Proceedings of the Standing Senate Committee on
National Security and Defence

Issue 22 - Evidence, September 23, 2003 - Morning meeting


HALIFAX, Tuesday, September 23, 2003

The Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence met this day at 9:15 a.m. to examine and report on the need for a national security policy for Canada.

Senator Colin Kenny (Chairman) in the Chair.

The Chairman: Good morning. It is my pleasure to welcome you to the Senate Committee on National Security and Defence. Today, the committee will hear testimony on the current situation of our first responders.

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

On my immediate left is the distinguished senator from Nova Scotia, Senator Michael Forrestall. Senator Forrestall has served the constituents of Dartmouth for the past 37 years, first as their member of the House of Commons, 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.

On the far right of the table is Senator Michael Meighen from Ontario, a successful lawyer and businessman, he was appointed to the Senate in 1990. He has a strong background in defence matters and is Chair of our Subcommittee on Veterans' Affairs. He is also a member of the Senate Committee on Banking, Trade, and Commerce that is examining ways to improve corporate governance.

Beside him is Senator David Smith from Ontario. Senator Smith was a Toronto councillor and deputy mayor. After that, he became a member of the House of Commons and served in the cabinet as Minister of State in the government of Pierre Elliott Trudeau and was appointed to the Senate in the year 2002. He has had a very successful career practising law in Toronto, and he currently serves on the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee and the Senate Committee on Rules, Procedures, and the Rights of Parliament.

Beside him is Senator Jack Wiebe from Saskatchewan. Senator Wiebe served as Lieutenant Governor of Saskatchewan and as a member of the Saskatchewan Legislative Assembly before being appointed to the Senate in the year 2000. Senator Wiebe is a farmer by profession. He is Deputy Chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry and also sits on the Senate Committee on Rules, Procedures, and the Rights of Parliament, and on our Subcommittee on Veterans' Affairs.

On the far opposite end of the table is Senator Tommy Banks from Alberta. Senator Banks is well-known to Canadians as one of our most accomplished and versatile musicians and entertainers. He was appointed to the Senate in the year 2000. Senator Banks is a recipient of a Juno Award, of the Grand Prix du Disque, and of the Order of Canada. Senator Banks is the Chair of the Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment, and Natural Resources and, currently, that committee is studying nuclear safety and control.

Beside him is Senator Atkins from Ontario. Senator Atkins came to the Senate in 1986 with a strong background in the field of communications and with experience as advisor to former Premier Davis of Ontario. Senator Atkins is a member of our Subcommittee on Veterans' Affairs and of the Senate Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration. He also serves as Chair of the Senate Conservative Caucus.

Last, but not least, is Senator Jane Cordy from Dartmouth. She is 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 is a member of the Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology that recently released a landmark report on health care and that is now studying mental health. She was recently elected Vice-Chair of the Canadian NATO Parliamentary Association.

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 ``Canadian Security and Military Preparedness''. This study, which was tabled in February 2002, examined the major security and defence issues facing Canada.

Then the Senate 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. The first, ``The Defence of North America: A Canadian Responsibility,'' was published in September of 2002. The second, ``An Update on Canada's Military Crisis: A View from the Bottom Up,'' was published in November of 2002. The third, and most recent, ``The Myth of Security at Canada's Airports,'' was published in January of 2003.

The committee is continuing its long-term evaluation of Canada's ability to contribute to the security and defence of North America, having heard witnesses relating to coastal defence yesterday. As part of its work, the committee has been holding hearings on the federal government's support of men and women across the country who respond first to emergencies and disasters.

Our hearings today will include witnesses representing first responders from both the Province of Nova Scotia and the Regional Municipality of Halifax. Our first witnesses this morning are representatives of the Halifax Regional Municipality. We have with us Mr. George McLellan, Chief Administrative Officer. Mr. McLellan has been in his current post since January 2002 and brings a diverse background of private and public sector experience. Also joining us is Mr. Barry Manuel, Coordinator, Emergency Measures Organization. Mr. Manuel started as a patrol officer with the Dartmouth Police Services and increased his responsibilities until he assumed his current role in 1997. Chief Frank Beazley, Police Chief, Halifax Regional Police, is also here. Chief Beazley joined the Halifax Department in 1970 and was appointed permanently to his current position this past July. As well, we have with us Mr. Peter LePine, Inspector, Halifax Detachment, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and Mr. Bruce Burrell, Assistant Deputy Chief Director, Halifax Regional Fire Service. Mr. Burrell has over 20 years' experience and is involved in many associations relating to emergency preparedness.

Mr. McLellan, please proceed.

Mr. George McLellan, Chief Administrative Officer, Halifax Regional Municipality: Thank you very much for having us here today to describe for you the array of assets that Halifax Regional Municipality has at its command and discretion in times of difficulty.

The introductions support the fact that HRM has at its disposal the expertise of these individuals sitting with me, who are not only fine professionals but also, with the exception of Inspector LePine, life-long residents of this community. I think we would all agree that emergency measures preparedness is best seen in terms of its teamwork.

Emergency preparedness is not a matter of theory for us here in HRM; it is a matter of experience. We have successfully, we believe, and in the eyes of communities beyond HRM, dealt with, in fact, been tested well by fire, instances in the past. I would like to state that, in support of our presentation here today, we have most of the critical assets involved in our plan.

Mr. George Malec, representing the Halifax Port Corporation, is here today, as is Mr. Carl Yates of the Halifax Regional Water Commission. We have technical support for both police and fire here, as well. The provincial EMO, Mr. Lester, is also here with us. The regional health authority is also represented as is the Emergency Health Services of the Province of Nova Scotia.

HRM is an organized and well-structured municipality. Most of you would be aware of our background. We were an amalgamated city in 1996. We cover a geographic area that is larger than Prince Edward Island and have nearly three times the population of the Province of Prince Edward Island to consider in terms of our plan. We have a strong team and, as I mentioned, an experienced team to respond to emergencies, all of whom have been trained to a national standard at the Canadian Emergency Preparedness College.

Cooperation in multi-governmental and jurisdictional issues to date has been successful for Halifax Regional Municipality in dealing effectively through the agencies I mentioned such as the Halifax Port Corporation, the Halifax International Airport, the RCMP, and provincial and federal EMO agencies. We have been able to deal effectively with emergency situations to date. Those include, as you know, Swissair; 9/11; and a number of critical fire situations in our suburban and rural areas.

In terms of risk assessment, as a municipality with an international port, an international airport, a military presence, and a key role in the provincial and Atlantic economy, we are well aware of the threats posed by terrorism, certainly post-9/11. Transportation of hazardous goods is a characteristic of our community, so we are also concerned with all aspects of chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear issues. We will address those here today.

There are challenges in front of us, but they are challenges we can meet. One of the issues we will discuss here today, as I am sure you have heard in other locations, relates to funds to purchase equipment, new technologies and, most critically, training. The assets that we have here, key operation staff, as I mentioned, have been trained to the national standard. Emergency management is used in HRM. These standards are vigorously enforced.

Mr. Manuel is a frequent speaker at the college and at other national forums and has been a great resource not just for this municipality but nationally. HRM employees, such as our police and fire representatives, who are here today, often act as guest lecturers in other areas.

As an Atlantic Canadian military centre, we have the advantage of having the Canadian Forces in our community. They are not just here for the broad national purpose. They are citizens, members of our community. We draw on that. They are a strong resource. We have a culture of cooperation, with the ability to focus on the task at hand, and that is represented by the number of people and agencies that are here today to support us. The working relationship within the province has been very positive and effective when dealing with emergency response.

I would point out that the old Spicer Building in Dartmouth, the old police station, is the only place in Canada where the three levels of government have their emergency measures organizations housed in the same location. We managed to pull that off just before 9/11. Five days before 9/11, we finished the build-out, the fit-out, and brought everybody in. We are very thankful for that. The close cooperation between the three levels of government in Canada, I think, is most dramatically illustrated in this community.

With the EMO, we were able to fit-out the building to house the unique emergency measures centre that we have. Additionally, we have our call centre in there. We are now designing the interior of the property to house a joint dispatch. The joint dispatch here in HRM, I believe, again, will be unique in Canada. I know many of you are well familiar with some of the communication difficulties in New York at the time of 9/11. With one dispatch, we will be able to dispatch police, fire, works, and soon, hopefully, water in support. If we need to close roads or do anything in support of our protective service groups, we will be able to do it with one call, one dispatch, and set up site management. If all participants use the trunk mobile radio system, they will all be able to communicate with each other. We are very pleased.

I think that this is a unique Canadian solution. It has been in the design stages and in the works for a number of years and it will be implemented over the next year.

The property is being completed. In one building, not only will we have our three emergency measures organizations, federal, provincial, and municipal, we will have call centre resources as well as the unique dispatch capability that we are offering.

We are not 100 per cent technology-dependent. There are built-in redundancies such as the reduction of paper in the event of complete loss of technological infrastructure.

As Nova Scotians, we like to think that we have a propensity to want to respond to emergencies beyond our jurisdiction, as well. In that regard I would mention the Quebec Ice Storm and the recent fires out West. Nova Scotians and government organizations in Nova Scotia have responded to assist. Our response to critical events has been recognized internationally. We have motivation, and that is driven by our compassion for our neighbouring communities. I think that is one of the things that sets us apart. Our greatest resource is our people and their will.

We have created an environment to bring emergency social service agencies, commonly known as second responders, together to assist and augment the traditional first-response agencies. We have a good relationship with the Red Cross and the network of radios stations in communities that have supported us to date.

We have benefited from amalgamation, although there were a few difficult years. However, it has turned out to be an effective structure that has enabled us to perform well. I cannot imagine having to deal with some of the issues that we have had to deal with as four separate communities rather than one in the middle of this geographical area for which we have responsibility.

We are not without our challenges. Our resources do not permit us to capitalize on national training opportunities as much as we would like. Access to a number of the national training programs has declined over the past few years, and that has hampered us.

Though we have a good system for emergency response, emergency preparedness must be balanced with the challenges municipalities face. Halifax Regional Municipality, I think it has to be understood, has the highest reliance in the property tax dollars of any city its size in Canada or in North America. We do about as well as any municipality does with what we have but, unfortunately, emergency measures preparedness is a budget item. It is a high priority. However, we must address a number of issues with the resources we have at hand. Nova Scotia is not a wealthy province.

You have probably visited a number of communities, so you know the streets are not paved in gold. The hearts are gold. We have a needs. If we are to be judged in terms of our challenges, and if we are to be judged in terms of our preparedness, then we must also take into account how level the playing field is with regard to cities such as ours. Those are judgements that I know you will make. We have confidence in your ability to make those judgments.

We greatly appreciate the federal funding that we have available through programs such as JEPP, the Joint Emergency Preparedness Program, JEPP, the Heavy Urban Search and Rescue program, HUSAR, as well as the Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear program. We have specialists with us today in all of these programs who can address questions as to our preparedness as it relates to these individual programs.

However, the structure of these programs is sometimes such that it is difficult for us to take advantage of them. The requirement to pay 100 per cent of the equipment costs up front and the timing of the repayments negatively impact on our ability to budget. As well, changing program guidelines and requirements are a source of frustration for our municipality as I am sure it is for others.

In order to deal with emergency preparedness at a higher level and with funding equipment purchases, this municipality and others need sustainable funding after the purchasing process. The federal government needs to be aware, and we would appreciate registering this comment firmly, of the peripheral issues surrounding federal emergency measures organizations cost-sharing programs.

There needs to be a continuation of provincial and federal emergency management training. This includes the formulation of national standards of emergency management and the promotion of consistent standards that will enable municipalities to provide a dependable level of response across Canada that will provide more overall national security. For example, a HUSAR team trained in Halifax should be able to plug into an emergency in Vancouver when required. This is an uncertainty at present.

HRM enjoys a strong presence in federal, provincial, and municipal agencies, as can be seen here today. However, that presence means it is imperative that there be clarity in the jurisdictional roles.

For example, if a container ship — and this is not unlikely since we have seen this situation in the past year — is brought into the harbour with a burning container on it, who is responsible for putting the fire out? What happens if the agency responsible does not have the capacity to deal with the problem? Here in Halifax, we have been able to rise above these issues based upon the goodwill and the common sense of the people that we have to rely upon. This cannot be presumed to be the case in all conditions and at all times in the future.

That concludes our remarks, Mr. Chair. We would be prepared to entertain any questions you may have.

Senator Cordy: Thank you very much, Mr. McLellan, for a most comprehensive outline of the types of things that are being done in Halifax Regional Municipality.

I had some prepared questions but during the course of your remarks, some other questions came to mind. You told us that access to national training has declined. Is there a reason for that?

Mr. McLellan: Senator Cordy, I would ask Mr. Manuel to help with that.

Mr. Barry Manuel, Emergency Measures Organization Coordinator, Halifax Regional Municipality: Over the years, the college itself has had a declining number of course enrolments, and I am not sure why. However, the issue is that we have to get our people trained to a standard and the way to do that is by enrolment. Over the last couple of years there have been fewer opportunities to encourage people to attend the college.

My impression is that there does not seem to be the same federal drive to encourage training. There are fewer courses available each year. I think there are fewer courses this year than there were last year.

Senator Cordy: How would you solve this problem?

Mr. Manuel: It is a resource issue. Resources must be allocated to training across Canada. We cannot just ask the existing staff to offer more courses. A higher emphasis must be placed on training. We must develop a standard, a national emergency standard, an on-site management or incident management standard, and then train to that standard.

Senator Cordy: This is an area where the federal government should provide more resources for training.

Mr. Manuel: Most definitely.

Senator Cordy: In your presentation, Mr. McLellan, you talked about the need for national standards. Are you saying that the federal government should take the lead role in providing the venue for training for people so that there will be a national standard?

Mr. McLellan: Yes. One of the other points that we sought to make was related to the ability to plug in to other situations. This is a diverse country. Our dollars will have more impact, more power, if we have standardized training so that we can move people to the site of the problem. It may not be immediate, but in a sustained situation, it would be a great benefit.

Senator Cordy: In the past few years we have had a number of situations where people from one area of the country have travelled to another area to help out in emergency situations.

Mr. McLellan: That is correct.

Mr. Manuel: If you create a national standard and train to that standard, the person who passes the requirements of the training will have a valuable skill. That is an asset to the person. It is an asset to the municipality. It is also an asset to the province and the country.

If a person who has trained to be a member of a CBRN team is asked to go to an area that does not use the same standard, then that person will have trouble working because he or she does not know the rules of the road in that particular local community. That is why I would emphasize that we must create national standards in training. Then we will be able to say that everyone is trained, to a degree, to the same standard. When they are required to work in any part of Canada, they will expect to hear the same terminology. By way of example, I am certain you often have trouble with acronyms as you go across the country. If you go to another community and you use different terminology, it can mean a different thing, and that will affect the response.

Senator Wiebe: Is part of the problem related to standards the result of the fact that we are a confederation with 10 provinces and each province has different standards and jurisdictions?

Mr. Manuel: Partially. It is also partially because, over the years, the federal government has allowed the provinces to take on some of the training. You could have 10 separate training departments in 10 separate provinces doing a wonderful job, but not necessarily to the same level and using the same terminology. It would help if we had a federal standard that they could follow.

The Chairman: If I may, Senator Cordy, just to put a footnote on that, we have adduced evidence from other municipalities that have argued against common standards. They told us that they have unique situations, unique problems, and that they need unique equipment. They rejected a cookie-cutter approach. I will leave you with that thought.

At some point we will have to square the circle on this, and we would be happy if you could help us square this circle.

Senator Cordy: In that light, how do you view the federal Office of Critical Infrastructure, Protection, and Emergency Preparedness? How does that fit into what HRM is doing?

Mr. Manuel: I look at the federal OCIPEP in several lights. First of all, at a local federal level, that office is a tenant in our building. It is next door to my office. I have a very good working relationship with those people. In an emergency response, I have had excellent working relationships with them from a local point of view.

However, I would think of splitting the federal office into two parts: the regulatory part, the part that makes the laws and regulations; and the training part. I would like to keep them separate.

The only issue I have ever had with OCIPEP arises when people from the federal agencies, people from away, come in and suggest ways of doing things, not necessarily knowing the local conditions, and that goes back to your cookie- cutter approach.

Senator Cordy: It goes back to what Mr. McLellan said. It certainly helps having the three levels of government under one roof. It allows for greater cooperation among the three.

Mr. Manuel: You would not believe how good that, in fact, is. I know that, if something goes wrong, the federal and provincial people are behind me.

Senator Cordy: We have in some areas that a municipality is not even aware of what OCIPEP can do. However, in your case, having them next door, means that the lines of communication would be much more open.

Mr. Manuel: This situation is not unique to us. We had a relationship with the federal government when the organization was called Emergency Preparedness Canada. That was long before they moved in with us.

It behooves us as a community to make sure we know where the resources and the help are located. We know we cannot do it alone. The provincial government helped us in the past. We know that there is a federal government behind them and there is a system in place. We use the system to our advantage.

Senator Cordy: I will leave training aside, but I will keep in mind your suggestion.

You talked about communication. When we were speaking to people in Edmonton, they told us that they have the ability to take over television or radio stations in an emergency in order to give out information. Do you have this same ability in this region?

Mr. Manuel: No. That is something that is available in the United States. It is available in certain areas of Canada. I believe Alberta has a system. We do not have that. Two years ago, a company suggested that we do this through the CRTC. That request was denied at that time. However, we supported the concept back then, and we still support it. We have other ways of communicating with the public, but we cannot just press one button and talk to all radio stations or television stations at the same time. That is an alert system, which is not available in Nova Scotia.

Senator Cordy: Why did CRTC turn it down?

Mr. Manuel: I do not know the answer to that. I know it was turned down.

Senator Cordy: How would you communicate an emergency to people?

Mr. Manuel: There are several ways. We have a public information system that we use. We will go to media. There is a commercial FM radio station in Halifax now that allows direct air broadcasts. We have the ability to communicate with them directly 24 hours a day and go direct to air with a broadcast.

Part of our communications, our public information system, includes educating the public so that, in times of emergency, they know to check particular channels. We will actually broadcast from the site.

Mr. McLellan: In our experience, we have a subset problem in terms of communication. That involves communicating with the people directly affected within the general community. It is often a challenge. Some people have been concerned when doing the post-review of how we have handled events here in the past. They have seen the situations through those mediums and not directly from our point of view. We do try to keep a balance, in terms of dealing with those directly affected as well as the general public.

We also have a commercial product of which you may be aware called ``CityWatch'' that we are introducing in the community. The police use it now to track sexual offenders. It is a two-way communication system. We code in different bases of communities. We have a population that has shown some interest. We can send out a message by simply pushing a button. We also have incoming communication through ``CityWatch.'' We can exchange messages very quickly through ``CityWatch,'' which we are increasingly viewing as a valuable tool which allows us to keep the community informed of current conditions.

The Chairman: What are your communications plans in the event of a power failure?

Mr. Manuel: Communications with the general public?

The Chairman: Yes.

Mr. Manuel: Currently, we have a program in place. We rely strongly on the use of amateur radio operators to inform the public. We have a program in place where we will put an amateur radio person in our operations centre, which has a backup generator. We will put amateur radio people in the metro radio stations, which all have backup generators, and we can communicate our message, through amateur radio or radio, from our operations centre. We will communicate with the radio stations and then they can broadcast because their stations have backup power. The transmitter sites also have backup power.

The Chairman: Do you have any information as to how many people have battery-powered radios?

Mr. Manuel: When I speak anywhere, I always touch on the subject of battery-powered radios. My question to you this morning is: How many of you have battery-operated radios at home? If you do have one, you are supposed to change the batteries every year, once a year, and you are supposed to test them. That is the concept. Everywhere I go I try to get that message across.

Senator Cordy: To follow along this line of questioning, how do you get the information to people? You gave a clear message this morning and, hopefully, that message will get out.

As you know, a number of years ago there was a horrific explosion in Toulouse, and one of the problems that they had was related to the reaction of the public. There was a rush of people trying to get to the site of the explosion, which caused traffic jams and the emergency vehicles were unable to get to the site. How can we train the public? Human nature, being what it is, we tend not to worry about details until a crisis occurs.

I do not have a battery-operated radio, so I am guilty, but I guess I could sit in my car and listen.

How can we prepare the general public? What can we do? Should we use the school system or public hearings? What exactly should we do?

Mr. Manuel: I could answer that in one word and then elaborate. The word is, ``partnerships.'' We partner with agencies, such as the Red Cross, which have public preparedness programs; and the fire service, which has a fire prevention program. You create the message and you make sure that it gets out there, so that people know what to do in an emergency.

Every family should have an emergency plan. What do you do if you have to leave the house? What do you do if you cannot get back into the house and you are at school? We had a fire here two years ago. The fire occurred during the daytime. It was a forest fire in a populated area. The area was easy to evacuate because hardly anybody was home. The problem arose when people had to get home. Where were they to meet? Those are issues that we face each day. We are trying to solve these problems through partnerships.

HRM has a program that deals with these questions. It is a resource-based program and it needs resources. We are working with volunteers. Again, it is a matter of formulating the message and then using various partners to spread it.

Senator Cordy: Have you done it through the school system? I know the police have done a great job in teaching kids the emergency number, 911. The fire departments have done a great job in teaching kids that they must have an escape route from their homes. Kids take the maps home and get their parents to cooperate. Have you gone that route?

Mr. Manuel: Not yet. It is something we would like to do.

Senator Cordy: Clarity in jurisdictional matters was an issue that arose. Who is in charge? Mr. McLellan, in his comments said that this is certainly a concern. How do you determine who is in charge? As you mentioned, we have so many jurisdictions within HRM. We have a huge military component; a police component; a fire department component, and so on. How do you decide who is in charge?

Mr. Manuel: Initially, we try to do it by consensus. When we have an event, we try to determine the jurisdiction from the first responders, and that is based on what we know and where the incident is occurring. We have some unique jurisdictions. We have First Nations jurisdictions, and we have other areas where we have to be cognizant of jurisdiction. Most of the time, it is not an issue, but occasionally we do have to make that determination. We will select a lead agency. Based on past actions, it is normally done on the scene by the responding agencies.

Senator Cordy: Is there a way to pre-determine who will be in charge? Are you doing it the best way?

Mr. Manuel: You can pre-determine who will be in charge. That is part of our determination process. It is based on: Where did the incident happen? Did it happen on water? Did it happen on land? Did it happen on federal government land? Did it happen on municipal land? That forms the basis of our consensus.

Senator Cordy: During the blackouts or the power failures, people could not gasoline because it could not be pumped out of the tanks. Are there gas stations with generators? You told us that the radio stations and television stations all have generators for communication purposes. How would emergency vehicles get access to gasoline?

Mr. Manuel: We have our own gasoline supplies. We can go so many days without replenishing our gasoline supplies. Our gasoline pumps are attached to backup power. In addition, we have arrangements with the field suppliers to have so much fuel on stand-by for us should we need it. That gives us time to use our fuel, bring fuel in from away if we have to, and still have fuel as backup.

Senator Forrestall: The uniqueness, I think you referred to it, Mr. McLellan, of our community is such that we, perhaps, require a unique bus driver. I think we are all familiar with the events of 1917, the events of 1945, all the way to the Swissair tragedy, and everything in between. You have a line of boats for your harbour in Shearwater, an oil refinery, a large autoport, and a very active fishing community. You also have the Canadian Navy or two-thirds of it as residents. You have quite a mixture.

How many mobile units do you have to deal with contamination or, perhaps I should say, decontamination? How many centres do you have?

Mr. Bruce Burrell, Assistant Deputy Chief Director, Halifax Regional Fire Service, Halifax Regional Municipality: Currently, within HRM we have a mobile decontamination unit. The unit, itself, is not used for decontamination but carries the supplies that can be set up in the field. In fire services, we are also capable of putting together mass decontamination capability by using a modified design of fire hoses, ladders, and tarpaulins in order to run mass decontamination through.

As well, the Province of Nova Scotia has recently acquired some assets through CBRN funding which was made available through OCIPEP and that will allow for four or five mass decontamination units. Those units are air inflatable and heated. Those will be strategically deployed throughout the province, but they could be pulled into one municipality if there were a requirement to do so.

Senator Forrestall: Are they highly mobile?

Mr. Burrell: Yes, sir, they are highly mobile. They can be thrown in the back of a half- or a three-quarter-ton pick- up truck and taken to another location. Set-up time is fairly reasonable. They can be set up and in operation in about 15 minutes.

Senator Forrestall: In this regard, how do you get on with local industry; Imperial Oil, for example, Irving? How do you get on with the Canadian Military?

Mr. Burrell: We get along quite well with most of the member agencies around. Of course, there is a large number of them but we do meet on a regular basis with the key players. We certainly have an active liaison with the Emergency Response Department and the fire department at the oil refinery. We do have liaisons through the Canadian Military, through the base fire chief at CFB Halifax.

I would say, as Barry said at the beginning, that a lot of our ability to respond is based on the strength of the partnerships that we have with it is industry or government organizations.

Senator Forrestall: Does the military have in place facilities for decontamination? Do they have their own or do you include those in your assets?

Mr. Burrell: They have their own, sir, but I am not aware of the extent of those. I have a meeting set up with the base fire chief. We have been playing phone tag. I happened to meet him Mississauga on the weekend and we are still trying to get together to look at where we are as far as chemical and biological preparedness goes, our ability to interact and work together, and what assets the base fire department, through the military, has that we can tap into.

Senator Forrestall: You would not be able to turn to them in the initial moments of first response. You would get on with what you know you have and know where it is; is that correct?

Mr. Burrell: I would make the inquiry very quickly through Barry to find out what assets the military did have, and what they could place at our disposal.

Senator Forrestall: In the meantime, you would be getting on with the job at hand.

Mr. Burrell: Yes, sir. We would deploy and get on with the job at hand.

Senator Forrestall: I hope you overcome that as soon as possible.

Mr. Burrell: We are working towards that end.

Senator Forrestall: What about a fire at the refinery?

Mr. Burrell: The refinery has an in-house fire brigade which is made up of employees who perform other duties there. We have a good liaison with the chief of that fire brigade. We respond as a part of their responses, so if they have an incident at the oil refinery, when they sound their evacuation alarms, we are notified and we respond and become an integral part of that response for the refinery.

Last year, we purchased some large vehicles with additional phone capability because of a review we did of the operations being carried out at the Ultramar refinery where they were bringing in bulk fuel storage. As part of an operational review of our capability to respond there, we made some fleet changes.

Mr. McLellan: If I may, at times ``Murphy's Law'' prevails when we have an event. When 9/11 happened, the decision was quickly made to send many planes to Halifax, but some of them did not come. I remember we had some discussions about trying to find additional cots and bedding, things that we needed to make a difference in the quality of life of some people for a short period of time.

Obviously, nobody knew what was going to happen next and, of course, you have to hold your assets back in reserve, and that was a decision the Armed Forces had to make, so we had some difficulties finding the necessary supplies. Sometimes it comes down to that. It is dealing with the affected and that is tough. Sometimes it is difficult when we run our lives federally or municipally for the common, normal condition.

When you see these spikes in demand, the situation is not always as it should be. The answer is not what you think it is. The asset you think you have to rely upon is required somewhere else. Standing on the balls of your feet, having the right people and having the right arrangements and the relationships is what makes the difference for us and it has.

Senator Forrestall: The naval magazine still sits where it sits, regretfully. I have not heard anything in recent years about moving it, although it should be shut down and moved. I do not know whether you consider that to be a major threat or not, but it is now pretty much surrounded by either industrial park or some very fine, prime residential properties.

Mr. McLellan: We have been eyeing that carefully. You do not need to hear the standard municipal line, I guess, but we do not have the same level of resources as do some other cities in different provincial scenarios. We do take this very seriously.

With regard to the issue of the magazine, it is unfortunate in a way that we do not have development on the east side of that magazine, on ``Magazine Hill'' as we call it, because if we did, one thing that we have here in Halifax Regional Municipality is two world-class water systems and we could have a reverse flow switch installed. Mr. Yates from the Halifax Regional Water Commission is here, but I would just like to say that the Pockwock system provides world- class water as it lands in the lake and the Lake Major Water Supply Plant, which is now about three years old, and they have greatly reduced the water loss.

If we had development there, for a $1.29 toggle switch at Canadian Tire, we would be able to put in place a reverse flow switch that would give us even more integrity in our water system. We think it already is the highest integrity water in the land. However, that switch would give us a reverse flow capability in the event of anything happening with either one of our independent water systems. We take these things very seriously.

You talked about our harbour. As a port city, our regional police service provides policing at the port. As a community, we arrived at a 12-year deal with the police that takes away their right to strike. We have reached pretty far on a lot of the things that we have tried to take advantage of our ability to recognize our risks, and those are just a couple of examples.

Senator Forrestall: I appreciate that there are obstacles. The final area that interests me is a broad, general one. A few months ago we were told by Health Canada that they had built up caches of emergency supplies in the major municipal points in Canada. Do you know where Halifax's cache is?

Mr. Burrell: As a result of our involvement with provincial health authorities through our CBRN committee, which answers to the CAO through the Protective Services Committee, we have the individual in the province who is responsible for the national stockpile on that committee.

I read through your briefings across Canada and noted with interest that this question came up so, two weeks ago, I viewed the assets. We do have national stockpile assets in two locations in Burnside Industrial Park. I did not view those for the balance of the province, but I satisfied myself that, in fact, the assets were there, and that if I did call the individual who has been telling me for the last year, ``You should come and see what I have,'' they would be accessible and that we would be able to have them released.

Senator Forrestall: Have you any idea what comprises that cache?

Mr. Burrell: The cache I looked at is, basically, the forward to be deployed. My understanding is that one can be deployed on the authority of the local national stockpile coordinator, and the larger cache has to be deployed by Health Canada. To deploy the first one, it is a matter of notification, and to deploy the second one, essentially, it is permissive.

I carefully examined the notification stockpile. There is a complete 200-bed hospital, feeding unit, 1600 stretchers and, I believe, around 5000 blankets. There is also a second 200-bed hospital, which is the trainer. Without letting the cat out of the bag, we are certainly considering exercising our capability to deploy the unit sometime in the next number of months.

Senator Forrestall: Have we got the personnel to manage it if, God forbid, we ever had to set it up somewhere?

Mr. Burrell: He is satisfied at this point in time he has a significant number of people available to him to set it up. He did not appear to be overly confident that he had a significant number of people to staff it.

Senator Forrestall: Well that is a great improvement over what we heard in a couple of centres. They had not even heard of it, let alone knew where it was. One group told us that they have up to a half-a-dozen blankets.

This leads me to the much broader question. In terms of your first responders and what might be classified as a major incident, how long can you sustain yourself without extensive outside help — medical, clothing, food and clean water, heat, shelter and food?

Mr. Manuel: Our sustainability is something that we take very seriously. We know that incidents do not go by the business clock. They are not over at five o'clock in the afternoon. Sustainability will come to us at various levels for various things. We have very deep levels in certain areas and we are weak in others.

One of our biggest issues of sustainability relates to the senior management at an incident. I am not talking about the ground troops. I am talking about the people managing the incident. Sometimes we have a tendency to overwork. I know I am one of those people. As you become too involved in a major incident, you have a tendency to think that you are irreplaceable and that you cannot leave, which is a normal, psychological, condition of human nature.

You cannot do that. You must leave. We have learned that in past responses. You must have sustainability. You must be able to work 24 hours a day, seven days a week. During our last major event we actually used our operations centre. We had schedules placed for three days in advance for every position within our operations centre so that people could get some rest. Sustainability is an issue that is very close to us.

To answer your question directly, there are areas that we have to look at from a sustainability point of view, and from there we can escalate our operations. We have our partners to help us, and they are here today. There are partners from within the provincial government that I can ask for help. There are also partners from the federal government we can go to for help, as well as some in the private sector. Over time, we have built a tremendous number of relationships. We have stakeholders and other partners that we can call on.

Senator Forrestall: You are well advanced with respect to communications, but breakdowns tend occur in the most surprising areas such as the municipal police being unable to talk to the RCMP. Is that the case here?

Mr. McLellan: That is not the case here. What we are doing on dispatching here is unique. We are the only place in Canada that is served, within the same jurisdiction, by a full range of police services by both the regional police service and the RCMP. That is unique in Canada, and it has its unique challenges.

In the past year, both of those police services have gone on the same radio system and, yet, they are being done through two dispatch arrangements because the RCMP has a broader provincial responsibility. We are now bringing all of the dispatch arrangement within HRM into one system so that we have a common dispatch, common watch command. The superintendent of the division for Halifax Regional Municipality now, as of a month ago, sits in the same office as the chief of police. His key personnel are there.

Senator Forrestall: When are you going to give us a new fire station for the one you took from us?

Mr. McLellan: Very soon, senator, very soon.

Senator Forrestall: We appreciate that.

Does your communications capability include the military?

Mr. McLellan: Our dispatch does not include the military, but we have monitoring.

Senator Forrestall: How do you relate?

Mr. McLellan: Mr. Chair, may I ask Terry Bourgeois of Fire Service to come up and review that relationship?

Mr. Terry Bourgeois, District Chief, Rural District 3, Communications, Fire and Emergency Service, Halifax Regional Municipality: With regards to the military, we currently operate with different radio systems. In the near future, they will move to the same system that we are moving to. Typically, at the scene of operation we use incident command, so most of the communications is face to face among the different agencies.

Senator Forrestall: Is this a leap forward in faith on the part of the military to join our level of technology, or is it just a meeting of minds on what is practical?

Mr. Bourgeois: I think it is a matter of being practical. It goes back to the fact that we have conducted joint operations in the past. Part of the military uses our older radio system now, so we can communicate with them on that level. However, that is an outdated system and we are moving away from it. I think it speaks to the fact that we have worked together in the past and they recognize that the benefits of being on the same system far outweigh anything of value by going their own direction.

Mr. Manuel: The military recently re-organized their base operations in Halifax. Their policing, firefighters and medical people all come under one base operations officer. He and I have met. He is a communicator and, over lunch we were talking about exchanging frequencies. This kind of information sharing is in place.

The military police are going to switch to a common platform dispatch, similar to ours. I have good communication with the military today.

Senator Forrestall: What about the Canadian Coast Guard?

Mr. Manuel: Not legally. I can talk to them but I have to change my frequencies.

Senator Forrestall: I like practicality. You can talk to the Coast Guard if you have to.

Mr. Manuel: If I have to, yes.

Senator Forrestall: However, you say, ``not legally.''

Mr. Manuel: I cannot talk to them on a routine basis, because they have their own frequencies.

Senator Forrestall: I hope you can correct that. That sounds like an administrative, bureaucratic headache.

Mr. Bourgeois: Some of the fast rescue Coast Guard vessels, the inshore boats, are equipped with TMR radios. That is the same system that we are moving to. As well, the Rescue Coordination Centre does have the same capability. However, we have not practised that. We have not done any exercises with them using that, but we do share some frequencies with them. However, those radios are not used on the larger ships. They are primarily on the fast response boats that our volunteer firefighters would typically work on with Coast Guard personnel.

Senator Forrestall: Does the same apply to commercial airliners and the airport?

Mr. Bourgeois: The airport has some of our equipment, but not a lot of it. Currently, they are considering upgrading their equipment, and we hope that they will come online with the same system.

Senator Forrestall: If a pilot were to declare an emergency situation, would you, Mr. Manuel, have knowledge of that? Would you know only if you were called by the tower?

Mr. Bourgeois: That is correct. At this time, the airport conducts crash rescue operations. HRM Regional Fire and Emergency Service does provide structural firefighting for the buildings and a medical response, but as far as the aircraft, the towers, or the ground resources, no, we do not.

Senator Forrestall: Airplanes have a tendency to crash off the airport property or five or ten miles beyond the end of the runway at take-off. If you do not know what is happening or where it happened, I suppose it does not take very long to find out.

Mr. Bourgeois: As I say, we have a response to the airport properties for structural support. As part of that, we support any kind of operation. We routinely conduct exercise with them on those types of operations. However, we are not equipped with crash rescue capability other than the phone capabilities that we have on our structural tactical units.

Mr. Manuel: There are two parts to this question. If there is a major catastrophe at an airport, 30 miles short of an airport, or wherever, we have to determine, first, the ability to communicate and, second, the need to communicate.

Rest assured that all communication channels in an emergency will be jammed. We do not need operational people talking to operational people on those already jammed channels. Therefore, we must be sure that the need to communicate is well defined.

District Chief Bourgeois is our communications officer and I am fairly comfortable that, with his abilities and some of our resources, we can set up communications links with any agency. Radio frequencies are not clandestine. They are available to the public. It is not difficult to figure them out. It is not difficult to program a radio to communicate in that way. I want to caution you with respect to firefighters talking with police officers at a scene. It is appropriate for commanders, yes, but operational front line people should communicate sparingly.

Senator Forrestall: It is your responsibility and I am sure that when you require information, you will use the most suitable means of doing it. There is not much we can do for you in that regard except draw it people's attention to it through our reports. You have to do it.

The Chairman: I have a brief follow-up question to the testimony we heard about, mass decontamination. Mr. Burrell, you talked about your capacity, but you did not tell us how many people you could process in an hour and how many hours you could continue processing.

Mr. Burrell: I worked on a federal group that put together a mass decontamination document for the fire service. Currently it is unpublished. It ran into some funding difficulties with the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs and they will consider that this week at their annual conference.

The proposal put forward by the consensus group across Canada can be set up on scene and, as long as there is an adequate water supply, it can run for the duration. It involves devices that currently exist as fire apparatus across Canada. The intent is to try to bring decontamination down to a level where it is something that any community could start or could put people through, recognizing the weather variables and other factors.

To come up with a number for HRM, given the size of the fire service — we have approximately 1250 members counting our volunteer and our career force — I can only speculate. Once we got set up and running, we could probably easily process in the hundreds per hour. The mass decontamination shelters that are coming into the province are rated for 85 persons per hour, and there are four of them coming into the province.

One will be deployed approximately one hour away from HRM. The one that would be here initially could be set up in a 10- to 15-minute time period. You are looking at probably, realistically, an hour and a half to two hours before the second one could be set up. From my understanding, the other ones will be deployed from the fire marshal's office further afield in order to service other areas in the province.

If a complex like the Halifax Metro Centre where there would be a crowd were contaminated, I am reasonably confident that, within four hours, we could be processing — with warm water, two streams, separating males and females — easily 250 to 300 people per hour.

The Chairman: For how many hours?

Mr. Burrell: It is indefinite, sir. It would be for as long as you can provide fuel and water. The only issue we would have would be related to waste water. We have to explore with the Department of the Environment whether we would be allowed to put a large quantity of diluted substance into the regular waste-water stream. Retention could become a problem after a while.

Senator Banks: We are hearing a lot of good things today about communication and cooperation, and that is quite inspirational. I am relatively new to politics so I am allowed to ask the naive questions. One of the phrases that strikes terror into the hearts of anybody is, ``Hello, I am from the government and I am here to help you.'' Another is what I heard this morning.

I will address the question to Mr. Manuel, but any one of you may answer it. You said that, with regard to questions of jurisdiction, you were working on a consensus basis. That concerns me because, in certain circumstances in the past, that has created difficulties.

Are you talking about a consensus in a geographical area with a defined border, or are you talking about a consensus in a jurisdiction defined by an event? The over-simple and exaggerated situation I will talk about is a house on fire or some catastrophic event that has happened very near to a military base, but in a jurisdiction other than the military base and a long way from the nearest capability of the civilian response. The reverse may be the case, that is, a house or building just inside a military base but where the closest capable response is a civilian one. How do you arrive at a consensus on jurisdiction, who is in charge, in the first event? The idea of waiting for a consensus scares me.

Mr. McLellan: Mr. Burrell did mention that we do have some criteria. Geographic consideration is one, the type of incident is another, and whose assets might be involved is yet another.

In the past few years we have had certain incidents in HRM of which we are all aware. One serious incident occurred on the Dartmouth side in the railway yards where a rail car tipped over. It was in the downtown area.

If there any issue at all regarding implications to public safety, the municipality steps forward. That has been how we have approached it. We clearly have an interest in anything within our jurisdiction.

As to anything that relates to geography that we share with the Province of Nova Scotia with regard to fire, it makes more sense to involve the Natural Resources people or the forestry experts.

We, however, stand first and foremost to make the judgements and we stand to be convinced.

Mr. Burrell: Just to give you some clarification on a couple of events, one being the tank car at the north end Dartmouth, from previous experiences a number of years ago, we learned about the jurisdictional nightmares you can get into when people come in and say, ``We are here. We are in charge.''

Our attitude at that incident, based on some of past dealings was that, unless somebody could show us some legislation or something else that clearly dictated jurisdiction, since the risk was to the residents of the municipality and it was a municipal event, we would retain jurisdiction for the duration of the event. The CAO ran some interference for us on some political issues that arose as a result of that. However, that is how the process works. That is how the legislation works. That is the way the emergency site management system works. That worked very well.

You also asked about whose resources are deployed. Typically, we have agreements. It usually comes down to who is the closest. There is sometimes joint notification depending on the incident. We have used military resources off- base. Recently, at the forest fire in Eastern Passage, we did use air crash foam tenders as part of the effort to save the houses, which was successful.

We have a number of good relationships going here and, going back to what Mr. Manuel said at the beginning, the strength of our local system stems from the realization that we cannot do it alone, and so we have built relationships along the way with all of the players. We looked around and asked: ``Who has got what we might need and how are we going to get it if we need it?'' I think we are fairly aggressive in that regard.

Senator Banks: In the case of the railway incident, did the political difficulty ever inhibit the best response being given?

Mr. McLellan: No, it did not. We did not permit it to do that.

Senator Banks: Good.

Mr. Manuel: The site management system that we actually employ in HRM, has procedures in place that identify the lead agency at the start. When the agencies that respond go somewhere, they determine lead agency jurisdiction. That is the consensus I was talking about.

Should there be an instance where two agencies want to accept the lead or, heaven forbid, no agency wants to accept the lead, the system will escalate up to Mr. McLellan who sits at my right, who is the boss of this community, and who has a big stick. If the situation turns political, Mr. McLellan can go one step further to the mayor, and they will work out the issue. Jurisdiction will be settled. Our system allows for that. I said earlier we try to do it on a consensus because that avoids a lot of difficulties, but the system is designed to allow for disagreements and to have them resolved.

Senator Banks: The first people there be able to do what they need to do, and you take care of the jurisdiction question after the fact; is that correct?

Mr. Manuel: Yes.

Senator Banks: To get back to a question that Senator Cordy asked earlier about broadcasting warnings of emergency situations, she referred to the system in Alberta. You responded by saying, in part, that you had an arrangement with an FM radio station here under which you can speak directly to the folks. Did I understand that correctly?

Mr. Manuel: Yes, we do. That is part of our communications concept. There is a commercial FM station in Halifax that is set up for information purposes. It is computer driven. We have the ability from a PC, from a notebook, from a wireless modem, to actually voice a file to the system, and it will go on air immediately. It will repeat every five minutes until we cause it to stop. We have that ability.

We also have the names and phone numbers of every engineer and station manager in the Halifax area, their home phone numbers. We can call any of those people after hours and have them come in and open up the station to do part of the emergency broadcast as well.

In addition, we are looking at the possibility of upgrading part of our ``CityWatch'' system, again pending resources, so that it will go into a selected area that is off our computer system and look for phone numbers in that area. They can phone to tell them there is an issue. These are areas that either we have in place now or are working towards.

Senator Banks: I do not know how many radio stations there are in Halifax, but I imagine it is a fair number, and none of them would be able to say that it is broadcasting to a preponderance of listeners. Have the other commercial radio stations, the CBC, and whoever else is here been asked whether they would subscribe to the same means by which you get to that FM station so that, in an absolute, declared emergency, at the push of a button, you would be able to speak to anybody who is listening to any radio and inform them what is happening and tell them what to do? Have they been asked about that?

Mr. Manuel: We have had discussions with them. Commercial stations have their own issues to deal with on editorial comment. It would have to be negotiated on a situation-by-situation basis. They are very open to our messages. They have a role to play, too. They have to get a news story out. They need us for information, and we need them to transmit our message. It is a working relationship. It has to be done on a case-by-case basis. A particular radio station came to us with a concept — a computer file that allows us to talk directly to listeners. The other stations, to my knowledge, do not have that same capability.

Senator Banks: I urge that you consider calling CKUA, which is the network in Alberta that does this. It gets to every commercial radio station, of which there are 28 in Edmonton and 29 in Calgary, and every other commercial radio station in the province, as well as every commercial television station who had all agreed that, when a declared emergency happens, whatever else their programming is doing, it would be interrupted by an announcement.

It is a wonderful thing to be able to do that. As was pointed out to us this morning, it has been used about a dozen times so far this year in respect of tornado warnings, which are a common occurrence.

Would you tell me, please, about ``CityWatch''? Would you describe that to me? Is it a box? Would I carry something around with me? Would it be in my house?

Mr. Manuel: ``CityWatch'' is a commercial system. That is its commercial name. It is a computer system that we have bought. Attached to it we have 72 phone lines. It will make, in this case, 72 phone calls simultaneously to whatever call numbers we select with whatever message we give out. We can program it with existing phone numbers.

For instance, in our commercial area at the north end of Dartmouth in a place called Burnside, every single business is programmed into that system. We used that system to do an evacuation there approximately two years ago. For a chemical reason, we had to evacuate that whole industrial park. ``CityWatch'' was used. You dial the number, you feed your voice message in, you hang up, and it broadcasts to that particular area.

At the end, you get a report indicating how many phone calls were made, when they were made, if they were answered, and if the person who answered them acknowledged that they had heard the message. It is a commercial system. Its availability and speed is based on the number of phone lines you are willing to employ to use it. Currently, as I said, we use 72 lines and approximately 20 seconds a call. We can get approximately 200 calls out a minute with the system.

Senator Banks: Do you lease it or buy it?

Mr. Manuel: We own it.

Senator Banks: Is there an ongoing residual cost other than maintaining it?

Mr. Manuel: We have to consider maintaining it, system upgrades, and a relationship with Aliant, the telephone provider.

Senator Banks: In talking about the cookie-cutter approach to training and national standards, Mr. Manuel, obviously as the Chair has pointed out, there are problems that you in Halifax are more likely to face than people in Regina, such as problems relating to a port, for example.

Is there a clear delineation you can make which would allow you to say to everybody in the country — from St. John's to Victoria and every place in between, and north to Inuvik — that they will have certain issues with which they will have to deal which are not unique or peculiar to their community, and that national training standards will utilize the same vocabulary and mean the same thing, and that you will put aside the issues that are particular to certain municipalities? You will not have to deal with a mountain climbing incident, for example, at least I do not think so, and Banff is not going to have to deal with a water-based incident involving a large vessel. Is there a nice, neat line that you can draw? That is my first question.

The second question is: Should the cost of that training be borne by one order of government as opposed to all orders of government?

Mr. Manuel: To answer your first question, I think you have answered it yourself. Let me elaborate. The training standard we are talking about is for incident management or site management or event management. The management style should not change from event to event or from district to district. Our emergency plan dictates that we will manage in a certain way.

The terminology we use will be the same. The concepts will be the same, for instance, those relating to jurisdiction and lead agency. At every event, you need to determine the jurisdiction and who is the lead agency. It makes no difference what the event concerns. That all has to happen. That is your national standard. The terminology must be the same. A person could be called an EFM here, and an IC somewhere else. It could refer to the same person but, in actual fact, we use different terminology. It may be mean something totally different. There has to be standardization. That part of the training needs to come from a national level.

If you are looking at taking emergency preparedness and emergency first response away from the small silos we have created in municipalities over the years, you have to be able to spread it horizontally, not vertically.

To answer your second question as to who pays for some of this, obviously I would love to go upstairs with this. That is a given. However, it is not necessarily something that the Office of Critical Infrastructure Protection and Emergency Preparedness should be paying for, but it should come from all national departments. They should be all part of it. I think the OCIPEP should be the coordinators of this concept.

Mr. McLellan: I do not think, certainly in this community, we could have predicted what disasters would have befallen us in the past number of years, and I cannot predict what the next ones will be, nor could any community. Certainly, we have exposures, as you have mentioned, that differentiate us by community, and I can appreciate the fact that the committee has heard from other communities that this kind of thing may not be necessary because of the different conditions to which we are all susceptible that make these possible outcomes different.

However, there is the extraneous and there is the common. I think the goal has to be that we look at what the common elements are of training needs and resource creation. Communication, chain of command, equipment familiarity, those are fairly common elements as opposed to the items that would be extraneous to the different situations. If we can select those, define them, then that ``plug-in'' becomes relevant.

Senator Banks: I will switch gears just for a moment to the question of security and respective policing. I will address this question to Mr. Beazley, but it could have impact on everybody, certainly including Mr. LePine. The chairman told us yesterday that he had been to a conference, I think it was, in Rotterdam, which is a much bigger port than Halifax. It certainly is a little bigger in terms of tonnage, but around that port there are about a thousand coastal police.

The Chairman: I believe the number is 370. That is just for the Port of Rotterdam.

Senator Banks: There are 370 in the port, itself. However, on the periphery there are another thousand.

The Chairman: It is a different agency, but yes, you are correct.

Senator Banks: It is a different agency with a thousand police officers all having to do, in one way or another, with approaches to and activities in the Port of Rotterdam. That is separate from the other agencies and other people who have enforcement responsibilities. We are talking only about police officers.

I know that no port in Canada approaches that level. The records of our previous meetings show that we have been asking questions about port policing across the country and that we have misgivings the level of policing, the matter of jurisdiction, and whether port policing ought to be done as it is in most cases by contract with the municipality, but not to the exclusion of other police forces. We also asked questions about the multi- jurisdictional issue.

Mr. Beazley, would give us an overview of how effective, in respect of crime and the capacity to respond to extraordinary events and national security, the police situation is in the Port of Halifax, in particular. Do you think it is adequate and, if not, how can we make it better, and who should make it better?

Chief Frank Beazley, Police Chief, Halifax Regional Police: We have a number of different approaches to security on the port. We have a direct contract with the Halifax Port Authority to provide uniformed police protection on the port. I have a detachment made up of 10 men, with a staff sergeant in charge, which provides 24-hour seven-day-a-week uniformed patrol around the port's property.

Senator Banks: Ten men at a time, or 10 men that are dedicated?

Mr. Beazley: Ten men dedicated.

Senator Banks: Per shift, how many uniformed officers from your department are on site at the port at any given time?

Mr. Beazley: There are two major terminals in Halifax, Ceres and Halterm. Hence, we have one man north, one man south. They are enhanced by private security that the different companies put on the port. Both main terminals at the port are fenced. They are supported by video cameras, which have complete coverage of the port's property itself, which is monitored by commissioners 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The port has a full-time intelligence officer attached to what we call the Metro Integrated Intelligence Unit, MIIU, which is a permanent joint forces operation managed by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Halifax Regional Police and the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency.

The detachment is supported by the Halifax Regional Police from a criminal investigation process. Hence, at any time, the detachment can draw on the resources of my department, which has 403 sworn officers. In other words, if there were a criminal investigation on the waterfront, within minutes I can deploy criminal investigation specialists, as an example, to the waterfront, forensic identification specialists to the waterfront, just about any resource — including a bomb response, canine response. We also have formal working relationships with a number of federal agencies — as an example, Canada Customs and Revenue, as I said.

I had also assigned a number of years ago a full-time person to the national security investigative section of the RCMP. We were the first, I believe, in the country to actually put a municipal policeman in that unit. So from an intelligence perspective, they have direct access to my information, and I have direct access to their information.

Senator Banks: Is that a complete access of information, or is there a measure of jurisdictional protection taking place?

Mr. Beazley: That happens all the time with respect to investigations related to organized crime or national security, where people will classify documents or in some cases over-classify documents. You might say I have been the biggest critic of the federal government for that, because I spent over a third of my career in criminal intelligence investigating organized crime and national security issues.

I am pleased to say that we have worked our way through that. It has taken a number of years to do that locally, but we finally browbeat and embarrassed the perpetrators. I think September 11 changed a lot of that for agencies in this country. Our approach to intelligence has changed, in that we all agree that we have to share information. That is not to say, of course, that some report may not make it through a particular system, that someone may decide not to share, but I believe that is the exception rather than the rule.

I have recently entered into a formal agreement with CSIS, where I now have a system located in my building where CSIS gives me direct access to reports like the SABER report — which I am sure you have heard about in your travels across the country. I do not have to wait for someone to hand deliver reports to me anymore. The MIIU, as I say, has been in place now since 1998, where the RCMP, CCRA and the Halifax Regional Police are in the same building with access to the same information.

We have in Canada — and I am assuming you have heard about this — a system of criminal intelligence bureaus set up by Criminal Intelligence Service Canada, CISC. Today, I have two people assigned full-time at the Halifax bureau, with complete access to all intelligence information through the ACIIS system, the Automated Criminal Intelligence Information System. We normally approach criminal activity on the port in a joint forces approach. We recently had a very successful operation, which dealt a severe blow to our portion of an organized crime network that was national and international. That operation was possible as a result of excellent cooperation between all the police and other enforcement agencies involved. We meet regularly. At this particular time, I am the Nova Scotia — I sit on the executive — of Criminal Intelligence Service Canada.

I am not a police chief who is going to sit here and tell you that I have a great deal of difficulties. From time to time, sure, there is always something that has to be debated. However, at the time of a crisis there is no question that we will work together.

The other thing that is unique here in Halifax is that the Halifax detachment of the RCMP is now moving its resources in with us. Last month, the command portion of Halifax detachment of the RCMP, their superintendent, Inspector LePine who is sitting here with me, moved into our headquarters building. Consequently, the officer in charge of the Halifax detachment has his office right next door to mine. We meet regularly. We have open access to each other's systems. We are now planning our approach to policing within HRM. We now have access to things we did not have access to previously, when we did work in silos. We are breaking those silos down.

Getting back to the port, I think the port is very well protected. The intelligence sharing is second to none. Everything is done through a joint forces approach to things. We do meet regularly with our provincial and federal partners that are out there to deal with port issues.

Can it be improved? Sure, and we are working towards that. HRM has heavily invested in a new records management system. We have ongoing discussions with the RCMP as to how we will be able to share our information with the other federal agencies. That is a vision and dream, I guess, we all have as we move forward. Life has changed for all of us since September 11.

Senator Banks: The breaking down of the silos and the cohabitation and the sharing of information that you are talking about is, I think, a model that I hope others will emulate.

Just to sum up, in respect of the Halifax Regional Police, there is an officer in each of the two port areas at any given time; correct?

Mr. Beazley: Yes, that is correct. If someone should become sick, he or she is replaced. Those units have to be manned 24 hours a day, seven days a week. That is the contract I have with the Halifax Port Authority. Mr. Malec, who is the vice-president of security, is present here today, if you would like to hear from him on his view of the policing.

Senator Banks: That will be up to the chairman, but are you comfortable and satisfied with the level of police presence in the Port of Halifax?

Mr. Beazley: Yes, I am. As someone noted, I have been around Halifax for a few years. I was here during the Ports Canada police experience. Though I believe they did what they could with what they had, they did not have access to the resources that the detachment in place today has. There was a small group of people doing the job of a security guard, with very little support. Today's detachment has the support of 403 people they can call upon and all the specialized services that go with it.

Senator Banks: I think it was Mr. McLellan who referred to peripheral issues around federal EMO cost-sharing programs. What are those peripheral issues?

Mr. Manuel: I am just trying to remember exactly what the peripheral issues were.

Senator Banks: If I remember correctly — and I am quoting Mr. McLellan from his opening remarks — he said that funding for equipment purchases needs to include sustainable funding after the purchasing process. I understand that. He then said that the federal government needs to be aware of peripheral issues around federal EMO cost-sharing programs. I am not quite sure what those peripheral issues are.

Mr. McLellan: For instance, with respect to CBRN — chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear — or heavy urban search and rescue, HUSAR, any money the federal government can make available is appreciated. However, we have to buy the material upfront, pay for it 100 per cent, and then submit a bill to the federal government — all of which means we have to budget for that. If we are talking $25,000 or $30,000 in a large municipality, it might be possible to slide that through a budget, knowing the money would come back next year. However, with respect to larger amounts, capital amounts, millions of dollars, it becomes a budgeting issue for us.

The other issue surrounding the cost-sharing arrangements is that sometimes the rules change between the time the program is announced and when we put the bill in. Other issues are related to allowable expenses on that particular program. Those issues need to be clarified.

Sometimes, this can be done during the design phase. For instance, with respect to the CBRN design process, instead of having the federal government and the provincial government design a program for us, the municipality should also have a say.

The Chairman: Mr. Manuel, would it be an imposition to ask you to put something on paper in this regard for us and to forward it back to the committee?

Mr. Manuel: I will do that.

The Chairman: There are a couple of issues I should like to touch on briefly before we continue with the questioning.

Do you have a public health representative in the room?

Mr. McLellan: Yes, we do. We have here Mr. Mike McKeage from Emergency Health Services and Mr. Erin Graham from the Capital Health Region.

The Chairman: We see issues such as SARS and West Nile as first responders issues, and something that must be addressed. In terms of your comments at the opening, Mr. McLellan, there was no reference to those sorts of issues. We anticipate SARS to be a seasonal issue, one that could come back this winter and spring and that could strike anywhere. Would you care to comment on that?

Mr. McLellan: Mr. Chairman, I will ask Mr. Graham to speak to that.

Mr. Erin Graham, Manager, Safety, Capital Health, Nova Scotia Department of Health: Capital Health Authority is one of nine districts health authorities within the province. From Capital Health's perspective, especially with respect to SARS, we followed the lead of Health Canada and the Nova Scotia Department of Health in setting up a SARS committee to address that issue within our own environment. We enacted some measures, of course, that would allow us to respond to those concerns that were an issue in Central Canada.

With regard to SARS and West Nile, our counterpart at the provincial Department of Health follows the standard and pace as it comes from Health Canada. That is where we get our lead.

The Chairman: In the case of SARS, we are talking about a 10-day cycle. There are extraordinary quarantine-related issues, which can put terrible pressures on existing hospital facilities — who tend to be the major victims once it hits the community. In that regard, have you taken a look at your capacity to quarantine and to deal with renewed outbreaks, which can come about on a seven- to ten-day cycle?

Mr. Graham: I can only speak from our experience — and we have not had a SARS case in Nova Scotia. When those potential problems arrive at emergency, we have the capacity to respond. It is limited, of course, but we do have the capacity to respond.

Mr. Manuel: The municipality is also working with the Capital Health Authority to set up community clinics — instead of burdening health facilities, hospitals. We are looking at Halifax Regional Municipality facilities in that regard. It is a way to augment the health facility.

The Chairman: Having said that, however, SARS will first appear at the hospital, at which time you will be into quarantine problems — involved all the people who have visited the hospital along with their families.

We all understand what a nasty cycle it becomes. I am just asking whether you have worked your way through it, whether if and when it comes to this community you will be ready, and not have to re-learn how to deal with the problems Toronto faced with SARS.

Mr. McLellan: Mr. McKeage from Emergency Health Services, a division of the Nova Scotia Department of Health, put together the provincial plan. Perhaps he can supplement our response.

Mr. Michael McKeage, Director of Operations, Emergency Health Services, Nova Scotia Department of Health: Mr. Chairman, it is my greatest hope that SARS would only show up at hospitals, but I am afraid that what happens is that it shows up in the streets first. As such, we have worked with the Fire Officers Association of Nova Scotia, the Office of the Fire Marshal, the HRM and a number of agencies since our first cases, including Toronto EMS, which provides ambulance service within Toronto, which has been so helpful in allowing us to share their lessons.

If you wish, Mr. Chairman, I can elucidate for you how we have dealt with things. Again, I represent the Emergency Health Services, which is a partner in emergency preparedness with HRM. We are a provincial service and, as such, I speak from a provincial perspective as director of operations.

Following the SARS outbreak in Toronto and after learning about bug, our first concern became the fact that it would not present to hospitals but to medical first responders — and we have 317 fire departments in this province providing some degree of that service. Our greatest concern was that these individuals, along with our own staff, would be exposed to the bug. While we would transport the patient to the hospital, these marvellous first responders, principally pharmacists and biology teachers and people with other careers, would return to the community and carry the bug with them.

As such, all fire departments in the province were supplied with protective gear. They were given explanations as to when and how to use it. As well, the Nova Scotia Emergency Health Services Medical Communications Centre in Bedford asks the same diagnostic questions that are asked in Toronto — for example, where the individual has been, his or her symptoms, et cetera. It then alerts the medical first responder or fire department going in to dress appropriately, and we manage the case.

Happily, this process has not brought any patients to the fore. The medical first responder briefings went out all over the province in relatively short order. The HRM led the way with its sophisticated fire and police services.

We went beyond that into areas that are less supported because they are smaller communities.

The Chairman: You alluded to a complex issue relating to the media, that is, the discussions that are necessary with the media in terms of the dual role it plays — service to the community and reporting news as they see it in the way they see fit.

Have there been discussions in the community with the media about how they might respond to a variety of different scenarios, discussions such as at what point they might be prepared to embargo certain information — if they saw, for example, police moving tactically in a situation — and under what conditions they would be prepared not to broadcast for a period of time? Have you worked through different scenarios with them, to determine whether there is a common understanding of the issues that need to be addressed in the course of a crisis?

Mr. Manuel: Dealing with the media is a complex issue. They have a job to do, and we have a reason to help them. The two sometimes conflict, however.

Again, we talked earlier about getting amateur radio operators to radio stations, getting the names and contact numbers of all their station managers and their engineers. That is a process. We are building up a trust relationship between the media and ourselves.

The municipality has some very good public information officers — within fire services, police services, the water system and the transportation system. We also have an emergency public information officer. That is a position within our emergency system that allows us to communicate with the media.

We continue to develop our relationships with the media — which will help them to get the information and report their stories in a fair and accurate manner.

The Chairman: You are obviously familiar with the dynamics of the relationship. My question was simply this: Have you had an opportunity to work through that sort of relationship in a variety of scenarios with the electronic media?

We all remember the Turkish embassy attack 15 years ago or so in Ottawa and the ambassador having to jump out the back window. The police were being positioned to try and rescue him; the situation was all being broadcast live. There were television sets where the terrorists were.

Have you examined and worked out those types of scenarios with the local media?

Mr. Beazley: The police service meets with the media at least two times a year on a formal basis, sometimes three times a year. We are in the room together, and what we discuss in the room stays in the room — which has led to a good relationship, where we can be open and frank in our discussions with them.

At a scene, normally the media will show just about the same time as either the police or fire.

Here in Halifax, there is generally a staging area for the media. The police information people will be there to communicate with the media and give them what information they need. We have had a fairly good working relationship; the media does not run off and do its own thing. Keep in mind, however, that they will want film footage and they do want information.

You asked about the media holding back information, for whatever reason, something the police did not want to get out. We have had that cooperation here locally, in areas of bomb response calls and other types of emergencies.

In situation where things have not gone well, we meet with the management of the various stations and hold frank discussions with them. Those types of discussions are ongoing today as we speak.

Mr. McLellan: Mr. Chairman, just to be clear, regardless of the situation — whether it relates to railcars, planes, 9/ 11-type situation, fires — the media are not allowed to roam free. We have a site management plan, whereby our professionals deal with the incident and the media are kept from it. However, as Mr. Manuel said, our communication with the media is important to us. We have an individual who is responsible for dealing with the media. We schedule press briefings regularly. At those briefings, the press get an information package. Where they go with it, of course, is a separate issue.

When politicians are involved, it is still a challenge for us. However, in terms of how we manage the issue, I think we have it pretty clear. We keep tight site management policies. The media is not allowed to roam around, as happened in the Turkish embassy case, to get that kind of information unless we permit it. We have very strict policies concerning communicating with the media, and clear times under which those dialogues occur.

Senator Banks: JI want to make sure we understand what Senator Cordy was talking about. Management of the media during the course of dealing with an event is not what Senator Cordy was talking about. Senator Cordy was referring — I will over-simplify and talk about something specific to Halifax. For instance, if there were a problem on a ship in the harbour, a problem about which everybody needed to be informed immediately, Senator Cordy was talking about Mr. Manual being able to communicate with anyone who was listening to a radio or television station by pressing a button and saying to the audience, ``There is a problem, do this,'' a type of early emergency warning system. It is not taking over the media, it is not using the media for purposes of emergency communications and dealing with the situation. We are talking about a warning system — and that is all it does.

Senator Cordy: In terms of communications in time of a disaster, a number of people have put on the record their dissatisfaction with how the general public was communicated to during the SARS outbreak in Toronto. Do you have, in the health field, a spokesperson to regularly communicate to the general public?

Mr. Manuel: I do not want to speak for the health board. I believe you are meeting with them this afternoon possibly.

I think a SARS issue or a similar-type situation — unless Mr. Graham wants to speak to this — would be a provincial issue. I will defer to Mr. Graham.

Mr. Graham: the response to a SARS outbreak, or similar scenario, would be communicated provincially by the medical officer of health for the province. He will be here this afternoon.

Mr. McLellan: We have not so far — and we have certainly had our share of issues, relative to other communities in Canada, which gives us a fair base of experience to speak from. We have not had problems getting the media to air immediately any of our issues or concerns or clarifications.

However, we have not faced an extreme situation — which is always a possibility, and something the committee might want to look at that. Nevertheless, to date, we have not had an experience of concern — if that helps your consideration. Thus far, the HRM has handled things well. We have not had an experience of concern, if that helps your consideration.

Senator Atkins: We have talked about the HRM, but we have not talked beyond that. We have talked about the relationship that you have with the military. What happens if a peripheral municipality has a crisis and they call on you? How would you deal with that?

Mr. McLellan: We already have relationships in place with other municipalities, be it through our fire or police departments, whereby we can lend a hand. We provide special police services to a number of the smaller municipalities in Nova Scotia that simply cannot afford that kind of thing, in terms of fire, as well.

We have also indicated that with regard to our dispatch arrangements, that whole philosophy that we are pioneering here that we think should be of interest nationally. We have also made the offer to other municipalities that dispatch arrangements are available, if they want to be a part of that.

Our willingness is endless. We are key players in the integrity and the infrastructure here. We are prepared to do whatever is asked, and have always made that offer known.

Senator Atkins: My second question is to the Chief of Police. How would you deal with a major crisis of civil disobedience, and what other agencies would you call on, if necessary?

Mr. Beazley: I have a public safety unit, a tactical team. The RCMP locally also have similar resources. We had a chance to exercise those resources during the last G7 here in Halifax, where we had to deploy tactical teams to deal with protestors and unruly protestors.

We have a good working relationship with the RCMP. We have a number of MOUs with them, where they know what resources we can bring to bear and we know what resources they can bring to bear. Normally, in those situations, an immediate response is what would be required — either of my own resources or the resources of the RCMP.

Recently, as a result of a grain elevator explosion in the south end my resources were taxed, and within 30 minutes I had a number of RCMP officers on site working with me and sharing a common radio channel so that we could all talk to each other.

We are unique here in HRM, in that we have moved forward on a lot of these issues and it is a case of just making the call.

Senator Atkins: What would happen in the event of a situation that was so large you needed more than the RCMP?

Mr. Beazley: Again, because we are a town with other resources, I would have no difficulty at all, for instance, calling the military police, if I needed assistance. I have met with the military police. We have discussed issues such as common records management systems. Halifax Regional Police has a long history of working with a lot of other agencies. To date, no one has ever said no.

Mr. Manuel talked earlier today about Swissair, which taxed our municipality. The military, the RCMP, municipal policing, Emergency Health Services, private industry — everybody came together, including the people in the community, to deal with that crisis, and that has always worked.

There is the normal confusion in the beginning. The explosion at the grain elevator is an example. I was listening to my radio, and for 45 minutes the noise was unbelievable. About 45 minutes into that, my radio was quiet — I thought my battery was dead. In reality, we had been in there, got things up and running and our perimeters in place and everybody in place to do the job. In fact, my radio was quiet because we were there doing the job.

Inspector Peter LePine, Halifax Detachment, Royal Canadian Mounted Police: I just was to add to Chief Beazley's comment in reference to assistance outside of the Halifax Regional Municipality. With respect to the G7 protest downtown, the RCMP, through its provincial arrangement with the municipality, was able to bring resources in from outside of the province. Sixty-four members of the RCMP from New Brunswick came in to assist. At the peak of that protest, the local RCMP, the HRP, and members of the New Brunswick RCMP were standing next to each other.

Hence, through our contract, we can bring in resources from anywhere in Canada, if need be, to deal with emergency situations.

Senator Atkins: In terms of the G7, there were already a large number of security people here anyway. That is a little different than some spontaneous development that might take place.

Mr. LePine: You are correct in your assertion. An example of a spontaneous development is Swissair. Again, because of our system of communication and our relationships with the various RCMP divisions within Atlantic Canada, our response time is dramatically reduced. Those relationships and those MOUs are in place to draw on those services, if need be.

Another example is the fisheries protest, for instance, in northern New Brunswick. A contingent of RCMP members from Nova Scotia were deployed to northern New Brunswick. As a result of that deployment, the gap in Nova Scotia was backfilled through the assistance of the HRP — who were available, if necessary, to be deployed on that situation.

The Chairman: We have not asked about redundancy of your operations centre. Do you have a second one?

Mr. McLellan: Yes, we do. We have a backup centre in Bedford.

The Chairman: Is it identical?

Mr. McLellan: It is not exactly identical.

The Chairman: Does it have all the same facilities?

Mr. McLellan: Yes.

The Chairman: My last question is with respect to a fire in the harbour. Who would take care of that? Suppose a ship were on fire, adrift: How would you deal with that situation?

Mr. McLellan: Mr. Manuel would be our site manager.

The Chairman: There is a fire boat here, I believe; however, I gather it is not functional right now. Is that correct?

Mr. Burrell: We have an understanding with the fire chief at DND Halifax for the use of the fire boat. We have had some previous issues around the use of the fire boat and the ability to establish MOUs with the federal government and the DND. My understanding of the structure is that the fire service in the dockyard is run through DND but that it is, technically, a civilian fire service. There is a little bit of a lost linkage there, but we certainly have never had a problem with a request for the fire boat, providing it is in service.

That is the only water-based firefighting capability for large vessels. About two years ago, the regional fire service did receive, and has the ability to deploy, a 28-foot semi-rigid hull inflatable fire craft and rescue craft combination on the harbour. We have a restricted zone; we will only go out one kilometre from the mouth of the harbour, approximately.

The Chairman: Montreal puts pumpers on a barge and moves them out. Do you have that capacity?

Mr. Burrell: We have explored that alternative, but the St. Lawrence River and the Halifax Harbour, unfortunately, are two different creatures. We are not satisfied that that technique would work successfully under a variety of weather conditions; conditions would have to be ideal for that.

A few years ago, there was a shipboard fire on a merchant vessel. We dealt exactly with the issue you are relating to; we dealt with all of the multi-jurisdictional problems. I think the incident went quite well, considering there was some misunderstandings as to why decisions were made — which happens in most emergency events anyway. From my perspective, I think the incident went quite well.

Senator Forrestall: We have asked about HRM's capacity to help, say, Windsor, Truro, Enfield, in the event of emergency services. With respect to police and firefighting capability, patrol capability, can you draw down from these other municipalities' assistance and help? If so, how long does it take?

Mr. Beazley: We have a working relationship with the 11 municipal police departments within Nova Scotia. It is not uncommon for me to either send resources to them or for them to send resources to me, if so required.

Senator Forrestall: But you would not deplete the Town of Wolfville of its mighty force?

Mr. Beazley: No. In more practical terms, agencies that I have worked with in the past are like Truro, Bridgewater, Cape Breton Regional. More often than not, it is me going to them; however, they have come and worked with me, particularly in areas where I need or would like to have an outside agency look at something.

Senator Forrestall: Within 100 kilometres, how long would it take you to get this assistance from the time you sought it?

Mr. Beazley: Depending on the driving conditions, 45 minutes for the Town of Truro or the Town of Bridgewater. I have been there in 45 minutes, myself.

Senator Forrestall: What about the fire?

Mr. Burrell: Through the fire service, a provincial committee was established post-September 11 to explore that issue.

Historically, the Halifax Regional Fire and Emergency Service has provided assistance outside of the municipality to fires in the Colchester, Cumberland area, as well as down by the former base at Cornwallis when there was a large tire fire down there. We also were down at the Town of Bridgewater for a white powder call post-September 11.

We will respond with our resources. Typically, we respond on duty resources. With respect to the reverse, resources coming in, the municipality has contracts with four surrounding fire departments to service portions of the municipality that those fire departments are closer to than our resources within the municipality. As well, we have mutual aid agreements with fire departments outside the municipality. So we are talking strictly about response time.

In the Swissair event, we used fire departments for other resources, to do ground searches, transportation and other things. I am proud to say that we probably deployed a large per cent of the fire service in the province of Nova Scotia. They all came willingly and ensured us that they had adequate coverage within their own municipalities.

Senator Forrestall: Cost recovery?

Mr. Burrell: That is always an issue, sir.

Mr. Beazley: The agreement I have with the chiefs in Nova Scotia is that we will not bill for anything on duty. We have that relationship. As to extraordinary expenses, if I had to put people up in motels overnight or pay overtime, I have to bill for things like that.

Senator Forrestall: Finally, do you have public awareness programs? I have not seen an emergency route out of town since we re-paved Portland Street 40 years ago. Do you update this information from time to time, emergency exits from the city and get it into the hands of people?

Mr. Manuel: We have a fully written and approved evacuation plan for the city right now. It is in place and has been in place since 1999, I believe. It includes evacuation routes for various areas.

In an evacuation, the police will take control of the egress to the area to make sure people can leave and leave in an organized manner. That may change depending on the location of the event and the, sometimes, the wind direction. We do not want to publish too much in advance as to where people should go. There are of course the traditional major arteries, but people will leave under the direction of the police.

To answer your original question about getting this information to the public, it is an ongoing issue with us to make sure the public is informed and that the information is part of every family's emergency plan vis-à-vis a way out of the family home, the community.

Senator Forrestall: That includes the process of hosting people who would leave here. If citizens from here went to Lunenburg, what would you do with them?

Mr. Manuel: We have a process in place for emergency shelter. We deal with the province on emergency social service issues. We have other working relationships with other partners, who have not been here today, with whom we deal in the social services field. We meet at a committee level. It was alluded to as a second response group in our opening remarks and we meet on a regular basis. It is an organized committee that deals strictly with social services and issues dealing with evacuation of people, whether it is from the community, from the neighbourhood or from the entire municipality.

The Chairman: Gentlemen, on behalf of the committee, I wish to thank you very much for an outstanding presentation. I think I speak for everyone on the committee in saying that we are impressed with the quality of this presentation and with the level of cooperation and thoughtfulness you have applied to some very difficult problems and issues. We wish you every success in the future in dealing with these problems. We know events will occur in the future; we just do not know when. It has been a very satisfying morning for us, and we appreciate the effort you made to attend here and brief us on the work that you are doing.

The committee adjourned.