decontamination unit?

Senator Forrestall: Yes, I am sorry.

Mr. Wolsey: That was designed by Edmonton firefighters based on the perception of the need in Edmonton, taking into consideration weather and industry. It has been a useful piece of equipment for us. When we were faced with the CBRN issue, it also became very valuable in that area.

Having said that, it is a one-off piece of equipment. I believe it is the only unit in Canada like that. We are fortunate to have received some JEP funding to assist in its construction. It was designed by Edmonton firefighters and then built by an Edmonton contractor.

Senator Forrestall: Has there been any interest in it by the international brotherhood? I am sure they have all had a look at it and have followed it closely.

Mr. Wolsey: In 1996, the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs held their convention here in Edmonton, at which time the equipment was on display. It created a lot of interest. Most fire chiefs said, however, ``Love to have it; don't have any money.'' It is a relatively expensive piece of equipment. I am sure you noticed that the inside of the equipment is stainless steel, which is expensive to manufacture.

Senator Forrestall: I command the City of Edmonton for its efforts. We had a look at the used bus they have converted. It serves a purpose, and they are to be commended for having taken that step. However, I appreciate what you are saying in that respect.

This is true, of course, with the gas-protection systems, the vapour systems, for example. All of that is unique to the potential needs in a centre such as Edmonton; is that correct?

Mr. Wolsey: Yes. That is correct, senator.

Senator Forrestall: Again, that makes the whole package unique, does it not?

What I am trying to get at is this: Is there a role for the federal government to play in producing a hybrid that, with adaptation, could provide a basic set of plans? Could, say, 90 per cent of Canadian airports modify the hybrid to suit their needs? Is it possible with the type of equipment that we are talking about to do that?

Mr. Wolsey: On a specialized piece of equipment like the decontamination unit, I think it would be possible to deal with that on a template. In terms of other equipment that we use in the fire service, a lot of it depends on our deployment and the makeup of the community and the risks within the community.

It would be difficult to design a fire truck that would work for everyone. In small communities, where there may be only one truck, it may not suit their particular needs. In the city of Edmonton, in some cases we specialize our equipment a little more, and we have that latitude because of the size of the city and the amount of equipment we are able to deploy.

Senator Forrestall: It is my understanding that it is the hope of the federal government to be able to stockpile certain requirements in key centres in Canada, inoculation capabilities, for example, serums or whatever is required. Is that part of your planning? Do you know where you fit in that planning process? Do you have stockpiles now in the event of a terrorist activity that might require inoculating your civic population?

Mr. Steve Rapanos, Chief, Emergency Medical Services, City of Edmonton: I will let Mr. Black dive in here, but we are certainly going through the process right now in terms of identifying where we would want to stockpile certain vaccines in the event that they are required.

There has been discussion south of the border of vaccinating a large number of emergency responders. There are obviously issues related to that, in terms of dealing with a live vaccine, where it may not be appropriate to be vaccinating large amounts of your physicians, nurses and emergency responders. However, in certain cases, if there were an outbreak, being prepared to issue it and confining the area is really the strategy that would be taken.

I believe Mr. Black may want to add to that, but that is where we have been at thus far.

Mr. Black: The responsibility for that sort of medical coverage rests with the Capital Health Authority, which is not part of the City of Edmonton, per se. The best way to put it is to say that we have a partnering agreement with them. We are working closely with them in terms of understanding what the national strategy will be for mass inoculations, particularly for things like smallpox. It is coming down slowly. The strategies are being developed, and we are working with them to figure out how we are going to support the health region when it becomes necessary. So, it is being looked at and considered, but not as visibly as south of the border. However, work is being done.

Senator Forrestall: More of a provincial responsibility, is it?

Mr. Black: That is correct.

Senator Day: Your comment that it would be a breach of protocol for you to deal directly with the Office for Critical Infrastructure Protection and Emergency Preparedness left me wondering why it is any less a breach of protocol for us to come out here and talk to you directly. I find myself wondering about that. However, I am glad you mentioned it so that we can investigate that a little bit more.

Mr. Kloster, could you help clarify for me, from the point of view of emergency preparedness, the interaction between the northern and southern parts of the province, the City of Edmonton, the Capital Regional Emergency Preparedness Partnership, vis-à-vis planning, training, equipment and funding. I do not have it clear in my mind.

Mr. Kloster: Senator Day, perhaps in an attempt to answer the question I could talk a little bit about the municipal responsibility around the first responders piece. Certainly all Alberta municipalities are responsible for fire rescue support, for emergency medical services support, and to a large extent, all policing costs, but those cost are borne by the local tax base.

When we look at matters that transcend our boundaries and get into other jurisdictions in Alberta, then the anticipated response comes from the provincial government, who are there to help us to ease those differences between boundaries. That sometimes is problematic, because dilemmas can arise where one jurisdiction is concern about spending dollars that come from a property base in another jurisdiction. That is why when I introduced Mr. Hill I suggested that our approach was somewhat unique in the Capital Region because we have forged ahead understanding that there are all sorts of political mine fields when you bring 20 municipalities together and a variety of private-sector companies where issues like funding, training, cooperation do not naturally lend themselves to that process.

We are sitting here as the Capital Region somewhat hamstrung because of our ability to finance the things that we are doing, both in terms of capital costs and ongoing operating, and looking to other orders of government, firstly, the provincial government, and then secondly, to the federal government, to provide those sort of dollars to help us to deal with this in terms of an interjurisdictional basis.

Has that been helpful?

Senator Day: Who owns the equipment? Is separate planning done by the municipality, separate from a group that is out there planning, Mr. Hill's group, separate from another group that gets together and does some planning from Red Deer north to the Northwest Territories?

Mr. Kloster: Senator Day, in Alberta the provincial government has set in place legislation that allows for municipalities to in fact care for their jurisdictions in a planning sense. So we are all under an obligation to put in place a plan that will help our communities advance some sort of support mechanism if something does go wrong. It starts with provincial legislation and then it is embodied in local legislation. So that is in place in Alberta.

When we talk about going beyond our boundaries, and you have a couple of examples today, Chief Wolsey has indicated that seven Alberta cities got together with the province to talk about how, from a provincial perspective, we would strategize.

Not all of those cities have a mandate from their local jurisdiction to do that, but they felt it was important enough, from a provincial perspective, to work together. That is why the City of Edmonton stepped up to the plate and volunteered to be the lead agency in Alberta and purchase this equipment.

In the Capital Region, again, as you see with our partnership here, we really do not have the jurisdiction, other than what we can muster through cooperation agreements, to move forward in that joint-planning kind of initiative.

So those are some political hurdles or obstacles that municipalities have to come to grips with. As well, while we are moving forward with some success, there are still those obstacles that we have to deal with on a monthly basis.

Senator Day: Is the emergency equipment that we saw this morning purchased by the municipality or purchased by the municipality through various grants, including the JEP funds through the Office of Critical Infrastructure Protection and the provincial government or municipal government portion? Is it purchased with the idea that it is for the greater region and will be shared with the greater region?

Mr. Kloster: Senator Day, the answer to your question, in part, is yes. The vast majority of the equipment that the City of Edmonton employs, whether it is EMC, fire rescue, or police, is City-of-Edmonton owned. The pieces of equipment that come through our provincial partners or our federal partners are in the form of grants and tend to have strings attached. For example, with respect to the piece of equipment you saw this morning, the dollars were provided to us and we designed and built it. The expectation is that the City of Edmonton would respond with that beyond our boundaries. That would be part of the responsibility that we would have to Alberta and the federal government with respect to that equipment.

However, in terms of the overall expenditure pattern, those items funded by the provincial and federal government are quite minor in terms of overall emergency preparedness.

Senator Day: As I understand the submission, I think it was Mr. Hill or Mr. Black who indicated that if the standards set by OCIPEP are to be met the ongoing training and maintenance of the equipment is going to be upwards of $1 million a year; is that correct?

Mr. Kloster: Senator Day, that is correct. That is only part of the puzzle. Mr. Hill mentioned that we have in fact submitted an application to both the premier and the Prime Minister. That was an application that covered a wide variety of needs. It represents a multi-year plan. It does, in fact, go a lot farther than just the example of the $1 million ongoing training that was mentioned earlier.

So the easier part, I guess, is the upfront capital. The very difficult part is the ongoing maintenance. I know the health jurisdictions are facing that same question around vaccines, initially purchasing the vaccines, but they have a shelf life and there is a tremendous expense in terms of making sure that shelf life is current.

Senator Day: The fact that when you made the purchase of the equipment you also purchased the training for that equipment and presumably some maintenance at the front end, at least to get it working well, I thought, was wise.

Do you get some direction with respect to that kind of purchasing process through OCIPEP, or is this something that you have come up with on your own, this approach, which I think is a very wise one?

Second, do you share that with other municipalities, and say, ``Look, this is a good idea''? We know of instances where equipment has been purchased with government grants, where the equipment is still sitting there because they cannot afford the training to use it. I was very pleased to hear what you said, and I am just wondering how it came about and how you are passing the word on to others.

Mr. Wolsey: During the process we determined that because the equipment would be distributed to seven different cities, without an appropriate training program the equipment would not be valuable to us. Hence, we did not feel that we could purchase any equipment if we did not have training accompanying it in the initial stage to ensure that we could then deploy the equipment.

One of the things that is important here is that not all of the equipment that you saw there is distributed to all seven municipalities. The larger portion of the equipment went to Calgary and Edmonton, with a smaller amount of equipment to those other jurisdictions. However, in each of those cases, training was included in the initial purchase.

Senator Day: Is the same kind of ongoing training and similar type of equipment purchased by Calgary and by Vancouver, to your knowledge?

Mr. Wolsey: I cannot speak for Vancouver, but I can speak for Calgary. When we decided on and purchased the equipment, we wanted some continuity within the province, because to work together, we would need similar training. There is identical deployment equipment in both Edmonton and Calgary. Calgary does not have the decontamination unit that we have had in service for a long time, but they do have all of the other equipment that we are purchasing now for the CBRN.

Senator Day: Our interest is the good practices that you have developed here as a good model and a leader in this area. We would like to be able to see that that gets disseminated throughout the rest of Canada. Are these practices being shared outside of Alberta, via OCIPEP, or do you have a dialogue with them on a regular basis?

Mr. Wolsey: I cannot say whether these things are being shared with other jurisdictions in Canada. I just know that this is the way we are doing it in Alberta.

Senator Day: Who would we talk to in order to find out whether the ``Alberta approach'' is being shared with OCIPEP?

Mr. Wolsey: OCIPEP are in communication with us. They know what we are doing. We have been very open with them about the process we have gone through, and Emergency Management Alberta. I have been communicating at every stage, even through the procurement stages of the equipment, with OCIPEP.

Senator Day: I think that answers my question. You are fully open with them; you have maintained a dialogue with them. Whether they choose to share that with others, we will have to find out from them.

Mr. Hill, I think you told us about your submission and the replies that you got back from both the federal and provincial governments. Is that deemed to be a private or a public document? I ask because I wonder if you could share that with us. Do you feel comfortable in sharing the submission and the reply?

Mr. Hill: Certainly. I am free to share the submission with you. In fact, I brought a copy in case you asked, and I would be happy to leave it with you. I have only one. I did not bring the replies, the letters that we got back, but certainly we have no reason not to share them. We would be happy to supply them later.

Senator Day: I was particularly interested in the response where OCIPEP indicated that they normally only respond to provincial requests for funding. I think that would be helpful to us.

Mr. Hill: Certainly. We would be happy to share that with you. It is an indication of the protocol we follow.

Senator Day: Yes.

Mr. Hill: In our particular partnership, just to give you an idea of how that works, we have a core team that meets on a monthly basis. We have invited Emergency Management Alberta to participate in those meetings, and as they are available they do participate. We also took the step of inviting OCIPEP to the table as well. The local OCIPEP representative, although I think wishing to be at the table, indicated to us that it would not be appropriate, that it would be appropriate that we deal with EMA.

Hence, even though we extended the invitation, and certainly it would be helpful to have OCIPEP at the table, we just were not able to do that.

Senator Day: Did National Defence say that they could deal with you directly?

Mr. Hill: National Defence do not sit as part of our core team on a monthly basis, but certainly twice a year we meet with the entire partnership. National Defence does send a representative as required. We see them at least a couple times a year.

Mr. Hill: Along with the RCMP.

The Chairman: This particular exchange is one of great interest to the committee. We understand that you have been working under protocols, if that is how we are going to describe them. We are interested in your views on how useful the current protocols are, or if there are ways that would provide better results or more effective results. We all understand how the Constitution works. Having said that, we can all think of a half a dozen ways when people find effective ways of communicating notwithstanding the Constitution.

Hence, we welcome any candid thoughts that you might have that would assist the committee in its deliberations on this subject.

Mr. Kloster: Mr. Chairman, I just wanted to add that while there are these rather thorny jurisdictional issues that we have to negotiate among, administratively we have had discussions with our provincial and federal counterparts. To date, the feedback we are getting to the application that you are going to be seeing has not been favourable; however, I am hopeful, perhaps maybe a bit too hopeful, that our counterparts both in the Alberta government and in Ottawa will understand the seriousness of our request and come forward to support us.

The Chairman: At the start of Senator Day's questioning, he jokingly wondered how we fit into coming and asking you these questions, and the answer is simple of course. We are here to see how OCIPEP is doing. We think you can tell us that better than anyone else can, which is why we are eager to hear your views. We can take those views back to Ottawa, where we will incorporate them in what we have to say about the matter ultimately.

Chief, if you have something you would like to add, we would like to hear it.

Mr. Wolsey: Shortly after September 11, 2001, we felt overwhelmed by the number of white-powder incidences within the city. We actually met with the Armed Forces here in Edmonton. We held some joint exercises. Our goal was to see what facilities and equipment they had, and for them to see what facilities and equipment we had, in the event of a future need, so that we could share those resources and work together. It was slightly against the protocols for us to work with the Armed Forces without going through OCIPEP.

We participated in some informal exercises, jointly held, here in Edmonton. They were valuable; we learned a lot. As well, from what the Armed Forces told us, they learned a lot. The experience was one of sharing.

Regardless of protocols, at the street level we really need to get the job done, and we are willing to do what it takes to get that job done.

The Chairman: I think we have the same point of view: We have the same taxpayer, the same master, and I think we are collectively trying to address the same problem as best we can. I appreciate your comments.

Senator Wiebe: I do not know exactly how to put my question because it revolves around much of what we have talked about today up until now, and especially Senator Day's exchange with Mr. Kloster, and that is the various levels of government and how we adequately address the concern that all of us have. I want to be a little more blunt with OCIPEP.

When our committee was first formed, OCIPEP was one of our witnesses, and we listened to them with a tremendous amount of interest. At the completion of their presentation, my impression at least was, ``Well, what a wonderful idea; what a wonderful concept; what a wonderful plan.'' My impression was that we have basically nothing to worry about in this country. However, after some pretty intensive questioning by members of the committee, we realized that that was just some idea somewhere. That is part of the reason we are out here talking to each and every one of you.

The notion of first responders is something that has evolved over years. At one time, in a small community, a fire department raised money to pay for its fire engine. When the community got a little bit larger, they asked the town to buy a fire engine. The result was that the town used tax dollars to make the purchase, so now the town wanted a say as to how the money was being spent. The city grows and now the provincial government comes along and says: ``As first responders, we want you to do a bit more. We will put in some money, but we want some say as to how that money is being spent.'' Now, because of a terrorist threat among other things, the federal government has created OCIPEP, which says: ``We want you to do more, but we want some say as to how that money is spent.''

The result is that you people are going through a tremendously frustrating process trying to access that money. What I am afraid of is that the standards that are going to be required for the protection of our citizens right across this country may be jeopardized because there is not a smooth and easier way for you people to get the kind of funding and the kind of guidelines that you require from all three levels of government because each one wants a piece of the action.

My question is this: Because you provide the service, what would be your ideal world?

I will address this to Mr. Kloster. What would you like to see this committee recommend to OCIPEP as to how they should address this situation?

Mr. Kloster: Senator Wiebe, that is a very deep question. In attempting to address it, I would say that the federal government has the proper approach relative to our great country and looking at this from end to end. The federal government has a responsibility to coordinate at a particular level. The provincial governments throughout Canada, again, also have a responsibility, and their responsibility lies within their boundaries. However, both orders of government need to come to the reality that you have come to, that is, that the people on the ground, those who are closest to the incidents, are on the frontline doing whatever is needed.

I think the piece of the puzzle that appears to be missing right now is — one of the senators referred to it as the hand-off from one order of government to the other around the resource piece that is desperately required by first responders to take those resources and put them into action.

From a policy perspective, I think the federal government can play a very significant role for all Canadians by setting some broad policy parameters around response and response capabilities. The federal government has a role to play in soliciting the kinds of ideas that you are hearing here in Edmonton, in terms analyzing a community and discovering its peculiarities. As you know, communities are very different. The next step would be to take those ideas, screen them somewhat, and then set in place plans that are relevant and relative to regions.

This question is being faced throughout Canada, where you have many jurisdictions trying to work together. The political bumping and buffering is sometimes very problematic. This is particularly true of the Halifax/Dartmouth area, the Toronto area and the Ottawa/Carleton area, where jurisdictions are beginning to think about this notion of larger regional operations.

We are moving forward, again, with this model of working with our neighbouring communities to try to develop the programs that we need at the local level.

Senator Wiebe: Do you have an organization nationally or provincially that you can share ideas with? One of the things that surprised me this morning at the fire hall were the two large units that were there. Each unit was designed by the people here in Edmonton as to what they want. If a group of firemen in Ottawa or Vancouver, or wherever, came up with a good idea, you adapted it. There did not seem to be any standardization as to equipment; it was a kind of seek-and-go.

Do you have any national organizations where you can share ideas or plans about what is needed in these areas?

Mr. Kloster: On the political front, Canadian municipalities have banded together and formed an association called the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. That is a Canada-wide local government thrust that interfaces between local government and the federal government. In the provinces, and Alberta is a good example, we have the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association, which represents the political interests of the urban municipalities in the province of Alberta. So from a political perspective there are those two particular organizations that help the interface.

At an administrative level, again there are a variety of mechanisms available. Canadian city managers have banded together in an association called the Canadian Association of Municipal Administrators. Internationally, there is the International City/County Managers Association. Both forums are designed to share ideas from an administrative perspective.

There is a variety of other mechanisms, as well. In fact, Edmonton is front and centre. Emergency medical services across Canada are currently forming a national body. In fact, Chief Rapanos is the chair of that national body. Chief Wolsey is heavily involved with his colleagues throughout Canada and internationally.

Therefore, at the local level, administratively we are trying to work together provincially and federally, in an effort to share some of those ideas. You will find that some of this local sharing does go on, because we realize that we are all in the same boat. It does not matter whether we are from Newfoundland or Saskatchewan or Alberta, we are all in the same boat trying to do the same things.

Senator Meighen: I wanted to follow on from something Senator Wiebe's questioning exposed.

You mentioned that we are all in the same boat. Edmonton, it seems to me, has come up with a unique and intriguing organizational framework to deal with these situations. You have got all the possible stakeholders and participants involved.

How would another jurisdiction — and I can think of a number where there are similar challenges — know about this? It seems to me — and I would like your comment on this — that OCIPEP has a role in coordinating, collating, disseminating, maybe even saying this: ``Let's try to agree on a basic template going forward. Let's agree that we have to do this regionally. Let's agree that we have to involve a variety of stakeholders. Can we agree on that and move along that line, so that we are not paddling away in the dark?''

Mr. Kloster: Senator Meighen, I certainly would not disagree with you at all. I think that is a very good role for OCIPEP to play.

Senator Meighen: Are they playing it, in your view?

Mr. Kloster: Well, in my view, I think that is part of their role. Are they playing it perhaps to the level that I would like to see them play? I think there is always room for improvement.

Senator Meighen: Very diplomatic, Mr. Kloster.

Senator Banks: Why can we not get a fire truck that works in Toronto and that will work here and in Vancouver?

Senator Meighen: Even in Canada.

Senator Banks: You have said, at the beginning of your presentation, that the situation here is unique. Calgary does not have a petrochemical concentration like this. Sarnia does. Edmonton does. Does a cookie-cutter approach ever work?

Mr. Kloster: Senator Banks, in my humble opinion, I think each community is unique, each geographic region is unique. Each area needs to come to grips with that very question; each region need to understand what will work best for their community, their assets, their responsibilities. The cookie-cutter approach, while on the surface appearing to be the easiest way to do this, I have to agree is not always the most successful.

Communities best work when they are given the resources and allowed to understand, define, and then put in place plans for the community to develop. That means every community may develop differently. The metropolitan Edmonton area has developed very differently than others, very differently than the metropolitan Calgary area in the same province. Is one better than the other? If you ask my city council, you may get a variety of answers. What I am suggesting to you is that we are trying to forge a model that we think will work in the metro Edmonton area.

The Chairman: I am just concerned about the pejorative sound of the cookie-cutter comment. Really, what we are talking about is this: Are there opportunities for economies to be achieved and for shared learning between municipalities, recognizing that each municipality has a unique characteristic to it. I think that is really the direction that we are interested in.

Mr. Kloster: Mr. Chairman, I think the answer to your question obviously is yes. When we talk about the internal fabric of the community, though, that is where the differences are. However, as to whether there are certain things we have in common, the answer is absolutely yes. That is why I said I believe the federal government has a policy responsibility to help us with the parameters around which we can operate. That is the best place to implement that — a Canadian perspective. So I do not disagree with it.

Senator Meighen: Let us just define what ``policy'' means. If I were OCIPEP, I would be trying harder than you would like to impose common standards. At the extreme, one would call that a cookie-cutter measure, which I do not agree with, personally. However, if I am doling out the money, which is what you are asking for, it is unlikely that I will say, ``Here is the money; do whatever you want with it.'' Let us live in the real world. We do not want a world of cookie cutters; nor, I suggest, do we want a world of ``Here is the money; do whatever you want.'' We have to find something in between.

My question is this: In your view, is it the role of OCIPEP, in cooperation with all of you across the country, to develop that? Is it OCIPEP's responsibility to put forward a suggestion and see if they can get agreement on a number of common items? If so, are they doing that?

Mr. Kloster: Perhaps the way to answer that would be to reflect upon this notion about standards and parameters, in which Canadians are entitled to a certain level of security and protection. It is those broad parameters that I am speaking of. I can give you an Alberta example that will really hit the nail on the head.

In Alberta, the question of ground ambulance service and advanced pre-hospital care for the citizens of Alberta has been the subject of much debate. Alberta municipalities are unified in their stance that Albertans should in fact be provided with basic ambulance service at the basic life-support level and that that basic life-support level should be funded by the provincial government.

If, for example, communities decide they want, for whatever reason, to go to a higher level — and in Edmonton's case we have; we have gone to the advanced life-support level — then the local tax base should pay that.

I am suggesting that federal guideline needs to be implemented around the minimum that all Canadians must expect, and it is around that minimum that I suggest the funding needs to come. The next important piece is the accountability piece. Give us the dollars, let us perform, and then we will justify and we will measure outcomes. I think that is fair.

When we stand here and say we need federal government support, we are not just asking with a blind handout. We are saying that we have a plan, we understand what we think the parameters are, we want to deliver and we are willing to measure our outputs.

Senator Meighen: Okay. Agree.

Whose responsibility is it, in your view, to get that in place across the country?

Mr. Kloster: Again, it is a federal government responsibility. OCIPEP seems to have a piece of the priority action; National Defence has a piece of the priority action.

We have a variety of different agencies that talk about Canadian security. You are going to be visiting tomorrow with another branch that deals with national security. Again, I am not familiar enough with the federal bureaucracy or structure to be able to provide you with a very knowledgeable answer about what areas should actually set these parameters and ensure that they are carried out.

Senator Meighen: Would you have any objection to OCIPEP doing it?

Mr. Kloster: Absolutely not. No, not at all.

Senator Meighen: In your world of emergency planning and whatnot, to what extent is the ordinary householders involved, educated, encouraged to provide for themselves in the event of an emergency?

Mr. Kloster: I will begin by offering a few remarks, and then perhaps some of the other first responders may be able to join me.

We have a number of programs in place around which we are helping our communities to understand how to deal with various levels of emergency, be it fire-related or health-related. We offer programs to our community around life- saving techniques, for example.

When it comes to the larger issues — and the tornado is a good example — we need to do an even better job of alerting our communities and our citizens to the potential of those kinds of events. Aside from that, it is important for us to do a good job of analyzing the risks locally, setting priorities and determining the likelihood of having to respond to those risks, and then investing in the preparedness piece, making sure that we actually can respond. In the end, quality of life is what is in the hearts and minds of Canadians, who want to be sure that their tax dollars are being invested in such a way that if something goes wrong the resources are in place to deal with it — the resources being first responders and the appropriate equipment.

Senator Meighen: I am intrigued by the reference that has been made a number of times today to the tornado. Am I dreaming, or was there not a tornado at a campground, a very serious one, about five years ago, or is five years really fifteen years?

Mr. Kloster: No, you are quite right. That was at Pine Lake, which is south of Edmonton. Edmonton was heavily involved in supporting the Alberta government and that community at the time.

Senator Meighen: So you had some sort of emergency response.

Mr. Kloster: Absolutely. We sent equipment and personnel to Pine Lake.

Senator Meighen: Is that the last time your plan has been tested by a real disaster, or has there been another one, and how often do you test the plan through an exercise?

Mr. Kloster: I will preface my remarks by saying that since September 11, 2001, the City of Edmonton has taken a look at our emergency preparedness, the result being the important realization that we have to ratchet up our capabilities. Therefore, we created the Office of Emergency Preparedness. In fact, Mr. Bob Black is its director. As you can see, the City of Edmonton is moving forward with a renewed interest around this whole question of emergency preparedness.

Having said that, we have responded over the last number of years to a variety of events that potentially could have been very serious events. Needless to say, we are very thankful that they did not materialize. Edmonton was plagued, as were other communities, with the white-powder scares. Those white-powder scares really did tax our resources.

We have not had any real emergency within the city of Edmonton. Outside of our boundaries, we have gone to the support of other communities, be it big fires or an event in the Red Deer area where there was in fact a spill. We have been able to deal with things within what I will call the normal day-to-day realm of activities for a very busy emergency response area.

Senator Meighen: Can you do an exercise? Are they done?

Mr. Kloster: Yes. In fact, we have a multi-year plan that will see us not only doing individual training of response personnel in the fields but table-top exercises. In fact, we have a major table-top exercise planned for the end of 2003. In 2004, we will do an actual field exercise, which will focus on CBRN-event capabilities.

The Chairman: I have not heard any mention of sour gas or sour-gas blowout. Is that something that you gentlemen would deal with, or would the private sector handle that?

Mr. Wolsey: We could address that, but that is generally dealt with by the private sector, where the oil companies deal with private-sector organizations.

Senator Smith: You mentioned the white-powder scares. When we were at the fire station this morning, we were told on our walk-through that there seemed to be a disproportionate number of white-powder scares here. Were they all bona fide errors in judgment, or was there any mischief? If there was mischief, did you go after the responsible people?

Mr. Kloster: I will give you my answer, and then I will ask Inspector Grue to provide you with his comments.

Clearly, when these events were happening, there were a number of them that were mistakes, things that I think people perhaps were a little overanxious about, given what was going on in the United States. However, we had some examples where clearly it would lead one to believe that it was not an error, that there may have been, I think as you call it, somebody up to mischief. I know the police service has been involved in some of those.

Mr. Grue: Senator Smith, we, too, were involved in dozens and dozens of these incidents, and I can say very confidently that many of them, if not most of them, were pranks, and we do pursue criminal charges when the evidence is available. Unfortunately, it is very difficult more often than not to get the evidence to lay a charge. However, most of these incidents were pranks.

Senator Smith: I hope you nail the perpetrators if it is possible to send out a message, because it is costly.

Mr. Kloster: Senator Smith, if I could just, again, give the media a bit of a pat on the back. We had several frank discussions with our local media about this when these events were going on, and the media cooperated, I think, to a large extent in downplaying these white-powder scares. No one wants to raise the visibility of these hoaxes. So, again, I think we tried to work very hard with the local media.

Senator Cordy: I should like to follow up on something that Senator Meighen asked regarding how involved the general public is in terms of what they should do in an emergency. In November, I heard a woman from France who was involved in emergency preparedness for France, and she spoke about an explosion that had taken place in the fall of 2001 — I think the city was Toulouse, but I am not positive. The explosion took place shortly after September 11, so many people in the community thought it was another terrorist attack; as a result, there was a lot of panic.

The explosion caused a lot of deaths; it caused communications to be closed down and highways to be closed down. The people who were slightly injured or who were with people who were injured attempted to take them to the hospitals, instead of waiting for emergency crews to come to them, with the result that the highways all became blocked and the emergency crews were unable to get to the injured people.

Do you educate the people of Edmonton as to what they should do if there is an emergency, whether it is a natural emergency, like a hurricane or explosion, or a man-made emergency? Do the people of Edmonton know what to do?

Mr. Kloster: Senator Cordy, if I could attempt to answer that. The answer is simply that our plans go right to the very heart of that question. Our plans talk about how will we manage an event, both in the immediate sense and in the larger sense. In putting together the teams that will try to plan for an event, the objective is to bring together as many of those components as you can, to deal with anticipated and unanticipated components to that particular event.

Clearly, there are never have enough resources. I was at the International City Managers conference, where people who are involved in security for Israel talked to about 4,000 city managers about what is happening in Israel. Daily life there is totally different than life here. People regularly expect to be stopped on the street, stopped and searched; it is a way of life. Here, we have to balance that with overreaction. We have to weigh the potential, the probability of something happening, versus putting in place steps, including education, when it may not be necessary. We have to keep a good balance.

Senator Cordy: How would communication be given to the people in case of an emergency? I am talking the general public, because we discussed earlier communication among the partners in emergency preparedness. How would the leaders communicate to the public as to what they should do?

Mr. Kloster: Again, I think depending on where you are in Canada — let's say Alberta — certain parts of the province have the ability to access the public broadcasting network. Hence, specific information can be targeted to those who have either television or radio transmission. Fallback positions would be utilizing police and fire vehicles with loudspeakers or PA systems to evacuate people.

There is a variety of mechanisms that we would use. The more remote you get, the more difficult it becomes to do that. However, I think the point has been made that communication is something that you can never have enough of.

Senator Cordy: Just for clarification purposes, who determines the role of the NGOs — I am thinking of, for example, the Salvation Army, the Red Cross, St. John Ambulance?

Mr. Hill: That is part of the partnership. Thus far, the partnership sees each organization coming to the table, recognizing that we all have a role in emergency preparedness. We are really there to support ourselves and those around us so that we have a coordinated approach.

The first thing we would do, should we receive sufficient funding to go forward with a partnership, is begin to work on specific protocols and roles. That is the first step in going to a real emergency plan. Right now, there is great benefit in the partnership in just coordinating and speaking and informally talking. However, we need a more formalized approach, where roles are clearly identified.

Mr. Kloster: Our regional group did an inventory of what was available in the region, from the municipal, provincial, and private sector, in terms of equipment, support, training. So from that perspective, we have a fairly good extensive view of what is available, whether it is in the hands of a private-sector company or a municipality in our Capital Region.

Senator Cordy: So you have an inventory of all the available resources within the community, or most?

Mr. Kloster: I would not say all, but certainly those that might be called upon in times of crisis.

Senator Cordy: Who would do the calling upon? Your department, Mr. Kloster, is that who would call on the various agencies?

Mr. Kloster: This is a very good question. In fairness, Mr. Hill and our partners in the CREPP have done a marvellous job, but it needs to be backstopped. To a certain extent, the City of Edmonton has had to do just that, to backstop, provide the resources, the support, to carry on this really important regional initiative. That is one of the pieces that we are looking to other orders of government to help us with.

Senator Cordy: Mr. Hill, you mentioned that it is important to have the support of the federal government. Are you speaking specifically about funding?

Mr. Hill: I was trying to be as specific as I could. That is indeed where we are, because the emergency practitioners, if you like, have looked at it, looked at resources, looked at where we need to go, put a long-term plan together. However, the plan will move forward very slowly without sufficient financial support to move it forward.

Senator Atkins: This question is directed to the chief. You have an event that takes place in Ottawa every year — I am not sure of the title of the organization. It involves international fire chiefs. In any event, I have been very impressed with that organization. For a number of years, members of fire departments from across the country have come to Ottawa. They often get in touch with their MP or senator. They bring with them a list of policy interests that they want presented to the federal government. It is my impression that this is a really solid organization. I think you underestimate the impact that you make when you go to Ottawa and you call on MPs and senators.

There is an opportunity for you, in trying to get the message through, to put together an agenda. I know it is organized under the international chair, but it seems to me there is a tremendous opportunity to get your message across, if it is possible to coordinate it through that organization.

Do you wish to comment?

Mr. Wolsey: Yes. I do wish to comment. Actually, the organization you are talking about is the International Association of Firefighters, which is the union. It is not the fire chiefs who make that presentation.

We, as fire chiefs, probably do not have resources available to go to Ottawa to provide for a lobby group, nor would we be encouraged to do so by our city councillors. The staff of the fire departments funds that; it is the staff who are supporting fire departments and fire chiefs across the country to lobby for the issues we think are important for our fire service. However, it is not the fire chiefs who actually do that; it is our union staff, and they fund it out of their own pockets.

Senator Atkins: Do you see a possibility of using that as a vehicle for some of the requirements that you have?

Mr. Wolsey: I would hate to admit that I actually support that and encourage the union to go lobby the government, but it probably does happen.

Senator Atkins: I just think maybe you can take that model and apply it. That is all I am saying. It is something you might think about.

My next question is about environment. Environment is, of course, a three-level responsibility, but in relation to what we are talking about here, it is really a provincial consideration. How does the provincial government's environment department fit with what you are planning and what you are doing?

Mr. Hill: Within CREPP, we do not have environment directly represented. Our provincial link is through Emergency Management Alberta. If I take off my CREPP hat, environmental issues tie into emergency planning very clearly; it is certainly a component. I will not speak for the City of Edmonton — they are certainly capable of speaking for themselves — but within CREPP, currently we do not have the linkage. Our linkage in the province is through Emergency Management Alberta.

Senator Atkins: Should it be greater?

Mr. Hill: I see the opportunity for it to be greater, because quite frankly emergency and disaster management crosses over these.

I will speak from my own company's perspective. We have an emergency planning steering committee within my own company. That steering committee is very active. It involves people from the environment, from security, from various businesses within the company that are on-the-ground people, and so that is what happens if you go down a level from here. Our company is not unique. This is probably what is going on in most companies in most municipalities.

Mr. Wolsey: I will comment from the City of Edmonton perspective. The driving force on developing our dangerous goods team was an environmental concern to deal with spills and those kinds of things, to mitigate environmental issues. That has been the driving force, the reason we began the process in the beginning.

Mr. Kloster: Senator Atkins, I will make a comment also. Matters of the environment are of keen importance to us. In fact, they plays such a high priority with us we created the Office of the Environment. To that end, Edmonton has won a number of awards for being good stewards of the environment. We want to continue down that path, specifically, of making sure that the way we deal with the environment is first and foremost on our minds.

Senator Banks: EPCOR, which is Mr. Hill's company, is an acronym for Edmonton Power Corporation. It has one shareholder, which is the City of Edmonton. It is a publicly owned utility.

Senator Atkins: I note that there are fire departments that engage in international exchanges — and I am talking about the fire chief here. Are there any exchanges within the province, and/or across Canada?

Mr. Wolsey: We do participate in international exchanges. In fact, we are currently in discussions with local departments within Alberta about participating in some exchanges. Our goal would be to do some exchanges with local — gain some expertise from those people on their issues, provide some back to them, and hopefully we can do that inter-provincially as well.

We have come to realize that if we can exchange internationally, why not locally. There are some labour/ management issues that need to be worked through, but it is a project that we are working on right now.

Senator Atkins: Chief Wolsey, you talk about each municipality, the uniqueness of designing and ordering equipment that applies to your own circumstances. Does that mean that the training is different?

Mr. Wolsey: Basic training is the same. In fact, across North America, there is some basic standard training. However, there is uniqueness to the various areas. For example, we do not have much call for shipboard firefighting in the Edmonton area, whereas on both coasts that becomes a fairly big issue for them and a big challenge.

There is some uniqueness to the community, but the basic firefighting and what we use in Edmonton is NFPA standards, which is a standard that is accepted across North America by most fire departments, and then on the offshoots of that to do the specialized training.

Senator Atkins: When you say ``across North America,'' that means that if there are any advantages you can take from the experiences in the United States you are more than delighted to adapt them or apply them?

Mr. Wolsey: Absolutely. And we talked about communications being an important factor. With the progress of the Internet and our opportunity to access through the Internet some of the experiences of other departments, we are moving at, I guess, lightning speed right now in developing fire services.

There was a time, when I first joined the fire service, when we seemed to be plodding along. We have progressed more in the last five years than in the previous 20. So we are moving quickly, just like the rest of society, in developing our fire service.

Senator Atkins: Is there any really significant procedure that came out of the experience from the fire departments in New York that would be useful or helpful to your own applications here?

Mr. Wolsey: Absolutely. The New York experience came at a dreadful cost. We probably, in the similar circumstances, would have responded exactly the same as New York responded, and we would have had devastating losses just like New York City. We have all learned from that. We have learned to step back and take a hard look at our situation before we jump in. Firefighters traditionally have been the people who run headlong into the situation to resolve it and to be the heroes, and now we are looking at how we can better utilize our resources in order not to put our people at risk.

We are taking more interest in how we command the situation rather than just reacting in a knee-jerk fashion to an incident, without gathering the information that is necessary, and then being able to communicate that correctly to our crews.

In New York, and we talk about communications again, firefighters were still entering the towers after the first tower had collapsed. Police officers were exiting those towers because they had been given the information from the helicopters, but that information was never transferred to the fire service.

As a result, we understand the importance of the link in communication between the various agencies, to gather the information necessary in order to make good decisions.

Senator Atkins: It gets back to communication.

Mr. Wolsey: It certainly does. Edmonton does operate a police helicopter. Although they are expensive to fund, they can provide a valuable resource for us on the ground by transmitting information not only verbally but by images, so that we can actually see the big picture as we manage an incident. Those are the kinds of things that we are working toward developing with the police force here in Edmonton.

Senator Forrestall: I do not know quite how it is handled, but you have pipelines running through the province. There could be an enormous increase in the amount of volatile product moving through your province.

Until today, had anybody had asked me, I would have told them I am sure it is the commercial companies involved, first the pipeline companies, the transportation companies themselves, and then the oil companies, that they would be the ones to move. I assume that is true, is it?

Mr. Wolsey: Senator Forrestall, that is true. For the most part, those companies will be involved in the mitigation of that. Fire departments across the provinces, though, may be requested to respond to those incidents on a first- responder basis. The role we play as firefighters is not necessarily to deal with the incident but to ensure the safety of the public while the incident is being handled by the private enterprise. In most cases, most fire services do not have the capability or the training to handle those kinds of incidences. There are specialty agencies to do that work.

Mr. Kloster: If I could just add to that comment. Part of the issue with the private sector and the transportation of goods and services is that they move them over public lands. In the case of Alberta, and Edmonton in particular, a new pipeline has just been opened up — it is a direct link to Chicago, providing major resources to the United States. That pipeline flows through our community. Those issues, the passage of these goods through public lands, create a tremendous potential risk for us, whether they be emergency medical, police or fire rescue.

Senator Forrestall: Will that continue? Do companies, apart from relying on the resources of in municipalities such as Edmonton, have their own equipment? Do they have their own capacities — not just shut down a pipeline between two points and fix the break in between? There must be something more involved.

What I am wondering is how you will cope with it. I come from Nova Scotia, and in 37 years when we overtake Alberta as the great producer of oil and natural gas, when we replace you as the largest petrochemical centre in North America, outside of Iraq, I am not sure that we have plans in place to deal with it.

However, since you have been thinking about it for 30, 40, 50 years now, half a century, how do you cope with it? Hasexperience proved that the commercial companies involved, pipelines and producers, owners and potential buyers, alone are capable of handling this complex movement?

Mr. Wolsey: Most large petrochemical companies are good corporate citizens and take responsibility for their infrastructure. Either they have emergency crews on standby or their own crews on call, or they have contact with commercial vendors who can deliver that service for them.

In Kuwait a number of years ago, Canada's supplier responders were some of the people who put out the majority of those oil well fires. They came out of Red Deer. So there are facilities here within Alberta.

It is just like any other need in our capital area. When there is a need, and where there is available funding for that in the capital area, people rise to the occasion to deliver that service. That is what has happened here in Alberta. So as Nova Scotia moves on in their development, there will be people who rise up and say, ``We can help you.''

Senator Meighen: In 1993, I gather that the Edmonton fire department and emergency medical services were combined into one department. Can somebody confirm for me that that was a wise decision, that it has been helpful, or not. Also, can you tell me whether it exists elsewhere, this practice?

Mr. Kloster: I think your question is a good one for Edmonton. When the City of Edmonton amalgamated two front-line service delivery units back in the early 1990s, we did not do it the best way that we could have, and we have laboured with problems at the field level for about 10 years.

I can sit before you today and tell you that the City of Edmonton's model for the emergency response department is a model that is working. It is a model that has taken some time to put in place. It has taken some time to understand the good things that both a fire rescue service and an emergency medical service can share and what they cannot share.

So we have gone through 10 years of learning, and I think we are well on the road to putting in place a model that will work very well for us here. It is working now. It was not working two years ago.

Senator Meighen: Do you happen to know whether other jurisdictions have gone down the same path?

Mr. Kloster: There are a variety of models and a variety of locations throughout North America and Canada where you have models like ours, a partial integrated model; in other words, we have two front-line delivery service units providing unique service. We share certain things that we have in common. A good example would be dispatch services. That is the partial model that we have here; it works well.

There are fully integrated models, where you have fire rescue and EMS both within the same department, using similar kinds of equipment. There are also models where there are totally separate units.

There are others grappling with this same question that Edmonton was, most notably Calgary and Ottawa. There are a variety of communities trying to understand where we can leverage service delivery, where we can achieve economies of scale and provide the taxpayer with a good return. We have not always done it right, though.

The Chairman: Superintendent Grue, I notice that nowhere on the chart is CSIS mentioned. Are they part of the process you have here? Are you getting intelligence briefings from them, and are they part of your emergency preparedness planning and program?

Mr. Grue: We do participate in the briefing process through the RCMP, the commissioner's office. Once every two weeks we are debriefed as to security issues, intelligence issues. As far as the CSIS being part of this CREPP initiative, no, they are not.

The Chairman: Is this a deficiency, from your perspective?

Mr. Grue: At the present time, we are developing a liaison between the police service and Bob Black's office with respect to intelligence issues. We have not noted any problems with the protocol that we have set up at the present time — not to say that in the future we may have to adjust that. However, at the present time, I would have to say it is working, that it is not a problem for us.

Senator Banks: If it is working, that means that you believe that CSIS is fully informing the RCMP, because you say that you get your information from the RCMP; do you believe that?

Mr. Grue: We would have no way of knowing. We are confident that the RCMP is passing along to us all the information that applies to our situation here.

Mr. Wolsey: Mr. Chairman, I have one more comment to make in regards to training. It is a real concern that I have.

It appears that any training that the federal government wishes us to partake in will be given to us in Ottawa. While it is wonderful that if they are going to give us training it will happen in Ottawa, and everyone wants to go to Ottawa from time to time, the challenge we have is that we have limited resources within our own communities. When we send our people to Ottawa for training, it means overtime on both sides — the person going to Ottawa plus the replacement — and it becomes a real impediment to us receiving the training.

It would be much better if training were delivered locally; it would be much better if we moved the trainers rather than the students. There would be huge savings for the federal government if that were done.

The Chairman: Mr. Kloster, on behalf of the committee, I should like to thank you and your colleagues very much. It has been a very instructive afternoon. We came here to learn. We have learned a great deal.

I should like to ask if we can have our research staff get in touch with you afterwards. Usually we think of our best questions about 10 minutes after you have left the room. If we could follow up in writing, that would be very helpful to us, if we have further questions.

In the meanwhile, on behalf of the committee, let me say that I was very impressed with the presentation. There appears to be a very cohesive approach here. As I mentioned at the outset, the advance briefing material was very helpful to us, and we are very grateful to you for assisting us in the course of our work.

We look forward to meeting with you again in the not-too-distant future.

The committee adjourned.