Proceedings of the Standing Senate Committee on
National Security and Defence

Issue 14 - Evidence - Afternoon meeting

OTTAWA, Monday, April 7, 2003

The Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence met this day at 2:05 p.m. to examine and report on the need for a national security policy for Canada.

Senator Colin Kenny (Chairman) in the Chair.


The Chairman: It is my pleasure to welcome you to the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence. Today, the committee will hear testimony on coastal defence and security.

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

On my immediate right is a distinguished senator from Nova Scotia, Senator Michael Forrestall. He has served the constituents of Dartmouth for the past 37 years, first as their member of the House of Commons and then as the their senator. Throughout his parliamentary career, he has followed defence matters and served on various defence-related parliamentary committees, including the 1993 Special Joint Committee on the Future of the Canadian Forces.

On my far left is Senator Joseph Day. A successful lawyer and businessman, Senator Day was appointed to the Senate in 2001. He is the deputy chair of both our Subcommittee on Veterans Affairs and the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance. He also sits on the Standing Senate Committee on Transport and Communications and the Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry. He has currently been elected as director of the Canadian Branch of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly.

Senator Tommy Banks, from Alberta, is well known to Canadians as one of our most accomplished and versatile musicians and entertainers. He was appointed to the Senate in 2000. Senator Banks is the chair of the Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources, which is currently studying nuclear safety and control.

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 reports, beginning with ``Canadian security and military preparedness.'' This study, which was tabled in February 2002, examined the major defence and security issues facing Canada.

Then the Senate asked the committee to examine the need for a national security policy. Thus far, we have released three reports on various aspects of national security: ``Defence of North America: A Canadian Responsibility,'' which was published in September2002; ``For an Extra $130 Bucks....Update on Canada's Military Financial Crisis: A View from the Bottom Up,'' which was published in November2002; and most recently, ``The Myth of Security at Canada's Airports,'' which was published in January 2003.

The committee is continuing its long-term evaluation of Canada's ability to contribute to North American security and defence. As part of this work, the committee has been holding hearings on the federal government's support for men and women across the country who respond first to an emergency or disaster. However, the committee has decided to give priority to an ongoing evaluation of Canada's ability to defend its territorial waters and help police the continental coastline. These hearings update an earlier committee report, ``Defence of North America,'' published in September2002, which found Canadian coastal defence efforts to be largely ad hoc and fragmentary.

This morning, we heard from officials from the Transport Canada and from National Defence. This afternoon, our first witnesses will be Superintendent Ken Hansen, the Director of Federal Enforcement, Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Superintendent Hansen is accompanied by Corporal Denis Caron, a reviewer/analyst with the RCMP drug section. We will also be hearing from Mr. Charles Gadula, the Director General of Marine Programs, Department of Fisheries and Ocean, who is accompanied by Mr.Tim Meisner, the Director of Policy and Legislation for Marine Programs.

Welcome to the committee. Could you please qualify yourselves for the committee, and then we look forward to hearing from you.

Mr. Ken Hansen, Director of Federal Enforcement, Royal Canadian Mounted Police: I am responsible for a wide variety of national programs, including, as of September 2001, the RCMP's marine security program. I am also the director of the national ports project. I have been the RCMP representative on the Interdepartmental Marine Security Working Group since its inception.

Mr. Denis Caron, National Support Arrangements Coordinator, Coast and Airport Watch National Coordinator, Organized Crime Branch, Royal Canadian Mounted Police: I am with the support arrangements unit within the organized crime group at headquarters in Ottawa. My role is to coordinate all military assistance to drug and other criminal operations. I am also responsible for the national coastal watch program.

Mr. Charles Gadula, Director General, Fleet Directorate, Marine Services, Canadian Coast Guard, Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada: I am currently the Director General, Marine Program, Canadian Coast Guard. I am responsible for all Canadian Coast Guard marine programs. Until February of this year, I was the Director General, Coast Guard fleet, responsible for all vessel operations.

Mr. Tim Meisner, Director, Policy and Legislation, Marine Programs Directorate, Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada: I am the director ofpolicy and legislation for the Coast Guard's marine programs. In that capacity, I am responsible for the marine security file. I also sit on the Interdepartmental Marine Security Working Group.

The Chairman: We understand there are two opening statements. Who would like to proceed first?

Mr. Hansen: I will spend a few minutes summarizing the RCMP's responsibilities concerning marine security. Our mandate includes enforcement of federal statutes in such areas such as customs other than at ports of entry, illegal immigration, drugs, counterfeit goods and national security.

Applicable acts include the Customs Act, between ports of entry, the Criminal Code, where the RCMP is the police force of jurisdiction, the Controlled Substances Act, the CopyrightAct, the Security Offences Act, and so on. This includes conducting armed shipboarding for reasons under the RCMP mandate.

The ports police disbanded in 1997. Until 2002, the RCMP had no on-site presence at major ports. The RCMP was not the police force of jurisdiction at the major ports in Canada. The police force of jurisdiction is responsible for the Criminal Code as well as provincial statute investigations.

Transport Canada and Port Authorities are responsible for physical security and security clearances of employees at ports. The RCMP and CSIS will conduct criminal records checks on behalf of Transport Canada.

Of course, the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency is the front-line department forinterdicting contraband and security threats at ports of entry. CCRA will target and examine high-risk vessels and advise the Solicitor General of any vessels that pose a threat to national security.

Although there are many who would consider the national security risk for ports to be low, organized crime has a significant presence in all ports. Both terrorists and organized criminals use similar methods.

There is a three-tiered approach for marine security. This approach includes control programs overseas, including interdiction, to prevent a recurrence of incidents such as occurred in British Columbia about three years ago involving four ships with illegal migrants; intercepting, boarding and inspecting a ship, its cargo and crew as it enters Canada's contiguous zone; and investigating and prosecuting those engaged in security or criminal offences that fall under the RCMP mandate.

With regard to our jurisdiction legally, the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea provides general principles and reflects customary international law. Although Canada is not yet a signatory to this convention, our best legal advice is that these are general principles that would generally reflect customary international law in terms of taking enforcement action.

Zones include the territorial sea, which goes out to 12 miles, and to which all Canadian laws apply, the contiguous zone, which is 12 to 24 miles, in which Canada can prevent infringement ofcustoms, fiscal, immigration or sanitary laws, as well as the 200-mile exclusive economic zone, EEZ, in which Canada can generally only intercept and board vessels with permission of the flag state, or if there is a national security concern, or if the police are in fresh pursuit.

There are several MOUs in place: with DND concerning armed shipboarding, with CSE concerning illegal migrants, and with the Coast Guard concerning use of their vessels as platforms. A draft national policy framework for shipboarding at sea for reasons of national security is currently under review at the Solicitor General.

The events of September 11 forced all government departments to review security, including marine security. Recognizing that there is a significant organized crime presence in the ports, in 2002 the RCMP began the national ports project to implement intelligence-led integrated teams at the ports of Vancouver, Montreal and Halifax, funded partially through temporary secondments and program integrity funds. This involved the creation of local management teams at the three major ports, involving key players such as CCRA and the police force of jurisdiction. Their mandate includes national security, organized crime and other criminality. The teams are currently in place. Each team also has an intelligence component to it. Additional intelligence is also supplied from our Integrated Border Enforcement Teams, IBETs, our Integrated National Security Enforcement Teams, INSETs, in Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa, and other government departments such as CSIS.

Our criminal intelligence directorate has also begun a strategic intelligence report on the ports, and this is available on our national crime database.

The RCMP headquarters has also restructured to reflect our concern about border integrity. Customs and excise, our immigration passport branch, the IBETs, and federal enforcement, which is my branch, are all now under the umbrella of border integrity. The purpose of this was to help break down some of the stovepipes within the RCMP and to ensure there was a sharing of information.

The RCMP also joined the Interdepartmental Marine Security Working Group, led by Transport Canada, at its inception. The mandate of this group is to identify gaps in marine security and to recommend ways of addressing these gaps.

The RCMP received $750,000 from the marine security working group contingency fund in 2001-02. We used these funds to purchase additional equipment and to increase our capability to conduct armed shipboardings.

As I am sure the committee has heard, the working group resulted in a memorandum to cabinet. Cabinet approved it in 2002, a total of $172.5 million over five years being dedicated to marine security. The RCMP will receive $11.5 million of this, over five years, for three full-time equivalents, FTEs, to conduct criminal records checks, which I believe to be adequate, more training on armed shipboarding, which is also adequate; as well, there will be eight FTEs investigators for the national ports project, which we do not feel are sufficient.

Each major port is also currently preparing a business case for additional resources. These resources may have to be reallocated from other programs.

The RCMP has five commissioner-class vessels that are approximately 17 to 19 metres in length and have open- water capability. Basically, these vessels are floating detachments. As well, the RCMP has over 300 smaller vessels over 9.2 metres in length. Four of these larger vessels are on the West Coast and one is based in Newfoundland. A sixth vessel has also been ordered for the Atlantic region, and it is expected to be built within the next year.

In British Columbia, which is E division, there is a marine detachment based out of Nanaimo, which has a satellite detachment in Prince Rupert.

Any terrorist incident would result in the immediate activation of our national operations centre, as well as our divisional emergency operations centres. For example, within 30 minutes of the attacks of September 11, this operations centre was fully activated. Within 24 to48 hours, the RCMP had redeployed 2,000 police officers to security duties.

The challenges we continue to face include the following: a lack of capability to conduct armed shipboarding in the St. Lawrence Seaway, although the new funds will give us the capability on either coast; gaps in smaller ports in terms of resources, particularly where we are not the police force of jurisdiction; and obtaining sufficient resources for investigators and crew for the new landing patrol vessel. Our final gap is improving communication and sharing of intelligence in marine security.

The Chairman: Thank you. We will now proceed with the representative of the Coast Guard.

Mr. Gadula: Mr. Chairman, briefly, I would like to cover the mandate of the Canadian Coast Guard, its legislative responsibilities, who we are, what the Coast Guard does and does not do and our role in security.

Our mandate as an essential component of Canada's sovereignty is a national institutionproviding service in maritime safety, protection of the marine and freshwater environment, facilitating maritime commerce, support of marine scientific excellence, support of Canada's maritime priorities — basically, the red and white hulls and helicopters of the Canadian Coast Guard being a visible sign of Canadian sovereignty.

Our legislative mandate is covered in four principal acts. The Constitution Act provides federal power to legislate in relation to beacons, buoys, lighthouses on Sable Island and generally with respect to navigation in shipping. Under the Oceans Act, the Minister of Fisheries and Ocean is assigned powers, duties and functions for all Coast Guard services and stipulates that certainservices are provided to support the safe, economical and efficient movement of ships. There is ministerial authority to perform icebreaking and ice management services and to provide ships, aircraft and other marine services in support of other government departments.

The Canada Shipping Actprovides the legislative and regulatory framework for most Coast Guard services. Examples would include search and rescue, SAR, the receiver of wreck, lighthouses, buoys, beacons, Sable Island, vessel traffic services and pollution prevention and response. The Navigable Waters Protection Act provides the federal power to approve works or remove obstructions to navigation. It triggers the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and ensures that obstructions to navigation are charted.

When we speak about what we do, during the last appearance of the Coast Guard before this committee, Mr. Meisner provided some details on the various Coast Guard programs. Briefly, I will hit on the key areas. They include search and rescue, boating safety, icebreaking and route assistance, communications and traffic services, aids to navigation, environmental protection and response, navigable waters protection, shipping channel safety, support to conservation and protection in science, and support to government programs and other government departments.

When we refer to ourselves as a national institution, we are talking about 4,500 employees and 5,000 auxiliary members in the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary. We have five regions and a national headquarters. There are more than 260 light stations, approximately 18,000 fixed and floating aids to navigation, 104base fleet vessels, including three hovercraft— two on the East Coast and one on the West Coast. We have 27 helicopters and two fixed-wing aircraft.

At this time, I should like to correct some information that was sent to the committee subsequent to our last hearing. That document indicated that we had 28 helicopters. In fact, we have 27. We lost a 212 in Newfoundland a year and a half ago. We have only four 212s rather than five.

Our presence is in all parts of the country. We have approximately 1,000 people on the Pacific Coast, 550 in Central and Arctic Canada, 780 in the Quebec region, 860 in Newfoundland and about 960 in the Maritime region. Headquarters is composed of some 340 people.

I will now turn to what the Coast Guard does not do. Our Coast Guard is not a paramilitary organization; Canadian Coast Guard personnel are not armed. Coast Guard personnel have neither peace officer powers nor enforcement authority, except with respect to the Navigable Waters Protection Act.

The Coast Guard has no authority to stop or board vessels caught in the performance of illegal acts at sea, except for the authority granted to pollution prevention officers by Transport Canada. The Coast Guard does not have a mandate for surveillance of the Canadian exclusive economic zone.

Our marine security role can be described as one of support. Canadian Coast Guard provides support to marine security. It is an organization that is well positioned to provide a cost-effective, value-added contribution to marine security. Canadian Coast Guard has the infrastructure, assets and personnel and a 24/7 capability to incorporate marine security applications into some of our existing programs.

We also have an operational readiness culture that can link search and rescue, oil spill response and navigation safety capabilities directly into marine security demands for surveillance and information.

The Coast Guard is an efficient collector and collator of maritime traffic information. Post-9/11, the Coast Guard increased its legal of support to other government departments and agencies to help enhance marine security.

Let me briefly speak to the four categories of marine security activities related to coastal defence used to classify initiatives within the Interdepartmental Marine Security Working Group. The four categories are as following: domain awareness, which goes to surveillance and awareness, responsiveness, which is the ability to intercept and apprehend, safeguarding, which is to deny access into Canada and to the marine transportation system, and collaboration, which is the coordination of activities and information sharing.

When we look at domain awareness, marine communications and traffic services centres area key information source for the development of maritime intelligence by the entire security community. Information-gathering and vessel-tracking ability will increase with the implementation of the AIS shore infrastructure and a long-range vessel identification capability.

Minister Collenette announced funding for this surveillance project in January of this year. Coast Guard vessels have an observe, record and report role for submitting vessel contacts to Canadian Forces and to the RCMP Coastal Watch Program. On request, Canadian Coast Guard vessels and aircraft can provide positive identification of a vessel of interest and track the vessel's progress.

We can provide helicopter support to the enforcement community to provide surveillance capability and to move personnel around. Operational funding would be required to institute a formal fleet marine security patrol program.

Under the responsiveness category, the Canadian Coast Guard provides marine platforms and crews to the RCMP, CCRA, CIC and Transport Canada for routine vessel interceptions and boarding. The Coast Guard can provide crew to operate seized vessels to ensure safe transit of that vessel into a Canadian port. The Coast Guard will provide backup vessels to Canadian Forces or the RCMP for armed interception at sea, providing search and rescue capability and transit for crew and passengers.

It is important to note that the Coast Guard is not funded for these roles and responds on an ``as requested'' basis, giving this the priority it requires.

With respect to safeguarding, denying access into Canada and the marine transportation system, the marine communications receives pre-arrival reports 96 hours and 24 hours prior to vessel entry into Canadian waters. We will notify the appropriate agency of vessels and ships on the particular interest list that is requesting clearance. The Coast Guard fleet provides deterrence to terrorist and criminal acts through a clearly identifiable federal presence and the visible symbol of Canadian sovereignty within the Canadian EEZ, shared waterways within the U.S. and in the Arctic.

Collaboration is a key area to which we can contribute. Collaboration involves the coordination of activities and information sharing. The Coast Guard is strongly supportive of the interdepartmental approach to marine security, as it has evolved within the Interdepartmental Marine Security Working Group. Maritime traffic data uploads to intelligence agencies willsignificantly increase with the implementation of AIS and long-range vessel identification and tracking projects. The Coast Guard supports the Interdepartmental Marine Security Working Group initiatives to improve the flow of marine security information and intelligence among federal departments and agencies.

Our goal is a coordinated, fully interoperable surveillance detection and response system that meets Canada's needs.

That concludes the Coast Guard presentation, and we would be pleased to answer any questions.

Senator Day: Could you explain the RCMP Coastal Watch Program, Mr. Hansen? How does that tie in with the non-full-time Coast Guard?

Mr. Hansen: The two programs are totally separate. The Coastal Watch Program was designed in 1987. It was created to help use the public and other government departments out on the water as the eyes and ears of the police to assist in drug interdictions. The program consists of training other government departments on the water, such as the Coast Guard, fishermen, pleasure boaters and so forth, on things to watch that may be suspicious. For example, one should watch for vessels travelling without lights and small vessels coming out from shore and offloading onto a larger vessel. The program tells them what to do when activities such as those are observed. There is a 1-800 number available 24 hours a day.

The program is national in scope. Since September 11, the program has expanded the training to include offences other than drugs. Obviously, suspect vessels could be bringing illegal migrants or other things besides drugs. Although it remains under the drug program in terms of administration, its mandate has expanded beyond that.

Senator Day: What about the reserve Coast Guard?

Mr. Gadula: Under the international SAR organization, coast watching is a key element. Anyone living near the coast would keep an eye out and feed information into the search and rescue system. When we first had the coast watching system amongst the auxiliary or stations on the coast, it was more eyes on the world that could make the SAR system aware of an incident directly related to search and rescue response.

Mr. Hansen: The programs were different. Theirs would involve, perhaps, someone in distress; ours would involve suspicious activity.

Senator Day: You have two programs. You are interested in knowing what is happening in areas where you do not have a regular presence. Would it not make sense to combine these efforts and have the same 1-800 number for the two things?

Mr. Hansen: If we received information about a vessel in distress, certainly we could; we would obviously pass that on to the Coast Guard. There is a line of communication.

Senator Day: Has it never occurred to you to combine these two programs, so you have all these people out there performing the two intelligence functions for you?

Mr. Hansen: The mandates of our departments are different, in terms of what we would be looking for. For example, the Coast Guard is not looking for vessels without lights, et cetera; it is looking for vessels in distress. I know what you are getting at here.

I will let Mr. Caron expound upon that.

Mr. Caron: They are included in our mandate. The Coast Guard joins us in routine patrols, and our members are allowed on-board those ships — or at least they were. The awareness program is extended to include all aspects now — boat security, drug importing, immigrant smuggling. They do include the Coast Guard in their day-to-day routine patrols, on the awareness side.

Senator Day: We have made the point on that anyway. We will look forward to hearing any announcements from you in due course as to how these two programs can be better integrated to better use your resources.

Superintendent Hansen, I know my colleagues are interested in this point. When you were talking about the national security risk for ports, you referred to those who think national security risk for ports is low. Who is it that is telling you that national security risks at ports are low?

Mr. Hansen: I have seen articles in the press, quoting politicians and so on, that have said that. Historically, there has never been an incident in port; nor has there ever been a direct threat against a port. I can understand why someone may take that stance, but I would not want that to be taken out of context. Certainly, there is a potential there. I think we have to take any means we can to address it. I would not want someone to assume that the position is that there is no risk in the ports.

Senator Day: You go on in your comment to suggest some activities, criminal activities and otherwise, which would suggest to me that you think that security issues can be significant at ports.

Mr. Hansen: Certainly. The methods used by organized criminals are the same methods, essentially, used by terrorists. For example, regarding the hijackings on September11, passengers on three of the four aircraft likely assumed that the hijacking took place for criminal reasons rather than political ones, which is why they did not attempt to stop the hijacking. In the fourth aircraft, they knew it was political; they knew the aircraft would be used as a weapon, so they took action.

The same thing applies with the ports: You do not know what is in a container; it could be drugs, illegal migrants or weapons of mass destruction. Therefore, the same type of methods would apply. Also, if there is an organized crime presence in the ports, there is more possibility of corruption.

Senator Day: You do say that there is extensive organized crime in the ports; correct?

Mr. Hansen: Yes.

The Chairman: If I could touch on that, your comment is of considerable concern to us, superintendent. It is a concern because, on its face, it runs contrary to the testimony we have received from your colleagues in Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver and Halifax, where they have gone out of their way to draw to our attention that where organized crime exists there is fertile ground for terrorism. They made the connection for us. It is not politicians making this connection; it is members of the RCMP testifying before this committee that have made it. We want to make sure we have a good understanding of the most current position of the force. If it is changing, then we would like you to tell us that it is changing. If it remains that, where there is organized crime, you have real concerns about terrorism, we would like to hear that as well.

Your written information that came in advance has left us puzzled because it appears to be at variance with what your colleagues have told us previously. If things have changed, we would like to know.

Mr. Hansen: No, I think you are absolutely correct. As I said earlier, any organized crime presence in a port will increase the potential for terrorist attack, because there is the possibility of corruption. Again, you do not have control over what is in the containers, where the port workers are, where the containers are put, and so on. I am saying, essentially, exactly what you are saying; that is, that if there is an organized crime presence in the port this is dangerous from a national security perspective also.

When I say the risk is low I am saying that, historically, the risk has been low at the ports. There has never been a direct threat or an incident. That is all I meant by that remark.

The Chairman: The testimony we have received from your colleagues has gone further than that. They have listed numerous groups.

I believe in Vancouver — Senator Day, correct me if I am wrong — we heard that there were seven different organized crime families. At Toronto airport, Inspector Landry listed four or five different organized crime groups he knew were active. We have not been to a port yet where a member of the RCMP has not come and listed off the names of the groups. In Montreal, they talked about the West End Gang and various motorcycle clubs.

It is not ``if'' there is crime in these ports; the testimony we have had from your organization, sir, is that there is extensive organized crime and there are multiple groups. Is that still the case?

Mr. Hansen: That is exactly what I am saying, sir. It may not have been clear, but that is what I am saying. There is organized crime in the ports and I think that is very clear.

The Chairman: Do you also believe that organized crime is fruitful ground for terrorist activities?

Mr. Hansen: That is correct. All I was saying is that there has not been a direct threat against a port, nor has there been a terrorist attack, which is why some people may consider the risk to be low.

The Chairman: How do you consider the risk?

Mr. Hansen: Of a terrorist attack on a port?

The Chairman: Yes.

Mr. Hansen: I think the possibility is there. It is certainly not non-existent. I would not call it a high risk, but I would be careful, because of the organized crime involvement, in particular. As I said, the potential is certainly there.

The Chairman: Given the number of containers that come into Canadian ports daily, can you suggest a place that would be a higher risk than a Canadian port?

Mr. Hansen: A Canadian airport, perhaps.

The Chairman: Canadian airports and Canadian ports would be.

Mr. Hansen: Those are definitely high-risk locations. There are over 2.5million containers coming through the main ports every year.

The Chairman: I am not trying to lead you, through my questioning. The reason we are concerned is that we have the impression that what you are saying is at variance with what we have heard before. We have heard that the ports are the most troublesome and worrisome piece of the puzzle. Do you support that?

Mr. Hansen: I would support it to the extent that the most vulnerable area of Canada for a terrorist attack would probably be a port.

Senator Day: Thank you for that clarification. We thought it was important to clarify the record. I think it is clear now.

My next series of questions will be with respect to the Coast Guard again. Mr.Gadula, the Canadian Coast Guard has gone through various evolutions, if I may put it that way, over the past 10 years. Just so we have this in perspective, can you tell me how the number of ships — the number of assets that the Coast Guard has now — compares with 10 years ago?

Mr. Gadula: Ten years ago, we had approximately 190 vessels. I am going here by studies that were done by Mr. Osbaldeston for his report, ``All the Ships That Sail: A Study of Canada's Fleets.'' Around 1992, the total number was around 190. Some people say 198; it depends where you cut it off. Currently, we have 104operational vessels within the Canadian Coast Guard, which is the civilian fleet for the Government of Canada.

Senator Day: Was 190 the most in recent years, in modern history, that the Coast Guard had? I picked 10 years. If I went back 15 years, would you say 250?

Mr. Gadula: I am going back in my memory to 1992, and the number is around 198.

The Chairman: Could you refresh the committee as to the thrust of the Osbaldeston report?

Mr. Gadula: It was put together to look at an amalgamation of all the government fleets. The conclusion, at that time, was that they not be amalgamated but that there be a trading where excess capacity could be identified and various departments could use that excess capacity. Subsequent to that, it was decided to bring the fleets together.

In 1995, the Coast Guard was moved from Transport to DFO. At that time, we had an amalgamation of fleets. If memory serves me correctly, we were down to about 160 vessels around that period of time. Since that time, with the greater amalgamation of fleets, we are down now to approximately 104.

The number fluctuates a little because we are in the process of replacing the lifeboat fleet at the moment. You get some new smaller boats in and not as many larger boats out, so the number will fluctuate probably between 104 and 110.

The Chairman: Given the age of the fleet, does the government still view the Osbaldeston report to be current, or is it in need of updating?

Mr. Gadula: You must continuously examine the government civilian fleet and take into consideration all of the demands from all of the departments. The way it is currently set up and funded, the DFO is funded for the programs it delivers. There are other interdepartmental demands for the same fleet, so funding must be allocated for that. It is an ongoing iteration, one that is probably done on an annual basis, under the current regime.

In response to the Auditor General's study on fleet, we are in the process of putting in place a method of doing planning that takes into account all of the demands on an annual basis and developing it into one fleet plan. It would be operated on a zonal application, so you will get more effective efficiencies out of the units but you will identify every program demand from every department so that you can feed it into that matrix. To answer your question, there must be a regular ongoing study of it.

Senator Day: Of the 190 vessels back in 1992, did that include fisheries and oceans vessels?

Mr. Gadula: Yes, it did.

Senator Day: In terms of the age of the fleet, have there been any major fleet replacements? You talked about the lifeboat fleet replacement program. Apart from that, what are the ages and the state of repair of the Coast Guard fleet of approximately 104vessels at this time?

Mr. Gadula: The majority of the vessels are past their mid-life. Some are approaching the point of replacement. In an examination of the fleet, we have determined that we will require about$350million capital investment to replace those vessels that have reached the end of their useful life.

However, let me quality that by saying that many vessels can be extended through a life-extension program. Clearly, we are at the point where, over the next five to ten years, it will be time to reinvest in some of the capital ships in the Government of Canada's civilian fleet.

In the last budget, we received $47million, over two years,$47million each year. We are putting that into bringing the fleet up to a baseline, doing the essential refit and repair. In addition to that, we will continue to work on identifying the actual needs for vessel replacement.

There will be a change, I think, in the fleet mix that the Government of Canada will require as we move into the next 20years. An original look at this, and it is only at the preliminary stage, would indicate a greater capacity for patrol- mode vessels, to multi-task various departmental requirements, and probably less single-purpose ships. That seems to be the direction we are going in.

Senator Day: Are the ships you now have used for interdiction purposes — that is, coming alongside a suspicious ship and boarding?

Mr. Gadula: The capability is there. We are willing to provide platform support to our colleagues, such as the RCMP. We have trained people to do it. We have done joint operations in the Great Lakes and the coast, but it is not part of the core duties at the moment. It is a support role. We have roughly 31 patrol-mode type vessels capable today of carrying out that role. Many of them are fitted with davits and fast rescue craft, which are the normal tools used by these types of teams. It is very much a nice fit between the job in the offshore of a search and rescue cutter and a conservation and protection patrol cutter. It is a nice fit between the two.

Senator Day: Are the new vessels that you described previously as having multi-task capabilities being better equipped to perform interdiction?

Mr. Gadula: As we move forward in replacing ships, we have the advantage of technology. Technology should allow us to be more efficient and to do a better job at interdiction. Clearly, speed will be needed. We have it in the fast rescue craft that are now the auxiliary ship to a patrol vessel, but in the future we would expect the patrol craft to have a measure of speed commensurate with the duties they are asked to undertake.

Senator Day: In the future, would you see vessels armed with guns?

Mr. Gadula: That is a question for the minister or the machinery of government to answer. In our current role, we do not have that armed capacity.

Senator Day: I understand you do not now, but I understand that ministers respond to suggestions and recommendations by people who work for them. If you were asked to make a recommendation, having in mind the future and the growing role of security of our coasts, would you see the Canadian Coast Guard evolving into, at least from the ship and interdiction role point of view, armed vessels and, perhaps, armed personnel?

Mr. Gadula: I do not know if we have to go that far to be effective as a partner in delivering the security requirements. There can be interoperability. The vessel can be manned with those who are trained on the enforcement side of it, at the same time, so it can be quite complementary.

I am not trying to avoid the direct question, but my experience of some 36 years in the Coast Guard is that the armed role is very different from our traditional role. There would be a cultural significance in it. The way people greet you would also be trying. It would have to be analyzed. That is where I am personally on it at the moment.

Senator Day: Are the U.S. Coast Guard armed, or not?

Mr. Gadula: The U.S. Coast Guard is a full military branch. They are fully armed and have a much broader role than the Canadian Coast Guard. They carry it out very well. They have managed to merge their search and rescue, enforcement, and environmental responses, along with a full military capacity as well.

Senator Day: When you say ``a much broader role,'' we are talking about the future and the growing role for security enforcement for Canadian Coast Guard. Is the role getting closer to a U.S. role?

Mr. Gadula: We have not had any change in role in the Coast Guard. Certainly, I have been involved in many meetings where questions similar to yours have come up. Is it necessary to arm the Coast Guard or is it necessary to expand one of the other agencies that have the responsibility? I do not know the answer at this stage.

However, if it were tried with the current Coast Guard I do not think it would work.

Senator Day: It would not work with the assets that you have?

Mr. Gadula: That is right.

The Chairman: If I put Senator Day's last question in a different context, do you see a naval role for them or a Coast Guard role for them?

Mr. Gadula: I see a multi-mission, multi-task role. It really would not matter who delivered it. I do see the need to carry out search and rescue, surveillance, conservation and protection patrols, and just being a presence out there. I think they are interchangeable. In fact, if there is capacity and another service to put a ship out at sea to carry out that multi-mission role, there is no reason it could not be carried out as complement to that.

The Chairman: Could you provide the committee with a list of the vessels you have, by type, capability and age?

Mr. Gadula: Absolutely.

The Chairman: The same for you, superintendent, if you could provide us with a list. I must confess to a certain degree of puzzlement when we think of the Osbaldeston report. We see the Coast Guard, the navy and the RCMP with their own vessels there.

We are working around the question of whether we need to go another iteration on Osbaldeston. The answer is not quite clear to us. Perhaps you could answer this, superintendent. Why do you need to have your five or six vessels of 40 to 50 metres? Why are you not comfortable with a Coast Guard vessel providing transportation to you? Why do you or why does the force see it as necessary to have its own vessels?

Mr. Hansen: First, our vessels perform multiple roles, everything from VIP security to transportation of members, for example, in B.C., to remote detachments. Sometimes, the only way to get there is by boat. The vessels also perform a good deal of work on the provincial side. A new vessel is coming out to the Atlantic region; on that vessel, the workload will be divided 25percent provincial, 57percent federal. This vessel will be performing tasks such as looking for stolen vessels as well as support for incidents like those in Burnt Church.

I do not think we can count on the Coast Guard for all of those uses. The vessels we have now are fully employed. Obviously, the Coast Guard will assist us if we need them, and we do use them for things like armed shipboardings. However, I do not think we can count on them all the time, when we need them, to be in the proper place.

The Chairman: We heard your colleague Mr.Gadula say hethought they were very good platforms to deliver law- enforcement people wherever they wanted to go. He said the Coast Guard had that capacity and was pleased to discharge it. They are sailors by nature.

Mr. Hansen: So are our members.

The Chairman: I fully concede that. However, do we need the proliferation of organizations in uniform and overhead and design? Can we come to a point where there is a little more coordination and commonality?

Mr. Hansen: As I mentioned, the commissioner-class vessels are floating detachments. They are mobile detachments with everything from CPIC terminals to radio communications and so on. We would need to have the same type of vessel in the same place run by the Coast Guard rather than the RCMP. If that is the question you are asking, I guess that needs to be reviewed.

The Chairman: For example, the seafarers on your vessels —

Mr. Hansen: There are also police officers, and the Coast Guard are not. Our vessels are crewed by four people— a captain, an engineer and two investigators. Generally, the captain and engineer are also police officers, usually at sergeant or corporal level. This is a role that the Coast Guard does not have.

Senator Cordy: My first question has to do with the national ports project. I understand that Halifax is part of that.

Mr. Hansen: Yes. As a matter of fact, I was in Halifax last week dealing with that issue.

Senator Cordy: It is in place in Halifax, then. I understand the team aspect. Would you go into more detail to clarify it?

Mr. Hansen: The national ports project basically involves the creation of integrated, intelligence-led teams at the major ports, including Halifax. Currently, in Halifax, the core team consists of a police-force-of-jurisdiction member, one RCMP member, as well as one member from CCRA. Obviously, this is a core, but other members are brought in as required for specific projects.

The Halifax Regional Police have a contract, for example, with the port authorities to provide security for the Port of Halifax. The member that we have on our team provides a liaison with that group. It is very easy to share information back and forth.

Likewise, that team currently is working with our integrated metro intelligence unit in Halifax. This is for the intelligence-sharing aspect of it.

Senator Cordy: The RCMP is the body that gathers the intelligence information?

Mr. Hansen: The RCMP puts the intelligence information through a national crime databank, but the information can be from a variety of sources, everything from the regional police to CCRA — anything that would be required to be put into that bank.

Senator Cordy: The makeup of the team is fairly fluid, depending on what you are working on; correct?

Mr. Hansen: Currently, the core consists of three full-time people, but the team grows when it deals with a project. It is usually dealing with at least one, perhaps two projects. Other members would come into that team as required.

Senator Cordy: They are from other government departments?

Mr. Hansen: Yes, as required.

Senator Cordy: You mentioned one of the challenges as being information sharing. Coast Guard mentioned the same thing about information sharing. We heard it this morning from our witnesses. It seems to be a challenge. Has communication improved since September11? Also, what is the cause of the challenge? Why is it a challenge? Is it lack of resources or a lack of computers that are talking to one another? Are government departments taking ownership over the information they have gathered and perhaps are not as willing to share? Or is it that departments do not necessarily know what to share?

Mr. Hansen: I will answer your second question first, if that is all right. We found two major issues in information sharing as part of our Interdepartmental Marine Security Working Group. Both are legislative. First, who can you share the information with domestically and internationally? There are Charter issues and privacy questions. Sometimes, we receive information from the U.S. authorities, for example, that will state very clearly on it that we cannot share it with another law enforcement agency. Several agencies in marine security are not law enforcement agencies. That is one issue.

Senator Cordy: So you can share it with another law enforcement agency but not with another government agency?

Mr. Hansen: Generally, there is less of a problem with another law enforcement agency, such as CCRA or a police force of jurisdiction.

The bigger problem is with non-law-enforcement agencies. The Government of Quebec, as recently as last week, came out with instructions with regards to information sharing between law enforcement and non-law-enforcement agencies. The basic position of that government directive was to stop information sharing with non-government agencies or non-law-enforcement agencies.

That is one issue we are trying to deal with. We have a subgroup formed involving the Department of Justice to look at the legislative issues to see if there is a way that we can legally improve the information-sharing function.

The second issue was touched upon briefly this morning by Captain Avis — that is, is technology. Virtually every government department out there, and private industry, too, has a database of information. These systems do not talk to each other. We are trying to find a system that we can use as a backbone. We need a technological system where the data can be entered once and where, thereafter, anyone who needs it can access it. That system is not in place yet. As Captain Avis mentioned, we are looking at CANMARNET. It is problematic because of the different software being used.

Ideally, I would like to see a system that would allow us to query the name of a suspect vessel in the databank. The response would include everything the government has on that vessel. We do not have that right now. We have to do it individually and basically by hand.

I think those are the two biggest issues with information sharing.

Concerning your first question, yes, communication has improved greatly. I was quite impressed by the Interdepartmental Marine Security Working Group and the cooperation that existed within that group. I have been involved in many government groups, and many times there is not much cooperation. In that case, the government departments put aside their individual agendas and were able to work together to identify common gaps and means of addressing the gaps. Even on that point, there has been an improvement.

The creation of local management teams has also helped the sharing of information. People now physically work together in offices who did not do so before. For example, we have customs people now working with all of our ports. Intelligence people are working with our ports. The port authorities are cooperating to the point that some of them are getting security clearance so we may share investigational information with them.

There are couple of other improvements, including the coastal waters program, the national crime databank project, in which bring all marine security information will be gathered. That will help with information sharing.

Senator Cordy: Did you say Quebec has brought in legislationwhereby you cannot share with anyone other than law enforcement agencies?

Mr. Hansen: I only saw an e-mail related to that last week, but it did not talk specifically about what the legislation was. It simply said that the Quebec government has now said that information is to at least be restricted between law enforcement and non-law enforcement agencies. That is all I know about it. It was in the form of an e-mail from our C Division.

Senator Cordy: Is there a movement in that direction, or has it been only in Quebec?

Mr. Hansen: That is the only place I have seen it, and again I emphasize it was only an e-mail. I do not know any more details than that. It gives me concern, obviously, because our partners in many cases are not law enforcement.

Senator Cordy: I am from Nova Scotia, which is just one province of Canada. If you were to guard every access to land around Nova Scotia, you would basically need to have people holding hands around the province. How do you address the issue of security at small ports, or not even ports, but just landing areas?

Mr. Hansen: I am familiar with Nova Scotia. I was stationed there for 12 years. It is my home province, in many ways. I was on the dive team, so I know the coast well, too. The difficulty, of course, is resources. We simply do not have the resources to guard all ports.

We have done some things to improve that. I did a presentation three weeks ago to the national gathering of port authorities, where all the port authorities of Canada came together. I told them what we were doing in the area of marine security, not just the RCMP but the whole Interdepartmental Marine Security Working Group. I encouraged them to work with the local police authorities.

The coastal watch program has also been improved across the country. I made a presentation to the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, not just the RCMP but all major police forces in Canada, on marine security, encouraging them to create similar teams. In some cases, that has already occurred. I know, for example, that there are many ports where, although there is not a formal management team, informally the people get together and discuss and resolve issues. I also know that at many of the smaller ports, and I would rather not mention them, there are both intelligence probes and investigations underway as we speak.

I think it is improving. However, it is still a challenge because of the amount of coastline Canada has and the number of ports we have. We certainly cannot guard them all.

The other concern could be displacement. If we start concentrating resources on the three major ports, the criminals will become aware of that and start moving to smaller operations at other ports.

Senator Forrestall: My questions will be related to the high Arctic. I ask them with respect to planning for any fleet replacement program you might have.

Given climate warming and the changing nature of the North, as that occurs, I would suspect that there would be a parallel change in commercial and other activity. Among the mix that you are planning for, where it still freezes over up there, whatconsideration have you given, at the rate we are going, to the mid-term as well as the long term?

Mr. Gadula: Our current deployment for the Arctic, a deployment that is basically restricted to the summer season, includes the Louis St. Laurent out of Halifax, the Terry Fox out of Halifax, the Henry Larson, the Desgroseillers and the Pierre Radisson out of Quebec, and the Sir Wilfrid Laurier, which deploys up into the Western Arctic. This gives us a six-ship coverage during a 90-day operational window.

In addition to that, we are in the process of bringing the Sir John Franklin back into the mix. This particular vessel will be funded through a science consortium, and they will do Arctic science work. It is one of our old 1200s.

We believe that to keep the Arctic open, to assist shipping, a minimum of six icebreakers in the 1200 or 1300 class is needed. They could be related to an Arctic class 4 or class 3 type.

In terms of global warming, I expect that the Arctic ice pack will continue to recede. As it recedes, there will probably be a greater need for icebreaker support, not a lesser need. The reason for that is that multi-year will be moving around, as a result of wind and current, and it is this moving ice, not the Arctic solid pack, that is the major problem.

Our view is that there will be a greater need for Canadian government icebreaker support in the Arctic, and we will need, in the capital replacement of Coast Guard ships, to take this into account. The Louis St. Laurent is one of our older ships. I was on it when it came out in 1969. It has gone through a mid-life modernization. It has been to the North Pole and is very capable. However, we will have to replace that class of vessel or make arrangements to charter something commercially to provide that kind of service. Clearly, we expect that there will be a greater demand for icebreaking service in the Arctic.

We now have requests for longer seasons into the Port of Churchill, and our current deployment does not allow it. We still have basically this 90-day window.

Others would indicate that, historically, the ice patterns have changed every 50 years in the Arctic, and there have been major freezes and major thaws. Although I am not a scientist, I tend to believe that we are going through a warming period and that as such we will need more ice breakers. Within the plan, we would see replacement of the type 1200-1300 capability. We have only one 1300 ship in the Coast Guard fleet, and that is the most powerful icebreaker. The 1200s are the next level down, and we would have to look at replacing the 1300 much sooner than the 1200s. The 1200s are just past their mid-life. The last one we build was in the mid 1980s. We probably have until about 2015 before we need to begin replacing the 1200 type.

The Chairman: Can you translate the 1200 into a class 6 or 7 icebreaker?

Mr. Gadula: The Henry Larson is actually an Arctic class 4.

The Chairman: Is that breaking four metres or four feet of ice in a continuous mode?

Mr. Gadula: Let me see if I have the actual specifics with me.

Senator Forrestall: You have forgotten them as well?

Mr. Gadula: We built these ships before the classes were defined, so we have to relate them to the classes. An Arctic class 4 is extended operations in all areas of the Arctic but restricted from winter operations. If we look at some of the old missions, going by memory, I believe we were looking at continuous progress between four and five feet of ice.

Senator Forrestall: I appreciate that. I also appreciate your comment that perhaps we will have to rethink an even larger vessel. I have fond memories of how close we came to putting to work in the Arctic a vessel that had not only this capability, an escort capability, but had police capability, court capability, medical capability and library capability. In other words, it was a pretty multi-purpose vessel. I think it was only the money that shot it down eventually.

Mr. Gadula: It was the Polar Class 8 design.

Senator Forrestall: I do not know that we need to go to the Polar 8 for the next 50 years, given the melting. What about something approaching that but embodying the concepts? I am sure the force would like to have a detachment permanently up there, moving around. I am sure the pending new province would love to have a court that could handle federal matters, moving around and so on, not to mention the medical facility. Do you have any observation or comment about that?

Mr. Gadula: As the Arctic continues to thaw and we have a greater and greater operational window, the expectation and the requirement will be there to provide ship support. Certainly, some of the items you raised are interesting and would add value to the 25 Arctic communities that are spread all over the Arctic. They could form an adjunct to the current fly-in services out of Iqaluit.

One of the earlier observations when the Polar 8 was being discussed was that it is probably an ideal forum for a coordination centre that would deal with the Arctic operations, as well as delivering both air and land search and rescue throughout that archipelago.

I would say that some of your comments are timely still.

Senator Forrestall: What happened to the United States? They had a Polar 7 or two, did they not?

Mr. Gadula: They built the Polar Sea and the Polar Star. I had the chance to sail in the Western Arctic, basically off Alaska, to see what their operations were like. They actually required some assistance from some of our Coast Guard ships while they were up there. I like to think it was because our masters tend to have 10, 15 and 20 years of experience in the ice while the U.S. Coast Guard takes a more rotational approach. They are good ships and a complement both to their own work in Alaska and to the Canadian Arctic when they are there.

Senator Forrestall: It is an area that I do not think we should continue to neglect. We know that hundreds of millions of dollars were spent by the private sector in perfecting the ice control facility there.

Let me turn to border integrity. In any of your conversations with Homeland Security, has the question of the Arctic from a maritime point of view been raised? If so, in what context has it been raised? Are the Americans concerned about what we are doing in the Arctic?

The Chairman: And if not, why not?

Mr. Gadula: Thank you for that clarification. I will begin, and then I will ask Mr. Meisner to jump in.

I go back to my past job as regional director, where I had responsibility for the Arctic region. Through forums attended by industry and, on occasion, some of the SAR forces from the U.S. Coast Guard, we shared our interest in the Arctic, which is different from the rest of the country.

An area we probed at that time is one that is currently being probed by the working group on security. It had to do with whether or not NORDREG should be made compulsory. There was this issue around the Northwest Passage, the argument being whether it was internal waters to Canada or an international strait with the right of free passage.

My view then, and it still remains, is that if you want to increase security in the Arctic region you should make those reporting systems mandatory, not voluntary, for vessels transiting the area. This is a question on which DFAIT has a different opinion. The discussion continues.

We have had occasion, and I cannot remember the specifics, where ships, unbeknownst to anyone, suddenly showed up in the Arctic. They were sighted by local inhabitants and reported to the Coast Guard, which information we passed on. This tells me that as the waterways open up it will be easier for vessels to go into remote areas where we do not have radar or satellite coverage.

Mr. Meisner: It is an issue that the Interdepartmental Marine Security Working Group is looking at. There have been no discussions with the U.S. on it, but there will be in the upcoming months, as we develop the position that Canada, through DFAIT, wants to take on it.

Senator Forrestall: Until we settle the question of the passage, make sure they pay their share, whatever it is.

I was interested in the comments that RCMP headquarters is restructuring to move Customs and Excise, Immigration, IBETs and federal enforcement under border integrity. I have never heard of border integrity before. Can you give me an explanation of it?

Mr. Hansen: It was a decision made to put different branches with commonalities together. For example, many of the areas under my program deal with the border, including marine security, among others. Obviously, with IMP it is the same thing. Sometimes, we are dealing with the same players. Yet, we wanted to be sure there were no stovepipes within our own organization. Although each branch retains its normal status, they all come under one umbrella, reporting to one officer who is responsible for the whole area of border integrity.

Senator Forrestall: Is that a Canadianinitiative?

Mr. Hansen: It is not Homeland Security. It is only within the RCMP. What we are seeing is the same structure being mirrored in some of the divisions. Some of our divisions are putting the IMP and customs resources under one shop. The idea is that they can be moved to wherever the greatest need is, no matter what, as long as it involves a border.

Senator Forrestall: In this respect, would your planning have been passed along to Homeland Security and Secretary Ridge?

Mr. Hansen: I know the director general of border integrity has met with people from Homeland Security. He has made presentations in Colorado on the structure of the RCMP, as well as to other groups down there. Certainly, they are aware of it.

Senator Banks: Can you rent a big icebreaker? You said you might be able to charter a big icebreaker.

Mr. Gadula: In the past, we have chartered vessels with an Arctic ice capability. Often, these vessels are built by the oil companies. When they are on the market, they are available for charter. We have done that in the short term.

Senator Banks: Superintendent, you mentioned in your opening remarks that you were concerned about the lack of capability of the force to board and inspect ships in the St. Lawrence Seaway. I guess you would not be able to use a naval vessel because they do not go there. Why would you have a particular lack of capacity to conduct an armed boarding in the St. Lawrence Seaway? Would not the Coast Guard say, ``We will take you there''?

Mr. Hansen: It is not just a matter of getting a platform. We have done 23 armed boardings in the last five years. All but one have been on either coast. There has never been a need in the past to conduct them. Therefore, we have not built that capability. We have some resources that are trained in emergency response teams. In other words, they are trained to do assaults on land. However, they are not trained in the central region, nor do they have the equipment to conduct armed shipboardings at sea.

Senator Banks: If you wanted to do that, you would need to move somebody from Halifax toMontreal, for example, would you not?

Mr. Hansen: There are several options, which we are still discussing. One would be to bring people in from either coast, along with the equipment. Again, it will depend on things like time.

As well, we are talking to the OPP and the SQ, although they do not have the capability either.

Finally, if it were serious urgent, there is also the possibility of JTF2.

There are some other options available.

Senator Banks: Would JTF2 have training to do shipboarding?

Mr. Hansen: Yes.

The Chairman: Why would it be any different from boarding a vessel on the high seas? We are seeing people come from helicopters. We are seeing people go out on Zodiacs. What is the difference?

Mr. Hansen: It is not much different, except we do not have the resources, equipment or training in the central region as opposed to either coast. We have not had the need to develop it.

The Chairman: Do you not have the capacity to get it from Halifax to Quebec City?

Mr. Hansen: We do, but it is limited because it would take time. It would be a matter of the length of time that we had to respond.

The Chairman: If you said, ``Go today,'' could you not have somebody there at six o'clock tonight?

Mr. Hansen: That would be pushing it a bit, but we could have somebody there tomorrow with the equipment, depending on where in the St. Lawrence or Great Lakes it was.

Senator Banks: You talked about the concentration of surveillance and enforcement at our three major ports. That is the point behind the recommendations made by us and others about layered surveillance and moving it further out. I presume you would agree with that.

Given that, do you think that it would be a good idea to combine in one agency that is easy to command and operate all of the agencies that are now responsible for marine security offshore? Would that not be better than trying to bring all these things together?

Mr. Hansen: It would be difficult because we have 16 different agencies that are part of the Interdepartmental Marine Security Working Group.

Senator Banks: The tail is wagging the dog. I understand that all the groups are different and they all have their own bailiwick, but we have to look at the situation from the opposite end, identify the problem and determine to solve it. It seems to me that the best way to solve the problem might not be to say that we must ensure that 16 different agencies have, from time to time, different responsibilities. That would not be an answer that would occur to most rational people. Would it not make sense to have somebody in charge of offshore matters and move that parameter out?

Mr. Hansen: With respect to the national security threat, the RCMP are responsible under the Security Offences Act. I am familiar with what has happened in the States with Homeland Security. You must to consider that there are many players other than the 16 government departments. There are police forces of jurisdiction and the port authorities.

Senator Banks: Let's say that the threat is 40-miles offshore. What would happen? You are the police force of jurisdiction.

Mr. Hansen: It would depend on the threat. Once it is identified as a terrorist threat, then our national operations centre would become engaged. It would direct the operations and bring the key people on board from all government departments including DND. The local Divisional Emergency Operations Centre off the coast of Nova Scotia would also open.

Senator Banks: That is part of my question: When some weird thing happens 10 or 15-miles offshore, we may not know what it is. We do not know whether it is terrorists or whether somebody needs help. What we do not want to happen is to have everyone saying, ``I don't know if it's my responsibility. Whose responsibility is it?'' Should there not be one button to push?

Mr. Hansen: If there were any possibility that it could be terrorist or criminal activity, then it would be the responsibility of the local emergency team, whether it originated with Transport Canada or whatever.

I know that you are suggesting that the great unknown is out there with a strange vessel. You have to decide what to do with the vessel. That actually happens to a certain extent. Canada Customs and Revenue Agency targets vessels all the time for further examination. The call on the vessel might come in from coastal watch.

Senator Banks: CCRA, according to what you said, is responsible for interdicting, examination and identifying problem vessels, but they do not have any teeth. They cannot push their way through a door.

Mr. Hansen: We would assist them. At the ports of entry, they are the first response under the Customs Act. They are the first level of Canadian authority.

Senator Banks: If we want to deal with the question of the number of ports at which we do not have permanent people, and if we want to move that fence out further into the ocean and interdict or examine, or at least identify, people further away before they have a chance to get into a little port that is unattended, one way would be to put somebody on board and do some inspections.

Mr. Hansen: You are correct. One way would be that. You are touching upon the information sharing that we mentioned earlier.

Senator Banks: Is that happening?

Mr. Hansen: It is not happening as well as it should be.

Senator Banks: What is in the way?

Mr. Hansen: There are two issues. One issue is legal, and the other is technical.

Senator Banks: The legal one has to do with privacy. What is the technical issue?

Mr. Hansen: Currently, we do not have one data bank that communicates with everyone. The CANMAR study will tell us if we could use it as a platform. We are depending on people, working relationships and MOUs. I would rather depend on both people and technology, if I could.

The Chairman: Things change. You are saying that you will run this operation from an operations centre someplace.

Mr. Hansen: There are two op centres. There is a national operational centre in Ottawa, the headquarters, and that is automatically activated. That office has links to all the divisions and government departments. A second centre called the Divisional Emergency Operations Centre, DEOC, would also be activated.

The Chairman: Where is it in Nova Scotia?

Mr. Hansen: It is in Halifax.

The Chairman: Where is it in British Columbia?

Mr. Hansen: In Vancouver.

The Chairman: What about Esquimalt.

Mr. Hansen: It would not be there. It is run out of divisional headquarters in Vancouver.

The Chairman: There will be situations which will be run out of Esquimalt. Why do we have all these command centres when you could consolidate them, bring all the expertise to one spot, share information around the same table and have the decisions made by somebody there? You describe a model that has a multiplicity of things. We are puzzled over the duplication.

Mr. Hansen: I am not sure that it would be considered duplication. Our DEOCs have specialized equipment that is not easily mobile.

In addition, if there is an incident at a particular location, there will be an incident commander. We will have resources on site.

I would not want to convey the impression that everything would be run from Ottawa or division headquarters. That is not the case.

Senator Banks: The chairman is not asking that question. Here is the situation. There a ship off the West Coast of Vancouver Island, and there is something suspicious. There is a Department of National Defence operational command centre in Esquimalt. There is an RCMP command centre in Vancouver.

Mr. Hansen: That is right.

Senator Banks: Why? They are both concerned with the same information. They are getting the same information about the same ship in the same situation. We have a communications problem, because we have two command centres. No one knows yet whose responsibility this incident will be, but there are two communication centres creating a communications issue. That would not exist if the blips on the radar or the information were coming into one place. Next to you would be a sailor and next to him would be a CCRA fellow. That would be an operational command centre instead of there a centre, here a centre, everywhere a centre.

Mr. Hansen: That is what happens. That is exactly what you have in both the national and divisional centres. In the room, there is RCMP, DND and everyone that is involved.

Senator Banks: In the one in Ottawa?

Mr. Hansen: In every division. In the national room, there would be my counterparts from other government departments. In the divisional one, there would be counterparts from DND or whoever is involved.

Senator Banks: Could we do away with the DND operations centre in Esquimalt then?

Mr. Hansen: I would imagine that there are uses for that DND centre other than marine security. There are other uses for our centres as well. For example, NOC is used for incidents other than marine security. An example is 9/11.

Senator Banks: I am not convinced that we would not be better off without whatever communication shortcomings must exist between a command centre in Esquimalt and one in Vancouver.

The Chairman: Does your command centre in Vancouver have redundancy? If you have a problem there, is there a backup?

Mr. Hansen: I am not sure to be honest. I know that there is a back-up for computer systems. Whether they could move from one centre to another, I do not know. They would develop some capability I would imagine.

The Chairman: We have been to the emergency response centrein Vancouver. It is a nice facility. They have it set up with 9-1-1. They described to us a terrific backup centre in another part of town altogether. I would hate to have to do an inventory of command centres in town.

It strikes us that an extraordinary amount of coordination goes on. We are looking at this happening with the SARS epidemic. A certain amount of talk is going on between the command centre here and Health Canada. A centre is being run out of Queen's Park and centres being run out of each municipality. There is also communication back and forth between the hospitals.

We visualize this happening whenever the balloon goes up just about anywhere. We wonder why people cannot make some efforts to anticipate these sorts of problems, and consolidate systems so there is a better focus, less redundancy and easier communications.

We get feeling that the wheel gets reinvented with every crisis, and that there is a perverse pride in this country that we will muddle through and be okay. Perhaps that is part of the Canadian character, but it seems to us that, every now and then, events like 9/11 give us a chance to stop and think whether we can actually do it better. If we think about it in advance, could not we consolidate some of these things and make them function? We are looking for feedback from the system that says, ``Yes, we can consolidate some of these,'' and, ``Yes, we do not have to have our own system. We think ours can be accommodated in a broader context, with all of our needs still being met, but in a coordinated fashion.'' Do you see any opportunity for that?

Mr. Hansen: I certainly think that we need better integration than we have. The command centres that we have are physical locations. They are there basically for convenience, all the facilities and so on. They even have kitchen facilities, so that if people have to stay there 24 hours, they can.

If that centre were not available for some reason, let us say there were two crises on the go, we would be put in the position of using somewhere else, whether it would be DND set up or something else. That is what we would have to do. We would rise to the occasion. To have one command centre for all eventualities, I think, would be difficult.

For example, the Coast Guard deals with situations that are different from those dealt with by the RCMP or DND. If we were in a situation where their facility was in use and we had a need for it, who would get priority? I understand what you are saying, but I think it may be difficult to have one-stop shopping, where there is one command centre for any eventuality.

Our is the lead agency in terms of a terrorist attack. Right now, this is where the command centre is set up. If that needed to be changed, it could be.

Senator Banks: To revert to questions of planning, I am sure you have had occasion to refer to our report in which we made recommendations about having a national maritime security plan. This morning we asked the following question of two different people, who are both members of the Interdepartmental Marine Security Working Group, and we got two different answers. The question was: Is there going to be a plan? In one case, we got the answer, ``No, that is not the purpose of it,'' if I recall correctly; and in the other case, we the answer we got was, ``Yes, we are working toward a plan.''

Before you answer the question, you should know that I have an inbred cynicism about bureaucracy, not about bureaucrats, but about bureaucracy and the tendency to say, ``If there is a problem, let's form a committee, or a study group or a working group.'' We really have communications problems.

Is someone working toward what could reasonably be defined as a national maritime security plan for Canada? If this were a trial, I would ask this question of each of you separately to see if your answers were the same.

The Chairman: We will do this in order of rank, starting with the corporal and moving to the superintendent.

Senator Banks: We will ask you first, corporal, because we want to know the truth.

The Chairman: The truth will be in all four answers.

Mr. Caron: Very simply, we already have something in place that answers most of those questions, and it is working very well. We have an emergency plan in every province that allows the deployment of emergency response teams for any type of incident. That is already in place.

Of course, my mandate was related to drug smuggling only, but we have incorporated terrorism and smuggling of aliens and whatnot into that.

My answer is simply that there is a plan in place. We can make it better. It is just a matter of getting people more involved and having easy access to the assets of other departments. It is not a matter of just working around the protocols and making it happen because it is already in place.

The Americans are helping a lot. I was in Riverside, California, a month ago, where the Air and Marine Interdiction Division is located, and they have agreed to assist us in the tracking of suspicious ships and airplanes. They have asked that we supply or deploy two members on a permanent basis to analyze the intelligence they have, and to further the information on our ports here in Canada.

I think it is matter of improving what is already in place; having easy access to the assets of the different departments; and, perhaps, there could be a little bit more training with the other teams on the DND assets.

The Chairman: I have a feeling he is going to make sergeant.

Mr. Hansen: That was a good answer. I can expound upon that a little bit. I think the closest thing we would have to what you are asking for is the National Counterterrorism Plan. That would be put into effect immediately upon confirmation of a terrorist incident. As Mr. Caron mentioned, we also have local contingency plans to deal with different types of disasters on site, but the National Counterterrorism Plan would be ``the plan'' that we have right now. I am not aware of anything dealing specifically with marine security.

Senator Banks: Is the Interdepartmental Marine Security Working Group working at simply improving what is already there as opposed to looking for something new?

Mr. Hansen: The group has done a great deal of work in the past year. I think it has gone further than improving what was already there. In many cases there was not anything there. The gaps that we identified as a group had to be addressed. I would have been very uncomfortable, perhaps a year and a half ago, appearing in front of this committee without the work that the committee has done. We still have a ways to go, but we have taken a number of steps in the right direction.

Mr. Gadula: My view is a little different. I am relatively new to this file, but we do have significant resources put into the Interdepartmental Marine Security Working Group. We have all concluded that there are no turf wars in this, that the only turf we are talking about is Canada and the waters surrounding it.

As I mentioned earlier, our goal is a coordinated, fully interoperable surveillance detection and response system. This means there has to be a plan to ensure that you have that. I will ask Mr. Meisner to tell you what the working group is doing. My view is that there has to be a plan or we should not put all the work into this.

Mr. Meisner: The Interdepartmental Marine Security Working Group has developed a Memorandum of Cabinet, an MC, which includes a security plan that deals with the gaps and vulnerabilities. It lays the foundation of the next step, which is fully assessing the initiatives that will be put in place, having a mechanism to review them continually to see whether they are as adequate as they are supposed to be, and developing a longer-term strategy. The guts of the plan are already in that MC that was put together by the working group.

Senator Banks: We just have not seen it yet.

On the basis of your remarks about the Coast Guard, as someone on the outside, I would like you to respond to that. I think the average Canadian would say that, given the things you said about the Coast Guard, surveillance, sovereignty, security, and so on, the fact that the Canadian Coast Guard ``has no authority,'' to use your words, to stop or board vessels caught in the performance of illegal acts at sea, except for very specific circumstances having to do with pollution, is silly. Would you address that in light of the answer you gave earlier about the practicality of having at least a peace officer enforcement capability extent in the Coast Guard? You have 104 vessels. They are out and about all the time. It seems a waste that there is not an enforcement capability extant on any of those vessels.

Mr. Gadula: I would agree with the description you gave of an average Canadian who might think about this. Under the current mandate, that is where we are.

Senator Banks: Should we not change it?

Mr. Gadula: There is room for exploring an enforcement role and what it means in terms of training, resources and how it would affect the mandate. The example I would leave you with is a little different from the broad security measure we are talking about. If a citizen has a lifeboat in his or her community and sees a recreational boater breaking the law, but has no power to do anything about, it then that citizen is upset. That applies to the people on a Coast Guard ship. The enforcement piece must be further explored. In the small 'e' sense, we have a draft enforcement policy that we are now considering to see how far we can push that envelope.

Senator Banks: When would you be able to let us know about that?

Mr. Gadula: We are taking it to our board for discussion next week.

The Chairman: You can come back the week thereafter for hearings.

Mr. Gadula: We would like to have their comments. Then we will have to look at the impact on resources and training. It is certainly not a secret, and we would be pleased to share those results with you when we have something definitive to put forward.

Senator Banks: We would be grateful. We may even remind you of that.

The Chairman: Gentlemen, I would like to thank you very much. It has been an instructive afternoon. We have appreciated the information you have shared with us. We look forward to receiving some information that we have requested from you. You have assisted us in our studies a great deal.

For those of you following our work, in a few minutes we will be hearing from Ms. Debra Normoyle, Director General, Enforcement Branch, Department of Citizenship and Immigration Canada; and Ms. Maureen Tracy, Director, Policy and Operations, Canada Customs and Revenue Agency. If you have any questions or comments, please visit our Web site by going to We post witness testimony as well as confirmed hearing schedules. Otherwise, you may contact the clerk of the committee by calling 1-800-267-7362 for further information or assistance in contacting members of the committee.

Senator Tommy Banks from Alberta has just jointed us. He is well known to Canadians as one of our most accomplished and versatile musicians and entertainers. He was appointed to the Senate in 2000. Senator Banks is Chair of the Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources. His committee is currently studying nuclear safety and control.

Welcome to our committee. Before proceeding with your opening statements, please give us some background on your qualifications to provide testimony before us.

Ms. Debra Normoyle, Director General, Enforcement Branch, Department of Citizenship and Immigration Canada: I am the Director General of the Enforcement Branch.

Ms. Diane Merpaw, Acting Deputy Director, Policy Development and Coordination, Department of Citizenship and Immigration Canada: I have been an active member of the IMSWG, the Interdepartmental Marine Security Working Group.

Ms. Maureen Tracy, Acting Director General, Policy and Operations Division, Canada Customs and Revenue Agency: Although my day job, so to speak, is Director, Policy and Operations, I am here as Acting Director General. I have held that acting position for about six months now.

The Director General of Contraband and Intelligence for Canada Customs is responsible for policy and operational support for the customs intelligence program, both the strategic and the tactical programs. The DG is also responsible for overseeing the contraband interdiction program and the research, development and deployment of contraband detection technology.

Mr. Tom Kobolak, Senior Program Officer, Contraband and Intelligence, Canada Customs and Revenue Agency: I, too, have been serving on the Interdepartmental Marine Security Working Group.

Ms. Normoyle: Honourable senators, I would like to take this opportunity to share with you the mandate of Citizenship and Immigration Canada, known as CIC, regarding coastal security. CIC's mandate is to prevent inadmissible persons from gaining access to Canada via land, air and sea. Every person seeking to enter Canada must appear for an examination to determine if he or she is admissible to Canada.

The Canada Customs and Revenue Agency conducts this initial examination on behalf of CIC. All persons of interest are referred to Citizenship and Immigration Canada for final examination and determination of their admissibility to Canada.

Currently, CIC has limited dedicated resources that target and board vessels. In most cases, inland investigations officers examine crews and passengers only when called in by our colleagues in the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency. Due to multiple priorities and a high volume of enforcement files, regional management teams are only able to respond to these requests on an extremely limited basis.

In the marine security package approved by the Government of Canada in January of 2003, Citizenship and Immigration Canada proposed the passenger and crew initiative which will enhance our ability to screen, target and examine vessels, crew and passengers, and therefore enhance our interdiction capacity.

New immigration teams comprised of marine intelligence and enforcement officers will be created in British Columbia, Quebec and the Atlantic regions. A team of 8 full-time employees, comprised of one intelligence officer and seven marine enforcement officers, will be implemented in British Columbia and the Atlantic regions. The Quebec region will benefit from the addition of seven marine enforcement officers. Our Quebec region has a dynamic intelligence capacity today and will use this resource to assist the marine enforcement officers to fulfil their responsibilities.

The intelligence officer will be responsible for gathering, collating and analyzing information that will assist the marine enforcement teams to focus on vessels of interest.

Furthermore, the intelligence officer will be responsible for developing and maintaining effective intelligence networks with partner agencies such as the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, National Defence, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Transport Canada and CSIS.

In cooperation with the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency, the marine intelligence and enforcement officers will identify and board vessels of interest to examine crew and passengers with the objective of intercepting criminal groups, terrorists and illegal migrants at ports.

This proposed initiative would further enhance the effectiveness of the Immigration Control Officer Network, which has immigration officers doing intelligence and interdiction work in 44 countries abroad. The Immigration Control Officer Network has proved to be a valuable resource in identifying patterns of alien smuggling as well as individual stowaways. Immigration control officers also work closely with airline companies to identify possible terrorists and illegitimate migrants.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada is working with the United States and other jurisdictions to implement the multiple border strategy, which involves focusing inspection and interdiction strategies at all entry points along the travel continuum from source country to North American and finally, the Canada-U.S. border.

Viewed as concentric rings on a bull's eye, the outer ring represents the visa screening process. Moving inwards, the successive rings represent check-in with transport companies, point of initial embarkation, transit, point of final embarkation, international airports and seaports and, at the centre, the Canada-U.S. border. Citizenship and Immigration Canada is focusing intelligence and interdiction efforts at each of these checkpoints in order to keep illegitimate, potentially harmful individuals as far away from North America as possible.

The department is an active member of the Interdepartmental Marine Security Working Group and its subcommittees. The department is working closely with partner agencies to enhance collaboration and coordination within the parameters of the Privacy Act and the Charter. Within the department, CIC has struck a marine security working group with a mandate to develop standard operating procedures and to effectively implement the regional marine intelligence and enforcement teams.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada is committed to ensuring the security and safety of all Canadians while facilitating the movement of bona fide people and goods.

Ms. Tracy: I am pleased to be here today representing the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency on the topic of marine security. Many positive changes have taken place for us over the past 18 months. If you will permit me, I will take a few minutes to tell you about them.

Before I start, it would probably be useful to outline the role of the CCRA at marine ports of entry. As you know, in addition to their responsibility to administer the Customs Act, Canadian customs officers perform the primary screening function for a number of federal departments, such as Citizenship and Immigration, Health, and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. When potential non-compliance with other government department legislation is suspected, whether it relates to imported goods, international passengers or crew, cases are referred to these departments for secondary examination. Customs officers are in place and available to provide assistance with enforcement actions as required.

With respect to the administration of the Customs Act, we are keenly interested in cargo that is being imported in marine containers, foreign vessels that are arriving at our ports and the crew on board. The volume of goods flowing into and out of marine ports and the need to ensure that the flow of legitimate trade is not unreasonably interrupted has required us to take a smart, risk-based approach to selecting containers for examination.

We have a very effective targeting program in place whereby Customs officers review information on all shipments destined for Canada. These officers have access to a number of public and law enforcement databases that assist them in identifying shipments that require a closer look. Our targeting program also extends to crew and the vessels themselves. Based on the targeters' work-up, certain suspect crewmembers and vessels are identified for a secondary Customs examination.

Customs officers working at marine ports receive extensive, specialized training. In fact, the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency's Marine Centre of Expertise in Halifax is held up internationally as one of the best schools of its kind.

At the Marine Centre, Customs officers are trained in targeting methodologiesand techniques, container examination, the effective operation of specialized contraband detection technology and vessel deep rummage. ``Deep rummage'' means that the teams are trained to search vessels from top to bottom, including holds, engine rooms and other confined spaces.

You are probably also aware that the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency has recently acquired a number of gamma ray scanner machines, better known as VACIS machines. From a contraband detection technology perspective, this is probably the most important gain we have made in many years. These gamma ray units now allow us to scan entire containers for signs of security concerns or contraband. This enables us to get a good look at what is inside without having to undertake an extensive and time-consuming off-load examination. The gamma ray units, therefore, enable us to examine containers much more effectively. We began taking delivery of these units in late December, and already they are proving to be indispensable to our operation. By August of this year, we will have 11 units in operation at various locations across Canada.

The Canada Customs and Revenue Agency has also made considerable progress on the radiation protection and detection side. All of our marine staff has received training on radiation protection. The dosimeters now issued to our marine staff will enable them to both detect high levels of radiation and monitortheir own exposure.

In addition to our dosimeter program, a three-phase pilot project has also begun at the Port of Halifax. We are testing larger-scale radiation detection devices that can be set up in the container yard or even attached to gantry cranes. When this equipment is in place, we will be able to scan virtually all containers entering Canada for suspect signs of radiation.

On the international front, the CCRA has been one of the main players in developing a number of initiatives under the Manley-Ridge Smart Border Declaration. One initiative that we are particularly proud of is the Canada-U.S. Joint In Transit Container Targeting Initiative. Since March of 2002, U.S. Customs officers have been stationed in the ports of Halifax, Montreal and Vancouver to assist in targeting suspect shipments that are arriving at Canadian ports but destined to the United States. In the reverse, Canadian officers are also in place at the ports of Newark, New Jersey and Seattle-Tacoma, Washington to target in-transit shipments arriving at these ports heading north.

In these joint units, cargo manifests and other import documentation on in-transit shipments are carefully analyzed by both Customs administrations, using public and law enforcement databases from both sides of the border.

To further enhance this cooperative venture, the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency and the U.S. Customs Service have recently implemented a program whereby data on in-transit shipments is sent electronically into the United States Automated Targeting System. This enables officers to do an automated first sort of manifest information. This electronic sort saves valuable time for the targetters and allows them to concentrate their work-ups on the highest risk shipments.

The CCRA's risk management strategy relies very much on an effective intelligence program. The CCRA has in place some 300 intelligence officers across Canada whose job it is to collect, analyze, and distribute intelligence information to the front lines. Many of these officers are dedicated exclusively to intelligence development activities centred on marine port activities, often in joint-force operations with the RCMP or other police forces.

Our intelligence program is well established within the Canadian and international enforcement communities and, as such, our officers have access to an extensive network of contacts and information.

In summary, the CCRA has made very important changes to its programs at marine ports that we are confident will have a positive impact on our ability to address effectively any security risks that exist at our ports.

The establishment of the Interdepartmental Marine Security Working Group and the deliberations that have taken place over the last several months have been instrumental in insuring that our efforts are coordinated and complementary to those of other departments and organizations that share our interest in Canadian ports.

We look forward to continuing our ongoing work with the group and making further important progress in our shared goal of maintaining and improving the security of marine ports and in our international waters.

The Chairman: Thank you.

Senator Cordy: My first question is for the representative of Citizenship and Immigration. When you have illegal aliens coming into the country, when can you stop them? Once they cross into Canadian waters, does the Charter come into effect? When does the Charter come into effect for illegal immigrants?

Ms. Normoyle: For clarification, are you talking about illegal immigrants who are suspected to be on board a vessel?

Senator Cordy: A number of year ago, there was a ship on the south shore of Nova Scotia. A small community woke up in the morning, and a large number of illegal aliens had arrived on the shores of that small community. In Halifax, for example, we have people who arrive in containers. We know that once they arrive on Canadian soil, the Charter of Rights kicks in and they have all the right of a Canadian citizen. When can you turn a ship around, is my question.

Ms. Normoyle: There are different zones in the waters, and Canadian laws begin to apply in what is referred to as a contiguous zone, which is from 12 to 24 nautical miles from our coast. If a vessel is within that range, within our coast, at that point in time, our domestic laws and protections apply.

Senator Banks: So any person on that ship, notwithstanding that the ship is still 20 miles from the Canadian coast, is entitled to the protections of Canadian due process?

Ms. Normoyle: Yes.

Senator Cordy: At what point can you turn a ship around and say it cannot land in Canada, or can you do that if you know that it contains illegal aliens?

Ms. Normoyle: The decision to redirect a ship is not a decision made by Citizenship and Immigration Canada, so I am not in a position to respond to that question.

The Chairman: Could we ask who is in charge?

Ms. Normoyle: Transport Canada would be the first point of contact.

The Chairman: On what basis?

Ms. Normoyle: I cannot speak for Transport Canada.

The Chairman: However, Transport Canada would not know there are illegal immigrants on it, and you presumably would. You must communicate the fact that you believe you have a problem on a ship and ask them to intervene. They may go and look and find that there are illegal immigrants on board. If that fact is established, then something must happen. What we would like to know is does your department speak to Transport Canada and say, ``We have a problem''? How does the system function?

Ms. Normoyle: All the intelligence information is shared between agencies. When a vessel of interest is in our waters, some information is received through our intelligence community. As the federal government, depending on where the ship is, we take decisions as to the most appropriate course of action, depending on the intelligence information we have.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada does not have authority to interdict ships. Our responsibility is to deal with the people on board with respect to their accessibility to Canada, if that ship enters our contiguous zone. I cannot speak to the interdiction aspect of it.

Senator Day: Once they enter the contiguous zone, what is your responsibility?

Ms. Normoyle: It is to deal with the admissibility issues related to the people on board.

The Chairman: We understand that. We do not expect you to have all the answers when you appear before us. However, if the department is seized with information that there is a number of illegal immigrants on a vessel, we would like to know who the department notifies and what the decision-making process is, if in fact we turn back ships? Perhaps we do not turn them back. Perhaps they keep on coming and we deal with them when they land. If that is the case, we would like to know that. If it is not the case, we would like to know how the system works in your particular case if you receive that information.

The answer to that may be provided to us at a subsequent date. A letter to the clerk would be sufficient.

Senator Banks: You mentioned that that would be a Transport Canada responsibility. As far as anyone knows, Transport Canada has no means of turning a ship around. They have no assets. In your response to us could you assume that Citizenship and Immigration learns that there is a ship with some people on it who we do not want here and that it is 30 miles off the coast? Can you do anything about that?

Ms. Normoyle: I will undertake to get a response to you.

For clarification, on the Transport Canada issue, the authorities and the implementation of operational activities related to decisions taken by organizations that have the authority, in this case Transport Canada, do not have the assets, but they do not work alone. They are part of an interdepartmental network. When we look at interdiction, we will be working closely with RCMP, the Coast Guard, the CCRA, Transport Canada and the Department of National Defence. Depending on the intelligence we have and our assessment of that intelligence, we will make a decision as to which vessel will be sent for what purpose. It depends on the information.

I should also mention that, over the course of the past several years, we have been working on a national policy framework to deal with migrant smuggling ships. I have it here. I will leave a copy of it with you.

I will undertake to get the responses to you.

The Chairman: If you could posit a number of situations, that would be helpful. If there are different responses to different circumstances, give an example of each of them, if you can. We are trying to understand how this system works. If you could give us examples of how it would react in different ways, that would assist the committee greatly.

Senator Cordy: We would also like confirmation of exactly when a person may assume the rights of a Canadian citizen.

Senator Day: I would like a confirmation as to what you do in Canadian waters. That is defined as the first 12 miles. There is also the contiguous zone of 12 to 24 miles. Is there a difference at each distance? What happens when we move out into the economic zone that takes us out to 200 miles?

Senator Cordy: I would like to talk now about intelligence gathering and, more specifically, intelligence sharing. Every witness we have heard thus far today has talked about intelligence sharing. Everyone says that it is of great importance that you share. However, almost everyone will say that it is certainly one of the challenges faced in any department.

You talk about the Quebec region benefiting from the addition of seven marine enforcement officers. One of our witnesses this afternoon said that he had an e-mail related to the sharing of information within Quebec. In fact, within the Quebec region, they only want information sharing within law enforcement agencies and not with other government agencies. How would that affect Citizenship and Immigration? I assume CCRA would be considered a law enforcement agency, would it?

Ms. Tracy: No. The way the Quebec government seems to havedefined things is people who have Level 1 access to CPIC. Level 1 access is usually restricted to traditional police forces, whether provincial, municipal or federal. Both CIC and CCRA have Level 2 status. As such, they will not have access to that information.

We understand— and we still have to look into it further — that there is some flexibility on the part of the minister of public security to hear an argument and a rationale from some of these Level 2 organizations as to why they have to continue to receive the information or to have access. We are working on that, as is CIC. There is some flexibility there.

Senator Cordy: In fact, government agencies will pursue that further. If CIC and CCRA are left out of the loop, we will have many gaps in the system.

Ms. Tracy: I cannot speak for other organizations. The news is relatively new. It is only a week or so old.

CCRA is actively working on a rationale and an argument for continued access. I would bet that most of the other departments that have the same sort of Level 2 or 3 access are doing the same thing.

Senator Cordy: Ms. Tracy, I am from Nova Scotia. I know the joint container targeting teams have been in place in Halifax for about a year. How is this working out?

Ms. Tracy: Very well. We had a similar experiment that was started in approximately 1995 whereby the ports of Halifax and Newark were exchanging information on in-transit shipments. They did not have officers in place. They were doing it by way of exchanges of fax, telephone calls and e-mails. There is already a very good link at least between those two ports.

The impact of the Manley-Ridge 30-Point Action Plan breathed new life into the project. I believe it was one of the first Manley-Ridge projects put in place after the declaration in December2001.

It is a very positive initiative in all five sites. As I mentioned in my opening remarks, as recently as four or five weeks ago, we implemented an enhancement to it through the automated delivery of information into the U.S. targeting system, which has further assisted the relationship.

Senator Cordy: When you talk about this automated targeting system, are you talking about goods, the manifest?

Ms. Tracy: It would be the cargo control documents, the manifests for shipments going into the United States would go into the automated targeting system which performs a first sort of information. The system is programmed with a number of indicators, which targeters use to determine the level of risk a shipment or vessel will pose.

It does not replace the targeter, but it does a first bundle of information, and it gives you a risk scoring on each of the manifests or the documentation that goes in.

This enables the targeters to deal with the high risk ones and do further work-ups through either enforcement databases or public databases. It does save time, and it will be beneficial to the operation in general.

Senator Cordy: Does it give the originating country?

Ms. Tracy: That is a challenge. Sometimes, the cargo control documentation has a nice track of the originating port of the container. Often, it does not.

All organizations, including U.S. Customs and certainly the CCRA, are working hard to improve the quality of data that we get. However, there are containers that have a somewhat limited history.

Senator Cordy: What about the radiation detection equipment? There is a pilot project in Halifax.

Ms. Tracy: It is a three-phased project. The first phase, which is completed, was probably the simplest. It proved effective. We put a radiation detection device in a ski carrier on the top of the customs vehicle. The monitor was inside. It was switched on as we were doing our day-to-day business around the port.

We found that it functioned well. The equipment was robust. It was able to take the kind of beating that it might take in the container yards. That was a very successful pilot, and we are in the process of writing up the report.

For the second phase, two vendors are providing us with equipment to test. It is a portal system. We will set up a large portal so that a truck or a rail car can be sent through it. The portal can detect on a much larger scale than that of the mobile scanner.

The Chairman: When you refer to it as being a successful pilot, how do you know? Do you know what level of radiation would be put off by a low-grade dirty bomb? Can you measure it against that? What is your test for success?

Ms. Tracy: The test for success is that it has picked up radiation. When we go in with the survey meter, which is the secondary tool that will identify the type of radiation, it is always accurate when the off load is done. It has not found a dirty bomb.

The Chairman: It is one thing to say that it has always found radiation, but how do you know if it has missed radiation?

Ms. Tracy: That is a difficult question to answer.

The Chairman: That is the only measure of effectiveness.

Ms. Tracy: If a dirty bomb is shielded very well, the sensitivity of the equipment is of the utmost importance.

This is a new area for me. There is probably not much equipment currently on the market that is that sensitive. That is what we are testing. We are testing both in lab environments and in operational environments.

Senator Banks: Do you test it to see whether it will pick up radiation that is well shielded?

Ms. Tracy: When we get the second piece of equipment, we will do some lab tests. We will try to simulate a well- shielded radiation source and see how it reacts to that and under what circumstances. We also have to weather conditions and that sort of thing.

The Chairman: I will come back to this later. I am reacting to your comment about the level of success being based on the fact that it indicated that there were some radiation spots around. You checked that in fact it was radiation. Until you can say that you are sure that you got all the radiation, you have not achieved success.

Ms. Tracy: I understand what you are saying. I believe that the second phase will have lab-simulated experiments whereby we will try to do just that. We will shield a radiation source to the best of our capacity and see how the equipment performs in that scenario. That will be the litmus test.

Senator Cordy: Is the intent to eventually scan all containers?

Ms. Tracy: The intent is to scan as close to all as we can, unobtrusively.

The third phase of our project is mounting the radiation detection devices on the gantry cranes. As the container is being taken out of the vessel, it would be scanned. That way we could scan virtually all containers and detect the radiation at the earliest stage possible. The challenge with the portal scanner is that there is much activity on the dock before the truck or train drives through.

Ideally, we want to identify a piece of equipment that will be able to take the beating that a gantry crane would give it. That would be the ideal scenario.

Senator Cordy: The container would be tested as it is lifted off the ship; is that correct?

Ms. Tracy: Correct.

The Chairman: Would the gantry crane also test containers being loaded onto the ships?

Ms. Tracy: Do you mean on the export side? There is no reason why it could not. The plan has been on the import side.

The Chairman: If we are to ever have proper protection, we want to move it away from the borders and enter into agreements with other countries that they will scan what they are shipping to us. We would do the same in return.

By attaching it to the crane, we could provide that sort of outgoing inspection and certify that that particular ship, at least when it left a Canadian port, was radiation free.

Ms. Tracy: We could do that either with the gantry crane or with the portal at the entrance point of the port. Thus far, our testing has been for import containers. However, the technology would supposedly work on exports as well as imports.

The Chairman: In your opening statement you commented that you have a very effective targeting program whereby customs officers review information on all shipments destined to Canada. How do you know that it is effective?

Ms. Tracy: We have had a number of successes on the narcotics side that have been attributed oftentimes to intelligence information that we have received from our own intelligence officers, the RCMP, others and international sources. We have also had some good successes with cold-targeted shipments based on the targeting criteria we try to keep, Evergreen. We have had some good successes at the three major container ports

The Chairman: When this committee has asked police about drugs for example, or when the Special Senate Committee on Illegal Drugs has asked police about the prevention side of drugs, we have always been told that there have been big busts. However, when we have pursued that and asked them how much they are catching, we have been told that it is about 10percent.

Is that your level of success? Is it the 10percent level? If your example is drugs, the police are saying that they think that they are only getting 10percent of what is coming into the country. Is 10 percent success to you? What percentage do you consider to be a success?

Ms. Tracy: That is a hard question to answer. I do not know that I could be any more precise than the police were. The 10percent number is what the intelligence community, through their best analysis, is saying is being interdicted overall.

I cannot say whether customs gets 10percent of the drugs coming into Canada. When I call our targeting program successful, it is because it does have some very successful large-scale hits. It is hard to estimate that in terms of a percentage of drugs or general criminality that is coming into Canada.

The Chairman: We recently returned from Washington. Officials there told us that their system is in worse shape than ours is. If either the Americans or the Canadians tell the population how little we are able to stop, they will come looking for us with a rope.

What sort of levels should we be shooting for as a government, as a country, if we want to be comfortable about what is coming into the country? Clearly, no one in this room thinks 10percent is good enough. You do not have to necessarily come back and tell me it is 98.3percent. What we really want to know is what plans are in place to improve the percentage. No one here would be say that 10percent is appropriate. because, obviously, it is not.

Ms. Tracy: We are constantly working to improve the targeting program. The same thing applies to our intelligence program. We are constantly developing contacts and working with other government departments, police forces and international customs organizations to get good information to the front line. However, in my opinion, what will get us further is where the CCRA has been going with its non-intrusive inspection technology, the VACIS, the gamma ray scanner. Last week, in Halifax, the CCRA scanned 599 containers with that scanner. Not all commodities can be penetrated or interpreted, but a many of them can.

In my view, where to go next from a customs perspective to is to focus on technology to assist, not replace, the work that customs officers do on exams.

The Chairman: In terms of the order of magnitude, we have heard testimony that the figure is just under 3percent of intrusive inspections, that is back-ending or de-stuffing. With the 11 gamma ray units you have in place, what percentage of containers are you able to handle? Are you moving up now past 3percent? Are you up to 7percent?

Ms. Tracy: We will be moving up past 3percent. We took delivery in December, I believe. They were up and running in January in Halifax first. Montreal was second. Vancouver had been going for some time with a port supplied one.

It is hard to say from our experience so far because I just quoted 599, which is great for the first couple of months. I expect that number to go up.

The Chairman: Are you saying 599 in a day?

Ms. Tracy: In a week.

The Chairman: How many containers came into that port in the same week?

Ms. Tracy: If you do the math, it is still a low percentage. At Halifax, at least, the VACIS machine is not fully operational on a two-shift basis, but it will be soon. Once the officers get used to integrating it into their way of doing business, I am sure you will see a significant number of containers scanned. It will definitely complement our efforts on the off-load.

The Chairman: Presumably, using a VACIS machine takes more space. The containers have to be spread around a little more because of the nature of the machine it. Clearly, 11 units is a small number. Are there plans to have 22 or 44 or 111 units in place to do this?

Ms. Tracy: Currently, there is no plan in place to increase the number we have. That does not mean to say that we will not. We have one in Halifax. With some experience, we will be able to determine whether that is enough. We will have two in Montreal, in addition to the one at the Port of Vancouver. We can certainly expand the fleet, but we will start with those and see how they cover business.

The Chairman: You talked about targeting officers in Newark and Seattle-Tacoma. Can you give us a list in descending orderof volume — and we do not need it now— of where shipments to Canada come from? It strikes me that Newark and Seattle-Tacoma are not the largest ports that ship into Canada. I do not know. I wonder where Rotterdam and Singapore fit in.

Why do we not have targeters out in the ports that ship the most into Canada? Why are we not working down the list in descending order?

Ms. Tracy: Part of the reason for going into joint targeting was so that we could control and get good coverage of the marine containers coming into Canada and the U.S. from abroad. In this way, we could continue to not impede either rail or highway traffic in Canada and the U.S. That was one of the main reasons that Canada Customs adopted the joint targeting unit idea. We did not adopt the container security initiative idea, which the U.S. did, where they put people in the ports. We do not believe that we need people at the foreign ports.

I am not certain whether you are aware of this or not, but on Friday our minister announced that Canada Customs is adopting the 24-hour rule.

The Chairman: Are you referring to 24 hours before loading instead of 96 hours before arrival?

Ms. Tracy: That is correct.

The Chairman: That will make us consistent with the Americans, which is good news. It is one less point of friction with them.

If your argument is that you want to find the problem as far away as possible, I do not understand why the department is not actively pursuing the idea of having targeters in major ports. I can understand why there is a program that has gone ahead with Halifax, Montreal, Vancouver, Tacoma and Newark. That is a confidence-building gesture. It is a test with the Americans. Everything we have heard back from your department or your agency is that it is working.

If it is working, why do we not do it in a lot of places? In particular, why do we not do it in the places that ship the most to us and protect Canadians that way?

Ms. Tracy: The adoption of the 24-hour rule will get us electronic information for targeting and intelligence purposes prior to the shipment departing the country. The targeting can be done from Canada. We can alert the authorities at the port of departure as to the fact that we either want the shipment examined or we do not want it loaded. We do not believe it is necessary to have an officer over there when can you do electronic targeting from home.

The Chairman: Are you announcing to us that you will take the people back from New Jersey and Washington?

Ms. Tracy: No, I am not announcing that.

The Chairman: You just said you do not need to have them there.

Ms. Tracy: The beauty of having the people in the U.S. and our Canadian ports is that we can use our systems to jointly target containers.

The Chairman: What I am saying is that it sounds like a bit of terrific PR. It sounds like it is working well. Certainly, the Americans like it. We heard from our opposite numbers in the States that they liked it a lot. It begs the question: If it works well, why not expand it? I think your answer was that you can do it from Ottawa, or from some place in Canada, but it still works even better if you actually send people there. Have I heard you correctly?

Ms. Tracy: What I said is that the CCRA has not decided at this point to station anyone overseas.

The Chairman: How about in other ports in the United States?

Ms. Tracy: Before we went forward with this, we did a study of the major ports that receive shipments that go in- transit to Canada. By far, Seattle-Tacoma and New Jersey came up as the highest. If that traffic pattern changes, then there would be a consideration of change.

The Chairman: Are they the highest in North America but not the highest worldwide?

Ms. Tracy: They are the highest in North America.

The Chairman: If you found 10 other ports in descending order in the United States, perhaps you would look at it, or not. I understand.

Senator Banks: The ports of Newark and Seattle-Tacoma are where containers are unloaded. In effect, those containers are being through shipped to Canada.

Ms. Tracy: That is correct, by truck or rail.

Senator Banks: In the same sense, a large number of containers that are offloaded at Halifax are going to Boston or Chicago; is that right?

Ms. Tracy: That is right.

Senator Banks: When Senator Kenny first asked the question about putting scanners on gantry cranes, we were talking about the fact that it was a good idea to scan, in that case for radiation, shipments which were bound for Canada. Not that many people ship from Newark to Canada in the sense of the shipment originating in Newark, or from Seattle-Tacoma to Canada. It would make no sense. Antwerp, however, is another question, as is Hong Kong.

The logic says that, if our object is to try to keep inspection and interdiction and problems as far away from our facilities and our infrastructure and our people and our borders as possible, and if we accept the idea that it is a good idea to have American security examinations on this side of the border and Canadian ones on the American side of the border, then it would be a good idea in Antwerp, too, would it not?

Ms. Tracy: In theory, I would have to agree with you. At this point, the CCRA has adopted the 24-hour-prior-to- loading rule.

Senator Banks: Say that in Antwerp or in Hong Kong, someone says, ``I am loading this container with 800,000 pounds of flour and it is bound for Canada.'' Who in Ottawa knows that is in fact 800,000pounds of flour, and how would you found find that out, aside from the container company or the transit operator being under suspicion for having done something? With no information, no scanning occurs.

Ms. Tracy: The person responsible for reporting has a prescribed number of specific date elements that they must provide, for example, the importer, the exporter, the type of goods, the weight, and so on.

Senator Banks: The exporter could tell you what it was, but you would not know whether that was true.

Ms. Tracy: This is where the targeting comes in. If anything from that shipment raises an alarm bell in terms of our targeting or intelligence, we would request that the customs administration from the other country do an examination of that shipment before it is loaded.

Senator Banks: Yes, but a dockworker, not the shipper of record, will not say, ``By the way, I put some illegal substance in there.'' If the shipper intentionally ships something illegal, he will not tell you that. No one is checking that, are they?

Ms. Tracy: Do you mean on export?

Senator Banks: No one is checking the stuff being loaded into that container to see if what they say is being loaded into that container is in fact all that is being loaded.

Ms. Tracy: No, but if you look at the traditional way of doing customs business, we get information from the same party or from the importer. We get the same data elements and we go through the same targeting process. We have no idea whether there is something in there until we look. We would not know to look, though, unless we targeted it or we took it through a random VACIS exam.

Senator Banks: With respect to drugs— and, I presume in this case we are talking about harder narcotics such as heroin— the success rate so far as we know of the present system is about 10percent. That is how well that works.

Ms. Tracy: Yes.

Senator Banks: I will now turn another subject. I want to talk to CIC about the new staff you are putting in place. One of the things you talked about in respect of investigation officers is that regional management teams are only able to respond to these requests on an extremely limited basis. What happens when you get a request and you cannot respond to it? Nothing?

Ms. Normoyle: In those instances where the request has been identified as a priority request, we have been able to identify resources to provide the required support to CCRA. CCRA will do the first line of inspection. They will call us in as they consider appropriate, depending on what information they are gathering.

The federal government has recognized that deficiency.

Senator Banks: What happens in the case of a deficiency? You are saying that you are only able to respond to them on an extremely limited basis. I presume that means somewhat less than half. What happens with the other half of the cases?

Ms. Normoyle: We rely on our colleagues from CCRA to take the lead and address the issues.

Senator Day: I would interpret ``extremely limited basis'' to be something significantly less than half. Are you being kind, Senator Banks?

Senator Banks: I wanted to establish the largest possible parameter.

What is ``the passenger and crew initiative''? You said it will enhance your capacity to screen substantially. How?

Ms. Normoyle: Through information that we gather from our intelligence community and other intelligence communities, we will be able to work with our colleagues in CCRA and other partners to identify vessels of interest and vessels of interest where we may want to ensure that we do more substantive screening.

Senator Banks: I understand that, but what, specifically, is ``the passenger and crew initiative?'' What is that? That sounds like a program to me where someone is sending information in advance, information which had not previously been sent. Is it not that?

Ms. Normoyle: I think it is just receiving that information and doing some analysis around that it such that we are in a better position to identify vessels of interest to us. We would then identify a team to go and board that vessel. We have not had that capacity in the past.

Senator Banks: How do we get it now?

Ms. Normoyle: We will have to recruit people and train them, and we will have to work with our colleagues who have experience doing that.

Senator Banks: You state that the passenger and crew initiative will enhance your ability to screen, target and examine vessels, including passengers. I assume that we are not talking about Cunard or The Love Boat. We are talking about some steamers that coming from the coast of South America. What is the means by which you will achieve getting the information on the passengers and crew of that ship, which has not been in place until now and which will now be in place because of that? Is that part of the 24-hour or the 96-hour rule?

Ms. Normoyle: I will ask my colleague from CCRA to talk about the information that we receive, and then I will talk about what we aim to do with that information.

Ms. Tracy: We receive the names and passport numbers and other documentation numbers for the crew, I believe, 24 hours in advance of the ship arriving, but I would have to verify that. I think it is 24 hours in advance.

The CIC initiative will complement what Customs is doing by bringing its officers, expertise and databases into the targeting units.

Senator Banks: One of the new 96- or 24-hour requirements is to tell you who is on board a ship, ant that did not exist before; is that correct?

Ms. Tracy: We are getting advance notice of who is on the ship now. The 24-hour rule is not a change to that. It will still remain 24 hours for the crew list. I would like to verify that, if you would permit me.

The Chairman: Send us a letter.

Senator Banks: I do not think we used to get that information. I think freighters just used to arrive in port.

Ms. Tracy: We have received that information. I do not know for how long, but at least for a few years. We have the information well in advance. We have enough time to do a workup.

The Chairman: Is the information that you get on ship passengers the same as is currently being provided on airline passengers, namely, how they bought the ticket and who is involved? Let the record show that she is shaking her head no. I will give you a chance to answer in just a second.

If the information is not as much in depth, why not? A moment ago, Senator Banks implied that it was only tramp ships from Casablanca that we checked out, but in fact Cunard or The Love Boat would be checked out, as would any boat. There is no exemption if you are sitting at the captain's table. Could you tell us what information you do gather. Why is it different from that that we share on airlines and, if it is different, why it is different? Why do we not need the same information?

Ms. Tracy: There are two types of things happening on the marine mode. There is the crew list which has the name, nationality, passport number, seafarer paper number and that sort of thing. That is the extent of it. Of course, they would not have travel agencies, visa numbers and that sort of thing.

API/PNR, the Advance Passenger Information/Personal Name Record, is the system we are developing initially for airlines, but that will broaden out into the marine cruise ship mode and ferry terminal mode at a later date. We do not have it now because, in the API/PNR project, we have capitalized on the information that the airlines already have in their systems which they can provide to us for targeting.

Senator Banks: Do cruise ships not have that?

Ms. Tracy: I understand cruise ship lines have much morelimited information. Their personal name records are not as well-organized in terms of the circumstances of travel. We are working with them. However, we are trying to get it up and running on the airports first. We will be talking to the cruise ship industry and, if possible, the ferry operators, to get a similar if not the same process going in that mode.

Senator Banks: Thank you. Please let us know what happens.

For which of your agencies will the marine intelligence and enforcement officers be working?

Ms. Normoyle: They will be working for CIC.

Senator Banks: They will intercept criminal groups and terrorists and alien smugglers. Will they be peace officers?

Ms. Normoyle: We have not created the position yet. This will be a new type of officer who will be working for us and those officers will work with the teams that are in place today who do interception and the boarding of vessels. We have not yet developed the program, but it was presented based on proposals contained in the broader marine security package. The program is under development as we speak.

Senator Banks: Is there a plan that those marine intelligence and enforcement officers will be peace officers?

Ms. Normoyle: I do not know. I will have to get back to you on that.

Senator Banks: Please let us know about that. I am asking because they will be charged with intercepting criminal groups, terrorists and alien smugglers. Those are not nice people. I would not want to send someone onto a ship, however many miles out, to face those people without some authority, other than legal authority.

Senator Day: Senator Banks' question about legal authority raises the question as to whether they will operate within the 12-mile limit. We may need some analysis on that issue. The legal-authority issue is an interesting one, but I will not pursue that further now.

You have already demonstrated ample change, significant change, since September11. Although much of this was in place beforehand, there have been significant changes in relation to security, marine security in particular, since September11, 2001.

You talked about increasing intelligence. As Senator Cordy has pointed out, we have heard all day about how important intelligence is in balancing risk analyses and determining where you should target your limited resources. Several departments are now creating new intelligence officer roles. Citizenship and Immigration Canada, Canada Customs and Revenue Agency, the RCMP and Agriculture Canada, all have intelligence officers now. Where will this stop? We are creating coordination problems with all this intelligence. Has anyone ever suggested having one organization— RCMP, CSIS, one organization— coordinating all of the intelligence and then feeding that intelligence to all of us?

Ms. Tracy: One good thing about having intelligence officers in a number of different organizations is that each organization brings its own expertise and its own knowledge of its own legislation. It brings the issues that it faces into the fold. A generic or centralized intelligence organization would have some difficulty doing that. I do not know that it is a big a problem to have a number of different organizations with their own intelligence officers, provided there is cooperation and communication.

Senator Banks: There needs to be a willingness to use it.

Ms. Tracy: Cultural barriers must be broken down, and they have been broken down significantly since September11, both between government departments and with police. I think the important thing is not the number of different uniforms that are sitting in the office but the fact that they are all sitting in the office and bringing their own expertise and means of communication to their own particular front lines.

Canada Customs participates in a number of joint-force operations with the police, whether it be for money- laundering, drugs or any number of things. They have actually valued our in-depth knowledge of the Customs Act and of the issues that we face. In turn, we appreciate the kind of information that they can provide so that we can feed it back to our front lines.

In summary, I do not think it has as much to do with the number of uniforms around the table. It has more to do with every group understanding its role and working as a team.

Senator Day: In any event, the decision has been made that each department will develop its own intelligence- gathering group.

Ms. Normoyle: The intelligence capacity in each of the departments has been in existence for some time. In the case of our passenger-and-crew initiative, we are adding an additional body to work with marine enforcement officers to bring some information to the table from the marine front. I would emphasize that each of us has expertise. Depending on the task, we will need to work together and bring all perspectives to the table to have a complete picture.

In CIC, for example, our intelligence community brings information that helps us decide whether to impose a visa requirement on a certain country. That community also brings assessments of intelligence information that allows our minister to decide whether to stop removals to a certain country, depending on the conditions in that country. That intelligence specifically allows us to exercise our responsibilities within the mandate of Citizenship and Immigration in an area which is specialized in our domain.

We are required to support those activities while, at the same time, we are obliged to share information with our other partners around the table. This process has been significantly enhanced since September11, in particular through the Interdepartmental Marine Security Working Group. It is important to underline that.

Senator Day: We have heard about that Interdepartmental Marine Security Working Group quite a bit today. It sounds impressive. You spoke about your intelligence network people sharing with Customs, RCMP, CSIS, the Department of National Defence, Fisheries and Oceans, and Transport Canada.

Perhaps, naively, I was saying that there may be some expertise in the gathering of intelligence, as opposed to saying that the expertise should be in knowing what the departments need. Is there a generic approach to going out and gathering the intelligence that anyone can find?

Ms. Normoyle: I am not an expert in intelligence. I have been a member of the Interdepartmental Marine Security Working Group both as an employee of Fisheries and Oceans, or DFO, the Canadian Coast Guard, and now as part of Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

DFO, for example, provides information to the intelligence community. It does not have the capacity to analyze the information, but it brings forward information that the intelligence community can analyze. Transport Canada does the same thing; it does not have, per se, an intelligence capacity resident in the department. It relies on the intelligence community to support its activities. Each of the organizations has different capacities, and by bringing all of that together that we have a complete picture.

Senator Day: Who is doing the analysis for immigration issues?

Ms. Normoyle: We have an intelligence branch.

Senator Day: Does your intelligence branch do the analysis of all the information it gathers from the different sources?

Ms. Normoyle: Yes, for our purposes.

Senator Day: I was distinguishing between the interpretation of the intelligence and the gathering of the intelligence.

Ms. Normoyle: Yes.

Senator Day: There are a few other areas I would like to touch on, areas where our viewers might have some misconceptions, and perhaps you could clarify those for us. Since we are on a roll with Immigration, let us deal with a couple of issues related to that department.

We have visited a few border points. At one, an international bridge, refugee status claimants were sitting in a room. We were told that so many were coming from the United States. We were first told that there was a significant number of refugee claimants coming through the United States, and then we were told that a safe third country initiative might be implemented in the future. Could you comment on where we are with respect to that?

The second issue relates to the fact that refugee claimants were being released on the basis of contact at a certain telephone number, but many of them were never at that number. They could not be found after their release, and that has resulted in a large number of refugee claimants within our country who cannot be found. What initiatives are you taking in relation to those two issues that some people perceive as problems?

Ms. Normoyle: I am sorry. I cannot provide you with responses today, but I can undertake to get those.

Senator Day: That would be a start. Unfortunately, our viewers at home who are watching this on CPAC will not have a chance to get the answer. We will try to get that information communicated in due course.

The Chairman: We could post it on our Web site.

Senator Banks: Just to interrupt, did I understand correctly that you do not know what the state of the safe third party agreement is at the moment? Did I understand you to say that? It has been signed by both countries. If Immigration Canada does not know about the implementation of that program, I cannot imagine who does.

Ms. Merpaw: The questions posed by Senator Day related to the number of refugees arriving at the land border, I believe, and claiming refugee status.

Senator Day: I had three questions. A significant number of refugees are coming from the United States, and the safe third country agreement would solve that. These are refugees who find it easier to get to the United States but find it difficult to get refugee status there, and therefore they pass through United States and come into Canada.

The first issue is, therefore, to confirm that that was a problem. The second is to confirm the implementation or not of the safe third country agreement; and then the third relates to the tracking of the refugee claimants. We have read and heard about possible cards being issued for those individuals, but I have not heard of the implementation of that. Where are we with respect to those issues? I presume you cannot answer any of these questions here and now.

Ms. Merpaw: At the present time, no, but we will get that information for you. It is not my area of specialty. We do have a safe third country agreement. I am not sure as to the implementation date, so I will get that for you. We will also get the information with respect to the refugee claimants at the border coming in from the U.S. We will address those issues for you.

Senator Day: My other question relates to the Customs side of things. I do not want to say that you were resisting the suggestions from my colleagues, and that might be because of dollars or because it will take a while.

We were talking about dealing with containers at their source, that is, where come from. The closer you can get to when those containers are packed, the more likely it is that only safe containers would arrive here in Canada. We also talked about containers in large ports such as Amsterdam. If we can examine the containers before they leave their port of origin, that would be even better.

Some of our witnesses talked about using technology to ensure that those containers were sealed and could not be tampered with. You could go back to the plant when they were packed and know that they were clean when they were packed and then sealed. Then you could have a geographic positioning system that tracks that container. Our witnesses told us that it could all be done easily with the technology that exists today.

Where are we in that thinking? Are we resisting that because we cannot implement it? Our witnesses pointed out that some companies do a lot of shipping, and they would cooperate in relation to that kind of system if they could have a faster flow of their product through the ports when they arrive in North America, which seems to me to be a good incentive. Everyone would want to sign up if it would speed up the passage of their product.

Ms. Tracy: The federal government has taken a lead on the e-seal projects, and you have probably heard of ``Operation Safe Commerce'' type pilot programs that are going on with Transport Canada. It is the Smart Transportation Systems Directorate, I believe, that is leading it.

Having said that, we have gone to a number of meetings with safe commerce people, and we have talked a lot and done a lot of research into e-seals. E-seals and GIS are very effective, to a point. In Customs, we still have a concern, and we need to look at the kind of technology out there, but we still have a concern that you can beat an e-seal. You can get into a container without disturbing an electronic seal.

We are very committed to working with these various pilot programs and to seeing how far the technology can go and how useful it can be, but we do have that lasting concern about the capacity of the e-seals to assure us that a container has not been tampered with.

Senator Day: Is that what is holding everything up?

Ms. Tracy: No. Transport Canada can answer your question better. I know they have had a number of discussions with the safe commerce people and with the various ports, Halifax and Vancouver particularly, but perhaps Montreal as well. They would be able to provide you with more information of exactly where the federal government is in those discussions.

Senator Day: The fact that it is with Transport Canada means it is still in the thinking or policy stage as opposed to being at the implementation stage with the real doers out there such as your departments.

Ms. Tracy: You would have to talk to Transport Canada about the status.

The Chairman: I thank our panel of witnesses for appearing before us. Your information has been helpful to our study, and we hope to have you back before us again before too long. We find that we have a continuing appetite for information relating to both Customs and Immigration and the security of Canada and our borders.

To our viewers, if you have questions or comments, please visit our Web site by going to We post witness testimony as well as confirmed hearing schedules. Otherwise, you may contact the clerk of the committee by calling 1-800- 267-7362 for further information or assistance in contacting the members of the committee.

This portion of the public meeting of the committee is adjourned.

The committee continued in camera.