Proceedings of the Standing Senate Committee on
National Security and Defence
Issue 7 - Evidence
OTTAWA, Monday, December 6, 2004
The Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence met this day at 9:05 a.m. to examine and report
on the need for a national security policy for Canada.
Senator Colin Kenny (Chairman) in the Chair.
The Chairman: Good morning. It is my pleasure to welcome you to the Standing Senate Committee on National
Security and Defence. Today we will hear testimony relevant to the review of Canadian defence policy. I am Colin
Kenny, a senator from Ontario, and I have chaired this committee since 2001.
On my immediate right is the distinguished Senator Forrestall from Nova Scotia, who has served the constituents of
Dartmouth for the past 37 years, first as their member of Parliament in the House of Commons and then as their
senator. During his tenure in the House, he served as parliamentary secretary to several cabinet ministers, including the
minister of transport and the minister of regional industrial expansion.
On my far right is Senator Jane Cordy from Nova Scotia, who is an accomplished educator with an extensive record
of community involvement including serving as Chair of the Halifax-Dartmouth Port Development Commission.
Senator Cordy is also Chair of the Canadian NATO Parliamentary Association. Beside her is Senator Norm Atkins
from Ontario, who came to the Senate in 1986 with more than 27 years in the field of communications. Senator Atkins
is former President of Camp Associates Advertising Limited and has served as an adviser to former Premier Davis of
On Senator Cordy's other side is Senator Jim Munson from Ontario, who was a trusted journalist and director of
communications for former Prime Minister Jean Chrétien before he was called to the Senate in 2003. Senator Munson
has twice been nominated for a Gemini award in recognition of excellence in journalism.
On my far left is Senator Joseph Day from New Brunswick, who holds a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering from
Royal Military College in Kingston, Ontario, an LLB from Queen's University and a Masters of Law from Osgoode
Hall. Prior to his appointment to the Senate in 2001, Senator Day had a successful career as an attorney. He is also
Deputy Chair of the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance and on our Subcommittee on Veterans Affairs.
Beside him is Senator Tommy Banks, from Alberta, who is well known to Canadians as one of our most versatile
musicians and entertainers, whose musical career has spanned more than 50 years. Senator Banks has received a Juno
award and is an Officer of the Order of Canada. He is also Chair of the Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the
Environment and Natural Resources and Chair of the Alberta Liberal Caucus.
Our committee is the first permanent Senate committee mandated to examine security and defence. During the last
Parliament, we completed a number of reports beginning with ``Canadian Security and Military Preparedness,'' tabled
in February 2002, which examined the major defence and security issues facing Canada. The Senate asked our
committee to examine the need for a national security policy. To date, we have released five reports on various aspects
of national security: ``Defence of North America: A Canadian Responsibility,'' tabled in September 2002; ``For an
Extra $130 Bucks...Update on Canada's Military Financial Crisis, A View from the Bottom Up,'' tabled in November
2002; ``The Myth of Security at Canada's Airports,'' tabled in January 2003; ``Canada's Coastlines: The Longest
Under-Defended Borders in the World,'' tabled in October 2003; and ``National Emergencies: Canada's Fragile Front
Lines,'' tabled in March 2004.
The committee is now turning its attention to a review of Canadian defence policy. During the next year, the
committee will hold meetings in every province to engage with Canadians to determine what their national interests
are, what they see as Canada's principal threats and how they would like the government to respond. The committee
will attempt to generate debate on national security in Canada and to forge a public consensus on the need for the
This morning's first witness is Vice-Admiral Ron Buck, who became Vice Chief of the Defence Staff on September
3, 2004. His previous appointment was as Chief of the Maritime Staff, from 2001 to 2004. Vice-Admiral Buck's
operational career spanned his command of the Canadian Fleet (Pacific) and the Fifth Canadian Destroyer Squadron,
which consisted of seven Halifax Class patrol frigates and two Iroquois Class destroyers. He also commanded his own
ship, the destroyer-escort, HMCS Restigouche. Vice-Admiral Buck holds a Bachelor of Science degree from McGill.
He joined the Royal Canadian Navy in 1967.
Vice-Admiral Buck, welcome to the committee. Please proceed.
Vice-Admiral Ron Buck, Vice Chief of the Defence Staff, Department of National Defence: Thank you, Mr.
Chairman, I do have a statement.
It is a pleasure to be here to share with the committee a number of considerations with regard to the future roles and
missions of the Canadian Forces.
As you know, the government is preparing an international policy statement that will provide for an integrated and
coherent international policy framework for diplomacy, defence, development and trade. The articulation of the roles
and missions of the Canadian Forces going forward must, therefore, flow from the policy statement and be informed
by the recently promulgated national security policy.
It is clear from the many statements that have been made that there is an expectation that the Canadian Forces will
continue to have a domestic, continental and international role. The challenge will be in defining the balance among
those roles and then defining the resulting breadth and depth of capability that the Canadian Forces will need to meet
government expectations. Such expectations, of course, must be balanced against resources assigned.
In defining the Canadian Forces of the future, Canadian imperatives and interests must be considered against the
future security environment.
Global terrorism, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, failed and failing states and regional hot spots are
major emerging aspects of an increasingly threatening security environment. It is perhaps the nexus of terrorism and
weapons of mass destruction that we should be especially concerned with, not to mention the possibility that
ungoverned regions belonging to failing or failed states serve to harbour such threats. In this context, conflict itself will
become ever more complex and dangerous.
While there is a need to deal with threats as far away from Canada as possible, it is also clear that we are no longer
isolated from these threats and, thus, both domestically and continentally, we must put greater focus on our air and
maritime approaches, including the Arctic.
We will need to work more closely with the United States and many other Canadian authorities to provide an
integrated defence and security capability. This includes, but is not limited to, work to enhance the role of the North
American aerospace command.
All of the above will require a more agile and flexible Canadian Forces for the future. We anticipate that to meet
government requirements the Canadian Forces, in concert with allies and other international partners, will need a
breadth of capability to deal with a range of operations, from humanitarian to stabilization to combat, and possibly
simultaneously in the same operation. We anticipate that, as we construct a more holistic Canadian Forces of the
future, there will need to be an enhanced emphasis on common surveillance capabilities, both at home and abroad;
greater interoperability, both within the Canadian Forces and with allies, guided by more pervasive joint operational
concepts; better deployability, both to and in theatre; and a layered approach to defence with more precise weapons.
As the committee is aware, the government has indicated an intention to grow the capacity of the Canadian Forces
by some 5,000 regular force and 3,000 reserve force personnel. As it relates to the 5,000, we will look to enhancing in a
major way Canadian Forces deployable capability in a more holistic manner.
As it relates to the 3,000 increase to reserve forces, the reserves will be assigned more precise missions that will give
them a greater capability to support either domestic or deployed operations.
In conclusion, the details of what a Canadian Forces of the future will look like must await the tabling of the
government's intentions and, of course, the work of parliamentary committees. However, I would suggest that as we
move forward there are a number of thrusts upon which there will need to be work. These include dealing with existing
sustainability pressures, growing the force and, finally, modernizing and transforming it. That said, in the final
analysis, the future of the Canadian Forces will be driven by Canadian imperatives as articulated in the National
Security Policy and the International Policy Statement and by the level of resources that Canadians and the
government are prepared to assign. More resources will stabilize and allow the Canadian Forces to move forward.
I am pleased to now take any questions you might have.
The Chairman: Thank you very much.
Senator Banks: Good morning, Admiral Buck. It is nice to see you again.
You said that more resources would allow better things to be done, and to be done more efficiently and more
effectively. Do I take it from that that you feel that the overall budget for defence ought to be increased by Parliament?
VAdm. Buck: As I indicated in my opening words, the breadth and depth of the future Canadian Forces will be very
much driven by Canadian government policy, and the balance then must be struck. Whatever policy, thrust and
capability the government believes the Canadian Forces should have, it must ensure that the resources it assigns are
appropriate. Clearly, additional resources would allow a broader range and depth of capability.
Senator Banks: We agree. I believe that tensions between policy people and operational people are a very good
thing. Those tensions are natural and good for the operation of practically any kind of undertaking. However, I have
always been concerned about the seeming lack, sometimes, of tension between the military and the Department of
National Defence, those being two different entities with two different ideas about how to achieve the objective.
Do you think that the umbilical connections that currently exist between the Armed Forces per se — between you
and your immediate superior and the Armed Forces as such — and the political end of the Department of National
Defence is a positive thing? It seems to me to reduce almost to invisibility some of those tensions to which I refer.
VAdm. Buck: As you quite rightly point out, senator, the Canadian Forces and the department are two separate
entities, but their roles are complementary and they are actually integrated throughout the country. One advantage of
that integration is that it allows us to do things more effectively and efficiently. However, the policy role, which belongs
to the department, and the military advice role, which belongs to the Chief of Defence Staff, are in fact quite separate
and are respected in all ways.
The role of the department in developing policy is to do that in the context of the national imperatives and
government intentions. It is then up to the military, under the guidance of the Chief of Defence Staff, to turn that
policy into specific defence capabilities. Not only is it efficient in that context, but also separation exists, and we see
many nations moving to similar constructs.
Senator Banks: I agree that it is efficient. It is the efficiency with which I have a problem. I would like you to
comment on the following general statement.
When we ask senior military officers who are part of the defence establishment in Ottawa about this, we are told
that everything is going along well and efficiently, and that there is a concomitance of views on how things ought to go.
However, when we visit military people and operational commanders at the bases, they often tell us that things are not
quite so nice and that the jobs that the government is giving to our Armed Forces are not being matched with resources
that will enable them to do those jobs properly.
I see a disconnect there and a tension which, if maintained to the upper levels of the Armed Forces command, would
be a good thing. My question is: Are we being snowed at the bottom level or at the top level?
VAdm. Buck: I do not think you are being snowed at either level. I suggest that there clearly are resource pressures.
We all understand that. On a day-to-day basis, we make decisions to assign resources to meet the priorities of the day.
That being said, the optic from the bottom up is different than from the top down. I have had extensive experience at
the other end, and at those levels I made decisions on a day-to-day basis to ensure that I could deliver on the highest
priorities of the day but we could not do all things for all people. Resources are limited, and they will always be limited.
Senator Banks: I agree that the view is different from the top than from the bottom. That is a natural tension, too. It
is certainly the case that all the people who rise to your position have been operational before they got there. That is
how they got there. Your distinguished career has got you where you are now. However, we still see that those tensions
are sometimes absent, and that they are a healthy thing.
Senator Day: Congratulations on your appointment as Vice Chief.
In the corporate sense of a president and two vice-presidents, one might be a senior vice-president and the other a
junior vice-president. Why do we need two? Does it work well to have a deputy chief and a vice-chief? Is it a natural
division of labour and responsibilities?
VAdm. Buck: That is an excellent question, and I am pleased to answer it.
In the construct of the Canadian Forces, the Chief of Defence Staff has control and administration of the Canadian
Forces. He is in command of the Canadian Forces. The Vice Chief has several roles. First, according to statute, he acts
on behalf of the Chief when the Chief is absent. Second, he is the senior resource allocater in the department and in the
Canadian Forces, although not the chief financial officer. I am also the Chief of Staff of the integrated headquarters to
which Senator Banks referred. In that context, I am the Chief of Staff to both the Chief of Defence Staff and to the
The Deputy Chief of Defence Staff is responsible for the execution of operations, which is a critical and key
component in the Canadian Forces. It is also critical and key that, in the event of the absence of the chief, there is an
individual separate from the deputy chief to ensure that, on the recommendations of the deputy chief, we go forward
and execute the operations as we should. In that context, they are very different roles. Frankly, one individual could
not do both roles, nor should they do both roles.
Senator Day: Could you explain your description about being responsible for the allocation of resources? Would
that also include a decision being made before the budget is tabled as to how much of the resources would go to
operations, how much would go to capital expenditure and infrastructure, that type of decision and balancing?
VAdm. Buck: My staff and I, in conjunction with the commanders of the commands and other assistant deputy
ministers, ultimately prepare for the chief and the deputy minister recommendations on exactly that, namely, where we
should allocate resources within our resource base. The issue as it relates to how much is allocated to operations, per
se, is not inside that quotient because when we execute operations, generally speaking, discrete resources are assigned
to do that. Within the remainder of the A base the amount of dollars that would go forward for capital, infrastructure,
operations and maintenance or, indeed, day-to-day training activities, are made on the recommendation of my staff
Senator Day: In your opening comments you stated that there should be a greater emphasis on air and maritime
elements of the Canadian Forces. Is that looking forward to what you are anticipating will be the requirements, or is
that at the present time, given the current situation?
VAdm. Buck: My comments were addressing specifically the greater emphasis on our maritime and air approaches
to North America. This is focused on work that relates to work that this committee has previously done and which is
also reflected in the national security policy. This is trying to get at the need to recognize that the Canadian Forces not
only have a deployable mission but also a continental and domestic defence mission.
Senator Day: You were not suggesting, were you, that as matters now stand we need a greater emphasis on those
VAdm. Buck: I am suggesting that we need a greater emphasis on the surveillance and control aspects. Again, much
of that is starting to fall into place as a result of the work of this committee.
Senator Day: I am glad to hear that. That leads to my final question with respect to the operational tempo that we
have seen since the late 1990s and early 2000s. The last policy statement from the government was the white paper of
1994. We are working on a new policy statement at the present time. As Canadian Forces personnel, how do you do
your planning? There is no indication in the 1994 white paper of the level of operational tempo, that is, the
requirements for the forces on many different planes. That was not predicted.
Moving forward, do you anticipate that this paper will have something to say about operational tempo? How do
you determine whether you have the forces to meet an operational tempo when you do not know what it will be?
VAdm. Buck: You are absolutely correct about the 1994 white paper. It presumed a more stable and secure world, a
world in which there was more time to prepare.
Going forward, as we work with government, ultimately whatever set of missions and capabilities the government
decides the Canadian Forces should have in the future, we intend to ensure that it is clear to government the number of
individuals, if you wish, that could be sustained on an ongoing basis. However, that will depend, in part, both on the
different capabilities as well as on the resources. It is the full intent to move forward where there is a clarity of
understanding of what level of sustainable operations will be possible.
Senator Day: Are you having your input into that aspect of the policy paper as it is being developed?
VAdm. Buck: Yes. It varies somewhat between the three elements: army, navy and air force. From an army
perspective, our work suggests that a sustainable rotation rate is approximately one in five. For air and naval, it would
probably be about one in four.
Senator Day: Is it your view that the suggested 5,000 additional regular force members and the 3,000 additional
reserve force members would be sufficient to meet the operational tempo that we have seen, assuming it continues?
VAdm. Buck: Again, the issue becomes how much you can deploy and for how long you can deploy it. Based on the
work that is being done internally in relation to the numbers 5,000 and 3,000, that would grow the deployability
capability of the Canadian Forces. However, there will always be a finite limit. No matter what size the forces are,
there will be a finite limit. We will always make that clear to government. Those 5,000 members would increase the
sustainability levels from where we are today.
Senator Day: Would it get us to where we have an Armed Forces that could sustain the activities you are being
asked to participate in and sustain now?
VAdm. Buck: The issue is for the government of the day and the recommendation of the chief of the day. That
increase would allow a greater size of capability to put out on a sustainable basis, if you wish to use land forces as an
example, on about a one in five ratio. There is always a finite limit. That 5,000 would allow a greater sustainable
Senator Day: I understand that it would allow a greater one. Because we have included it in several of our reports,
you understand our point that we think you are overextended at the present time.
Senator Banks: Do we have the Canadian Forces that we need or do we have the Canadians Forces that we can
VAdm. Buck: That is a question, senator, for Canadians and the Canadian government.
Senator Banks: Is it not also a question for the Canadian Forces?
VAdm. Buck: The Canadian Forces do not exist because there needs to be a Canadian Forces. The Canadian Forces
exist to provide to Canada and to Canadians the defence that Canada, Canadians and the government —
Senator Banks: Can afford or need?
VAdm. Buck: — assess they need. They must be resourced.
Senator Munson: Does the military have the facilities to equip, to train and to house these new 5,000 members?
VAdm. Buck: At the moment, no. Thus, from our perspective, any proposal to move forward with the 5,000 includes
a resourcing element. In other words, there is a bill that clearly needs to be paid in terms of personnel, equipment,
training and housing, as you have indicated.
Senator Munson: As Vice-Admiral, where would you like to see these 5,000 members, plus 3,000 reservists, placed?
Where would be the best spot for them?
VAdm. Buck: At this juncture, until there is a little greater clarity in the international policy statement and,
ultimately, the defence piece of that, it would be premature to comment. Again, that is driven very much by what
capabilities and/or capacities the government and Canada deem they most require. We will provide military advice, but
until there is clarity on where the government would like to take the Canadian Forces, it would be premature to
Senator Munson: You are the military person giving that advice. Obviously, the politicians would have to listen to
VAdm. Buck: Yes.
Senator Munson: What is that advice?
VAdm. Buck: As the government has not declared or tabled its policy statement, which ultimately will then be
brought forward before parliamentary committees, again it would be premature to comment. When that policy
statement is tabled, undoubtedly there will be some significant discussion and the final document might actually be
quite different. It is a work in progress.
Senator Munson: In your opening statement, you talked about the Arctic and greater concentration. We have heard
what some would feel are embarrassing stories and have seen cartoons about what is happening presently in the Arctic.
As a navy person, do you have any specifics or any ideas on how Canada can exercise its sovereignty in the North
much better than we are doing now? It seems that in some parts of the world we are not very well thought of in terms of
defence and our sovereignty.
VAdm. Buck: Again, the precise answer to that question will have to await the policy statement. However, I would
suggest to you that the areas that are of particular interest in the Arctic are enhanced surveillance. That could be air
surveillance; it could be, in part, maritime surveillance. Then ultimately there probably would be a need for greater
deployability in the Arctic.
Senator Munson: What do you mean by ``greater deployability?''
VAdm. Buck: Greater deployability would probably be largely based on air lift assets of some kind.
Senator Munson: To follow up on other senators' questions, we have recommended that the strength of the forces be
increased to 75,000. Do you agree with that?
VAdm. Buck: The size and capabilities that the Canadian Forces should have comes back to a policy issue for the
government. Certainly, from a Canadian Forces perspective, if there was an articulation of the need, we would take
whatever size the Canadian Forces would then be and build the appropriate range and mix of holistic capabilities.
The Chairman: Supplementary to that, Admiral, if the Canadian Forces had had 75,000 over the past decade, tell us
how things would have been different for you and the men and women in the Canadian Forces in terms of dealing with
the tempo of operations that the government has demanded of you?
VAdm. Buck: It is clear that with a larger number of personnel, it would be easier to achieve a higher level of
sustainability. Again, it would have depended on what that mix of personnel was, how asymmetric or not it was
between the three environments, and how it was resourced.
The Chairman: Could you not have organized it so that people could have more reasonable lives and less wear-out,
that sort of thing? You talked about a higher level of sustainability. Why not organize it so that people are not
stretched in the way they are?
VAdm. Buck: Senator, the question is largely hypothetical because we were not in that circumstance. As I have
indicated, the circumstance would have depended on how the Canadian Forces had structured itself and the degree of
resources that were provided. Would it have allowed a higher level of sustainability? Yes.
The Chairman: It is hypothetical, inasmuch as it is looking backwards on something that did not happen. I get the
impression that I am not getting a clear answer from you, Admiral. What I am saying is, if instead of having 52,000
VAdm. Buck: You would have had a greater number of effective, very clearly.
The Chairman: If you had had 75,000 effective, describe to the committee how it would have been.
VAdm. Buck: First, a Canadian Forces with a 75,000-sized personnel does not generate 75,000 effective. It would be
The Chairman: We did not say 75,000 personnel; we said 75,000 effective.
VAdm. Buck: Very clearly, you would have been able to sustain a higher level of operational tempo, and within that
higher level of operational tempo, indeed in all likelihood there would have been an ability to strike a balance of
quality of life at home and away. Again, it would depend entirely on the number of missions for which the government
of the day would have used those Canadian Forces. In that context, it is hypothetical.
The Chairman: The question was: If you had had the same number of missions over the last decade and had had
75,000 effective, how would the situation have been different?
VAdm. Buck: It would have allowed a more sustainable rate of deployment for our men and women; a sustainable
rate of deployment meaning a balance between deploying and returning, training and preparing to go again.
The Chairman: That would have been better?
VAdm. Buck: That would have been better.
Senator Forrestall: I wish to focus on homeland defence and the building requirements that if they are not already
on your plate, soon will be, I would imagine.
Can you enlighten us on the role that you may want to extend to the reserve force with respect to homeland defence?
I continually refer to the Halifax Rifles. If you wish to increase the size and you wonder where you will get these
people, why not look at some of the units that we have stood down? Please comment on the role of reserves and
homeland defence and security.
VAdm. Buck: The navy, some time ago, made a decision to assign a specific role to its reserve, in this case the naval
reserve, which is maritime coastal patrol and surveillance. From the navy perspective, that is done.
As we look forward to the other elements of Canada's reserves, it would be the intention to ensure that they are
given more precise roles that could enhance their ability to support lead agencies both at home and abroad in a number
of quite specialized and specific areas.
On balance, the objective would be that once the government has decided on its policy, it would actually have
holistic capability at home and abroad. The ``at home'' piece would involve reservists. It would also involve regular
force members in many ways, from time to time, as members of the reserve, depending on which reserve we were
discussing, could as well deploy.
The Chairman: Admiral, you talked about the role for the reserves in coastal defence. In the past, you have advised
us that the vessels that they have are not really suitable for that role. They are slow and they do not function very well.
They are principally training vessels for the reserve, and they are not your preferred vessels for coastal defence. Is that
VAdm. Buck: I believe in my previous testimony, Mr. Chairman, I stated that the maritime coastal defence vessels
were designed for several missions. One of the missions was mine warfare, which dictates their design, speed, et cetera.
In a layered concept of maritime approaches, in fact, yes, they do have a role and continue to have a role. At the
moment, they are largely used for training but that is, in part, because we are going through a recruiting phase to grow
ourselves, and so there is a greater training throughput.
The Chairman: Then we did not understand you correctly when you said that they were not optimal and that you
would have a different design if you were looking for a vessel for coastal defence?
VAdm. Buck: I was saying that they are a piece of the coastal work. The challenge is, as you get out beyond our 12-
mile nautical or territorial limit and you now are into an open ocean area where you potentially need another class of
vessel, that can either be fulfilled by existing frigates and destroyers or it could be something in between. Depending on
where you are in the maritime piece will dictate the type, size, speed and ship handling requirements that you need. It is
not just one vessel; it is a range of vessels, and it always has been.
Senator Forrestall: I am surprised to hear you say that. Our understanding was that that vessel is not really a terribly
suitable one for in-close, tight, up-shore surveillance of our coastal waters. There is a suitable design that can get in and
out of shallow harbours. Another vessel designed for a specialty operation might be the answer.
VAdm. Buck: I would suggest, with all due respect, senator, that there are probably about four pieces in the
maritime approaches piece. There is a piece that basically allows you to do internal waters such as the Great Lakes and
rivers, which would include ports. That is a smaller vessel than the maritime coastal defence vessel. There is a vessel
that is needed to do Gulf of St. Lawrence and immediate approaches, and that probably is a vessel somewhat in the
range of the coastal defence vessels. Once you get beyond that, you need to make a decision on whether you would
wish to have a dedicated class of vessels to that piece of maritime surveillance, or use a multipurpose vessel such as a
frigate or destroyer, which has much more capability than is actually required to do that job.
Senator Forrestall: Would it be ideal for you, when you are looking at building or growing the reserves, to recruit
men and women who have had training in the reserves and who, for one reason or another, have left — in other words,
reaching out and trying to bring them back into the reserve structure?
VAdm. Buck: Very clearly, it would be our objective to recruit as many individuals as possible who have had
previous service, whether it be reserve or regular. In fact, if they wish to rejoin the Canadian Forces, it would be
possible for them to do so. That is an efficient and effective use of people and training.
Senator Forrestall: Is it too premature to look at the classification of those reserves: how many would be Wednesday
and the weekend and how many would be —
VAdm. Buck: That is a complex issue. In fact, as you know, in the Canadian Forces, there is actually more than one
reserve. There are a number of reserves. The naval reserve, for example, is very different from the land force reserve,
and very different from the communications reserve or the medical reserve. There is no one answer to that question,
but there is a particular balance that I would suggest in each of the reserves, depending on how you intend to use them.
Senator Forrestall: There is also the question of location for the additional land force that they worked so hard to
put together. Would that force basically be the recipient or the destination of the additional 5,000? How would you
train them? Would you use the existing training facilities, for example, in communications, at Kingston? Alternatively,
would you train them all over the country and bring them together at the new establishment?
VAdm. Buck: Senator, is your question about land force transformation in the context of the reserves?
Senator Forrestall: No, in the permanent force.
VAdm. Buck: In terms of training capacity, a significant number of the 5,000 undoubtedly will go to the land force,
and therefore it would be necessary, both within the land force and in other key elements of the Canadian Forces,
where such new personnel might be, to grow in a limited way the training capacity. The training plants at the moment,
as I have described, are in fact very full, as I think you well know, so very clearly, in order to do more we would have to
grow them to a certain level.
Senator Forrestall: To what degree would bringing 5,000 men and women into the force in the next three years really
pose a difficulty with respect to training, capability and sustainability of the groups that we have in the field?
VAdm. Buck: As you know, we are doing a significant recruiting campaign at the moment, and our existing training
capacity is quite full. It actually would not be possible to grow by 5,000 or 3,000 in the next three years. It will take a
period greater than that.
Senator Forrestall: It would? Could you forecast how long?
VAdm. Buck: It would be my anticipation that we would be looking at a five or so year phase-in.
Senator Forrestall: Would you bring the reserves along at the same rate?
VAdm. Buck: Yes, we would.
The Chairman: Did I understand you correctly, Vice-Admiral, that it will take five years to increase the size of the
Canadian Forces by 5,000?
VAdm. Buck: Yes, I did say that.
The Chairman: Why?
VAdm. Buck: Because we have to grow the institution to be able to absorb those individuals. Not only is the
Canadian Forces of a finite size, but our training facilities are sized for a force structure of approximately 60,000. If we
wish to grow that number, we need to grow the training plant and the recruiting system before we can start actually to
accelerate the intake of individuals.
The Chairman: I understand that. I understand that, as a result of the cuts that have taken place over the last decade
and a half, the training capacity has been reduced. However, I have difficulty understanding why it takes so long to
ramp it back up. If you anticipated that the government would sanction not just a one-time-only increase of 5,000 but
that over the next five years you would see two or three increases of 5,000, what would you do?
VAdm. Buck: We would ramp to the level required. However, one of the key issues that is important in defence
planning is ensuring that you know what end state you are heading to, because that would allow you to appropriately
size not only training facilities but also acquire the new equipment that might be needed if roles were to change or
become incremental and, as you know, that can be a time-consuming process.
The Chairman: I appreciate that you have been frustrated — ``you'' being the Canadian Forces — for some time by
unstable demands at the political level. You have not had a consistent direction coming from the political level. I am
trying to phrase this in the form of a question that is not embarrassing to you, but clearly, you and your colleagues
would be able to plan better if you had a better picture of what the political demands will be over the next decade; is
that a fair statement?
VAdm. Buck: The Armed Forces is always looking for a clear articulation of what government expects of its
Canadian Forces, and a clear articulation and confidence that those expectations will be appropriately resourced.
The Chairman: Would you say that that is how you would sum up what you would like to see out of a Defence white
VAdm. Buck: I believe, first and foremost, that there needs to be clarity of expectation. Once there is clarity of
expectation, the Canadian Forces, through the chief, will provide military advice on what that Canadian Forces would
look like, and the cost of doing that would be made clear. Ultimately, clarity of expectations and of resources need to
Senator Cordy: Congratulations, Vice-Admiral, on your promotion. It is nice to have you back again. We all heard
in the Speech from the Throne about the 5,000 new members. Is there, in fact, a plan in place as to when these members
will start coming into the forces?
VAdm. Buck: As I indicated to a previous question, there is a cost attached to that. We do not have the resources
today to recruit an additional 5,000 or 3,000. Thus, once the government decides to take that decision, that will
ultimately require resourcing. That said, we actually have the plans in place, subject to resourcing, to commence that
Senator Cordy: As you said earlier, certainly training is being stretched right now. We were in Gagetown, and they
were complaining that someone would be in to train and then they would be called back, so they would only be in for a
very short term. We were also on bases where new recruits, in fact, were sitting around, I do not want to say ``doing
nothing,'' but they certainly were not receiving training. Bringing in that number, even if it is over a few years, will
certainly stretch the training resources of the military.
VAdm. Buck: Achieving an increment of 5,000 will cause us to grow the training infrastructure such that we will be
able to bring the recruits in at a rate where they are not awaiting training. Again, as I responded to the chair in a
previous question, one of the activities we have to put in place is to grow those training capabilities, and that is not just
building things; it is also preparing highly trained people to do that training. There is a cycle here that takes time to
Senator Cordy: In terms of retention, how many people leave the military each year?
VAdm. Buck: What we call the ``structural attrition,'' or those who leave, is about 4 per cent. That is just based on
retirement age. At the moment, we are in the range of 5 or 6 per cent, which, by the standards of most western
militaries, is a high retention rate.
Senator Cordy: That would have been my next question. We certainly get the feeling sometimes that people are not
staying in as long as they used to stay in. that, in fact, is not the case?
VAdm. Buck: The retention numbers, as I say, are positive, but the demographics of when people retire within their
career as opposed to those who wait to retirement age are changing. Many of the women and men who join the
Canadian Forces had not intended to make it a lifetime career. Those demographics are changing, and we need to
adjust with that.
Senator Cordy: Logistically, when you are bringing in high numbers each year, new ones in addition to those who
are replacing the ones who have left, what do you work at first? Do you work at recruitment or training, or is it a
combination or a balancing act of both? If you recruit without having training mechanisms in place, or if you have the
training in place and not enough recruiters out there, how do you go about doing it?
VAdm. Buck: The answer is you need to do both. The challenge, of course, is to do that, and again in both cases you
need trained individuals to run your training establishments and to do your recruiting. In the short term, that has an
impact on your operational capabilities.
Senator Cordy: We also heard that people who are in the reserves often have difficulty getting into the regular forces.
Will you be looking at that as an option?
VAdm. Buck: We clearly are.
Senator Meighen: I apologize to all for arriving late, but I guess you have to count on three hours to get from
Toronto to Ottawa in the winter.
The Chairman: Only if they are searching you.
Senator Meighen: On the question of training, Vice-Admiral Buck, obviously, you need the money to expand the
training resources, but you also need the bodies. If the bodies are deployed, it makes it hard, presumably, to have them
in place for training recruits. Would it also be necessary, in order for you to meet even a five-year deadline, to curtail
the operational tempo to some extent, or can you provide the bodies given the present tempo?
VAdm. Buck: Based on our current recruiting push, and ensuring that for the level of force size that we have today,
we believe, if we constrain deployments to the sustainable level, we could do that.
Senator Meighen: How would one define the sustainable level?
VAdm. Buck: The sustainable level, as I was articulating earlier, for army rotations would be one in five rotations,
and for air and naval, one in four.
Senator Meighen: Are we doing that now?
VAdm. Buck: We are, today. In the past, however, various governments have from time to time exceeded that. For
example, with respect to Operation Apollo, the campaign against terrorism. I will use the naval example because I
know it best. We put out about 99 per cent of our sailors and about all of our ships. The net result of that, after we
came off that deployment, was a dip in operational availability, because we were trying to grow our people and catch
up on our maintenance. The point is that if you overextend your force, you create a bit of a curve, and the challenge,
therefore, is to ensure that when providing military advice to the government, the consideration of what is sustainable
is always a part of that decision on whether or not to deploy.
Senator Meighen: Chair, if I could ask one further question, I will not take part in the second round.
The Chairman: No, Senator Cordy actually wants to stay on this subject, so we will go back to her.
Senator Cordy: How much additional money will the forces need in the next budget to put the plan in place for
recruitment and training of an additional 5,000 and 3,000 reserves?
VAdm. Buck: It is fair to say that the steady state bill for the 5,000 would need to be ramped up over a period of
time, five years approximately. However, it is hard to put a specific dollar value on that at this juncture, until — again
— as part of the international policy statement and defence review process, we know exactly where those individuals
will be fitted into a larger Canadian Forces.
Senator Meighen: Just on that again, admiral, did I correctly understand you to say that, other than some planning,
you cannot move forward on the 5,000 until the resources are allocated?
VAdm. Buck: That is correct.
Senator Meighen: And if they were not allocated for another six months, it would delay your five years by six
VAdm. Buck: That is correct.
Senator Atkins: Welcome, Vice-Admiral Buck. The fact of the matter is that the increase of 5,000 is not a slam dunk.
VAdm. Buck: The government has indicated its intention to do so and has committed, through the budgetary
process, to direct the Canadian Forces in the manner it wishes to do so. However, within the resources that are
assigned to the Canadian Forces today, we do not have the resources to recruit. We cannot afford to recruit
incremental beyond our approximately 60,000 authorized strength.
In fact, today, we have more than 60,000 personnel in the forces because we are trying to catch up with some of the
attrition, and to return to the trained, effective strength that the chair referred to earlier.
Senator Atkins: When you were describing your responsibilities, you mentioned resource allocation. Does that
include the promotion of officers in the military?
VAdm. Buck: It does not. In the military, there is a merit-based system from the most junior private soldier or
ordinary seaman to the most senior general or admiral. Individuals are assessed each year. Each year there is an annual
merit board process. At more junior levels, it is done against your peers, in the sense that if you are an infanteer of a
given rank, you would be assessed against other infanteers.
As you get to more senior levels, it is done more broadly. For example, at the colonel, naval captain level and above,
those merit boards look at everyone across the board. However, it is a consistent process throughout the Canadian
Forces. I am not responsible for it. That is the responsibility of the Assistant Deputy Minister of Human Resources,
Military, and it is an open and consistent process.
Senator Atkins: Is it more a political decision than a military decision?
VAdm. Buck: No, it is not a political decision at all. These are merit boards, chaired by members of the military,
assessing military performance.
Senator Atkins: In dealing with budgets, restraint of expenses and so forth, are you examining now the Canadian
Forces bases across the country as to whether some should be closed or expanded, or have you dealt with that issue in
this whole process of defence review?
VAdm. Buck: As we go forward, until we have clarity in the government's policy, we have not done any detailed
planning but have looked at a number of hypothetical scenarios, largely based on ensuring that the operational
footprint we would have across the country is optimized, both for generating operational capability and ensuring the
presence requirements that government would have from a domestic perspective.
Senator Atkins: How do you know what kind of force the military wants when you do not know what the precise
missions will be? You do not have a crystal ball. We are sending forces to Afghanistan; we are sending units down to
Haiti. Do you see the training between the two as being different, or do you think that whatever training is provided to
our military now is sufficient for whatever assignment they are given?
VAdm. Buck: In my opening remarks, I referred to the need for the Canadian Forces to be able to have a capability
that ranged from dealing with humanitarian or nation-building scenarios through stabilization, which is actually the
situation in Afghanistan, through to combat, and potentially being able to deal with all three components in the same
theatre of operations simultaneously. The problem in many of the places where we are deployed, because of the
unpredictability to which you just referred, is that we just do not know what will happen. Therefore that range of
capability, I believe, is fundamental for the Canadian Forces. If we take away pieces of that, particularly if we were to
take away the combat piece, our ability to deploy the Canadian Forces would be hugely limited because we could not
afford to put men and women in a field of operations without ensuring that they had the training and tools to deal with
what they might face.
Senator Atkins: In this fast-moving world you might not have the same time to address some of these challenges.
VAdm. Buck: That is exactly true. That is why that range of capabilities is a core fundamental. We — and when I say
``we'' I speak as a member of the senior leadership — believe that that is a fundamental tenet of whatever capability the
government ultimately decides Canada should have.
That does not mean, despite the words that I have just used, that we have all the capability that the United States
might have, but we do have a core piece of capability that allows us to ensure, within risk limits, that our men and
women are properly trained and equipped wherever they might be sent.
Senator Atkins: The problem today is that even when our military is assigned to a theatre, the enemy is unknown.
VAdm. Buck: It is becoming ever more complex, and that makes it more dangerous.
Senator Atkins: I have a question on procurement. What is your view about off-the-shelf purchases of military
VAdm. Buck: Where there is a piece of equipment that exists of military or commercial design that meets our
requirement, we should avail ourselves of those opportunities.
The Chairman: If that is the case, why are we going into this exercise of designing a new vessel to replace the
Provider, Preserver, or Protector class vessel? Why are we going into this two-year exercise? Why are we not looking
around and finding some vessel that will do the job?
VAdm. Buck: First and foremost, the design, if you wish. The fact that we are bringing together a series of
requirements means that the actual design work, in a sense, is not hugely complex. Yes, it does take some time but the
rationale is quite simple: For us to support two separate vessel designs — one that would do the maritime piece largely,
or naval piece, and the other that would do just the lift or support to operations elsewhere — is very costly. The
question you must also ask is: How frequently would it be used, particularly with respect to the lift piece? Would it be
used every day? I would suggest to you that it would not.
I would suggest to you that what we are proposing is actually the cost effective way to maximize the utility of these
vessels while understanding that in any event, no matter how much of our own lift we would have, we will still always
lease lift capacity, particularly sea lift capacity.
The Chairman: If these are great vessels, why do others not have them, and why can we not buy one of theirs?
VAdm. Buck: In the late 1960s, no one had what we call an AOR — AOR being our existing Preserver and
Protector. Everyone had those functions in three or four different ships. That was a unique Canadian design, which
virtually every western navy in the world uses today. We may be ahead of others, senator.
The Chairman: Yes, but can we afford to be ahead of others? We may have been ahead in the past. You can make a
case that we were ahead with the frigates but we paid 30 or 40 per cent more than we should have for the frigates. No
one argued that they were not terrific frigates, just that they were just too expensive. For any number of reasons, they
were too costly.
VAdm. Buck: I can assure you that requiring two classes of ship, as opposed to one, will far exceed the resources that
we would commit to delivering in this way.
The Chairman: We would be interested in seeing these numbers. Can you provide us with the business case and the
VAdm. Buck: I will have that information provided, certainly.
Senator Banks: I will return to my original line, partly because of things that have been said here.
I have learned in the last few years that operating an entrepreneurial undertaking is not even remotely the same as
operating a government. However, I am frustrated by the fact that, in the circumstance you have described and which I
believe we are beginning to understand, someone is not leaping up and down and pounding on desks and hollering blue
murder that things that should be happening, and that everyone agrees should be happening — and that the
government agrees should be happening — are not happening. This is going on all the time.
Most Canadians would understand now that the government has committed to adding 5,000 operative, functional
people to the Armed Forces, and most Canadians would reasonably understand, on the basis of what has been said,
that that is now in train, that it is happening, that the process is in place and that we can expect, within a reasonable
amount of time, that those people will be at the front of whatever it is that they need to do.
In fact, that is not the case. I do not think Canadians understand that we are just starting to ramp up and begin this
process, and that perhaps in five years we will have those 5,000 new people. Canadians have not been told that. We, on
this committee, to some degree at least, have been jumping up and down and hollering and pounding the table and
yelling, but we do not have the credibility of operational members, people with experience, who are in the military.
People who leave the military holler and jump up and down and scream and pound on desks, saying that it was their
experience when they were in the military, and that those frustrations were theirs as well.
My original question to you was about the tension that I think is a healthy and important one that should exist
between people, whether they are in my old business in the theatre, in television or in the Armed Forces, who are being
given a job and not being given the time, resources and the proper infrastructure to do the job with which they are
charged, and who should be jumping up and down and hollering and pounding on the desk. The fact is that the jobs
that the Canadian Forces have been given by the government quite properly have, as I think everyone knows, exceeded
in those demands the capabilities of the forces. No one is addressing that question. You talked about a graph that we
looked at about the need having resulted in a depletion. Senator Meighen also referred to this. We have seen it. We
have gone to those operational places and we have been told, ``We cannot train the new recruits because the only
people who know how to operate this piece of machinery are over in Bosnia operating this piece of machinery.''
The only answer is that someone with credibility needs to jump up and down and say, ``We have to stop this tap
dancing and saying that we must get around to that but we have to wait.'' It is like doing renovations on your house:
you can't get the guy to lay the carpet until the plumber has come. The plumber is saying he has to wait for a piece of
equipment. It goes around in circles and we are not addressing the problem. I guess I am making a speech.
The Chairman: Yes, and your question is?
Senator Banks: My question is: Should there not be someone in a position of, as you call it, ``senior leadership'' in
the Canadian Forces who can stand up and holler and pound on the desk and say, ``This is sophistry. If we are to do
these jobs, you must give us more resources; you must pay more attention to this.'' Should that not be part of senior
VAdm. Buck: The answer to that question depends on the democracy that you are in. If I could highlight the United
Kingdom, the United States and Canada, there are some very significant differences.
In Canada, a senior leader of the Canadian Forces is bound, as are other members of the public service, in the sense
that we can inform government and have internal discussions with government, but we cannot advocate. The challenge
then becomes deciding when individuals wish to change that role and how effective they can be.
In the United Kingdom there is a slightly different framework wherein individuals within the senior leadership are,
from time to time, expected to have a debate with government. In the United States, in certain specific cases, it is
mandated by law that leadership people do that. Canada is different.
Senator Banks: To pursue that thought, do I understand that senior leadership in the Canadian Forces is
VAdm. Buck: We are constrained in our public statements.
Senator Banks: From disagreeing with the government?
VAdm. Buck: My position or authority is not to advocate publicly; mine is to explain government policy internally,
in discussions with government. We obviously have discussions.
Senator Banks: If you were to have an opinion that a government policy approach or attitude was wrong, you may
not say so?
VAdm. Buck: My job is not to debate government policy with government.
The Chairman: Where should Parliament turn to, in order to get professional advice on military matters?
VAdm. Buck: I believe that in the upcoming months, with a policy statement out and a defence piece of that, in
terms of discussing the relative merits of one particular solution over another solution, the Canadian Forces has a role
to provide you with information that would allow you, with others, to make value judgments. At the end of the day,
the fundamental piece that needs to be clear is what is it that we are ultimately trying to achieve with the Canadian
Forces? That is, what are the capabilities and how many of those capabilities should we have? If that is not clear, there
are many different answers to any question you could pose.
Senator Banks: I do not think that the 5,000 is enough. We have already discussed that and it is already in our
report. I ask the chairman's question again: Who can we ask, if not you, about why that will not happen sooner? We
do not believe that it should take five years.
Let me ask you this: Has the money been voted by Parliament? Has the money been proposed, to your knowledge,
by the government to do the things that the government has said that it will do?
VAdm. Buck: The government has announced its intention. It has not announced that it is now implementing that
Senator Banks: Is there a means by which the forces could, by using, for example, applications under Supplementary
Estimates to undertake those improvements?
VAdm. Buck: Given where we are in the fiscal cycle, the answer to move it from an intention to an implementation
piece would be through the budgetary process.
Senator Banks: Is it anticipated that the Canadian Forces will use the means of a supplementary budget to do that?
VAdm. Buck: We will not do it through a supplementary budget; we will do it through the Main Estimates, but we
have made it clear to officials the level and phasing of financing that would be required to phase in the 5,000.
Senator Banks: Do you think we can expect to see those amounts in the budget which is forthcoming?
VAdm. Buck: I do not know.
Senator Munson: I have a brief question. I love terms like ``clarity of expectation.'' Do you have a timetable on your
clarity of expectation? You say that you can advise internally.
VAdm. Buck: I would hope that through the next few months there would be an international policy statement, with
the defence piece, tabled and that parliamentary committees would then be looking at that. That would allow us,
through the budgetary process, as it related to any increase in personnel, to start that process working.
Senator Munson: In the interest of clarity of expectation, when would you like to start hiring?
VAdm. Buck: As soon as I could.
Senator Munson: The allies are leaving Goose Bay. The bases that we have now, can you give us your feelings on
base closures and how we can sustain those with allies leaving?
VAdm. Buck: In regard to Goose Bay, we are in negotiation with a number of allies in terms of their continued use
of that particular facility.
At the end of the day, decisions about our infrastructure footprint across the country have again become driven by a
number of things. They become driven by the utility in its current construct of a particular base or a wing being able to
generate operational capability that we need. Some of that operational capability actually relates to domestic security
The other aspect that needs to be taken into consideration is the government's desire and need, fundamentally, for
the Canadian Forces to have a footprint across the country. That is always a delicate balancing act. Clearly, as we look
at a defence policy review, there should be elements that ensure that we are appropriately aligned with the new policy.
Senator Munson: Is it possible that Goose Bay could be closed?
VAdm. Buck: Hypothetically speaking, it is possible that any base could be closed, or new ones opened.
Senator Munson: Is it correct to say that this base, more than others, could be closed?
VAdm. Buck: This base must be considered along with others in relation to its utility. That will be something that, to
some extent, will depend clearly on its continued use as a flying training centre.
Senator Munson: Is it important for our sovereignty, even if the allies leave Goose Bay, to have Goose Bay remain
VAdm. Buck: That is a question that should remain for discussion through a policy review.
The Chairman: Did I understand you correctly, Admiral, to say that there is the utility part of the equation that you
work on and then there are government needs in terms of having some separation across the country?
VAdm. Buck: There is a need for any armed force to have an appropriate presence across its country. That is a
delicate balancing act. That is not driven by a government requirement; it is more a need of the forces to have visibility.
I will use the naval example. One of the reasons the navy has naval divisions across the country is that most
Canadians do not see the navy. They do not understand it. In a small way, that presence at least allows them to have
some understanding. The same is true for the remainder of the Canadian Forces, to some extent.
The Chairman: Do you evaluate the utility of these bases over regular intervals?
VAdm. Buck: We do it as circumstances change. For example, as we introduce the new maritime helicopter there
have been some changes to the needs in our current infrastructure. We do that on an ongoing basis but not on a civic-
The Chairman: Do you have a ranking of the utility of the various bases that the Canadian Forces have?
VAdm. Buck: To my knowledge, no, I do not have that.
The Chairman: Could you prepare one?
VAdm. Buck: I do not think that would be particularly useful from our perspective because, again, those decisions,
by and large, are not taken unilaterally by the Canadian Forces. Those are government decisions.
The Chairman: I understand that, and I understand your not wanting to be cross-threaded with the politicians in
town. Having said that, how will one achieve a clear understanding of what is important from a military point of view
as opposed to what is important in terms of regional and economic development, or because some politician has a great
deal of clout in cabinet? How will we find out what the military needs if you will not provide us with a list?
VAdm. Buck: The international policy statement and, ultimately, the defence piece of that and the discussions of the
parliamentary committee would be a good venue to accomplish that.
The Chairman: This is a parliamentary committee, and we are asking.
VAdm. Buck: We are not the sole arbitrators of what should or should not be.
The Chairman: We understand that absolutely. We are simply asking if you can tell us, from a military perspective,
what the utility is to the Canadian Forces of the various bases that you have?
VAdm. Buck: Without knowing the ultimate intentions of what the government expects in terms of breadth and
depth of capability of the Canadian Forces, at home and abroad, it would be premature to do that.
The Chairman: We will not leave this issue, vice-admiral.
Senator Day: I would like to return to the earlier discussion in relation to your comment that we need to concentrate
more on the maritime and air approaches. We have had comments in our previous reports with respect to the surface
wave radar — the high-frequency radar installations. As well, we have read articles about operational experimentation
in Afghanistan with respect to the unmanned aerial vehicles for surveillance purposes. Are these areas that the Armed
Forces are pushing ahead with as being part of the menu of matériel and resources that you will have for the future?
VAdm. Buck: First, in respect of high-frequency surface wave radar, the existing two systems have just been certified
for operations. The government has announced its intention to extend the coverage of these radars by covering what I
will call ``the choke points'' — both the Atlantic and the Pacific. Those resources have been assigned and are moving
through the approval process to enable them to grow that capability.
In respect of unmanned, or uninhabited as I am told, aerial vehicles, at the tactical level we utilized a system in
Afghanistan which the army has repatriated to Canada. However, it need to be understood that there is a range of
UAVs. Recently, last summer, we performed a major experimentation in the Atlantic with what is called a ``medium
altitude UAV,'' which did a tremendous amount of ocean and coastal approach surveillance. At the end of the day,
certainly as it relates to the surveillance segment of Canada and deployed operations, we would wish to identify the
pieces that would provide the most cost-effective range of surveillance. That would include the Aurora Maritime Patrol
Aircraft, which not only gives us a surveillance capability but also a patrol capability, which is another component.
The short answer is, yes, they are being factored into our planning for the future as we look to modernize and
transform the force. However, like everything else, the range and breadth of capability will depend on both the policy
statement and, ultimately, the resources assigned.
Senator Day: How long will it be until we see the UAV in operation, or is it still experimental?
VAdm. Buck: Certainly, the system that the army has is no longer experimental. It is part of our order of battle and
will continue to be used in operations as we go forward. However, in a major way, we are moving out of the
experimentation area and getting to the point where we will try to identify which systems would be best utilized for
what purpose and then we will look to the resource priority that that might have.
Senator Day: Are the two high-frequency surface wave radar systems now operational in Newfoundland? Is the
information being fed into the operational desk in Halifax?
VAdm. Buck: Yes, that is happening.
Senator Day: If you had the required funding, could you get the West Coast and the others locations operational?
VAdm. Buck: Those monies have been allocated but have yet to go through the final approval process. We will move
ahead shortly on extending the system.
Senator Day: If the monies have been allocated, what do you need for final approval?
VAdm. Buck: Ultimately, we need the approval of Treasury Board.
Senator Day: The monies have been allocated by Treasury Board so it simply needs to sign the cheque?
VAdm. Buck: Yes, but there is a process to that.
Senator Day: How long does that take?
VAdm. Buck: It depends on the workload at Treasury Board.
Senator Day: Are we talking about years or weeks to do that?
VAdm. Buck: It would take several months.
Senator Day: After the monies have been allocated, the priority is placed and the equipment is all set, it takes
Treasury Board several months to sign the cheque? Is that correct?
VAdm. Buck: This work occurs internally to ensure that the contractual documentation is complete and that all
other terms and conditions of operating in a public sector environment are in place so that we are able to certify that
this constitutes good use of taxpayers' dollars.
Senator Day: You have only two systems in operation.
VAdm. Buck: Yes.
Senator Day: We have heard a great deal over the past while about the recruiting activities within the Canadian
Armed Forces. Have you contemplated alternate service delivery — outsourcing recruiting so that it could be done in a
manner that would alleviate many of these complaints that we have heard over the past several years?
VAdm. Buck: Over a number of years, there has been some discussion of that, but we obviously have not done it and
the main reason is that there are a couple of key components to the process that would have to stay inside government
in any event. In some cases they are the ones that create the road blocks, one of them being security clearance. We
could not — and would not — outsource security clearance.
Senator Day: At one time, medical testing was done internally and now that is done externally in conjunction with
the recruiting process. Security clearance is one part that must be done along the way.
VAdm. Buck: Yes, but it is a key process.
Senator Day: I understand, but security clearance could be done by CSIS or by the RCMP once the attracting and
the basic testing are complete.
VAdm. Buck: In some cases we utilize capacity in that way. The real challenge is removing artificial impediments. In
particular, there was a reference earlier to reservists having difficulty transferring to the regular force.
Senator Day: Yes.
VAdm. Buck: Again, those are internal things that we need to resolve. Important as well about the recruiting piece is
``the attraction piece.'' By that I mean the individual who is doing the recruiting. It is much better if that individual has
had operational experience and has credibility in terms of explaining to young men and women the reality of the
Senator Day: We are hearing that many operational people in the Canadian Forces are put into this recruiting role
even though it is not where they want to be. They do not consider that this advances their career and, therefore, the
work they perform is reflective of that lack of commitment.
That is why I suggest that you may want to look at this situation again at a time when you are contemplating at least
8,000 new recruits, once you get the funding for them.
VAdm. Buck: Your comment about individuals not wishing to be in recruiting jobs is interesting. That is always an
ongoing challenge because, unfortunately, some individuals believe that by going into those jobs they could be
negatively impacting their potential for advancement. We have been trying to demonstrate, through assessments, that
that is not the case. The challenge is to have highly motivated individuals do an excellent job of explaining to the young
men and women who come to the door what a career in the Canadian Forces is about.
Senator Forrestall: Does the joint support program include a strengthened ice capability for at least one of them?
VAdm. Buck: It includes a first-year ice capability for all vessels of the class.
Senator Forrestall: How would you describe that class?
VAdm. Buck: I would describe it as being able to deal with 0.7 metres of new ice.
Senator Forrestall: That is a couple of feet. I am thinking about sovereignty and, if we had time, I would like to talk
to you about reviving the Polar 8 or some version of it, or one of the support ships to a level of year-round capability in
The Chairman: Thank you, Vice-Admiral Buck, for your appearance here. We hope to have you back here again
before we complete our review. We appreciate the information that you have given the committee and that you have
undertaken to provide to the committee in the future.
We have been joined by Senator Michael Meighen from Ontario. He is a lawyer and a member of the Law Society of
Upper Canada and the bar of the province of Quebec. He is currently Chair of our Subcommittee on Veterans Affairs
and is also a member of the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce and the Standing Senate
Committee on Fisheries and Oceans.
Our next witness this morning is Major-General (Ret'd) Lewis Mackenzie. General Mackenzie is a research fellow at
the Canadian Institute for Strategic Studies. For 33 years, Major-General Mackenzie served in Canada's Armed
Forces, retiring in 1993. The former military commander is known for his work as a peacekeeper, having served nine
tours in Egypt, Cyprus, Vietnam, Central America and the former Yugoslavia.
Major-General Mackenzie also authored a highly regarded book in 1993 entitled Peacekeeper: The Road to
Sarajevo, a chronicle of his peacekeeping experiences around the world.
Welcome to the committee, Major-General Mackenzie.
Major-General (Retired) Lewis Mackenzie, As an individual: I must say, Mr. Chairman, that I enjoyed seeing you go
through security every second hour on CBC Newsworld over the last 24 hours. Also, having appeared a number of
times at U.S. Senate committees, I know that witnesses there are placed at a lower elevation and have to look up at the
senators. I seem to be seated higher than you are here, and I thank you for this very Canadian layout.
Because I was so frustrated over the lack of a white paper, promised to us by Mr. Manley, Mr. Eggleton, Mr.
Axworthy and Prime Ministers Chrétien and Martin — and now we will not have that — I sat down one Sunday
afternoon and wrote one myself. The original one, written in 1994, was 50 pages and 26,000 words long. I removed the
filler, and mine is 700 words, so it will not take long to read it to you.
The 2005 defence white paper contains the assumption that Prime Minister Martin is serious about his
``responsibility to protect'' doctrine. I certainly endorse that. The second and last assumption is that credit received by
Canada across the spectrum of international relations is proportional to the risks associated with the military tasks
The international environment has changed. Peacekeeping as understood by the majority of Canadians is no more.
As long as nations avoid going to war, which is the current trend, the threats to world peace will continue to be posed
by terrorists, thugs, goons, warlords and easily-identified nations hell-bent on producing nuclear weapons.
Recognizing the United Nations Security Council's dysfunctional decision-making dominated by narrow self-
interests and rife with catastrophic failures during the past decade, Canada will instead participate with international
organizations such as NATO, OSCE, EU, OAS, G8 and the G20 — or L20, more appropriately titled as the Prime
Minister has done — and other like-minded coalitions for its contribution to peace and security. The decision will not
preclude Canada's participation in UN missions provided they are seen by the government of Canada to be worthy.
With regard to domestic considerations, Canada is on the terrorist hit list. North American security is a primary
concern to the U.S., and we will make a viable contribution to new security initiatives in order to protect our
sovereignty. To do otherwise will relegate us to spectator status as unilateral decisions are made in Washington that
will impact on our future for decades to come.
With regard to force structure, the Canadian Forces will immediately initiate a restructuring that will permit it to be
strategically mobile and capable of participating with like-minded nations in operations up to and including combat at
sea, on land and in air.
On the domestic front, the reserves will be expanded, particularly in provinces such as British Columbia and
Saskatchewan where there is little regular force army presence, with a view to responding within a streamlined chain of
command to the provincial premiers' requirements at the time of any crisis, natural or otherwise.
Within a year, the navy will take delivery of two San Antonio class assault ships, each capable of lifting a battle
group of 800 to 1,000 soldiers, their vehicles, logistics, medical and helicopter support. To avoid the 10-year
procurement production period, the ships will be leased from the United States.
An amphibious force mounting site will be established at CFB Shearwater. Breakup and sale of this invaluable
facility will cease forthwith. A second site will be established on the West Coast in due course.
Two of the navy's four destroyers will be replaced and the current fleet of frigates will be retained along with the
four Upholder class submarines. This structure will provide interoperability capabilities with our allies and security for
the assault ships when they are under way.
The plan to purchase three joint supply ships to support the navy under way and to be delivered in 10 years will be
amended to two ships to be operational within five years.
Army personnel strength will be increased, bringing all units to 110 per cent of their manning levels. Units will not
require augmentation prior to deployment. Balanced units with proven structures will deploy on operations, not
mission-specific temporary organizations, which is now the case.
The army will convert one of its three existing brigades into a rapid reaction force with three balanced battle groups.
Two will be organized, equipped and trained to deploy by sea, and the third by air with parachute and air-landed
capabilities. The remaining two brigades will rotate between training and reinforcement to the rapid reaction force and
homeland security tasks.
The air force will continue with its upgrading of its F-18 fleet and the replacement of its smart weapons inventory.
The C-130 tactical lift fleet will be replaced, cognizant of the needs of the airborne landing requirements of the rapid
reaction force. The maritime patrol aircraft fleet's capabilities will be maintained. Negotiations will continue with
commercial airlines to provide guaranteed strategic lift when called upon by the Canadian Forces.
National Defence Headquarters will be restructured and deintegrated. The majority of civilian and military staff will
be separated. Those who are not will comprise a tiny Department of National Defence staff. The remaining civilian
staff will respond to the Deputy Minister of National Defence. The military staff will create a joint operational
Canadian Forces headquarters. Overall, the strength of the civilian and military staff will be reduced by 50 per cent by
January 2006. In achieving this goal, tasks and functions will not be relocated outside Ottawa. The resulting 3,000
freed-up positions will be assigned to operational units.
With regard to funding, the government undertakes to provide long-term, guaranteed funding for this
comprehensive restructuring and reorientation of the Canadian Forces. Specific amounts will be announced once
estimates have been completed. Grants in lieu of taxes, military pensions and government-directed programs, such as
bilingual education and gender sensitivity training, will continue; however, they will not be paid from DND's budget,
freeing up some 3 billion additional dollars for operations and equipment.
In conclusion, the reorganization and reorientation of the Canadian Armed Forces directed herein will provide for
enhanced North American security and will permit Canada to play a more meaningful role in the quest for
international peace and security. As a leading exponent of the ``responsibility to protect'' doctrine, Canada will put up,
not shut up.
Senator Munson: You have heard the previous witness, VAdm. Buck, speak about clarity of expectation. Once
again, I love that phrase. You probably lived through that, too, when you were in the Armed Forces. We also heard
him talk about it taking five years to bring in the 5,000 new military people, plus the 3,000 reservists. Did that surprise
you in the context of what you were talking about in the joint expeditionary force proposal that you gave to us last
Mr. Mackenzie: Yes, it disappoints me that it would take that long. However, the excuse that everyone is abroad no
longer holds. The Prime Minister, on CNN two days, ago indicated that we could not deploy to Iraq. He did not use
the moral, ethical argument because we were stretched too thin. No, we are not. We have over 1,000 people oversees.
We have pulled back. We are in the regeneration/retraining phase. We have a modest contingent in Afghanistan, which
might have a provincial reconstruction team added to it. We have pulled out of Bosnia and Cyprus. The PM
mentioned that we are in Haiti. However, those are police officers, not military officers.
I am by no means being critical of the justification. It is just that if you do not want to go to Iraq, say you do not
want to go to Iraq. We do not want to participate in the war; we do not want to participate in the peace building. We
can train people in Jordan to go into Iraq later. It is not because we do not have the people. We have 55,000 people.
I tend to endorse your number much more than 5,000. I think that number was pulled out of the air, according to
my friends in low places in DND during the campaign. Those 5,000 should go to existing units to bring them up close
to their operational strength. Therefore there are bed spaces for them, there are barracks for them, there is a place for
them to go and to be trained, I would hope, more quickly than that.
Senator Munson: Since you were last with us, have you seen any sign of the government moving forward, or do you
feel that it is in a state of inertia?
Mr. Mackenzie: I have been involved with some of the committees that are inputting into this review that is going
on. It is my impression that there is a bit of a hold, other than trying to get the military home, get it reconstituted and
let it do some collective training. As we will get to in the answers to some of your questions, our problem is that we do
not have units that we can send overseas. This ``plug and play'' of bringing important bits and pieces together and
creating mission-specific organizations is totally and absolutely wrong because the only thing for sure is that the
mission will change once you get there.
You will all remember, when we were asked to help with election supervision in Afghanistan, the DND spokesman
who stood up and said that we do not have people trained for that type of security. The Van Doos were the best trained
people over there at the time. The reason we could not perform that function is that we had structured that
organization without its service battalion. We gave it a civilian logistics tail that had an umbilical cord 20 kilometres
long. Thus they were stuck in Kabul and they could not rush 200 miles out of Kabul to help with election supervision.
It was not that the troops were not trained. They were structured mission specific, which in my estimation you should
never do when you go overseas. We have tried and proven structures to organizations in all three services. Do not fool
around with them because they have flexibility.
Senator Munson: Speaking of Afghanistan, last week General Leslie said that the west will have to be in Afghanistan
for 20 years. He spoke to our committee in Kingston. Are we prepared as a country? Do we have the wherewithal to be
part of that process for the next 20 years in Afghanistan?
Mr. Mackenzie: That is very much a political decision. Cyprus was peaceful from 1964 to 1993 when we left, except
for six months. It is very much a political decision if we stay. In Cyprus, we started with about 900, when I was there in
1965; we were about 700 when I went back in 1971; when I commanded in 1978, we were 600-odd. The force gradually
went down. By the way, we still have one person there, the reason being that when they put the slide up on the UN, our
flag is still there, but we have one officer in the headquarters in Nicosia.
Senator Munson: I have not seen your statement on the sensitivity and bilingualism programs, $3 billion? That seems
like a lot of money.
Mr. Mackenzie: Government-directed programs are important. It can be sexual harassment, it can be sensitivity, it
can be bilingualism; any number of grants in lieu of taxes is a big part of the bill. My pension and probably 40,000 or
50,000 other pensions that are paid all come out of the defence budget. By the time it gets down to the army, navy, air
force and headquarters, you have less than 50 per cent of the $13 billion to run the military.
Senator Munson: What are you suggesting?
Mr. Mackenzie: You are the experts, but I am suggesting it should come from general revenue or wherever it comes
from, but not from the DND budget. That is about $3 billion.
Senator Meighen: I have a follow-up question on Senator Munson's question and your response to the Prime
Minister's statement. As I understand it, you said that yes, we do have the folks if the Prime Minister and the political
bosses decide we should go to Iraq. Are those bodies not exhausted?
This committee, as you are well aware, made a recommendation that we slow the operational tempo, that we bring
people back home for training and rest, and that, surely, would be an argument that we could not rush off to Iraq — or
anywhere else for that matter — for a few months, at least.
Mr. Mackenzie: Should, could; those are interesting interpretations. The point being that when we sent 700 of my
regiment, the PPCLI, to Afghanistan with the American-led coalition to go into Kandahar, we were told six months
later that they had to come home because we did not have anyone to replace them. Within months, the Prime Minister
stood up in the House of Commons and said we cannot go to Iraq because we are about to send 2,000 troops to
Afghanistan. Do you not think that every soldier saw through that?
If you are making political decisions, then make political decisions. Do not mask them and blame the military, or
indicate that we are too thin on the ground. If we wanted to send a unit — which we do not have, by the way; we would
have to cobble it together, unfortunately — or if we wanted to create an 800-person battle group to send to Iraq, sure
we could do that. It would take us a couple of months to charter the ships; we would have to get some Ukrainian
aircraft, and they are running out of spares, but there is a way to do it.
I, personally, do not think that the excuse that was given was because of compassion for the Canadian Forces and
not wanting to overwork that force.
Senator Meighen: Nor was it suggested.
Mr. Mackenzie: No, but I do not think that is the reason. The reason was that we do not want to go to Iraq with an
army unit. So say that.
Senator Meighen: What do you think? Do you think we should regroup, retrain, reorganize, get the 5,000 in, before
we rush off in all directions at the same time?
Mr. Mackenzie: I remember writing a piece on that when your well-respected report came out. Sorry, you cannot
take a pause like that; you cannot pull out of everything. Whether a modest, small contribution in Afghanistan now is
us paying our dues internationally, I think probably it is not.
Senator Meighen: I will end on this note: I think we knew full well that suggesting — 18 months, was it, or two
Mr. Mackenzie: A couple of years.
Senator Meighen: — total respite from operations might be a touch exaggerated but we wanted to make the point,
and I think we succeeded in making the point because, as you say, most of our forces are now back here. My only
suggestion to you is that perhaps they still do need some period of rest and retraining.
Mr. Mackenzie: Yes. I would certainly challenge the term ``rest'' because it is not rest. We are talking about bringing
them home to train them individually and collectively and, quite frankly, with the shift work done in some of those
areas and some of the deployments, it is more restful being there than back here because they tend to get screwed
around a fair amount when they come back here, particularly in inverse proportion to their distance from Ottawa.
Senator Atkins: Just for clarification, the government has now announced the purchase of the helicopters. Does that
come out of the $13.5 billion or is that in addition?
Mr. Mackenzie: My understanding is that has to be found within the defence budget.
Senator Atkins: Over a period of time?
Mr. Mackenzie: Absolutely.
I must say that I, like many people in Senator Munson's previous profession, felt deceived right up until at least a
week after the reporting of the submarine accident. I was still standing on my hind legs in front of the media, saying
that these ships were free to the military — free. It was my understanding that it was in exchange for the use of the
training areas in southern Alberta, northern Alberta, Suffield, Wainwright and Goose Bay to the British, and that the
original amounts paid by the British as rental fees went into general revenue, not into the defence department. As a
result, now that the defence department has to pay cash for the submarines, that is a big whack off the Department of
National Defence's budget.
I was explaining to the Canadian public honestly, because that is how I was briefed, that in actual fact this deal was
in exchange for training rights, so from the military's point of view, those subs were free. There are costs involved for
training and so on, but the subs themselves were free to the military. That is not the case. Where they would have been
on the priority list, above or below the cut-off line for what the military could afford, I do not know, but there is a
Senator Forrestall: Mr. Mackenzie, how long have you been retired?
Mr. Mackenzie: It is about 11 years now.
Senator Forrestall: Thank you for your thoughts about Shearwater and about the establishment of a centre to
handle this business. I want to talk about these supply vessels and ask you, in your capacity commanding the Canadian
Forces on a variety of missions offshore, first, were you ever serviced by one of these vessels?
Mr. Mackenzie: No, never.
Senator Forrestall: Did your unit ever have any need for one?
Mr. Mackenzie: Yes, we certainly could have used one. If I could just address the JSS issue, it has often been
described as a vessel that would not only support the navy at sea — which would be its primary responsibility, namely,
to supply the navy under way — but also for carrying army equipment. I was taught as a 20-year-old second lieutenant
that you never separate yourself on winter exercise from your rucksack and your snow shoes. When you park your
army equipment to get it to an operational theatre in a ship, and perhaps you fly in, there is a built-in problem there. In
other words, if it is at all possible, keep the soldiers and their equipment together, which is what I am suggesting in the
assault ship, in the San Antonio class ship.
Also, it has been stated that that type of ship will carry troops, but not combat troops. It will be carrying the medical
staff, and they are very important. It will be carrying the maintainers and the pilots for the helicopters. Those 250 bed
spaces will be taken up. We will not put operational troops on there. There may be a few to check below decks to see
how the equipment is doing, but it is not a troop carrier, as such.
I am of the opinion that you do not combine the two, and perhaps three, characteristics in one vessel. There are
better ways of doing it. If money was the issue, then I thought it was supposed to be the other way around; I thought
you were supposed to define the requirement, and if it is justified, then pay for it, not, ``Here is money. What can you
get yourself within that budget?'' I think that takes us into one of the questions that was sent to me.
Senator Forrestall: Admiral Buck has just told us that the vessels — and I am not sure whether it is the three they
were contemplating building or all vessels — have a capacity to operate in two feet of new ice.
Mr. Mackenzie: Yes.
Senator Forrestall: I am not sure that that does very much for us, really. I want to shift my questioning, however,
because these have a utility that we must look at closely. With respect to northern sovereignty and the growing issue
there, in view of the meltdown that is happening up there, I am told that we do not have to worry about swimming up
there for another 50 or 60 years, so within the lifetime of major equipment, we might be able to do something about
Rather than starting at the bottom with these, I have started at the top, giving some thought to resurrecting the
polar aid plan, which I thought gave us the presence year round, gave us a Canadian corp, a territorial corp, a
provincial corp, gave us a hospital with good diagnostic services — a whole lot of things that demonstrated Canadian
sovereignty in the North. Do you see a role for a military presence in the North with that kind of capability?
Mr. Mackenzie: First, the second largest country in the world, with a disputable northern tip, from the point of view
of sovereignty, surely should have the capability to be able to get there. I am not sure that the ice breaker, to use the
term I understand, would need to be military. There are other ways to resolve that issue with the Coast Guard or
As far as a military presence in the North, I will give you a personal experience of being dropped off around
Resolute. I was one of the sovereignty exercise commanders as a young major. It was always a bit humourous because
we would land and then strike off with our snowshoes and 10-man toboggans, and we would be gone for about four or
five days, really working our butts off. The native population back at Resolute on a Sunday afternoon would say,
``Let's us visit the army.'' They would jump on their snowmobiles and be with us in about an hour and a half. They
would ask, ``How are you guys doing?'' This was deemed to be sovereignty. We did not have a very good experience on
the last one we ran last year, if the documentary on television was anywhere near accurate.
My argument is that we should have the capability to get there to be able to react, not necessarily to be parked there
but to be able to get there. I do not know whether ``legally'' is the right terminology, but the military has certainly been
tasked to get there in the event of a commercial aircraft crash. There is much more traffic now over the North than
there has been in the past. The fact is that we would not be able to get there in time to save anyone, but we could
recover the bodies.
I am not so concerned about a 24/7, 365 day a year presence as I am with the ability to get there. Certainly, the air
borne, air-landed battle group that I am suggesting and the rapid reaction force would have that capability, providing
they had the tactical lift to get them there.
Senator Forrestall: Could you tell us a bit more about the Antonio class ships?
Mr. Mackenzie: It is a ship being used and being built by the Americans as we speak.
Senator Forrestall: Is it in progress now?
Mr. Mackenzie: Yes. Some of them are afloat. Spain, Italy, Australia and a few other countries that I cannot bring
to mind at the present time are also planning on using similar types of ships.
Senator Forrestall: How large a vessel is it?
Mr. Mackenzie: From my self-interest, the army grunt point of view, 800 to 1,000 solders and all their kit and
Senator Forrestall: Is it within range? Certainly it is in terms of availability.
Mr. Mackenzie: Yes, and it could park at your dock in Shearwater tomorrow afternoon, if it had to.
Senator Forrestall: Which is not a bad idea, before we lose that completely.
What do we understand the military to mean today about interoperability? In the old days, it meant whether the
hose would fit the hydrant. What does it mean today?
Mr. Mackenzie: It does mean that you can logistically support each other, but even more, it means above all the
sharing of information intelligence, the sharing of data, the sharing of targeting systems; the ability for us, for example,
to designate a target, identify a target, and for another country that we are serving with to engage that target.
Senator Forrestall: As command and control?
Mr. Mackenzie: Yes. Let me give you an example. When I was a security adviser, one of two to the premier in
Ontario, we had a wonderful presentation. The most knowledgeable first responders right now, by way of giving
information, are not the folks from New York. They are still working on it. It is the folks who had 10 years to think
about it in Oklahoma City. When the first responders showed up there — that is, fire, medical, police and, as was the
case in New York, the port authority — they could not talk to each other. They had different procedures. There were
power struggles going on because within their terms of reference three of them were responsible for the same thing.
They were not very interoperable.
The same thing applies in the military. If we are to go and play with the big boys, and we seem to want to, which I
certainly endorse, then we have to work at being able to do it ``seamlessly'' — a nice expression, but it will never be
seamless — that is, move in and enhance their combat capability as opposed to detracting from it, and have a
synergistic effect. That, to me, is interoperability.
Senator Atkins: It is always a pleasure to have you here. I am surprised Senator Forrestall did not ask if you would
volunteer to be the honorary colonel of the Halifax Rifles.
Senator Forrestall: That supplementary is coming.
Mr. Mackenzie: I think they do a great job of security at Shearwater.
Senator Forrestall: They do better than that.
Senator Atkins: As an Acadian boy, when I see that X ring, I get a little nervous.
Regarding the battle groups, how many are in a battle group, if it is self-contained?
Mr. Mackenzie: It is a term I would not have used seven or eight years ago, but the Canadian Forces have changed
their terminology. That used to mean it was an infantry battalion or armoured regiments that had tanks included.
I asked the question directly to the strategic folks at NDHQ three years ago. A ``battle group'' can refer to around
1,000 soldiers of any denomination. They do not have to have tanks, in other words. It could be overwhelmingly
infantry. It used to be battalion groups and battle groups, but now ``battle group'' just means somewhere between 800
and 1,000 soldiers.
Senator Atkins: Could they have a company of artillery?
Mr. Mackenzie: They could have a battery of artillery.
Senator Atkins: I asked this question of the admiral, and I will ask it of you: How do you know what kind of force is
needed, in our circumstances these days, when you do not know what the precise missions are?
Mr. Mackenzie: That is a great question. Senator, the structures that we have had, not just since during the Cold
War but for just about recorded history, are that way because they had flexibility built into them. The mixing and
matching was normally done in the field: what was known as ``atts'' and ``dets,'' that is, ``attachments'' and
``detachments,'' as the short-term mission changed.
I believe General Jeffrey when he answered the question I asked of him. On the day that he announced it to his
military, he was gracious enough to include me in the conference call. After he explained how we would take subunits
— that is, 100-person companies of artillery and army or whatever — and mix those up depending on the mission, the
only question I asked him at the end of the conference was, ``General, if you had the money to do it the way we have
been doing it for our career, would you be doing this?'' His answer was no. It was fiscally driven, but it became flavour
of the month. Politicians said it was visionary because it meant that the military could continue to provide contingents
to deploy within the budget envelope that they had.
I use the example of our operation in Afghanistan. We parked a ``plug-and-play'' organization over there that was
not capable of doing anything but what it thought it would do for the duration of the tour.
I experienced the same thing in Sarajevo. When the Van Doos/RCR battalion came to the former Yugoslavia in
1992, they had done a reconnaissance beforehand with Cyprus mentality, where we had gone from 1962 to 1992 at that
stage, always doing the same thing. People would reorganize their battalions to do sentry work and OPs. The battalion
commander went back to Germany and reorganized his battalion to do the patrols and the OP duty in Croatia. Within
a month of his being there, I was able to convince the UN to detach that battalion and send it to me in Sarajevo. They
had changed their battalion structure and it was not as flexible as it would have been had they had a conventional
You do not leave Canada, go over, check on the mission and say, ``This is what we will do,'' and then put together a
unit and expect it to be able to react in the field with the flexibility of a standard conventional organized unit. As far as
who is discovering that now, American senior officers are writing volumes on this subject, saying, ``We made a mistake.
The units that are doing the best in Iraq by far are the units that we sent there as formed units. We did not bring in a
whole bunch of other people to make up an artificial unit for a year and a half.'' That is the unit that fought together,
trained together, played together, exercised together; their families knew each other; they are cohesive; and, they are
the guys who are doing the best job.
We are breaking away from that, thinking we are discovering new ground. I put it to you that we did that for purely
Senator Atkins: Would the kind of training that you experienced as a commander with your troops be different than
the kind of training that our troops need today in order to go to Afghanistan? Is it the same training with which you
would send troops to Haiti?
Mr. Mackenzie: Absolutely. The general training — by which I mean across the spectrum of infantry, army,
artillery, engineers and so forth, the front line — I am talking army now, sharp end guys. They are quite capable of
taking on the task.
I hate doing this because I will now get into criticizing the opinion of a colleague of mine who feels totally different
on this, General Dallaire. General Dallaire feels, based on his experience with the UN's most disastrous mission in
Rwanda, that we need a force that is trained for that type of work. The officers have studied anthropology, philosophy
and psychology and understand what is going on in the country. General D'Allaire himself has said that with 5,000
combat troops, he could have stopped that genocide. He did not need social workers with guns. I know people do not
like to hear me use that term because it is hyperbole. However, stay away from that. Combat soldiers would have
stopped the genocide; then you bring in the nation-builders. We have this thing backwards.
In Western Sudan right now, those very brave NGOs from all around the world and aid agencies are doing great
work, but at the same time, some woman with a baby on her back going out to get some firewood is being raped and
murdered. As far as this bit about exporting our values, she does not give a damn about multiculturalism or good
governance when she is out looking for firewood in Darfur. She wants to live.
The soldier's job is to protect her, not to go in and beat the living daylights out of the government or the rebel forces
— who started this, by the way, in western Darfur — but to protect the innocent people. That is the job of soldiers.
Then you bring in the diplomats, the nation-builders and the Lloyd Axworthy-trained election supervisors. They, by
the way, are all great people, but do not send them in first. They go in after you stop the killing. For that, we need a
military that can do that job; not to get confused with nation-building and establishing a judiciary, a police force and
all that. Those jobs are done so much better by civilians. Just do not send them in before the killing stops. Send the
soldiers in to stop the killing.
Senator Atkins: Would you argue against the commanders having some sensitivity to the reality?
Mr. Mackenzie: They all do. Look at Leslie, look at Dallaire and look at me. I am not insensitive to the situation, by
any stretch of the imagination. Unfortunately, I was there before the diplomats would even think of coming in, even
though the killing in a number of those missions had stopped. You have to bring in the nation-builders pretty soon
once the killing stops.
I do not think our general officer corps or our senior officers are requested by nations around the world to come and
participate, even sometimes when we are not providing troops on the ground, because they were insensitive. I do not
think that is an issue, no.
Senator Atkins: Your presentation was very interesting. I like your white paper.
Mr. Mackenzie: It saved about $5 million and two years of work.
Senator Atkins: You mentioned the airborne?
Mr. Mackenzie: Yes, one of the battle groups having an air landed and air deliverable capability, yes.
Senator Atkins: I asked you this the last time, and I wonder if you have changed your mind. Do you still thing we
should re-establish the COTC?
Mr. Mackenzie: I always say ``yes'' to that. They would be much more welcome today than they would have been 10
or 15 years ago, but reserve with the potential of moving into regular force, training of officers in civilian universities,
absolutely. In the lecturing I do in civilian universities now I find a very receptive audience. For the first time in my life
— I have explained it to this committee before — I am seeing support from school kids, from university folks, from
columnists, from editorialists, from talk shows to documentaries about support for the military. The weird thing is that
nothing has happened because I suppose it still does not buy votes.
The language has been turned against us in some cases. I was so disappointed during the election campaign when
defence was being discussed and I thought it was a great thing, and then this assault ship idea morphed into an aircraft
carrier and it was run up against health care. All it did was make the public angrier with us, the military folks. They
accused us of trying to grab aircraft carriers. No, we are not. We are trying to do what Canadians want us to do and
get over there to some of those places and protect some of the people who are being slaughtered.
Defence is a dangerous thing to discuss during an election campaign because it gets polarized. However, I am
delighted with the sympathy, bordering on pity, for some of our equipment. I keep explaining to the public that our
personal equipment is some of the best in the world. It is just when you consider the transport and fighting vehicles,
that equipment is either wanting in quality or in numbers.
The Chairman: Which Prime Minister was it who said that campaigns are not the times to discuss serious politics?
Senator Cordy: I have a follow-up to that question. You talked about the issue being raised for a while during the
campaign, but in your white paper today you talked about the fact that peacekeeping has changed as it is understood
by the majority of Canadians. I agree wholeheartedly with you.
There are some Canadians who say that we should have more money for our military because we are great
peacekeepers and we should, perhaps, just be peacekeepers, or give a substantial amount of money to peacekeeping.
Their belief is that peacekeeping means that you go to a country that has peace already there and you are just
maintaining that peace. However, when you look at the failed states and the situations that our military are going into,
certainly peacekeeping has changed dramatically and it is more of a peace-making.
Would you not agree that you cannot talk about peacekeeping over here as being different from having a well-
Mr. Mackenzie: I would suggest that it was the intention of successive governments of all political stripes, or at least
two of them in my lifetime, to push the peacekeeping aspect, post-Cold War, because it was cheap. In other words, the
Canadian public understood that if it is peacekeeping then surely they do not need those really expensive toys. They do
not need those ships, guns, aircraft and smart weapons, and things like that. It was probably a political spin that was
put on it.
Surely, the Canadian public, or some at least, is realizing that that is not the case. It is even broken down in the
Charter. Even the UN does not perpetuate this myth. Chapter 6 refers to blue beret peacekeeping. Chapter 7, which
was Somalia, for example, does not. It means rather than the use of deadly force in self-defence, there can be a
premeditated use of force to achieve your mission.
However, you are absolutely right. The perception still exists in the public mind that if we are to spend money in the
military, let us spend it on peacekeeping, as if that were different; as if you were buying different things than you would
if you were to buy it for a combat force. In actual fact, in the case of most of the missions we have been involved with,
the potential was there to have to fight your way out. If you have not had to do that too often, then you do not get rid
of that capability. Remember that you will be hung from the highest yardarm in the event that a whole bunch of young
Canadian men and women are killed because you had not thought about getting them out.
The provincial reconstruction team is a perfect example. If we send a modest force to protect them, like 40
infantrymen, then we had better have a guarantee from the ISAF headquarters in Afghanistan that they have the
capability to rescue those people when a warlord really gets angry with them and decides to take them out because they
are eating into his profit and power base and he has decided that he does not want those Canadians there. It is fine to
send them into that situation provided you have thought about how to get them out. The people who would probably
get them out would be the American-led coalition force in Afghanistan, not the NATO one in Kabul.
Senator Banks: When you talked about the $3 billion being removed from the Department of National Defence
budget to pay for those things that are not guns, the same effect could be obtained if $3 billion were added to the
Department of National Defence budget, would it not?
Mr. Mackenzie: Yes, agreed.
Senator Banks: You said that there were financial reasons for sending those multi-sourced groups out to do the job.
Why is it cheaper to do that than to send the RCR or the Van Doos or the PPCLI?
Mr. Mackenzie: Because the RCR, the Van Doos and the PPCLI never have units large enough to be able to go as a
formed unit so they have to be patched together. In order to make the patching easier, it was decided within the army
to remove things from an infantry battalion like, for example, the mortars, the anti-tank weapons and the pioneers, the
infantry engineers. They were available as building blocks to put together into these temporary structures.
If those units had existed at war establishment, say 900 strong — and hopefully the army's share of the 5,000 will
augment the units to such numbers — you would not have had to patch together units. You could merely have said
1RCR is going and will be replaced by 3PPCLI, as an example.
Senator Banks: If the Royal Canadian Regiment were established to the complement you are talking about, would
they have all of those capabilities?
Mr. Mackenzie: Yes.
Senator Banks: Would they, as a matter of course, have the mortars that they needed, and the transportation?
Mr. Mackenzie: They would if they were restructured as a conventional infantry battalion, yes. If they did not have
them normally, then those add-ons would be in the same base location. In other words, they have been playing hockey
against these others; they have been exercising within the same brigade. You would not have to grab a block from
Edmonton and marry it up with a block from Petawawa.
I know I use this example all the time when I am being interviewed: The infantry is 2,000 smaller than the Toronto
police services, of which I am an honorary chief, and the deployable army somewhere around 15,000. Maple Leaf
Gardens seats about 19,000. We are talking about a really small organization. The commander is faced with this
Equally serious with respect to the navy, where they have to either tie up a ship or move part of a crew over here to
make a war-establishing crew to send off to the Persian Gulf or wherever. They are equally hurting.
Numbers are driven by budgets. Over the last decade, when there has been a request to save a lot of money, then we
have had to look at the equipment program. Even if you shut it down, you do not realize the savings very fast. In fact,
you can get a tremendous spike in penalties.
You then look at operations and training. You cannot cut back on operations, since the government deploys you.
You cannot do very much collective training because many of your troops are overseas. Then you look at personnel.
There is a spike in your budget for one year as you are paying people to get out, but after a year you have a dramatic
savings in money. I must say that they have chopped the forces dramatically. I left in 1993, and we were around 83,000
then. We are now down to about 60,000 or 55,000 effectives. I suppose they had to find the money somewhere.
Defence, development aid and diplomacy were the three areas of government, the absolute pillars of our
international reputation. Those were the three that took cuts of between 23 and 27 per cent of their budgets.
Senator Banks: If the Patricias were properly formed to their disputative complement, they would be able to go out
as a unit and do whatever job was required of them, provided it was appropriate, is that correct?
Mr. Mackenzie: Based on our experience over the last 10 years, yes.
Senator Banks: They have just been denuded. You may have been retired, but not perhaps retiring, general.
I have expressed frustration — and others have sometimes agreed — with the constraint that seems to be placed
upon the leadership in the military to say something, to be frank and to advise us what needs to be done, and what we
are lacking. We do not know because we are not soldiers.
Would you describe to us, when you were there — that is 11 years ago, so things may have changed — by what
means, by whom and by what order were you constrained from answering a question about the military?
Mr. Mackenzie: I was not, which is why I got out two years early. God bless these gentlemen and ladies who work at
National Defence Headquarters. I avoided that like the plague. That is not something I am proud of. I only served one
year in Ottawa, in 36 years, 33 as a commissioned officer. I gave the example at some previous hearing when I came out
of Bosnia and preparing to appear before a U.S. congressional committee, I was told by my political bosses — the
minister, not the CDS — to make sure that I gave my own personal opinion and to make sure that the congressmen
knew that it was my personal opinion. I even mentioned that during the hearing: ``This is my personal opinion.''
When I was asked to appear before this committee 11 years ago, I was given a list of talking points: ``This is how you
will respond to the questions.'' My reaction was, ``Send a monkey, you do not need me to go,'' and I did not. Anyone
can read off that stuff. If you want me to give my own personal opinion, then fine, but that was not accepted.
Senator Banks: Were you told that this is what you must say and this is what you must limit yourself to saying?
Mr. Mackenzie: Yes. I do not know if that happens today. In my case, probably because I had been a little
outspoken, perhaps they were giving me more guidance, and at that time I had not served in National Defence
Headquarters. When I did, it was in the personnel area.
There are a number of issues here. First, just an anecdote. I had a call from Paul Hellyer about 10 years ago and he
said, ``Can I come and see you?'' This is my old minister, so I said, ``Certainly, sir.'' He has a place in Muskoka, so he
dropped in. He said, ``Will you stop blaming me on television for integrating the headquarters of the Canadian Forces
and the Department of National Defence?'' He said, ``I unified the forces, and I still think it was the right thing to do,
but it was Defence Minister Macdonald who did the integration.'' I was wrong; he was right. Hellyer said, ``I think it is
Do not forget, when they integrated the headquarters and civilian bureaucrats and the military were working side by
side as equals, they started comparing pay scales. They discovered that the civilian EX pay scales were significantly
higher than the general officer colonels working side by side. We bastardized the rank. We started creating many
generals and senior officers to get the pay evened out. That is why the number of generals exploded. Thank God, I
probably would never have been one. The fact is that the integration was done, then the pay alignment became
necessary. Believe it or not, the civilian EXs expanded dramatically, too. We now have that situation, which is why I
am suggesting: Do not tell them to go away and streamline things. Tell them they must have a 50 per cent cut within
the next year and implement it, if someone has that authority.
The Chairman: Your clarity on that is helpful. It certainly is consistent with the approach this committee takes when
we want to get a message through. It is clear that a baseball bat works, but a two-by-four is better.
As to your comment about pay and examining the pay for civilians and military, the subject of pay for the military
was raised at that time, but our impression is that there was a corresponding diminution in other benefit that soldiers,
sailors and airmen were getting. At the end of the day, perhaps they were not that much better off. There were a
number of things that were not as easily measured but were part of a soldier's life that contributed significantly to his
or her standard of living.
Mr. Mackenzie: And morale.
The Chairman: That disappeared when they started being classified in a civilian fashion, would you concur with
Mr. Mackenzie: I am no expert, Mr. Chairman, but certainly my gut agrees with you. What I was addressing was the
very senior level, the two and three-star level and working with EX whatever. Certainly, in regard to that whole
cohesiveness, I went through my entire career justifying messes, for example, for junior ranks, NCOs and all that. I
now go out and visit a base to give a speech and those messes are all gone; everything is combined. That very much
addresses your point. That was part of the cohesion, the base structure that the army always complained about.
Ninety per cent of my time as a young commander, as a young lieutenant, was dealing with my guys, getting them to
Household Finance, getting their loans paid off. That is out of the hands of the platoon commander now. That is now
done by ``specialists.''
I do not have to talk to you about the PMQ rent, how frustrating it is for the military, NCOs and soldiers, to be
given a raise and then see it clawed back. We give back twice that amount in PMQ rent increases.
The Chairman: For the people who are watching on television, what does PMQ stand for?
Mr. Mackenzie: PMQ refers to permanent married quarters, built between 1940 and 1945. These are houses that
were built by the government, and in which many military families live today.
Senator Banks: For a long time, some of us have contended that military officers, when they move into National
Defence Headquarters, become subsumed by bureaucracy. They cease to be soldiers, airmen and naval officers to the
extent that they were, and should be. They go through that sort of glass ceiling and become something else and cease to
properly represent the services of which they are putatively a part. That may be unfair, but am I barking up the wrong
Mr. Mackenzie: It is explainable, in the case of some. Do not forget that a vast majority of militaries in the world
have structures — I use the army as an example — of regiments, brigades and divisions, et cetera, where people come
into the headquarters process. I am a graduate of the U.S. Army War College, and my colleagues did this. They would
go into the Pentagon and work for a few years, and then touch a station on the cross for leadership in the field and take
a brigade. They would come back again to the Pentagon, and then go back out to a division.
We cannot do that because we no longer have that structure. We have very few command appointments in the field.
The army lost its only one. When the airborne regiment was changed from a regiment to a battalion, the rank dropped
from colonel to full colonel. Thus there are no places for these folks to return to.
Senator Banks: When officers move into the Pentagon on those rotations, they still act, think, talk and appear to us,
when we meet them — because we do — like army officers.
Mr. Mackenzie: They know that they will have to go back. They know that their reason for existence is out there in
I was interested to see the back and forth between the chairman and the admiral on that issue. The admiral was
being very careful. When I was asked to address this issue by some senior officers on a number of occasions at staff
college, I tried to explain it this way: Think of the end of your career as a ravine such that if you go down it, you will
die. I always thought that General Jeffrey, for example, would walk to the edge of the ravine with his comments, stop
and then back up. The troops really admired him for that. If you stay 20 feet back from the ravine and play it safe, the
soldiers understand, so it is possible. How long has it been since we fired someone? In the case of General Boyle, they
would not even call it a firing. He volunteered to leave and received his pension at 100 per cent.
You can take a risk and criticize the system, in my estimation, and get away with it. A good example of that
occurred about six years ago — and Senator Atkins might have been there at the time — when we were told that the
Canadian Forces was now more operationally effective than we had been ten years earlier. The comminique said,
``Canadian Forces.'' In a brazen kind of comment at the CDA at the Château Laurier, I asked a roomful of retired and
serving officers for a show of hands of those in that room who agreed that we were more operationally effective that
day than we had been ten years earlier. Not one hand went up. The comment changed to: In some areas, we are more
operationally effective. Perhaps that was because of the Coyote reconnaissance vehicle. As a force — because forces
needs boots on the ground, or on the ship, or in the air — we were not, and we are not more operationally effective.
Senator Banks: Are U.K. and American military commanders similarly constrained in the capacity of people like us
to get advice from senior military leaders and for the public to hear from senior military leaders? You went there and
worked with the American situation.
Mr. Mackenzie: No, I think the vice-admiral's answer was comprehensive: There is much more flexibility demanded
in the U.S. There was a perfect example of that recently. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff was talking about
Iraq, although it was not about more troops. He absolutely disagreed with the Secretary of Defence and with President
Bush. On CNN, when asked about that, President Bush said that he was obliged to give his personal opinion, and he
did. It was an acknowledgment that when you offer unfettered advice then you receive the proper feedback.
Senator Banks: Would that not be better?
Mr. Mackenzie: Absolutely, it would be better. Certainly, I will not name names because it does not apply to
everyone; it does not even apply to the majority of senior officers in the Canadian Forces. However, there is a habit,
unique to Canada, whereby when some senior officers retire and end up transferring into prestigious positions within
the bureaucracy of the government, whether as deputy minister or ambassador, the position of senior ambassador to
the United States. Do you think someone would make a lot of waves if that is in you future? I am not condemning the
The Chairman: You are not even naming names.
Mr. Mackenzie: If I worked here with only one year to retirement with a good run at being a senior DM, I would
like to think that I would restrain myself.
Senator Banks: I have a feeling you might not have restrained yourself.
You mentioned ambassadors. According to the articles we read these days, many people are sensing an increased
irrelevance of the United Nations because of the balance that has taken place and the fact that it seems to be rather
toothless. You worked for them at one point. What do you think?
Mr. Mackenzie: I wish the piece that I sent in yesterday had been published today. There is a long letter in The
Toronto Star in this regard. An entire review was done. One of the members of the committee was my boss, one of the
best bosses I ever had. He is listed as a diplomat and he is a retired three-star general. Most commentary to date has
missed the key point. Nothing, but nothing, within the area of international peace and security will change. Why is
that? Because they refuse to address the Charter and the issue of the veto. Thus, 191 members of the UN General
Assembly can bring on board the responsibility to protect, et cetera. The Security Council can move from 15 to 24 or
25, depending on which option they choose but at the end of the day it all comes down to the permanent five members.
The Charter provides for the veto, not only on issues of international peace and security but also to the process
within the Security Council. In other words, the Charter addresses the makeup of the Security Council and the voting
rules. There is no way that the British, the French, the Chinese, the Russians or the Americans will agree unanimously
to change those rules. They will not do that and, therefore, they will continue to dither. My comment is that the
increased size of the Security Council will simply extend the debate.
Senator Banks: If we are talking about R2P and the like, does it not mean that it will not happen through the United
Nations ever again? The only reason it happened once is because Russia walked out of the room.
Mr. Mackenzie: It will happen through multinational organizations. We are members of most of those
organizations, as is the United States. The only one we are not a member of is the European Union, but we are in
OSCE. That is where we will have to turn. I like the idea of the L20 that the Prime Minister is floating. I think 20
leaders at that level will be invaluable. However, the UN will not change.
How many attempts do they need to establish their credibility after Croatia, Bosnia, including Srebrenitza and
Rwanda? They even list East Timor as a success story. Those of us commenting remind the UN that it took the
slaughtering of a number of UN civilian employees before the Security Council turned to Australia and asked them to
lead a rescue mission, of which Canada was a small but important part.
Paradoxically, all the other things added on since 1945, UNHCR, UNICEF, World Health and the World Food
Program, are good organizations that do good work, even with their internal problems. It is a growth industry,
particularly with refugees in UNHCR. What about peace and security? Some Canadians think that we should have
waited for a resolution on Iraq from the UN Security Council. There would never have been a resolution on Iraq
because there is always national self-interest, and Russia and France would not give up their billions of dollars in
Senator Banks: It is a handy place to stand at the moment, though — at that particular moment.
Senator Day: I would like to just round out or conclude the discussion on the division of the military and the
civilian. From whom did you receive your instructions not to give your personal opinion, and that you must follow the
Mr. Mackenzie: That occurred on a number of occasions. The norm would be a representative of the minister or the
executive assistant to the Chief of the Defence Staff.
Senator Day: Would the Privy Council office be involved in that as well?
Mr. Mackenzie: No, they would not be directly involved with me, even though I had a friend at PCO at the time.
Senator Day: Is this a standing practice?
Mr. Mackenzie: I do not know, senator, because I left the army in 1993.
Senator Day: At that time, it was a standing practice and was not in writing?
Mr. Mackenzie: It was that way for me.
Senator Day: We will follow up on that further, but it is helpful for us to understand that. Is it your view that
separating the military from the civilians at National Defence Headquarters would prevent those instructions from
flowing down to the general officers in the Armed Forces?
Mr. Mackenzie: Based on the vice-admiral's current explanation, it likely would not prevent that, but at least it
would give the forces an ability to lobby on their own behalf to provide unfettered advice to the political leadership of
the country. Currently, they are cheek-by-jowl on a daily basis. I would imagine that at Vice-Admiral Buck's level, the
staff would sit around and go through how they would address particular issues. I truly feel for them because they have
to operate within the fiscal and policy constraints.
Vice-Admiral Buck talked about that fine line. You reach that fine line when the admiral is asked whether he agrees
with this policy. That is the fine line.
Senator Day: It seems to me that we are talking about two different things. One is separating the military and
civilians, and the other is this tradition or standing rule that the general officers cannot criticize the political side.
Mr. Mackenzie: Yes.
Senator Day: They are really two separate things, and separation will not solve that problem, will it?
Mr. Mackenzie: No, and I was not suggesting a separation for that reason. Take it out of my hands and put it in the
hands of the experts. Doug Young turned to four people: Jack Granatstein, Des Morton, David Bercuson and — the
name of the fourth I cannot remember — and asked for recommendations on how to increase the efficiency of the
Canadian Forces structurally. They came back with hundreds of recommendations, but the number one
recommendation in each of their papers, which are still available, was to de-integrate National Defence Headquarters.
We no longer have a Canadian Forces headquarters. I think the law of the land requires it, but we do not have one. It
has been consumed by National Defence Headquarters. The four advisers said to separate the civilian and military
functions so that the military guys do what they are told and the civilian side looks after the civilian staff, and at the
top there is a tiny, integrated staff doing policy, budgets and that type of thing. Strangely enough, the vast majority of
the recommendations of those four gentlemen have been implemented, but not the first one.
I have a couple of friends who became CDS who were very much against integration when they went into the job.
Both of them told me that once you get in there, you see that it is much more important to be part of the process and
have influence, and that it is not a bad idea, to which my reaction was, ``You have been co-opted. I cannot judge
because I have not been there, but you have been co-opted.''
Senator Day: Could you comment a bit on the reserve forces? In previous meetings you have had with us, as well as
today, you have said that a reserve force should be available for homeland emergency situations, and you talked about
more reserves in the Western provinces. During the last election campaign, the government stated that there would be
two roles for the reserve forces, one being, as you have discussed, chemical/biological defence and any emergency
situations and the other continuing the traditional role of gap-filling for the regular force.
Is that realistic? Does that fit in with your plans, or would you see them going further toward the homeland security
Mr. Mackenzie: Senator, you mentioned historical. In fact, from 1960 until the early 1980s, there was no filling in;
there was no total force concept. When we had an overseas commitment, the regular force did it. Then, as the regular
force decreased in size and America started talking about total force concept, we went into total force and benefited
from reserve personnel serving with us on overseas missions.
The most revolutionary suggestion in my comment regarding the reserves, once again coming from my past position
as an adviser on security within Ontario, is that I would like to see the reserve force have a national guard phase in their
structure. I do not think a premier, in the event of an unmitigated disaster — which will happen — should have to
phone the CDS because he cannot phone the minister or the Prime Minister, on the grounds that that might trigger
accusations of political bias — if a Liberal phoned a Tory and did not get a response, whereas a Tory premier did, for
example. That is why the premier phones the CDS for help. However, if you are Mel Lastman, you call one of the ex-
mayors of Toronto and they get the army to come down and shovel snow.
I am suggesting that the premier should have a dotted line to the regular force reserve units within his province.
Sometimes it gets a little complicated. For example, with the Ontario-Manitoba border, it would go to Winnipeg and
Western Ontario, but that is detail. The situation now is much slower. I understand they are looking at streamlining
that process. The reserves cannot currently recruit the numbers they are authorized to have.
Water follows the easiest route down a hill, and for decades we targeted the student population, because they needed
a bit of money. However, they finish university, get jobs, and many of them move away and do not necessarily join the
unit at their next location. It tends to be a very mobile population.
Overseas deployments are very attractive to the type of people the military wants, the gung-ho person who wants to
serve their country overseas. They will have a hard time expanding. They have played around with recruiting for years.
Sometimes regular force recruiting officers would handle it. You could probably fill this room with the paper required
to process someone, which all of us were told to sort out, and we never did.
Senator Day: Have you thought about outsourcing the recruiting activity? Many armed forces have outsourced jobs
such as cooks, athletic directors and physical training instructors and stayed with the core. What about outsourcing
Mr. Mackenzie: Based on my limited experience in dealing with the reserves, because I only commanded the army in
Ontario for about six months before retiring, I still think the units are a good outsource. By that I mean the unit is the
spirit, the affair of the heart, the history and the uniform, and therefore people come in to the unit. They come into the
Fort York Armouries or go over to Jarvis Street and join my first regiment, The Queen's Own Rifles. It becomes
competitive. The units are out looking for folks to recruit. The important thing is to do it quickly and get the first
paycheque into their hands within a couple of weeks.
Senator Meighen: Do you have an opinion on whether the absence of a law such as that which exists in the United
States with regard to employers and their relationship with reservists is detrimental to our efforts to recruit reservists in
Mr. Mackenzie: Senator, it is not working in the States. Over 50 per cent of those folks who served extended tours in
the National Guard and the Reserve had their own businesses and, as a result, their businesses are gone now. One of
the great problems facing the American military is that so many of these people are coming home to find that their
spouse has not been able to keep the business going.
One is a victim of one's experience. Two Australian senior officers with whom I served overseas told me not to do it.
They said that if two people are looking for a job, one of whom is in the reserve and one of whom is not, the person
who is not in the reserves will be hired because the company will not have the obligation to maintain his seniority and
welcome him back after a mission. That is a fairly strong argument.
As usual, there is probably a Canadian compromise, and we have tried that with the liaison councils. They are great.
I imagine that the number one culprit is still the Department of National Defence. In the government, particularly in
DND, fewer people are let off to go and do reserve training. That certainly was the case when I left.
That is a long-winded way of saying that it requires very close study. It could not be draconian, but there might be
something within what we are currently doing with the liaison councils that could increase their effectiveness. There
could be carrots as opposed to sticks.
Senator Meighen: It has been put to us that, in terms of recruitment and international kudos for Canada, and in
terms of a meaningful role for the Armed Forces, all this has generally happened in our international operations. Yet,
today, many people are preoccupied with interoperability which, as I understand it, means with the Americans. Can we
do both, or should we put an emphasis on one place versus the other?
Mr. Mackenzie: I think we must be more selective. My numbers will be close. I think we are deployed in, perhaps, 13
or 14 areas right now. The last time I checked, 10 were in single digits. Why have a guy here, or two guys there and four
guys over there just so you can say when interviewed, ``We're in 13 different missions around the world.'' We have less
than 250 on UN operations right now. The largest component is somewhere around 160 on the Golan Heights, where
we went in 1973. At the time, I was in Cairo with the other half of the mission. Do we need one in Sarajevo and one in
Cyprus, as I mentioned before?
The indication that we will be wedded to Afghanistan for quite a while is a wise move, but let us not just structure
the units for the mission that is going on there right now, because it will change.
Once again, to put in a plug for the amphibious force, one of its greatest advantages is that it slows down the
requirement for decision-making here in Ottawa within the government. Why? Because if the government decides to
send us somewhere now, it takes three months for us to get there.
There have been rumblings that we might go into western Sudan. If that were the case, the force could go over and
park itself in international waters. The troops are trained to keep fit and maintain their skills while aboard ship. If the
government decides to deploy them there, they could be there within a number of hours. Would that not be nice?
A number of Canadians got sucked in with our speed of response in Yugoslavia, which was a high profile
deployment in 1992. Guess why they were there in six hours? Because they came from within Germany. Boy, did those
guys in the old brigade know about trains. They roared down to the trains and zipped down to Croatia. They were
there before the Brits, the French and everyone else. Canadians felt rightly proud. That was the last time we were able
to do that. Now, we would have to patch them together in Canada and get them across on subsequent rotations.
We should streamline our interoperability with America. It is a matter of equipment as much as training. The F-18s
are being upgraded and converted now. The army does a great deal of training with the U.S. within budget constraints.
The navy is the best at it. They are doing the best job because they have had more practice doing it with
STANAVFORLANT, NATO and operating with U.S. forces in the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Sea. Let us not
spread ourselves so thin.
I am not making my point very well, because spreading your forces with one here and two or three over there is not
spreading yourself thin, but I do not think we should send in these single-digit contingents.
We are making a big deal about training the African Union peacekeepers. First, they do not need training. I just
came back from the area, which includes Kenya and Uganda, two months ago. I was lecturing at the Uganda War
College. They are quite capable of doing the job on their own, thank you very much. However, they do need equipment
Senator Meighen: But we cannot supply that, can we?
Mr. Mackenzie: No. When I say ``lift'' I mean trucks so that they can drive there from some neighbouring countries
such as Uganda.
I can see us training people to supervise elections, setting up a judiciary in Kosovo and that sort of thing. However,
there is not a lot of training required to turn soldiers into peacekeepers.
One of the problems in our own country, and internationally now, is going to a concept of regional organizations,
which I held dear and lectured on for years, particularly with the U.S. in the first few years after my retirement. I have
totally changed my mind, 180 degrees. I have watched some of the African contingents providing peacekeepers in
Sierra Leone, for example, where they became part of the problem. Pearson's idea of neutrality, coming from outside
and being benign to the problem, was a good one. Having worked with both Japan and Korea on peacekeeping in their
own countries, I can never see them working together on a peacekeeping mission in Southeast Asia.
Rather than saying, ``Well, we will train Africans to look after African problems,'' I would much rather see
contingents from Sweden, Norway, Fiji and places like that, if we are talking of pure peacekeeping. If it is ``keep the
peace or I will kill you,'' then it does not make much difference who is there. You can send in a formed combat
organization to do that type of work.
Senator Meighen: Much has been made about the growing technological gap between the United States and
everyone else. From the first responders right up to the military apparatus, we talk a lot about the capability of units to
talk to each other. To what extent is this technological gap making it difficult to talk to the Americans? What are the
implications for Canada, let alone the rest of the world's military forces? Should we say, ``You will do your own thing
anyway. Good luck to you. Go and do it. We will not fuss too much about trying to keep up with you and we will do
this and this?''
Mr. Mackenzie: This is not World War II or Korea, where our contribution and the contribution of other nations
makes a really big difference to the combat power. We are talking about politics here. We are talking geopolitics. We
are talking about showing support in high risk areas.
We have fought in three wars — Gulf War I, Serbia-Kosovo and Aghanistan, with zero casualties, no fatalities, to
enemy fire. People look at that and say, ``Those guys are attached to a string tied to their political leadership back
home.'' They are right.
It is the message of political support you send by providing these sharp-end people. They will make it work because
America will have the combat power that makes the difference on the ground. There are ways to do that. Liaison
officers could be used. We can be lent radio sets, as they have in other missions, or whatever. There are ways around
these things. They would never reject our presence by thinking that we did not have the right communications
I have said this before, and perhaps even to this committee: For 11 years I have lectured at the United States Army
Joint Flag Officers Warfighting Course, not on how to fight wars. They asked me to lecture their two, three and four
star generals on the complications of commanding a large multinational force with 30 nations present. I have worked
out a good relationship with them.
When two ministers went to Afghanistan, the Americans were patting them on the back saying, ``You have great
guys. You are making a great contribution here.'' At least that is what the public heard. What I heard from the
commander of that particular force is that we were a pain in the ass. He said, ``You have these outstanding soldiers
with great personal kits, but the day you arrived you had to borrow vehicles from us to get around.'' We traded a
sewage treatment truck for rations. We were borrowing sniper ammunition and that type of thing. They love the
quality of our people as individuals and in small groups, but we could do a better job by sending in someone who is
self-contained and interoperable.
Senator Meighen: Without having to get into the stratosphere of high tech?
Mr. Mackenzie: We could, that is right.
The Chairman: You commented about sending troops on a vessel. Troops do not do well on ships for a long period
of time, do they?
Mr. Mackenzie: You can ask the United States Marine Corp, and the Brits on their way to the Falklands. It is
possible to do that for reasonable periods of time. You will not park out there for months at a time; there are ports to
go into. Certainly, you would have to be able to maintain your physical fitness and your weapon skills, which the Brits
did well on their way to the Falklands. It is possible, but not for months at a time.
The Chairman: If you are sending them there in rough weather, you know they will not arrive physically fit.
Mr. Mackenzie: There is medication for that. If you can't take a joke, don't put on a uniform. It is part of the
The Chairman: Do you not think that a government could commit a task force to sea and then not have them go
forward with the mission without enduring all sorts of political grief back at home?
Mr. Mackenzie: Yes, I think that would be possible. We have taken braver decisions than that in the past. It took us
three weeks to get to Haiti in our own hemisphere. That force could have been there — I am no sea person — within a
week easily with a formed unit ready for a worst case scenario rather than the habit of the UN, for money, because of
best case scenario, namely, that we think things will go the way we anticipate and sometimes they do not turn out that
Senator Cordy: You mentioned Shearwater. I am from Nova Scotia. I totally agree with what you are saying. In the
mid 1990s when we had the G8 in Halifax, the leaders of all the countries were able to land in Shearwater and then take
a vessel from Shearwater to downtown Halifax which, from a security perspective, was the best way to do it.
Last week, George Bush arrived in Halifax and the plane was unable to land in Shearwater because the runway was
in such poor condition. The runway is gone, and you have alluded to the fact that we are hopeful that the water access
will not be gone. I concur fully with what you are saying. It is a very sad situation to see the deterioration in
government land such as that, with access to the downtown area of the city so immediate, and such access to the ocean
through Halifax harbour.
Mr. Mackenzie: We have obviously failed. A whole hockey sock of retired senior officers from all three services
agreed — a highly unusual event — that Shearwater should be saved as a mounting base. The Canadian Land
Company — which does great work, do not get me wrong — has been given that property. You have now confirmed
that the President of the United States could not land there, not because the airport was in such rough shape but
probably because it is being broken up; it is being destroyed. That is a tragedy. That is a $1-billion facility if you had to
rebuild the entire base: the jetty, the barracks, et cetera, which is exactly what you would need if you were to implement
what we are recommending. Even if it does not involve what we are recommending; even if it is moving troops from
Gagetown to Halifax to put them on a chartered ship to send them off, that facility has a mounting base that is
In the official questions that came to me, I was asked about the paper that I submitted to the Prime Minister,
endorsed by all these other officers. It went to the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition, the chairs of the
Commons and Senate defence committees and the Minister of National Defence. I received two responses. One was a
form letter, a thank you from the previous minister. The other response I received was from your chairman with a
handwritten note underneath the typing, thanking me and assuring me that he would distribute the paper to the
committee. Those were the only two responses. The rest did not even acknowledge receiving it. This was serious work,
put in over six months by a large number of senior officers. You would think that at least it would be acknowledged. I
went to see the defence critic, at his request, and he had not seen that paper. It had not been passed on from his
The Chairman: If Shearwater was active with the runway functioning, could you also justify Greenwood?
Mr. Mackenzie: Greenwood, in my estimation, is much more important for maritime surveillance, as opposed to a
mounting base for an amphibious force. There is ample justification there. As you know even better than I, that
requirement is higher.
The Chairman: Understandably, but how many air bases do you need in a single province?
Mr. Mackenzie: This is not an air base, sir. This is a location that could be used in the event that we were deploying a
rapid reaction by air, or bringing people into the Shearwater area to get on their ship and depart if they are not there
permanently. We have temporary air traffic control capability that could do it, but I am sure the civilian side of the
house would have continued to use the airport as an alternative to a fairly weather sensitive international airport up the
road. I am from just outside of Truro so I know the area with the fog along the Fundy coast.
Senator Cordy: I would like to refer to the same paragraph in your report where it talks about procurement. You
talk about the 10-year plan and that perhaps we should lease. How do we make procurement more efficient? We have a
cost perspective and a time perspective. The length of time, which increases the amount of money that is spent, is
horrendous, to my way of thinking.
Mr. Mackenzie: It is very much so, which is one of the reasons I avoided serving at National Defence Headquarters.
There have been many excellent papers written on the subject and a lot of excellent recommendations, even in the
reports to which I referred, of Granatstein and Bercuson, et cetera. There has been much study done on the
procurement side, which is outside the Department of National Defence directly. Surely there is great potential there
for streamlining. However, it has not happened and, if anything, is eating up more manpower within the military.
Back in the forties and fifties, if we needed to buy a tank we had three or four people running the project, or so I was
told by the general in charge at that time. Now if we wanted to buy a new tank, you would need a theatre to hold all of
the people involved in the process.
I wish I could answer your question but I answer it only by saying that there are much better minds than mine who
have looked at the problem and have made significant recommendations.
Senator Banks: The questions I have deal with incredulity. How could that possibly happen? In the cartoons, the
answer is because it is the military. However, that cannot always be the answer.
The advantage of Shearwater is the proximity of sea and air capability. It is virtually in the same place. If we do a lot
of the things that we now say we will do, then we will have to rebuild that facility. This week we will tear it down; next
week we will have to rebuild it again, at God knows what cost.
The second point of incredulity concerns what you have talked about — and I am sure many of those stories are
apocryphal — namely, Canadian Forces going to other places and they do not have any toothpaste or they have two
crates of left-handed mittens, or the snipers do not have any bullets that fit their guns.
How can that happen? How can we send a small or large expeditionary force someplace without the trucks they
need to drive around in and without the bullets to fit their guns? How can that happen?
Mr. Mackenzie: Patching together temporary organizations aggravate the situation. You have used the example of 1
RCR. If you send a unit such as 1 RCR somewhere, there is enough expertise within that organization and it is stable.
The worst thing you could do before you have to do something complicated is reorganize. They would not have to
reorganize. They could do that. They have a transport officer who knows how to get things on to planes and they have
logisticians and a service battalion. They know the system will fail them so they take extra toothpaste, that type of
thing, until it gets sorted out at the other end.
I served with an organization in 1973 where they patched together a service company, and the contingent was an
unmitigated disaster. That is why I was sent there. Even as a major, I was alleged to have had a great deal of UN
experience, and the general there at the time was not coping with the challenge. I was sent over there almost as a
``gestapo'' to report back to NDHQ on morale and a few things like that, because we had had a couple of people killed
and the autopsies did not go well in downtown Cairo. That was a temporary unit. The commanding officer was fired,
and the general was replaced by Don Holmes, rest his soul, who did a great job.
If the units are big enough, they can be given the task, and they know who to phone at brigade quarters to ensure
that they are properly prepared before they go overseas.
The Canadian Airborne regiment — and the investigation never got to that phase —had their mission changed just
before they left. They were supposed to be this touchy-feely peacekeeping force, and I advised them, ``No, this is now
Chapter 7. The U.S. is leading the coalition, and you will be fighting your way in, and you will probably have to secure
under fire an airhead when you get over there.'' That is what happened, but they were not fired back at because they
were well organized and tough, and people left the battlefield and gave them the airfield.
I notice, in the questions I was given, the question on transformation. Your interpretation of transformation was
this plug-and-play concept. I am getting a briefing from General Hillier in Toronto tonight. A number of us will get a
briefing on transformation. I hope I am not putting words in his mouth, but transformation to me is taking this
unbelievable information gathering and targeting system and using it to reduce the number of people that are involved
because of the increased capability of the weapon systems. The special forces guy on horseback calls in a B-52 and
designates a target two miles away, and the missile goes through the window of a house.
Perhaps I am wrong, but I do not think transformation should be sold as patching together units because that is
more efficient, because it is not. I just do not think it is more efficient. It addresses your issue of how they can show up
with trucks, because they were loaded up in Edmonton, and the personnel were flown over there and jumped off, and
their trucks were coming a few chalks behind, or not even that. They were coming by ship. There is another expression,
``with military efficiency,'' which I prefer.
Senator Banks: That is an oxymoron; right?
Senator Day: Thank you, general, for your 2005 defence white paper. It is a good place for us to start. In the first
part of your white paper, general, you start with a certain number of assumptions, and that is, I think, where we all
have to start. If you look at what happened in terms of deployment following the 1994 white paper, there were a great
deal more deployments following that white paper than were ever contemplated at the time of the white paper. What
we would have to make assumptions on here is tempo of deployment, or how frequent will our forces be required to go
offshore again for the next 10 years.
Mr. Mackenzie: I would make the point, though, senator, that with the 1994 white paper, if we could have done
what it said, we would have had no problems with the deployments that we had over the following 10 years. That white
paper said that we should be able to sustain indefinitely 5,000 troops overseas. The major contingent that we had
deployed a couple of years ago was 700 Patricias in Kandahar, and at that time we said we could not keep them there
for more than six months, or replace them. If we could sustain 5,000 troops overseas, I would be delighted. I am talking
army. At that time, we had four ships, and 95 per cent of the navy was on a rotational deployment.
Senator Day: Rather than trying to predict how many deployments will occur over the next five years, the admiral
who was just here said that we will set some sort of objective standard. He said that for every month away, a soldier
should be back in Canada for five months. If he is a sailor, for every month away he should be back in Canada for four
months. Is that, one in five and one in four, a reasonable type of objective standard to set?
Mr. Mackenzie: It will not happen. There will be a call from the Hill, and we, under responsibility to protect, will
deploy him no matter what his standard is. That is how it works. They will have waivers, like the army and the navy
do. You do not have to deploy. After you have done a tour, you get a year at home, but you can sign a waiver, and you
also get peer pressure. I am the idiot who volunteered for nine of these things, because you do not want people to come
home and say, ``You should have been there, Lew.'' You want to be in the first group, as much as possible.
I would like to think that soldiers and sailors and air people are still like that. The guys and gals will continue to
volunteer and do these things, and the government will continue to task them. What the military needs is personnel and
equipment to be able to respond without having to patch organizations together.
Senator Day: Respond to what? We do not know what it will be, so how can we prepare to respond?
Mr. Mackenzie: I would say it will be a growth industry, because R2P is important, and I certainly agree with it —
responsibility to protect. Having made an international point of stressing the idea of responsibility to protect — bless
him for doing so — the Prime Minister will have to put out occasionally, and he will put up with diplomacy and
increasing foreign aid and with the military.
Senator Day: When you recommend a 75,000 to 80,000 strong force and a number of other factors, do you have in
mind that there will be an increase in the number of deployments over the next 10 years as there has been in the past?
Mr. Mackenzie: Yes. My figures are very close to yours. I see six or seven in the army, three in the navy and two in
the air force. You have concurrent infrastructure increases, which comes out somewhere around 75,000 to 80,000. If
you have 80,000, you only have 75,000 deployable. In other wordsk, a bunch of people will be on retirement leave and
that type of thing. That is based upon the assumption that the demand will go up and not down.
We could be doing the same thing today as we were doing in 1992 when we had 10,000 deployed. Many people
forget that we had a brigade in Germany in an air group, plus 600 in Cyprus, almost 2,000 in Bosnia, about 500 in
Cambodia, and 1,400 in Somalia. That was a major activity period. That could happen today. We could be in Sierra
Leone with a battalion; we could have a battalion group in Darfur; we could have a battalion in Iraq and we could
have more than we have now in Afghanistan. The demand is out there. Obviously, we will not fulfil everyone's request.
However, it will become harder to say no when it is not just the UN that is asking; for example, when NATO comes
calling, or OSCE or whatever.
The Chairman: But it will take us five years to recruit 5,000 more troops?
Mr. Mackenzie: Yes.
The Chairman: General, thank you very much on behalf of the committee. It has been an interesting discussion. We
appreciate your comments. It helps give focus to the work we are doing on reviewing Canada's defence capability. We
hope to have the opportunity to communicate with you again in the future and perhaps, if you have the time, to have
you come and appear before us again.
Mr. Mackenzie: Thank you, and I really appreciate your doing this because this is as close to a white paper as you
can get, which is badly needed.
The Chairman: To the members of the public watching this broadcast, if you have any questions or comments,
please visit our website 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
contacting members of the committee.
The committee suspended.
The committee resumed.
The Chairman: Before proceeding with our next witnesses, I would like to introduce, on my far right, Senator Pierre
Claude Nolin from Quebec. Senator Nolin chaired the Special Senate Committee on Illegal Drugs that issued a
comprehensive report calling for the legalization and regulation of cannabis in Canada. He is the Deputy Chair of the
Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration.
At the end of the table is Senator Michael Meighen from Ontario. He is a lawyer and a member of the Law Society
of Upper Canada, and the bar of the Province of Quebec. Currently, he is Chair of our Subcommittee on Veterans
Affairs. He is also a member of the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce and the Standing
Senate Committee on Fisheries and Oceans.
This afternoon's first witness is Ms. Sheila Fraser, Auditor General of Canada since her appointment on May 31,
2001. Ms. Fraser joined the office of the Auditor General as Deputy Auditor General, Audit Operations, in January
1999. Before joining the office, Ms. Fraser enjoyed a fruitful and challenging career with the firm of Ernst & Young,
where she became a partner in 1981. She earned a Bachelor of Commerce degree from McGill University in 1972 and
became a chartered accountant in 1974.
Ms. Fraser, we are pleased to see you before us again. Would you be good enough to introduce your colleagues? We
understand you also have a brief set of introductory remarks. Please proceed.
Ms. Sheila Fraser, Auditor General of Canada: Thank you, honourable senators, for inviting us today to discuss our
audits applicable to national security and defence. With me today are Assistant Auditor General Mr. Hugh
McRoberts; and Mr. Peter Kasurak and Ms. Wendy Loschiuk, principals in our office responsible for audits related to
national security and national defence respectively.
Recently we provided a letter to the committee listing a series of issues from previous and current audits, to which
my opening remarks today will refer.
The main issue facing the government in respect of national security is not what to do but how to do it. The 2001
budget established the overarching goals of keeping Canada safe, keeping terrorists out and keeping Canada's border
open to legitimate travellers and trade. Our audit found that nearly all of the $7.7 billion allocated in the 2001 budget
for improved security was spent furthering these goals.
What is more difficult is to develop structures to direct government efforts. When we began our audit, at least 16
agencies were involved in delivering or directing national security programs. Our audit found that the most common
failures were a result of stove-piping responsibility or, simply, the complexity caused by so many agencies being
involved. Better coordination among intelligence and security agencies was needed. We found that the government did
not have a management framework that would guide investment, management and development decisions and allow it
to direct complementary actions in separate agencies or to make choices between conflicting priorities.
We also found deficiencies in the way intelligence is managed across the government. A lack of coordination had led
to gaps in intelligence coverage as well as duplication. The government as a whole has not adequately assessed
intelligence lessons learned from critical incidents or followed-up on improvement plans.
The government made structural changes to address these issues and adopted its first-ever national security policy.
The government had failed to improve the ability of security information systems to communicate with each other.
Projects that would have helped deal with increased demand for fingerprint identification has not been funded by the
public security and antiterrorism initiative. The real-time identification system project has since received additional
funding, but it may have difficulty in completing its work within the amount allocated to it. As well, integrating IT
projects across several organizations will be challenging.
Criminal intelligence data have not being used to screen applicants before clearance to restricted areas at airports.
This means that security clearances were issued without checking applicants for criminal association. A memorandum
of understanding signed by the RCMP and Transport Canada to facilitate information sharing is the basis for
improvement, but procedures and information systems must be updated to move forward.
Border watch lists used to screen visa applicants, refugee claimants, and travellers seeking entry into Canada were in
disarray. The Canada Border Services Agency and the RCMP committed themselves to improving the updating of
watch lists. It may be opportune to now inquire as to the extent of progress made in these matters.
The government has responded to the challenge by adopting its first national security policy to direct the
development of an integrated security system. It has also consolidated many security agencies into the new department
of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada under a single minister. Legislation is now before Parliament to
define the roles and powers of these new institutions.
Mr. Chairman, this committee may wish to consider whether the government is making adequate progress in
integrating security programs. I shall be reporting on additional elements of the 2001 budget initiative, including
emergency preparedness, marine security and air transport security, in the spring of next year.
I will turn now to national defence. My office has a long history at the Department of National Defence, and I
appreciate this opportunity to talk about some of our work. As you know, we recently reported on the upgrades to the
CF-18 fighter aircraft, and perhaps I could talk about those findings first. From my earlier statements, I believe that
senators know that, overall, we are satisfied with the results that the Department of National Defence has achieved
thus far in this program. Phase 1 is within cost and the aircraft currently coming off the production line are meeting the
expectations of the department. In fact, upgraded aircraft are now being flown at CFB Cold Lake, Alberta, and at
CFB Bagotville, Quebec. Of course the program is not without its problems, and we found that there are delays in two
of the upgrades: the simulator acquisition and the cockpit display. Staff shortages and problems in project approvals
contributed to these delays.
The Department of National Defence needs to improve its project and risk management in order to better cope with
problems that can cause delays. In that sense, the upgrade of the CF-18 is not unlike other major equipment projects
that we have looked at.
For example, in 1998 we looked at six major equipment purchases at National Defence and found then that the
department needed to improve project management and the way it identified and managed risks.
We revisited our 1998 work two years later and were encouraged by how improvements were being made. But in
1998, in 2000 and again in 2004 we have consistently found that National Defence cannot ensure that the right people
with the right skills are available for major equipment projects. Nevertheless, the CF-18 project team worked very hard
to get phase I of the modernized aircraft into operation. Phase II, however, could be more challenging to manage. I
would like to see the department strengthen its ability to manage the difficulties that it could reasonably expect to
encounter in phase II or in any major acquisition project. Senior management needs better information on how well
projects are performing and on whether risks are being addressed.
Phase II should be completed by 2009. After that, the air force expects to get at least eight years of flying time with
its upgraded fighters. If the upgraded aircraft are not in service by 2009, the air force will not be flying these aircraft for
the expected eight years. The longer these aircraft can be used in their modernized version, the more value the air force
will get out of them.
Therefore, National Defence should be assuring this committee that it will be able to deliver fully-upgraded aircraft
Once these aircraft are fully modernized and delivered to the squadrons, there should be assurances that the air force
will optimize their use. That is, there should be pilots to fly them, technicians to keep them maintained, spare parts and
We have expressed concern before about the shortage of maintenance technicians for the Canadian Forces. In 2001,
in our chapter on in-service equipment, we reported that there were too few technicians for the jobs required, and many
that were available did not have the qualifications needed. In 2002, in our chapters on recruiting and retention and on
the NATO flying-training contract, we reported on the shortage of pilots. I am still concerned, but am encouraged by
the department's response that it is putting additional funding into training for more technicians and recruiting more
We have reported on other concerns that affect acquisition at DND. In 1998, we looked at six major acquisitions at
National Defence and the capital budget for buying equipment. In 2000, we looked to see if National Defence had
taken action on our 1998 recommendations and were encouraged by some improvements. In 2003, we reported on the
Challenger jet purchase. I would be happy to talk about any of these findings.
We have also expressed concern in the past about information provided to Parliament on the readiness of the
Canadian Forces. National Defence faces many challenges and impact readiness. For example, we have reported in
several audits on the recruiting and retention problems that the Canadian Forces are facing, and how a lack of people,
especially skilled people, can affect operations. The impacts of aging equipment that become more costly to maintain
but less and less operational is another area where better information could aid Parliament.
Mr. Chairman, your committee has taken great interest in determining whether the Canadian Forces can do the job
that they are being asked to do and whether they can transform to meet new demands. These are questions that we
have asked in the past and will continue to pursue. We are looking now at one aspect of transformation and will be
reporting our findings in April, 2005.
Mr. Chairman, that concludes my opening statement. My colleagues and I would be pleased to answer any
questions that the committee may have.
The Chairman: Thank you very much, Ms. Fraser. I cannot tell you how much we value your work and appreciate
receiving your reports and letters. They assist us a great deal and we are grateful for them.
The first questioner we have today is Senator Day.
Senator Day: I would like to talk, first of all, about the acquisition process at National Defence. In your
presentation, you referred to looking at, in 1998, six major equipment purchases. You studied those and followed up a
couple of years later to see if your recommendations had been followed, and you were encouraged that some advances
were being made.
We hear countless current stories, not those going back three, four or six years, of delays, frustrations and how long
it takes to acquire equipment. Do you have any more current information with respect to acquisitions? What are your
findings? Are you seeing improvements?
Ms. Fraser: The most recent audit we did on the CF-18 illustrates the problem that you mention. As we mention, in
fact, in our report, it will have taken 14 years from the time the problem was identified until the first phase of that is
completed. The department itself has recognized that the process is too long, and has indicated that it is undertaking a
study and has set an objective of reducing the time for procurement to 11 years, which some would still argue is
We have in that report a schedule which shows, in particular for the CF-18s, the various delays. I will ask Ms.
Loschiuk to comment as well. Many delays are, perhaps, outside the direct control of the people managing those
Ms. Wendy Loschiuk, Principal, Office of the Auditor General of Canada: We found that, in the case of the CF-18,
there were delays in trying to move projects and components of projects through the process, just getting them
approved. Part of that was due to the fact that there were so many approval levels in the department. Many of the
projects had to go through several levels, and that is something that the department, too, has recognized and wants to
Outside the department there were also delays. Some of those delays were in dealing either with Public Works and
Government Services Canada or getting approvals at Treasury Board. We did not particularly look into those. It was a
little bit outside of our scope.
Senator Day: I believe that Scott Brison, the minister responsible for Public Works, has at least started a study with
respect to acquisition that probably will deal with Public Works and Government Services as opposed to the military.
Were you able to highlight specific items that caused delays within the NDHQ, and did you identify or distinguish
between the people in uniform, the military side, and the civilian side of National Defence Headquarters?
Ms. Loschiuk: I have to answer that we did not particularly distinguish between military or civilian. We simply
looked at the overall acquisition process for the CF-18 upgrades. We found a couple of issues that the department
needs to address in just trying to manage internally the projects themselves, so that they could move forward faster.
The department needs better information so that it can assess what is happening, if it is on target to move things
through more quickly.
The second thing we found is that sometimes the people who were working internally on the projects did not have
the experience or the skills that perhaps would have smoothed things out for them and made things go faster. That is
sometimes simply a factor of just not having the people, or enough people, available in the department to assign to the
Senator Day: You have done a value-for-money type look at the National Defence Headquarters. Could it be that
better value for money might come from acquisitions being done by people whose business it is to know how to
manage projects, as opposed to someone who will be there for three years, or two years doing another job and then
back in the field doing what he or she has been trained to do virtually all of his or her adult life?
Ms. Loschiuk: In this particular case, the CF-18 is an example of an extremely complex, long-term acquisition, and
many people rotate through a project such as this. Consistency would certainly help. More experience and skills would
certainly help keep the project going. All of the things you have mentioned were certainly weaknesses that we noticed.
With multi-billion dollar, multi-year, multi-phased projects such as this, those are all weaknesses that certainly should
Senator Day: You mention the project management, and I just asked a question on that issue and I appreciate your
answer. You also refer to the way in which the department has identified and managed risks. Could you elaborate on
that and tell me what we are talking about here?
Ms. Fraser: On project management, I will add that we did make comments and recommendations in that chapter
on the number of people assigned overall in the department to managing projects. They currently have a limit on the
total number of people assigned to project management, irrespective of the number or complexity of the projects going
on. That is one issue.
In there as well is the expertise of project management, and I would say that that is linked, in a way, to the risk
management. We are particularly concerned with Phase 2, even though the department has done a very good job in
spite of a lot of difficulties in getting Phase 1 to come in on cost and within time. Some projects are behind schedule,
and Phase 2 will be even more complex and difficult. Someone should be identifying all of the potential risks and how
they will be countered, should they arise. Some of them can be reasonably expected to occur.
There needs to be better identification of risks and the measures that will be taken to try to either alleviate them or
minimize those risks. There are questions of skilled personnel and funding. The simulators, for example, are an issue.
They will be late, and then the pilots will have to train on the planes rather than on the simulators, which then gives rise
to other challenges. We were just saying that with all the complexities that come into it, there needs to be much better
identification of that and better management of it.
Senator Day: Fundamentally, is procurement within the Canadian Forces — other than what they are procuring in
terms of equipment or services — basically the same as any other type of procurement in a complex organization?
Ms. Fraser: I would presume so. Obviously, it is complex. It often involves very large projects as well, with unique
suppliers. There is sort of a rigour that must come in with that. There is, as well, the whole management of a number of
components in what are some very large projects.
Senator Day: Are we only hearing these stories of delays within the Canadian Armed Forces, although the same
delays might be taking place in other government departments, such as Natural Resources, for example, but they are
just do not appear in the news as much?
Ms. Fraser: I would presume there are probably delays in other large projects as well.
Mr. Hugh McRoberts, Assistant Auditor General: The changing nature of federal government operations is such
that, increasingly, the Department of National Defence remains one of the few departments that is doing these things
on a regular basis. In the past, major projects of this type that I have audited in other departments have also shown
similar difficulties and problems. That is, to some extent these are the problems that come with big, complex projects.
Senator Day: We heard from Vice-Admiral Buck this morning that a particular piece of equipment had been
approved, the money had been allocated, they know what they want and they have made the request. There are two of
the same already up and running. It is not a matter of making the equipment work or testing to see if it will work. All
they need is Treasury Board approval. He said they can expect it to take four to six months to sign off on this
equipment. Why would you ever have that kind of delay built into a system?
Ms. Fraser: All I can say is that that is an excellent question. Perhaps the Treasury Board should be responding to it.
Senator Day: Have you not found that happening in any of your other investigations?
Ms. Fraser: We have certainly found that, and I think you will see in the CF-18 project that there were very long
delays in getting approvals from the Treasury Board. We did not go in to investigate why that occurred. There was a
bit of a presumption in some places that it was a question of funding, and that perhaps the funding was not in place.
Given a certain envelope, which we also mention in that report has remained fairly fixed at about $2 billion a year for
capital expenditures, it was a question of setting priorities and which projects would be funded and which ones would
not. You seem to indicate in this case that the funding was in place?
Senator Day: That is what we were told.
Ms. Fraser: We get the impression that for some of the CF-18 components the funding had not been approved, and
that might have been part of the reason for the delays.
Senator Day: Do you have a plan to study some other acquisitions, like you did back 1998? Do you have a few more
picked out that you can follow through from beginning to end?
Ms. Fraser: I will ask Ms. Loschiuk to tell you about what she is working on.
Ms. Loschiuk: We have some of our audit work now under way to look at transformation in the department and
how the department is going about defining its systems needs. We also plan to do some follow-up work on areas that
we have already investigated to see how well they have responded in acquiring pilots and technicians, and fixing some
of the problems in their recruiting and retention programs. That is what we have immediately planned.
Senator Day: From what we have seen, there will be plenty of opportunity to see how they are doing because they
will still be working on these things.
The Chairman: The question that comes back to the committee time and time again is, as we see funds being
rationed to the department, we see them undertaking projects at a much slower pace. Do you have a sense of what the
costs are of going about things in that way? Intuitively, we feel that there are a great many inefficiencies working into
the system as the projects get drawn out. Can you support that with your studies?
Ms. Fraser: We have not looked specifically at that issue. I would say, though, in the matter of the CF-18s, the
experience with the simulators indicates that there will be additional costs because the simulators will be delayed. That
is a clear example of what you describe.
On the other hand, we can perhaps point to some advantage to this is that Canada is doing the upgrades of the CF-
18s at about the same time as is Australia and the U.S. There are some joint projects with Australia. There are also
lessons being learned from the U.S. and Australian experience. There could be benefits from having been slightly
behind or at the same time as these other two countries. However, we have not done any analysis to see what that
One of the concerns we have is that when you are talking about basically upgrades in technology, if it takes 14 years
to do that, you must then start to question how you will be able to do that effectively for high technology projects if it
is taking such a long time.
The Chairman: The Aurora refit comes to mind. I do not know whether you have examined that, but that clearly is
something that is being dragged out over a number of years and it looks as though it will be far more expensive than it
should have been.
Ms. Fraser: We have not specifically looked at that.
The Chairman: Will you put it on your list?
Ms. Fraser: We can consider it.
Senator Forrestall: I am not sure that the genesis of the questions is within your purview, but you speak about delays
in getting on with, for example, the CF-18 programs. Casting my mind back a few years, we had a lot of trouble with
the Sea King. Indeed, it goes back to the Argus, when someone woke up one day and said that perhaps we need some
engineering capability here. In this case, it was in Nova Scotia, whoever finished out that bit of work.
The engineering capability would allow Shearwater, which is a few miles away, to take in a Sea King helicopter, for
example, and they could do everything, tear the entire electrical harness out, repair it and put it back in, saving time
and money. There were a number of people who had to make decisions, slipping these plans across the border and back
across the border — in other words, exporting them, involving export permits, and importing them, involving import
permits — and taxation.
Do you know, in the course of your look at the CF-18s — because I honestly do not know — whether we have any
of the several engineering certificates allowing us to do work, including upgrades and modifications, to the CF-18s?
Ms. Loschiuk: In terms of the maintenance work that is going on with the CF-18s, certainly some of it is being
Senator Forrestall: Is that contracted out to Canadians or back to the U.S.?
Ms. Loschiuk: I would have to verify that for you, but I believe it is. Let me get back to you on that one and verify
exactly who it is that is doing that work. I believe it is a company in Calgary, but I would have to verify that.
Senator Forrestall: They obviously would have to have engineering certificates to qualify them to do that type of
work. That is what I was wondering. If they have that certification, is that broadly enough established within
programs, such as sophistication for that type of purchase, to tighten things up, to make doing business in terms of the
Department of National Defence and those whom they have to employ to maintain these very complex pieces of
machinery cheaper or less costly in terms of time delays?
You say at one point, Mr. McRoberts — I could not help reading it — that the impact of ageing equipment has
become more costly to maintain but less operational. That is another area where better information could have assisted
Parliament. If you were not doing so, you could not have described the Sea King better. However, my questions have
to do with these permits. Those were the areas that I had questions on immediately. Perhaps I will participate in a
second round later.
Ms. Fraser: On the question of readiness, that issue was raised in our December 2001 report where we actually
pulled together some information overall about the readiness of the forces and recommended that that kind of
information be provided to Parliament. There are the detailed maintenance records, but not an overall picture of what
is the state of readiness of the various equipment in the forces, and that Parliament should be aware of what is the
expected, useful life of these things and the choices that will have to be made eventually about replacement. That
information was not forthcoming, however.
Senator Forrestall: It had to do with the old business of whether we should have a separate capital budget for
National Defence planning purposes, if nothing else, and interoperational maintenance purposes.
The Chairman: Ms. Fraser, I thought you were referring to issues like 19 out of 33 Hercules being unserviceable at
Ms. Fraser: Yes.
The Chairman: That crossed my mind.
Senator Meighen: My memory may fail me, and the chair could perhaps correct me, but I think it was at least two
years ago that this committee pointed out that security clearances were being issued at airports without a check being
made of criminal association. Your March report found that this intelligence data was still not being used to screen
applicants for clearance. The only thing you found was that there had been some memorandum of understanding
found between the Department of Transport and the RCMP. Without being too dramatic about it, can I conclude
that, notwithstanding our report and notwithstanding your report, still nothing concrete has happened?
Ms. Fraser: We have not done a specific follow-up. I will ask Mr. Kasurak to add to my comments. At the time just
after our audit, the minister indicated that he would be going through and doing a complete screening on individuals.
However, if that has been done and what the results were, you would have to ask the department.
Mr. Peter Kasurak, Principal, Office of the Auditor General of Canada: We have not done the follow up, so we do
not know exactly how far this file has progressed. Subsequent to the signing of a memorandum between the two
departments, additional police data has been made available to the Department of Transport. I am not sure how many
layers of the onion they have been able to communicate.
One of the problems is that much of this data does not actually belong to the RCMP; it is pooled police data from
all police agencies in Canada. The current rules are that to have access one must be a police agency. If not, everyone
must agree that their information is releasable to non-police agencies. It is a big, bureaucratic hurdle to overcome to
get everyone to agree that their data would go to the Department of Transport. I believe that is still being worked on.
One of our additional concerns with this aspect is not simply the availability of data to the Department of Transport
but also the extent to which the Department of Transport has been willing to use it, and in their response to us they
said that they were taking what we felt was a rather narrow approach to their ability to screen people, even if they had
all the information. They said that, in their eyes, unless such individuals posed a direct danger to an aircraft, they
would not screen them out and, therefore, people who had drug charges against them, for instance, would not
automatically be denied a restricted area pass.
We were not in agreement with their legal appreciation. We also were not entirely in agreement with their
appreciation of the risk. There are at least two problems: first, to get the information to the Department of Transport
intelligence officers who do the screening; second, how the Department of Transport conceives of its roles in screening
individuals for passes.
Senator Meighen: That is very helpful, if not somewhat alarming. One could make the comment not entirely
facetiously that if the Department of Transport is charged with worrying about transportation matters and the RCMP
is charged with security matters, why the heck is the RCMP not in charge of checking security at airports? I do not
know whether or not that crossed your mind? Can you comment on that?
Mr. Kasurak: There is a quick answer: The Aeronautics Act gives that responsibility directly to the Minister of
Transport. That is the short answer. Whether that is the best solution is not something that we look at.
Senator Meighen: It would certainly remove the bureaucratic hurdle of having to get everyone to sign off before the
information in the hands of the RCMP could then be given to the Department of Transport.
Mr. Kasurak: That may be, but perhaps not. The RCMP gets this information. It is police intelligence information.
Some of it is created on its own, naturally, but much of it comes from different police forces. The RCMP,
unfortunately, ends up, at least to a certain extent, as the meat in the sandwich. They are the custodians of data that
has come from every police force in Canada. If they give it out to someone and then it is disclosed unintentionally or
wrongfully, their information sources would dry up. The level of cooperation that they have been able to achieve of
everyone pooling their data would be at risk.
Simply transferring the responsibility someplace else may not be the solution. The big barrier seems to be assuring
the people who collect the information that the Department of Transport is a reliable user.
Senator Meighen: My point is that if the security checks were carried out by the RCMP, they would not have to
transmit that information to Transport Canada.
Mr. Kasurak: Yes, I am sorry; I missed the point of the question.
Senator Meighen: I will move to another subject, because we have a long list of senators who wish to ask questions.
Ms. Fraser, I believe that your office conducted a financial audit of the airport security charge; is that correct?
Ms. Fraser: That is correct.
Senator Meighen: Could you share what the principal findings of that audit were? Also, do you have a list of what
was spent in each department and agency, and at what airport?
Ms. Fraser: We essentially audited a statement that was prepared that indicates that the revenues collected under the
security charge for the year ended 2003, which is really the first year it was in operation, and then a statement of
expenses that shows 2002 and 2003, because the expenses started earlier than the 2003 fiscal year. This was a financial
We do not have a breakdown of expenses in very great detail. That was expressly done as a result of concerns from
the Department of Transport about the whole question of the detail of information that they could give. In this
statement, we have a note that says that operating expenses represent mainly salary, overhead and professional
services. There is not a lot of detail given as to the nature of the expenses. It is simply operating expenses, amortization
of fixed assets, grants and contributions.
Senator Meighen: Do we have any assurance that the money collected from the travelling public is being collected
for the security of the travelling public?
Ms. Fraser: Our statement shows two amounts. I will go through them briefly. Revenues of roughly $443 million
were collected, which includes the security charge, goods and services tax, penalties and interest. On a cash basis, the
total disbursements were almost $302 million and the cash collected was $374 million. On a cash basis, it is fairly close.
On an expenditure basis, when those fixed assets are capitalized and then amortized over the life of the asset, the
expenditure is much lower. The expenditure total would be about $249 million as compared to revenues on an accrual
basis of $443 million.
Senator Meighen: There is still a gap.
Ms. Fraser: There is a large gap. Initially the way it was set up, the Government of Canada was still using largely a
cash basis of accounting for fixed assets, and I suspect that that may have influenced the way in which the charge was
established rather than collecting the revenues over the life of the asset. That is obviously something the government
will have to look at.
The Chairman: Ms. Fraser, has it become clear to you or your officials who is in charge of security at airports?
Mr. Kasurak: As the committee is aware, air transport security is extremely distributed, but we have reached the
conclusion that ultimately the Minister of Transport is responsible. He exercises both the policy setting and the
regulatory functions. Even though the minister and the Department of Transport do not actually deliver every security
function or program, ultimately the minister and the Department of Transport are responsible. That is different than
being the manager of it. It is difficult to say who is the manager, or if there is a ``manager'' of it, because it is a
distributed function. There is accountability that all comes back to the minister, but he does not manage things
directly. That is the structure that has been put in place.
The Chairman: Is ``distributed function'' government code for ``no one?''
Mr. Kasurak: No. Perhaps it means that it has been chopped up into little pieces and everyone has a bit of it.
However, in terms of being ultimately accountable for the whole thing, I would say that the minister is ultimately
responsible because he sets the policy and describes which piece goes where, and to what standards each piece must
perform, and then regulates and enforces the regulations.
The Chairman: You are talking on the basis of something that you have audited. You have followed through on the
regulation and the enforcement of them?
Mr. Kasurak: Yes. This has been a subject in our audits of air security. We have had to look into this aspect.
The Chairman: Are you satisfied that the regulations are being appropriately managed and enforced by Transport
Mr. Kasurak: You can see in this chapter that we found that there are gaps and that stove-piping has occurred. We
reported what we found in this particular report. Certainly, for things like the screening of people receiving restricted
area passes to work at airports, there has been stove-piping. For other issues as well, we found the same sort of thing.
No, we are not completely satisfied that the system works perfectly and, indeed, we plan to report further on this
particular issue. Basically, what we looked at in this report was the screening of individuals working at airports, but
even there we see this problem.
The Chairman: In the course of examining the screening, did you examine whether anyone looked at the passes?
Mr. Kasurak: No, we did not look at that issue in this audit. It was simply the issuing of the passes.
The Chairman: Did you look at whether passes were necessary to get airside?
Mr. Kasurak: Not directly. It was looked at briefly, but we did not report on that.
The Chairman: Have you had an opportunity to examine the relationship between CATSA and Transport Canada?
Mr. Kasurak: We have not reported on that in this chapter but, as I say, we have additional work coming.
Senator Munson: Auditor General, I have a basic question to start with. Is Canada getting value for money from the
Department of National Defence and our Armed Forces?
Ms. Fraser: That would be a judgment better made by a parliamentary committee rather than the Auditor General.
Senator Munson: After listening to you, we will make that judgment.
Ms. Fraser: We provide you with the information to make that assessment. I do not think it would be appropriate
for me to make that assessment, but I can say that they obviously perform a very important and necessary function in
Senator Munson: In your statement you said that in 2000 you looked to see whether National Defence had taken
action on your 1998 recommendation and that you were encouraged by some improvements. That does not sound like
a ringing endorsement to me.
Ms. Fraser: They did implement some of the recommendations that we made and they started to make some
improvements, but many of the issues that we are still finding today, such as project and risk management, are still
lacking. We even recommended that they have an overall management plan with timelines. That is sort of basic to
managing a large, complex project, and they do not have that in place. Elements of project management include having
people with more expertise and keeping people with that expertise for longer periods in the project teams. Perhaps
there would need to be more resources assigned to project management as well rather than having an overall limit in
the department, irrespective of the number and complexity of the projects. More attention still needs to be paid to
project management within the department.
Senator Munson: In order that Canadians can understand that, what does ``lacking project management'' mean?
Does it mean that money is not being well spent?
Ms. Fraser: It could potentially mean that money is not being well spent. These are very large, complex projects. The
CF-18 upgrades is a $2.6-billion project, and there is a project management office established to manage that. As was
mentioned earlier, many people tend to rotate out after a couple of years. To be able to understand a project that will
go on for a decade or more costing $2.6 billion, you need people to stay for more than two or three years. You need
continuity throughout a project. You need people who understand when things are supposed to happen and, if they are
not happening, why they are not happening.
For example, we found that with some of the tools that are being used alterations could be made so that you would
never know what was the planned date and what was the actual date. It was always actual updates, so you never knew
if you were falling behind, to what extent, and what the causes of that were.
They need to use all the information and tools available to ensure that the projects are coming in on time and within
costs. As we have said, the air frames of the CF-18s are expected to be good only to 2017. If phase two is delayed past
2009, there will be a shorter period in which to recover that investment. There definitely is a potential for not getting
value for money if that time period shrinks from what was initially planned.
Senator Munson: Senator Meighen talked about your March 2004 report. In your chapter on security and
intelligence management you noted that the border watch list used to screen visa applicants, refugee claimants and
travelers seeking entry into Canada was in disarray and the Canada Border Services Agency and the RCMP had
committed themselves to improving their procedures. What progress has been made?
Ms. Fraser: Again, we have not done a specific follow-up, but Mr. Kasurak may have some information to share
Mr. Kasurak: Although we have not looked at the effectiveness of the efforts that have been taken, there have been a
number of them. The passport office and the Canadian Border Services Agency have signed an MOU that allows data
about lost and stolen passports to go directly to the primary inspection line. We still cannot advise on how quickly or
how often that is updated, but the old problem of not getting to the primary line seems to have been solved.
The passport office has assumed responsibility from the RCMP for data entry of those lost and stolen passports into
CPIC, which we think is a step forward in terms of improving the timeliness and the integrity of that data. The RCMP
has told us that it is looking at the automated link between Interpol and the watch list. This was a major block in terms
of lost time when we did our audit, that the link was manual.
Canada Border Services Agency has told us that they have been able to search all air passenger names against CPIC
for outstanding warrants since the spring of 2003. They have also told us that they have conducted a quality assurance
project, and that to us is one of the most important things that needed to be done. It not only was the stove-piping of
the information systems and the blockages in getting information from one agency to another that caused problems
with the watch list, it was that there was nobody minding the store, overall. Every agency looked at its own particular
little piece. If the border services agency is now taking care of quality assurance overall, it will automatically lead to
improvements because there will not be gaps of someone not filing the information for months, as was occurring
One area that we have remained concerned about, based on the responses to our report, is with CSIS. During the
audit, we identified blockages within CSIS where their tracking system had lost a case file electronically and nobody
had picked it up, or where desk officers had become very busy with more urgent projects and routine things such as
maintenance of watch lists had backlogged on their desks and this caused delays. The response we received from CSIS
did not offer us any specific commitments as to how they would address any of these problems. One of our elements of
concern now is whether there will be any changes made internally.
A fair bit has been done here, Mr. Chairman, but at this point we have not gone back and followed up, and we
cannot give you a categorical answer that this has all worked, but there has been a lot of activity.
Senator Munson: We will have to rely on you to ask CSIS.
The Chairman: Just on this subject, have you noticed that there is a significant difference between the efficiency at
airport border crossings and at land border crossings in this regard?
Mr. Kasurak: Mr. Chairman, we did not study that issue.
The Chairman: It is an important distinction. At airports, people almost invariably have passports that they swipe.
We have recently received testimony about the difficulty of inputting information at land border crossings. Therefore,
if you are not inputting who the individual is, you are not going to pick up on the warnings.
Ms. Fraser: We did some work on the land crossings. That was something that was mentioned. The licence plates of
the cars were being read, and there was an error rate of something like 30 per cent. I might not be correct, but there was
a high error rate even with the automatic readers. You are right; it identifies the vehicle, but not the people within the
The Chairman: The time it takes to input the information and to decide whether to send someone to secondary or
not is very short. Additionally, we have heard anecdotally that when there is a 100 per cent inspection in some of the
fast programs, if you will, some of the expedited programs, there is a very high level of non-compliance. Have you had
any opportunity to examine that?
Mr. Kasurak: We have not looked at that.
Ms. Fraser: We did not look at that specifically. We did look at immigration and customs. These were audits that
were done in 2003. We recommended that there be evaluations done of the primary inspection line, because the last
evaluation that had been done, I believe, was over ten years old, and the results then were not particularly good. We
would have expected them to have had regular evaluations going on. The department agreed, but I must admit I do not
know if they have done that or not. That was certainly an area that we raised in that audit.
The Chairman: The same would apply to the inspection of containers coming in. The impression this committee has
is that there are no sensitivity tests of the appropriate level of inspection. We continually hear that the level of
inspection is determined by how much money they have left over to conduct the inspections. Do you have any
information on that that you wish to share with the committee?
Ms. Fraser: We have not specifically looked at that. I will ask Mr. Kasurak to respond.
Mr. Kasurak: Our impression is rather that the system capacity to inspect is a limiting factor. If one of the destuffing
terminals backs up and is filled with containers that are being inspected, they simply cannot inspect any more. Yes,
overall, what you are saying is correct, that there are system capacity issues that affect how people stream containers in
for additional inspection.
The Chairman: But they are driven by cost, not by need?
Mr. Kasurak: Yes, by the physical limits of the system, which itself is determined by how big you built it in the first
The Chairman: Or how many people you have on shift?
Mr. Kasurak: Yes.
The Chairman: We can think of a port that has a VACIS machine that operates eight hours a day and vehicles cross
that port 24 hours a day.
Senator Cordy: This may be a question that you may not be able to answer at this time. We have been to some land
crossings and have heard from customs officers. They mentioned that at the primary inspection line, they may see
someone they think is undesirable or who may be carrying undesirable goods and they want to send them to the
secondary inspection line. However, to do that, they put a paper on the windshield. How do you give a heads-up to the
secondary line personnel? If you wrote on the yellow paper ``suspected terrorist'' and put it on the windshield, it is
highly unlikely the trucker would go to the secondary line. Yet there does not seem to be a way of communicating
quickly between the primary inspection line and the secondary inspection line. Have you looked into that or are you
aware of that?
Ms. Fraser: The only similar issue we noted in one of our reports was at the border inspection at Windsor. If
someone was sent to the secondary inspection, it was actually a mile or more from primary and they had to drive
through the city. There was no way of ensuring that someone who had been told to report to secondary in fact ever
went to secondary. There are issues like that, and there are problems in the communication between the primary and
the secondary, but we have not done any further work on that specific issue.
Senator Atkins: They do sometimes send a person with that vehicle if they are really suspicious of it.
Ms. Fraser: Yes.
Senator Atkins: We were in Windsor last week. I want to ask a question about value for money, again in terms of
border security. We heard that there is a real shortage of staff at Windsor, to use an example. We heard that there were
probably vacancies for 80 full-time employees, and for some reason they are not filling those spots. Are we getting
value for our money? Is the money going to this department so that they do not have an excuse not to fill those roles? I
am told that really does cost money to the economy and to our overall security.
Ms. Fraser: Again, Mr. Chairman, that really is a question for parliamentarians to decide that. It would require a
much more extensive evaluation of government programs and the results than is perhaps currently available. When we
looked at many of the programs at the border crossings, one of the things that we were saying is we have not done
evaluations of effectiveness. That is crucial to saying, ``Is all this effort being successful or not?''
You mentioned the HR issues. In several of our audits we have noted difficulties related to human resources
management and practices in recruiting and training when there was a whole question about the students who were
working there were not getting the level of training that one would expect. Even people who have been on staff for a
long time were not getting the kind of regular training, especially with new and different circumstances, that perhaps
they received when they began as customs officers. You expect them to have regular, ongoing training. That training
was not there. The department indicated at the time that it would be doing more in that area. We have not gone back
to see if that has actually come to pass.
Senator Atkins: Just for your information, we were also told that there is not the appropriate equipment in the
booths to do a proper inspection. Further, we were told, or at least I assume we were, that there is a fund of $300
million that is available for infrastructure. Do you think that the investment that they are applying these days in an
interim period before they make a decision on a third crossing is being appropriately spent?
Ms. Fraser: I do not know if I can really answer. We looked broadly at the expenditures, found that it was being
spent on areas of high importance, but I am not sure that we looked at that particular fund, and that is one of the 32
initiatives, I think.
Mr. Kasurak: There had been no allocations made to that at the time we did the audit.
Senator Atkins: As a committee, we are all feeling very frustrated that there is not more urgency towards clearing a
way to build that third crossing.
Just one thing I would ask on the CF-18s. Why is it that, in terms of component parts, they do not go back to the
manufacturer? That would clear the way for faster turnover in terms of fulfilling the orders.
Ms. Loschiuk: One of the problems, I think, with the CF-18s that we have is that they are the A and B version, which
are the first ones. They were built in the early 1980s. Really, the parts are not made any more in some cases, and that
also provides a difficulty for the Canadian Forces in ensuring that it will have spare parts into the future to get it to
2017, or even past that. That is one of the issues. However, because the plane is so old, those parts really no longer meet
the needs of today's Canadian Forces. A lot of work had to be done to address many of the deficiencies, and really the
only way to do that was to get new, upgraded, updated parts. The technology has changed so much since we bought
the aircraft that it really was a question of getting all new components in there.
Senator Atkins: Is the modern CF-18 different from the one we have?
Ms. Loschiuk: Yes. There are many versions of the CF-18 out there today. The one that we will end up with will
have new mission computers, new navigational systems, cockpit displays, weapons management systems, radars, radio
and protection. A lot of new stuff is going into that aircraft that will bring it up to being a much better aircraft for
The Chairman: Thank you, Senator Atkins. I will try not to step on your question next time.
Senator Banks: However, this is not, Ms. Loschiuk, the first line? They are AB machines. We jumped over CD. We
are now going to have EF, but a lot of people are at GH, right? We will not be up to date?
Ms. Loschiuk: The aircraft can only be brought up so far. It is still an A, B aircraft with a lot of new electronics and
avionics inside it, but you are right; it will not perform as well as the EF or even the G, which is a completely different
Senator Banks: Is this the last shot?
Ms. Loschiuk: That is right. After this, there is not much more you can do with the aircraft.
Senator Banks: I will go to a slightly different place because I love auditors.
Ms. Fraser: I am glad to hear that!
Senator Banks: My tongue is partly in my cheek. You are the most prominent, of course, of auditors. I am
wondering if there is not a public business equivalent of white coat fever — this is a hypothetical question which I will
explain. I wonder if sometimes we do not get an almost adverse reaction to the one we desire. If we put in place such —
I hesitate to use the word — fear by the necessity of protecting one's backside — let us say — at those different levels
Ms. Loschiuk was talking about, do we put inefficiencies into the system? I almost quivered when I heard Ms.
Loschiuk say, ``What we found is the people who were doing those approvals need more information.'' No, no, please,
no more information. That means it will take longer and longer. As we heard, the process was made inefficient by how
long it took to get it, and it has made it inefficient. Do you think there is any chance of a pendulum swing?
Ms. Fraser: I do not think the process is terribly inefficient, and that it needs to take months to get approvals on
things, quite frankly. I see some of my colleagues would love to respond to this question. I agree with you that we have
to ensure that we do not stifle innovation and creativity in the system by a lot of unnecessary rules, but it is not
inherently the process that is inefficient. Mr. Kasurak and Ms. Loschiuk will respond.
Mr. Kasurak: I will respond as the voice of the past. I was the defence auditor from about 1988 until about 2001. I
only wish that I had had the power to scare people like the vice-chiefs. They did not seem to be very intimidated by me.
I think the real problem was not regarding information, was not that there was too much information, but that there
were some things management simply did not really want to know, for instance, the information that we assembled
when we looked at equipment readiness. It was there. It was not very good. It was not maintained very well, but could
have been made usable, but people did not really want to know that and see it all there in black and white. Therefore,
you would rather have some sort of benign neglect of some problems that would be very difficult to solve.
Senator Banks: Why would they not want to know that?
Mr. Kasurak: It would create a problem that they might not have the resources to solve, or they might have to
address the so-called ``iron rice bowl'' problems where now you have to redistribute the way the world is made up, and
that would cause pain throughout the organization. Those are the sorts of things that I see as causing blockages and
delays, rather than information overload.
Senator Banks: Is that not almost a definition of inefficiency of a kind? — At least ineffective.
Mr. Kasurak: Yes, it is.
Ms. Loschiuk: I think what we found — and I will speak post 2001 — is that perhaps more information, you are
right, is not quite the solution. Better information is the problem.
Senator Banks: Paying attention to information?
Ms. Loschiuk: Paying attention to it or having information provided to the individual that highlights the
implications of a problem, that they would understand that this is leading to a cost overrun, or this is leading to a delay
that will prevent us from achieving X or Y. That kind of information would be much more useful to senior
management such that they could understand that the project is not proceeding as originally planned. However, that is
not available to allow senior management to look at some of these projects and determine how to proceed: whether to
stop, provide additional resources, pull back or push harder.
The department has made some changes recently. They recognize that they have too many committees looking at
too many things in respect of their acquisition process and, as a result, there are too many delays. Those committees do
not have the information, or the project will remain idle. In some cases, people sitting on one committee might approve
something but when the same people sit on another committee, they may look at it in a different way and decide not to
approve it. Many of those things are recognized in the department, and they are trying to address them.
Senator Banks: You have identified some problems, including people sticking their heads under the bed covers
because they do not want to see the boogeyman in the closet. We all know that auditors, in general, and Auditors
General, might say that too much money has been spent, but is it sometimes the case that auditors might say that not
enough money has been spent quickly enough to achieve these objectives?
By reference I will mention one thing: a piece of radio communications equipment for use in the field. We found that
by the time the Canadian Army actually got that piece of equipment, it was a very large boat anchor for all intents and
purposes because it did not work, and it never will work. It was obsolete when we took delivery of it. That was because
of the slowness of the procurement process. We did not spend enough money fast enough. Do you sometimes tell
people to spend more money faster?
Ms. Fraser: That is a delicate thing for us to say because we have to respect Parliament, and Parliament determines
Senator Banks: Forgive me. You do not hesitate to say that a department has spent too much money on something
so why would you hesitate to say, for purposes of efficiency not for propriety, to spend more faster?
Ms. Fraser: We have done that in cases that indicate shortages of personnel or equipment. We even pointed out in
the CF-18 audit that even though the total budget of National Defence has increased, the spending on capital has
remained steady and has dropped from 19 per cent to 15 per cent of the budget. We deliver the messages but we cannot
say specifically that a department should spend more, faster. We have often said, in hearings even before this
committee, that there is a gap between the expectations of National Defence and the funding allocated to it. There are
two ways to address that but the gap exists, and we see it consistently in all the audits that we do.
Senator Banks: Allow me to ask whether you have an opinion about another gap that we see. In the past, Ms.
Fraser, you have made reference to the 1994 white paper, for example, which we have looked at carefully, and
currently we are looking at another one. We all agree, and I think you would agree, that the 1994 white paper, as the
expression of the will of Parliament and of the government's intentions, was right and good. Had it been in place, it
would have resulted in certain lacks of inefficiency, to use a double negative. There was a spending shortfall. There was
an expressed intent, an expressed will and jobs were given at this level to get these things done. However, the resources
were not there to do them and that has resulted in inefficiencies and worse than inefficiencies, sometimes in tragedies. Is
that a good comment?
Ms. Fraser: I will point to one of the challenges that we noted in our opening statement: human resources and skilled
personnel. When we performed the audit we noted that a large number of personnel are approaching retirement.
Following them, there is a very large dip. While there are more people coming in, there is a serious issue to be
addressed: How will National Defence deal with the looming shortage of personnel? I think many departments face the
same thing, as do many companies. During the time of program review and during that economic cycle, many simply
stopped recruiting staff. Many departments did the same thing, so there is a group of employees moving close to
retirement and there is a group of employees at the bottom end because departments have begun to recruit. However,
in the middle there is a large gap in the skill sets. Many of these skills are unique and take a long time to develop.
Yes, I think program review had a significant effect on the accomplishment of the objectives and expectations of
that department, like many other departments.
Senator Banks: The government has announced increases in the Armed Forces. Is the government adequately
funding programs to make those resources available and the increases doable?
Ms. Fraser: I will give you the answer to that following our planned audit on recruitment and retention in 2006. We
will be looking at that whole initiative and how successful they are at bringing people in and keeping those people in
Senator Forrestall: I hope it is not too late.
Senator Atkins: When you talk about the skill sets that are about to retire, is it not a fact that they are retiring and
being hired back on contract, in many cases?
Ms. Fraser: I cannot answer that. I do not know that we have the data to affirm or deny that theory. Certainly we
will look at what they have been doing on recruiting. Our question is how to deal with the looming shortage of people
that is coming?
Senator Cordy: Ms. Fraser, some of the audit work on the CF-18s was done at Bombardier. The question has come
up in the media over the past several days about funding to Bombardier. As auditors, what do you think of the made-
in-Canada premium when contracts are awarded for, let us say, military equipment? Should we be willing to pay more
if it is made in Canada? If so, how much more should we be willing to pay?
Ms. Fraser: That is clearly a policy decision on which we cannot comment. We can look to ensure that the
procurement is done in accordance with the contracting rules. In the case of the CF-18s, yes, it was. They respected the
contracting rules and regulations. There were some sole sources, as one would expect, but they were done
appropriately. We would not comment on such a government policy.
Senator Cordy: I was interested in how an auditor would react to the question.
The Chairman: As a supplementary, in the course of your audit, can you quantify it?
Ms. Fraser: I do not think so.
Ms. Loschiuk: It is difficult for us to determine the cost of one contract as opposed to another contract if it could
have been with another company. Some years ago there was an attempt to quantify a similar idea but it was too
difficult. We do not have that kind of information. It is just not available to us.
Senator Cordy: This morning a witness talked about the lands in Shearwater, Nova Scotia. When the military was
downsized in the 1990s, CFB Shearwater was downsized. There is still a wing in Shearwater but much of the land has
been turned over to Canada Lands. I was on the Port Development Commission in Halifax so we were concerned in
terms of the Port of Halifax having the land. However, just in terms of the military owning the land — the term used
this morning was that it was an ``amphibious'' force mounting site — Shearwater would be a wonderful place to do
that because it had a runway and in fact when the G8 was in Halifax, all of the world leaders flew into Shearwater. It
was wonderful from a security perspective because a naval vessel transported them over to downtown Halifax, whereas
when President Bush came last week, his plane was unable to land in Shearwater because the runway is rundown and
Looking at Canada Lands, for example, if they were — and this would be a worse case scenario — to sell the lands
and we had housing along the waterfront on that particular land, we could never get it back. That would mean land
that leads to Halifax Harbour, which leads to the ocean, would then be gone.
Do you ever look at lands that have been given to Canada Lands and suggest that perhaps we should be holding on
to this property? It is certainly easier to keep it and maintain it than it would be to start all over again in 10 or 20 years
Ms. Fraser: Again, the decision as to whether land has been declared surplus and what to do with it, the only work
we would do would be to look to see what sort of analysis has been done and whether the various considerations have
been taken into account. We have not done that specifically.
The only area where we have been commenting, and we have been commenting for four or five years, is with respect
to Downsview in Toronto, where there was a corporation created to develop a park. The land is still, for the most part,
held by National Defence and there are a number of issues about the park not being explicitly approved by Parliament
though it is a major expenditure, the way in which the land is to be transferred into Downsview Park, the whole
structure of the park and the corporation. Part of the land was sold from National Defence to Downsview Park with a
non-interest bearing note which is repayable several years from now. That land was then sold and the corporation is
now financing its operations on the proceeds of that sale. We are saying that this is not sustainable, that you cannot
continue like this, and that you must resolve this issue. We have been raising this whole issue for four years in a row,
saying that the government must do something about this. First, if there is to be a park, there should be explicit
approval from Parliament, we believe, and you have to resolve the issue about Downsview Park and how it is to
That is the only one we have ever really looked at because we do the audit of Canada Lands and it came up through
Senator Cordy: However, you would not say you should not get rid of this land?
Ms. Fraser: No.
The Chairman: Ms. Fraser, you and your colleagues have been very helpful to the committee. We value your reports
and we appreciate you appearing before us and assisting us with your studies.
For those viewers watching at home, if you have any questions or comments, please visit our website 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
Good afternoon, it is my pleasure to welcome you to the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and
Defence. Today our committee is hearing testimony relating to its review of defence policy.
My name is Colin Kenny. I am a senator from Ontario and I chair the committee. On my immediate right is the
distinguished senator from Nova Scotia, Senator Michael Forrestall. Senator Forrestall has served the constituents of
Dartmouth for the past 37 years, first as a member of the House of Commons and then as their senator after his tenure
in the House. In the House he served as parliamentary secretary to several cabinet ministers, including the Minister of
Transport and the Minister of Regional and Industrial Expansion.
On the far right of the table is Senator Pierre Claude Nolin, from Quebec. He chaired the Senate's Select Committee
on Illegal Drugs that issued a comprehensive report calling for the legalization and regulation of cannabis in Canada.
Currently he is the deputy chair of the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration.
Beside Senator Nolin is Senator Jane Cordy from Nova Scotia. She is an accomplished educator with an extensive
record of community involvement, including serving as vice-chair of the Halifax-Dartmouth Port Development
Commission. She is also chair of the Canadian-NATO Parliamentary Association.
Beside Senator Cordy is Senator Jim Munson from Ontario. Senator Munson was a trusted journalist, and former
director of communications for Prime Minister Jean Chrétien before he was called to the Senate in 2003. Senator
Munson has twice been nominated for a Gemini Award in recognition of his excellence in journalism.
On my left is Senator Tommy Banks from Alberta. He is well known to Canadians as one of our most versatile
musicians and entertainers. His musical career has spanned over 50 years. He has received a Juno Award and is an
Officer of the Order of Canada. He is also chair of the Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and
Natural Resources and is the chair of the Alberta Liberal caucus.
Beside Senator Banks is Senator Joseph Day from New Brunswick. He holds a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering
from the Royal Military College, in Kingston, an LLB from Queens University and a Master of Laws from Osgoode
Hall. Prior to his appointment to the Senate in 2001, he had a successful career as an attorney. He is also deputy chair
of the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance and our Subcommittee on Veterans Affairs.
To the left of Senator Day is Senator Michael Meighen from Ontario. He is a lawyer, and a member of the Law
Society of Upper Canada and of the Bar of the Province of Quebec. Currently, he is chair of our Subcommittee on
Veterans Affairs. Senator Meighen is also a member of the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and
Commerce and the Standing Senate Committee on Fisheries and Oceans.
Our committee is the first permanent Senate committee mandated to examine security and defence. During the last
Parliament we completed a number of reports beginning with ``Canadian Security and Military Preparedness.'' This
study, which was tabled in February 2002, examined the major defence and security issues facing Canada.
The Senate then asked our committee to examine the need for a national security policy. Thus far, we have released
five reports on various aspects of national security: First, ``Defence of North America: A Canadian Responsibility,''
tabled in September, 2002; second, ``Update on Canada's Military Crisis: A View from the Bottom Up,'' tabled in
November 2002; third, ``The Myth of Security at Canada's Airports,'' tabled in January 2003; fourth, ``Canada's
Coastlines: The Longest Under-Defended Borders in the World,'' tabled in October 2003; fifth, and most recently,
``National Emergencies: Canada's Fragile Front Lines,'' tabled in March 2004.
The committee is now turning its attention to a review of Canadian defence policy. During the next year, the
committee will hold meetings in every province and engage with Canadians to determine what their national interests
are, what they see as Canada's principal threats and how they would like the government to respond. The committee
will attempt to generate debate on national security in Canada and to forge a public consensus on the need for a
Our next witness is Dr. Amanda Parriag. Ms. Parriag was co-director of the 2004 edition of the Centre for Research
and Information on Canada's, A Portrait of Canada: A Survey of Canadian Public Opinion. She is also the principal
consultant for Parriag and Associates. She has extensive experience as a researcher and consultant in a wide range of
social and public policy issues. She received a Ph.D. in psychology from Carleton University in 2001.
Ms. Amanda Parriag, Centre for Research and Information on Canada: Honourable senators, I am pleased to be here
today on behalf of the Centre for Research and Information on Canada, or CRIC. CRIC is the research and
communications branch of the Canadian Unity Council and is responsible for tracking and analyzing public
information about the federation.
Today, I will present data primarily from the Portraits of Canada survey completed in October of this year which
highlights Canadians' perceptions of national security, defence issues and our relationship with the United States.
Portraits of Canada is a national survey that has been conducted annually since 1998. This survey gives us precise
information on a number of issues relative to Canadian unity and allows us to track attitudes and perceptions over
time. This year, Gina Bishop and myself are the survey co-directors.
Let me begin by highlighting some issues of national interest as they relate to this topic. Despite our shared border
and close economic ties, a majority of Canadians disagree that Canadians and Americans share the same basic values.
Canadians also think that people in their province have more in common with other Canadians than with people in
nearby American states.
Overall, Canadians are relatively content with their life, and feel little threat from terrorists in the post 9/11 world.
Perhaps because of this, we are becoming more accepting of immigrants over time. For example, the proportion of
Canadians who say that we should accept about the same number of immigrants as we accept now has increased from
52 per cent in September 2003 to 56 per cent in June 2004. The proportion of Canadians who say that we should accept
fewer immigrants has decreased from 32 per cent in September 2003 to 23 per cent this year. The number of those who
say that we should accept more immigrants has increased from 12 to 18 per cent in the same time period.
Canadians are generally not fearful of terrorist attacks. Our data right after September 11, 2001, in comparison to
June 2004, tells us that Canadians are unchanged in their perception that Canada will be the victim of a major terrorist
attack in the next two years. In 2004, 42 per cent said that it was likely that Canada would be the victim of a terrorist
attack and a majority of 56 per cent said that this was unlikely. Perhaps because of this, Canadians do not prioritize
increasing military spending. This is one of the lowest priorities for the new federal government, as seen in this year's
Portraits of Canada survey.
Moving from background issues, let me now examine several key policy areas where Canadians feel that they are
distinct from Americans. Our difference in values is seen in the perceptions that Canadians and Americans hold toward
the United Nations. Canadians, at 80 per cent, are more likely than Americans, at 58 per cent, to agree that the United
Nations contributes a great deal to world peace. Canadians also feel more strongly than Americans that when the
United Nations needs peacekeeping troops, their country should provide some of its soldiers.
The differential value placed on the United Nations by the two countries is seen in our data which shows that 55 per
cent of Canadians opposed our participation in the American-led invasion of Iraq. This opposition would have been
converted to strong majority support, at 81 per cent, if the United Nations were to request military participation in
Related to this, Canadians were more supportive of peaceful rather than military-based means of reconciling the
United States' demands for Iraqi removal of weapons of mass destruction. In 2003, 67 per cent of Canadians agreed,
and 32 per cent disagreed, that it was possible for the United States and its allies to compel the Iraqi regime to get rid of
its weapons of mass destruction by using peaceful means rather than military force. Americans, on the other hand,
were divided. Forty-six per cent agreed and 44 per cent disagreed that it was possible to use peaceful means in this
The values difference persists in Canadians' perceptions of our participation in the missile defence shield. As of
October of this year, a majority of 52 per cent of Canadians oppose our participation in the United States' missile
defence system. Only 46 per cent support our participation in this system.
Across the country, Quebecers are most opposed to our participation in this system and Newfoundlanders are least
opposed. You should note, though, that strong support is almost half of strong opposition, regardless of where you
look in the country. From the survey results, it appears that Canadians will not be easily convinced that the missile
defence shield is a valuable security asset for our country.
I will now move to policy areas where Canada and the United States have common ground. This year's Portraits of
Canada survey confirms the result from previous years, where a majority of Canadians say that a common border
security policy, when deciding who can and cannot enter Canada or the United States, is a good idea because it will
increase the security of both countries. Only 36 per cent this year say that this is a bad idea because it will give the
United States some say in our border security policy. In fact, majorities in every province and territory see a common
border security policy with the United States as a good idea, primarily amongst Newfoundlanders, New Brunswickers
and Nova Scotians. The exception is in Yukon, where residents are divided on the issue.
Taken together, what does this data say about our relationship with the United States? In terms of Canada's general
ties with the United States, although 41 per cent of Canadians this year would like to see our ties remain the same,
another 24 per cent, up 9 points from 2003, would like to see more distant ties, while 34 per cent, down 10 points from
2003, would like to see closer ties with the United States. These results could be influenced by many issues but are being
interpreted as a reflection of the strained Canada-U.S. relations in recent months over trade issues related to mad cow
disease and softwood lumber.
Finally, last year, 42 per cent of Canadians said that having closer relations with the United States was a high
priority for the new Prime Minister. This year, we see this proportion drop to 37 per cent who say that this is a high
priority for the new federal government. It appears that, overall, while we might have difficulties in our relationship
with the United States, most Canadians do want to preserve this relationship.
Canada has international priorities that go beyond those centred in North America. When we asked Canadians this
year about the importance of six different international objectives for Canada, 91 per cent said that participating in
United Nations peacekeeping is very or somewhat important. On the next tier, 84 per cent see assisting in efforts to
reduce the spread of AIDS in Africa as important, and 81 per cent place importance on participation in the activities of
NATO. Another 75 per cent of Canadians see participation in the war against terrorism as important, and 72 per cent
place importance on participation in NORAD. Only 43 per cent of Canadians see taking part in the U.S. missile
defence system as important, placing this international objective on the lowest tier.
Taken together, this data suggests that Canadians are not supportive of some American foreign policies. It appears
that the Canadian public will not want to adopt U.S. policies that contradict their values. Canadians remain
unconvinced of the need for increased military spending or participation in the U.S. missile defence shield while they
do share the American concern with border security. We have a foreign policy agenda that is different and separate
from that of the United States and would like this agenda to continue to represent the values of Canadians.
Senator Cordy: You said that 91 per cent of Canadians think that we should help out with UN peacekeeping. This
morning, we heard from a witness who said that peacekeeping has changed dramatically. In years gone by,
peacekeepers went into situations where there was already peace. Now, with failed states, warlords and whatever, there
is no peace when our peacekeepers go in. In fact, they are peacemaking and not peacekeeping.
Did you ask Canadians how they define ``peacekeeper?'' Do they have the old definition or a new definition, or are
Canadians aware that peacekeeping has changed over the years?
Ms. Parriag: We have not focused specifically on the differences between the definitions ourselves. Other survey
research indicates that, to some degree, Canadians are simply not aware that our role might have changed. In fact,
when we asked about increased spending on the military, only 29 per cent of Canadians said that this was a high
priority for the new government, at the same time as 91 per cent said that this was an important international objective.
To us, that represents a real disconnect in their thinking of military versus peacekeeping and, to extend it,
peacemaking. This is something we will have to examine further.
Senator Cordy: I would be interested in seeing the data on that. There is a saying that soldiers should not be doing
peacekeeping but that the only ones who can do peacekeeping are soldiers. Therefore, you need a very well-trained
military in order to do peacekeeping effectively. That is certainly what we have heard, and what I believe.
You also said that people are very content with their lives and have little concern about the threat of terrorism. I
believe that immediately after 9/11 we, as legislators, could have passed almost any legislation, regardless of whether it
trampled on privacy issues or the rights of the individual. I think that immediately following 9/11 Canadians would
have accepted just about anything because of the fear. Is it true that your indicators show that Canadians have become
much more laid back about it?
Ms. Parriag: Actually, we were surprised by the results we obtained. We have data from a survey done in October
2001 and the same survey done in June 2004. We found that Canadians were completely unchanged in their fear of a
terrorist attack. Forty-two per cent said that it was likely that Canada would be the victim of a terrorist attack, and 56
per cent said that this was unlikely.
Senator Cordy: This was in the fall of 2001?
Ms. Parriag: Yes. The month after September 11, Canadians did not seem to be particularly fearful. However, they
did seem to be open and welcome to initiatives that the United States was putting forth in terms of their own security.
Canadians were onboard in terms of being supportive, but we do not seem to have felt that we ourselves were at risk of
a terrorist attack.
Senator Cordy: Is there a feeling that, because of the proximity to the United States, if anything happens the United
States will take care of us, or did you read between the lines on that?
Ms. Parriag: There is support for being a part of NORTHCOM. When we asked after September 11 about
NORTHCOM, a majority of Canadians said, ``We should join to increase our own security.'' Another majority said,
``We should join to ensure a say in the United States North American Security Policy.'' There seemed to be a desire to
increase our security — sort of, in a general sense, and a perception that the United States would do the brunt of the
work. They would get it organized, and we would get on board. Now we have not run that question on NORTHCOM
since that time, so I would think that support might have decreased, but we cannot know for sure. On another note,
you can see that support for NORAD is at least 7 in 10 this year. NORAD is high, NORTHCOM we are not sure
about, and the common border security is another issue again.
Senator Cody: There seem to be contradictions. I am not saying it is the fault of the people who did it. Canadians do
not seem to be totally sure of what they want, if these are the results. They do not want spending on military, but 91 per
cent think we should do peacekeeping with the UN. They believe in NORAD at 70 per cent, and NORTHCOM, but
are really low on ballistic missile defence with the Americans, with the Americans putting in the money and Canada
going along with them. Is that true?
Ms. Parriag: We do find that there are some contradictions in here. However, it seems that the contradictions come
from areas where Canadians have their values that are in conflict with the various initiatives. For example, when it
comes to peacekeeping, it is now an ideal for Canadians and one of the things that makes us Canadian. In fact, we
asked a question last year about the things and events that some people say make them proud to be Canadian, and 70
per cent said Canada's peacekeeping made them proud to be Canadian. Therefore, it seems to have gained prominence
far and beyond what they actually do.
It is the sort of ideal that is very different from ``Where should we be spending our money?'' Should we spend our
money on purchasing so-and-so for the military? They really seem to make a distinction, and see a difference, between
those two issues.
Senator Banks: I will pursue exactly what Senator Cordy was just saying that, depending on how questions are
phrased and what the context is and how much the people understand what they are answering, we have seen on
comedy shows examples of people answering questions with absolute self-confidence and certainty that they obviously
had no idea about, not the least of which was with respect to a certain personage. Would you please comment on or
defend the findings on the basis of that fact?
I will give you some examples. You asked, ``Could the U.S. and its allies bring about the removal of weapons of
mass destruction in Iraq by peaceful rather than other means?'' However, the resolutions that demanded the removal
of weapons of mass destruction were from the United Nations. It was a succession of United Nations resolutions in
which the United States said, ``We will enforce whether you like it or not'' that demanded the removal of those things.
Would that not — or may that not effect the answer that a person would give to that question?
Ms. Parriag: You are right that we need to be careful in how we phrase these questions. This is the eternal debate
that pundits have been having for eons. How do you ask the questions while being sure not to bias the answers?
Even if Canadians do not know the ins and outs of NORTHCOM or NORAD or missile defence, you are certainly
able to gauge an idea of their attitudes. They may not know the ins and outs of a UN resolution or the exact means of
removing the Iraqi regime, militaristic or non-militaristic, but they can have an attitude towards what is appropriate
for our country.
Senator Banks: If you ask the question of someone, ``Do you think we ought to join NORTHCOM?'' That implies
(a) that we can join NORTHCOM, which we cannot, and (b) they might have some idea about what NORTHCOM is.
Did you determine that the people whom you were asking understood the nature of the question?
Ms. Parriag: We always have the option. We always offer the option of saying you do not know, and it is true,
people really want to give you an answer rather than saying that they do not know. However, we tend to look at the
proportion of responses for ``don't knows: and for none of these questions did we get particularly high proportions of
people saying that they did not know.
Senator Banks: Does that not obviate whatever the findings are, because Canada cannot join NORTHCOM? It is a
division that is made up by the United States and they put these people in charge of different parts of the world. It has
nothing to do with us, unless I misunderstood it completely.
The Chairman: You understand it exactly.
Senator Banks: We cannot apply to join NORTHCOM nor will we ever be asked to join it. Therefore, was the
question that was asked of Canadians, ``Should we join NORTHCOM?'' Was that the question?
Ms. Parriag: Do you want the exact wording? I will find it for you. I will give you the NORTHCOM question first.
Senator Banks: You understand the nature of why I am asking the question?
Ms. Parriag: Yes.
Senator Banks: It is like saying, ``Do you want to become a Viking?'' Sure.
The Chairman: I thought we were Vikings.
Ms. Parriag: What we said is that the United States recently announced the creation of a new military command
structure called NORTHCOM to look after the security of all of North America. It is expected that Canada will be
asked to join NORTHCOM, which would mean that the Canadian Armed Forces would work more closely with those
of the United States. The question was something like, ``Which of the following statements about NORTHCOM is
closer to your own view?'' and then we have two different sets of statements.
Senator Banks: You put the question quite fairly. I do not know that we will be asked to participate in
NORTHCOM — we will see — but with respect to NORAD, do you see a disconnect between the NORAD answers
that you got, which were mostly in the affirmative on the one hand, and the ballistic missile defence questions that you
got, which were an entirely opposite result? Is there not a disconnect there? Were they the same people that were asked
Ms. Parriag: They were the same people.
Senator Banks: How can the people have those two opinions?
Ms. Parriag: We cannot entirely say for sure, obviously, because we did not ask them, ``Why do you feel this way?''
Upon reflection, it appears that there is a terminology issue. One is called ballistic missile defence and the other one is
called NORAD. One sounds very militaristic, and Canadians are not generally militaristic. What do Canadians know
about missiles? This is a completely foreign issue. I think it is just phrased in such a way, or the name is unfortunate,
that it really turns people off.
Senator Banks: It is marketing. We just have to paint it pink and everything will be okay.
Senator Meighen: As a former chairman of the council, I am glad to see you are continuing the good work. All this is
very important. Senators Cordy and Banks have really explored the areas I was interested in. I do not think I have too
much else, except — and you may have touched on this directly — how many years approximately have you been
doing these annual surveys?
Ms. Parriag: The surveys started in 1998. At that time we did two, so in fact this is the seventh survey.
Senator Meighen: Do you have a survey of your surveys? Have you got something that shows the changing opinions
on the same questions?
Ms. Parriag: Absolutely. Wherever we have a question that we have tracked over time, we keep that tracking.
Senator Meighen: Is there any question that would relate to the area that is of interest to us that has shown some
Ms. Parriag: I alluded to one of them very rapidly when I was giving my opening statements, the one on Canada's
ties with the United States. We found it particularly interesting that last year there was a real push towards having
closer ties with the United States. We thought that was a reflection of the general tumultuous relationships we had had
on a number of different levels last year with the United States.
This year, there is a real push towards the status quo but there is a decline in those who would like closer relations
and an increase, 9 and 10 points respectively, in those who would like more distant relations. It could be a reflection of
a number of different issues that have taken place between the two countries within the last year. We will have to watch
this to see what happens.
It is important to note the plurality position of Canadians is such that we want our relationship with the United
States to remain the same. However, there is some movement in the minorities who want our relationship to become
closer or more distant. We will keep our eyes on that.
Senator Meighen: Is sentiment dependant on the particular headlines of the day?
Ms. Parriag: The question we asked was general in nature. We asked only whether people would like our ties to the
U.S. to be closer, more distant or the same. As with any public opinion poll, the context makes a difference. We did the
poll this year between September 15 and 16, depending on which region of the country we were polling in, and October
3 and 4. A number of things were taking place at the time that might have affected perceptions of the Canada-U.S.
Senator Meighen: You are in a fascinating business. I admire your ability to remain non-cynical about the issue. A
few years ago, we were all sitting around in committees debating the merits of a common currency or a currency union
with the United States. Today, we do not hear a word about that. Funnily enough, the dollar has gone up by 20 basis
Ms. Parriag: We have a data point for that, from a few years ago, whereby the majority of Canadians said they did
not want to have a common currency with the United States. When we suggested that we would use the U.S. dollar as
the common currency, the proportion who did not want this union of currency increased dramatically. Common
currency is simply a non-starter for Canadians. That is probably why you do not hear about it these days.
Senator Meighen: Are you saying it was a non-starter back one and a half years when the dollar was at U.S. 63-
cents? Perhaps only the academic circles became excited about that prospect.
Ms. Parriag: No, this survey was of the general population in 2003 and included the North, where they were saying
that this is a bad idea. Our dollar was rising at the time.
Senator Meighen: You may not be able to answer this next question. I think you used the phrase, ``Canadians are
not militaristic.'' What does that mean? Does it mean that Canadians are not interested in military matters or not
interested in their military? Does it mean that they do not have designs on other peoples' lands or possessions? What
does it mean?
Ms. Parriag: From the data gathered, we have found that Canadians approve of multilateral approaches to a
number of issues including, for example, Iraq. Canadians take a great deal of pride in peacekeeping but do not
necessarily prioritize spending on the military. It appears from the data that Canadians are more reserved, and when I
say ``more or less militaristic'' I was meaning in comparison to the United States.
Senator Meighen: You do not see much change in that over the years that you have been polling?
Ms. Parriag: Even right after September 11, when passions were high and we were being supportive of the United
States, we were not willing to remove or reduce our Charter of Rights and Freedoms in order to enhance issues of
security. We were only slightly more restrictive in terms of immigration policies and we still did not jump on the
military action bandwagon.
Senator Meighen: In the immediate aftermath of the friendly fire incident in Afghanistan, did you notice any
Ms. Parriag: I do not have any data to speak to on that at this time.
Senator Meighen: Might you have the data at a later date?
Ms. Parriag: I might have it after.
Senator Meighen: We will ask you then.
Senator Day: I always find these analyses of surveys quite fascinating. We heard comments on other surveys a while
back and their conclusion was that there is an inherent support for the military in Canada that is quite strong but that
political leadership does not seem to have caught on to that to the extent that the public wants more money spent on
the Armed Forces.
You have indicated that Canadians are highly supportive of peacekeeping. Can we take that a step further and say
that you would agree that Canadians tend to be supportive of the military as an element of our society?
Ms. Parriag: I do not know that our data necessarily shows that.
Senator Day: Have you ever compared the support for the military generally between Canada and the United
Ms. Parriag: No, we have not done that.
Senator Day: I would guess that we would probably see greater inherent support for the military in the United States
than in Canada, but that is only an observation. Without having polled, you do not have other material that would
support or refute that statement?
Ms. Parriag: No.
Senator Day: Your use of the Canadian flag suggests to me that you are a Canadian agency. Is that a wrong
Ms. Parriag: That is correct.
Senator Day: How do you obtain your funding?
Ms. Parriag: The Canadian Unity Council is a non-profit, non-partisan organization. We rely on grants and
donations from a number of different bodies.
Senator Day: Do you take orders such that if I wanted a survey done on a particular subject, I could pay you money
and you would do that for me?
Ms. Parriag: No.
Senator Day: That is not part of your mandate?
Ms. Parriag: No. We survey particularly on issues of the Canadian federation. We have a research agenda and we
follow that agenda. Part of our mandate is to disseminate our information as widely as possible. If you wanted
particular information that we happen to have, we would certainly give it to you.
Senator Day: Who decides on the questions you will ask for any particular survey?
Ms. Parriag: With the Portraits of Canada Survey, we had a research committee that was made up of various
individuals from the polling industry, as well as people within the Centre for Research Information on Canada. Our
regional managers also had input to the questions. In large part, we are guided by the issues of the day — emerging
issues that need to be covered, as well as issues of the federation that we need to track over time because we think they
will remain important, regardless of whether they are in the news, such as Senate reform.
Senator Day: We were surprised when you talked about NORTHCOM — Northern Command of the United States
military structure. We thought that perhaps you had misspoken and had meant to say NORAD. However, your
question clearly stated that the United States was about to set up a division of its military called Northern Command
Ms. Parriag: Yes.
Senator Day: It was to be responsible for North American defence. Is that what the wording said?
Ms. Parriag: The United States recently announced the creation of a new military command structure called
NORTHCOM, which will look after the security of all of North America.
Senator Day: If you called people up and told them that a body called NORTHCOM was to be created to look after
the defence of all of North America and did they think that we should be part of it, what kind of answer do you think
you would you get from people?
Ms. Parriag: It could have gone a number of different ways. We could say that security is not an issue for us. Other
polling data that shows Canadians do not believe they are at risk of a terrorist attack might indicate that Canadians
would generally reject being part of NORTHCOM.
Senator Day: Was that question developed in consultation with a political or military person who might know what
NORTHCOM would truly be doing?
Ms. Parriag: No. We need to pose these questions to the general public. We would not want to give a paragraph of
information, first of all, but, as you said, many people may not know what NORTHCOM is and so we give a little
Senator Day: The only other question, just in conclusion, is how much of your budget do you receive by way of a
grant from the federal government?
Ms. Parriag: You would have to talk to Michel Desjardins.
Senator Day: Is this not public information?
Ms. Parriag: I actually do not know.
Senator Day: If I went to your website, would I be able to find out?
Ms. Parriag: I cannot say, because my focus has been to co-direct Portraits of Canada, but Mr. Desjardins is open
about much of what we do and the processes behind what we are doing, so you could certainly ask.
The Chairman: You told me earlier that you do not have dogs on your website.
Ms. Parriag: I do not have dogs on my website yet.
The Chairman: They are a good idea.
Senator Nolin: Some of our colleagues would be interested to know that one of our colleagues, Senator Fraser,
before being summoned to the Senate, was a director of that centre.
Ms. Parriag: It is a good place to be, obviously.
Senator Nolin: Of course, I am from Quebec, and my question will be focused on why Quebec is so different.
Ms. Parriag: I knew you were from Quebec and I did a little bit of background checking into why Quebec is so
different before I came. What are you thinking of particularly?
Senator Nolin: First, the relationship with the U.S., which is quite an evolution from when you look at data going
back 15, 20 years, Quebec has always been very close to the United States. With respect to the question about being
world citizens, was it defined and why is Quebec so different from the rest of the country in responding to that
question? Those are two areas of interest for me.
Ms. Parriag: When we do national surveys, time after time we will see that the responses in Quebec are different
from those in the rest of Canada. In fact we have, as a matter of course, in our survey data often a set of data for
Quebec and then compare that to the rest of Canada because the responses are often different.
When it comes to the relationship with the United States, in looking at other survey data on values we have found
that there is a divergence in the values of Quebecers and the values of Americans. It is well exemplified in some survey
research that has been done by Michael Adams at Environics Research Group. He has tested different statements: One
of them is ``the father is the master in his own home'' and he asks whether you agree or not with that statement. In the
United States as a whole, you will find that agreement has been going up and in Canada, agreement has been going
down. In Quebec, it has been going down to a much larger degree.
There is also a divergence in terms of religious beliefs. The United States has become more conservative and
religious over time, definitely within the last 30 years, and in Quebec that has become less so. We think that a difference
in values is definitely driving a difference in perceptions. Essentially, Quebecers are saying that they do not see
anything in common with these people.
Senator Nolin: That is quite recent for Quebecers, and of course you focus on two specific areas.
Ms. Parriag: Right.
Senator Nolin: I was reading a piece written by a journalist in The Globe and Mail recently about why Quebec is
more different, we Quebecers see ourselves as more different from the U.S., and it is recent. If you go back 10 years, it
was not that way. What has changed? Of course, it is not family values or religious values that have changed over the
last 10 years, so what has changed?
Ms. Parriag: I know that if we were to take, say, the last four or five years, when it comes to military issues
Quebecers tend to be less concerned overall. In the United States, there has been a focus on military issues and security
issues, and so forth. You would definitely see a divergence there.
In terms of the missile defence question, when you take Quebec out of the overall results, support in Canada
increases to majority support for missile defence and opposition decreases to below 50 per cent. Therefore, responses in
Quebec are really driving perceptions on this issue. From what we have seen, when there is a need for military support
that coincides with Quebecers' values, yes, they are on board, otherwise they do not support this issue and the United
States has been very much supporting this issue.
Senator Nolin: I want to focus now on the ``world citizens'' attitude. What is so strange in that question? First, how
was the question put to the people?
Ms. Parriag: I will find it for you.
For that question, we asked: ``Do you agree strongly, agree somewhat, disagree somewhat or disagree strongly with
the following statement: I feel I am more a citizen of the world than a citizen of my own country.''
Senator Nolin: Without more explanation, and even on a very bold statement without giving any explanation on
what it means, do you have important differences between Quebecers and the rest of the country?
Ms. Parriag: Absolutely.
Senator Nolin: That is Canada versus the U.S.?
Ms. Parriag: Yes.
Senator Nolin: How do you explain all that?
Ms. Parriag: I would explain the differences between Quebec and the rest of Canada to be a reflection of the
attachment that Quebecers feel, for example, to Europe, that Canadians would not necessarily feel, in comparison, to
the same degree. I was speaking about this question with some Quebecers on Thursday, and they were saying that they
feel at home in Europe, and just as at home there as in Quebec. There is definitely an affinity there, so that makes sense.
In terms of the difference between Canada and the United States, 69 per cent of Canadians disagree that they are
more citizens of the world than a citizen in their own country, but 58 per cent of Americans disagree with that
statement. Both of them have majorities that disagree that they are citizens of the world, although Canada disagrees to
a larger extent.
I want to call your attention, while I am explaining this, to the fact that 9 per cent of Americans cannot respond to
Senator Nolin: Of course, they need more explanation.
Ms. Parriag: I do not know; I just find it interesting. Maybe it is a concept that is a little bit foreign in the United
States, even though they have this melting pot ideal and this idea that they welcome people from all around the world,
and so forth. Perhaps it is a concept that is more foreign to them. I am not 100 per cent sure what is driving the
Senator Munson: Governments pay attention to polls. I know this from having worked for government for a short
period of time.
Ms. Parriag: We are glad to hear that.
Senator Munson: Sometimes they pay too much attention, though, to the detriment of what could be effective laws
or policy, and it may be unpopular, yet governments will look at a poll and say: that is a poll therefore I will not make
a decision and just go with what Canadians are telling me.
How do you feel about the role of pollsters and their role in dealing with governments and how governments
manage themselves? In this town, when there is a poll, people jump and listen to it, and sometimes they deliver policy
based on the last poll.
Ms. Parriag: Pollsters have a responsibility to ask questions that are unbiased and fair, precisely because of what
you have just said: People pay attention to the results. I do think that the government needs to pay attention to polls,
particularly when they are national polls that reflect the views of Canadians across the country, as opposed to a
regional poll, when it is an issue that is a national issue. If it is an emerging issue, there is a responsibility on the part of
the government to see what happens to it over time. For example, with this missile defence issue, we have seen that
polarization amongst those who are strongly opposed and those who are strongly supportive has increased within the
last two years. That is something to which governments should pay attention, as much as the overall numbers for
support and opposition to the system, because that indicates that Canadians' views on this issue have some staying
power and it is not just a flash in the pan or something influenced by context. Governments must be responsible in how
they look at the data. They do not only have to take the pollsters' interpretation of the data, they must also look at
data from different sources in conjunction with the context within which the data was gathered. For example, if we
gathered data right after September 11, you would want to follow up those data points over time to ensure that those
are solid opinions and not just opinions driven by emotion at that time.
Senator Munson: Those who are watching CPAC are paying attention to us sometimes. In summation, what single
message is coming out of your poll today that you are telling us that government should pay attention to? Is there a
general theme or specifics that you would like to get across?
Ms. Parriag: In terms of the data that I have talked to you a bit about today, Canadians are supportive of policies
that reflect their values. It is very important for governments to be aware of that. Overall, we do not feel fearful. We are
not a country that feels threatened. We are aware of the United States. We would like to work with them on issues that
we have in common. When it comes to common border security, that coincides with our values, we are on board with
them; however, when there are issues that we do not support because they conflict with our values, Canadians are not
Senator Banks: Supplementary to Senator Munson's question, the Canadian sample in this case — this was a survey
that you commissioned through Environics — was 2,012 people?
Ms. Parriag: It was 3,202 people.
Senator Banks: April 2003?
Ms. Parriag: No, this is this year, from September to October of this year, 3,202.
Senator Banks: I am always amazed at how effective and how right polling is with a relatively small sample. If you
watch elections, after the first few polls come in, that is usually it.
The Chairman: Nineteen times out of twenty.
Senator Banks: Still, Alberta has 10 to 12 per cent of the population, give or take a nickel. Therefore, about 30
people in Alberta were asked these questions, and it is upon that basis that these Alberta-specific figures were arrived
at. In all of the time that you have spent doing this work, are you confident that that is a sufficient sample from which
to extrapolate the views of Quebec, for example, or of Alberta, for another example?
Ms. Parriag: We actually talked to 300 people in Alberta in this survey.
Senator Banks: How would it be weighted that crazily?
Ms. Parriag: We would be weighting it down.
Senator Banks: You are right; you said 3,000, so that is 300. Is that a sufficient sample from which to arrive at an
Ms. Parriag: The margin of error for this survey overall is 1.7 per cent, 19 times out of 20. However, when you go
into the smaller regions, for example, Alberta, the margin of error climbs. If we want to look at differences between the
attitudes and perspectives of Albertans as opposed to those in other regions, the differences would have to be much
larger in order for us to be confident that they were statistically significant.
Senator Banks: Why would that be so if the percentage is approximately the same in Quebec or Ontario as it is in
Alberta? Did you say rural areas?
Ms. Parriag: No. Sorry.
Senator Banks: I have no doubt that you are right, but if you have gone to about 10 per cent of the people who live
in Canada and live in Alberta, you surveyed 3,000 people, give or take a nickel, in Canada. You surveyed 300 people in
Alberta. That is the right number. My arithmetic was wrong. Why would that be less statistically significant than the
however many people you would have surveyed in Quebec, which would be 700 and something?
Ms. Parriag: We surveyed 1,000 in Quebec because we wanted a bit of an over-sample, but you are right that we did
weight it down to 700. It is just that the more people that you have, the more you are reducing your margin of error.
Senator Banks: Regardless of the fact that it is the same proportion of the population?
Ms. Parriag: Yes. You can over-sample and disproportionately sample. That means you drive down your margin of
The Chairman: To clarify that, to get an accurate reading in Alberta of the same accuracy as you have nationally,
you would probably have to have a sample closer to 1,500 or 2,000, would you not?
Ms. Parriag: Exactly, yes. If we wanted to have a survey in Alberta that had a margin of error of 1.7 per cent, we
would not be surveying only 300 people, if it were simply an Alberta survey.
The Chairman: In fact, we are talking about a much larger error of probability in the Alberta sample that we have in
Ms. Parriag: Yes.
The Chairman: It is Statistics 101. She has done it; we have not. Let us leave it.
Senator Banks: Thank you.
The Chairman: Would you comment for the committee on vulnerabilities and threats that Canadians perceive? Have
you done any work on that?
Ms. Parriag: We have done some work on Canadians' perceptions of threats. We found that Canadians do not
necessarily perceive a threat in terms of security overall. For example, we have fairly relaxed immigration policies. A
majority of Canadians say that we should not be restricting people, for example, from Islamic countries simply because
they might pose a terrorist threat, and that sort of thing.
We tend to see threats of the non-security kind, like threats from the United States in terms of them taking over our
identity or that sort of thing. We have asked questions on, for example, the harmonization of a number of different
policies with the United States, saying that it would probably be better for our economy, for example, if we
harmonized our immigration policy or tax policy, that sort of thing. A majority of Canadians in each instance, whether
it is immigration or taxes or health care, do not support harmonization of policies with the United States.
Related to all of this, when it comes to our sovereignty in the Arctic, there is a bit of concern that within the next 10
years we might lose our sovereignty over the Arctic to the United States, but over all, Canadians do not seem fearful.
The Chairman: How about issues relating to national pride? Have you done any work on that? Can you find any
correlation between that and attitudes towards the military?
Ms. Parriag: Participation in World War I and World War II: 61 per cent of Canadians say that that makes them
proud to be Canadian. Canada's peacekeeping: 70 per cent say that makes them proud to be Canadian. Canada not
being in the Iraq war: 49 per cent cite that as a source of price. What was the original question that you asked?
The Chairman: I asked whether you had examined Canadians' pride in their country and whether there was any
relationship between their pride of place and defence spending, the army or the Canadian Forces. Did they associate
one with the other in any respect?
Ms. Parriag: What we are seeing is that pride is coming from issues other than defence. First, the vastness and
beauty of the land; second, the UN ranking of Canada as number one; and third, assisting U.S. planes on September
11. Those are the three things that we found Canadians said made them proud to be Canadian last year. Peacekeeping
was high, but as we have talked about here today, Canadians do not seem to connect peacekeeping and the military
necessarily with a straight line. Participation in the different world wars is also up there. In terms of the military,
Canadian are proud that we were not in the Iraq war, and more intensely so in Quebec.
Senator Meighen: Were these prompted responses?
Ms. Parriag: These were prompted responses, yes.
The Chairman: Did any of your work relate to the level of funding of the military?
Ms. Parriag: How do you mean?
The Chairman: Do Canadians feel that the military is appropriately funded? Do they feel that more resources should
be put into military spending?
Ms. Parriag: We have not gone into that level of detail. The question that we asked this year in terms of our
priorities was simply should there be increased spending on the military.
The Chairman: Did any of your inquiries relate to the over-tasking of the military in terms of the amount of work or
assignments that the military was getting?
Ms. Parriag: No, it did not. I should also note that at the time we fielded this survey, this was before the incident
with Chris Saunders and so forth. Responses might be different now than they were when we were in the field.
The Chairman: On behalf of the committee, thank you very much for appearing before us. The information you
have brought us is useful. I am sure it will be of assistance to us as we continue with our examination of Canada's
defence needs. Thank you very much for coming; it is much appreciated.
For members of the public who are viewing this program, if you have any questions or comments, please visit our
website by going to www.sen-sec.ca. We post witness testimony as well as confirmed hearing schedules. Otherwise, you
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