Proceedings of the Standing Senate Committee on
National Security and Defence
Issue 17 - Evidence
OTTAWA, Monday, May 12, 2003
The Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence met this day
at 4 p.m. to examine and report on the need for a national security policy for
Senator Colin Kenny (Chairman) in the Chair.
The Chairman: On behalf of the Standing Senate Committee on National
Security and Defence, I should like to welcome our witnesses to the Senate of
Canada. We look forward to having a constructive dialogue with you over the next
45 minutes or so. Our committee takes a very open approach. Our members
represent both the government and the opposition. We will be happy to discuss
any issues or deal with any questions that you or your colleagues would care to
raise. However, you may find that there are differing views within the committee
on questions you may raise.
Honourable Abdygany Erkebaev, M.P., Speaker of the Legislative Assembly,
Kyrgyz Republic: That is certainly typical of Parliamentarians, is it not?
The Chairman: It certainly is. Mr. Speaker, I turn the floor over to
Mr. Erkebaev: Esteemed Mr. Chairman and senators, we should like to
express our gratitude that you have agreed to meet with us.
The fact that so many of you are around this table is testimony to the fact
that you are interested in our visit and what we representing. Allow me to
express my gratitude for that.
Some words of introduction may act as a catalyst for starting conversation.
You are certainly aware of the fact that Kyrgyzstan is a relatively small
country. It entered the path of independence about 12 years ago.
Kyrgyzstan's history it is different from Canada's, which has a longer
history, encompassing quite different events. We are only starting to go through
what you have gone through.
I have had the opportunity to visit the United States several times, and in
preparing for my visit to Canada, I undertook a comparison between the two
In looking at the pages of your history, I discovered that Canada has many
things in common with the U.S. Both countries were actually developed or became
states as a result of the influx of immigrants from Europe — English and
French. What makes Canada different from the United States is that Canada has
its own unique experience.
From the perspective of your policy, linguistics and other things it is quite
obvious that bilingualism is basically in your blood, and we have recognized
that fact during our stay here in Canada.
Your Constitution is certainly something I can learn from. I know that you
have been inspired by the experiences of France and England, taking into account
that England has no written Constitution as such.
In England and Canada, the development of your constitutional law was
developed by way of legislation and in a somewhat fragmented fashion. The
British North America Act, adopted in 1867, is the document that established
Canada on the stage and it is still a valid document as such. Later on, in 1982,
we saw the patriation of the Constitution.
This history and those examples I have just quoted show how difficult and
full of obstacles the road to democracy can be.
In any case, we much appreciate your achievements, whether in the field of
economy or democracy.
I would like also to note with satisfaction that, among all the countries of
the world, Canada is actually the most important one for us as far as
investments are concerned. In particular, I would mention the activities of a
Canadian company, Comeco, which is involved in the extraction of gold ore. That
company active not only in our country, but it is also involved in some other
joint enterprises. I would also mention the assistance granted to us by CIDA.
Taking into account the terms of reference of your committee, I would presume
that we might discuss questions other than economics. I would also presume that
we may want to discuss the situation in the Central Asian region and, in
particular, in Kyrgyzstan.
I would like to use this opportunity to express my gratitude to your country
for the fact that, within the framework of NATO — and on a bilateral basis —
there has always been a positive attitude toward our country. Without an
environment of stability, without peace and security, there is no way that we
could talk about economy or democracy.
From the first days of our independence, we have always been on the side of
the NATO doctrine and the overall policy of the United States, taking into
account that Afghanistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan are next door and are the
source of extremist activities, terrorist activities and dangerous activities in
general. This is the reason Kyrgyzstan has always participated in several
programs of NATO and in particular the program, Partnership for Peace.
The officers of our young armed forces have undergone some training sessions
in the United States, in Germany and in Turkey, in the framework of NATO or
When the situation in Afghanistan became critical and the international
community decided to act against the terrorism in Afghanistan and try to
suppress the movement of the Taliban, we set our international airport at the
disposal of those forces which were ready to undertake an anti-Taliban
One can understand the reason behind all that because terrorist groups
passing through Tajikistan actually penetrated our territory in 1999 and in
2000, so I can certainly say that we were face to face with terrorism.
The Parliament of Kazakhstan, in particular, the house I am representing
here, understood the danger we were facing in terms of peace and security and
decided, with very little discussion, to take the appropriate measures.
We are convinced that, after the war in Iraq, the situations in Afghanistan,
Tajikistan and, to a certain degree, in Uzbekistan will still be situations that
represent a threat and danger for us. We think we should remain active until
those particular threats are eliminated.
Using the opportunity of this meeting, I would like to draw your attention to
another fact. I already mentioned that, in the education and development of
skills of our young armed forces, we received assistance from the United States,
Germany and Turkey. I think that Canada, as one of the most developed and most
modern states, could also assist us in that field.
We are very much aware of the outstanding activities of your international
peace centre named after your former Minister of External Affairs and Prime
Minister, Lester B. Pearson. It has an excellent reputation. Our military people
have been going through some courses in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, but we would be
interested to see some representatives of our military circles going through
your international peace centre.
As a young state, we certainly need multilateral assistance in many areas,
especially as far as the acquisition of equipment for our army is concerned and
going even as far as the renewal of our uniforms. In other words, we would like
to see Canada pay attention to us and offer us support.
If you have any specific questions, my colleagues and I are ready to answer
them, and we are ready to continue the discussion.
The Chairman: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. It is a pleasure to
welcome you here. We are flattered at your knowledge of our country and of our
Your country is in an important strategic location vis-à-vis the war on
terror. You have experienced great turbulence in your region and it is in
everyone's interests that the turbulence be resolved in a peaceful manner. I was
impressed that, very early in your remarks, you spoke favourably about the
Partnership for Peace program. I was impressed because the principles enshrined
in the Partnership for Peace program are very important as you are dealing with
issues of protecting your country and ensuring your borders are secure.
As a NATO country, we have found that the Partnership for Peace program has
been a significant stepping stone for countries wishing to join NATO and an
important change in the dynamic of how countries function. Specifically, we
attach great importance to countries that are able to resolve border disputes
with their neighbours peacefully. We also value greatly countries that are able
to deal with minorities within their country in a humane and fair manner. We
attach great importance to the freedom of the press. We have a high regard for
countries that have the ability to change governments peacefully. We believe
that striving toward a free market economy is a very important concept.
We recognize that it is often a difficult balancing act when you are under
pressure from countries around you that, perhaps, pursue a fundamentalist
approach toward religion, to balance that off against having freedom of
By the same token, the ability to encourage dissent, open debate and free
speech when your democracy is threatened is a challenge that faces the entire
We have noted your comment that you would welcome military cooperation
between our two countries. As you know, we are sending 1,800 troops to the
region for a period starting this summer. We welcome your comments about the
Pearson Peacekeeping Centre. We are proud of it. We welcome participation from
your country in that centre.
As an indication of how open we are to diversity and different points of
view, I will be asking other members of the committee who choose to, to make
comments to you. We will see whether we have diversity of opinion here on our
Mr. Erkebaev: With your kind permission, I should like to add two
words to what I have said because, in your statement, you have actually
encouraged me to comment on some of your statements.
First, I should like to express my admiration for the fact that you have such
a deep knowledge about what is happening in our region, in particular, my
country. In your statement, you raised some questions with which I did not deal,
and I should like to mention them en passant.
When I mentioned the attachment we have for the Western world, taking into
account the existence of a developing, young democracy in our country, I wanted
to stress the fact that we need protection from the outside world.
Among the areas you mentioned, was one particularly sensitive area. In
addition to the threats we are experiencing from Afghanistan and from the
Islamic fundamentalist movement, we are also faced with some border problems, in
particular related to two countries — Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. This is
something that we inherited from the Soviet Union. During the last years of the
existence of the Soviet Union, it was in this particular sphere that there was
Notwithstanding the enormous efforts we are making, the solution to the
problem is hard to achieve and requires significant efforts on our side.
Two MPs, Mr. Baltabaev and Mr. Sharapov, live in regions close to the border
with Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. The question of the delineation of the
borderline is often dealt with in a harsh way. That situation could,
potentially, cause some conflicts, and even worse than that.
I wanted to be frank with honourable senators about that subject so that you
might be aware of the problem.
We must also consider Russia and China, with whom we have historical ties.
When we think about rapprochement with the West and look in the direction of the
West, we always have Russia and China in mind. We have a common border with
China and we have been neighbours for millennia, while our ties with Russia are
already two centuries old. From the geostrategical point of view, they are
always particularly interested in our country. Lately, Russia has been showing
even more interest than was the case previously.
The position of our president, which I fully support, is that as a small
country we are willing to be friends with all the countries with which we are in
contact, on the condition that we are respected and that people have a friendly
attitude toward us. Therefore, we pay particular attention to and are very much
aware of friendly relations with Russia and China. The West, Russia and China
should be what we call a ``friendly triangle.''
That is my frank opinion on the subject.
The Chairman: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. We appreciate your comments.
Before I ask our distinguished deputy chair, Senator Forrestall, to take the
floor, I wish to say that he has been a distinguished member of Parliament for
over three decades. He is a Conservative; I am a Liberal; he is one of the
harshest and most tenacious critics of the government; yet we are very close
friends. Our committee is stronger for him and other of his party members having
views different from those of the government.
Senator Forrestall: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Speaker, may I join with our chair in extending to you a warm personal
welcome. It is always to our advantage to discuss with others matters of mutual
Let me say at the outset that I love my enemies; it is my friends with whom I
Mr. Speaker, your country is, in one sense, newer, but, in the real sense of
peoples, it is ancient and rich in its traditions and history. It is important
to us that, as the world community in which we all live evolves, we pay
attention to our own written laws. Our constitutions are written by us to be
followed, not when it is convenient, but when it is the fair, right and
difficult thing to do.
We urge you to carry with you a brief message from the Conservative element
of this country, which is probably 95 per cent of the people 20 per cent of the
time, that it is important to obey the written law of the international
institutions that, for the benefit of society, put forward paths of learning. It
is important that you learn, as we all must, from the values of obeying your own
laws. It then becomes quite easy to facilitate and understand the role of
Again, I welcome you, sir, and wish you well in our country. Can we sell you
anything? Do you have something to sell to us? I am looking for good
Mr. Erkebaev: Senator Forrestall, I thank you for having drawn
attention again to the numerous pages of our ancient history. Indeed, as you
said so well, we are a young sovereign state; the period of our existence
encompasses only 12 years. At the same time, paradoxically, through a decision
of the United Nations, 2,000 years of statehood of our country has been
recognized. We are going through cycles. We are going through a renaissance. We
are very grateful to the Canadian government and other governments that
supported us in the framework of the United Nations.
As far as your statement about the Constitution is concerned, I can only but
agree with you. You are absolutely right. That is what we are starting to
In our House, we also have liberals, socialists, social democrats and other
significant groups of communists. We have more parties than you do and more
difficulties than you have. You have only four parties. We have many more. At
the same time, we are willing to learn about your tolerance and pluralism.
The Chairman: We are honoured that you found time in your busy
schedule to visit with us. I have been advised that you must prepared for
engagements this evening. However before you go, I have a small token of
appreciation that I should like to present to you on behalf of our committee so
that you may remember this meeting.
Mr. Erkebaev: I would like to leave you with a memento. Since we were
talking about ancient history I should like to present you with this medal
commemorating one of the founders of our statehood.
The Chairman: Thank you very much, sir.
The committee suspended its sitting.
The Chairman: It is a pleasure to welcome you to the Standing Senate
Committee on National Security and Defence. My name is Colin Kenny. I chair the
committee, and I am a senator from Ontario.
With us today is the distinguished senator from Nova Scotia, Senator Michael
Forrestall. Senator Forrestall has served the constituents of Dartmouth for the
past 37 years, first as their member of the House of Commons and then as 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.
Senator Jack Wiebe served as lieutenant governor of the province and as a
member of the Saskatchewan Legislative Assembly before his appointment to the
Senate in the year 2000. Senator Wiebe is Deputy Chair of the Standing Senate
Committee on Agriculture and Forestry and also sits on the Standing Senate
Committee on Rules, Procedures and the Rights of Parliament, as well as on our
Subcommittee on Veterans Affairs.
Senator Cordy, from Nova Scotia, was an accomplished educator with an
extensive record of community involvement before coming to the Senate in the
year 2000. In addition to serving on our committee, she has been a member of the
Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology that
recently released a landmark report on health care and is now studying mental
health. She was recently elected Vice-Chair of the Canadian NATO Parliamentary
Senator 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. He is chair of the Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the
Environment and Natural Resources. Currently, that committee is studying nuclear
safety and control.
Our committee is the first permanent Senate committee mandated to examine
security and defence. Over the past 18 months, we have completed a number of
reports, beginning with our report, Canadian Security and Military Preparedness.
The report, which was tabled in February 2002, examined the major defence and
security issues facing Canada.
The Senate then asked our committee to examine the need for a national
security policy. So far, we have released three reports on various aspects of
national security: first, the Defence of North America: A Canadian
Responsibility, published in September of 2002; second, An Update on Canada's
Military Crisis: A View from the Bottom Up, published in November 2002; and,
most recently, The Myth of Security at Canada's Airports, published in January
The committee is continuing its long-term evaluation of Canada's ability to
contribute to security and defence in North America. As part of its work, the
committee has been holding hearings on federal government support to the men and
women across the country who respond first to emergencies and disasters.
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
These hearings update an earlier committee report, Defence of North America,
published in September 2002, which found Canadian coastal defence efforts to be
largely ad hoc and fragmentary.
Our first witnesses will be from the Navy League of Canada, Vice-Admiral
(Ret'd) Gary L. Garnett, National Vice- President for Maritime Affairs of the
Navy League. He is accompanied by Captain (Ret'd) John Dewar, Member, Maritime
Affairs, also of the Navy League of Canada.
Admiral Garnett retired in 2001, after a 38-year career in the Canadian
Forces. At the time of his retirement, he was completing a four-year tour as
Vice-Chief of the Defence Staff. He was a weapons specialist sea-going naval
officer. His senior naval appointments included Commander, Maritime Forces,
Atlantic, and Commander, Maritime Command. At National Defence headquarters, his
appointments included Executive Assistant to the Chief of Defence Staff,
Director of Maritime Development and Chief of Personnel Services.
Gentlemen, welcome to the committee. I understand you have a short statement
to make, and you may begin.
Vice-Admiral (Ret'd) Gary L. Garnett, National Vice-President for Maritime
Affairs, Navy League of Canada: I will add to my biography that I started my
time in uniform as a Navy League cadet and followed by being a Sea Cadet in
Hamilton, Ontario in the 1950s.
Captain Dewar retired after a 32-year career in the Canadian Forces.
Currently, he works for CFN Consultants and sits on our maritime affairs
committee and is our representative for the Conference of Defence Associations.
I will begin by offering background on the organization we represent. Navy
League of Canada was founded in 1895 with a broad-based mandate to promote
Canada's maritime interests and, particularly, at that time, the need for a
Canadian navy. I am very proud of the role the Navy League played in the
establishment of Canada's naval service in 1910. We are also proud of our youth
training programs. Established in 1917, our youth training initiative has
evolved into two separate programs, the Navy League Cadets, for youths 10 to 13,
and the Royal Canadian Sea Cadets, for youths 12 to 18.
Currently, these organizations are comprised of approximately 15,000 young
Canadians, 5,000 adult members with the participation of 251 communities
The modern Navy League defines three separate operational areas: first, the
Sea Cadet Program, operated in partnership with the Department of National
Defence and Canadian Forces; second, the Navy League Cadets, our own junior
youth program; and, third, Maritime Affairs, which has brought us here today.
I am pleased to have been invited to deliver the Navy League's perspective on
the need for a national maritime security policy and the need for increased
interoperability between or the integration of the various departments and
agencies that share responsibility for maritime security in Canada.
As you are aware, the Navy League recently published a discussion paper
entitled Canada: An Incomplete Maritime Nation. Many of my discussion items have
been addressed in the national security portion of this paper, but I wish to
amplify certain key points that relate to maritime security.
The Navy League holds a broad view of national security and the traditional
concept of military protection of sovereignty. National security represents the
preservation of the nation's people, resources and culture. Threats to national
security include those that are political, such as the threat of military or
terrorist activity, and those that are criminal, economic, ecological or
health-based. It is this broad definition that has been used to frame my
remarks. Our paper defines the heart and soul of effective maritime security as
knowing exactly what is happening in all waters under Canadian jurisdiction,
including the Arctic.
To do this, three criteria must be met: know exactly who is using those
waters; maintain an unequivocal expression of government authority; and be able
to respond quickly and effectively to violations of the law or threats to
At the heart of the matter is information. Information needs to be collected
and fused into one clear geospatial intelligence picture.
The navy currently operates maritime operation centres in Halifax and
Victoria. They have been tasked as non- deployed, operational level command
centres, in accordance with the 1994 white paper. Co-located with them are the
joint Canadian Forces-Coast Guard search and rescue centres.
However, testimony you have heard from various sources, including the
Canadian Coast Guard, the RCMP and the navy clearly indicate our approach to
maritime security has been, in your own words, ``fragmented and largely ad
hoc.'' There is a need for the government to clearly task the maritime operation
centres with the role of establishing and maintaining what we call the ``total
picture'' of what is happening at sea. You have discussed this concept of
regional or national intelligence coordination centres with various witnesses.
It is our view that the picture should be complied locally on each coast and
then provided to a national centre, which will have many additional roles, such
as commanding deployed Canadian forces, operations beyond that of pure domestic
A maritime security centre or operations centre or whatever we wish to call
it must have intelligence, fusion and decision-making components, giving it the
ability to identify and evaluate threats and implement any appropriate response.
These centres would most logically be managed by the navy but must include
permanent officers or officials from other government departments, such as DFO,
RCMP, CCRA, Environment, Customs, et cetera. These officers would coordinate
intelligence efforts and advise the command structure as subject-matter experts
for their field of expertise.
When important responses or threats or crises are being considered, higher
level officials from their respective departments would move into this maritime
operation centre, and these officers would then act as their staff officers. We
see great benefit in integrating maritime security centres with the existing
naval operational centres and command structure. Technology enables the
real-time sharing of information, and it is certainly possible to add additional
strategic level intelligence nationally without hampering the operational
effectiveness obtained by close coordination at the coastal level.
Given that intelligence is the most important aspect of security, we cannot
afford to nickel and dime the infrastructure that will process the information.
The argument of ``it is less expensive to create one than to create two'' does
not hold water, considering the many and varied functions that will be the
hallmark of any single national centre. The ability to build on fused
information that has already been processed in other certified operation centres
like these coastal ones, NORAD, NATO or deployed joint force commanders will
much better serve the national strategic level Canadian commander or government
official in charge.
Effective utilization of these centres will depend largely on our ability to
collect and then fuse the information.
The Navy League is particularly concerned about our nation's intelligence
collection capability. This includes human intelligence, signals intelligence
and surveillance, be it aeronautical, surface or subsurface. Each is of concern.
Given that Canada has over 240,000 kilometres of coastline and almost 10 million
square kilometres of ocean territory, we see an urgent need to add the wide area
surveillance capability, such as satellites and long-range, unmanned aerial
vehicles such as Global Hawk — which, incidentally, could fly in the Arctic
for over 24 hours at a time — to the current mix of surveillance assets.
Without these tools we will never have a true picture of what is happening in
our ocean approaches and coastal territories.
Monitoring capabilities will be enhanced by the use of vessel transponders
and could be further enhanced by deploying more high-frequency surface-wave
radars than those currently planned at just the choke points.
Beyond surveillance there is a need to integrate the intelligence and
knowledge resources held by the various government departments. I call your
attention to the COINPAC overview attached to my presentation. The Cooperative
Ocean Information Network Pacific is a joint public-private sector initiative
that could serve as a model for information-sharing between government agencies
or as a baseline on which to build the broader security picture.
I have talked at length about the need for intelligence collection and
information processing, as well as the decision- making mechanisms required to
coordinate an appropriate response. This should cover the first of our three
criteria: to know who exactly is using our waters.
The second criterion is to maintain an unequivocal expression of government
authority in our waters. The simple presence of government flag vessels is a
powerful deterrent to security threats. The mix of vessels should include navy,
Coast Guard, Fisheries, RCMP, or those of any other government agency. The
important thing is to maintain a presence in our coastal and inland waterways.
We currently fall short of this requirement. As an illustration, I call your
attention to The Globe and Mail article, ``Return of the Vikings,''
attached to my presentation. This article details the need to maintain a
presence in our inland waterways and also illustrates how our longstanding
neglect of the Arctic has jeopardized our sovereignty claim to that territory.
If Canada is ever to achieve maritime security, we must be able to maintain
an at-sea presence in all our ocean approaches and waterways, including the
Arctic. Again, I emphasize the fact that these need not always be warships. As
discussed in our paper, there is a clear need for environmental protection,
scientific research and marine safety. Vessels used for these purposes by virtue
of their Canadian flag fill the requirement for presence.
This brings me to the third criterion for maritime security: to be able to
respond quickly and effectively to violations of the law or threats to national
security. I have touched on this during my remarks on maritime security centres,
but only from the intelligence and structural aspects. I would like to cover the
operational aspects of response.
Clearly, the navy is our best resource when it comes to responding to
security threats. It has the operational intelligence expertise and force
protection capability, making it the logical choice for a lead agency. However,
our naval resources are stretched very thin and are incapable of meeting all our
domestic security demands and supporting foreign policy at the same time.
Although this could be resolved with a massive infusion of cash and personnel,
neither appears likely to happen to the degree that would be required.
In addition, the requirements for naval vessels are substantially different
from those required for much of the non- military aspects of maritime security.
You do not need a frigate or Fisheries patrols for search and rescue, except
during those times of the year when the weather is such that they could be the
most appropriate vessels to sail, or the threat is of significance.
The more practical solution that must be considered is to redevelop our Coast
Guard with an interdiction and enforcement capability. As the Auditor General
noted, the current mission and resources of the Coast Guard are not in balance.
Thus, the addition of any new mission would have to follow the stabilization of
the current one. As you have heard in testimony from Commissioner Adams, the
current mandate and capabilities of the Coast Guard limit it to tracking,
monitoring and reporting, or serving as a ferry service for other government
departments. Is this the best use of the Coast Guard? The option of providing
the Coast Guard with vessels and crews that have the capability to interdict and
quarantine vessels, conduct emergency spill response, sea management, and
operate more frequently in the Arctic and conduct search and rescue to our
200-nautical-mile limit — in other words, to become more like the U.S. Coast
Guard — needs to be considered by government in the broader context of
If it is decided to proceed in this manner, then the Coast Guard may — and
I emphasize ``may'' — need to be moved to the Department of National Defence
and come under the umbrella of the navy. The development of an integrated fleet
of government vessels coordinated by maritime security centres would allow
Canada to meet the third criterion for maritime security: to be able to respond
quickly and effectively to violations of the law or threats to national
To have clarity of mandate and jurisdictional authorities in the area of
maritime security clearly spelled out will require the development of a
comprehensive maritime security policy. It is very clear that the there is a
policy vacuum in the maritime security arena. This is probably best illustrated
in the testimony you received from Mr. Haydon about who is driving the bus. At
present I am not sure it is possible to answer that question. If the department
in charge is the one with the least resources and capability, then the need for
a maritime security policy is even more urgent, and the task should be
undertaken without delay.
However, the effectiveness of this policy would be limited without the
development of a comprehensive oceans management policy. This was a critical
point of our discussion paper: the need for an oceans management policy to
address security, offshore resources, industrial development, environmental
protection, scientific research, marine safety and shipping issues that are
critical to the development of our maritime sector. This policy vacuum needs to
be filled quickly, as there are clearly identifiable gaps in our ability to meet
the requirements of maritime security. Our paper urges the government to apply
considerable policy-making resources and a broad consultative process to this
The Navy League of Canada is eager to provide any assistance we can. We
recognize that the best way to preserve our people, our culture and our natural
resources is to identify and respond to threats before they reach our shore. As
such, we identify the need for a maritime security policy as both immediate and
Throughout our 108-year history, the volunteers of the Navy League of Canada
have been pleased to support our country, through our work with youth, our
support of the navy and merchant marine, especially during times of war, and by
working in a collaborative and cooperative approach with our government to
address the many maritime issues that affect the health of our nation.
I wish to thank you for your invitation to testify today and I look forward
to future dialogue on these important issues.
Senator Banks: We have heard representations before about these
questions and I suspect you may have read some of them. I would be interested in
an even more detailed overview than you have given to us on your opinions with
respect to two questions. The first concerns the fact that some countries have a
kind of maritime force that looks after the security in the littoral area —
that is inshore — and a navy that deals with deep sea matters. Some countries
integrate those functions effectively and have them performed by one force,
usually the navy. Do you think that is a good idea?
Second, you have said that in order to enforce sovereignty it is not
necessary that we have a warship some place, but must not a ship, wherever it
is, need to be able to perform enforcement of some kind, other than flying the
flag? Does it not need to have some kind of teeth? Are we not absent that now in
a considerable number of ships, and in particular the considerable number of
ships of the Coast Guard, who can only, as far as I know, fly the flag, unless
they happen to be ferrying a policeman or an enforcement officer of some kind?
If they do not have such a passenger, they can do nothing. We are wrestling with
that issue. You referred to moving toward the American model, but we are a long
way from that now.
What is your view of a combined force that looks after both the inshore and
the offshore? What do you think we ought to do to put the Coast Guard to better
use, as far as security is concerned?
Mr. Garnett: In essence, as far as your first question is concerned,
there are really two options. I do not think we want to proceed to the U.S.
Coast Guard model where there is no naval presence and where the Coast Guard has
responsibility for the first 200 miles. Development of that capacity within our
Coast Guard — and this testimony has already been given — would take two
Regarding the second part of your question, our current Coast Guard has no
enforcement capability by virtue of either legislation or training. That is
where we need to focus and to better integrate, in an operations sense, the use
of the Coast Guard and the navy.
Senator Banks: How would you do that? If money were not in question,
what would be the logistics, the mechanics? How would you reorganize a more
efficient and effective use — if that is the right word — of the ships'
resources in the current Coast Guard? We are tap-dancing around. What would you
do right now to fix it within a year?
Mr. Garnett: The key is the role of the operations centres or security
centres and the authorities that are given to those centres and to the navy that
runs them. In other words, they should not just act as collectors of information
but they should have decision-making power and command authority over all the
vessels. The centres would not have to say what the vessels would do but they
would ensure that the vessels would act in concert with what everybody else is
In addition, the Coast Guard should have some broader mandated role. That can
be done in a variety of ways. We need not train every vessel and every crew
member in interdiction. That training could be done in a much smaller piece of
The U.S. Coast Guard, for example, due to a variety of legislative rules in
the United States, puts boarding teams on the U.S. navy ships to do anti-drug or
drug interdiction operations in the Caribbean. They have hired and trained a
group of expert teams who are put on board ships. A similar kind of organization
could be arranged with our Coast Guard for the vessels that work in the areas
where those opportunities might exist. Again, the operation could be run out of
those Maritime operations centres as a quasi-police function to cover the
breadth of activities that we want to interdict.
Senator Banks: Assuming we could find a way to accommodate those new
crew members with operational space, could we use several of them on a small
cutter and five, six or ten on a larger ship?
Mr. Garnett: A couple of Zodiacs could be used.
Senator Banks: Would they all have some kind of enforcement capability
Mr. Garnett: It need not be all vessels and it need not be all the
time. The coordination security centres could run the operation in the broader
Captain (N) (Ret'd) John Dewar, Member, Maritime Affairs, Navy League of
Canada: I want to return to your first question about the areas of
jurisdiction as well as the capability of the services that are delivering it.
To my mind, it is not really a question of geography in the way that the
boundary has been delineated, for example, between the U.S. Navy and the Coast
Guard. It is a matter of functions. Even within the United States Coast Guard, a
number of functions are performed, only some of which are dedicated to
constabulary and law-enforcement activities. Much of the responsibility is due
to the capabilities of the vessels themselves. The United States Coast Guard
performs many of the same functions as our own Coast Guard — maintenance of
navigation aids, buoy tending, ice breaking, et cetera. The ships that fill
those roles are not necessarily well suited to interdiction activities.
The vessels that do that type of activity — the larger, high-endurance
cutters that work further offshore and the smaller patrol vessels — are very
similar to naval ships. Many of the Coast Guard ships have the ability to
integrate into the United States Navy and to perform very similar types of
The function of each ship is an important question, as is the training of the
various people who carry out the different activities. As you know, we did some
experiments in Canada using naval officers as fishery protection officers. There
was some question of whether that would be a useful synergy because they
happened to be at sea anyway. However, the training to produce an effective
Fisheries officer is fairly lengthy, as is the training to produce a naval
officer. By the time you combine those two functions, there is a lot of overlap
and redundancy in the training.
Those jobs cannot be done without the training. To a naval officer with my
experience and, I would suggest, to most of my colleagues, one block of frozen
fish looked pretty much like any other block of frozen fish. It takes a very
detailed set of skills and knowledge to be able to distinguish different types
There are two questions: One relates to the types of ships that perform the
roles and the functions — not just the geography — and the second relates to
the type of people on those vessels.
General, broad activity can be done by naval people or with RCMP, as is done
in the marine divisions. To put the right skills in the right ship at the right
time is the task at hand right now. What is the best way to deliver that ability
with the fleet mixes that we have? It is not just a question of geography, it is
a question of deciding the functions of the ships, regardless of the colours
painted on the sides. Then we must distribute the right number of people on
those ships with the right amount of training to deliver the services required.
Senator Wiebe: I would like to have your view on what we would call
the thin line between choosing to move the Coast Guard, for example, to the
Department of National Defence, or to move it under the umbrella of the navy.
Where is that thin line?
For example, the policing for law and order within our country rests with the
provincial police and/or the RCMP. When we had a crisis at Oka, we called in the
army because the police felt, in their own minds, that they could not handle the
Does the Coast Guard have the responsibility of law and order and peace
within our coastal waters? Would we be taking a step outside the historical role
of our Armed Forces if we asked the navy to be a part of policing as well?
Mr. Garnett: There are several aspects to your question.
First, the role the Canadian Forces is the defence of Canada and North
America. The forces have historically recognized that, but there had not been
too much of a recognizable threat until 9/11, an event which really changed the
notion of ``domestic first'' as an ``okay'' sort of phrase.
One of the major issues in a defence and foreign policy review must relate to
that question: What does ``domestic first'' mean to the Canadian Forces? Many
issues surround that question. Until there is a broad review of defence policy,
I would not want to hazard the answers. I have been involved in some work with
the Defence Scientific Advisory Board, work that very much suggests a need for a
larger domestic role for the Canadian Forces in the future. Albeit there has
been a first-priority defensive policy, that policy has not been highly visible.
To me that is a huge question. I set that aside as something Professor
Middlemiss may address because he works in the foreign and defence policy arena.
The second aspect of the question relates to the fleets that we have. We have
Coast Guard vessels, we have Fisheries vessels, we have some RCMP cutters or
small vessels, and we have a navy. The navy has concluded that, on average, it
takes 7 to 15 years to change capabilities. That is the length of time it takes
to think of a new ship or a new capability for a ship, design it, build it and
to train people to use it. From the kind of questions that you are asking, it
appears that you do not want to wait 7 to 15 years.
We must look at what is in place now and how best we use what we have. I
suggest that it is not necessary to change the role of the Coast Guard into all
enforcement. We have just had a discussion with Senator Banks where we offered
some options around how better to use what is there now.
There is a second question, thinking in the longer term: Do we want a U.S.
Coast Guard that has, as John Dewar says, all those traditional ice breaking,
buoy tending activities, et cetera, which is a separate piece of the Coast Guard
from the one we more colloquially know, which is really a navy? The U.S. Coast
Guard is the eleventh largest navy in the world with the ninth largest air force
of interest. That is some way down the road, if we want to do that.
The more urgent question is how do we better use what we have to give us more
comfort that there is a broader Maritime security capability, and then, where is
the policy and what direction is needed to do that?
Does that answer your question?
Senator Banks: Parenthetical to everything else we are talking about,
the amount of land that we control, including land under the sea, is much less
right now than it would be if Canada were to ratify the Law of the Sea. Can you
give us your view on that?
Mr. Garnett: That is a huge policy question. I sat at a seminar at
Dalhousie with Geoffrey Pearson and talked about the Law of the Sea. I do not
know if Mr. Pearson has appeared here, but he would tell you how disappointed he
is that we have not ratified the Law of the Sea. There is a huge issue; you
ratify the Law of the Sea and you have a 10-year period to map all of that
offshore area that you want to claim as your own and provide proof and
justification to the United Nations that that is yours.
Senator Banks: We would have to look at a considerable amount of
ocean; is that not correct?
Mr. Garnett: That is true. There are some major questions in the
Arctic as well.
I do not know if anybody has done an estimate, although somebody probably
has, of much effort and cost it would take to do this. Would 10 years be enough
for Canada to do it? We have the expertise. I can name companies on the West
Coast and on the East Coast that have the expertise.
It would have been nice if we had been doing this piece by piece as we went
along. Some initiatives of ocean mapping are going on. There is one out of the
Bedford Institute and one out of the Institute of Ocean Science in Pat Bay.
As we say in our paper, those two institutes that used to be world leaders in
the 1970s in marine scientific research have been severely cut back in terms of
resources, funding and people, such that they are underutilized now and they
have not been doing much of the research. A key point in our paper is that we
have, as a country, neglected ocean scientific research in the recent past. That
relates, at least in part, to the question you have asked. This is a huge
challenge. It is one that we will have to undertake sooner or later. It needs
focus, effort and initiative.
Senator Banks: In your opinion, should we do this sooner or later? Is
this an urgent matter?
Mr. Garnett: We should consider addressing this matter now, rather
than putting it off, which we have been doing. Our paper says that we understand
why it relates to the nose and tail of the bank as the issue of the moment. We
are waiting for an enforcement regime to allow us to have some international
protection to enforce fisheries protection on the nose and tail of the bank. It
seems we have been waiting a number of years to do that. How long do you
continue to wait for that before you declare the more broadly raised question?
Senator Banks: This is a cogent question this month in particular.
I believe you partly answered the question, admiral.
Do we need to build a bunch of new ships, or can we manage with what we have
if we make some adaptive changes?
Mr. Garnett: This is again a matter of near term and long term. In the
near term, we make best use of what we have, and there are ways to do that and
we have discussed some of them.
There must always be renewal programs for ships. Technology, capability and
missions change. Going back 40 years, the U.S. Coast Guard offshore patrol ships
were really warships. It seems that there is some opportunity to look at
renewing ships. Someone testified to this committee that they could review the
Coast Guard with $341 million. That would not even replace Louis St. Laurent.
We are talking huge dollars, not $341 million.
Mr. Dewar: If I could add to the question asked by Senator Banks in
regard to whether renewal would require new ships, it is a matter of capacity at
this time as well. I am sure Admiral Buck, in his testimony, mentioned the
operational tempo that the navy is maintaining now in order to meet their
overseas obligations and the residual capacity that is left in Canada. If you
are to add functions, for example, to the navy, then you would require
additional capacity to be able to deliver that reasonably.
That also applies to the Coast Guard. In order for the Coast Guard to fulfil
additional tasking, even without an extra constabulary role, additional
resources would be required.
Senator Banks: Is there a major gap in capacity between a Maritime
coastal patrol vessel, on the one hand, and a frigate or a destroyer on the
Mr. Garnett: Indeed, there is. In the early 1990s, both Admiral King,
who will be testifying next, and myself were in charge of naval programs. At one
time there was a vessel called the ocean corvette. He may have changed the name
of it on me. He seemed to change the name of everything, such that I did not
even know what the current names were.
Senator Banks: Some relatives of mine would rather that we not call
anything a ``corvette.''
Mr. Garnett: There was a perceived gap to be filled with a vessel that
could go faster, and was Atlantic and Pacific capable in that area, and was not
meant to be deployed around the world, but had a capability. That endured for a
number of years. We even had a project office, but that went by the wayside in a
program review cutback.
Senator Banks: Would those plans still work? Is the basic naval
architecture of that ship what we would need to fill that gap?
Mr. Garnett: Admiral King could answer that better than I could. There
is no question that everything would need to be renewed. After 10 years' worth
of technology, there will be different hull forms and engines. It would probably
not be dissimilar to what the U.S. Coast Guard would call a high endurance
cutter, which is around the 2,000-ton type of vessel.
Senator Banks: Notwithstanding that we should make the best use of
what fleets we have, is there still a functional hole that cannot be properly
filled right now?
Mr. Garnett: That hole could be filled in a more cost-effective manner
than using a frigate. However, it requires resources not just for building, but
also for people. It could be a warship or a Coast Guard ship in a new Coast
Guard. It would be more like that piece of the U.S. Coast Guard. You can look at
those two potential scenarion and decide where it best fits in the broader
Mr. Dewar: If you were to build new ships to deliver that capacity,
whether it were to the Coast Guard or to the navy, regardless of what colour you
painted the outside, in addition to the changes in technology that have taken
place, there are also policy changes that are in the midst of taking place that
you would want to design to accommodate that.
Regardless of who operates it, there will still be demands and requirements
put on that kind of security cutter or sovereignty vessel or whatever you would
want to call it that would have to serve several jurisdictions, whether it is
the RCMP afloat, CIC or CCRA. You would have an opportunity to build that in.
You would not resurrect a pre-existing plan, except perhaps as a basis for
moving forward, but there are a number of things you would want to incorporate
to make it serve the kind of mandate that is being discussed here.
Mr. Garnett: You would probably also want to include a hull form that
would be good in at least first- or second- year ice in the Arctic. There is no
reason why that could not be done.
Senator Forrestall: Carrying on from where Senator Banks and Senator
Wiebe left off, I find it a matter of some regret that we do not have in place
an ongoing, coherent, robust ship replacement program. We are coming to the end
of the life of the Tribal class. To the best of my knowledge, there is no design
for its replacement. If we replace our fleet at the same rate as we are
replacing our helicopters, God help Canada, regardless of who is looking after
that. I sometimes get accused of being flippant when I say, ``Let's call in the
Halifax Rifles.'' They were doing it in 1749, and they did not do a bad job.
The Chairman: If I may intervene, I want to observe that this is the
twenty-second meeting at which we have mentioned the Halifax Rifles.
Senator Forrestall: We have a changing North, a brand new North. What
kind of vehicle should we have there? We have shallow harbours. What kind of
vehicles do we need on our coasts to get in and out of those shallow harbours in
pursuit of intelligence about illegal entries and illegal substances being
brought into the country? We have none of this. Does this present a problem in
your view? Can you see beyond the life of the Tribal class destroyers? Where are
Mr. Garnett: Not unlike some of the other platforms you mentioned, it
is now entirely possible to keep a ship alive for a number of years if it has
sufficient electrical power, and that also relates to air conditioning. The
Tribal class destroyers are already in service longer than it was anticipated
they would be. When the ships were built, 25 years was considered to be the
extreme life of a destroyer. They are already well beyond that and it would not
surprise me if they go through another re-engineering phase to continue to keep
them in service.
The platform is certainly well designed. I can tell you anecdotal stories of
aircraft carriers suffering damage that the 280s or Tribals did not in various
deployments, both in the Pacific and the Atlantic.
My sense is that they will remain in service for a much longer period than is
now anticipated. At the end of the day, we might find a new platform to replace
both the Tribals and the frigates. It would be something bigger than a frigate,
and even bigger than the current Tribal, because a frigate is larger than the
Tribal is today. It is just a completely different hull form that gives it less
of a carrying capacity of a certain nature.
I know that alternatives were considered, the most recent being the Arleigh
Burke class that the U.S. navy is producing, but it is a huge ship that requires
a huge crew and it is not well suited to play the kinds of role in which we are
interested. Therefore, I would not be surprised to hear that the Tribals will
stay in service for another considerable period.
Mr. Dewar: I interpreted your question to be with regard to a number
of activities that may occur in the near future. You were talking about shallow
bays in the Arctic and changing conditions in the North and whether we have
vessels suitable for the purpose. The answer is probably no, we do not, because
no one has ever defined a requirement for vessels for that purpose. Almost all
ships are built with a specific task in mind. In fact, when we talked about the
different range of Coast Guard vessels, be it a buoy tender or a high-endurance
cutter, different sorts of ships were designed for different tasks.
The functions of the frigates and the destroyers were clearly laid out in
terms of meeting requirements that defined the need for the ship in the first
place. It was not foreseen that it would be doing hot pursuit in coastal waters,
so they were not designed for that and probably are not suitable for that sort
If that is the sort of need that will have to be met, I do not think it is
difficult to define the type of vessel you would have to build in order to
fulfil it. It is only that no one has ever said that we need to do that. If that
is a result of the shifts in policy that are currently in process and the
requirement is identified, then it becomes an additional, necessary capacity, as
it is with respect to the other tasks to which we were referring. If we need
vessels to do that, we will have to build them, because we have not had to
perform that task before.
Senator Forrestall: However, you will admit that the threat has
Mr. Dewar: Yes, it has, but the ships have not yet changed.
Senator Forrestall: What we built for one task does not fill the bill
for the future. If we as a nation do not have the foresight to change, then God
help us. All kinds of plans for fleet renewal are buried in dust. I doubt that
the plans for the Coast Guard fleet are still viable. The Department of
Fisheries and Oceans has no fleet replacement program.
We are talking about a layered marine defence. You have to be inshore, you
have to be in the immediate few miles, you have to be out, and then you have to
be out in the blue water. The navy can deal with the blue water. They are hard
pressed, but they should function out there. From there on, in terms of maritime
security, and in terms of making better friends with our southern neighbours, we
do not have a hell of a lot to offer.
What would happen if we pooled the resources of all these departments? Would
it be crowding the Department of Transport too much if the government decided to
put all of this under the navy?
Mr. Garnett: My comment would be simply that it would be hugely
challenging for the navy to take this on, given all the other things the navy is
doing. You have been a member of government much longer than I have been a
watcher of government, and it seems to me I have never seen a Canadian-made
solution that would relate to what you are suggesting. In other words, a
Canadian version of the Department of Homeland Security does not register in my
knowledge and background of Canadian government solutions to problems.
I do not mean that in a flippant manner because I have suggested there are
better ways of doing business now. Part of it is mission and mandate related to
a fully operating, functioning security centre with some authority over the use
and the programming of the vessels of the other departments, with a clear
mandate to do that and a policy framework within which to operate.
Senator Forrestall: But not absorbing them?
Mr. Garnett: Not absorbing them, no, sir.
Senator Forrestall: Does your concept of maritime security embrace, as
I suggested at the start of my last question, sort of a layer or a tier?
Mr. Dewar: It is not so much again a matter of geography in terms of
the layers and tiers as a matter of function.
Senator Forrestall: One is a product of the other. If it were a boreal
forest, it would stop at the edge of the forest. The oceans do not work that
way, so I use the analogy of inshore and offshore in that context.
Mr. Dewar: Perhaps we could look at another example. We talked about
vehicles instead of ships. There is a considerable difference in function
between a semi-trailer truck and an army tank, and a school bus and a taxicab,
yet they are all vehicles. It is not necessarily the place they are employed
that is different as it is the method and the objective for which they are
employed. A similar analogy can be applied to ships. I think that gets to the
heart of the question you were asking about the functions of the Coast Guard as
needed by the Department of Transport since it is there to maintain free
navigation and voyage. You asked whether you could take that function and give
it to the navy because ships are involved and they therefore float and are all
in one area. It is not just a matter of the platforms being on ships; it is a
matter of the function they perform. I have already mentioned the specialization
and the training and application and differences in usage that are important in
this as well.
Some roles could be played by the navy, perhaps as those would relate to
vessels designed for interdiction, provided you had the right officers put on
board to exercise the functions — for example, RCMP officers for law
enforcement, CIC officers if that were necessary, whatever it happened to be.
However, the navy could certainly do the basic operation and coordination of the
vessels if those were similar in purpose to the vessels they are already
However, having the navy perform buoy tending and ice breaking and so on just
because they were Coast Guard functions would be an entirely different thing. It
would be a matter of how the resources were managed to be able to do that.
To go back to the distance study I have seen referred to in previous
testimony, there was an intent to optimize fleet usage and avoid redundancy, and
certainly everyone wants to make the operation efficient, but there is a limit
to how much you can combine the functions and achieve the synergy you want.
The navy is well suited to do the basic operation and the coordination of
fleets because they have the command and control technologies and they are used
to doing those sorts of things. Operating a variety of fleets with different
functions is not necessarily the most efficient use of all the government's
Mr. Garnett: I was a member of the interdepartmental committees after
the Osbaldeston study on defence. It was designed to look at capacity and
multitasking of excess capacity of three different fleets. It was more in
relation to what they called in those days ``national'' roles — fishery
protection, immigration, those kinds of things. National security per se was not
one of the line items.
It seems to me the difference today is that we are still seeking the same
optimal use of the fleets but with national security as the top requirement. In
that case, it would fall under the purview of these security centres or
operation centres run by the navy. They would have the say as to optimize how
those fleets would be used. That is the difference. They would have the ability
to direct them and implement their operations programs. They would then have
some capacity, as we discussed, possibly by having teams of people on board, in
the nearer term, and allowing them to perform broader security tasks than they
could otherwise perform.
Senator Forrestall: I did not mean to mislead you. I know it was
opposed to the culture integration of the navy. You may recall my interventions
with the Associate Deputy Minister of National Defence in trying to get him to
consider — he eventually did, of course — allowing senior tradesmen in their
final year to join craft guilds outside so that when they did leave, they would
have some seniority.
I am not arguing for that at all. I am not arguing that the navy should be
dispatched to move another 100 yards back to the south-west of a buoy at the
entrance to some harbour.
Mr. Garnett: They would probably run over it any way.
Senator Forrestall: Perhaps once or twice. I pause there for a moment.
I am not thinking about that at all. I am thinking about the availability to the
``bus driver'' of all of the maritime facilities. It seems to me they are
inadequate now. Communications, I am sure, are very cordial, and I am sure they
are also very slow. The East Coast and the West Coast are small, far-flung
communities where everyone knows everyone else. However, as our nation grows
over the next 40 or 50 years, you will not be able to count on that
communication. Therefore, we must rely on something that is fixed, it seems to
me, and that functions.
You mentioned that search and rescue could, perhaps, come under the purview
of the navy, National Defence. Could you elaborate on that a little? Would you
see a search and rescue organization, perhaps formed and imbued with authority
and such statutory authority particularly, perhaps similar to the RCMP, for
example, to bring it into the military?
Mr. Garnett: My sense is that the search and rescue centre
coordination centres that are collocated with the maritime operations centres in
Halifax and Esquimalt function well and are under the local direction of the
admiral. My suggestion in my prepared talk was to expand that concept to include
the other government departments in conjunction with those operation centres
where they would have officials working to expand that notion of how it works
now between the Coast Guard and the Armed Forces in those centres.
Senator Forrestall: Would you not go beyond that to include Transport
Mr. Garnett: Not in the hierarchical sense. Certainly, search and
rescue functions very well within the confines of the department, and the
National Secretariat reports to the Minister of Defence.
Senator Forrestall: Is that directly?
Mr. Garnett: Yes.
Senator Cordy: I like your definitions of national security and
maritime security. They are certainly easy for everyone to understand, even
someone like me who does not have a background in defence.
You are saying that good maritime security is knowing what is going on in our
waters at all times. In order to do that, we have to gather, share and analyze
information, and the starting point for that is the sharing of information among
government departments. We have heard some witnesses say we are not doing as
good a job in that area as we should be because many government departments are
involved in national security and maritime security. How do we ensure that
agencies and government departments share good information with one another?
Mr. Garnett: The answer is the model we have proposed, where senior
officials or officers of each of those departments are resident full time in
those operation centres. Today, when they are not, they make a decision,
consciously or otherwise, of what information they pass. If they are resident
within them, they are part of the processing of information and will therefore
naturally provide the information they have available.
Furthermore, the intelligence part may well reside for something they know
that was happening in Marseille, or it is something that, again, frequently
never gets passed between departments because the precise need for that kernel
of information is not seen by people remote from those who are integrating the
The key is to have officials from each of the departments working full time
in those centres to compile that picture. Once they become part of that, they
will bring in the information for their departments. I am absolutely convinced
that is the way to make it work.
Senator Cordy: When you say the intelligence should be gathered
locally, are you talking about the East Coast, the West Coast and the North?
Mr. Garnett: Yes. I am not certain about how you do it initially in
the North. The North might be brought a little bit south. There is a northern
region command, and more resources are being put into that by Defence, but some
other issues arise up there. My sense is that the option that was proposed by
one of your witnesses to build one huge Ottawa centre has perhaps some merit in
terms of national decision making. However, I do not think we would build an
Ottawa centre for domestic or Canadian Forces external to Ottawa, et cetera. It
seems to me that you get a well- integrated coastal picture east and west, just
as NORAD puts a picture together in Colorado Springs, as NATO does in various
places around the world, or as the Canadian Joint Task Force Headquarters or the
admiral does in relation to the Persian Gulf. The information is shipped back,
and the national centre decides at any one time on what they want to focus, or
to add to or integrate.
Senator Cordy: Are you saying that, with respect to the coastal
centres, there would be a national centre?
Mr. Garnett: Yes, but the coastal centres are where you would do the
fundamental work before you send it to the national centre.
Senator Cordy: Would the coastal centres analyze the information or
just gather it? My understanding from listening to a number of witnesses is that
we are not doing a bad job of gathering information, but analyzing the
information is perhaps the area where we are falling short.
Mr. Garnett: I would not want to make a judgment. Information is
gathered. Some of it is passed on to the naval operation centre and some of it
is not. The analysis function is done only by the naval personnel in that
centre, the RCMP in its centre, or the Coast Guard in its centre. Everyone is
doing a piece of it. It is not being done together. By having the
representatives working in that one centre, it seems to me that all the
information would be integrated in that one centre.
Mr. Dewar: It is not just a question of where the centres are located
and how they function. Clearly there would be a network to which different
levels of decision making would apply. A decision would be made as to whether
the information is appropriate to be dealt with by command and control in the
regions for search and rescue, or by a higher order because it would require
national decision making.
The location of the centres is one issue, and information is emerging that
contributes to solving the type of problem you are posing. Part of that is the
technology now available. One of the great difficulties in intelligence work
relates to the sheer amount of information available. If you were to ask what
everyone knew around the room, some would information would be common — we
would share — and some would be specialized. I would not necessarily recognize
the specialized information or know what is missing from that specialized
information. However, there are emerging technologies and ways of managing
databases now that allow that information to be shared between different
We then get to the next level. The technology can solve part of the problem,
but policy and procedure issues that are in place are also a factor. Some of the
information is sensitive because of its source, and there is a need to protect
certain sources. Some of it is considered sensitive and is dealt with on a
need-to-know-basis, that is, what needs to be shared in order for people to
perform their functions. That matter needs to be addressed.
Then a whole bunch of Charter implications and privacy considerations and so
forth must be addressed. There is as much work needed in that area —
determining how the information needs to be shared — as there is in sorting
out the mechanics of how it can be shared. The mechanical sharing of the
information is an easier problem.
Senator Cordy: I would like to switch back to Senator Banks' comments
about the Coast Guard. I still do not have a clear picture in my mind of the
model that you are suggesting. I understand you were suggesting we could put
teams on board the Coast Guard vessels, which makes sense, provided you know
what scenario you are coming across. We have heard some witnesses suggest that
Coast Guard vessels that come across something they are not expecting do not
have the ability to board a ship. Have you thought about that scenario?
Mr. Dewar: You have posed two questions. One relates to putting teams
on Coast Guard vessels to perform different activities. Most Coast Guard vessels
are not suitable to carry a team. If you had to get someone somewhere in
difficult sea conditions, naval vessels would be more suitable in terms of
speed, endurance and capability.
Coast Guard or Fisheries vessels could be used, or whatever happens to be
available if it were appropriate but, generally speaking, when you need to put
teams on board to do some kind of law enforcement activity, there is a
requirement for speed or endurance or other things that may not make a buoy
tender or an icebreaker the vessel of choice. That is part of the sharing and
function issue I addressed before.
As to the other question about someone just happening to be in the right
place at the right time when something happens, you must look at the mechanisms
available to address that scenario. Should those people have the status of peace
officers all the time and be armed just because they are out there, or do you
have a process whereby you deputize them to act in a certain capacity because of
the circumstances they are in by asking for permission or being granted
permission to undertake that activity? I would suggest that works much like the
navy's approach on rules of engagement. You have a number of things you could
possibly do, but you are not entitled to do all of them all the time without
asking permission, and some things should be handled on a case-by-case basis.
In the testimony I saw from the Coast Guard, there was a suggestion that, for
90 per cent of their function, they would prefer to interact with the
communities at sea without having those kinds of roles imposed on them. For much
of their activity, perhaps that is more suitable.
Mr. Garnett: If the model is of the security centre or operations
centre having a say in the operation of that vessel in those other 10 per cent
of cases where that centre knows there is a risk or a probability of running
across or being involved in — for example, a Coast Guard ship sailing into the
Arctic for a period of time — they would know what that is, and that is
somewhere you might wish to place a team, by virtue of the knowledge that centre
has. Again, if there is one coordinating or running agency, it would be able to
make some of those judgments as to the likelihood of running across something of
concern. Today, whether they run across something or not is quite haphazard.
Senator Cordy: The better the centres work and the more information
you have, the less the likelihood that you will come across something
Mr. Garnett: That is right.
Senator Wiebe: Just to follow up on Senator Cordy's question, let us
say that we got our wish and got a central gathering point where all the
information was shared, are we collecting enough information? Should we be
spending some of our resources to acquire more radar? Is there enough
information there to actually do the job if it were shared?
Mr. Garnett: You can never have too much information. I think some of
your other witnesses have suggested that, for a modest investment in more
surface wave radars, you could cover more territory in the 98 percentile of
The Arctic is another issue, but the surveillance there could be tackled in a
variety of ways. One of the ways, about which you have already had testimony,
would be with unmanned air vehicles. Certainly, those that fly for a long time
are not cheap, but there is one particular model that looks like an airplane and
flies for more than 24 hours at a time. It can have the kind of sensors on it
that a manned airplane carries. That is the kind of vehicle that could fly
around in the Arctic once a week, twice a month or three times a month. It costs
less than a manned vehicle.
There is a debate about who would operate the joystick or who would fly it.
Of course, pilots want to fly. A recent version of it actually flew from the
west coast of the United States to Australia, performed a mission there and flew
back to the United States. That was written up in Time magazine.
Some of those things need to be considered in an effort to provide more
information than would otherwise be available by any means that I can imagine of
doing surveillance in the Arctic.
Senator Wiebe: My next question deals with statements you made in your
presentation. You said that the important thing is to maintain a presence in our
coastal inland waters, and currently we fall short of this requirement. Where
are we falling short? Is it in the vessels? Is it in the manpower to man those
vessels? Is it in the budget to keep those vessels in the water longer, or
should we be buying more vessels?
Mr. Garnett: The short answer would be ``All of the above.'' I would
not want to choose any one of them, but it would be instructive to find out how
many ship days there were in the Arctic. How many ship days are there off Baffin
Island or the Queen Charlottes?
Senator Forrestall: There are a lot more than there were years ago.
Mr. Garnett: I am not so sure, senator. We used to send a naval vessel
into the Cumberland Strait. In the 1970s we sent two or three vessels every
year. I know the stretch and the cost to the navy. The navy sent a vessel last
summer, I believe, for the first time in a great number of years. Only the
Louis St. Laurent is a fully capable icebreaker. That is not to say that
others cannot go at certain times of the year. However, my answer is still,
``All of the above.''
Senator Wiebe: I am not disagreeing with you. We have heard good
testimony that will back up that statement. However, in the back of my mind is
the fact that it is easy for us as a committee to write a report and say to the
government, ``Look, we need more.'' The government could then reply, ``We will
hire two more people, and therefore we will have more. That has answered your
question.'' It would be nice if we could have a concrete idea, that to have
proper surveillance and a proper presence certain things should be done, rather
than saying, ``We must have more coastal and inland presence.'' How do we go
about doing that? What kind of recommendation should be make?
You do not have the research capability to provide that information, but
somewhere, someone should have an idea of exactly what kind of materiel we are
talking about in regard to making that recommendation.
Mr. Garnett: You must decide where you will get the biggest bang for
your buck and have some sort of prioritization. Some opportunities exist now
that were not available a few years ago, such as unmanned vehicles — vehicles
that are substantive in nature, not the little ones that CIA flies into Yemen
— that can fly long endurance flights.
Some will argue whether, although they do surveillance, there is a presence
by a Global Hawk flying around. If it is red and white and has a big maple leaf
painted on it and can fly not just at 60,000 feet but maybe at 10,000 feet as
well, and does not run into a hunter's Twin Otter, it seems to me it does
perform better than just pure surveillance. There is bang for the buck in that,
it seems to me.
Mr. Dewar: The other issue could be suitable platforms that are
suitable and how many you need. It is a matter of how much return you get for
the investment. Ships are expensive. Ships are not necessarily good platforms
for conducting surveillance. They are good platforms for interdiction if they
are ready and go to the right location. The real issue is how we ensure that our
ships are in the right spot to begin with.
The gaps are in our surveillance capability are in wide-area surveillance,
the kind of surveillance that can be done by Global Hawk-type UAVs or by
commercially purchased satellite coverage. It is the kind of surveillance you
can get from high frequency standing wave radar that can cover large area
coverage. You can use those expensive resources in your areas of interests and
those other surveillance vehicles can, perhaps, do more detailed surveillance
when they get there. However, to use them as a first point of contact is perhaps
not the best use.
If you were to look at return on investment and where the gaps are, at this
point, based on my experience, it is not so much in the ships and the ship
platforms; it is in the ability to conduct wide-area surveillance that would
allow you to make the best use of those ship resources.
Senator Wiebe: Is that more important than having the presence?
Mr. Dewar: It certainly helps to find where your presence ought to be.
Senator Forrestall: Would that kind of surveillance go to monitoring
containers loaded in Singapore? We have the technology, I suspect, to track
containers and vessels. Could it function for that purpose as well?
Mr. Dewar: The technology can do that. In fact, commercial companies
use that sort of technology regularly for their own purposes. There is a
question of expense associated with it. How do you make it mandatory for
everyone to contribute their information to a larger net? It is similar to some
of the other issues we addressed. The technology is the easy part of it. It is
more challenging to identify where to make your investment and how you enforce
the right regulatory regime. The technology is certainly available to do that.
The Chairman: I have several quick questions.
You talked about the high endurance cutters that might fill in the gap that
currently exists with the platforms they have available. You mentioned giving
them ice breaking capacity. It seems to me that would mean trading off the ice
breaking capacity against something else. Is that a priority area that one
should be thinking about? There is a certain romance or attractiveness about the
North. Prime Minister Diefenbaker stirred the imagination of Canadians when he
talked about the North. Having said that, people who are contemplating terrorist
acts or an attack on Canada might be better deterred by resources set in places
where their usefulness could be better sold and where there are more people.
Mr. Garnett: Perhaps I misspoke. I was talking about the ability to
operate in first-year ice. That is not ice breaking; that means a vessel must
have a hull allows it to manoeuvre and to drive through first- or second-year
ice. I was not intending to cover ice breaking generally.
The Chairman: You did not misspeak. That is what you said, and that is
what I heard.
Mr. Garnett: It is a question of hull thickness, hull form and
propellers, more than anything else.
The Chairman: I come back to the broader question about how much
effort we should be putting into the North. At one time, serious consideration
was given to nuclear submarines with the capacity to sail under the ice. The
minister who proposed that acquisition is my brother-in-law. I frequently argued
with him about what he would do when he found a British, Russian or American
submarine under the ice, other than to say, ``Hello, we know you are there,''
and keep on going.
Would we really want to spend a whole lot of resources defending the North?
Some things are important, and we should certainly check for oil spills and such
things. Of course, search and rescue capacity is required up there. However,
from a military point of view, would you not want your resources further south?
Mr. Garnett: First, we are talking about a broad national security
framework and not just a threat-based one. We are looking at environmental and
ecological questions, as well as the future Law of the Sea. What will we claim
and how will we go about it? I think global warming is factual, although there
are some dissenting scientists. In science, there is always a dissenting
faction. It is clear that there is less ice and less thickness of ice in the
North. Therefore, its utility for resource extraction, for other uses, is
growing. We are not talking about building naval vessels that would only operate
in the Arctic. We are talking about some more surveillance and greater presence.
Second, any platform — and I use that term in a generic sense of vessel or
air vehicle — must be multi-purpose. We will not buy platforms that can only
do one thing; they will have to do more than one. The Global Hawk could do
Arctic surveillance and off-coast surveillance and, in a mission like
Afghanistan, it might well provide surveillance in the mountainous areas along
the border with Pakistan. I suggest that the Government of Canada and the
Department of Defence would not acquire the vessel for just one purpose. The
vessels we are talking about would fill a gap. They would be high-endurance
vessels. They would also have some utility that other navy enforcement vessels
do not now have, without making them unique to that environment.
The Chairman: We are currently doing one Arctic over-flight per year
as the sovereignty patrol.
Mr. Garnett: We used to do it monthly.
The Chairman: Is Canada any less safe?
Mr. Garnett: An annual flight is not sufficient.
The Chairman: If you are not spotting anything once a month and you
are not spotting anything once every two months or once every three months,
sooner or later you do not keep spotting.
Mr. Garnett: I once was a mathematician. I think gaming theory would
tell you that, just because you do not find something once a month does not mean
there is not something there 30 other times a month.
The Chairman: That is possible, absolutely.
You made no mention of satellites although Mr. Dewar did. Are they cost
effective? Is there a trade-off to be made between more radar and more
satellites? Has anyone outlined a business case for that?
Mr. Dewar: I am not sure. You get different capability from the two
systems. Certainly, if you want widest-area coverage, satellite coverage is
probably the best delivery method. A number of satellites do now exist. That
brings us to co-use activities. Some information is be derived from existing
satellites and some can be bought commercially. The question is, what do you do
with that information and how do you stack it to get that layer of concentric
viewpoints to bring focus on matters that interest you?
If we have constant Arctic surveillance will we necessarily see anything? If
we establish the right presence, we can be there when something does happen. In
the monthly patrols, we did see things happening in the Arctic. Soviet ice
stations were created in the area. Things do happen.
You raised the question of submarines in the Arctic. That was really a
military issue. There were reasons for submarines to preferentially operate in
that area. Is that threat still there? Perhaps that threat is not as strong as
it used to be. Is there a terrorism threat of people coming across the ice pack
when there are clearly easier ways of getting here? There probably is not, but
environmental issues are also security issues. Scientific research and other
input can be derived from satellite imagery to contribute to security, as well
as just watching for people who are misbehaving in the area.
Mr. Garnett: Much of the satellite information is available to be
purchased commercially. If an organized centre is given a certain mandate, it
can pick up information when it needs to address a gap in its own systems. That
information can be bought from a Russian satellite or from RADARSAT.
The Chairman: We do not buy that information now because resources are
scarce, and we have concluded that the satellite information is a lower priority
than other things.
Mr. Garnett: We do not buy it now, but I believe that the people who
run the centres now know that the information is available. I do not know
whether any is purchased. It was used in exercises when I was an admiral in
Halifax. We used RADARSAT information and, during exercises, we tried to
integrate it into the picture. On occasion, we found remarkable things while
The Chairman: With regard to culture, we get a negative reaction from
the navy about integrating the Coast Guard. The negative reaction does not seem
to be based on operational issues as much as a concern that the navy will be
stuck with additional tasks without additional resources. In that way, the role
of the navy will be degraded. Is that why we are getting that reaction?
Mr. Garnett: I think so. It is called the Christmas-tree effect,
pinning things on the DND Christmas tree. That has been a favourite game of the
Canadian government for a number of years — additional missions with no
The Chairman: It is not a bad idea, apart from the concern that, at
the end of the day, the government is scheming to do something on the cheap; is
Mr. Garnett: That is only part of the concern. The navy's reaction
depends on a clear operational relationship. We talked about security centres
that can direct or implement operational programs with some degree of control. I
do not think the navy would have a problem with that. All those other Coast
Guard roles, roles like buoy tending and ice breaking, have nothing to with the
navy operations or administration.
The Chairman: The concern is that the budget to upgrade the Coast
Guard fleet might come at the expense of the navy's budget; is that correct?
Mr. Garnett: That would be a concern.
The Chairman: On that happy note, I thank you both for appearing
You have brought a perspective that the committee values and appreciates and
that is quite germane to the examination that we are dealing with today. Your
experience and understanding of these issues has been helpful to the committee
in moving forward.
To those of you who are following our work, in a few minutes we will hear
from Professor Middlemiss, a Fellow of the Centre for Foreign Policy Studies at
Dalhousie University; and from Vice-Admiral (Ret'd) James King, a former senior
Canadian Forces officer and the military representative of Canada to the NATO
military committee in Brussels.
If you have any questions or comments please visits our Web site by going to
www.sen-sec.ca. 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
Today, the committee is hearing testimony on the subject of Canadian maritime
security and coastal defence.
As I said, our next witnesses this evening will be Professor Danford
Middlemiss, and Vice-Admiral (Ret'd) James King.
Professor Middlemiss received his undergraduate as well as his graduate
degrees from the University of Toronto. He has taught courses in international
security, contemporary civil-military relations and Canadian defence policy for
over 30 years. He has lectured at the National Defence College, the Canadian
Forces Maritime Warfare Centre and the Canadian Command and Staff College. He is
the co-author of a textbook on Canadian defence policy entitled, Canadian
Defence: Decisions and Determinants.
Vice-Admiral King retired in 2002 after a 38-year career in the Canadian
Forces. He has served at sea as an operations, communications and air control
specialist on various Canadian and NATO warships, including a tour of duty as
operations officer of NATO's Standing Naval Force Atlantic, during which he
served aboard the ships of the United States and the Royal Navies. He served in
several senior staff positions in headquarters in Halifax and Ottawa in
personnel and training, force development and policy and communications. As
Associate Deputy Minister, Policy and Communications, he represented Canada as
the senior military representative on the Canada-U.S. Permanent Joint Board on
Gentlemen, welcome to the committee. Please proceed with your opening
Professor Danford W. Middlemiss, Department of Political Science,
Dalhousie University: I would begin by saying that it is nice to be amongst
so many Maritimers and also by commending the committee for undertaking this
important and long-overdue study of Canadian national security. However, as you
will hear, I would urge you to broaden the scope of your inquiry as you proceed.
Indeed, defining the scope and magnitude of the problem will be a key area of
concern for this type of study. The committee should continue to ask of its
witnesses: What is the desired end-state? For example, is the fact of some
39,000 refugees ordered removed from Canada, yet still unaccounted for,
acceptable today? Would the deaths of 23 people deliberately infected with
severe acute respiratory syndrome by a terrorist sent to Canada be acceptable?
Would the virtual closing down of Prince Edward Island's potato export industry
for six months because of a genetically modified blight secretly introduced into
the province be acceptable? In short, do not get too bogged down in trying to
determine which agency should be driving the bus until you first determine where
the bus should be heading.
One possible answer to this is that no one really knows, and I suspect this
is the case for a couple of reasons. First, Canadians and their governments do
not take national defence or national security seriously, in part because,
first, they have historically been blessed by good luck and, second, because of
their fortuitous geostrategic position alongside our friendly superpower to the
south. For all our principled talk about sovereignty and independence, Canadians
actually expect the Americans to defend us. Over time, we have become overly
complacent and too self-congratulatory about our self-professed sense of moral
superiority vis-à-vis the rest of the world.
Here I must insert my version of Politics 101 by saying that we have
forgotten that, historically, the overriding raison d'être of the Canadian
state, like any other state, is to provide stability and order domestically and
to protect its citizens from external threats. Instead, national defence, let
alone national security, has tended, with rare exceptions, to become a
low-priority residual function of our governments.
What might change our complacency with respect to national security matters?
I think one of two things: a real security disaster emanating from any of many
possible intended or unintended calamities or, more likely, in the short term at
least, the United States might decide that Canada is a real security liability
to its homeland security perimeter and thereby simply opt to take matters into
its own hands, regardless of Canadian sovereignty sensibilities.
Regarding the former possibility, we simply must recognize that we do not
have a divine right to invulnerability. Regarding the latter, we must recognize
at long last that our overarching foreign policy goal must be to manage our
relationship with the United States in a continuous and effective manner.
We cannot take this relationship for granted. In this regard, I think I agree
with the previous witness in saying that an attempt should be made to revitalize
the Permanent Joint Board on Defence and the Canada-U.S. Military Cooperation
Committee by authorizing them to undertake studies of a comprehensive
continental security policy.
I am arguing, therefore, that for both our own clear national interest and
also for those interests related to preserving our vital ties to the United
States, Canada must now devise and implement a true national security policy of
which maritime security will certainly be an important, but not the only,
This effort must be holistic in scope, practical in application, and should
not be rushed but rather pursued systematically yet energetically. To succeed,
Canadians as a whole will need education about the real risks and threats to
their security and about the proper balancing of individual rights against the
collective good. Above all else, this will require resolute top-down leadership
from the federal government, which I think has been lacking.
To get to one of your favourite concerns, perhaps the type of bus we
ultimately need is, for the sake of argument, a new high-level department. In
deference to Senator Forrestall, I was going to call it the ``Department of
Halifax Rifles,'' but I might call it the ``Department of National Security,''
that would oversee a new, omnibus and pre-eminent national security act. The
``DNS'' would have the ultimate intelligence gathering, analysis and
dissemination authority, as well as clearly defined executive coordinating
powers for enforcement with respect to all military and non-military threats to
I will list some of the things that this new department should undertake. It
should develop a clear definition, which we are now lacking, of ``national
security'' in order to ensure clear triggers to departmental and agency security
responses. For example, the 1988 Emergencies Act cannot, in my opinion and in
the opinion of many others, be invoked because of contradictions with the
National Defence Act. It should also review and rationalize all national
legislation pertaining to national security to ensure compatibility and
enforceability. It should, as others have suggested, maintain a continuously
updated database of all security responders and their individual mandates,
personnel, equipment and procedures. It should also maintain the big picture, as
Professor Wark suggested, with respect to all intelligence regarding Canadian
security. It should develop something I would call a ``security response
manual'' to establish the principles and procedures for interdepartmental
coordination with respect to all federal responses to security threats. This
would be similar in function to the war book of World War II and in the 1940s
and 1950s. It might also be empowered to require annual reports from all
participating departments with national level responsibilities.
It could be responsible for funding, initiating and coordinating frequent
multi-level simulations and realistic nation- wide exercises to test the
government's ability to respond to security threats to Canada, as well as to
provide assistance to foreign governments according to agreed MOUs and
guidelines. In this latter respect, this department should act as the single,
cabinet-level liaison with foreign security departments and agencies, albeit
with appropriate delegation authority to other government departments as
required. Similar to what Mr. Garnett suggested, I think there might be
something like a central national security operations centre to link other
security-related operation centres and to oversee and coordinate their
It might also establish a Canadian security council to conduct studies and
provide valuable outside assessments and advice on a continuing basis.
I could go on. However, this is a grand design by an academic, and it is
undoubtedly flawed and simplistic. After all, what is in it for the politicians
who, for too many decades, have simply ignored issues of national security
without suffering retribution at the ballot box? As well, bureaucrats will
blanche at the mere suggestion of excessive centralization, the undercutting of
their sacred yet parochial agency mandates and the prospect of their precious
organizational rice bowls being subject to controls by what many describe as a
super department on Viagra. So be it, but the alternative, as this committee has
been hearing time and time again, is probably more of the same — the same
players, the same organizations, and the same retuned procedures being moved
from one committee to another, all the while knowing that, while they are
shuffling their organizational deck chairs, the ``HMCS Security Titanic'' steams
relentless towards the seemingly inevitable iceberg threat, be it state
sponsored or asymmetrical in nature.
Is this all really so far-fetched? After all, surely the Walkerton water
crisis, the P.E.I. potato blight crisis, the mad cow scare, and now SARS have
shown us that all is not well with respect to Canada's ability to respond to
threats to security. These are accidental in nature. Now, simply posit a
malevolent intent behind these so-called natural disasters, and the question
becomes, ``Can we afford to take the risk forever, based on our current
capabilities and plans?'' My basic argument is that we as a nation must take
national security seriously or else suffer the inevitable consequences of
indifference and inertia.
I also have but will not elaborate on a few suggestions as to how this Senate
committee, through its current deliberations, can contribute to the development
of a national security policy for Canada.
First, you should continue, certainly, to gather information. We need a
current baseline of what is known before we can proceed to the unknowns. That is
what you are doing.
Second, you could be more proactive with respect to departmental operations
and self-assessments. For example, hire bright, and certainly cheap, graduate
students to use aggressively Access to Information requests, for example, to get
the results of the TOPOFF-2 exercise started today which does not have a
maritime dimension, which I think is a crime — it should have — to access
the army's and navy's Lessons Learned CDs, and also to conduct lessons learned
or not learned studies with respect to the many previous examples of attempts to
coordinate maritime security resources and operations. Admiral King will be
talking to some of those.
There are other significant event case studies. The 1989 Concordia affair,
the 1993 OP AMBUSCADE and the 1995 turbot war, as well as the COP ABACUS program
which dealt with the planning process regarding the Y2K rollover. You see my
point. There are plenty of useful academic and expert analyses out there waiting
to be rolled into your investigations. In a sense, these are the ``unknown
knowns,'' and bringing them to light may help us from repeatedly reinventing the
wheel for the maritime security bus.
You might also be wise to create an advisory panel of experts, similar to
what Immigration Minister Coderre did with respect to security consultants, to
help identify neglected issues and to check your own conclusions.
Let me conclude by saying that, notwithstanding my discussion of a possible
department of national security overseeing various national security entities, I
wish to make it clear that organizational restructuring should not be the main
objective of this exercise. I am suggesting that some permanent, high-level
direction is needed to replace the current loose and ill-coordinated process of
national security decision making in Canada. In fact, the present informal
organizational arrangements probably help explain why national security, as an
all-encompassing concept, has never been a high priority concern for successive
Canadian governments, as we heard in the previous set of presentations.
National security needs a champion, and it needs it to produce an overarching
strategic framework that will provide clear and unequivocal policy direction to
the myriad departments and agencies that would otherwise continue to neglect
broader national security concerns in favour of their parochial organizations
interests. The bottom line is this: We must give national security the
overriding prominence it deserves.
Vice-Admiral James King (Ret'd), as an individual: Honourable
senators, I accepted the committee's invitation to appear because I continue to
be engaged, after a number of years, on this issue of maritime security, and I
am pleased to be able to have an opportunity to contribute to the work of your
Starting in 1993, I served for two years as the co-chairman of the IPCRC, the
Interdepartmental Program Coordination and Review Committee, established in the
wake of the release of the Osbaldeston study. I relieved Admiral Garnett in this
position and was responsible for continuing the process of improving the
effectiveness of interdepartmental cooperation on a wide range of maritime
operational issues. The most significant was the introduction of
interdepartmental data communications link called CANMARNET, Canadian Maritime
Network, and the development of formal, interdepartmental, operational
During this time and the years following, I had numerous opportunities to
discuss this issue in various international fora and to develop a better
understanding of how our own machinery of government works with particular
application to the issue of interdepartmental cooperation and coordination.
I have now read most of the public testimony you have received to date, and I
believe I can address at least two of the issues you have raised. Specifically,
I would briefly address the need for a national maritime security policy and the
development of an effective structure for the coordination of Canadian maritime
security among the departments and agencies involved.
With regard to the need for a national maritime security policy, a number of
your contributors have already clearly detailed its essentiality, and there is
nothing I can offer except to add my name to the list of those who strongly
support it and to state most emphatically that without such a policy, in my
view, any further effort in support of this endeavour is not likely to succeed.
With regard to the development of an effective structure for the coordination
of maritime security, my experience shows that four key issues must be
addressed. First, there must be a lead department, and I would be prepared to
say that lead department should probably be the Department of National Defence.
Second, each concerned department must have its mandate clearly and
unambiguously reflect its responsibilities for Canada's maritime security.
Third, resources must be provided to support this increase in responsibility and
to demonstrate the government's genuine interest and concern. Finally,
departments must be held accountable at the highest level for their performance
in this vital area of national security.
Honourable senators, I hope this statement is useful to your work, and I
stand ready to respond to questions you may have.
The Chairman: Before we go to the list of questioners, I have three
quick questions that I put in combination, directed to you, Professor
Logic says that policy should dictate architecture and structure. However,
knowing Ottawa as you do, you will recognize that we have a process-driven
government. Do you not think that, if you put the right architecture in place
that, in this case, you might, in fact, come up with some of the right policies?
My second question is this: Will we only move after a disaster or after a
problem? Is that how we must consider the likelihood of change — that it will
only be disaster-driven?
The third question is this: Do you not think that American planning takes
into account our lack of capability and lack of political will to defend our
part of the continent, as we speak, and is that not consistent with the point
you were making?
Mr. Middlemiss: From reading the testimony given by many of your
witnesses — and there are good ones, from their point of view, especially the
departmental witnesses — my take on this is that it is more of the same. You
will simply be creating more committees. We have the Interdepartmental Maritime
Security Working Group, and Mr. King can tell you with IPCRC we have been
looking at this since 1970, with the Audette Report, which was a deputy minister
level blood-on-the-walls meeting about integrating fleets, just three of them at
There was a 1975 joint study group on sovereignty, resources, control and our
capabilities, which found, amongst other things, that the Aurora, which was to
the fitted with civilian sensor canisters that would do much of what you are
talking about on this committee, was left out, and that the need should be based
on only demonstrated military requirements, not others. No one wanted to pay for
We had the various other reports, including the Osbaldeston report in 1990
and, as I said, we had the formation of IPCRC. There is an interesting story
about the good things that IPCRC did and about why it died.
If we simply rely on the very good work from these interdepartmental groups
that are working to find the gaps, they will, and then nothing more will happen
because nothing has ever happened again in the past. We need policy.
The fact is, as polls and empirical evidence has shown, as well as Andrew
Cohen's recent book, While Canada Slept, we have allowed most of the
instruments of our sovereignty control to wither.
With respect to the U.S. taking account of that, they might. They have been
good friends to us, better than we deserve perhaps, but is this any way for a
self-respecting sovereign, independent nation to behave? We need to know what is
going on in our own backyard, and the fact of the matter is that more people,
other than Canadians, know more about what is going on in our backyard, and that
If we allow committees to drive the process from the bottom up rather than
having things happen from the top down — and who knows how that will happen,
either a prod from the Americans or a real disaster — we will get ad hoc
responses. All of your committee witnesses have said that. We get a lead
department to respond to yet another disaster or policy initiative. That is no
longer good enough.
That goes back to my ``Politics-101'' comment, that the original intent of
the state was to do all of these things, instead of throwing $1 billion here and
there for gun registries and everything else.
I point out one other interesting study done by Colonel Williams for the
Canadian Forces College recently: ``A Measure of Realism: Why Canada does not
need a National Security Council.'' He outlines in a comparative fashion how the
Americans operate their national security council and the functions that go on
there. He takes your point of view, or your analysis, that we prefer horizontal,
ad hoc planning processes — and they have gotten us through. However, the
question is whether it is still good enough post 9/11. I do not think so.
The Chairman: Thank you for your answer. I was not giving you my point
of view. It was just a question.
Senator Forrestall: Let us stay generally in this area for a minute or
two. Either or both of you could respond.
In recent years, prime ministers have made, as one of our members remarked
earlier this evening, the appointment of the Minister of National Defence
probably as his 21st or 22nd choice. Do you think there is enough seniority,
influence and clout to carry off the chair of such an important portfolio? I
have always had some doubts about the Deputy Prime Minister being the minister
of four other departments, as well as the Minister of National Finance. I do not
think anyone is capable of doing all of those jobs.
Could you comment on how we upgrade, and at what level would you like to see
the chair of any committee, cabinet committee, department, new department, or a
department with a varied structure?
Mr. Middlemiss: It needs to be high-level and permanent. Many of your
witnesses have said that PSAT, which Mr. Manley chairs, should be made permanent
and be chaired by someone of his stature and who has that type of authority.
Senator Forrestall: Stay with your bus driver analogy for a minute.
Mr. Middlemiss: That is what we need. This cannot come bubbling up
from the bottom. People will say, and quite rightly so, that we have all these
other tasks and we have no money. They fear centralization, and rightly so.
Even in the United States, despite the creation of a Department of Homeland
Security, the knives are out, and they are looking at ways to circumvent that
organization because it does have resources. This is where bureaucracies get
nervous because suddenly they have to move around.
A number of years ago, Dalhousie sponsored a conference on cyber war,
information warfare, et cetera. We had all sorts of government and private
members around. Two interesting things came to light. The private sector was
infinitely far more developed in its thinking than were the government people.
Why were the government people there? To find out what the other government
people were doing and whether they were would get a leg up on them. That is the
nature of bureaucracy. I am not knocking it, but they need some direction.
Mr. Garnett raised the need for high-frequency surface wave radars. The
initial prototype study was done in 1996 for under $75 million for a complete
16-site system. Why are we only getting six or eight now? This is peanuts, and
they are needed. All of your witnesses say that that is what we need and lack.
How you create that in a complacent country is beyond me.
Perhaps Mr. King can talk about IPCRC.
Mr. King: I would like to go to first principles. You must have a
national security policy and a national maritime security policy. Whoever will
implement what needs to be implemented, either on a continuous basis or in the
face of a major crisis, has to know the plan and policy of the government.
Clearly, that must be a high level position.
I do not share Professor Middlemiss's idea of a department, only because I
think that the machinery of government will see it, as is happening in the
United States, as another competing agency of the government. Rather, I think we
need to go back to what we had before, which was a cabinet committee
particularly empowered and properly staffed to look after complex matters of
From that would flow a policy and very clear direction, as I said in my
opening statement, to departments to get on with the issue at hand.
My experience with the follow-up of the Osbaldeston study was that, first, as
Mr. Garnett mentioned, Osbaldeston focused on excess capacity. That
notwithstanding, there was a lot of goodwill and commitment from the departments
that I worked with, but it was limited, as Professor Middlemiss has pointed out,
by the fact that there were only so many resources, and indeed, as many
witnesses have testified, there was simply not a mandate. That becomes a real
problem when you get into difficult legislative issues.
It has to come, as Professor Middlemiss said, from the top down — at the
highest level. I cannot think, if it is national security, why it should be
anything less than a committee of the cabinet.
Senator Cordy: The concept of a department of national security is a
most interesting one. It certainly sounds very good theoretically. However,
government being what it is, how do you prevent it from becoming one of two
things — just acting in isolation, oblivious to what the Departments of
Solicitor General and Defence and whatever are doing; and empire-building,
getting bigger and bigger, but really not helping to pull things together?
Mr. Middlemiss: My answer is: What is the alternative? Is it to muddle
through in an ad hoc manner and then get caught? One of the senators asked a
witness some time ago how much the Americans would have paid to have thwarted
9/11. The answer was: Any amount. That is what I am saying. A malevolent
smallpox threat that causes 20 or 30 victims, as opposed to an accident, would
be viewed differently by Canadians. We do not have the sense that the Americans
do — and it is one of the problems in dealing with the Americans — that we
are at risk.
There needs to be more leadership by this committee and others about what to
expect. What are the degrees of risk that Canadians should accept? We cannot
give a 100 per cent guarantee that we will prevent all of these incidents, but
we do not want to be reacting after the fact. You do not want a committee that
would be ready to point a finger at somebody and say, ``You should have done
Many gaps have formed over 20 or 30 years, simply through a lack of taking
national defence seriously, and that is only one element of national security.
The West Germans used to produce a new white paper on defence, which was an
authoritative government document, every two years. Every major department was
involved in that two-year process. That is serious. They were in a different
geostrategic position from Canadians. We are lucky. We continue to hope that we
will be lucky forever. Right now we are seeing a particular stripe of government
down south that is not giving us the leash that we used to have before. They are
starting to ask where we are on these issues.
As I said in my notes, in many cases all we need to do is not say ``no''
publicly, but we cannot even bring ourselves to do that on many issues, such as
ballistic missile defence or Iraq. We need to do a little more. It is surely not
enough to have one or two Aurora flights a year across the Arctic, when we used
to have 16 to 20. There are other gaps. We are going backwards.
In a different context altogether, one the problems in dealing with SARS is
that Ontario cut five epidemiologists. It had to bring in someone from B.C. They
did that because they felt if they were not finding anything it was useless to
This is important, and this is why the government should say to its citizens:
This is not a waste of money. As Vice- Admiral Garnett said, the laws of
probability are that there is an equal chance the next time you flip a coin it
will turn up heads, even though it has turned up tails 150 times in a row. The
probability is exactly the same as on the first flip that there will be a
different outcome the next time. We must be ready for that.
It is difficult to justify and it will take a huge educational process in
Canada. I hope it does not take a major disaster.
Senator Cordy: If you create a department that is not a department in
name only, would it require strong leadership at the very top? Would it require
to be run by a high profile cabinet minister?
Mr. Middlemiss: I think so. I would not take my structure here too
seriously, frankly. I am doing it because so many people have been talking about
structures. It is something that gives the vertical stroke, as the Soviets used
to say, and everyone saluted because you knew where that command was coming
from. We need to move on some of these issues. Unless you do, no committee will
be able to vote itself new resources.
Senator Forrestall: It is a question of how the structure might
evolve. I am just thinking out loud. Although it would seem quite impractical to
me to establish a functioning group around Minister Manley's ad hoc group, in
spite of your reaction to exclusivity, it seems to have worked reasonably well.
Could that group be headed by a prominent, highly influential and senior cabinet
minister and maintained at the Department of National Defence, Department of
Transport, and so on? Could we do that and would it work?
What I am getting at is whether there is a role for this ad hoc committee,
which would cease to be ad hoc and would be permanent. The members would know
where they were going to be and have some moral obligation to ensure the work
they were doing was ongoing and universal in terms of meeting some of the
problems that arise. It is time to change. The thinking is getting a bit fizzy.
Mr. Middlemiss: The way you phrased it is exactly the way I intended.
Something needs to shake up the current system. I proposed something off the
wall, perhaps, but it shows you the kind of thinking that would make certain
things permanent. We used to have priorities and planning. We used to have a
cabinet committee of defence and foreign affairs. All of these have disappeared.
We used to have a war book that told people how to go to war. Canada would not
know how to do that now.
We would try to muddle through. Hopefully, the United States would bail us
out in the end. That is a discredit to the military, I know, but we should be
preparing in advance for these very important functions. There is no higher
function that the government should address than national security. Yes, I
agree. Whatever the structure is — and please do not accept mine — it should
be reflective of a permanent, continuing, high-level interest in this issue,
aided and abetted by committees, advisory groups on demand to bring in fresh
ideas to get around the old thinking.
Senator Forrestall: Should this group be imbued with its own
Mr. Middlemiss: No. It would essentially be a coordinating group,
adjudicating disputes and clarifying mandates. As I said, how many times have we
gone to war and near-war, internally and externally? In Oka, the Gulf War or
Kosovo, we never once invoked the Emergencies Act, so what is it for? That was
designed to bring Parliament into the process, to oversee what was going on.
Senator Forrestall: You do not see any problem then with an interface
with the first responders?
Mr. Middlemiss: No. The Emergencies Act should be designed, as Admiral
Garnett pointed out, to bring out the best we have. It should also be used to
prod some policy formulation, some advocacy process. If what we have is not good
enough, we should not simply tinker with an inadequate set of capabilities, we
should devise a plan, a policy, that is consistent and effective for all these
Senator Forrestall: How do you see it fitting with U.S. policies?
Mr. Middlemiss: As I said in my opening comments, we need a key
liaison on these top-level policy issues of coordination with the United States
and other security agencies. There is a TOP-OFF 2. Were you people briefed on
this? Why is there no maritime security? They have designed a process for
homeland security where the Solicitor General of Canada narrows it down to 40
individuals and 18 departments, yet, there is no maritime security. They have
assumed away the maritime aspect by saying, ``It is just a bunch of aircraft
that have taken off from Chicago and gotten into British Columbia.'' Do we know
that for sure? Is that the big picture?
Yes, this agency should bring together the intelligence picture and it should
be able to give some immediate direction. In the Concordia incident of
1989, seven and a half hours passed before an instruction was given to the
Canadian ship Saguenay to fire over, not at, the U.S. ship. Mr. King may
remember that part of the problem then was that no one could be found at PCO for
that vital hour or half-hour. I am saying that this is a real 24/7 job for
Senator Forrestall: How does it interface with a revitalized permanent
Mr. Middlemiss: It would be easier to use some committees that have
worked in the past than it would be to design new ones in certain areas. Because
the PJBD and the MCC have dealt with military matters in the past, they should
be kept in place. Perhaps they could look at coordination in a continent-wide
security policy, primarily in the military sphere.
Senator Forrestall: Can the Permanent Joint Board on Defence and the
Military Cooperation Committee offer transparency because of the presence of
civilians? Perhaps the admiral would like to tackle this question. How do we
tell Canadians what we are doing? I would not know if any secrets we were
revealing would be startling.
Mr. King: The PJBD, which I have served on for three years, and its
MCC do a lot of good work, including work that touches on this whole issue of
national security. A few years ago, well before 9/11, the permanent joint board
took up the whole issue of critical infrastructure protection in the wake of the
ice storm crisis. Both the U.S. and Canada do a lot of work in this area. Once
again we come back to this point of view that it starts at the top. In the
United States, the chairman of the permanent joint board is a fairly significant
personage who is selected by the President and he reports directly to the
In Canada, the same chairman reports nominally to the Prime Minister. It is
my understanding, because I have asked the previous chairmen, that feedback is
rarely given on the workings of the board and certainly no direction comes down
to the board from any sort of level above those of us who served it. That is a
The chairman mentioned structure. I believe the fundamental structures are
there. Our government departments have important jobs to do. Their daily work is
inextricably bound up with all of these security problems. Creating yet another
organism, divorced from the daily realities of those key departments —
Transport, Communications, Defence, et cetera — is not the solution. The
solution is to empower those departments. Make it clear that they have
responsibilities in the area of national security, that they will be required to
devote more resources to their own work and that they will be required to devote
resources to coordination and cooperation with other government departments.
At the end of the day, if the departments serve a national security policy
that comes from the top, if they serve, say, a cabinet committee that is
concerned with their work and that gives them feedback, then I believe they can
also be held accountable when they do not do what they are supposed to do.
The fundamental structures are in place, although operations centres could be
expanded, as Admiral Garnett mentioned. There is not a lot to be fixed, but
there is a need for policy direction and leadership.
Senator Forrestall: Admiral, we are not creating a new structure. The
structure that is already there, and that has been there since shortly after
9/11, has functioned well. I think it deserves a good, positive, second look.
Perhaps this is what we need. Perhaps the ultimate responsibility should be
given to the Department of National Defence. Perhaps we need a group for
information-gathering, analysis, direction and action under the lead of an
elected person, a member of cabinet. That is necessary for public purposes. I do
not envision a branch office in Dartmouth; that would be too much to ask for. I
do not see any massive need for new buildings or equipment or anything else.
Rather, this body would have other functions. It would act in the areas just
described as well as undertaking studies for upgrading and refining our
intelligence analysis and policies.
Senator Banks: Admiral, you recommended a lead department. I think you
said, almost parenthetically, it should be the Department of National Defence.
In respect of national security, we know now that there are as many asymmetrical
threats as there are symmetrical ones. Is it actually possible for the
Department of National Defence, if it is the lead agency, to hold to account,
let us say, the Department of the Solicitor General, should it fail to do
something? Would that department report to the Department of National Defence to
ensure that its tasks are performed? Do you think that is actually doable?
Mr. King: The accountability issue has to be well above departments.
If 16 or 17 departments are engaged in the endeavour, someone has to be in
Senator Banks: Do you say that should be Department of National
Mr. King: Yes. I picked the Department of National Defence because,
first, it has the overall structure to support intelligence, to support
wide-area surveillance and to handle information in that regard and, second, it
has also been involved key decision making that goes on 24/7, 365 days a year.
It need not be Defence. I am saying that I would pick the Department of National
Defence, because it has the wherewithal and the experience to do this kind of
thing, but it could be another department.
Senator Banks: I am playing the devil's advocate, Professor
Middlemiss. When you were talking, it reminded me of a piece I once read by
Stephen Leacock a long time ago about naval policy and the fact that we were
hiding behind other people's skirts and that it was not reasonable to do that.
Everyone agrees with that. Since you have thought about what we ought to do, you
obviously have thought about the cost of doing it.
Doing what you are talking about doing, unless we stop supporting health care
to the degree that we do — it is the mug's game of money — or unless we stop
doing something else, what we are talking about is either going into deficit or
raising taxes. It is as simple as that. That is irrefutable. Currently, the
problem is that, even if it is inarguable that these things should be done, the
cost of doing them right will come from money we do not have.
I would like to hear you argue against dealing with situations on an ad hoc
way. Muddling through business has served us pretty well most of the time.
Before World War I some people were arguing that we must arm; and that argument
was certainly put forward before World War II. We entered both of those
conflicts virtually unarmed and did pretty well.
More recently, in regard to SARS, Canada was not equipped to respond to that
kind of danger. It could be argued we should have been prepared. It turns out
that we were but it was all done ad hoc. No one conceived that anything like
that would happen. Within weeks, the ad hoc forces had come together out of
necessity and solved the problem, isolating the suspected cases, and containing
it quite successfully. No one had planned on having to do that.
Are we absolutely sure that muddling through the way we have done in the past
is not, perhaps, a good idea?
Mr. Middlemiss: I am sure that the bureaucrats would say ``yes.'' That
is how they defend their mandates. They always say ``yes,'' with the condition,
``...given the resources and our mandates.'' That is an honest answer; it is
Do I suppose the SARS response was a success? Did it take weeks? I think it
took months. Do we know that we have contained it? What is the perspective of
the friends and relatives of the 23 people who died? Do we know anything about
the condition of 39,000 essentially illegal aliens throughout North America,
when it only took 15 to bring about 9/11?
Senator Banks: They were not illegal aliens; they were all legally in
the United States, except for one whose visa had expired.
Mr. Middlemiss: I am saying that, in the Canadian context, we have
39,000 unaccounted for people who are not supposed to be here, according to the
Auditor General in April this year.
Senator Banks: The U.S. has nearly 4 million.
Mr. Middlemiss: This is a major problem. Risk management is the
probability of the event versus the nature of the calamity. I am saying that the
nature of the calamity is such that for six months or so Prince Edward Island
was shut down as a result of potato blight crisis. What if a tourist were to
come by, or an agent, and spread that infection deliberately, instead of it
happening by accident? This is a new type of asymmetrical threat.
Senator Banks: We cannot protect against that. No one could possibly
say that we have to have potato police in P.E.I. in case somebody drops
something. That would be impossible.
Mr. Middlemiss: That is a recipe to do even less than we are doing
now. This government and previous governments have taken that route. That is
precisely what we have been doing. We have been doing less and less. That is not
a proper way for an independent nation to be conducting itself. You should know
what is going on in your own backyard.
If you have some direction, by that I mean telling people to do certain
things and to monitor and so on, that acts as a deterrent. That is why I
mentioned Operation Ambuscade. DFO and DND got together in a submarine
patrol of the scallop fishery, and good old Concordia was there again.
They could not quite bring them to court, because they were not close enough in,
but the deterrent effect of that was that they thought: ``Those nasty Canadians
using submarines. How sneaky and un-Canadian.'' The number of incidents dropped
off dramatically. That is a military aid to our national role.
Senator Banks: Send a gunboat around. We might have some submarines
again soon, too.
You have obviously given a great deal of though about what it is necessary to
do. Have you thought about quantifying it? How much would it cost to do what we
are talking about doing?
Mr. Middlemiss: There are numbers out there. The last time I looked at
this seriously was in the mid 1970s. This joint study group on sovereignty
control did came up with the number of ship days that should be provided by
various departments and the number of aircraft. We are doing only a fraction of
that. The Aurora and other examples were used. As the Aurora flies over an area,
it is not very effective because it does such a small sweep, but if you use a
civilian sensor canister, we can do surveillance for other government
departments. However, no one has said, ``Do it.'' Government departments have
just said, ``We will not pay for it.''
You could cost out, in today's terms, whether 1,200 or 1,500 ship days is a
reasonable number. My initial statement was that we do not know. What is the
preferred end state? We do not know the nature of the problem. I submit that is
the biggest problem of all. It is serious. I do not think anyone has the answer,
but we should be looking into it.
Senator Banks: With respect to the military options alone, this
committee, in its report, has determined that what is needed in terms of dollars
to allow the Canadian military to do not anything more than it is doing, that
is, the jobs that it has presently assigned, and that would require an immediate
injection of $4 billion. We do not believe that will happen, sadly, because we
do not have that $4 billion.
Mr. Middlemiss: We do have the is $4 billion, but it would be a
Senator Banks: Where would that trade-off come from?
Mr. Middlemiss: We have expected other things of our governments and
rightly so. We have highly developed values. We have, supposedly, a great social
security net. I do not know how much of that is true. We like to create myths
about how superior we are.
The $1 billion for the gun control registry was an example used in the recent
IRPP, by a fellow named John McCallum — no relation to the DND minister —
who said: Beware of big ideas; use the gun registry. Where did it go wrong? They
had no concept of what they were trying to do with a dime of that money and,
hence, it was just blown away. That is a big sum of money. We make choices like
that all the time.
To say that there is no money for defence is not correct. We have made
trade-offs, and the residual is what we give to defence.
Senator Banks: What else do we need to trade off, aside from the gun
Mr. Middlemiss: This is where I am saying that a high-level cabinet
committee should be getting its priorities straight and say that we are here for
this reason, first and foremost. By the way, if there is a national contingency
fund of $3 billion to $5 billion in the surplus years coming up, at least
national security, writ large, should have first call on it.
The Chairman: To follow up on the point you were discussing with
Senator Banks, one of the difficulties in proving the case that ``ad hockery''
does not work is being able to point to examples. When we call government
witnesses before us, ad hockery always works. We cannot find a witness who will
come forward and say, ``It could have been worse,'' or ``We really missed this
If you try to make the case that you do not like ad hockery, you have to show
where it is failing. You have to show, consistently, that there have been
The perception is that not only is it successful, but also it has been
elevated to the point where it is the Canadian way. It is our style of doing
things. If you challenge our style, the first question that the media will ask
you is: Tell me, professor, what has gone wrong so far?''
Mr. Middlemiss: You could pick any policy area and rip it to shreds if
you wanted to, which is what academics do all the time. It does not mean it is a
total failure, it just means it falls short of some standards, and often we do
not even have standards. The Auditor General often points out that we do not
have a clear set of objectives, even though she is not supposed to be
I have been involved in many comprehensive DND audits of major capital
programs. We have got to the point where we are bringing in outside counsel to
say whether we can even audit certain programs. Imagine the electorate being
afraid to watch because they might become litigants in a suit brought against
them for prying too much. It is a travesty.
The Chairman: It is fine to say it is a travesty, and you may well be
right. However, if you are going to write a report, at some point early on in
the process you must describe the problem. To describe the problem simply by
saying that an ad hoc approach is not good enough or by stating that we can do
it better, does not grab the decision makers in such a way that they will devote
dollars to solving the problem.
Mr. Middlemiss: I absolutely agree, and I would not say that ad
hocery, in some instances and to some extent, has not worked. It has worked. You
need to get around the question of what you are aiming to do. What are you
trying to accomplish by simply having ad hocery, giving the lead to this or that
department, or amalgamating DOT or Coast Guard with DND? This becomes the
mechanism of apparent movement in policy, and it has become a substitute for
Your primary job should be to answer that question. That was the first point
I made: What is the desired end state; what is the risk? I have given you a few
examples: 23 SARS deaths, malevolent intent, potato blight, Walkerton, West
Nile, 39,000 refugees who are not supposed to be here but are still here. Are
those all successes?
Senator Banks: I am sorry to argue, but do you think there is any
policy of any government and any amount of money that could have been spent that
could have forestalled those 23 SARS deaths? I do not.
Mr. Middlemiss: Not necessarily, but we can point to the fact that
there were five less qualified epidemiologists who could have done something
about it, one of which had to come in from British Columbia to initiate certain
steps, and that took several months. It depends on who you are reading. The
government says it is a great success. Apparently no one else agreed. We were
the only city in North America to be ostracized. The only city in all of North
America to be closed down was Toronto. Is that a success? Look at the hundreds
of millions of dollars they are spending on advertising to try to convince
people that it was. I do not think that is a success in opportunity cost
I take your point, senator, and you are absolutely right, but I think you
should be asking your witnesses: What is the end game here? What is the essence
of this mandate of national security that you want to be getting at? That is
what you should be quizzing them on, and you are coming close to it. They
respond bureaucratically and say, ``We are doing the best we can do.'' That is
the Canadian way.
The Chairman: The end game usually is to get it off the front page of
The Globe and Mail.
Mr. Middlemiss: Yes.
The Chairman: Let us be clear about what the end game is.
Mr. Middlemiss: And all security politics, to this government and many
others before, are local politics.
The Chairman: If we agree that the reality is that politicians, by
their nature, simply want to move the issue behind them, recognizing that there
will be a new issue the next day, where do we get better substance to
demonstrate the point that we would like to see a cabinet committee run by the
Deputy Prime Minister in charge of a central agency, which has all of the
authority that PCO has, that will be able to provide direction to the different
departments that we know need to be involved to have a national security mosaic?
There has to be a better case to make than saying, ``We feel it doesn't look
right. We're concerned that we are reinventing the wheel.''
Mr. Middlemiss: I agree, and I suggested a few things. I do not know
if you have the resources, but I would hope you could get them, to get more
staff to research this from the outside. The answers are partly out there. I
have given you a list of cases that I did not mention on the public record here.
The Chairman: It takes less time to get a government helicopter than
to get more resources for a Senate committee.
Mr. Middlemiss: I think that is the part of the problem; that is the
nature of the problem. One of the problems with your approach, although I
completely understand it, by biting off manageable functional areas — airport
security and now maritime — is that you are tending to produce reports that do
confirm that we are sort of muddling through. There have been some good
recommendations, by the way, in previous reports, but they do not integrate them
into the big picture.
The Chairman: Stay tuned.
Mr. Middlemiss: I hope you will because I do think it is something
that needs to be done. You are asking, quite rightly, ``Where are the answers
today?'' I was given a week to prepare some comments for you, so I was not ready
for this in that sense. However, there are many people, and you have been
hearing from some of them, who do this for a living and you could get more
information from them. They would be delighted to help you, but it will take a
few years. It will not take four or five months.
The Chairman: Admiral, can you help me with examples of why an ad hoc
approach does not fly?
Mr. King: The entire government, flawed from time to time though it
may be in whatever issue you are discussing, works because people do not do
things ad hoc. They plan policies, procedures and doctrine. Virtually everything
we do, from our education system to the way we maintain our roads and bridges,
is the subject and the product of detailed planning. It is a myth to say we do
things in an ad hoc fashion. However, Professor Middlemiss is saying that there
are times when we have a sense that we will just deal with each issue on a
case-by-case basis, and that, if you have done enough planning in the right
places, will generally get you through.
We are saying that, as we find threats coming at us that are not so clearly
defined, as they are threats that touch on wide areas of responsibility in a
government which is structured to function in a democratic society under a
system of peace, where fundamental services are not disrupted, then you need to
take some extraordinary measures to cope with how you use that existing
structure, because there is not the time required to change it. Indeed, to a
certain extent you are ``ad hocing'' it, but how do you take that existing
structure, those people, their training and their resources, and point them
toward solving the particular problem?
I would respectfully ask Senator Banks how many of the 110,000 deaths of
Canadians in the two world wars were the result of poor planning at the very
beginning of those conflicts, notwithstanding the victories that followed later?
Today, one needs to make the most of what one has. That means that those
departments need direction, and they musts have the planning and procedures
required to cope with these situations. If that is considered ad hocery, then
maybe what we have here is a definition problem.
In the SARS situation, the Winnipeg flood situation, the Quebec floods and
the ice storm, a lot was done well by a lot of good people who were
knowledgeable. However, in all those cases you will find areas where things did
not go well because of a lack of intergovernmental and interagency coordination
and communications. Part of it is a technical problem. These are not secrets; we
all know they exist, and there is a continuous process to try to rectify them.
When you get down to the particular situation of national maritime security,
the government has responded well by way of Mr. Manley's group, but that group
will need some sort of planning for the future. We are looking at the rest of
our lives here. Should the experience that has already been gained in
coordinating the efforts of the 17 government departments that are part of this
maritime security working group not be gathered in some way and formalized a bit
more so that we get the most out of that, and should the people involved in that
not be held accountable for what they have to do?
That is all we are really saying. I do not think there is a big problem.
Perhaps it is a definition issue more than anything else, sir.
Mr. Middlemiss: I would add that it is entirely a matter of costs
either. I agree wholeheartedly here. It is just a matter of doing certain things
a little more systematically and better, and ensuring that there are plans, and
that the plans are consistent with one another. That is not always the case.
Some of the examples I gave you are success stories.
Senator Cordy: The chair and the two of you stated that usually the
desired end result when we have bureaucrats before us answering questions, or if
there is a crisis in the media and they are dealing with the media, is basically
to get it off the front page. Politicians react to what the public is saying and
what the public wants, if they wish to be re- elected. As you stated, Professor
Middlemiss, going back not just to the past 10 years, but going back a number of
governments, governments have not lost elections because of their failure to
react to a lack of security policy or to give great importance to the need for
How do we convince Canadians there is a need for a national security so that
they do not take national security for granted? You gave examples. If we have
another tragedy, then perhaps they will, but I would like that not to be the way
that Canadians take it more seriously.
The Americans might react and take it upon themselves to have a North
American security policy. I know the chair often uses the analogy that Canada
might not be the bull's-eye, but we are on the target. How do we convince
Canadians of that? In effect, one would hope that it would then filter down to
political people like us that in fact there is a great importance attached to
this. Our committee has certainly stated publicly that we see the need for a
national security policy and a national maritime policy.
Mr. Middlemiss: That is a huge question. As an educator, I looked at
that, as did Professor Wark. We found that the universities have not been doing
their best either in talking about national security, national defence and
intelligence and a number of these areas because they are not sexy and not
politically correct. We need to do more. Frankly, that is the biggest challenge.
The job of a government politician is to lead, not to try to get things off
the front page and not to follow public opinion polls. When it comes to national
security, that is their job, first and foremost. All the other stuff is gravy,
and yes, we are wallowing in the gravy. It is pretty hard to give any of us,
including myself, a dose of reality. I am hoping that it will come through a
As an educator I would just add, and I am not being overly flattering here,
that this type of committee gets the facts out. You uncover the basic points and
issues, and that is a start, because we have not done that before. We have never
looked, in a comprehensive way, at Canadian national security. We have looked at
military security and at defence, but we have never considered national
security. I am encouraging you to keep going and not to settle for half
There is no end state. It is a continuing process. I work with young
students, before you know it they are older, they have responsible jobs, and
they have sons and daughters and we need to educate them. We are constantly
reflecting on the fact that my students do not even know what the Vietnam War
was, let alone about some of the experiences that I grew up with. This is a
problem. We are losing in the historical sense. We are losing our own history,
our own sense of identity. This is a tragedy. There are lessons to be learned
Mr. King and I have suggested that we could be learning a lot more because we
have gone through these exercises over and over again in different contexts. Why
not learn from some of those things? That is where I think staff, people out
there charged to do this, could help. It is no easy task, and you cannot just
change people. They are humans, and they have their own desires and interests.
Senator Cordy: I agree that government has to take the leadership
role, and I do not want to sound like I do not believe in individual rights or
privacy, because I do, but the more removed you become from September 11, the
more these issues come to the forefront when governments are trying to introduce
Mr. Middlemiss: If September 11 did one great thing for the world, for
Americans and Canadians, it started that debate which was long overdue, and it
has created a rebalancing. It is healthy. It will always be fluctuating between
individual rights and the collective good. We were focusing too much on
individual rights and on the collective good by default, because governments had
abdicated their role and were getting the short end of the stick. This is being
debated constantly now in every policy area. That is a healthy sign. I am
hopeful in that respect, and I agree with you.
The Chairman: I would thank both of our witnesses for appearing before
us. We have appreciated your perspective and the fact that you have challenged
the committee. We need to be regularly challenged. We hope to have the
opportunity to come back to you. We usually think of our best questions about 10
minutes after you have left the room. If we could be in touch with you as we go
forward with our work, we would be most grateful.
Turning to the audience watching, if you have any questions or comments,
please visit our Web site at www.sen- sec.ca. We post witness testimony as well
as confirmed hearing schedules. Otherwise, you may contact the clerk of the
committee at 1-800-267-7362 for further information or assistance in contacting
members of the committee.