Proceedings of the Standing Senate Committee on
National Security and Defence

Issue 1 - Evidence, February 23, 2004 - Morning session


OTTAWA, Monday, February 23, 2004

The Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence met this day at 10:00 a.m. to examine and report on the need for a national security policy for Canada.

Senator Colin Kenny (Chairman) in the Chair.

[English]

The Chairman: It is my pleasure to welcome you to the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence. The committee will hear testimony in preparation for its third annual visit to Washington, D.C. in March 2004.

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

On my immediate right is the distinguished Deputy Chairman, Senator Michael Forrestall, from Nova Scotia. After an early career as a journalist with the Halifax Chronicle Herald and an airline executive, he entered politics and was first elected to the House of Commons in 1965. He has served the constituents of Dartmouth for more than 37 years. He has followed defence matters throughout his parliamentary career and has served on various parliamentary committees.

Senator Norman Atkins is from Ontario. He came to the Senate in 1986 with a strong background in the field of communications. Senator Atkins also served as an adviser to the former Premier Davis of Ontario. A graduate of economics from Acadia University, in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, he received an Honorary Doctorate in Civil Law in 2000 from his alma mater. During his time as a senator, he has concerned himself with a number of education and poverty issues. He has championed the cause of the Canadian merchant navy veterans. Senator Atkins is a member of the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration and on our Subcommittee on Veterans Affairs.

Senator Tommy Banks is from Alberta. He is well-known to Canadians as one of our most accomplished and versatile entertainers and as an international standard bearer for Canadian culture. A Juno Award-winning musician, Senator Banks has achieved national and international renown as a conductor or music director for many signature events such as the opening ceremonies for the 1988 Winter Olympic Games. In 2003, he was co-chairman of the prime minister's task force on urban issues. In addition to serving on this committee, Senator Banks chairs the Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources and the Alberta Liberal Caucus.

Senator Jim Munson is from Ontario. He is best known to Canadians as a trusted journalist and public affairs specialist. He was nominated twice for a Gemini for excellence in journalism. He reported news for close to 30 years, most recently as a television correspondent for CTV. After a brief period of consulting, he joined the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs and followed that by a term in the Prime Minister's Office, first as a special communications and then as Director of Communications. Senator Munson is also a member of the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration and the Standing Senate Committee on Official Languages.

Senator Day is from New Brunswick. He holds a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering from the Royal Military College in Kingston, an LL.B. from Queen's University, and a Master of Laws from Osgoode Hall. Prior to his appointment to the Senate in 2001, he had a successful career as a private practice attorney. His legal interests include patent and trademark law, and intellectual property issues. He is also Deputy Chairman of the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance, our Subcommittee on Veterans Affairs and an active member in the NATO Parliamentary Assembly.

Our committee is the first permanent Senate committee mandated to examine security and defence. Since the committee's inception in mid-2001, we have completed a number of reports, beginning with the "Canadian Security and Military Preparedness." This study, which was tabled in February 2002, examined the major defence and security issues facing Canada.

The Senate then asked our committee to examine the need for a national security policy. To date, we have released four reports on various aspects of national security: First, "Defence of North America: A Canadian Responsibility," in September 2002; second, "For an extra $130 Bucks...Update on Canada's Military Crisis: A View from the Bottom Up," in November 2002; third, "The Myth of Security at Canada's Airports," in January 2003; and fourth, "Canada's Coastlines: The Longest Under-Defended Borders in the World," in October 2003.

The committee is continuing its long-term evaluation of Canadian security and defence policy. However, it has interrupted this work for the moment to hear witnesses to prepare for an upcoming visit to Washington, D.C.

Our first witness today will be Mr. Robert Wright, who was named National Security Advisor to the Prime Minister on December 12, 2003, in addition to his other responsibilities. Mr. Wright was serving as Associate Secretary to the Cabinet, Deputy Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister and Co-ordinator of Security and Intelligence in the Privy Council Office.

Mr. Wright is accompanied by Mr. Graham Flack, Director of Operations, Borders Task Force. Welcome to the committee. Mr. Wright, please proceed.

Mr. Robert A. Wright, National Security Advisor to the Prime Minister and Associate Secretary, Privy Council Office: Honourable senators, it is a pleasure to be here. You have already introduced me and my colleague, Mr. Flack, who is supporting me not only on the smart borders program but also on the advice we are preparing for the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister on a national security policy for Canada.

I am delighted to be here in particular because of the contact you make with your colleagues in the U.S., counterparts in the U.S., and the emphasis that it has on our collective security.

You have invited me here because of my two capacities: As National Security Advisor to the Prime Minister and as manager of coordination of the Smart Borders Agenda in the Privy Council Office. As you noted, I was appointed to my position as National Security Advisor to the Prime Minister on December 12. My key responsibilities include enhancing national security by ensuring an appropriate accountability regime for the security and intelligence community; improving our intelligence collection, assessment and dissemination capacity; ensuring that our emergency preparedness capacity is enhanced; and ensuring that key national security gaps are addressed, including some of the gaps you have highlighted as a committee.

A key instrument in making this progress my mandate is to work with the Deputy Prime Minister on the development and overall coordination of a national security policy. I know that the committee has been concerned about this for some time. The recent Speech from the Throne reiterated the government's commitment to prepare a national security policy for Canada.

A core component of effective security and intelligence is establishing relationships and enhancing cooperation with our partners. This includes working domestically within the Canadian security and intelligence community, and working with our partners in the U.S. and in the broader international community.

I want to reiterate that Canada and the U.S. are working more closely together on issues related to national security and intelligence cooperation. Since I joined the PCO last summer as the security and intelligence coordinator and since taking on my new position as national security, I have had the opportunity to meet several times with key U.S. officials to continue overseeing this very important work. I can reassure you that Canada and the U.S. remain committed to working together to ensure the security of North America.

We are also learning more about how other countries address issues related to national security. Certainly, the legislative authorities that Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom have put in place to enhance their respective security measures are of great interest to us, given our traditional, broader alliance with those countries as well as the U.S. I have also met with security and intelligence representatives from a range of other countries, which helps to demonstrate how critical an integrated international effort is.

I want to highlight some of the machinery changes announced by the government on December 12, 2003 and the commitments made that are related to enhancing the safety and security of Canadians.

Departments were reorganized to increase the horizontal coordination on the gathering, analysis and dissemination of intelligence. For example, the new Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness includes the new Canada Border Services Agency, CBSA, which brings together customs officials, frontline food inspectors and immigration officers responsible for detention, removals, investigations, intelligence and immigration control functions abroad.

I understand that following my appearance you will hear from Mr. Alain Jolicoeur, President of the Canada Border Services Agency. As such, Mr. Jolicoeur has the lead for many of the smart border initiatives on which we have made good progress. The new department brings together, under Minister McLellan, the RCMP, CSIS, and the CBSA to facilitate a stronger horizontal coordination of key Canadian agencies responsible for intelligence gathering, analysis and dissemination.

In addition to departmental reorganization, the Prime Minister also announced the creation of the cabinet committee on security, public health and emergencies to be chaired by the Deputy Prime Minister. The Deputy Prime Minister is also embarking on a consultative process on the establishment of a national security committee of parliamentarians.

On February 12, 2004, the government reintroduced Bill C-7, referred to as Bill C-17 in the previous session of Parliament, which will contribute to efforts to enhance aviation and port security. As you are aware, current Canadian law does not adequately facilitate the security assessment of information on persons on flights taking off in Canada.

Intelligence indicates a continued risk of terrorist activity through the use of aircraft. Aircraft security remains a crucial part of the security relationship with the U.S. Consequently, there is a high interest on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border to ensure that Canada has the capability to assess the security of flights taking off in Canada, a capability provided by Bill C-7. This issue will come up during your visit to Washington.

Canada has worked with the United States and the international community to build and implement strong maritime security. This committee has noted that there are important areas for us to help further strengthen port security. Bill C-7 will provide important information to government authorities to give them an opportunity to offset some of the costs to ports of meeting new requirements that the government has not put into place. This is something in which the U.S. is very interested and would be interested in hearing your views.

As you are aware, the legislation is currently before the Senate. Given the importance that this committee has placed on national security matters, it would be helpful to Canadian national security if you, chair and your colleagues, help move that bill quickly through the Senate.

I continue to support the Deputy Prime Minister as co-ordinator of the smart border discussions with the United States. The day-to-day management of individual initiatives is the responsibility of the lead department or agency. You are meeting a number of them today. If you have detailed questions about individual initiatives, they might best be addressed to them. However, we are making tremendous progress with the U.S. and it underpins strength of the economic, political and security relationship that we have with the United States. No two countries in the world have a more integrated economy and integrated security relationship.

When Canada and the U.S. signed the Smart Border Declaration in December 2001, the goal was not just to bring the border back to the wait-times experienced before 9/11, it was to reshape the border security foundation using the latest technology, shared intelligence, and new processes all guided by the principle of effective risk management. This allows us to expedite the flow of low-risk goods and people and focus our resources on the unknown or higher risk traffic. The "smart" in "smart border" is about not having to choose between increased security and increased facilitation. We can have both. To have both we need to work on an ongoing basis with key partners internationally and with the business community in particular here in Canada.

Mr. Jolicoeur will provide more detail on the smart border initiatives for which the Canada Border Services Agency has the lead. I will highlight some of the progress made on a few smart-border initiatives since the most recent public update on the smart-border progress.

The Free and Secure Trade program, FAST, our common commercial program with the United States is now operational at 12 of our largest ports that cover about 80 per cent of the commercial traffic between our countries. NEXUS, for the movement of people, is now operational at 10 border crossings. Integrated border enforcement teams have been expanded to 14 geographic regions along the Canada-U.S. border to address potential terrorist and criminal activity between the ports of entry along the land border.

We have reached an agreement-in-principle on a text of a bilateral agreement on science and technology cooperation for protecting shared infrastructure and enhancing border security.

The fifth major element of progress, as a result of the Smart Border Action Plan, is actually not one of the points of the 32-point plan. It is one of the issues, which we dealt with and achieved progress on as a result of the strengthened relationship with the U.S. as a result of the Smart Border Action Plan. It relates to the U.S. plans to track the entry and exit of non-nationals to and from the U.S.

Given the unique relationship between Canada and the U.S., U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, announced in October of last year that Canadian citizens would not be subject to the provisions of the entry and exit requirements of the US-VISIT program. I know that the committee was very concerned about this issue during last year's hearings and we are pleased with the progress we have made on this issue. This means that Canadians will be the only citizens in the world, other than American citizens, who will not be subject to the US-VISIT program.

More needs to be done. The Government of Canada is pressing to implement the Safe Third Country Agreement, which was negotiated with the United States and to ensure that we make appropriate investment in border infrastructure to ensure that NEXUS and FAST reach optimum effectiveness.

When Deputy Prime Minister McLellan met with U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge in January, they took stock of the Smart Border Declaration to determine how to continue progress on the border action plan. They also discussed how cooperation could be taken to the next level in order to deepen the Smart Border Action Plan and to include other areas of cooperation. Officials have been working on proposals for that broader agenda.

The smart borders process has demonstrated what can be accomplished on both economic and public security when Canada and the U.S. invest political energy in a focused way around a set of deliverables.

Throughout this process, I have been very pleased to work with my colleagues in Homeland Security, Asa Hutchinson, and Rob Bonner, head of U.S. customs program, and also with the representatives from the White House, who have taken a very strong interest in this issue over the past few months. These representatives are General John Gordon and Dr. Richard Falkenrath, who are the Homeland Security Adviser and Deputy Homeland Security Adviser to the President.

They are very much engaged in this process of helping our security departments think collectively of North American solutions. Our citizens are more secure as a result of these cooperative and collaborative efforts. Given the successes that have been achieved together thus far, the two countries are working to take cooperation to the next level. This includes looking for ways to take some of the initiatives that we have developed jointly to the world. Our partners in the World Customs Organization and in the G-8 could benefit from seeing how much can be achieved when countries work together on enhancing both national and economic security.

Thank you very much. I welcome your questions, honourable senators.

Senator Banks: Good morning, Mr. Wright.

You have referred to some of our previous work and concerns. We are very happy that there is now a cabinet position concerned with coordination. In one of our previous reports, we had specifically recommended that that office be placed in the hands of the Deputy Prime Minister. We are very pleased that that has happened. We recommended it because we recognized, in our view, what was an abject and urgent necessity.

Please tell us about your office — actually both of your offices — how many people you have, what they are doing and how it is going generally.

The context of the question has to do with the facts with which we have been dealing. This committee has had misgivings about that coordination in the past and about the existence of a national security policy. We were convinced, as you may have noted, that there is no such thing and that some of the coordination that should have been in place, was not. We have been looking at this question long before 9/11.

I will provide two specific examples of patently unacceptable situations: The first is in reference to 9/11, in which on this occasion, the first responders in Halifax could not get any information from Ottawa. The information that they received, which allowed them to work properly, was from the American Deputy Vice Consul, who had situated himself with them. He was getting information from Washington and passing it to our people in Halifax, who were then able to act properly. It was very effective but it was also very embarrassing, as we have heard pointed out.

The second issue from a long list was that during the blackout, our government was reduced to very low activity. Senator Munson, who at the time was involved in that, was reduced to sending out handwritten faxes because the fax machines were the only things that were operating. We did not have a redundant system. Communication between the various departments was not good. We are hopeful that you will be able to bring something to rectify that situation.

I have before me a list of 24 programs of the federal government, which are, at one time or another or in one way or another, in charge of some aspect of responding to emergencies. Other witnesses before us have referred to it as a "spaghetti bowl" of bureaucratic difficulty. Everybody is human. They protect bailiwicks; they protect information. Are you in the process of and will you be able to successfully cut through all of that and do the horizontal coordination to which you referred and bring some answer to this committee and to Canadians that we have a national security policy and that all of these committees — some of whom have the job of coordinating all of the other committees — can cut through that dog's breakfast, that spaghetti bowl, and actually have a definable National Security Policy on which we can rely?

Mr. Wright: Honourable senators, I can give you that assurance. That is my obligation, to ensure that we are giving the government the best possible advice to ensure better coordination and full coordination to achieve the key national security interests of the government.

I would make a couple of subsequent comments related to your intervention. First, I think the glass was far more than half full on 9/11. I think the government and Canada responded as well as any other country in the world to that circumstance. We had a lot of lessons in there on how to do better, but we did our job and did it well. There were elements of absolutely outstanding public service to protect Canadians and our neighbours. However, as a country, we took stock and we took some very dramatic action subsequent to that, upon which we have to continue following through.

In respect of the emergency circumstance, on December 12, the government did focus its efforts on emergency management, which was previously split between management within the Department of Defence for some circumstances, and management within our Solicitor General's Department on others. It is now amalgamated and focused. There is work to be done, however, in that area, the operational effectiveness of Canadian emergency response is excellent in terms of when issues happen, things happen to support it.

There is a significant amount of room for improvement. You have cited a few of them. There is now a focal point for that improvement within the Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada. That is the one other aspect that I would relate to. By being named the National Security Adviser to the Prime Minister, I think it should be seen in the context of the government's commitment to create a national security policy. That is new for Canada.

The Prime Minister, during his leadership campaign for the Liberal party, put an emphasis on the need for Canada to have an integrated effort toward responding as a whole-of-government, whole-of-Canada approach to threats to our national security.

The commitment has been made to create a national security policy. The commitment was connected to creating a cabinet committee to ensure that all the arms of government — the "spaghetti" — were connected toward that common purpose. Ministers are now engaging in that under the very capable leadership of our Deputy Prime Minister. Transforming my role, from security intelligence co-ordinator to one of national security advisor, connects to those two processes.

I will not be building a huge complement of staff to do that all from within the Privy Council Office. I will use and abuse the connection to the cabinet committee and the Prime Minister and the government's commitment to develop a national security policy to ensure that all the arms of government are working cooperatively to get a result. That is how Privy Council Office works.

During my previous time in the Privy Council Office, some 15 years ago, we worked to coordinate the priorities and planning committee of cabinet, the expenditure review committee of cabinet — we had eight people to do that. We were able to do that because the entire government was ready to respond to Prime Ministerial priorities. That is how I will help manage the process here, by connecting it to a cabinet committee.

I also can tell you that the Prime Minister takes my title literally. When there are things happening, he phones me and expects answers. I try to share the enthusiasm of his phone calls with the rest of the community, and to create new forums for ensuring effective coordination.

When the U.S. went to a level orange alert over Christmas, we had a committee of all affected departments engaging to advise me at least once a day on the ongoing threats to Canada and our response, so that I could advise the Prime Minister of the steps we were taking to secure Canada. These are concepts we will build on. I think that in and of itself, a national security adviser to the Prime Minister is not going to do it; but if you connect it to the broader commitment, I think it is a broader signal of intent and commitment, and I am sure I can help manage the community to fully respond to the points you have raised.

Senator Banks: I expect, Mr. Wright, that we will be asking you to return in the future to tell us more about that. Just to give that a context and to close off my question, you said that the Government of Canada's capacity to respond to emergencies is excellent. It was not before; I am hopeful that you are right that it is now.

Further, in that context, we have heard many expressions in the past of the intent to coordinate, and of the willingness to coordinate, and of the intention of developing the means of cutting through that spaghetti bowl. We have not yet seen any evidence of its having had the slightest effect. With much hope, we are looking to you to bring that about. Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Mr. Wright: I would just comment. Those are very good comments. I did not want to express that everything is perfect. I think I should express that the government on December 12 said everything is not perfect. Let us make some important changes, with a focused accountability, and I will help make sure that accountability has effect, as I am sure you will on subsequent visits.

Senator Day: I would like you to expand on the new items in the smart borders plan — specifically with respect to biosecurity and science and technology — regarding the announcement made just before Christmas that there will be further work in that regard.

Could you tell me who is coordinating the science and technology aspects of this and the exchanges, and then could you expand a little bit as to whether this is research and development primarily or is it, in fact, existing technologies and an attempt to have interoperable technologies?

Mr. Wright: I will ask Mr. Flack to open the discussion on that.

Mr. Graham Flack, Director of Operations, Borders Task Force, Privy Council Office: Honourable senators, there were two new items added to the Smart Borders Declaration existing 30-point plan: one on biosecurity, one on science and technology cooperation.

On science and technology cooperation, the aim was to recognize what has been and what will continue to be an expanding effort on both sides of the border to do a range of things across that science and technology cooperation horizon. That includes the development of new technologies, and research and development to develop those technologies where those gaps exist and we need technology solutions for them.

It can also include the commercialization of existing technologies or, in some cases, as we are doing with the iris- scanning technology that Canada is deploying at airports for our CANPASS-Air program, it can be a demonstration technology that we hope the Americans will deploy in a bilateral way.

That coordination cuts across a range of departments, as you might expect, because there are a range of departments involved in the science and technology effort around what the U.S. would define as "homeland security." The locus of our activity is Defence, Research and Development Canada, which has coordinated a range of S & T cooperation areas, particularly around the CBRNE area — the chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear explosives area. They are engaged in a coordination effort, that we help to facilitate from the Privy Council Office, where they draw in all the key departments of the Canadian government.

On the American side, at the Department of Homeland Security, they have a science and technology directorate within that department leading the coordination on their side there.

They have developed a relatively ambitious action plan that will do a range of things. It will allow us to leverage off existing S & T efforts in both countries, where there is research and expertise that can be shared. They are working collaboratively to look at areas where we may be able to mine new areas where there are gaps, and also looking at areas where we might be able to commercialize it. That is the S & T side of things.

In respect of biosecurity, I think the committee was probably quite familiar with the rules introduced by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration — the advance notification rules. These were rules that would, in essence, require Nova Scotia fishermen to give notice of the fish that they were shipping to the U.S. about 12 hours before they woke up to go and catch the fish. They were of great concern to us. We worked very closely on the customs side with what became the Customs And Border Protection Branch of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to develop jointly advance notification rules that were quite manageable and reasonable. We have been able to bring the U.S. Food and Drug Administration rules back.

We recognized, a year and a half ago, that there was a real challenge, given that the Food and Drug Administration Agency is not traditionally a frontline border agency. However, it can have large ramifications at the border, given the fact that the U.S. Congress has designated them as being responsible for the U.S. Bioterrorism Act.

The aim of the biosecurity cooperation, in part, was to apply that same "smart borders" principle of risk management wherever possible away from the border to facilitate lower shipments across the border, and to expand the cooperation beyond simply the Department of Homeland Security to include, for example, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, our Department of Agriculture and our Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

We have made excellent progress in developing a framework on the science and technology cooperation side. The biosecurity area is more challenging because it involves a larger number of players who have not come together on these issues before. However, we have seen hopeful signs on that front in the form of the quite significantly reduced U.S. Food and Drug Administration advance notification time lines.

Those are some examples.

Senator Day: Who is coordinating biosecurity through all of the various government departments that are involved? How is that being coordinated?

A tremendous amount of money is being spent on acquiring new equipment. We would like to be assured that the money is being spent wisely and that it is inter-operable so that the Americans will recognize our technology is acceptable and reliable.

Mr. Wright: The Canadian side would be led by our Department of Agriculture and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, CFIA. The American side is lead by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, USFDA. We are pleased to have that fit under the Smart Border program because we have had tremendous success with our customs and immigration colleagues interacting with their counterparts in the U.S. to an extent that has been quite unbelievable.

Within two years of September 11, we have established bi-national programs to move goods and people between our two countries that would have been previously unheard of. It reflects a partnership that is far more important than the sum of efforts by two countries separately. We would like to market that degree of partnership in other elements — including the biosecurity field — so that our economies, efforts, science and people become integrated in their efforts.

We were concerned about the early aspects of the Food and Drug Administration rules. They have to set rules that will apply to 160 countries in the world and they had included Canada among them. We want to create a process that reflects a true partnership — as we have had on customs, immigration and some other security aspects — whereby Canadian involvement will be worth more to securing U.S. and North America and it will serve Canadian interests.

Mr. Flack: Senator, you are correct to recognize the coordination challenge in the biosecurity area. No matter how departments are organized in Canada or the United States, the ambit is large enough that it cannot all be jammed into one department.

For that reason, we wanted to have this engaged not only by the lead agencies — the USFDA and the CFIA and Agriculture Canada — but also through coordination under an umbrella of a process at the Privy Council Office. We wanted it to be one of the new items on the Smart Border Declaration.

We coordinate that through the centre with the political support of the Deputy Prime Minister. We engage our counterparts in the White House because they face a similar coordination challenge, which is that the Food and Drug Administration is not the only player on that side. We find by coordinating at the top level for the interventions where necessary, including at the political level, we can advance the facilitation and agenda.

Clearly, it is a complicated area in every country in the world. We are trying to bring coordination structures that recognize that complexity and try to set bench-marks against which we can measure progress.

Senator Day: When you say "Privy Council Office coordination" are you talking about both science and technology and the biometrics side? Alternatively, are science and technology more the responsibility of Defence Research and Development Canada?

Mr. Flack: Science and technology is one of the items in the Smart Borders Declaration so we have a coordination role on that. However, it is an area where the coordination is easier to facilitate given the lead role that Defence Research and Development Canada has already played in other areas.

Mr. Wright: Mr. Chairman, in this area we are seeking through the Privy Council Office to connect with our counterparts in the White House to ensure that we have an entire government approach to securing our countries. We want to use the experience gained through the Smart Border Declaration that shows when we apply ourselves in that area, things can happen that are important.

It is essential to have a whole-of-government approach. Otherwise, we would have Food and Drug Administration regulations that overlap with customs regulations, which we fix. There is no sense in fixing only part of the Smart Border and having scope for others to muddy it.

Frankly, there are other respects of our relationship where we could get to that same level, including transportation and maritime security. If we are to take stock bilaterally, our approaches are at least as rigorous or presentable vis-à- vis U.S. responses. Benchmarking our current position and working together on a common agenda to make progress does help us get along. This is one of the important areas that we would like to look at strengthening. The Deputy Prime Minister and Secretary Ridge talked about how to strengthen the relationship. This is one we can look at strengthening.

Senator Day: We may wish to pursue this further. Mr. Flack, would you give me the names of the people who are responsible for coordination in the various departments so that we can round out this line of questioning?

My final question is brief. I hope the answer can be equally brief so that my colleagues can have some questions.

We have heard about the Safe Third Country Agreement, which deals with refugees. Primarily, our concern is that many refugee claimants come to the Canadian border through the United States, as we understand it from previous testimony. Therefore, this agreement would be of significance from the refugee claimant level that we have in Canada.

However, it still has not been implemented. You commented that you are pressing to implement it. Would you elaborate on that pressing?

Mr. Wright: It is a very important aspect of the action plan. It was negotiated in 2002 with the United States. You are right; about 10,000 refugees come to the Canada-U.S. border each year.

If we look at refugees from high-risk countries — I use the U.S. determination of highly risk countries — about 80 per cent of the refugees that come to Canada from the U.S. come either through the U.S. or from third countries with a U.S. visa. When you are in the U.S. and if you hear some comments about Canadian immigration processes, it is important to note that we want to fix this. The U.S. has to be part of the solution.

Hence, the negotiation of a Safe Third Country Agreement that states that Canada respects the due process in the United States. The U.S. should respect the due process in Canada. If somebody passes our border, rather than repeating due process, the person should be returned to the country of origin, the United States, to finish the due process of determining if that person is a legitimate refugee. This was negotiated. The U.S. agreed to follow that process.

The Deputy Prime Minister has indicated, as a result of her meeting with Secretary Ridge, that he has signed the regulatory order on this. She raised the matter as well with Attorney General Ashcroft, who is apparently ready to sign as well. We hope to have this out of the gates soon in order to have a more rational approach to managing important bilateral flow of refugees. It is not done yet, but we hope it will be done within the coming months.

Senator Day: I am not convinced that our U.S. counterparts appreciate the significance of this issue. It may well arise in our discussions down there. Are we correct in assuming that the delay is more from the U.S. side than the Canadian side?

Mr. Wright: Absolutely. We could perhaps give the chair a one-page sort of statement of where we see the file. It is vitally important. Again, 80 per cent of the refugees that come to Canada from high-risk countries come through the United States.

Senator Day: It would be helpful if you could give us a briefing note on that.

The Chairman: Mr. Wright, the last time that we looked at this issue there were 50,000 people in Canada seeking refugee status. There were warrants outstanding for 25,000. The figures given by Citizenship and Immigration Canada indicated that there were millions in the United States in a similar situation.

Mr. Wright: Did you say one million?

The Chairman: Several million.

Mr. Wright: Yes, I think that is true.

The Chairman: It would be helpful to us before we go to the U.S. to have that comparison.

Senator Atkins: In regard to this, how does the Charter apply to refugees coming over?

Mr. Flack: The Department of Justice has determined that the Safe Third Country Agreement that we have signed and the regulations, which we pre-published in October of 2002, are in accordance with the Charter. Therefore, Charter rights do apply to individuals making claims. However, the belief is that if those claims are being treated in the United States in a comparable way, then the Safe Third Country Agreement facilitates that in a Charter-compliant way.

I would also point out from the international law perspective that the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees has also supported the principle behind the Safe Third Country Agreement, and there were consultations done with the UNHCR.

Senator Munson: Mr. Wright, I have a broad question, which, I hope, will have a specific answer. We have a national security strategy. Could you give us a clearer picture of how it works?

Mr. Wright: Well, I think we do not yet have a national security strategy. The government is committed to preparing a national security policy statement and tabling that with the House for subsequent discussions with Canadians.

A number of elements of a national security framework are active. The government has asked us to start working with the cabinet committee on a coordinated statement of the effort in that area.

Senator Munson: Is there a timeline here for a national security strategy? It is long overdue, I assume.

Mr. Wright: That is right, senator. We are seeking, and the Deputy Prime Minister is very keen to seek, full engagement of her cabinet committee on national security and emergency preparedness. There are a number of new ministers in the government and on the committee. They are engaging on key elements of a national security framework, and that will take some time. We expect we will have a pretty good framework for the summer or early fall.

Senator Munson: The Deputy Minister met with Homeland Security in January 2004, discussing issues about Alaska and Canada-U.S. security cooperation. There were a few questions out of that meeting. Secretary Ridge said that Canada and the U.S. could cooperate on Coast Guard duties and perhaps on other unspecified matters to help keep Alaska secure.

We are wondering how we can help. The committee's report of October 2003 on Canada's coastlines at that time presented evidence that showed that the Canadian Coast Guard could not guard our coasts. Therefore, how realistic is the secretary's idea? Could you perhaps give information to the committee of other examples of cooperation between Canada and the U.S. to protect North America's northwest coast?

Mr. Wright: There was not a lot of detailed discussion in our bilateral on the Alaska circumstance. It came up in the press conference that the Deputy Prime Minister and Secretary Ridge had. The issues raised in this committee's report on maritime security are issues on which we have ongoing dialogue with the U.S.

It is one of saying that Canada has a different framework for protecting our coastlines. We are not embarrassed about the framework we have for protecting our maritime security. We do think that there is progress we can make together. In the context of what we have to say about biosecurity, we should look at where we stand now vis-à-vis U.S. agencies and where we want to go and, collectively, how can we get there together so that Canadian solutions can be brought to bare.

It is another one of those areas where, in both countries, we can do better, and we can absolutely do much better if we work in partnership. I would emphasize the partnership.

In respect of interacting with the Coast Guard, we have a lot of interaction with the Coast Guard. The U.S. Coast Guard, as honourable senators well know, is much different from the Canadian Coast Guard. The Canadian Coast Guard has an extremely important presence. A strong case can be made for expanding that presence. However, the other element that came out of this committee's report on maritime security was the need for an integrated effort by all agencies. We are looking at the right forum to assure effective leadership and integrated effort. Connecting that effort with similar leadership in the U.S. would involve the Canadian navy, the Canadian Coast Guard and our Department of Transport.

I would emphasize the need for partnership and our willingness to engage in that partnership. That came out in the Deputy Prime Minister's meeting with Secretary Ridge, and that probably prompted some of the discussion that followed subsequently.

The Chairman: As a footnote to that, Mr. Wright, I do not think this committee was suggesting that we mirror the American Coast Guard. You are correct in suggesting that we wanted to see a coordinated approach. This committee was of the view that the Canadian Coast Guard was badly under-utilized and that it could be better utilized if it was armed. We were of the view that it was badly under-funded and did not have sufficient dollars to conduct exercises. In fact, we had evidence it was forced to break off in the middle of exercises with the U.S. coast Guard due to lack of funds. We were of the view that it was badly in need of a capital infusion — the Coast Guard fleet was out-dated and the lag time involved in building ships was such that if we spent money now, we would not see the fruits of that money for another decade. That was the concern to which Senator Munson referred. Would you care to comment on that?

Mr. Wright: I have noted the report from this committee. I was appreciative of the observations you made. When we look at enhancing Canada's capacity to respond in partnership with the U.S. or otherwise, there is no question that strengthening the capacities of the Coast Guard to as a platform for other action is a good part of it.

Again, as to the observations the committee made, we spent a lot of time working with colleagues on how to best advise ministers on the way forward and engage. I accept your point, and I thought it was a useful observation by Senator Munson.

The Chairman: We also noted an almost total absence of capability in the St. Lawrence Seaway and along the Great Lakes. Would your comments apply there as well?

Mr. Wright: Again, it makes a great deal of sense to look at an integrated Canada-U.S. effort on how to secure the Great Lakes. We are exploring with our colleagues in town, within the Department of Transport, the Coast Guard, the RCMP, and the navy in terms of looking at how to integrate the coordination between the west and east coasts and the Great Lakes and how to engage in a process with the U.S. on how best to do it.

Senator Forrestall: I should like to get into two or three areas, the principal area being the Library of Congress' published report on nations hospitable to organized crimes and terrorism. However, I would first like to raise "housekeeping" matter of concern to us.

We have information in front of us now that would indicate that 7 per cent or more of containers coming off ships into Canadian ports are being scanned by technology that is associated with a grain operation. We go from 2.5 per cent to 7 per cent, which is a quantum leap. Why can we not do them all? What has happened to this program?

Mr. Wright: I used to be responsible for the customs program, and I was successful in acquiring the equipment. I am surprised it is up to 7 per cent already. Without me there, I am not sure how they could achieve such progress.

Senator Forrestall: The point is, do not stop.

Mr. Flack: You will be soon meeting with Alain Jolicoeur, from the Border Services Agency, which is now responsible on the site. In terms of the way the Canada-U.S. cooperation has worked on this, the risk-management approach we have taken is not one that says the end objective is to examine every single container as though it is high risk. There is a sophisticated targeting system that both Canada and the U.S. use.

Senator Forrestall: With all due respect, we do not have all day, and I am perfectly aware of that. I was under the impression that something had happened with the technology.

Mr. Wright: It would have been just the application of that technology. The 2 per cent number was our objective before that technology. We used to offload those containers to check them. Now, we can scan them with a VACIS machine and identify anomalies.

There are three sets of screening. First, we require advance information on all containers coming to Canada. It is formatted in the way that fits within a risk-targeting system — namely, what we want to look at. We VACIS or x-ray the 7.5 per cent, which is great progress. From that, some anomalies will show up that we will offload. It is that sort of process.

I would suggest that you pursue the numbers with Alain Jolicoeur and his team, and that is an interesting number. It is higher than I would have expected.

Senator Forrestall: I will go after our next set of witnesses. I thank you for that.

We continue to have concerns about transborder pursuit, particularly by armed non-nationals. I would like a comment or two about that. Are we able to do anything that keeps ferries, such as the arm of Bar Harbor, Vancouver, Victoria and the state of Washington, clean from explosives? Are we doing anything with cars, vehicles and cargo that transit our border by way of water?

Mr. Wright: In respect of ferry terminals, we have enhanced ferries. One of the elements of the Smart Border Plan is enhanced security for ferry operations.

Senator Forrestall: Have we done anything yet on it?

Mr. Wright: We have done a number of things. It has not been the top priority, but we have made some progress together. Again, a good place to start on these, senator, is benchmarking common efforts. There are always best practices from which we can learn from each other, and there have been some improvements.

We are also looking to see if there are also some technology solutions in some applications that, again, this new subgroup looking at technology can help us with.

Senator Forrestall: Is there a cost parameter? How many machines of this nature and this technical capacity would it take?

Mr. Wright: Do you mean the VACIS machines?

Senator Forrestall: Yes. How many would it take to tidy up all our ports and points of entry and exit?

Mr. Wright: We can do some exit.

Senator Forrestall: I hope so.

Mr. Wright: There is scope to do more at ports. We do it in particular when the U.S. goes to a level orange alert. They have done that five times; the first two had quite an important impact on our border. The last three times they have asked and we have agreed to provide some enhanced export checks to help streamline traffic.

I believe we have two VACIS machines at the major ports in Halifax, Vancouver and Montreal and portable ones, certainly, for the land border. Mr. Jolicoeur and Mr. Mark Connolly, who is head of security, will be well equipped to tell you that.

Senator Forrestall: Could I take you back to some brief questions on this report on organized crime and terrorism "safe haven"?

Mr. Wright: Are you referring to the report from the U.S. library of Congress?

Senator Forrestall: Yes, from last fall. Assuming that, of course, we hold this in some disrepute — Who do they think they are, telling us we are inviting people to come in here? — what is the situation today? When we go down to the United States, how do we refute this charge?

Mr. Wright: I think in that sense the strongest condemnation was for our democratic principles, which were reflected. Therefore, I do not think you need to refute that. The U.S. is blessed with the same system. There were some overstatements. I do not want to say there were many overstatements in that report. It was simplistic in many respects.

I would just say look at what we have done. Effectively, on September 11, we had probably significantly better security on some aspects of our travel, particularly air travel, although I know you will give Marc Grégoire from Transport Canada a bit of a run. We had some terrible lessons from the Air India tragedy that left us in a position to manage our security on that front.

On the other scope, the government moved quickly, enhancing budgets of the security envelope by $7.7 billion in December of 2001 and launching the Smart Border program. We have made tremendous progress. I would emphasize the partnership we have made, the example of the Safe Third Country Agreement and that the U.S. has to be part of the solution for Canadian security as well. When 80 per cent of refugees from high-risk countries come to Canada through the U.S., they have to be part of that solution. The chairman has made reference to some of the overstayers in the U.S. and some of the risks they see to that.

At the same time, we are not pointing fingers at them nor are they at us. The most constructive thing is to look at what is working for both countries. Partnership is working; the Smart Border works. The level of integrated effort between our intelligence, transportation, border and immigration authorities is outstanding. In fact, the U.S. has expressed an interest in our doing more together in third countries on common security objectives.

There will always be noise. We can always learn some lessons. In fact, I would say, with respect, that this committee, on occasion, has reminded us of things we can do better. There are always things we can improve. Overall, you have great credentials to emphasize commitment, partnership, and results over the last couple of years.

We are happy to benchmark with our colleagues in the U.S. on their immigration processes.

Some aspects are different in Canada, and Senator Atkins referred to some of the Charter obligations we have once people arrive in Canada. That is something we have to deal with. Those protections are, perhaps, a little more profound than in some of the U.S. circumstances. On the other hand, the in-flows we are trying to deal with are more focused.

The key part of this overall relationship on risks is risk management; it is intelligence. CSIS had its budget increased by 30 per cent in 2001, and it has made excellent use of that resource. Our foreign intelligence had their budgets increased by 25 per cent. They are scoped to do more. I would say we have good credentials and the institutions we deal with on immigration, intelligence, borders, and homeland security do recognize the progress we are making.

Senator Atkins: When the United States institute the orange alert, how do they notify us in Canada, and how much do they share in terms of intelligence?

Mr. Wright: There are typically three levels of contact. We get a heads-up in the Privy Council Office. I get a heads- up from Richard Falkenrath in the White House. Usually Chris Hornbarger, who works for Dr. Falkenrath, will talk to Graham Flack, and we will organize a conversation between the Deputy Prime Minister and Secretary Ridge before they go to a level orange alert. Typically, within the customs border services, there is a level of contact with Mr. Denis Lefebvre, the number two in that portfolio, and perhaps by now with Alain Jolicoeur to engage beforehand.

We get that sort of contact. We would like to institutionalize that perhaps a little better than we have thus far. We have had fulsome exchanges on intelligence that leads to this. We have had such a strong intelligence partnership with the U.S. that dates back to the Second World War that, typically, when they go to level orange alert, we will be able to have discussions with our intelligence experts here to have a sense of the general level of noise and whether there are specific threats that warrant it.

Do we see in detail every specific threat? — probably not. There is substantial collaboration in terms of specific threats. Certainly, if there is anything affecting Canada, there is.

Senator Atkins: We do not automatically go to our own orange alert, is that correct?

Mr. Wright: We must understand that the level of threat for the United States is often quite different than it is for Canada. We take stock of that level of threat. We understand what is motivating them on that threat and we take appropriate action.

On the last several occasions — and certainly with this event over Christmas — we took stock with our key agencies: the Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, CSIS, with the RCMP and the Department of Transportation, in particular, because of the emphasis on aviation security. We determined that we should take actions to enhance our security. We did it in a very deliberate and collaborative way. We advised the ministers responsible and the Prime Minister of the actions being taken.

Senator Banks' emphasis was on emergency management. The government took a major step on December 12 to reorganize the machinery involved with that effort and to consolidate that response into emergency management within the Deputy Prime Minister's department. There is a process through that to determine whether we are comfortable with the overall level of alert systems within Canada. Thus far, given what we have faced, we have not determined that it is essential to move quickly to a national, colour-coded alert system.

The U.S. is doing that. Parts of it work well; parts of it work less well. In every circumstance, we have seen thus far, we felt it best to work on a more tailored sort of response. However, I am sure that will be one item for review by our new department very soon in terms of where to take that emergency focus.

Senator Atkins: You would not recommend it, though, is that correct?

Mr. Wright: I am not recommending it at the present time. I am recommending that we take a long, hard look at it and look at how best to relate to it. It has some advantages and some disadvantages. To date, we have taken stock on every occasion. We have looked at the intelligence and how it affects Canada and we have determined that a more tailored, threat-specific response was appropriate. However, it really does warrant a good look.

Senator Atkins: We were told on other occasions, of the refugees who came through the border, that we cannot account for them, and that there are probably 10,000 in the country that we could not find if we tried. Are we improving on that? Is there a method that is starting to be instituted that will be able to track who these people are?

Mr. Wright: We are improving our effort substantially in terms of tracking overstayers that are of higher risk. There are about 30,000 people who are overstaying their deportation or who we have not accounted for.

We talked about the US-VISIT program that is attempting to take account of everyone coming into and leaving the U.S. We do not have a similar system in Canada. We are enhancing our capacity to capture advance passenger information and name records and for tracking air visitors to Canada but we do not track exit.

We still have an issue on tracking people because we do not do it at the present time. We have done better with doing a specific risk assessment for every refugee claimant. If there is a high-risk element that comes to bear by either RCMP or CSIS oversight, we either detain them or if we not detain them, we make a bigger effort to track them down and work with police at the frontline defender side to follow up.

Mr. Flack: The approach is similar to the approach many other countries take. Few countries in the world have tried to put in place a system for entry/exit tracking. Israel is one; the United States is attempting to embark on one. In countries such as Australia, it is easier to do because virtually all of the traffic is done by air. There is no land border to affect it.

When you see the number of individuals, often in the case of refugee claimants it is often a maximum number. That is, we have asked a number of these individuals who are lower risk to leave, but we cannot verify whether they have left because the means of verification would be the exit tracking system.

As Mr. Wright indicated, the focus has been on individuals who are higher risk. In addition to taking actions to focus their departure, we have also coordinated a number of joint flights with the United States — for example, for flights for very high-risk removals for individuals who cannot travel via commercial airline. We have coordinated those flights to take those individuals from Canada and the United States to deport them to other countries.

Most countries in the world would have to answer that question by saying, "If we do not have a system for exit tracking, we cannot accurately tell you exactly how many of those individuals have left." The focus has been to put the resources on those high-risk individuals.

Senator Atkins: In your opening comments, in respect of security, advice and consultation, you talked about the United States, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Australia and 17 others. Is Israel one of them?

Mr. Wright: I do not think I used the number 17. I believe I said there are "several others. We do consult with our colleagues in Israel, yes. In fact, I had a meeting this week with the Israeli ambassador to Canada and his security expert here. We have had ongoing cooperation around the world.

Again, in my role as national security adviser, I do not focus on establishing protocols with my counterparts in every country in the world. However, our agencies are very active in that regard. Certainly, CSIS and others such as the Department of Foreign Affairs have a very strong security cooperation agenda with other countries.

Senator Atkins: It seems that Israel has the best reputation for security in terms of flights.

Mr. Wright: Yes. I think that is right. They are also tremendously interested in Canada's overall direction. Indeed, with some of the technology that they have sponsored, they are looking to actively engage and market in terms of investments in North America.

Senator Atkins: You also urged for speedy passage of Bill C-7. As I understand it, there is no sunset clause in that bill because, I assume, there are too many provisions in it that amend other acts.

Furthermore, I do not believe there is a review provision. Can you comment on that? Many people are concerned that we are moving toward the War Measures Act, which will affect the balance between human rights and security.

Mr. Wright: There is a balance. We have to strike the right balance, but it has to be a Canadian balance between individual and collective rights. That is what we have always done in this country and I do not think we should be shy about doing it. I am proud of the way we have drawn the balance in Canada. There will be an ongoing debate. We should get it right.

I would suggest that the Department of Transport and the Ministry for Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness to talk about specific review mechanisms. Certainly, an ongoing review by committees like this would be a useful thing.

As the national security adviser to the Prime Minister of Canada, I wanted to emphasize to you, sir, that there are specific threats against Canadians and Canadian aircraft that we have an obligation to protect them from. This legislation provides some important safeguards. I think there has been considerable dialogue with the House and the Senate about the scope for getting that balance right. This is very important to Canadian security.

It is also important vis-à-vis flights. Remember that many Canadian flights go through U.S. airspace even when it is between two Canadian cities. We have seen — in the December period and since — where a number of flights have been cancelled as a result of significant questions about the security of those flights. It is far better to have Canadian solutions and agencies having that level of oversight of ensuring that the Canadian system is secure.

That is what I wanted to implore these learned senators to do their utmost for that part, knowing that we will get the right balance.

Senator Atkins: You are not concerned that we are going too far?

Mr. Wright: I do not believe so. When I was Commissioner of the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency, I had a significant, prolonged with the Privacy Commissioner. In that framework, the debate, which we agreed on in the end, was to keep it focused on national security. There are some other exceptions that are more focused, given that sort of balance, and I think the same would apply in this legislation. There is a balance there. I am just saying that it is very important.

I would like to add that Canada continues to receive some specific threats for some air travel, which we really need more tools to deal with.

The Chairman: My first question is a follow-up to Senator Atkins' comment about incoming refugees. My mind goes back to an immigration officer in the port of Prescott who had just processed a woman through as a refugee when the committee met there a year and a half ago. The committee asked the immigration officer to describe what was involved in the interview process. He described the questions he asked. The individual was photographed and fingerprinted, and then was essentially left to go to an address that she had somewhere in Toronto.

We asked the immigration officer when was the system likely to see this individual next. The answer was perhaps 24 months, perhaps longer.

That seems to be a very long time to go between processing someone in a brief interview that lasted just over an hour and then having no idea for two years where that individual is, what he or she is doing, or who they are.

Do you really think it is possible to determine whether or not a person is high-risk on the basis of a one- to two-hour interview, fingerprints and photograph? Should we be comfortable with not knowing where they are with certainty? Our understanding is there is no capacity to check that the person is at the address they say they are at, and that they are not in contact with any other government official for a 24-month or longer period. Are we going about this in a reasonable way, Mr. Wright?

Mr. Wright: There was an important story in the press today. In the statement on December 12, the government emphasized its determination to look at new ways for the refugee determination process to strengthen the capacity of the refugee board to deal more expeditiously. My perspective would be that the more effective that system is, the better it is for us in securing Canadian interest.

We have made progress. There has been an expression of interest in looking at further enhancements, streamlining and perhaps even expediting the number of reviews for low-risk individuals — basically clearing the backlog of low- risk individuals lest us focus more on the unknown.

We are making progress, senator, and the progress is important. More can be made. The Safe Third Country Agreement will help us. However, I would ask you to keep asking those questions of my colleagues — I certainly do — to see if we have an action plan to move it forward.

I know that we now have a security review for every refugee claimant in Canada. That is important. The frontline folks in immigration do a good job in terms of determining the level of relative risk. Can we do better? The government is hopeful.

By creating the new Canadian Border Services Agency, they have consolidated the frontline immigration review, which, as you know, is done by the customs officers and is now aligned with the other immigration enforcement and intelligence, which again is in the same portfolio as the RCMP and CSIS. Therefore, the government's intent is that this machinery change to create this new department of public security and emergency preparedness, with an integrated border agency, should help make some progress. Just making that change alone will not do it. We will need a process to follow through.

I do not have a magic answer for you other than to say it is a priority for us to keep monitoring and we are.

The Chairman: Monitoring, it seems, obviously is important. It seems that the resources are also lacking.

Mr. Wright: Part of it is resourcing; part of it is process reform. We need an action plan to look at how we are dealing with that aspect of our security needs, and that is what we will be seeking.

The Chairman: At the beginning of the hearing, Senator Banks asked you to describe generally your job and what you are doing. Could you be more specific with us about that? When one of your predecessors, Dick Fadden was here before us, he had 55 people working for him. We are curious about the size of your office, how it breaks out, how it is organized. We are also curious to know how you relate to Margaret Bloodworth in terms of the reporting relationship to the Deputy Prime Minister. Could you give us an oral organization chart of how things function in your office and your reporting relationships and how they all come together?

Mr. Wright: Let me start with the resourcing side first. When Dick Fadden was the security and intelligence co- ordinator, I believe there were 55 people working for him. I have somewhat more than that now. I believe there are 70 in total because there has been some enhancement to the number of staff on the intelligence assessment service.

There are two major Assistant Deputy Minister level positions that report to me. One of them is Bill Elliott, who is the assistant secretary to cabinet for security and intelligence. He coordinates the security intelligence policy framework and helps track the overall intelligence community in terms of where progress is going. He also now houses our border coordination role, which is headed up by Graham Flack. Mr. Flack, as well, brings that same strategic perspective on the border management to the broader national security framework within that.

That group is the same size except for the border initiatives. I believe we have added three or four people.

The Chairman: When Mr. Fadden was here he said he was badly overworked, could not keep up with the level of activity that was going on. I do not see any slowing in the pace.

Mr. Wright: No, I would say it is busier now. I want to come back to that. That is one element of what Mr. Elliott is managing. The second is the intelligence assessment committee, which is headed up by Greg Fyffe. It manages the overall integrated assessment of various foreign intelligence threats to Canada. That resource has increased about 15 people or a so since last July.

The Chairman: Would you describe that was where intelligence fusion takes place in the government?

Mr. Wright: That is where intelligence fusion takes place for the assessment of foreign intelligence risks.

The Chairman: Is domestic intelligence fused elsewhere?

Mr. Wright: We are currently undertaking to create an integrated threat assessment and response capability, which would be the domestic threat equivalent, which did not exist, to the intelligence assessment group.

The Chairman: How will one relate to the other?

Mr. Wright: One will relate to the other by ensuring I have a regular report to the Prime Minister by Greg Fyffe based on where we are seeing the threat.

Let me come back to that. One group, under Mr. Elliott, is working on security and intelligence with the border and national security policy framework at large. Another is the intelligence assessment group, which works very well and works pretty much at arm's-length with ministers and even my own input to say what is a professional judgment about intelligence threats.

I also have a connection to the foreign intelligence collection capability. As you know the Canadian security establishment, which is part of the Department of National Defence, reports to the Department of National Defence for administrative purposes but reports to me in terms of policy purposes.

We are looking at a related connection for the integrated threat assessment, which would build on the very good work that has been done within CSIS of the integrated threat assessment. We want to create some community-wide resources in that effort and hold them accountable for a Government of Canada integrated assessment of individual threats — not just a CSIS threat, an integrated effort. That is a new process I want to build but I am not going to build it by bringing those resources into the Privy Council Office. I would rather create a centre of expertise, hold them accountable and connect them to our reporting to the Prime Minister.

Could we use more resources? Yes. Am I seeking additional resources? Yes. Although last time I was before a committee I was inundated with comments from a very tough chair of the day, Mr. Reg Alcock, about why these resources existed in PCO and where there were smarter ways of us connecting to the community effort. I think there probably are. It is extremely busy, and we are trying to stay focused and to use a cabinet committee process to focus that effort.

I could use some additional resources but I do not want to build the bulk of intelligence within Privy Council Office. Rather, I want to keep it strategic and coordinating and to use the cabinet committee and the Prime Minister's very strong interest in these areas to ensure that we get the right products we need.

You asked me about my role and relationship with Ms. Margaret Bloodworth, Deputy Minister of Public Security and Emergency Preparedness, PSEPC — formerly the responsibility of the Solicitor General. It now has the Canada Border Services Agency and has the very focused responsibility for emergency management. It has some additional functions from the Department of Justice in criminal justice on some aspects related to the role of the RCMP. PSEPC is a major department in transition; and Ms. Bloodworth ably supports Minister McLellan.

Beyond that, the Deputy Prime Minister chairs a cabinet committee that is responsible for the government's entire national security policy framework, which is actually her department, plus. There are important roles with the Department of Defence; Foreign Affairs, including foreign aid and immigration; the Department of Transportation; and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, including the Coast Guard. I support the Deputy Prime Minister in her role for all of government, her role as the chair of this cabinet committee, and her obligation to prepare and deliver a national security policy framework on that.

A key component of that will be her department. Certainly, in respect of emergency preparedness, other key elements, border issues, and CSIS, there are important connections. There is a clear distinction, however, in respect of the important change agenda that involves a large role by the department, then it is certainly an issue. We stay in touch every week — almost every day — on certain issues.

The Chairman: How does the coordination process work between you and Ms. Bloodworth?

Mr. Wright: It works principally as it works with any other deputy minister in respect of the direction taken by departments on their security aspects. I am kept apprised of what they are doing so that I know where it fits into the broader security framework, but I do not do their job for them. If I have some work that I can do at the White House level to bring issues along, I will do that. My role is to coordinate the entire government response and not simply to function as a deputy minister, which is to manage key programs.

The Chairman: Thank you.

The last area I wanted to touch on is our border program. It seems to me that our major rate-limiting step at this time is significant expenditures in infrastructure. Until tens or hundreds of millions of dollars are spent at border areas such as Sarnia, Windsor and Niagara Falls, creating redundancies in the lines of traffic or places where people can be inspected away from the border, we will never have a functional border. In fact, the border will always be such that it could be shut down accidentally or even by a vehicle with a flat tire. The systems you have in place to speed safe traffic across the border can be negated simply because people cannot move over to the fast lane because we lack the infrastructure.

What plans does the government have to address these issues? How soon could we see some action on it?

Mr. Wright: That is an important question. There are three issues: First, as you point out, we have these fantastic new programs — FAST, for example — for moving truck traffic. If you are an established importer or exporter and registered in the program, it provides accelerated clearance. However, there is no sense having that ticket unless you can get to the border.

Our primary objective has to be the introduction of dedicated access lanes for the FAST trucks. They have been active in proving themselves in British Columbia. At Sarnia, when a truck does not have FAST clearance, it will be in line for more than two hours. When a truck has FAST clearance, it can move through in about five minutes. We have not put that in place at Windsor, yet. My number one priority would be to look at how to integrate the required investments to ensure that a pre-clearance process results in expedited access to the U.S. at Windsor.

Second, broader infrastructure needs are apparent at Windsor, where there are huge traffic issues. We should develop an integrated way to progress in that area, although some progress was made last year. Mr. Andy Scott, Minister of State for Infrastructure, Mr. Tony Valeri, Minister of Transport, and Ms. Anne McLellan, Deputy Prime Minister, have taken an interest in the Windsor crossing. It is important to make investments that service not only moving trade forward but also the community interest to deal more expeditiously with truck traffic. That priority will take additional resources. There is a pool of resources for making borders more available and we want to make use of that.

Third, more innovation is needed in the area of Canadian and U.S. custom processes. We will continue to raise this issue with our counterparts in the White House and U.S. Homeland Security. We need to look at such things as air pre- clearance and its application to ensure that when we make long-term investments in infrastructure, we make the best possible use and most sensible allocation of border processes by customs officers on both sides of the border. That is a priority that we have under discussion with our colleagues in the U.S. Certainly, ministers are currently reviewing these infrastructure investments, particularly as they relate to dedicated lanes, which is a top priority. Again, senators may wish to raise the issue with Mr. Jolicoeur from Canada Border Services Agency.

Senator Munson: Mr. Wright, you referred to continuing threats and mentioned CSIS. Will CSIS deploy officers overseas to collect intelligence on possible criminal or terrorist threats? What about the cooperation with CSIS and its U.S. intelligence counterparts in the collection of information?

Mr. Wright: Senator Munson, CSIS has a mandate to protect Canadians from threats to its national security. If that requires them to do the work overseas, then they work overseas. Some people have argued that they need an expanded capacity to do more work overseas in respect of security, and I would look at those possibilities. They currently have a mandate to do that.

We currently have other foreign intelligence collection. Some of the other activities on foreign intelligence are split between security interests — anti-terrorism, non-proliferation, and support for our troops abroad — as well as economic intelligence or foreign policy intelligence. In the coming years, I want to increase the proportion of existing effort that is focused on security needs. The community, as a whole, is supportive of that. Since 9/11, there have been ongoing threats to Canadian security and so we should increase our focus on security needs. That would argue for a capacity for CSIS to continue to adapt its role overseas, which it now has.

Senator Munson: What kind of expansion would you recommend?

Mr. Wright: This committee recommended providing more financial resources to appropriately expand its role overseas to deal with its mandate, which is the security of Canadians. If it is connected to the security of Canadians, a strong case can be made. Again, they currently have a role, which they can play on an as-needed basis. I do not foresee much change in their role at this time. Each time we have a review of our national security framework, people want to discuss the role of intelligence abroad. I would certainly be happy to do that and I expect that we will.

Senator Day: Mr. Wright, I would like to clarify something in respect of Senator Kenny's question regarding your role in supporting the roles of Minister McLellan and Deputy Minister Bloodworth.

The Director of CSIS reports to Minister McLellan. Does Ms. Bloodworth have any role to play in regard to CSIS as a separate agency or do you have a role to play? How do you and Ms. Bloodworth fit in relation to CSIS?

Mr. Wright: The minister is accountable and answerable to Parliament for CSIS and for the border agency. Mr. Alcock and Mr. Jolicoeur report to the minister. Ms. Bloodworth, through managing the whole portfolio of agencies, gives her advice as the minister responsible and accountable for those agencies. So, she gives them advice on CSIS.

My role as national security adviser to the Prime Minister is to know the intelligence community in Canada from its role in CSIS, in the RCMP, within the Deputy Prime Minister's portfolio, and also within the defence, foreign affairs, immigration, and transport portfolios. I need an integrated effort on that framework.

Ms. Bloodworth provides the support for the Deputy Prime Minister as the minister responsible. I provide the support, with others in Privy Council, for her role as the Deputy Prime Minister.

Senator Day: Would CSIS do its own hiring, determine its own human resourcing needs, and develop its own budget? I expect you would play a supportive role?

Mr. Wright: Yes, and so would Ms. Bloodworth. If CSIS wanted to make a case for expanding its budget, it would make it to the Department of Finance and the Treasury Board. Its first step would be to ensure that both the minister and her Deputy Minister, Ms. Bloodworth, are supportive. They would also seek my support ensuring the Prime Minister is comfortable in supporting such an effort. That is a value as well.

There is a balance and it works.

Senator Day: I think I am beginning to understand it. Thank you.

The Chairman: Thank you, Senator Day.

The last time we went to Washington, your office was very helpful in providing us with comparative briefing material in advance. It showed what was happening on the Canadian side and the comparable assistance and the comparable effort on the American side. In addition to the material that you have already undertaken to provide the committee, we would appreciate receiving that sort of support again.

Mr. Wright: We would be pleased to do that. It is a very important trip. We have a good story and what we are seeking is partnership. We feel that through partnership, we can add a great deal to the security of North America while securing Canadian interests. Your visit there will help underscore that.

The Chairman: We find that when we are dealing with the administration, we get that sort of dialogue. When dealing with congressional committees, it seems to be more competitive. It is helpful sometimes to understand both sides of the argument.

Mr. Wright: That is why your contact there is vital to us and why I wish you well.

The Chairman: Your testimony has been of great assistance to the committee in preparing for the visit and we are looking forward to having both you and Mr. Flack appear before the committee again in your current capacities.

For those of you who are following our work, the committee's next witnesses will be Mr. Jolicoeur, Debra Normoyle and Mr. Connolly of the Canada Border Services Agency.

Alain Jolicoeur was educated in Quebec City and Montreal. In July 1999, after a series of government postings, he became Associate Deputy Minister of National Revenue and Deputy Commissioner of the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency (CCRA). In September 2002, Mr. Jolicoeur was named Deputy Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs. He occupied this position until December 12, 2003, when he became President of the Canada Border Services Agency, CBSA.

Mr. Mark Connolly is Head of the Customs Contraband, Intelligence and Investigations for the CBSA. Since starting as a customs inspector in 1973, Mr. Connolly has occupied a number of key managerial positions in the field and at headquarters. Currently, he has overall responsibility for policies, programs, projects and systems related to intelligence services, customs investigations and customs contraband and anti-smuggling efforts.

Debra Normoyle has assumed progressively more responsible positions in a number of federal government departments. She became Head, Immigration Enforcement, in the newly created Canada Border Services Agency in December 2003. In this capacity, Ms. Normoyle is responsible for national immigration enforcement programs that include inland investigations, hearings, detentions and the removals program.

Welcome to the committee. I understand that Mr. Jolicoeur has a short opening statement. The floor is yours, sir.

Mr. Alain Jolicoeur, President, Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada, Canada Border Services Agency: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, honourable senators. It is my pleasure to appear today to provide an update on the Canada Border Services Agency's contribution to the Smart Border Declaration and the accompanying 32-point action plan.

As mentioned, I have with me Ms. Normoyle, who is responsible for the immigration enforcement, and Mr. Connolly, who is responsible for customs contraband, intelligence and investigations.

CBSA has the lead, in partnership with the U.S. Bureau of Customs and Border Protection, for 11 points of the action plan initiative. Before I go to the specifics, I would like to say a few words about the creation of the CBSA and what we are aiming to achieve.

Security has been a top-of-mind issue since September 11, 2001. From a law enforcement point of view, one of the valuable lessons we have learned since that time is the importance of close collaboration, both among domestic players and with other governments.

The CBSA was created on December 12. It is part of the new portfolio of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness. The portfolio includes emergency preparedness, crisis management, national security, corrections, policing (the RCMP), oversight and crime prevention, and border services. The CBSA reports to the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, the Honourable Anne McLellan.

The CBSA brings together all the major players involved in facilitating and managing the movement of goods and people into Canada. It integrates several key functions previously spread among three different organizations — the customs program from the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency, the intelligence interdiction and enforcement program from Citizenship and Immigration Canada, and the port inspection at ports of entry program of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

The mandate of the new agency is to manage the nation's border by administering and enforcing about 75 domestic laws that govern trade and travel, as well as international agreements and conventions, in collaboration with different stakeholders.

Since my appointment and the creation of the agency on December 12, I have had at least three meetings with my counterpart in the United States, Rob Bonner, the commissioner for custom and border protection. I had prior discussions with him in respect of working together towards an integrated action plan at the border.

As to the progress on the 32-point plan initiative, one area that has already benefited from the creation of the CBSA is our dealings with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, specifically the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection. I can report very positive progress with respect to our work with the United States on our shared 32-point plan initiatives and on our relationship overall.

For example, in the early days after the establishment of the 32-point plan, our two customs administrations jointly implemented the intransit container targeting program at five marine seaports in North America. Thanks to this program, we are now able to pool our resources and information to better target high-risk cargo and containers arriving from abroad.

In the short term, until our system is built, we are using the U.S. Automated Targeting System, ATS, which has enabled us to move away from a labour-intensive and time-consuming manual targeting process. The ATS provides a first vetting of all of the cargo information and isolates those shipments that pose a certain level of risk. We are able then to take a closer look and determine which containers should be examined.

The intransit container targeting program and the lessons we have learned from that experience contributed significantly to the development of our advanced commercial information program. This program will require carriers to provide key cargo data to the CBSA electronically in advance. It will significantly enhance our ability to screen containers and target for high-risk goods before they are loaded. Implementation will begin in the marine mode in April 2004, when marine carriers will be required to report cargo to the CBSA 24 hours prior to it being loaded on the vessel at the foreign port. The program will be extended to other modes of transportation beginning in April 2005.

We have also been very active on the people side. I am pleased to report that our Advanced Passenger Information/ Passenger Name Record, API/PNR, implementation is proceeding very well. We are currently receiving API data from 99 per cent of carriers flying into Canada, and we expect to have full implementation of personal name records by the end of this year.

In addition, in an effort to push our borders out, Canada and the U.S. have deployed "migration integrity officers," or MIOs, overseas. These officers work with airlines and local authorities to share intelligence with the overall goal of intercepting illegal migrants who are headed to North America. In 2002, the MIOs managed to intercept 68 per cent of all attempted illegal entries by air. This added up to more than 6,000 individuals who were stopped before they left their country of origin.

Also on the illegal persons front, Canada and the United States joined forces on the removal of almost 800 foreign nationals. Our two countries cooperated on the hire of charter flights as an alternative to using commercial airlines for removals.

Canada's National Risk Assessment Centre, or NRAC, opened its doors on January 13, 2004. With that, we began an automated exchange of lookouts with the U.S. officers in the NRAC, who are on duty 7/24 and maintain close and regular contact with the U.S. National Targeting Center. The implementation of the NRAC is a significant step in reinforcing our risk-management ability. Now that it is in place, we will turn our attention to completing our work with the U.S. on passenger risk scoring.

At the land border with the U.S., the NEXUS and FAST programs are in place at all the major crossings. FAST is operational at 12 locations across the country, and our 56,600 NEXUS participants receive expedited clearance at 10, soon to be 11, land border ports of entry. As these represent most of our busiest ports, we can safely say that the implementation of these programs is contributing significantly to alleviating border congestion.

Notwithstanding our success, we continue to face considerable challenges. We need to ensure that the infrastructure impediments that currently exist, particularly in the busy southern Ontario crossings, are resolved as soon as possible so that we can establish the dedicated NEXUS and FAST lanes that will assist in maintaining the free flow of goods and people across the border.

Since our last appearance before this committee, we have been successful at striking an agreement with the U.S. Bureau of Customs and Border Protection and our two principal Canadian rail companies. The four-party statement of principle that was signed in April 2003 will see the installation of Vehicle and Cargo Inspection System, VACIS, rail scanners. VACIS is instrumentation that uses radiation to see what is inside cargos. We will install them at seven locations on the U.S. side of the border. In turn, CN and CP have agreed to accommodate U.S. VACIS machines at their rail yards in Sarnia and Windsor, Ontario. We believe that this arrangement will ensure the continued smooth flow of rail traffic from Canada into the United States.

I am confident that our relationship with our U.S. counterparts will continue to be very positive. We continue to make significant progress in the advancement of our joint programs. We, in the CBSA, look forward to working with all stakeholders to keep Canada safe and prosperous.

Thank you for the invitation to speak here today, and we welcome your questions.

Senator Forrestall: I should like to address a few small areas that may appear to be "housekeeping." Nonetheless, I would like to tidy them up.

Protections are being employed at ferry terminals to and from the United States and on the West Coast, the East Coast, the Great Lakes and the rivers. I want to look at the VACIS and its capacity to identify dirty bombs coming in by way of containers. Particularly, I should like to know if we have, in fact, gone from 2.5 per cent all the way up to 7 per cent effectiveness in this program. I understand we are doing quite well on the rail side. How many would it take to reach that level of coverage on our waterfronts?

Please start with the question of port security. I ask that because of the concern demonstrated in the past several weeks or so with respect transborder pursuit by armed personnel. Under what guidelines did that occur, and was it allowed to happen? Is it an adequate guideline, or do we not have adequate guidelines in this respect? What would happen if there is no protocol in place that might accommodate, reinforce or augment transborder pursuit, for example, that might require overnight lodging in Canada?

Mr. Jolicoeur: The first question dealt with our capacity to verify what is coming into the country in cargo container form. The question was asked in terms of efficiency, effectiveness and rate of verification of containers. The honourable senator referred to the number of VACIS that we might need to raise it or ensure a percentage of verification — let us say 7 per cent — across the country.

It is very important for us to be able to adjust our strategies in a way that cannot be seen or understood by those who might be trying to send either drugs or dirty bombs into the country. It is very important for us to be able to distribute our actions at different points and points in time in a way that is unpredictable. Therefore, if we were to aim for a strategy where we would publicly say we will use exactly that rate of verification in this or that port, we would significantly lower the security of Canada. We already know that because, clearly, on the people side right now, we are seeing the people who are trying to pass illegally into Canada adapting to our strategy by basically "shopping" points of entry. We must be careful how we describe and how we deploy our forces, so to speak.

In respect of the question of the percentage of verification that we are doing, before we used VACIS, it was about 3 per cent over all and distributed rather equally. VACIS was brought into focus on more specific things and will be deployed in different fashions. Some are mobile and, depending on intelligence, they move from one place to another.

The question of the percentage of verification that we could reach with VACIS at the moment is not so much limited by the instrumentation and availability of the VACIS — although certainly we could have a few more — it is more a question of determining exactly what to do with which one at what point in time. I would say the human factor and the training factor is probably more critical at the moment, in order to reach a level where we have enough people to deploy it in the most efficient manner.

Perhaps Mr. Connolly can correct me, but I do not know that we are limited by the number of machines at the time. It is more a question of raising the number of people who are trained to use it and to have enough people to maximize the utilization of the machine.

By and large, I understand that we are getting closer. I do not want to get into the details of how much here or there, because we would rather not discuss that publicly, but we are getting closer to that 7 per cent. I do not know if Mr. Connolly has a precise number.

Mr. Mark Connolly, Head, Customs Contraband, Intelligence and Investigations, Canada Border Services Agency: Honourable senators, we do not have a precise number by site. Some sites are higher than others, obviously. That depends on the volume of traffic that goes through and the type of risk that is involved. It is really not the number of exams that matters so much as the quality of exams that are being done. As Mr. Jolicoeur has mentioned, the training of officers is important because the more highly trained they are, the less time they spend on using the technology to targeting containers do not need to be targeted. In other words, the machines read anomalies, and it is determining what those anomalies are to make an examination.

We have deployed 11 mobile VACIS machines across the country, and we have another three palette-sized ones that are fixed and stationary that will soon be deployed. One has been installed in Montreal already.

We have put out quite a few other new systems in terms of x-rays and lower energy baggage and cargo systems. We have doubled our units; we now have 104 units in the field. We also have 120 mobile ion spectrometers that are being used to detect narcotics and explosives, and so forth.

As well, our dog program is up now by 25 per cent. Since September 11, we have increased our number of detector dogs in the field. All of this fits together in a more holistic approach to contraband detection.

In respect of the number of examinations, they can vary by site, and they can increase. The flexibility that the mobile VACIS gives us is the flexibility to go to areas of highest risk and increase our examinations as we see fit at that particular point.

Senator Forrestall: That is interesting. I am at a loss. We are approaching 7 per cent. Is that a quantum leap from 2.5 per cent or 3 per cent in, say, a year's time, or is that just the nature of the equipment and the capacity to identify anomalies that warrant or may merit further examination? I was somewhat taken by this massive leap forward in our capacity to understand what is in a container.

Mr. Jolicoeur: If I may, I do not want to leave the impression that we are opening so many containers.

Senator Forrestall: You do not open very many, do you?

Mr. Jolicoeur: No, we do not, but we do open some. Actually, with VACIS, we can be better at intercepting while opening fewer containers. When we ask how many and the percentage that we check, it varies depending on the kind of technology that we are using. The lower number would be the number of actual containers that we completely empty and pass everything through x-ray. As we check one way or another through VACIS or through other methodology, there is a gradation that rises as the risk increases. The more we know about that container, the higher the odds that we will have to open it and check every item.

Senator Forrestall: I do not know if you heard Mr. Wright's testimony this morning. He suggested there was a substantial amount of infrastructure funds somewhat at hand. Is this under-utilized money? What right do you have to say you are so overwhelmed with money that you cannot spend it when everybody else is broke?

Mr. Jolicoeur: We are broke. Senator, the infrastructure fund is in an organization under the direction of Minister Scott. It is basically in the area of infrastructure and roads. It is a border infrastructure fund. The $600 million has been put aside for that purpose. In many of our border crossing points, the solution for the security and of the economy and the fluidity of the traffic, is, in a sense, more related to the infrastructure itself, the number of lines and the architecture of the place.

A good example of using technology and trying to be smarter is at Blue Water Bridge in Sarnia. I was there a few weeks after the creation of the agency where we can easily see a difference on a normal day between waiting two hours if you are not a FAST client and waiting five minutes if you are. On the same day with the same kind of challenge in Windsor, we produced a difference between a two-hour waiting time and waiting an hour and 55 minutes because you must stay behind the others.

The infrastructure, the capacity to reach the border point in some places is more critical than whatever technology or system we put in place at the border itself.

Senator Forrestall: I have one more question in respect the areas of security at ferry terminals transiting Canada and the U.S. in both directions. We do we focus on imports? Do we not have an obligation to send on to other people clean containers of goods and materials? Why do we always look at the imports and we do not put much emphasis on the exports?

I have the impression that if somebody got it into Canada, it could be trans-shipped easily, and if country to which the container is directed is not on its toes, that would lend some credence to the damning report out of the Library of Congress in the United States a few years ago. I would hope that report is so out-of-date now that they do not take too much cognizance of it.

Mr. Jolicoeur: I will ask the help of Mr. Connolly vis-à-vis the current existing export program, because customs has some responsibility on the exports as well but for a very specific with which I have less familiarity.

The overall direction we are taking jointly with the Americans is where, for our own purposes, we push the border out and we will look at containers before they leave the countries on their way to Canada. In doing so, we must ask the help of the customs organizations of those other countries when we want to open something.

Senator Forrestall: Will we go back more than one country?

Mr. Jolicoeur: No. That is not the plan at the moment. The plan is the port of departure for Canada. By doing so, we are asking customs organizations of those countries to do some specific checks for us. That is our plan. At some point, we will be asked to do the same thing. In other words, for the system to work, there should be a bigger role for Canada Customs on the export side. We are not there yet, but we do have areas where we have some export responsibilities already.

Mr. Connolly: Our approach is multi-layered. It is not just using equipment, be it imported or exported, it is getting the information and intelligence and targeting the analysis so that we are focused on high-risk and not on those containers or people that have little interest to us. On the export side, for example, we have export regimes in place, particularly on goods that are controlled or that require certain permits from the Department of Foreign Affairs for export. For example, under the International Treaty on Arms Regulations, Canada has a commitment to ensure that technology coming into Canada, principally from the United States, is not re-exported to countries that should not have that particular type of technology. We follow those goods. We target those goods if, in fact, those goods are being exported illegally. We also look at the permits of goods that are subject to exports and imports control under the Export and Import Permits Act. We have programs; we do examinations, if we need to, on those particular containers — trucks or whatever — that happen to be transporting the goods out of our country.

Stolen vehicles is another area in which we have an interest. We work and cooperate with law enforcement agencies to target marine containers. We use technology to examine those containers as well. We have had success in identifying vehicles — often high-end vehicles — that have been stolen in Canada or the United States and are being exported abroad.

In his opening remarks, Mr. Jolicoeur mentioned the intransit container targeting program at seaports. They are imported into Canada and exported through to the United States in transit. We have a vigorous program that we operate both in Canada and the United States where we are situated there and they are situated here, using systems and exchanging information in order to target those particular marine containers and cargos that are travelling in-transit through Canada to the United States and in-transit through the United States into Canada. There is a program, basically. We are looking at exports. Although we are not looking at all exports out of Canada, we are focusing high risk and those containers that need attention.

The Chairman: Can you tell us how many units a VACIS machine can process in an hour?

Mr. Connolly: We can process up to about 30 containers an hour if there was a steady stream. That is not the rate that we are looking at because work is done before. As I said, it is a multi-layered approach. You could do 30 an hour if you needed to.

The Chairman: In regard to VACIS being set up to examine trains, what is your rate of false positives?

Mr. Connolly: I do not have that information, senator, but I could provide that for you.

The Chairman: If you could provide the committee with that information, both false and true negatives would be helpful.

What programs do the Americans have that are comparable to FAST and NEXUS, and what are they called?

Mr. Jolicoeur: They are joint programs.

The Chairman: They are joint programs. An American wanting to get across the border would be referring it to a FAST or NEXUS program.

Mr. Jolicoeur: We have joint enrollment centres. We check the same thing on both sides. They get FAST or NEXUS cards on both sides of the border.

The Chairman: Finally, for clarification in regard to export inspections, it sounds to me that your focus, Mr. Connolly, is principally where law mandates it. Can you tell us what sort of legislation you would need to have a general inspection capability of anything and everything going on?

Mr. Connolly: Honourable senators, the legislation is there if we needed to look at everything that is going out of Canada. We focus on those that require permits and on areas that are high-risk. Obviously, if we have intelligence or other information indicating there is illegal export of, for example, precursor chemicals or something like that, then we will focus on that. We have the necessary authority to look at many of those things today and we do that. For example, regarding stolen vehicles, we have decided, because that is a high-risk area that we will look at that particular area.

The Chairman: As far as the legislation goes, you are not deficient in any respect for inspections of anything leaving the country. You can look at anything you want that is leaving the country.

Mr. Connolly: That is correct.

Senator Munson: During your testimony, you talked about how Canada and the United States joined forces on the removal of almost 800 foreign nationals and that the two countries cooperated on the hire of charter flights as an alternative to using commercial airlines for removals. I have a few questions on that: Who are they? In other words, is there a national breakdown? What was the security risk? What was the time frame in the removal of the 800 foreign nationals? On the charter planes, instead of commercial, do you have armed guards? What was the overall cost of removing these foreign nationals?

Mr. Jolicoeur: I will ask for the help of Ms. Normoyle.

I understand that we are sending back about 10,000 people a year. Our strategy for ordering the people who need to leave the country is based on risk. Therefore, the higher the security concern, the quicker those persons will leave when we have an order to deport them. The majority would leave with guards on normal flights. My understanding of the system is that when that occurs it is with two guards.

The overall cost is reduced by those charter flights because it is more economical for us to do it. I do not know what the overall costs are, so perhaps my colleague would know.

Ms. Debra Normoyle, Head, Immigration Enforcement, Canada Border Services Agency: Since 2001, Canada has participated in 11 joint charters with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Out of the 800 people removed — total 800 for both countries — 130 individuals were removed from Canada in those joint charters. Eight of the flights were destined to Nigeria, one to Somalia, one to Jordan, and one to Zimbabwe. Out of the 11, the U.S. had the lead on 10 of the flights and Canada had the lead on organizing the Charter flight for Zimbabwe.

In respect of the costs, since September 11, 2001 the government has allocated $1 million annually to support the Canada-U.S. joint charter flights to remove individuals. The priority that we follow in terms of removals is, first, cases involving security, organized crime and human rights violations. Removal of criminals is our second priority. The third priority would normally be dealt with through commercial flights.

Senator Cordy: I am interested in the migration integrity officers and how that actually works. It extends our borders allowing us to prevent people from coming in so that we do not have to go through the process of sending them back to their originating countries.

Canada and the U.S. have deployed integrity officers. Are they working jointly in countries off our soil?

Mr. Jolicoeur: The concept is the same concept that we have for cargo. That is, we have a multiple border and we have the outer border before cargo is loaded on ships and before people board the aircraft.

Up to behind the actual land border, for the people who have managed to go through, we have enforcement centres in Canada that are trying to identify and find those who may be criminal or whatever and who have managed to get through illegally. It is a continuum.

The MIOs are basically intelligence people. They assemble information and share their knowledge and expertise, whether it is airlines or other CIC employees overseas to do exactly what you described. Since they are in the intelligence universe, when there are high-risk cases, there is general work between Canadian and U.S. intelligence. People have not been deployed, as I understand it, in a joint manner. Both exist.

In respect of cargo, we are exploring with the Americans the distribution of people so that we can complement each other in a sense, that we can help each other. They might be in some places and we might be in others. The number of MIOs is not all that large, and it is basically these people have been distributed as per the Canadian needs specifically.

Senator Cordy: These are not people we would see at an airport. They would be behind the scenes gathering the information that a group of individuals or individuals are planning to come to Canada. Would they stop it before the people actually get to the airport, or would they give the information to customs officials at the airport? How would it work?

Mr. Jolicoeur: My understanding is that they would train and share information when they have concerns with the airlines that are accepting those people.

Ms. Normoyle: Depending on the intelligence they have gathered, they may actually work with the authorities on the ground at the airport — be it the airport authority or the airlines themselves — to intercept the individuals. Then, depending on the information they have, they will either refer, if it is a question of improper documentation, them to a visa office or refer them to the local police authority. It depends on the situation.

Canada has had the concept of migration integrity officers really in place for more than 10 years and has led the way in introducing this concept from an immigration perspective. The concept is very supported by the U.S. We have worked closely with the U.S. to share with them our experience and what we have learned from them over the last 10 years. As Mr. Jolicoeur has said, although we do not work in joint units, clearly on the ground where the U.S. has posted migration integrity officers in the same location, we work hand-in-glove with them. We have migration integrity officers at 38 locations around the world. I have a list if that is of interest.

Senator Cordy: How do we know that we intercepted 68 per cent? How did you determine that 32 per cent have actually made it to Canada?

Mr. Jolicoeur: I was also baffled by this number. It represents the people we intercept — most of whom we intercept overseas. In other words, the others are people who are intercepted at the border, at airports, et cetera. We intercept more before they take off than we intercept at the border.

Senator Cordy: I am also looking at the advance passenger information, or passenger name records that have been implemented. You have said you are proceeding very well. It seems that if 99 per cent are actually providing the data that it is proceeding extremely well. Of the 1 per cent who are not providing the data, is that one particular airline or country, or is that just 1 per cent spread all over that just somehow did not give the information?

Mr. Connolly: We could give you an exact location of that. The figure of 1 per cent is primarily focused on one or two airlines. It is not spread all over the place.

Senator Cordy: Is work in progress currently so that they will be providing that information by the end of the year?

Mr. Connolly: Yes.

Senator Cordy: What happens if they do not provide it by the end of the year?

Mr. Connolly: There are administrative monetary penalties that will kick in if the information is not provided and provided within the time frame that is required.

Senator Cordy: This certainly goes a long way to providing intelligence gathering, which, as all of you have stated and certainly the committee agrees, is the most important thing for the security of our country and our borders. However, a large number of Canadians have concern about balancing the privacy of Canadians and the privacy of travellers with the need of departments to obtain information on people before they arrive in Canada. How do we balance the two so that we can obtain the information and ensuring that Canadians and other individuals do not feel that their privacy is being invaded?

Mr. Jolicoeur: This is a very difficult question on an issue that has been debated by parliamentary committees. In our case, API information is basically a means to know ahead of time just who will land in Canada. It gives customs officers at the front line in airports more than 12 seconds to make their decisions on who is and who is not dangerous. Twelve seconds is not much time for such an important decision.

From a privacy perspective, API's ability to provide information six or eight hours ahead of the arrivals is not such a big concession because those arrivals will have to provide the information on the API side when they land. We simply know a little bit before they actually arrive. From that perspective, it is not such a big concession in respect of the privacy issue given the immense benefit on the security side of the issue.

There is also the issue of how long we keep the information after the arrival has gone. We have had debates about how the information will be kept and for how long, what security measures will ensure that the information is not available to others. It is important for this organization's intelligence and risk management perspective to keep that information for a while.

This issue is being examined and discussed with the Privacy Commissioner, whose blessing we have. Frankly, it has been a little bit more difficult with PNR information, which provides more details such as where, when and how people buy their tickets. Again, there are limits on what we can do with that information and on the number of data elements that we are authorized to keep. It has been reduced significantly from the original proposal. In this way, we meet the requirements of the Privacy Commissioner and of all Canadians, of course.

It is more difficult to measure the level of risk that would justify sharing some of that information with other countries — primarily the U.S., but also European countries — that have similar privacy concerns. Internationally, we are seeking a balance of what makes sense, what is possible, and what level of risk could justify the sharing of certain information. This is a difficult societal issue.

Senator Cordy: That is true. It certainly sounds like you are discussing this at length on both a national and international level.

The committee will travel to Washington in March. You mentioned that you had met three times since December with your American counterparts. We will also meet with members of Congress and of the Senate. Are there key issues or messages that we should bring on behalf of Canada when we meet with them? Sometimes messages are better received when the discussions are one-on-one or in smaller groups with American legislators. Should the committee bring forward a particular message to our American colleagues?

Mr. Jolicoeur: In my view, one of the greatest difficulties that we currently face is not so much the actual science of security and how we should do business but the perception in the United States that our system is weaker. That perception is not shared when we make the comparisons with our colleagues. I have made that point to Mr. Bonner and he has also made it.

It requires continually reinforcing the fact that we are benchmarking our operation with them. When we lag behind on an issue, then we make adjustments, and they respond in kind. Most of the strategic actions that have occurred since September 11 have originated in Canada and the U.S. has had to catch up with our perspective on the border.

However, the word from Congress, the Senate, any other political level or even the newspapers is that the problems originate in Canada. In my view, the American public appears to have the perception that we are not as secure as we should be.

Senator Cordy: We have done that in the past so I guess we will continue to do it.

The Chairman: On that note, Mr. Jolicoeur, could you please prepare a note for the committee that outlines, point by point, the areas in which Canada took the lead as well as those in which we continue to lead? Our experience is that the American administration generally has a fairly good understanding and that the information does not filter through to Congress in the same way.

Could you prepare that information for the committee?

Mr. Jolicoeur: Yes.

The Chairman: You will take it through point by point and indicate where the U.S. and Canada are on the issues and who is performing and who is not performing.

Senator Banks and I met with Congressman Bart Stupak from Michigan. He was very concerned about the absence of an Integrated Border Enforcement Team, IBET, in his border district. Congressman Stupak is one of the co-chairs of the Canada-U.S. border caucus. Do you have any ability to first, create teams, or second, give us information that would satisfy Mr. Stupak when we return to Washington and ensure him that his part of the border is being well looked after?

Mr. Jolicoeur: On the specifics of IBET I would ask Mr. Connolly.

Mr. Connolly: Where did you say that Representative Stupak is from?

The Chairman: He is from northern Michigan across from Sault Ste. Marie.

Mr. Connolly: There is no IBET in Sault Ste. Marie.

The Chairman: He wants an IBET.

Mr. Connolly: The IBETs are joint force operations for which the RCMP has the lead. Of course, there are other activities in Sault Ste. Marie and other joint force operations are struck from time to time based on risk.

The philosophy behind the placement of IBETs along the border is that they will be placed first in those areas that have the highest risk. There are 14 teams in place right now along the border. You are correct that Sault Ste. Marie is not one of the locations. However, a number of police forces in that area work the border jointly.

The Chairman: Other than telling him he is in a very safe district, could you provide us with information that would give him more comfort than that? We will pursue the question of IBETs with the RCMP when we have the opportunity.

Mr. Connolly: Of course, Mr. Chairman, I could do that.

Senator Banks: I recall that Congressman Stupak's concern was related to water-borne access.

I need some clarification for some other questions that you have been asked. You spoke to the differences in the ways that our systems operate. In Washington, we bump up against differences in respect of refugee claimants and the way in which we treat claimants for refugee status pending the disposition of their applications and the way in which the United States treats claimants pending the dispositions of their applications. Generally speaking, the feeling is that in the United States refugee applicants are interned until the disposition of their case, and we do not do that. They criticize us for that. If you can make reference to that in the analysis the chairman asked you to prepare, that would be helpful.

I need some help with some arithmetic. I think, Ms. Normoyle, you said that we deport about 10,000 folks a year?

Ms. Normoyle: Over the past five years, I think the average has been around 8,200 a year.

Senator Banks: I believe that Mr. Jolicoeur said that we had cooperated with the United States on the deportation of 800. Was that referring specifically to the means of getting them out of North America?

Ms. Normoyle: That figure refers to the 800 individuals who were deported from North America. Out of the 800 individuals, 130 were from Canada.

Senator Banks: But you said we put out 8,200 a year. What about the other 7,600; how did they get out of the country? This is 800 and then you said there were 8,200 before. I cannot put those two together.

Ms. Normoyle: There was a combined total of 800 deportees involving the joint charters with the U.S. We use commercial airlines.

Senator Banks: For the other 7,600?

Ms. Normoyle: Yes. Often times, our removals are accompanied by our escort officers.

Senator Banks: As to the reason we would use a charter plane to get somebody to Zimbabwe, I got the impression we were talking about efficiency and economy.

Ms. Normoyle: In this case it was a serious criminal case.

Senator Banks: That is what I wanted to confirm. We are not talking about saving money. Unless we were moving 150 people to Zimbabwe, it would be cheaper to move them by a commercial airline. It must have been a question of security.

Ms. Normoyle: It was. This is where the value of the joint charters is, because we are combining our resources with the United States and they have a higher number of individuals to the various locations.

Senator Banks: Therefore, the considerations often extend beyond saving money' there are security considerations?

Ms. Normoyle: Yes.

Mr. Jolicoeur: The decision to use a charter would be a security-based decision mainly; but the decision to do it with the U.S. is an efficiency decision, because we cannot field them all.

Senator Banks: Which would be why we took the lead on the one to Zimbabwe.

Senator Banks: Mr. President, you talked about the MIOs managing to intercept 68 per cent of all attempted illegal entries. I take it that you are referring to "known attempts," because we do not know how many did not get caught.

You indicated that we are currently using the American version of the automated targeting system while we are developing our own. I am in favour of Canadian everything. However, if the ATS is working well, and if we are using it now and talking about integrating our systems, how is our system going to be different or better than the ATS?

Mr. Jolicoeur: There are two parts to a system. There is the electronic platform and the internal logic of the system. There are also specific profiles that we build into the system. For example in a port in one locality, our concern might be focused in specific areas based on the traffic that comes through that area and other specific characteristics. In other areas, the focus will be on other areas, depending on the characteristics of those localities. No matter what we do, there will be some adjustment to risk profiles that we would have over time to put in the system. It is not so much a question of what basic system eventually is used; it is more about how we use it and how we adjust it to our local, real-time risks.

Senator Banks: Understood.

Ms. Normoyle, when you were responding to the question that the chairman asked, you said that you would be able to provide us with information as to how many MIOs there are and where they are. Would you include that or can you tell us that now?

Ms. Normoyle: We have 45 MIOs, and we have them in 38 different locations. I have a list of locations that I can leave with the committee.

Senator Banks: That would be very helpful.

Are a significant number of those locations in the United States?

Ms. Normoyle: No.

Senator Banks: They are mostly other than in the United States?

Ms. Normoyle: That is right.

Senator Banks: Do United States security agencies, of which there are even more than ours, have officers of that kind operating in Canada?

Mr. Jolicoeur: I do not know about equivalent to MIOs, but we have joint units with them on the cargo commercial side. I recently met two of these individuals in Montreal.

Senator Banks: I was thinking more of immigration than customs.

Mr. Jolicoeur: I do not know.

Ms. Normoyle: Under the Canada-U.S. shared border accord we had a project involving joint passenger units whereby we worked with colleagues in the U.S. We had a joint passenger analysis unit in Vancouver and we had one in Miami. That was an instance where an American official worked in a Canadian passenger analysis unit. However, it was a joint pilot we had with the United States.

Senator Banks: Is it ongoing?

Ms. Normoyle: No, it was terminated.

Senator Banks: Did it not work?

Ms. Normoyle: It worked quite well.

Senator Banks: Why was it terminated?

Mr. Jolicoeur: It was terminated when we moved to the national risk assessment centre mode where they did the same thing. Now we are sharing information.

Additionally, there are in some Canadian airports pre-clearance areas, where U.S. customs do the clearance in Canada.

Senator Banks: I am very familiar with that.

In previous testimony, we heard about a program that would use crane-mounted detection systems to look specifically for radioactive materials in containers. The ideal goal was that by mounting this system on the cranes, which removed containers from ships, we would be able to determine with virtually 100 per cent certainty that no containers coming off ships — whether intransit or bound for Canadian destinations — would be those that would contain radioactive materials of certain kinds. Specifically, I am talking about looking for a dirty bomb, which was one of the concerns people had about containers. What is the current state of that program?

Mr. Jolicoeur: I have some general comments and perhaps Mr. Connolly can provide more detailed information.

I find that a very good and interesting idea. If I wanted to beat the system, I would know exactly how to beat that system. By and large, if something is not protected, one would find out the radiation that is coming from that boat, if the sensitivity of your receiver is high enough.

I do not know that anybody has planned for that, or if we have planned for that. Mr. Connolly?

Mr. Connolly: Thank you.

Yes, senator, in fact we talked to that issue at the Senate hearing in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

We have run a series of pilot tests to evaluate radiation detection equipment in conjunction with a partnership with the Port of Halifax. We tested the gantry crane radiation detector, which is crane-mounted and lifts the containers out of the ships. We tested a system called "Carborne," which is basically a vehicle-mounted system that drives through the port verifying various containers, and is portable to other locations as well. We also tested a rail portal, which is like a gate on the other side of the track that reads radiation as the train passes by.

We are now in the process of finalizing our evaluations. We have already determined that Carborne is quite a good system — that is the mobile system. We have some contracts underway to purchase some of that equipment. We have a research development MOU with the U.S. We have shared information with them. They are also buying some of those Carborne systems, which are manufactured in Canada.

We have also concluded that rail portals have been fairly successful. When we finalize our evaluation report, we may move forward on that one as well.

With respect to the crane-mounted detection system, we are conducting further tests on the gantry crane and we are looking at other models. We had some issues during testing and evaluation. We are working out those technological issues and we hope to move forward on that soon.

At present, we are looking at different models of that. We will be doing further tests and evaluation.

Senator Banks: Any idea of the time line, Mr. Connolly?

Mr. Connolly: We will be doing the testing this year. It is hard to say when we will have a determination.

Senator Banks: We have heard, from security people at both Canadian and American ports, that there is a fear of a dirty bomb being brought into one or another of our North American ports on a ship. It would be a danger before it was offloaded either by a crane or offloaded on to the ground where the Carborne system could look at it.

If these systems work, what is the prognosis of having them in place to look at cargo containers before they are loaded on to ships bound for North America in the major ports?

Mr. Connolly: Obviously, senator, that would depend on the country from which it was coming and its physical means and wherewithal to decide to put those things in place. There is a cost to doing that.

If you will recall, we spoke today about the Advance Cargo Information System and the fact that there will be a requirement for us to have detailed information on marine containers travelling to Canada 24 hours before they are laden on ship. It is our hope that, through our analysis and intelligence, we will be able to detect one of those particular threats. If something of that magnitude were to happen, we would be able to detect it before it was loaded on a ship destined for Canada.

Senator Banks: Does that not presume that the guy who would put something bad into one of those containers would tell you about it? Let us say that I am shipping some contraband or I have a dirty bomb in that container. How will you get the information if you are relying on reportage from the people who are loading them?

Mr. Connolly: Senator, that is only one source of information. We work with our partners around the world in gathering intelligence.

Canada will have a comprehensive approach toward marine security. We have a group that is working together. There is an interdepartmental working group on marine security that is looking at a number of initiatives. That starts with the main awareness, which is ships at sea, responses while ships are still at sea, waterside, and, of course, once cargo is off laden into Canada.

We use a multi-layered approach. You can buy all the technology in the world, and it will not necessarily detect some of the things that you need to find if it is not put in the right place to make that detection. A multi-layered approach involves intelligence, information, analysis and cooperation with partners. It also involves the use of technology and having well-trained officers in place to make appropriate detections and interceptions.

Senator Banks: Are you satisfied that things in all of those aspects that you have been talking about this morning are moving as quickly as they should and, in the new regime that we have with respect to security in this country, that the impediments by way of bureaucratic and bailiwick protection are either removed or being removed?

Mr. Jolicoeur: We have made incredible steps in the last two to three years. We are progressing very quickly. I would not say that we are not at all limited by bureaucratic impediments. We are moving quickly with other countries, including the United States. We will continue to progress, but we will never create a completely foolproof regime because we would not want to live in a society where we would check to that extent.

Technology is a big help. As Mr. Connolly said, we have been using technology more and more. We have found collectively better ways to address the risks.

We should be happy with the progress that we have made. The idea is to continue improving and identifying the weakest link in every step of the way. We are trying to do that with our risk management approach.

The Chairman: Mr. Jolicoeur, returning to port security, our understanding is that in May 2002, you went through a benchmarking exercise that included Newark, Seattle, Tacoma, Miami, Montreal, Halifax, and Vancouver. There were 42 recommendations that have since been implemented.

Can you provide the committee with that list?

Mr. Jolicoeur: I will have to ask Mr. Connolly.

Mr. Connolly: Yes, Mr. Chairman. We did undertake a benchmarking exercise with U.S. government departments that involved Immigration Canada and other partners including the private sector at ports of entry. The idea was to benchmark best practices comparing what we did to what they did and identifying those areas where we could do things either jointly or we could do things better.

Forty-two recommendations were identified. They are all in play at this point. Many have been completed; some are in the process of being completed, but action is being taken on all of them. For example, the advance commercial container systems — the CSI in the United States, ACI in Canada — are best practices that will be addressing a number of those issues including the deployment of technology at marine ports of entry and the training and deployment of officers. There is a range of things that came through that study. We also identified the best examination techniques, ways of sharing those examination techniques, and the sharing of intelligence and information on our marine ports. We looked at all of those things throughout the process and both countries are taking action.

I do not have the list of all the ones that have been completed, but a great portion of them is being completed. All of them are at least under action at this time.

The Chairman: The question was: Could you provide us with the list and the status of it?

Mr. Connolly: Right.

The Chairman: Thank you. At the same time, the committee put out a report in February of 2002, "Canadian Security and Military Preparedness," that made a number of recommendations for port security. Could you please advise us as to which of those recommendations have been put in place and which are still awaiting action?

Mr. Jolicoeur: Yes, we can provide that.

The Chairman: Thank you, Mr. Jolicoeur.

I would like to turn now to advance cargo information system. This is a system where information is provided to Canada 24 hours in advance of loading in a foreign port. Could you walk us through just what happens? Who prepares the information? How is it transmitted back to Canada? Who receives it? How is it dealt with?

Could you give the committee a picture of how advance cargo information works by using and an example and walking us through each step of the process?

Mr. Connolly: I will describe what happens today and what will happen tomorrow. Today, when a ship arrives in Canada, we would have received 96 hours in advance information about what the ship is carrying, the crew, their nationalities, et cetera. It is general information. We do not have the specifics of what is contained in each container.

The Chairman: "General information" means what, sir?

Mr. Connolly: General information of exactly what each shipment contains in each container.

The Chairman: Right now you are getting the name of the ship, who owns it and how big it is.

Mr. Connolly: That is correct. From the carrier, we get the name and size of the, the amount of cargo it is carrying, the number of containers, who the crew are, their nationalities, et cetera.

At the same time, we are getting information from freight forwarders in Canada about the details of what happens to be in those containers. We do not get it all in advance, but we get some of it in advance. When the ship arrives and the cargo is ready for off-loading, we then get a complete picture of what is on the ship in respect of the containers and their contents.

The carriers do not necessarily have all of the information that pertains to the contents of a container that it is carrying. For example, they might not have information on who the shipper or the consignee is. They have a container of cargo, general freight for ABC company, and that is all they basically have.

In the future, we will receive all of the information that we gather from various sources today, in electronic format, 24 hours in advance. The information will be received in Canada before the container is loaded. That includes all the information that comes from the person that is carrying the goods and the information on who is shipping the goods, and all of the information that the freight forwarders have here in Canada, which is the detailed manifest about the items, the piece count and other details about that shipment. All that information will be assembled electronically 24 hours before the container is loaded on the ship.

That information will then be vetted against automated systems, risk criteria, and a determination will be made. There will be historical files, look-out files, and then a score or determination will be made whether or not there is a need to make a no-load decision. In other words, if we did not get enough information, we would say that container cannot be loaded until we have the adequate information to make a determination. We could use the information to make a determination that it be a no-load because a shipment is potentially a weapon of mass destruction or some other security related concern. It will also enable us to target those containers that have contraband in them and prepare for the arrival of a particular shipment that we may want to have a look at.

In short, we will have all of the data from all of the sources into one system that allows us to make a qualified decision on whether or not we have to do an examination or make a no-load decision.

The Chairman: How many containers a day do you anticipate processing on average?

Mr. Connolly: Roughly 2 million containers come into Canada a year. I could not give you a daily rate.

The Chairman: What is the range? What would your peak be in a day?

Mr. Connolly: You could get a ship that would have 6,000 containers on it.

The Chairman: How many of those ships would arrive on the same day?

Mr. Connolly: I could not tell you. I could try to find out what the peaks would be.

The Chairman: My question deals with capacity and what capacity you are prepared to process. It sounds to me like you are collecting a significant amount of data at the shipping end. You are collecting a significant amount of data at the receiving end. You have a system that will match it up and look for anomalies. I wanted to know if you have the capacity to handle peak loads?

Mr. Connolly: We do this every day, senator, manually or with automated systems for every container that arrives in Canada today. Every day we look at every container that comes up on our work screen, and every container is reviewed, some in more detail than others based on the criteria we have established and based on risk.

We are using the American system today, the ATS system. We already have some experience in its use and the capacities of automated targeting. Every container coming into this country today is reviewed.

The Chairman: Correct me if I am wrong, Mr. Connolly, but the system you just described to us was going to include much more information than you are currently getting now.

Mr. Jolicoeur: That is true, Mr. Chairman. It could be 4,000 or 5,000 containers a day. It is a massive number. The use of the electronic targeting allows us to extract from that the number of containers that we should look at more specifically. Without the technology, it would be, from a risk-management approach, in a mode that would be similar to what we were doing before.

The Chairman: You are shifting systems from a U.S.-designed automated targeting system to one we are developing ourselves?

Mr. Jolicoeur: We will be adjusting. We will be adapting the use of that technology to our own risk.

The Chairman: That will happen when?

Mr. Jolicoeur: It will happen all the time, over time, on a continuous basis, because our way of measuring and analyzing the risk must be adjusted to the daily situation and the concern that we have from one port to the other. It will be a continuously improving system. It has to be.

The Chairman: Commander Flynn gave testimony to this committee some time ago about a system of tracking containers as they came overseas. It started with the presumption that containers would be scanned out. How many countries currently send us containers that have been inspected before they come here?

Mr. Jolicoeur: I believe very few.

The Chairman: None?

Mr. Connolly: Are you asking how many countries send us containers without inspecting them first?

The Chairman: No, having inspected them.

Mr. Connolly: Very few.

The Chairman: Very few. Is it the objective of your organization to increase that number so that we have a significant proportion of the containers coming here already inspected by other countries before they leave?

Mr. Jolicoeur: Not a significant proportion, but we want the ones that really cause us concern to be inspected before they leave. There are two ways of doing that. One is to have an arrangement with customs organizations in other countries. We could have an agreement that if we say A, B, C, D should be checked before they are loaded, they do it. The other way to do it, which is what the Americans are doing right now, is to actually send people over there to guarantee that these investigations are done.

The Chairman: With how many countries do we have such agreements currently?

Mr. Jolicoeur: This is the CSI program that we are currently negotiating with the countries of the European Community. I do not know, at the end of the day, how many we will have.

The Chairman: How many do you have right now?

Mr. Connolly: We do not have any right now.

The Chairman: What are you doing about Asia?

Mr. Jolicoeur: I can report that we are currently discussing with our American colleagues the best places to post people and have those agreements. That has to do with the different routes that containers are taking to reach North America. That is actually being discussed.

The Chairman: If I understand correctly, we do not have people overseas like the Americans do?

Mr. Connolly: That is right.

The Chairman: Do you anticipate that you will?

Mr. Jolicoeur: We are currently discussing what will we use as a strategy, where we will use customs organizations from other countries or where we will post people in ports overseas.

The Chairman: Would it be fair for this committee to imagine some day in the future that you could come before us and say that you have agreements with 90 per cent of the countries that ship to us and the merchandise that is being shipped is inspected in their country, as opposed to here, and they are coming over in sealed containers?

Mr. Jolicoeur: If we came back to say something like that, it would be more in the context of countries from where most of our imports are coming, as opposed to 90 per cent of the countries. We would focus on where we should be.

It would not be that most of their containers would be inspected; it would be that we have an agreement for inspection of those containers that concern us.

The Chairman: It seems like a complicated exercise inasmuch as we have difficulty imagining a container ship ever being completely empty. We see it moving around with different parts of its cargo taken off and other parts being added. Therefore, we visualize the ship perpetually having part of its manifest continually in flux. Is that the case?

Mr. Connolly: Notwithstanding whether a ship is carrying containers some of which will be off-loaded at one port or another port, the fact remains that they will be required to report all the cargo that is on their ship before they arrive in our port. They must do so 24 hours in advance. If they do not do that and they arrive, or we find out while they are at sea, then we will make a determination based on risk on what our course of action would be to respond. Would we, for example — and that is a question — allow that ship to even come into our docks if we are not aware of all of the cargo on that particular ship?

The basis for advance cargo information is good data, in advance, to allow us to make quality decisions based on risk. Today, as I said, we look at all of the data we get today. We may not have all of the data in one data bank from one source. There is a downside to that in that quite often we have to hold cargo while we await data from freight forwarders before we can do a release on that particular cargo — some cases, the container could be stuck on a dock for three, four or five days before we have a complete picture.

Tomorrow, in the new system, we will have all of that data prior to the loading of that ship before it gets here — all of the data we do not have today — to be able to make that decision based on risk.

In regard to your question about whether we would expect other countries to do that, we obviously would need certain agreements with those countries for those containers that would pose a risk for security. We are not talking about the normal kinds of trade issues or drugs even, we are talking about security, potential weapons of mass destruction or the ilk. Quite seriously, I do not believe that there will be that many containers that will be targeted of that nature. I do not know that it would be that difficult to have those arrangements in place.

The Chairman: The question is one of verification, Mr. Connolly. If a vessel starts in Tangiers, goes from there to Rotterdam and goes from there Antwerp and from there to Newark, taking on, letting off cargo at each spot, if you do not have people in each of those ports verifying the information, how do you know you have accurate information?

Mr. Jolicoeur: I have raised that question myself with Commissioner Bonner vis-à-vis their strategy to go to the latest port as opposed to back down. His perspective is that this will give them the ability to remove something if they have a real serious concern with a container that would have come from other places. The information they have at that point, in a sense, includes more analysis than information they had at the first point of departure of that container. It seems to meet and it does meet their concern.

The Chairman: It does not meet my concern.

Commander Flynn's proposal had GPS transmitters on each container and had a system where he referred to "tamper-proof" seals where they were following each container as it moved about.

Does that theory have any validity either in Canada or in the United States anymore? Are there people who are actively pursuing that as a viable system of checking?

Mr. Jolicoeur: I have no doubt that if you could seal and follow every container and if you can check them before they are loaded, you would have a regime that is a lot more secure than the one we have now. The extent to which we can move to that kind of a regime, I do not know. I would assume it would require a significant investment from all countries to reach that kind of level. Not only would you need the carrier to worry about that, but you also would need to put together the infrastructure to follow that and analyze all of that.

I do not know if Mr. Connolly is aware of existing projects along those lines.

Mr. Connolly: There are a number of initiatives that the chair has mentioned with respect to the United States and Commander Flynn and the Safe Commerce Initiative where they have put transponder-type seals on containers. We have exchanged a certain amount of information with our U.S. colleagues on that subject. That forms part of a larger picture in terms of marine security and where we go with marine security. However, the cost for transponder seals is quite significant, particularly those that would be governed by GPS. If we had to monitor every step of the way, the costs would probably become prohibitive.

There needs to be a methodology determining in what cases you would use transponder seals, on what type of containers and on what types of vessels they would be used, and other mechanisms that you could find in order to secure that particular mode of transport. Other things such as tamper-proof seals can also be considered. They say they are tamper-proof but I would have to see the science on that before I would say it is tamper-proof or not.

In my view the important thing is a multi-faceted approach involving use of all the tolls that are available in addition to having the right information so that one can determine when to prohibit something from entry, when to examine a container, and when to let something pass. It must be done based on risk.

Our information systems and our collaborative efforts with our partners need to be very strong to do that. I do not think there is any system in the world that cannot be defeated — whether it is a tamper-proof seal, whether it is advanced information or whether it is a VACIS machine. Therefore, we need to use a multi-faceted approach in terms of using all kinds of things in order to identify the risk.

Senator Forrestall: Do we have any authority to require that a container enroute to Halifax via Singapore then Rotterdam be de-stuffed in Rotterdam? Do we have any authority for that?

Mr. Jolicoeur: The authority will come from the agreement that we will have with those other nations. We could ultimately not allow it to come to Canada. The authority to actually open it will be the authority of the local customs, similar to our authority to check what is leaving, if there is a concern.

Senator Forrestall: Are we working on these agreements? What are the problems posed with Canada requiring a container to be taken off in Rotterdam that came through Singapore?

Mr. Jolicoeur: The overall strategy was raised at the World Custom Organization about 18 months ago by my predecessor and by Commissioner Bonner of the U.S. Following that, some of my colleagues in CBSA have had preliminary discussions with specific countries about obtaining agreements like that. We have also discussed with the U.S. the possibility of developing a strategy where we would complement each other overseas by going to different countries.

There are no limitations. The preliminary responses we are getting are positive. We have not had any technical problems. We will develop an agreement. We started with ACI getting information. That would allow for de-stuffing.

If we go to the level of CSI — that is, to have people overseas — we will just be able to verify more directly, what is actually done in every case. However, the authority comes from the formal agreement that we will have with these countries.

Senator Forrestall: Earlier I asked about the situation of a foreign national coming into Canada armed and in pursuit of what he perceived to be a violation of something or another. We had an incident.

Mr. Jolicoeur: Yes, in Windsor, recently, a police officer from the U.S. followed an individual across the border. This was a regrettable incident where someone died. It is my understanding that this is not something that they are allowed to do.

The question of armed people entering Canada from the United States came up during our discussions on how we can work more directly with our colleagues in the U.S. The example in which the subject arose was the creation of additional joint facilities. I know one of the projects on the 32-point action plan is looking at what can and what cannot be done. I do know that those raise very complicated legal considerations. I do not know what will be possible at the end of the day.

The Chairman: Mr. Jolicoeur, I thank you and your colleagues, Mr. Connolly and Ms. Normoyle. Your appearance at this committee has been of great assistance to us in preparing for our visit to Washington. We looking forward to receiving the information you will provide us with, and we are grateful to you for spending the time with us today.

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

The committee adjourned.