Skip to Content
 

Proceedings of the Standing Senate Committee on
National Security and Defence

Issue 10 - Evidence, February 2, 2005 - Afternoon meeting


ST. JOHN'S, Wednesday, February 2, 2005

The Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence met this day at 6 p.m. to examine and report on the national security policy for Canada (Town Hall Meeting).

Senator Colin Kenny (Chairman) in the chair.

[English]

The Chairman: Welcome, everyone. It is good to see you. On behalf of the Senate Standing Committee on National Security and Defence, I want to say that we are very pleased to be here in St. John's and to be visiting Newfoundland and Labrador.This is a city with a very proud military tradition.St. John's is the home to the Canadian Forces Station St. John's, the First Battalion, the Royal Newfoundland Regiment, to the 56 Field Engineers Squadron, tothe 36 Service Battalion and the 728 Communications Squadron. Thousands of young men and women in this region have served in two world wars and in Korea and have continued to serve Canada in peacekeeping and peacemaking missions since.

I would like to, if I could, briefly introduce the members of the committee to you.

The folks in the back, come on up. We have some seats here and we would love to have you feeling comfortable. We will get the staff to bring in some more seats so that everybody is accommodated. But there is a couple here in the front row. There is another one in the front row here. And we will just keeping moving in chairs. If we could get some on this side here, perhaps even some seats for people here. That is terrific.

Thank you so much for coming. I would like to introduce the committee, if I could, to you. On my immediate right is the distinguished senator from Nova Scotia, Michael Forestall. He served the constituents of Dartmouth for 37 years, first as their member of the House of Commons and then as their senator. While in the House of Commons, he served as the Official Opposition Defence Critic from 1966 to 1976. He is also a member of our Subcommittee on Veterans' Affairs.

On the far left of the table is Senator Norman Atkins from Ontario. He came to the Senate with 27 years of experience in the field of communications. He served as a senior adviser to Mr. Robert Stanfield, to Premier William Davis and to Prime Minister Brian Mulroney. He is also a member of our Subcommittee on Veterans Affairs.

Beside him 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 chair of the Canada-NATO Parliamentary Association and she is a member of the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology.

On my far right, your left, of the table is Senator Tommy Banks from Alberta. He is the Chair of the Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources, which recently released a report entitled The One-Tonne Challenge. He is well known to Canadians as a versatile musician and entertainer. He provided the musical direction for the ceremonies at the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary. He is an Officer of the Order of Canada and he has received a Juno award.

Beside him is Senator Michael Meighen. He is a lawyer by profession. He is chancellor of the University of King's College and past chair of the Stratford Festival. He has an honorary doctorate in civil law from Mount Allison University and the University of New Brunswick. Currently, he is the Chair of our Subcommittee on Veterans Affairs and he is also a member of the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce.

Our committee is the first Senate committee mandated to examine security and defence. The Senate asked our committee to examine the need for a national security policy. We began our review in the year 2002 and we issued three interim reports entitled, Canadian Security and Military Preparedness, in February, The Defence of North American: A Canadian Responsibility, in September, and, An Update on Canada's Military Crisis: A Review from the Bottom Up, in November.

In 2003, the committee published two reports, The Myth of Security at Canada's Airports, in January, and, Canada's Coastlines: The longest Under-Defended Borders in the World, in October.

In 2004, we tabled two more reports, National Emergencies: Canada's Fragile Front Lines, in March, and recently, The Canadian Security Guidebook, 2005 edition.

The committee is currently reviewing Canadian defence policy. During the next few months, the committee will hold hearings in every province and engage Canadians to determine their national interest, what they see as Canada's principal threats and how they would like the government to respond to those threats. The committee will attempt to generate debate on national security in Canada and to forge a consensus on the need and type of military Canadians want.

Our moderator this evening is Gregory Doyle. He is over here. He was born and raised and lives in St. John's. He has worked for the Health and Community Services in St. John's for nine years and also serves as chair of the Pan- Canadian Committee on Cancer Control. Welcome, Mr. Doyle, and thank you very much for your assistance this evening.

We are here tonight to hear your views. We are here to learn and we hope to come away with a better understanding of what the people in this community want for their armed services. I would ask Mr. Doyle now if he would explain the ground rules that we hope will be satisfactory for everyone during the course of the evening. Mr. Doyle, the floor is yours.

Mr. Gregory Doyle, Moderator: Thank you, Senator Kenny. Thank you, everyone, for attending this evening's meeting.

There are two microphones in the hall. If you wish to make a comment, line up in front of one of them. You will not be asking questions. You will be making a presentation that will not exceed three minutes. A clock will show your remaining time. The yellow light will go on at the 30-second mark. When the red light goes on, your time is up, and I will assure you, I will interrupt you and you will be stopped.

One member of the committee may then ask you a question to clarify your comments. That question is expected to take the senators 30 seconds to ask and, again, they will be kept to that time, and then you will have up to a minute and a half to respond.

The committee requires that speakers identify themselves for the record. This is so that they can create an accurate record of the evening and follow up, if necessary, with you. Since this is a parliamentary proceeding, you will understand that an accurate record is needed. On the way into the meeting, you were given a registration card. Please make sure that you hand your card to the clerk once you arrive at the microphone. If you did not get one, there are more available in the back of the room.

This meeting is being interpreted in both official languages. Transceivers are available at the registration desk.

I will ask you one more thing: If you have a cell phone, could you please turn it off or turn it to the vibrate mode so that it will not interrupt this evening's proceedings.

The Chairman: There is one last point. There is also a questionnaire that is available to everyone and for those that would prefer not to make an oral presentation, we would be happy to receive the questionnaire. And for those that have a presentation that lasts for more than three minutes, we would be happy to receive it and the clerk of the committee will take it and we will respond to anything we do receive from people in writing. So, we are happy to get the information from you in one way or another. Having said that, if there are no questions, I would invite you to line up at the different microphones and we will commence the evening.

Mr. Geoff Peters, as an individual: My name is Geoff Peters. I live in St. John's.

Senator Kenny, members of the Senate, I want to thank you for the opportunity to offer a few thoughts on the role of the military and the Coast Guard in today's Canada. It is fitting you are here to talk with us this evening because, as you are aware, approximately 25 per cent of the personnel in the various branches of our armed services are Newfoundland and Labrador men and women. In fact, one of those young men is now our top gun, chief of Canada's national defence staff, an appointment which becomes effective this Friday.

We have also had a strong relationship with our American friends, when the Land Lease Agreement in 1940 brought four U.S. bases to the then Country of Newfoundland in the 1940's.

We know the benefits of a military presence can bring to an area. Look at Halifax for Navy, Greenwood, Air, Gagetown, Army, Summerside, Air, to name just a few in Atlantic Canada. I therefore strongly feel that our government has to assist 5 Wing Goose Bay in particular, enabling that base to operate successfully, fulfilling its role as a training area for many NATO countries. It is recognized that roles such as low-level flying have changed, but this wonderful facility can continue to be a part of Canada's military and the resulting economic benefit is crucial to that area.

Canada's role as peacekeeper is second to none and we are respected for this, but in recent years, because of cutbacks, we are sending our service personnel to distant areas in very difficult areas of the world without the necessary equipment to do their job properly. I urge the respective ministers and you people in your report to lobby hard to obtain necessary funding to enable our servicemen and women anywhere in the world to be proper funded and properly clothed and equipped to do the job properly.

As a recreational sailor for 25 years, I have met with and experienced our Coast Guard on many occasions in the days when the Coast Guard was a separate department under the Department of Transport. Because of our geography, we know the value of search and rescue, lighthouse keeping, buoy maintenance and pollution control. And it is my opinion that Coast Guard should be separated from DFO and should revert to its former status or even a line department or to become part of the Department of Transport again. I think it is more effective under that department. That is my own opinion. The role of the Coast Guard will increasingly be more important as we expand our offshore oil industry and our onshore oil terminal capacity.

We have witnessed the total disregard by foreign vessels flushing their bilges in our waters. Protecting our rapidly declining fish stocks from countries that have little regard for us is a job for Coast Guard with real authority. And we demand that our national government accept the responsibility.

I am sure you senators have heard lots on this subject, so now you have the opportunity to be heard in the House of Commons in Ottawa.

As an aside, this afternoon, I rang DFO in Ottawa to find out what department the Coast Guard was under prior to becoming part of DFO. They had no answer because it was not in the computer. DFO in St. John's gave me the answer in 10 seconds.

Senator Banks: You talked about a large number of subjects. The one having to do with Goose Bay is interesting because we are going to be meeting with some people from Goose Bay tomorrow. It is also a subject that has been studied at length. You should know that Senator Rompkey is on this case like a dog with a bone.

Mr. Peters: God bless him.

Senator Banks: Yes. We say that often. Sometimes we say other things as well.

Mr. Peters: I know him well.

Senator Banks: Right, yes.

The situation in Goose Bay is very interesting. How long do you think we should throw money into that if the foreign folks are not coming to use that as a training facility?

Mr. Peters: In my opinion, I think if it was upgraded to a proper facility, I think the services would come back. The Germans would come back, I think, as would the British. The Americans would love to, but for a different reason, not necessary for low-level flying. There is a lot of other issues in the new world of warfare that is quite different from low- level flying. So, I think that if it was properly upgraded — I mean, you do it in other provinces. You do it in other parts of Canada. We need our share. Quite frankly, we need a military presence, a proper one, in Newfoundland and Labrador, and I think that is the area in which it should be put.

The Chairman: Thank you very much, sir.

Mr. Peters: I have a copy. Do you want it?

The Chairman: If the clerk could have it, that would be very helpful.

Mr. Harry Bown, as an individual: I am a former member of the Canadian Forces, Regular and Reserve. Thank you very much, Mr. Chair and honourable senators, for coming and obviously addressing this particular issue, which is still near and dear to my heart, even though it is in the past right now. By chance, I happened to finish Jack Granatstein's latest book, Who Killed the Canadian Military?, and, tragically, unfortunately — and I do wish you well. I really do wish you well, but it seems like what is evolving here is yet another chapter in that book, one that has yet to be written, because if we can look at it, and if I can use a technical term, there is a definite "negative slope'' to the curve of what we might refer to as military affairs, military involvement, military interests. It does not reside here. Clearly, the honourable senators have a deep and abiding interest for these affairs, but, unfortunately, it resides with the Canadian people. And I give you this task and it is an impossible task: Change the will of the Canadian people as it relates to defence matters. And that is only since the 1950s. It is only in the past 50 years that we look at this "negative slope'' of interest and promises and committees and involvements and things that have ultimately come to nothing. And the poor old folks who are left to serve, if you look at the pressures on them, I do most sincerely pity the crowd who are left just to try to carry on to do the things we have to do. We are overtasked, we are underfunded and all the things that certainly I am sure that everybody would mention about the particulars.

But there is a much bigger problem associated with this and this is to change the will of the Canadian people. We may come up with a new direction. I hope it is and I hope it will stick this time. I hope it will also mean a positive slope for military affairs in Canada.

Senator Meighen: You put your finger on the big problem and I do not know that any of us has the absolute answer. However, that being said, I could throw it back to you and say, well, you must have one or two ideas. On the other hand, let us suppose that we are both bereft of ideas and conclude that we get the military that Canadians want.

Mr. Bown: That may be.

Senator Meighen: The solution to the problem and my way of thinking — I like your comment. This is my question to you, that many years ago, I was brought up to believe that politicians are there to lead. That seems to be a novel concept these days and most politicians are happy to follow. And while I realize and recognize that you cannot and should not be too far ahead or behind the public, nevertheless, you know, it might be worthwhile in this instance taking a small risk, given the profile has increased of our armed forces in recent years with our involvement in Afghanistan, the tragedy there, and if you look at Remembrance Day ceremonies and the like, you will see great participation.

Mr. Doyle: Senator, your question.

Senator Meighen: Perhaps the solution lies in our government taking the bull by the horns and getting out a bit in front of public opinion and doing something to restore the capability of our forces. What do you think?

Mr. Bown: Can I have a seat there as well? To the extent that there would be a sea change or that we would hope there will be a sea change in opinion, and I think there is no earthly way in this world that that would take place, but there has to be some kind of change, and this time, it has to stick, because, as I say, there were ups and downs in the past, but they all generally are heading in one direction. I would really ask the honourable senators if you could make your best efforts to make that first step that would ultimately — who knows? Who knows where it goes? But if you make that first step, it will be different from what has happened in the past. Please do something that is different from what it was in the past. That is the only thing I would ask.

Mr. Don Barter, as an individual: My name is Don Barter and I am here representing the Navy League of Canada, Newfoundland and Labrador Division. I am the former president of the league and I am here tonight because I am their grandfather. I remember when Canada has the third largest fleet in the world, but that is history. So now we are looking at money and how are going to maintain our future.

I am here to express support for and to highlight the importance of a modern and effective naval service. With the longest coastline in the world and a dependence on international trade and offshore resources, Canada is a maritime nation and we need a navy to protect our interests here and abroad. As a Newfoundlander, I had to look at our coast and we need the Navy in our area to protect our offshore resources for oil and fisheries, fighting drug smuggling, search and rescue and port security. All these things cost money, we know, but we feel that the surveillance that is given to us and that we should maintain is little because of the monies they are now using. So we would like to see that expanded so that we have a continuous surveillance on our long coastline.

Now, the other thing I would like to suggest is that we should be looking at offshore patrol vessels because our fleet is getting smaller and our ships are getting older. So, again, I say to you that we need to look at the financial side of this to bring back a Navy that we can be proud of.

In the meantime, I think our whole DND should look at peacekeeping. That is what we are good at. I do not think we are nation that can get out fighting wars, but we can certainly help people who are in distress. And in that area, I think that the Navy itself should have at least two ships in areas such as the problems we had a couple of months ago in southeast Asia, to have a ship that is manned not only by the complement of the ship, by Navy, but also by marines or soldiers so that we may be in striking distance whenever we are needed.

Having said that, it all comes down to money. I want to thank you very much for coming here. I have a much bigger report, of course, which I will give to your clerk.

The Chairman: We would be very pleased to receive it.

Senator Forrestall: My name is Chief Petty Officer Forestall, MRC Magnificent, for Halifax. I guess that probably would have been in the late forties, early fifties. Jeez, the years go by. The years go by. Maintain the navy. The navy has been, of course, one of the better treated of the three branches of our services. We are embarked, as you know, on a major thrust to reconstitute a new Canadian army. Would you agree that we should continue to do what we are doing with respect to the navy, including getting on with the new fleet, the replacement program? But, surely, we could let a little bit of money slide away to the army until it is up and running again and on its feet?

Mr. Barter: Well, this may sound to you as me promoting the navy, but I am a former lieutenant-colonel of the army, so I can say that, yes, the army needs its share, and I again say in peacekeeping so that we can bring back Canada's greatness of being a nation that people look up to.

The Chairman: Thank you very much, sir, and I will take that.

Mr. James Cahill, as an individual: My name is James Cahill. I am a former naval reservist and I am also a member of the Naval Officers Association of Canada. Thank you for the opportunity to address the committee this evening. I wish to take a very few minutes to strongly advocate, once again, for our navy, a navy that can continue to ensure our national security and sovereignty at sea as well as support our sovereign policy in overseas trade. Such a navy is vital to the interests of all Canadians and despite the tendency of some people to suggest that we will continue to be protected under the umbrella of the United States, we must as Canadians signal our willingness to defend our interests. Otherwise, that defence, I suggest, will be taken out of our hands.

Our current navy performs a myriad of missions both at home and coastal waters as well as overseas where, in support of our foreign policy, it accomplishes a wide range of tasks under the broad mantle of crisis management, including sanctions enforcement, humanitarian aid, recognizance and observation, peacekeeping and intervention.

The challenges facing the Canadian navy today are quite different from those perceived 10 years ago. In fact, rather than a world of falling commitments, allowing for a few less costly capabilities, the navy of today must continue to do much more with considerably less, and this, of course, in a time when defence budgets are at their lowest in years. As other armed forces around the world are modernizing, Canada must follow suit or retreat into a scaled-back, less relevant force.

I believe our navy's present performance, despite its fiscal limitations, is outstanding and our sailors continue to be committed to excellence. However, they need the support of Canadians and their government in order to continue to accomplish their missions. At some point, the government and all Canadians must be persuaded that in the long run, a strong, modern navy is a bargain. Unfortunately, we have in the past sent our forces into operational areas on budgets that were not based on the operational requirements. The increased level of operations on a smaller budget usually resulted in an unacceptable level of operational tempo for our personnel, insufficient funds for capital acquisition and maintenance, and a limited focus on the future of the navy.

In conclusion, I submit that Canada needs a strong, vibrant navy, capable of being the key to this nation's sovereignty. It is not a frill. It is unique and necessary and enables Canada to remain sovereign and secure as well as make a meaningful contribution to world order. Thank you again for this opportunity.

Senator Cordy: Thank you very much and you are talking to the right person because I am from Halifax, so when you say good things about the navy, I am 100 per cent behind you. And, indeed, when I look at what the sailors in our Canadian navy are doing, it is outstanding service considering the challenges that are before them in terms of low numbers and lack of money. I guess that is my question to you. You made reference to some things in your speech, but, specifically, what do you see as being the top one or two challenges that the navy faces?

Mr. Cahill: Thank you. I think the world as we see it today is quite different from what was perceived back in 1994, for example. I think subsequent to 9/11, certainly, terrorism is one of our biggest challenges. The coastal challenges that are faced by our navy, I think, are quite significant and one of the areas I would like to see us concentrate our efforts on is ensuring that our coastlines are safe. And I think one of the ways that we can do that is ensure that any threat that may exist to our country is addressed well before it arrives at our shorelines. For that reason, I would like to see us continue to have a mid-size force that is a blue water navy quite capable of surveillance, interdiction and, if necessary, a deterrent.

Mr. Arthur Hayward, as an individual: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, members of the committee. My name is Art Hayward. From my point of view, there is really two questions concerning defence policy. One is as much a foreign affairs question as it is a defence question. What kind of missions we are going to send our armed forces on, and the other is whether we are going to provide the necessary materials and funds to maintain our armed force at such a level that it can successfully complete the missions we send it on. I have chosen to address the latter rather than the former question. I just have a couple things here, a couple of thoughts.

Right now, our armed forces are at a level of about 60,000 and that is obviously inadequate, I mean, with all the multitude of missions all around the world that we have been sending them on. I suggest that we need to increase that to between 80 and100,000 with a special emphasis on combat armed units, artillery, armour, infantry.

The other thing I would suggest is that the defence budget be structured in such a way that a fixed percentage each year be used for the acquisition of new equipment. There is plenty we do need in the way of new equipment. We need to replace our fleetsupport ships, protector and preserver. We need a new airlift capacity for our air force. I mean, it only seems like recently that our C-130 transport aircraft could not perform a mission because of maintenance problems.

Finally — and this is a little different, probably a little radical — I think we should make a Reserve component a part of a Regular Force enlistment. And what I mean by that is if a person joins the Regular Forces, then their enlistment should be for a period of three years in the Regular forces and then two years with their hometown Reserve force. And this would not only beef out the Reserve forces, which are often under strength, but would provide them with certain expertise and certain training that they do not really have access to right now.

For a while now, we have been trying to do defence on the cheap here in Canada, you know? I mean, we bought second-hand submarines that do not work. I mean, it is just as well to be honest about it, you know. We bought the cheapest kind of helicopter we could to replace the Sea Kings even though the navy wanted the Cormorants. We cannot afford to do that any more because we are not just sending helicopters and ships and tanks and planes over to places like Afghanistan. We are sending some of our brightest and finest young people. And while the planes are expensive, their lives are absolutely priceless.

Senator Atkins: Well, you have been reading our reports. My question is very simple: Do you think the taxpayers of Canada are prepared to pay for the kind of suggestions you are putting forward?

Mr. Hayward: Are they prepared to pay for not acting on these suggestions? Are they prepared to pay for, you know, us losing young men and young women in Afghanistan because they do not have adequate body armour or they are driving trucks that are older than they are or whatever? I think there is a perception that Canadians do not want a strong military and I not know if that is true because I do not think anyone in this room is going to come up to this microphone and say, "Senators, we need to cut military spending.'' I do not think that is going to happen. I do not think that is going to happen in any of the places across Canada where you go. I think people have a pride in their armed forces. We have a wonderful history, I mean, Juno Beach, Korea. I think people have a real pride in their armed forces and they would like to see our armed forces be something that we can be proud of.

Ms. Siobhan Coady, as an individual: Good evening, senators. My name is Siobhan Coady. Welcome to St. John's, Nova Scotia.

This evening, I would like to talk a bit about the future of the military. I am going to make three main points and they are: We must rebuild our peacekeeping role and reinvest in the military to ensure we maintain our strategic positioning in global affairs and ensure our sovereignty; we must ensure a "smart'' military and focus on programs and policies that build innovation; and we must recognize the contributions of Newfoundland and Labrador and, indeed, all regions of the country, and invest accordingly.

U2's lead singer, Bono, recently said, "The world needs more Canada,'' and I could not agree with him more. Canada has been a leader in helping to establish and maintain peace throughout the world. And largely guided by the wisdom of Lester B. Pearson, who once said, "In all the long story of mankind, arms alone, however powerful, have never been sufficient to guarantee security,'' and peace.

Canada's role in assisting in obtaining and securing peace has been one of our greatest contribution to the world. We held a statesman's position, held it with esteem, and over time, we have somewhat faltered in maintaining this enviable position. Yes, we still lay our lives on the line. My sister, in fact, is a peacekeeper in the Middle East. But we have not given the men and women of our military our rightful support both fiscally and morally. We need to regain our position as the world's peacekeeper. We need to set this as our strategic course and ensure we uphold the values that once said "Canada.''

Yes, the world needs more Canada and the military needs more resources. We need to budget adequately for military expense and provide for the men and women who ensure our safety and security and, indeed, that of the world. To ensure we are peacekeepers, we must well resource the military and it is time we as a country stop talking and start delivering on that.

While peacekeeping must remain the military's primary objective, Canada still needs to protect its sovereignty. Recent claims by Denmark to territory in the north and increased presence by other jurisdictions only prove that Canada needs to protect itself and secure its boundaries. We must ensure we have placed the resources to confirm our rightful ownership. We must have the tools, equipment, training and people to ensure we are protected.

Canada needs a "smart'' military. A "smart'' military ensures innovation is core to its operations and is more focused on capability rather than capacity. We do not want to have the greatest military might, but we do want to have the greatest military mind. Canada's role in NORAD, for example, shows this capacity.

Newfoundland and Labrador contribute significantly to the Canadian military. Our brothers and sisters, sons and daughters are the military's best and Newfoundland and Labrador have the highest percentage of personnel per capital in the military. Our strategic geographic location has long been recognized for its military strength, yet military spending in this province is remarkably low. The future of the military in Canada must ensure recognition of Newfoundland and Labrador's role. CFB Goose Bay, Gander and St. John's are vital, not only to the military, but to the economic well-being of the province, and should be enhanced.

Senator Banks: I would like to echo what Senator Atkins said. Newfoundlanders are remarkably well informed in respect of the thrust of the reports of this committee, and take that as a great compliment. I will make two short statements and I will ask you to comment on both of them. With respect to the island off Greenland, we are not going to solve that problem by fighting the Danes. The Danes will not declare war on us, nor we on them. Secondly, if you are going to have peacekeepers, you have to have people who are capable war-makers in order to achieve peace because if you cannot do the big thing, you cannot do the little thing. If you can only do the little thing, then you cannot do the big thing. And peacekeepers, in the sense of nice "Boy Scout'' policemen do not work any more. You have to have people who are prepared to be soldiers.

Mr. Doyle: Senator, the question?

Senator Banks: What is your comment on those two points?

Ms. Coady: Two comments. One, with regard to the Danes, you are absolutely right. The north must have at least a presence from the Canadian military, from Newfoundland, too, because we have most of the people in the military, but from the Canadian military. We have to at least be able to ensure our sovereignty and while we are not going to solve the small island off the coast of Greenland, we do have to start recognizing that there are changes to the north and that we have to protect it. So, that is first and foremost.

Second, I talked about a "smart'' military as much as I did talk about peacekeeping, and you are absolutely right. In order for us to be the peacekeepers of the world, we have to be able to protect ourselves and we have to be able to exert force when we need to. But I talked a lot about "smart'' military and with regard to ensuring that we are using innovation, you know, not just ensuring that we have the capacity, but also the capability to protect ourselves.

Mr. Carl Powell, as an individual: I am a retired mining engineer and I have just a few notes here. I would like to welcome you to my province, but to many people from abroad and here, it is confusing here in name because we have been segregated into two parts, which is Newfoundland and the Labrador part. This is causing enormous tensions and it has military significance, particularly with regard to natural resources, hydroelectric power and minerals, which are probably fair targets for terrorists. But we cannot seem to do anything about it. We now have two separate political areas, we have two races of people, we have four anthems and perhaps even three flags now representing this province, and it is causing a lot of friction. I would like to go into that a little more, but you might note that the Newfoundland flag with the arrow flies ass-backwards. The arrow is supposed to point to the mast. And, you know, you can laugh, but that is us and we do not seem to realize some of the stupidity of some of the things we did.

But on security and defence, in the early 1950s, we were going into Confederation. My home town of Gander — Corner Brook, we had a visit there from Ottawa, Mr. Brooke Claxton, who was then Minister of Defence, and he said, "I notice that Newfoundland does not have one military base.'' He said, "I am going to change that.'' Fifty-five years later, I am still waiting. We do not have any military bases in this province. The two ones that are allegedly called bases, Goose Bay and Gander, were stations, CFSs, and somewhere during Mulroney's first term, they changed the "C'' to a "B'' and called them bases, but they are not bases.

In the Cold War, when the U.S.S.R. was sending over their Bear and Bison class bombers to penetrate the dew line in our air space, we were right under it, but the jets that scrambled to meet those threats up there were from Bagotville, Quebec. This province had nothing. We did not even have the tankers to refuel them. And we are still naked to aggression now. There is nothing in this province in any way whatsoever to defend or to go on what they call "hot pursuit.''

In 1998, there was a huge weather balloon that was released in Saskatchewan. It misbehaved. Instead of going out west, it went east. Military jets followed it, the Americans followed it and they were not allowed to touch it or shoot it, but when it got over Newfoundland, they were allowed to shoot it down. But they did not get it down. It landed over in Finland. That was quite a threat.

In September 2001, Ottawa ordered all commercial aircraft that were flying the Atlantic, with the New York Twin Towers coming down, to land at Gander, and there were some 39 aircraft landed with 7,000 passengers. And in my opinion and in a lot of people's opinion, they were ordered into there because we were expendable for any terrorists who were on those planes. And the population of Gander during that day doubled with military and passengers. If there were any terrorists, Gander could have lost maybe 10,000 people. I resent that greatly and I think a lot of people in this province resent it greatly.

I would like to go down into different things about flags and I would like to end up on the ships of convenience, because the United States Homeland Security and Defence fears that the greatest threat to the United States and this country is a container ship with a dirty bomb. Osama Bin Laden has some ships.

Senator Meighen: Well, there were certainly a myriad of subjects you touched on, sir. The last thing you mentioned, the dirty bomb in a container, has been a source of concern to this committee for quite a while. In fact, as I am sure you have read our reports, you will note that port security is something that we take very seriously. We have written about it. And tomorrow, as a matter of fact, we are going to be talking to the authorities in the Port of St. John's about that very subject. You mentioned the absence of a Canadian military base in Newfoundland and Labrador. I think you are quite right. There does seem to be a shortfall there, but I would like you to tell me, if you could, more about Goose Bay. We have had one brief conversation about it. Do you share the view that if we spent some money in fixing it up, we would attract the foreign air forces to the use of Goose Bay? Indeed, I believe the Canadian air force uses it from time to time, but not for that NATO, low-level flight training. What do we do about Goose Bay?

Mr. Powell: Well, it is strategic in the eyes in the United States. It appears not to be strategic — and it was mentioned here a couple of times about the coastline of Canada on three oceans. It is the longest in the world. Newfoundland and Labrador is the longest coastline in Canada. And you are hearing talk from the Department of National Defence about, "We have to move our forces closer to the Pacific Coast and the Atlantic Coast to get them to the hot spots,'' and peacekeeping and whatever. This province is not even mentioned and look where we are. Look at the strategic importance we had in WWII and ever since then. On Goose Bay and Stephenville, I would include this to the Prime Minister: Let's get the Americans back here with the anti-missile campaigns. Let's get them back here like they were here during the war with huge bases that brought so much wealth and culture to this province. If Canada cannot do it, let's join up with the United States in that way and let them do it.

Mr. William Callahan, as an individual: Mr. Chairman, honourable senators, I am a former commissioned officer in what used to be called the Supplementary Reserve. And during that period, I served as a staff officer for a later former colleague of yours, Jack Marshall, who then was Colonel Marshall. He was the officer in charge of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment as it existed at that time. I also spent several years working with the American forces in what used to be called the Northeast Air Command, which ranged from Thule, Greenland, which is, I think, 1,500 miles inside the Arctic Circle, down to Westover, Massachusetts. And these were times when I think Newfoundlanders felt that for the first time in a very long time, since the 1870's, in fact, they had some protection in case of invasion or other incursions.

At the end of the Second World War, the Canadian forces could not get out of here fast enough. The Americans stayed for another 20 years and, economically and otherwise, provided a tremendous benefit to this place. But that is just a little history that might be helpful when you are considering what we here have in our minds.

When Newfoundland joined Canada or, as we like to say, when Newfoundland took over Canada in 1949, Canada acquired 850,000 square miles of land and sea territory and it is shameful today that in this province, there is not a single, what we might call Regular Force organization. There is nothing to protect our ports. We have very few Regular Force people who go around trying to train reservists or others and that is about it. And I heard today the Minister of Homeland Security, because, apparently, we have co-opted that term from the Americans, say that they are thinking now about taking over the Coast Guard. Well, I wish somebody would because all winter, we have had six to eight big Coast Guard ships parked down here in the harbour —

Mr. Doyle: Mr. Callahan.

Mr. Callahan: — allegedly out of gas.

The Chairman: Thank you, sir.

Mr. Callahan: And if that is not shameful —

The Chairman: We have a question for you. Senator Meighen.

Senator Meighen: No, I am sorry. I do not have question at the last moment, but I will pass to Senator Forrestall.

Senator Forrestall: Oh, you take away from me my opportunity to get a little bit more time in the defence of our coast?

The Chairman: Your 30 seconds are running, sir.

Senator Forrestall: Ready, set, go. Carry on. Just keep going in that line because I could not agree more with that simple statement: Our coasts need to be defended. Best people to defend it are perhaps the Reserves, specially trained. Who knows? There is a way of doing it. Would you keep going in the direction you were going a moment ago?

Mr. Callahan: Well, I was going to make a couple of other points, senator. One of them, when you mentioned ports, we do not even have ports police any more. We used to have Canadian ports police. They were all moved to Halifax. And the city police here feel they cannot police the port, so nobody polices our port. Nobody. And I think we have something like 2,200 navigable inlets and harbours in this province and we do not have a single vessel of any kind patrolling that coastline. I mean, when I say shameful, I mean shameful.

Senator Forrestall: Up with the Halifax Rifles —

The Chairman: Thank you very much, sir.

Senator Forrestall: — and a similar regiment here in Newfoundland.

The Chairman: You are out of order.

Mr. Callahan: Thank you.

Senator Forrestall: I am out of order.

Mr. Callahan: Thank you for listening to me.

Mr. Leonard Barron, as an individual: I am a retired engineer. Mr. Chairman and senators, I preface my remarks by two points. The first is that it takes more time to fly from St. John's to Halifax than it does to fly from Halifax to Ottawa. I want to show you this because it emphasizes the extent of the eastern borders of this country.

The second thing I would like to mention is that the Mulroney administration changed the name "stations'' to the military installations in this province to "bases,'' but they are not bases because they do not have the resources that all the mainland bases have. They are really still just stations.

During the Cold War, the Soviet Union bombers used to test our radar defences and in order to protect us — the protection centre was Bagotville in Quebec — the fighter planes that came up from Bagotville had to refuel over Ungava because the interception route that the planes had to fly did not give them enough fuel, and in addition, there was not a fuel stop along the way until they got to Halifax.

So, presently, the European forces are going to evacuate or withdraw from Goose Bay and my recommendation to you is that you consider Goose Bay as a base and you recommend it as a base so that the Government of Canada will put the resources there that should be put.

An examination of the map of eastern Canada will show you the location of Bagotville versus Goose Bay. If you are going to defend the eastern borders of Canada, they will be more effectively defended by having a base at Goose Bay. And we never know what the future holds because you cannot predict the future beyond three years and sometimes even then, you can be off.

I would also remind you that during the last war, there were at least two convoys lost due to enemy action in this area. In addition to that, there was one automatic weather station located in an uninhabited stretch of the coast. It is essential that we have that sort of...

Senator Cordy: Thank you very much, Mr. Barron. As was said earlier, Senator Rompkey is keeping the idea of Labrador alive and well. I sit with him in the Atlantic caucus and I sit with him in the national caucus. I also sit with him in the Senate, so I certainly hear a lot about it. He is a strong advocate for Labrador.

You spoke about Goose Bay and said just turn it into a base so that it will be better funded. I look at the people of Newfoundland and Labrador having 25 per cent of the military. But other than just changing the name of Goose Bay to a base, how can we start to make it more viable and an essential part of the military bases of Canada?

Mr. Barron: What you would do is you would put fighter planes in Goose Bay, you would put in the maintenance people that are required to support it and you would put in the staff there that is required. And you would establish a centre there just like in the old days in Canada when they had, first of all, Fort York and then later on, they had Fort Garry and then Fort Edmonton and Fort Calgary and I do not know if Victoria was a fort or not, but it was certainly the centre for Hudson's Bay and that is what started British Columbia. But there is only 28,000 people in Labrador and they cannot get sources that they require except under great expense. So, therefore, if we did have a base there, we have the makings of a city. And with the makings of a city, the services that people today require would come there. And this would not be just for the sake of giving the Labrador people a city. It is mainly because it will be more efficient and more effective defence of Canada. That is to be emphasized and the second thing comes naturally.

Mr. Andy Vavasour, as an individual: Good evening, Senator Kenny. Good evening to the ladies and gentlemen here of the panel and here witnessing tonight. My interest here is not as a military personnel, but as a parent of my daughter, who is a pilot in the Canadian Armed Forces. She served overseas in Bosnia for two services and her husband is also a captain in the Canadian army. Now, while I am here because of them, I am not representing their views. I have not discussed this with them, so these are purely my views as a Canadian citizen.

I have one overall observation and that is that we have to increase our funding to the Armed Forces by at least doubling the current allocation. Now, I realize that is a challenge, but that is a challenge to which we have to rise.

I understand that tonight, we are here to speak about the Coast Guard as well as the Canadian Armed Forces, but I think that although the Coast Guard provides a very necessary service, it is not supplied with the equipment or trained to fulfill the role that that name implies. I think the Coast Guard should not have a responsibility to ensure Canadian sovereignty around our coasts, whether that is the east coast, west coast or our north coast. The government should recognize that and rename it with a label that more closely describes its role, perhaps "Canadian Coastal Services.'' I think we are fobbing off to the Canadians by saying we have a Coast Guard and they are not tasked with that role. We have an armed forces. Coast guarding should be turned over to the Canadian navy and it should be proper equipped to live up to that role.

Perhaps ice breaking should go to the navy as well so that they would have the fleet and the equipment to carry that out, and it would also provide training opportunities and keep the people who are in the navy at sea and training. The Canadian navy should strengthen its presence in northern boundaries to ensure that Canada retains its sovereignty there. The navy should be tasked out of Newfoundland as well as Nova Scotia to enforce fisheries protection and the environment rules enforcement, such as pollution control regulation, that with proper capturing and assigning, we might be able to get revenue out of the proper fining of these people.

The army should keep its role better defined, whether it is a peacekeeper or peace enforcing. I think we need to understand what equipment we should focus on. I do not think we can have tanks and artillery and a large land-based personnel. I think we should either go with tanks or go with land-based infantry. I think we cannot spend all the money on all those things.

Our air force needs lift capabilities —

Mr. Doyle: Your time is about up.

Mr. Vavasour: Thank you.

Senator Atkins: First of all, I have over the years seen many surveys and when you ask the question to Canadians, "What do you think is the most important issue facing Canadians today?,'' it does not matter what year in the last 30 years, health and education and the economy rank very high. The military is hardly on the scale. I think Canadians, if they are serious about enforcing support for the military, will have to start telling people that that is really what they want. Having said that, my question to you is, would you like to have a conventional military or would you like a niche type of military?

Mr. Vavasour: Personally, I think we cannot afford a full, conventional military, air force, army and navy. I think we have to beef up our navy and provide proper protection. I think we have to beef up our air force, perhaps reduce fighter-type aircraft and go with more rotary-winged aircraft so that we are not involved with costly interbase maintenance. And I think we also have to look at the army and, say, maybe go to strike-type forces that will peace- enforce, and also people who are bi-trained to ensure peacekeeping as well. No, sir, I do not think we can afford tanks and artillery as well as body armour and rocket-propelled grenades and that sort of thing. And I think that is where we should be focusing.

I also do not think we should be supporting the American missile defence system because if we put money into that, we are throwing money down the drain because you cannot guard against a ballistic missile with another ballistic missile. You cannot shoot a bullet with a bullet.

The Chairman: Thank you, sir.

Mr. Vavasour: I am really glad I said that. I agree with Siobhan Coady. We need to have a "smart'' army.

Mr. Jay Fitzsimmons, as an individual: I am just a private citizen. Thank you for coming here today. I hope you keep an open mind to this idea. The two major roles for Canada's military in the future will likely be peacekeeping abroad and terrorism prevention at home. I propose an idea that will aid both efforts simultaneously. UN peacekeeping missions are fraught with many dangers. An underlying factor that increases danger is the discrepancy in training, structure and attitudes toward the mission between contributing nations' military personnel. I propose that Canada create the world's first UN peacekeeping training centre. It would train UN peacekeeping personnel from around the world in peacekeeping-specific tasks. In-class and in-field training at the centre would include negotiation, construction of basic community facilities, VIP protection, surveillance and case studies of difficult lose/lose decisions faced by peacekeepers in past missions. Instructors would be top-notch peacekeeping veterans from all over the world. Graduates from this school would be much better prepared to contribute to peacekeeping than they are now. The Blue Berets would be a more awesome force and command the respect essential to their missions.

Canada is one of the few countries in the world that could successfully run such a training centre. We have the infrastructure, political stability, bases and land and reputation to do it.

The start-up and operation of this training centre would require funds, much of which would be provided by Canada, but these funds should not come primarily from our military budget. The Canadian Government currently spends taxpayers' dollars on attracting foreign business investment, on encouraging domestic and foreign tourism, on branding the Maple Leaf and on initiatives to mould our national identity. The UN training centre would contribute to all of these causes and should thus draw funds from these government sources. If we believe in the image of Canada we so eagerly espouse, then this centre must be a national priority.

The training centre would obviously contribute to peacekeeping abroad, but it would also indirectly contribute to terrorism prevention at home. Hatred is the foundation of terrorism. If citizens of the world were to like Canada, they would not try to strike us. The maple leaf would represent a shining beacon of peace and integrity to those citizens aided by Canadian-trained peacekeepers. And add to that the good words that will spread about Canada from those international personnel who are trained here. The UN training centre would prevent hatred of Canada and thus help prevent terrorism here.

I conclude with a quote from the Nobel prize acceptance speech of Lester Pearson, after whom this centre should be named, in which he laments the lack of support for peace: "We prepare for war like precocious giants and for peace like retarded pygmies.''

Senator Banks: That is a very thoughtful suggestion, as have all the ones that have been made tonight. Happily, I can tell you that to some degree, that already is in place. There already is a certain amount of training done in that respect by Canada in Canada for other countries. I will pose a question to you: The expertise of peacekeepers from various countries has not been the biggest problem. The biggest problem has been in those kinds of missions the clarity of the terms of engagement. And the best example of that is Mr. Dallaire, who could have saved hundreds of thousands of lives if he had had the right kind of orders to follow, the right kind of permission. How would you solve the problem of agreement among the nation as to what the terms of engagement ought to be, which is the biggest problem on the field on the day?

Mr. Fitzsimmons: That is the biggest problem, but Roméo Dallaire also did have a lot of Bangladeshi troops who were improperly trained, who had orders from the Bangladesh Government not to engage in certain activities. The training was a problem. That is why he had to rely on the Belgian force, which should not have been there in the first place because it was perhaps a conflict of interest. I think that the discrepancies of training really do contribute. Canada is fortunate in that it is a well-trained force and we do contribute to training other foreign forces to some degree, but not to the magnitude that would be necessary not to truly bring peace to these conflicts in my opinion.

Ms. Bettina Ford, as an individual: Good evening. I am a municipal councillor with the Town of Gander. On behalf of our mayor, Claude Elliott, we are really pleased to have the opportunity to speak with you tonight. I understand that Lieutenant-Colonel MacAleese was a witness to your committee earlier today to talk about the capabilities of 9 Wing Gander, which we certainly want to reinforce.

What I wanted to talk about was our perspective on Canada's military as municipal leaders in a military community. While the Canadian military, without a doubt, is among the world's most treasured peacekeepers, the issue of defence has to be taken more seriously. With the relative global peace since World War II, Canada has become complacent in defending our borders. However, with recent political events and the ever-increasing threat of terrorism, Canada's military should refocus its efforts in protecting our borders.

Of course, our northern and southern borders are relatively well protected. However, the west and east coasts are quite exposed and the military needs to increase their surveillance and defence of these. Newfoundland and Labrador's geographic position makes this province the ideal location for the first point of defence, both air and sea, on the eastern coast. In Gander, for example, NAV CANADA's air traffic control centre monitors all transatlantic traffic and the radar capabilities at 9 Wing Gander monitor air space. However, the protection of these two facilities is limited at best.

Both the surveillance of our air space, of which the vast majority of aircraft coming into North American from Europe go through, and the protection of that air space could be carried out from Gander where the infrastructure currently exists. Infrastructure includes a $200 million air field at Gander International Airport, the NAV Canada Centre, military radar and 770 Communications Research Squadron. The significance of Gander International Airport supporting military flights cannot be overstated. That support includes the landings of some 1,100 military aircraft in 2004. What we have in Gander is a civilian airport operated by a local authority of dedicated volunteer board members providing support to NATO aircraft. And this should rightly be the responsibility of the Canadian Government, who made the commitment to NATO forces. We are happy to have the military aircraft and we certainly welcome them, but considering the widespread use of Gander International Airport by the military, there is certainly a requirement for stronger protection of it.

I am running out of time, so I will say we are very pleased to be home to 103 Search and Rescue. We are very proud of the men and women who serve there. It can certainly be improved by the addition of another Cormorant helicopter and by providing a fixed-wing aircraft based out of 9 Wing Gander to support the squadron. 9 Wing Gander has a net financial impact of $10 million annually to the economy of Gander and we are extremely proud of the men and women who do call Gander their home.

Senator Meighen: I wonder, Ms. Ford, if you could just elaborate on what you meant by "protection'' of Gander Airport. Do you mean military protection or do you mean higher payments by the military for the use of it or what?

Ms. Ford: I think both of those, sir, would be relevant, certainly in the case of Gander International Airport Authority providing so much support to NATO military aircraft, 1,100 last year. There were 1,400 NATO aircraft landing in the lead-up to the response of the Iraq crisis. So, given that airports are no longer Transport Canada airports and operated by local authority, I think compensation to local airport authorities would be very appropriate for the support they provide to military aircraft.

In terms of protection, the different types of communications infrastructure that I talked about that exist through NAV CANDAD and through the 770 Communications Squadron, we really feel that there is an opportunity and a real need to increase military presence and protection of those assets that we have in our community.

Ms. Tracy Glynn, as an individual: I am a graduate student at Memorial University of Newfoundland and from the Memorial University Society for Corporate, Environmental and Social Responsibility and from the recently formed St. John's Working Group to Oppose Missile Defence.

Missile defence is an initiative of the U.S. to dominate military operations in space. And here, I refer you to such documents as "Vision for 20/20 and the more recent, "Counterspace Operations 2004.'' These documents advocate for an American master of space program. The U.S. is pressuring Canada to participate in missile defence, but our opposition is decisive. Ipsos-Reid Poll, 2004, showed 69 per cent of Canadians are opposed to missile defence, while all of the polls conducted have also shown a majority in opposition.

Our elected officials should represent our views, the NDP, Bloc, the Quebec Liberal Caucus, Alberta Liberal Party, B.C. Liberal Youth Wing and the Brandon Liberal Young Wing have all passed resolutions against missile defence.

Missile defence violates our international legal obligations and the spirit of disarmament and arms control policies.In 2002, Canada signed the Hague Code of Conduct against this ballistic missile proliferation. Ballistic missile defence by its very nature would lead to missile proliferation. Both Canada and the U.S. have ratified the Outer Space Treaty in 1967. Article 4 of the treaty clearly states that the parties will not place in orbit around the Earth any nuclear weapons or any weapons of mass destruction. Components of missile defence are weapons of mass destruction, like the Hypervelocity Rod Bundles and theNear-Field Infrared Experiment.

Canada and the U.S. have also signed the nuclearnon-proliferation treaty, which commits us to nuclear disarmament, though the U.S. is now making overtures to withdraw from it. Article 4 commits nuclear states to good faith negotiations leading to disarmament. Missile defence is not a good faith gesture.

The latest strategic master plan of the U.S. Air Force Command exclusively connects America's new nuclear posture with its missile defence program in its pursuit of global first-strike capability. Forty retired U.S. army generals have voiced their disapproval and concerns of missile defence. Physicians for Global Survival argue that missile defence acts a disincentive for countries to dismantle their nuclear weapons.

Canada has reaffirmed its opposition to the weaponization of space in UN resolutions every year. Thus we need to stay true to this position by rejecting missile defence, knowing that it is part of a broader American plan to dominate space through its weaponization.

The very prestigious American Physical Society, the Canadian Association of Physicists, the Union of Concerned Scientists, the American Federation of Scientists and the Royal Society of Canada Scholars have all said missile defence is unworkable. The Department of National Defence's internal report accessed through the Freedom of Information Act recognizes that missile defence could lead to an arms race, missile proliferation and the weaponization of space. Thus, Canada participating in a missile defence program would run countercurrent to DND's mission of contributing to peace and international security.

Senator Forrestall: May I ask whether you do not think perhaps that what you are advocating is too late, that we do not have much of a choice about this? If we want to defend ourselves and not leave our defence to the discretion of others, we must act and participate? Would you comment on that, that, essentially, it may be too late.

Ms. Glynn: I do not think it is too late at all. I think we are a sovereign country and we have our own decision to make and I do not think we should be pressured into it by the United States. There is no good reason why we should participate. It is a waste of taxpayers' dollars. And I think Canada is already making strides in defence. I think true defence comes from justice and disarmament and not through making more weapons and creating more wars.

Mr. Kevin Hutchings, as an individual: Good evening. I am with the Royal Newfoundland Regiment as a volunteer and I would emphasize as a volunteer. I would like to make a couple of observations and also perhaps pose a couple of questions. In response to a point made by Senator Banks, I would tell you that of 2RCR, which is based in Gagetown, 16 per cent of them are Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, yet we only make up one and a half per cent of the population of Canada. And that has been the traditional way of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians in the military.

The other point that was raised about peacekeeping, we must have peace before we can keep the peace, so does Canada become peacekeepers or peacemakers? Recently, it has been announced, an increase in numbers for both the Regular Force and primary force with regard to numbers. Tied into that is the rotation that we hear about from the Princess Patricias, the Van Doos, the RCRs where six-month postings happen every 12 months, and that puts tremendous strain on families, upon the military. It is stretched to the limit and I think it is pretty well conceded that the Canadian military is at its limit, if not breaking.

There has been a recent publication out of RCMI entitled Rust Out, and it applies to all sections of the military, be it army, navy or air force. We look at the transport that the army has. It is aged. If it were our vehicles that we were driving every other day or driving to work, we would have traded them long ago.

For the navy, well, we have cutting edge with regards to our frigates. They are time-dated. It is time to get on with it and to have new frigates, be whatever they are, on the drawing boards.

As for the air force, as late as a couple of weeks ago, we saw the hesitation with DART going to Sri Lanka. We saw that for all the reasons that we read about in the press, DART was many weeks late going because the Canadian air force could not transport them. We had to go to somebody else to transport them. It would take us, like, 24 air lifts with the two C-130s that we have in order to get them to Sri Lanka. We all saw the pictures in today's Globe and Mail of Chicoutimi coming back in and the navy heavy lift a vessel. We have no heavy lift for anything.

Is the Government of Canada prepared to commit the dollars that it takes to bring our military to what our politicians, our leaders, expect it to be? The other question is, would we be as complacent about our military defence if we were not next door to the greatest military power in the world?

The Chairman: Thank you, sir. We will take the last two questions as being rhetorical.

Mr. Hutchings: Yes.

Senator Cordy: I would like to say how much our committee is in agreement with all of the things that you said. Certainly, coming from a military town, I know that the military has been stretched to its limits, and I know that the men and the women in our military have gone above and beyond the call of duty because resources and the personnel — you have talked about rotation — have just been so stretched. One of the things that I would like to go back to is your comment about peacekeepers. "Peacemakers'' is what you said and I agree with you, but how do we get that definition of peacekeepers or that picture of what a peacekeeper is to the Canadian public, because many people in the Canadian public think that a peacekeeper simply walks down the street of a peaceful community, not a war-torn community. We see pictures on TV of them giving candy to children and that type of thing.

Mr. Hutchings: I am not quite sure what the answer to that question is because we could sit and talk about it all night long. However, I would respond this way. Probably, our greatest curse and our greatest blessing is that Canada has not experienced a war on its soil since the War of 1812-1814. Our citizens do not know what war means and what war can wreak upon our population. If we could get the message of what war does to our country, to our society, perhaps they would have a better understanding of what soldiers or do — when I say "soldiers,'' I mean it as all- encompassing — what Armed Forces personnel do and what they are trained to do and truly what freedom means.

Mr. James MacLean, as an individual: I am representing the coordinating committee of the St. John's Campaign Against the War.

Mr. Chairman, honourable senators, we have a recommendation to your committee on the matter of collaboration between Canadian Armed Forces and foreign armed forces. This is our recommendation: The Senate Committee on Defence and Security should call on the Government of Canada to end immediately all forms of military collaboration in any formal or informal military with any foreign states that possess weapons of mass destruction and/or illegally attack or invade, with or without occupation, any other countries; and/or maintain polices and practices that lead to the torture of prisoners in occupied countries and in other foreign countries contrary to the Geneva conventions; and/ or carry out aerial bombardment of civilian neighbourhoods in occupied countries and/or establish concentration camps for prisoners of war in foreign countries in contravention of the Geneva Convention; and/or are not signatories to the Treaty of Ottawa on land mines and/or do not recognize the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court for War Crimes. Thank you.

Senator Atkins: Are you putting this resolution forward to this committee?

Mr. MacLean: That is right.

Senator Atkins: You cannot name anything that the Canadian military have done that would violate any of those recommendations.

Mr. MacLean: Perhaps, Senator Atkins, you misunderstood the thrust of our presentation. It was not that Canadians are directly involved in such things, although I will say parenthetically that Canadian senior officers were involved in Fort Lauderdale in 2002, planning the illegal March invasion of Iraq. A small number of Canadian troops participated in that invasion, piloting helicopters, for example, and ferrying troops. However, to come back to your main point, what our recommendation is that you call on the Government of Canada to end immediately all forms of military collaboration in any formal or informal military alliance of any state that carries out those practices.

Senator Atkins: Well, that is an interesting proposition.

Mr. MacLean: I hope you will follow up on it.

Mr. Leonard Squires, as an individual: I am here on behalf of my wife, Claudette. As you can see, I drew the short straw, so you are not getting the better half.

You asked a question in your handout that you were studying our military size, capabilities, equipment and the role the military should play in the future, so here are our thoughts on the organizational part. The Department of National Defence, to some degree, may be reorganized, especially in light of the new Department of Security. I am not sure of the exact name. I think Anne McLellan is heading that up. In addition, maybe the Chief of Staff for the military should be a separate identity from the bureaucracy of government, established by either protocol or some constitutional order, that the Commander in Chief of the Canadian Armed Forces be the Prime Minister; no disrespect to the Governor General, but, sirs, the Governor General, by his or her very nature, lacks the authority to deploy armed troops. Re- establish existing provincial militias into a federal national guard.

On the military size, capabilities and equipment, as a nation, we must always keep uppermost in our mind that our sovereignty and our first duty is to protect the welfare of our citizens. We are of the opinion that to some degree, our Armed Forces are so thinly stretched in deployment as peacekeepers around the world that it could have a detrimental effect to any threat to Canada. In addition, it is our considered opinion that the rotation in these deployments is multitasked and weighs heavily on the capabilities to respond, either foreign or domestic.

Accordingly, there must be a plan put in place to organization and to put in effect a policy of protecting this nation and its citizens from any instability. Recent examples of instability that require the military to act include civil insurrection, such as the FLQ and the damage they did and that is still with us, internal disputes, the golf course and the native land dispute, 9/11, the destruction of the fishery by pirate fleets and self-professed conservationists, natural disasters, such as the ice storms in Quebec and Ontario, flooding in Badger. The numerical strength, the training to respond capably and the necessary tools of operation are the purview of the military leaders.

These leaders must temper all of these requirements in the context of the ability of the citizens to support the cost. A point in case was the purchase of a second-hand sub that leaves us with the impression that if it came from China, we certainly could call it "Chinese junk.'' Recently, the DART team deployed to Southeast Asia, but it took the bureaucracy of the DND over a month to book the necessary passage on a super Russian jet. How can anyone accept the —

Mr. Doyle: Mr. Squires, your time.

Mr. Chairman: Thank you, sir.

Senator Banks: Mr. Squires, I personally agree with your idea about separating the command structure from the bureaucracy. That is not a position of the committee yet, but I agree with you. You should also know and be happy with the fact that this committee has recommended that because of the stretching that you talked about, that the Canadian military had to pull itself back, regroup, retrain and all those things, to which the experts all said, "Pooh, pooh, we cannot possibly do that,'' and then they did it.

I am going to ask you a rude question and it almost rhetorical, but I would like to hear what you have to say about it. What you are talking about would cost a great deal of money to do properly. Do we take it from health care or do we take it from transfers from the federal coffers to the provinces or do we raises taxes? Just have you thought about that aspect of it?

Mr. Squires: Yes.

Senator Banks: It is a rude question and I apologize for that.

Mr. Squires: And not being a politician and not having to worry about getting elected, I can answer it. We do not take it from anything. I said in my preamble there that it would be based on the citizens to be able to absorb the cost. We have to have the right structure so that we can marry up both needs. We cannot have a nation undefended, especially in this current world that we live in. Even though I was not given time at the end, my ending statement in this preamble read something like this and maybe this would answer your question. We need health care. That is uppermost in everybody's mind. We need infrastructure in this country to support this. We have the biggest migration from foreign countries than any other country in the world based on our per capital population. Soon, someone said that more babies born in Canada will be of foreign people than actually Canadians who were born here. That is just a fact I read recently from Stats Canada.

But, sir, to answer your question and to put it into some perspective with regard to the military, and that is the question we are addressing here this evening, I guess because the world has not really learned, because man's inhumanity man to man continues, it is necessary to have an armed forces. Unfortunately, the old axiom carries remarkably true: "If you want peace, prepare for war.

The Chairman: We will take your notes, if you would like, sir. We would be happy to receive them.

Mr. Squires: Thank you.

Mr. Jon Summers, as an individual: I have sat here this evening and listened to a lot of excellent presentations. A gamut of information has been passed on to you ladies and gentlemen. Just a couple of points that I would like to make to emphasize some of the presentations that have already been made. When we talk about the Canadian military, we are not talking about ships, we are not talking about planes, we are not talking about tanks. We are talking about people. When the (inaudible) Report did the wonderful job and talked about quality of life for service personnel, quality of life today is 80,000 people in the military, not 60. We are losing a very valuable asset because they are being overtaxed with what is expected of them. We talk about, "Will Canadians pay for increased military?'' Well, Canada has to decide what it wants to do with the military. You know, we have more people deployed overseas today than we did when we did have 80,000 people in the military. It stands to reason that if we cut back the military, we have to cut back the commitment as well.

Naval Reserve, I will speak on that for one minute and30 seconds. Twenty-four Naval Reserve divisions in Canada, a great asset. Operational roles have increased drastically over these past few years with the MCDV deployments. An admiral job done by the Naval Reserves. The only problem is the benefits have not kept pace with the operational tasking and some of these people as well are being shortchanged at the end of the day.

With the overall perspective of what you are doing with the military, let us look internally at what we have now and fix that first before we expand on it.

Senator Meighen: I am interested because of your expertise probably with respect to the reserves. If you had $100 to spend on Canadian Forces, generally speaking, what proportion would you put in the reserves and what proportion would you put in the Regular Force, given their present lack of a state of health?

Mr. Summers: Just to spend the $100?

Senator Meighen: Yes. Would you put 90 into the Regulars and 10 into the Reserves or the reverse or how would you split it?

Mr. Summers: No, I would probably go 40/60, 60 Reg.Force and 40 Reserve, but I would be very careful where I put that $40 in the Naval Reserve because there are some shortfalls here that need to be addressed.

Senator Meighen: And would you put in where?

Mr. Summers: I would look at increased benefits for the Reserves as a whole. And I am speaking at the military end of it. Just a point: When these sailors, soldiers and airmen go on a Class B contract, which is a contract do some work with the military, they have full benefits up until that contract ends, but the day that that contract ends, that is when everything ceases. So, if a guy gets injured during that contract, he is cut loose at the end of it, and this is not fair.

Senator Meighen: Yes, and it might help retention, too.

Mr. Summers: Most definitely.

Mr. Fraser Ellis, as an individual: I not a military man. I will just go right on as fast as I can. The time is clicking. I speak to you from the perspective of one born between the two world wars. I recall when Canadian troops arrived at Lester's Field in St. John's and constructed tar paper-lined buildings on concrete pylons. I was about 11 years old. I recall when the U.S. army arrived in St. John's in late 1940 and constructed what later became Pepperrall Army Base. The difference betweenan 11-year-old boy and what I saw was like night and day. On parade through St. John's in those days, at memorial services, I noticed distinct differences in such things as uniform comfort between the two countries. American army personnel seemed to have dress uniforms as well a battle equipment, while the Canadians dressed in distinctly khaki, serge battle outfits complete with hobnail boots sliding all over the streets. American troops wore rubber-soled boots and heels, so no sound from them, but much better, I understand, later on in the war.

These impressions always stayed with me. Why, I wondered, are these troops so different in uniform and general appearance? Canadian forces live in tar paper barracks while the American forces at Pepperrall Army Base are living in a modern,well-constructed and apparently very comfortable quarters.

The answer to this question always eluded me until atage 19, the Cold War was heating up in Korea and Europe and the U.S. Airforce pulled Pepperrall, Harmon, Goose Bay out of moth balls and converted them to air force bases. Thus began the Northeast Air Command, one of the many air command structures situated by the Americans strategically around the world. I was told at that time by an American officer that the budget for this structure, Northeast Air Command, was greater than the entire Canadian military budget. Whether true or false, I do not know, but the Americans sure had the hardware.

I also observed while working for the air force what I believe made the difference. U.S. forces appeared to be removed from partisan domestic politics. The Secretary of Defence, whether Democratic or Republican administrations, ensured budgetary constraints were never a reason for not supplying those asked to go in harm's way with the latest and most effective equipment to engage in combat, whether on foot or in the air or on the sea.

Probably more than anything else, I saw and heard of very little meddling by politicians. The notion of military cuts to fulfill a social agenda never entered into decisions once a commitment was made to do something. In my humble opinion, this country must decide whether to defend its own territory and help the U.S. when called upon or become like Sweden or Switzerland — neutral.

Senator Forrestall: Thank you for giving me the question with your last sentence. How would you have it: Should Canada defend itself or should rely on our neighbour?

Mr. Ellis: Any country that calls itself a country must be prepared to defend itself.

Senator Forrestall: Every country who wants to be called a country?

Mr. Ellis: Every country on the planet. I believe in walking softly, but carry a big stick.

Senator Forrestall: You and I are about the same age, I think.

Mr. Ellis: I hope we are of the same mind.

The Chairman: Thank you, sir.

Senator Forrestall: That is as good a note as any to end on, chair.

The Chairman: Unfortunately, we have another questioner, so we are not going to end just now.

Senator Forrestall: Oh, I am sorry.

Mr. Kas Talabany, as an individual: I am a structural, professional engineer. I live in St. John's, Newfoundland. I had quite a few points to bring up, but most of my points were already brought up by a few people before me, so I am going to be as brief as I possibly can and not exceed my limit. We have lost about 60,000 soldiers in World War I and about 40,000 in World War II. If for nothing else, we owe it to them to have a strong military. Power corrupts; so does weakness. We somehow lately have become a moralizing do-gooder in the world. We are the world's moral superpower. A man without a stick can be bitten by a sheep. That is a Hindu proverb, by the way. Can we really be sovereign if we cannot defend our borders?

Our place as an influential middle power is taken over by the likes of Australia and Norway. We have a free ride on U.S.A. We have taken a free ride on them and we try to advise them. Our influential will go much further with them if you cooperate with them. We must take part in the missile defence program because they will do it whether we want to do it or we do not and we will be in a much better position to advise, to influence, to take part in negotiations if we actually contribute our part in that program.

I am trying to skip a few points because other people already have mentioned it. The United States will defend North America whether we like it or not. If for no other reason, they have Alaska just right across the Canadian border. So, based on that and just based on common sense — they share the same values we have. We share the same values with United States.

Now, as to the size of the military, this was brought up a little while ago. I am going to —

Mr. Doyle: Sir, your time.

The Chairman: Senator Cordy has a question and I bet she asks you about the size of the military.

Senator Cordy: I was not going to, but I can if you would like to. I guess I would like to talk about our alliance with the United States and in the defence of North America. You used the word "free ride'' on the back of the United States. We have certainly shown our sovereignty. We did not go to Iraq just because the United States was going. How should we work together? And you mentioned ballistic missiles, but how should we work together with the United States for the protection of North America because, in fact, the world is becoming a very small place.

Mr. Talabany: Exactly. Well, two things: number one, how should we cooperate, just my opinion, of course, and where does the money come from? I am going to mention both, if you do not mind. You mentioned both of them. Number one, the United States is a superpower and they can easily protect North America and they intend to do it whether we like it or not. We should negotiate with them and try to find out how can we fit into that program? We do not have to have a full, conventional force or everything. We just say to them, "Okay, you have these ground forces, you have your navy, you have your air force. How can we cooperate? What can we do to supplement that in concert with what you have, such that we will have one united force defending North America?''

Now, where does the Canadian money from? And I am going to say a few things to you with permission here. It could be a little bit blunt. Please bear with me. We have contributed $500,000 million to the tsunami relief. Of course, it is a disaster and we feel very bad about it, but we are only 20, 30 million people here. We have contributed more than United States, we have contributed more than Germany. I mean, that comes out to be approximately $20 for every Canadian who lives in Canada. Now, we have to contribute, but we have a $500 billion deficit, so we should do these things in concert with what we can, not just, excuse the word, get involved in this spending orgy —

Mr. Doyle: Sorry, your time.

Mr. Talabany: — excuse the word.

Mr. Doyle: Thank you.

Mr. Talabany: Two other point what I can see we can say —

Mr. Doyle: Your time.

Mr. Chairman: Thank you very much, sir. We will take your notes, though. We would be pleased to go through them.

It is time for me to make a couple of comments and to thank some people who have been very helpful with us tonight. First of all, Mr. Doyle, our moderator, we greatly appreciate your assistance, sir. We would also like to extend our thanks to Senator Joan Cook and to Margaret Warren, who worked very hard over the past few weeks, to spread the word about the town hall meeting, and I am sure that between them, they contacted many people here to let them know that we were coming.

Speaking on behalf of the committee, and after we have done a few town hall meetings on this subject, I can tell you from our point of view, tonight was a marvellous night. We saw an engaged citizenry who had very interesting and constructive views that are of great assistance to the committee. Someone once said that the sign of intelligence is someone who agrees with you. Well, I have to tell you that you are a very bright audience because many of the things we heard really do have resonance with us, and even if we seemed a little harsh on the three-minute button, we did it so we could work through and hear as many people as we could. But what we did hear, and we have made notes and we will have a transcript of tonight, has been really very constructive and very helpful and it has come forward in a tone that is very positive.

On behalf of the committee, thank you so much for coming and sharing your views. These things are so important to all of us, and I did not hear anyone tonight who did not have a thoughtful comment to make.

The committee adjourned.