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Proceedings of the Standing Senate Committee on
National Security and Defence

Issue 12 - Evidence, February 14, 2005


OTTAWA, Monday, February 14, 2005

The Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence met this day at 9:35 a.m. to examine and report on the national security policy for Canada.

Senator Colin Kenny (Chairman) in the chair.

[English]

The Chairman: I call the meeting to order. It is my pleasure to welcome you to the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence. Today, the committee will hear testimony relating to the review of Canadian defence policy.

First, I will introduce the members of the committee. On my immediate right is the distinguished senator from Nova Scotia, Senator Michael Forrestall. He has served the constituents of Dartmouth for 37 years, first as a 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.

Beside him is Senator Jim Munson from Ontario. He was a trusted journalist and former director of communications for Prime Minister Chrétien before he was called to the Senate in 2003. Senator Munson has twice been nominated for Gemini awards in recognition of his excellence in journalism.

On my left is Senator Tommy Banks from Alberta. He is 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 musical direction for the ceremonies of the 1988 Olympic Winter Games, he is an Officer of the Order of Canada, and he has received a Juno award.

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 a member of the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology.

Beside her is Senator Joseph Day from New Brunswick. He is Deputy Chair of the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance and also serves on our subcommittee of Veterans Affairs. He is a member of the bar of New Brunswick, Ontario and Quebec, and a fellow of the Intellectual Property Institute of Canada. He is also a former president and CEO of the New Brunswick Forest Products Association.

Our committee is the first Senate committee mandated to examine security and defence. The Senate has asked our committee to examine the need for a national security policy. We began our review in 2002, and in that year produced three reports: Canadian Security and Military Preparedness, in February; The Defence of North America: 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 Underdefended 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.

This committee is reviewing Canadian defence policy. During the next few months the committee will hold hearings in every province and engage with 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 forge a consensus on the need and type of military Canadians want.

Our first witness this morning is Mr. Dan Ross. He is Assistant Deputy Minister, Information Management, with the Department of National Defence. He has been in that position since February of 2004. Previous to that, he was the Associate Assistant Deputy Minister of the Operations Branch in Public Works and Government Services.

From 1999 to 2002, he was seconded from the Canadian Forces as a Brigadier-General and worked for three years as deputy to the foreign policy adviser to the Prime Minister and Director of Operations for the Foreign and Defence Policy Secretariat at the Privy Council Office. From 1997 to 1999, he was Commander of Land Force Western Area, based in Edmonton. He is a graduate of the National Defence College and the Canadian Forces Command and Staff College. Welcome to the committee, Mr. Ross. We understand you have a short statement.

Mr. Dan Ross, Assistant Deputy Minister (Information Management), Department of National Defence: Thank you for the opportunity to appear at this important Senate committee. I hope to be able to assist your deliberations in any way I can.

Information Management Group at National Defence is responsible for the delivery and operation of strategic command and control, and information management systems for the department and for the Canadian Forces. My mission, I would clarify, does not include the delivery of tactical command, control and surveillance reconnaissance systems, which are normally delivered by the Materiel Group, with the army, navy and air force or deputy chief as sponsors. It does include two operational units — the Communications Reserve and the Canadian Forces Information Operations Group.

I am the functional authority for information management and IT doctrine, policy and standards for National Defence. Although I deliver and manage the strategic systems and support the information technology infrastructure in the National Capital Region, my group does not manage or deliver the information technology infrastructure outside of Ottawa.

In fiscal year 2003-04, National Defence spent $845 million on non-tactical information management and IT. About 55 per cent of that was managed centrally by my group and the rest by other assistant deputy ministers in the army, navy and air force.

National Defence has approximately 4,000 personnel, split approximately equally between military and civilian, employed in these non-tactical information management IT functions. These are people who are not in operational units, such as 6th Regiment's Brigade 6 squadron's Signals Intelligence Communications Reserve. Some of them may have a direct link to strategic national systems that support operations.

My group numbers about 4,000 military and civilian members. Half of those are part-time reservists in the communications reserve; and 900 — although it is established for 900, it is not at full strength — are in the Canadian Forces Information Operations Group, or CFIOG. CFIOG is a separate operational formation. It has two principal functions: the provision of signals intelligence to the joint staff and to our commanders overseas who are conducting deployed operations; and the operation of a network operations centre, which monitors and defends our networks 24/ 7, 365 days a year. It is relatively new. It stood up as a unit of the Canadian Forces last fall.

Our capacity to defend our networks is robust and constantly adapting to meet sophisticated and rapidly evolving threats. We work very closely with the communications security establishment on signals intelligence and computer network defence.

The other operational formation, the communications reserve, is a separate formation of the CF. It has a small headquarters, five groups organized on a regional basis from east to west, and 23 units of squadron size located in all 10 provinces from St. John's, Newfoundland, to Victoria, British Columbia.

My staff element here in Ottawa is about 1,000 personnel. We manage information management standards and architecture policy requirements. We operate all the large corporate enterprise resource planning systems, commonly referred to as ERPs. We also provide professional project delivery for most new information management systems and we operate and support all national classified and unclassified networks, strategic radio systems, and telecommunications for national defence but, to clarify, not the local telecommunications on the bases and wings. We are in the process of implementing an enterprise model of information management across the CF and the department, which would include transforming our enterprise resource planning systems to provide truly enterprise functionality to all managers — by that, I imply that they currently do not provide useful staff management support to all managers — implementing common email, common networks, operating systems and a common software baseline for all of our workstations.

That is an overview of the group, our organization, our mission and responsibilities. It is a challenging function in support of one of the largest and most diverse organizations in the federal government. We have some significant challenges, and the introduction of technology that can be integrated into a complex information environment as well as the sustainment of those IM systems which require daily, round-the-clock support. Those sustainment costs always exceed the implementation costs.

Mr. Chairman, I would be happy to explore any of these areas or any others if you wish.

The Chairman: Thank you very much, sir. Our first question is from Senator Munson.

Senator Munson: Good morning, sir. Information technology in the military is big business, and nothing ever works flawlessly. Could you give us some examples of what has been good and what has been bad?

Mr. Ross: I will start with the good. As with all large organizations, the department has had to take a journey as we invested in and learned about information management and IT technologies, from the early days of computers to the days of trying to invest in major systems that look after our HR needs, our finance needs, our materiél needs. As with all large organizations, and there are no exceptions, that evolution has always gone from decisions that were focused on a single-siloed area to a look at what is uniquely this thing. In some cases that has been quite successful. For example, we have a finance system that is quite well tailored to managing the minister's responsibility for accountability to Parliament and how he spends his money. We have similar functionality for our HR. On the operational side, robust networks and radio systems have been implemented. I am leading to the issues of what has not gone so well. That is because we are halfway down this journey of delivering integrated systems. We could integrate or invest in a single management system that allows us to take decisions about, for example, a mission to go to Afghanistan. We would have accurate information of what that costs, where our vehicles are, what our spare parts are, and the availability of people who are trained with the right skills, and whether they have been back from the previous mission for at least 12 months. We could take a holistic view of the force generation issues for a particular mission.

Right now, we still have to do that in silos, meaning little information systems that do not talk to each other. We cannot enter that information on spare parts and have it come up for, say, the deputy chief of defence staff or the commander of the army, and he would know what the availability of his Coyote spare parts are, and in a similar way know where those soldiers who are trained with those skills are available, and in what units, and when they had come back from their last mission. My story is that we start with those siloed implementations and progress towards truly integrated information management systems that serve all commanders and managers in a uniform way.

The difficulty is, when you have made a big investment in one of these things, it is difficult to do the integration after you have built it. We are in a journey of going from interconnecting some of those systems to truly integrating and moving information horizontally across them, and eventually to what we call "fusion," where you buy it completely integrated. You buy one good system that is easy to support. You would only buy new versions periodically for a single system and you essentially enter data once. It is accurate, and it is used wherever you need it, by anyone who needs it.

Senator Munson: Is the military in the same boat as everyone else in business, that they have a new system put into place and all of a sudden everything seems to be working quite well, then a year or two down the road, it is out of date?

Mr. Ross: I would have to say yes. We are exactly in the same situation that big organizations such as PeopleSoft or SAP, who deliver the large systems or even just basic cell phone IT. That has a shelf life of about three years. You are then faced with the situation where they will introduce a new version, and over a period of time they will cease to support the previous version that you bought. I am not exact in my numbers here on the PeopleSoft side, but that is normally a three- to four-year horizon.

You have to program in ongoing capital investments in upgrades, and you have to program and pay for the day-to-day licensing costs and the day-to-day minor support and maintenance of those systems to make sure that the database is working every day. It is not a cheap business. To keep those systems working, you are compelled to buy those new version upgrades.

Senator Munson: One last question on this round for me: You talked about it not being a cheap system. Are you satisfied that you are getting enough money to live up to the capabilities that you want to deliver?

Mr. Ross: The department and the forces commit $845 million. Having been here almost 12 months, my view is that is a sufficient proportion of defence investment. I would probably not recommend that the department invest more in this type of thing. Are we getting the maximum output for that $845 million? No, I think we can invest smarter. We can move to single systems with a single platform of support. We can probably have fewer military people in that non-operational IT business and move some of those military personnel into operational lines of support, or front-line units. For the same investment over the next four or five years, we can have better IMIT service, but not at greater cost.

Senator Banks: Mr. Ross, I am from Edmonton, and we fondly remember you in your time there. I hope that you fondly remember being in the West as well.

I will continue exactly where Senator Munson left off. The move to horizontal rather than vertical systems is a time problem and not a money problem.

Do I understand that correctly? You need more time to do it?

Mr. Ross: That is right. It is largely a requirements problem. I will give you an example. We have hundreds of finance systems in the department because a base commander or an area commander or a battalion commander has to manage their budget, their budget planning, and the contracts that they are spending money on. We hold them accountable under the Financial Administration Act. The same individuals are compelled to enter the same information into the departmental financial management system on a daily basis. I made the comment in the requirements. If you understand the needs for financial management of a battalion commander, an area commander, a wing commander, and you make sure that departmental system fully meets their needs, and they are probably not much different from place to place, over time with the same investment, or less, you can move to a single system that provides good financial tracking, budget tracking and business plan tracking for all of those finance managers.

Over time, in managing people's needs and listening to the requirements of the field units, the bases, the wings and garrisons, we hope to provide what we call enterprise support for things such as financial planning and financial management. It is time; it will not involve lot more money. We would have to make those similar expenditures anyway to move the departmental system to another version. If you are doing that change anyway, you might as well ensure that you are meeting the requirements of all our managers and leaders.

Senator Banks: In the business I came from, I found that as soon as you bought equipment, it was obsolete. You bought today's newest bell and whistle and by the time you got it up and running, it had been replaced by something better and cheaper.

Mr. Ross: You see that more in the MP3 players that kids are using on the streets, and cellphones and so on. Perhaps less so in the big IM systems, which tend to be software defined, so you are rewriting new lines of code.

The Chairman: For the benefit of the audience watching, if we could stay completely away from initials and acronyms it would be of great assistance.

Mr. Ross: IM systems is information management systems. I do not know what MP3 stands for. I know my son has one.

Senator Banks: I was confused, but I think you have straightened me out. I want to ensure that I am no longer confused between what you are doing on the one hand and what happens in the field operationally, on the other. I gather the information management and communications, because you are talking about communications as well, stops at the point where someone has gone out into the field to do something, whether it is to work in an ice storm or to try to bring peace to Kabul. Do I have that right? You are the office end of it?

Mr. Ross: The linkage is strategic. We run a large number of classified networks, and one truly global unclassified network to which all the computers and personal computers are attached. The long-range high frequency radios, the long-range satellite communications that will reach out and talk to a brigade commander in Kabul, I do that as well. But the tactical radios in a Coyote vehicle or an armoured fighting vehicle in Kabul are the army's responsibility, and they buy those through the materiel group directly.

Senator Banks: There is no good reason for an umbilical connection between those two things?

Mr. Ross: There is a strong reason. They do have to be connected. I was referring to the fact that many of our national systems actually do not talk to each other, and what you are then doing is forcing that local commander, that deployed commander, to have multiple terminals to try to get his people information, his spare parts information, his ammunition and re-supply all on different pipelines. The pipelines do not talk to each other in the way that they should, or in the way that we want them to.

Senator Banks: That is part of the horizontal thing you are trying to bring about.

Mr. Ross: What we call "enterprise."

Senator Banks: You said that you look after everything in Ottawa, but not elsewhere?

Mr. Ross: That is true.

Senator Banks: Is that what you will address, or is that the way it should be?

Mr. Ross: In the early 1990s, prior to some of the program review reductions, there was an organization called Communications Command that did provide that, coast-to-coast. That organization was broken up and those responsibilities and budgets were devolved to the army, navy and air force.

Senator Banks: Why?

Mr. Ross: To empower local commanders, such as myself when I was in Edmonton, to find the most economical ways of doing basic support to the bases or garrisons or wings. In many cases that was very successful. They had no choice, obviously. The same amount of money that was used before was not available to devolve, and they outsourced things, they stopped doing things, they closed buildings, they closed an enormous number of bases and stations.

To get to your point, if you recreated that structure, I do not think I could do it much better than the commanders can today across the country. Could industry do it better? Could we do it with fewer military people in those office buildings and infrastructure? That should be explored and considered. We need to understand exactly how much we spend and how we do it before we can consider what those choices might be. If it were up to me, I would not consider recreating a communications command.

Senator Banks: When you buy a piece of off-the-shelf equipment or even a piece that has been designed that has very broad commercial applications — again, I am speaking from the point of view of the business from which I came, not yours, because I do not know anything about yours — I found that when you customize it and you say, it is not quite right for what we need to do, this is the closest off-the-shelf thing we can buy but now we must tinker with it to make sure it fits exactly what we need to do, the problem with that is that it almost circumscribes future improvements. When it is reprogrammed or a new modular facet is added to it, the integration of those new improvements is difficult. Is that a problem that you face?

Mr. Ross: Exactly, that is a significant problem. Most of the large commercial off-the-shelf systems that you can buy have been designed by IBM or PeopleSoft or whoever, for business. You will face a small delta in customization for a government organization which has a different bottom line.

Senator Banks: You are not exactly selling something.

Mr. Ross: You have a different function. When you move to a national defence environment, for example, management of human resources, it is a fundamentally different system than what industry and the public service uses. The Canadian Forces promote to level. We promote a lieutenant-colonel to the rank of lieutenant-colonel and employ him or her anywhere we want. There is no HR system you can buy from industry that does that. It is a totally different system.

Some of our things we have to customize, but we have to be careful how far we go; and others we can customize much less. Customization really is a slippery slope of cost. When it is time to buy the next version upgrades from a major vendor, you have to repeat that customization again. It is custom coding of software that costs enormous amounts of money, and the support that is associated when you customize. Industry likes you to customize because it is fairly cheap to buy a vanilla version of something. They make their money when you customize it.

Senator Cordy: Mr. Ross, I would like to talk about reservists and the information management group. You said that there are 4,000 personnel and half of them, about 2,000, would be reservists. Can you expand that information by telling the committee how the reservists fit in, what role do they play when they fit into the Canadian Forces?

Mr. Ross: The communications reserve and their commander directly report to me, which is a role I am delighted to have. It is one of the unique reserve organizations because they are army, air force and navy reserves, but there is also a communications reserve.

Senator Cordy: Is communications aside from the other three?

Mr. Ross: Yes. They normally wear army environmental uniforms, and we have a special support arrangement with the land force, but it is a separate reserve.

As I said, it has a small headquarters and a regular force, signals, and colonel as their commander. They report directly to me. We have recently finished a uniform restructure of them, so that the five group headquarters are all mirror images, fairly small, very efficient, a small regular force component with long-term continuity.

Senator Cordy: Are they all in Ottawa?

Mr. Ross: No, the group headquarters are across the country. Victoria, Edmonton, Kingston, Montreal, and Halifax are the five group headquarters, with reserve lieutenant-colonels as the group commanders, and the 23 squadrons, one of which is still a troop size, stretched across the country, again with a very uniform organization commanded by a major. It is a company sized, hundred-person sized organization commanded by a major with a master warrant officer as his squadron sergeant major, and the subunits within those are commanded by captains. There is a relatively uniform suite of equipment for all of them. Most of it is relatively modern, and we are talking the year 2000 or more recent than that.

I would comment on manpower levels a little bit. They are all robustly healthy. Some have more challenges in places such as Sydney, Nova Scotia, or in northern Ontario, than others. On the other hand, they have less competition from army reserve units. I would comment that generally they are all healthy in terms of manpower, person power. I would also comment that their approach to training and to augmentation of the regular force has allowed them to have a very robust and high level of professional ability.

For decades the communication reserve has taken a deliberate approach to maximize the occasions when a communication reservist would go on full-time employment with a regular force operational unit; not a staff officer in a headquarters, but to go with the signals regiment, to go with brigade signal squadrons on full-time capacity and then go from that to an overseas, real operational deployment.

For example, the communications reserve has deployed 314 people to overseas missions over the last two and a half years from a part-time strength of less than 2,000. They have supported regular force units and operational business with 74,000 person days of effort last year. That approach, to use the budgets to maximize the real participation in regular force operational things on a daily basis, has always kept their level of skills, training and employability very high. We, for example, always support half of the communications element in the Golan Heights in OP DANACA. It is a large UN communications organization, and the communications reserve always have half of that staff, about 15 to 20 people, and we run it on a long-term basis. It relieves that pressure from the signals regiment in Kingston and the brigade squadrons. We do that with $29 million annually.

Senator Cordy: Do people who are in the reservists in the communications end of it come in with communications skills or do they learn them on the job?

Mr. Ross: Most of them do not come with communications skills. Most of them are high school or university young people looking for largely summer employment and employment while they are at university. Many of them actually go and work in IT technology jobs afterwards.

Senator Cordy: Who is responsible for training the communications people in the reserves and the full-time forces?

Mr. Ross: The Assistant Deputy Minister, Human Resources, Vice-Admiral Jarvis, has a communications electronics school in Kingston, which is the centre of expertise for communications and information technology training. He is responsible for the professional development and training of both the regular force and reserve communications people. I run summer training concentrations of basic military skills in Kingston, Ontario, and Shilo, Manitoba, every summer for our reservists, the basic soldier skills that a private would learn on entry. Then, on an ongoing basis, the commanding officers have training programs where they collectively train their teams on a year-round basis.

Senator Cordy: You mentioned earlier that you train a number of the reservists and then many of them get jobs in the information technology industry. I know in the late 1990s, certainly, there were huge salaries being offered by private industry. How difficult is the issue of retention in the reservists and in the communications full-time force?

Mr. Ross: When I visit my units, and I have been to all 23 units at least once across the country since I have been in this job, I always ask how they are doing in retention, how are they doing relative to the reserve battalion they share the armory with, and almost unanimously their retention is better. They do not consider it to be all that serious a problem. Most of our squadrons need to recruit about 10 people annually to retain their strength. About half of the attrition will go regular force, and so it is not a loss. Those people are often trained at very high levels; they have taken equivalent regular force type training and will move directly to the regular force as a trained corporal or master corporal, which is a tremendous asset to the communications branch. Another four or five will leave for civilian jobs, or will leave the reserves. Some units have more and more difficulty developing officers or senior NCOs, but that varies by the location.

I would say generally our retention is okay. We must work very hard at recruiting, though, to make sure we have those 10, and keeping that strength up takes a lot of dedicated effort.

Senator Cordy: They must enjoy their job, then, if they are staying.

Mr. Ross: I think they get the advantage of playing with weapons that young 18-year-old men would like to do, but also with a 21st century frequency-hopping radio, and a fully equipped command post. They have both the high-tech and they have the basic army, go to the field, shoot weapons and machine guns and so on. It is an advantage for us.

Senator Cordy: I would like to talk about interoperability, particularly with our NATO allies. Mention was made earlier about how quickly things change in information technology. Could you tell us, particularly with NATO countries and particularly with the United States, how we are doing in that area?

Mr. Ross: It is a very high priority for the Canadian Forces. I and one of my general officers represent Canada on NATO and also Canada/U.S., Australia, U.K., New Zealand committees and organizations that work on standardization. We take it very seriously. I would have to answer the question on an environmental basis. Our interoperability with the U.S. navy is extremely important and effective. It is challenging because of the rate of change of our allies and their technology and information systems. It is challenging with regard to keeping the information technology suite current on our ships. In the army context, it is very effective. There are obviously not seamless linkages between their systems and ours; there are difficulties there, but we work very effectively with our U.S. and other allies in places like Afghanistan.

In terms of the air force, it is largely NORAD and connectivity and interoperability in regional air defence, which is, again, very effective. We tend to use exactly the same systems and same means of communications.

It will be more challenging in the future. The U.S. military, in particular, invests enormous sums of money in information management and technology. To keep apace of that and to ensure that we can at least have interoperability connectivity to those new systems as they develop is challenging. We will just have to hard work at it over the next few years.

Senator Forrestall: Welcome, Mr. Ross. I want to continue with some of the questions Senator Cordy was asking. I will start with your capacity to augment permanent forces. Over the last two years of looking at various aspects of military activity in this country, we have heard from across the country, from land, sea and air, about difficulties in transferring from the reserves to the military. Do you encounter those difficulties? If so, to what magnitude?

Mr. Ross: Are you referring to what we call occupational transfers from reserve status to regular force status?

Senator Forrestall: I am referring very generally to the movement from reserve status to permanent status.

Mr. Ross: We experience the same difficulties, at times, that any reservist does in the forces. The ability of the recruiting system is not as robust as it was in the early 1990s. We face challenges in getting medicals and security clearances done, be it a civilian coming in from university or a reservist transferring to the regular force. The risk is, of course, that the person receives another career opportunity and we lose them because we have not done the administration quickly enough.

Senator Forrestall: Are these delays necessary? They must be frustrating. I can assure you that they are for those individuals who want to transfer, both up and down.

How does it impact, for example, on augmentation, which I suspect is one of your principal roles? Do you just willingly send them off? Perhaps that is preferable with a reservist because in that way you know you are going to get them back.

Mr. Ross: I would rather keep them.

Senator Forrestall: You would rather keep them than have to retrain.

Mr. Ross: Yes. In a perfect world, we should be able to eliminate those delays. Medical checks and security clearances are probably more necessary than they have ever been, but the small staffs that are available in the recruiting organizations around the country are hard-pressed to handle the load we are asking them to deal with. I know that you have talked about, or will talk about, the expansion of the forces and their capacity. In making change quickly you are always limited by the size of your pipeline. That pipeline is not manned by young privates; it is manned by experienced NCOs or experienced officers, and it takes a decade or 15 years to grow one of those. We went down from 80,000 to below 60,000 and are working hard to go back up, but the pipeline, the machine, is not as big as it was.

Senator Forrestall: Does the problem work in the other direction?

Mr. Ross: It is a lot easier the other way.

Senator Forrestall: From the regular to the reserve?

Mr. Ross: Yes, it is much easier, because the person already has their security clearance, their annual medical, and so on. You are simply transferring them, normally, to Class A reserve service status, and you can do that at the unit level. When you go the other way, you are working with National Defence Headquarters, the HR branch and the whole system, which is much more complicated.

Senator Forrestall: In the event of a surge requirement, how many men or women could you put in the field in 60 days?

Mr. Ross: We can put a very capable, long-range communication detachment of four to five people in the field in five to six hours in every squadron, right now.

Senator Forrestall: One from every squadron?

Mr. Ross: From all 23, with a quick reaction terminal package that comes with long-range HF radio, long-range SATCOM radio and linkages to a tactical VHF radio, on a six-hour basis. As I travel around the country with the commander of COM reserve, he regularly bugs out these squadrons to deploy their quick reaction detachments and demonstrate that they are ready to do it, and they always do it. On a quick reaction basis, they are very capable.

It is my sense that, with six to 12 months' notice, the communications reserve could field a large subunit of squadron size for an operational mission overseas.

Senator Forrestall: How long could you sustain either the short or the long?

Mr. Ross: You could do one six-month rotation and then, after a year break, you could do it again. We do large numbers on an individual basis continuously. Given about a year's notice, we could package that up to a complete brigade headquarters signal squadron organization and do that once for six months.

Senator Forrestall: Do your men and women get a chance to train with the regular forces?

Mr. Ross: They have most of those skills, and many of them have trained with the signal school in Kingston or the signals regiment. We would need to bring together the collective skills at the squadron level, a squadron being an organization of 200 people with all the bits and pieces that a brigade signal squadron has. That collective training would take about a year to get ready.

Our reserve squadrons are about 100 people and they are parading 50 to 60. They focus on detachment-level skills. That is a detachment of five or six people employing a quick reaction terminal with SATCOM and long-range HR radios. That is a lot different than bringing 200 together and managing all the command and control for a brigade or an operational formation. The skills are there but the collective training is not.

Senator Forrestall: Looking at it as you folks being first in, and probably among the very last out because of the role communications play, how do you defend yourselves when you go in? I mean, into a live situation.

Mr. Ross: We use the same basic soldier skills and army combat skills that the land force expects of all their members, the same personal weapons skills.

Senator Forrestall: They are trained to that level?

Mr. Ross: Absolutely. That is part of the annual training program that every squadron commander meets on an annual basis, in all 23 squadrons.

Senator Forrestall: I like this frequency-jumping business, and boy, do we ever have it. Who do you pay licence fees to, and how much and why?

Mr. Ross: On the frequency-hopping? I must admit that I do not know the detail to that. That is part of materiel group who procured that radio system for the army. I am not sure if they pay licensing fees. I could find out for you.

Senator Forrestall: I am not sure whether it is important, but what might be important is to know whether you pay it. Does it come out of your budget or somebody else's budget?

Mr. Ross: I do not pay it

Senator Forrestall: You do not pay it?

Mr. Ross: I do not pay for frequency-hopping tactical radio or licensing fees.

Senator Forrestall: That is a break. What else can we do for you this morning? I was joking earlier, but are you close to a magic cell phone? I remember years ago that NATO spent an awful lot of money trying to answer many questions that would have enabled us to look at that. Is there a break-through in wireless technology?

Mr. Ross: I think there is. Wireless technology is one thing that has surprised people over the last 10 years.

Senator Forrestall: It amazes us.

Mr. Ross: The question is: Do you buy what people call laptops or notebooks for $2,500 because you need to check your e-mail, or do you give that person a BlackBerry or personal data device that can browse the Internet, wirelessly check your e-mail and have tri-band cell phone in it? Those things exist today for less than $500. You can replace the person's PC, their laptop and their cell phone today. It works fine. The next step, of course, is to have secure crypto-cell phone capability, and that is coming, too.

Senator Forrestall: Good luck, sir. Thank you for coming.

The Chairman: Mr. Ross, could you elaborate on the point you made where you said if you had six months' notice, you could produce 200 people? Did you say "and send them overseas and deploy them for six months?"

Mr. Ross: Absolutely. Every summer we provide to the army, for their reserve area concentrations, organizations from large troops to full squadrons to support their area reserve, land reserve concentrations. For example, in Petawawa last summer, we deployed an organization of almost 200 people. It was static; it was tactical, but it did not move repeatedly throughout the training period. It provided all of the functionality of a brigade. My remarks referred to the fact that, given sufficient notice, communications reserve could generate one of those, but only once in a given 18-month period, because you would only be able to stay overseas for six months and you would not be able to replace that unit for at least another 12 months.

The Chairman: But your comparison with the summer is not quite the same, is it? It is predictable. You plan ahead. If you had to deploy overseas, it is not as predictable. Do you have people who are prepared to give up their employment for six months? Can they really leave?

Mr. Ross: Yes, we do. As I said, we have 314 who have gone overseas for six month tours over the last 30 months.

The Chairman: But do you have 200 who can go on six months' notice?

Mr. Ross: You would need to give them a year's notice and plan from which squadrons, what part of the country, which individuals. You would need a major. You need certain rank levels. Given 12 months' notice, we could bring together that 200 person-sized organization. Again, it is not sustainable. It would be a one-time thing, and you would need a significant break before you could regenerate. At the same time, we would not be sending individuals. It is not both. It is not a large number of individuals all the time. You would be bringing those large numbers of individuals to do it once as a collective organization. I believe the land reserves are doing company-sized —

The Chairman: Not very many.

Mr. Ross: Not very many of them. Our organization is slightly less than 2,000. It is actually quite small. To send an organization of 200 is 10 per cent, which is why you need about a year's notice to work on that collective training piece.

The Chairman: Thank you, sir.

Senator Munson: Just to follow up on Senator Kenny's statement, you talked about having enough money. Do you have enough full-time people? Would you like to have more?

Mr. Ross: I do not have enough full-time people to do project delivery with the project management skills and experience — majors, lieutenant-colonels — that we need. It is easier to go out and hire civilian project managers. Again, that supply is not unlimited, and the staffing process is slow. Some of our projects that we need to deliver for the forces do need a military project manager, and that is quite challenging. I could have more positions identified for military project managers, but the career managers cannot fill them. They give me about half of what I need for military project managers.

Senator Munson: The number for you that you could do your job even better would be how many more?

Mr. Ross: It is not large numbers. It is perhaps 50 to 60. However, those are people who are very experienced — captains, majors, lieutenant-colonels — and they do not exist.

Senator Munson: I do not know if this is a fair question to ask you, but what are the capabilities of interoperability with other forces when you are on the ground?

Mr. Ross: I began to address that with an earlier question to some degree. Interoperability, in the sense of doing the job day to day, is very good. Interoperability from a pure technical sense is not nearly as robust as we need it to be. We work with our allies towards improving that. The challenge, of course, is that we pursue solutions nationally, and sometimes, even though we may be willing to align with someone else's solutions, that may not be possible on a bilateral basis. Because this is not directly my accountability in terms of the tactical level, I would not comment further than saying that it is effective because we have very competent, well-trained individuals making it work on a day-to-day basis.

Senator Munson: We have to face facts, and sometimes things go wrong. I was in the Prime Minister's Office when the lights went out during the massive Ontario blackout. To be candid, it was embarrassing, even with the small back-up. In the Armed Forces right now, has your organization made changes to power sources in light of that blackout? I hope they have at the PMO.

Mr. Ross: I do not know what they have done to PMO, but yes, we have. We are working over the next three years to ensure that all of our key command and control systems have at least 100 per cent back-up, and in some cases 200 per cent back-up. Any single points of failure that would be relative to either a fire in a room or a power failure in a building will be eliminated. We do still have some single points of failure that we are working on. Generally speaking, that is not related to actual power supply right now. That has all been resolved.

Senator Munson: Did you say 200 per cent back up? What does that mean?

Mr. Ross: Let us say that you are on Ontario Hydro power. One level of back-up would be able to light up the building and run the building, and the second layer of back-up would be a small generator on the command centre, so you would have two layers of back-up. Ideally, you want to still run the deputy chief of defence staff and all of a tower of a building, but if that fails you want to be able to run a national defence command centre or its alternate.

Senator Munson: Can you provide the committee with a short outline on the relationship between the chief of intelligence organization, communications, security establishment and your signals intelligence collection?

Mr. Ross: Yes, I would be happy to. The relationship is extremely close. Our signals intelligence organization, which is embedded in the Canadian Forces information operational group, operates within the legislative mandate and framework of Communications Security Establishment. Their analysts and our signals intelligence non-commissioned officers work every day side by side on many different tasks. We support CSE, or the Communications Security Establishment, and are very responsive to them; and we respond to the priorities and tasks set for us by the J2 intelligence staff who work for the deputy chief. A lot of that work is directly for deployed commanders in Bosnia and Afghanistan, and so on, but the J2 staff always have the oversight to establish a different priority or to change the priority task to our signals intelligence people. I think the relationship is extremely good.

There are some areas we need to work on. There is an initiative called the signals intelligence, or SIGINT operational model, which will make that relationship better in terms of things like technical capabilities — where do you want to go with the next level of investments, what capacities will we need two or three years from now that are different from what we have now — to take the relationship from day to day to perhaps a window of future force planning of two or three years and do that better.

Senator Munson: Just very briefly, it is not part of the program here this morning, but I was reading the handout from National Defence, and information operations are guided by the military imperatives of saving lives. When we talk about the technology part of it this morning, I wonder if you could elaborate on just how important that is to you? We are talking about people's lives. We seem to be into the high-tech part of it, but I think we forgot the focus of just how important it is.

Mr. Ross: In some departments around this town, when I talk to my colleagues, information management is considered to be electronic records. That is not the case in National Defence. In National Defence, information management and information technology is absolutely understood and recognized to be a key enabler to doing business.

We do not run business on telephones and fax machines. Our command and control systems are automated on networks, and a staff officer in a place like Afghanistan can sit down at a machine and access our wider network for any type of information he needs. Or, on a similar machine, he can go into a classified system — and it just looks like your PC at home on Windows with pull-down menus — that will give him information on organizations and weapons systems or whatever he needs.

If you look at deployed weapon systems like a Coyote and the technology that that allows you to do, it allows you to move actual, live video back to the commander 15 miles away — what that Coyote is looking at. It allows you to do more things, but it also makes you more dependent on it.

It also, I think, does save lives. It is a key part of force protection, to be able to do surveillance and to be able to inform your intelligence. Signals intelligence is an example. With the proliferation of communications devices out there, it is more important every day to us, because the bad guys we deal with depend on the same technology. If you are not active in that business, and cannot manipulate that technology to your advantage, you are at a disadvantage, and your people are at higher risk than they should have to be. I think it is an enormous enabler for us.

The Chairman: Mr. Ross, what confidence do you have that your communication systems are secure? How do you test it and how do you know it is good?

Mr. Ross: I would say they are relatively secure. We are taking this very seriously, working with CSE, which is the Government of Canada's centre of expertise for IT security.

The Chairman: Security establishment.

Mr. Ross: Communications Security Establishment. About two years ago, the Canadian Forces network operating centre was created. It was created for the sole purpose of having a place where we would monitor and defend all of our key networks — initially on a sort of eight-and-24 basis, but in the past year, that has gone to a 24/7 basis.

The Chairman: What is an eight-and-24 basis?

Mr. Ross: Eight hours a day over 24; now it is 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Over the past year and a half, we have brought in the ability to watch activity on all of our networks in the same operating centre. We can have electronic tools there that can tell us if there is a spike of activity — someone is trying to download imagery or access a machine that they are not authorized to access. Many of these tools are commercial tools available to everyone — firewalls and some of these terms you have heard about. Some of these tools are more sophisticated than that, which the Communications Security Establishment assists us in procuring, using and implementing.

That is not enough. The threats and the sophistication of those threats grow and change much faster than commercial organizations can develop new things to detect viruses. It is a high priority to us and an area of significant concern. Over the next year, we intend to reinforce the ability of the Canadian Forces network operating centre to do more actual defence and counteractions — that is, patching a virus or patching a worm on classified networks — than they currently have. We need to make this a true centre of expertise, and we also need to have redundancy and backup to that, which we are also working on.

The Chairman: To your knowledge, has your system ever been breached by a hacker?

Mr. Ross: Obviously, it has been breached by hackers on the unclassified domain. That is not all that hard to do as it is attached to the Internet. I could not tell you, in this forum, whether it has gone farther than that.

The Chairman: I think you have, sir. You have the research and development facility for electronic warfare at Shirley's Bay. Can you tell us a little bit about that?

Mr. Ross: The centre at Shirley's Bay is one of the units of the Canadian Forces information operations group. It is the third piece. It is a tri-service — or army, navy, air force joint electronic warfare organization. They primarily work with the research and development people on new capability and electronic warfare.

Historically, electronic warfare in the army, navy and air force has been on things other than the Internet. It has been radios, essentially, or radars — things that emit electromagnetic signals, where you could jam someone's signal or listen to that and get intelligence from it. That is the type of thing that electronic warfare is. That is still very important to the army, navy and air force because they are even more dependent on high-frequency radios, on radars and tactical communications devices. One of their functions is to understand how these different devices are used around the world by other countries. Every device has an electronic fingerprint. Therefore, you need to focus on knowing all of these electronic fingerprints because when you go to a place like Afghanistan, or wherever, you may face people who are using some of these things and you need to be able to recognize their fingerprints on an instantaneous base or on a technology base. They do very important work. It is a very small organization of about 100 people. It is quite modest.

The Chairman: How does it translate into the field? This committee met with an electronic warfare group in Kingston. They did not seem to be a happy group. They seemed demoralized. They were very unsatisfied with their equipment, very little of which was working. We had requests that if they could only get a credit card to go to an electronic store, they could fix up a lot of their stuff. Do you have any comment on that, sir?

Mr. Ross: I cannot comment exactly about the current capabilities of the army's electronic warfare unit. It is an army unit, and I have no responsibility for that unit. Our duties with our electronic warfare centre are to provide support to those units in the army, navy and air force, largely from a software, data bank of information, point of view. The decision on whether or not new investment should be made there relative to other priorities is a question for General Caron.

The Chairman: How do you provide that support if you are not current with the capability of the units, and if you are not aware on an ongoing basis of their deficiencies?

Mr. Ross: We are aware. The members who work in our electronic warfare centre normally come from those three environments and they are normally specialized in electronic warfare in the army, navy or air force, so they do know what capabilities they have. They do know what the limitations are, and they support them as best they can in terms of analysis and data bases.

I cannot interfere with one of the three environments and where they choose to make new investments in their electronic warfare capability. I can give them advice, and we can give them technical assistance, but not beyond that.

The Chairman: However, you do see the irony of having a research group that is developing new technologies that may be moving us into the future, when the folks who presumably will be doing it have equipment that is not functioning?

Mr. Ross: I see the irony.

The Chairman: Who should we talk to about the solution?

Mr. Ross: The person who is accountable for that would be the commanders of the services, the chief of staff for air, army and navy. They face pressures and conflicting demands for new investments as well. I perhaps could comment in terms of land force operations. There is a new and increasing awareness of where we need more capacity in tactical signals intelligence, which is effectively what a land EW is about. Tactical signals intelligence and the importance of that for deployed operation, like Afghanistan, is very well recognized.

One of the innovations we do have is that I have a small tactical, electronic warfare unit in Kingston, a reserve electronic warfare organization. We have a proposal to make that a regular force squadron, electronic warfare, and to join it organizationally with the reserve force organization. We would still have one component that was reserve and one regular, but to share doctrine and training and have a collective look at equipment that will be in that combined organization.

It is value-added for tactical SIGINT, and can be better than it is right now.

The Chairman: Thank you.

Senator Banks: I will re-plough some old ground. I do not want to leave misinformed. This committee has had a lot to say about sustainability of deployed operations in some of its previous reports, particularly those operations that are far away. We have been talking about the warrior tradesmen. We have been doing that and we are now talking to you about fundamentally necessary support of the kind without which a foreign deployment cannot work.

Mr. Ross: That is right.

Senator Banks: I understood you to say, and I want to make sure I have this straight, that you could, if a brigade-sized operation were deployed to Afghanistan, you would, with notice, be able to put a couple of hundred people there that were necessary to support the operations from the communications standpoint of that undertaking for six months, but then it would have to be brought home for the obvious rotation purposes. This would mean that if a force of infantry were replaced in that same location, they would all of a sudden not have communications capability.

Are we saying that a brigade-sized operation of Canadian Forces, deployed simply overseas, would not be able to sustain itself past six months because it would not have communications capability?

Mr. Ross: No. The communications reserve regularly employs large numbers of individuals or small detachments on these overseas missions. Normally, the joint signals regiment, which is an organization of about 800 in Kingston, and the army's brigade communications signals squadrons, which organizations have about 200 or 250, they provide that force level.

Senator Banks: Okay, I will interrupt you. When you talked about the six months, you were talking about the reserve forces capabilities?

Mr. Ross: Obviously, we would, if asked, fit into one slot in a long sequence of rotations, but only one slot.

Senator Banks: Just out of curiosity on the term "interoperability," when the navy, air force or land forces are operating with forces of other nations, it is easy for our intercommunication to work — and I am curious about this — when we are talking about Brits, Americans, Australians or New Zealanders, but what happens when we are with the German navy? What language do we speak?

Mr. Ross: If it is within a NATO context, it is English. German staff officers are always bilingual. They are very good.

Senator Banks: I have one last question: You are a retired general now in the department, and you said that the commander of the reserve — and I presume of the full-time service communications folks — reports to you. Would you comment on the idea, which has come before us and which we have looked at several times, about the separation of the military command on the one hand, of military officers, from the Department of National Defence on the other hand? The political, government, bureaucratic fact is over here, and here is the command structure of the forces per se, headed by generals. Obviously, the two need to be able to talk to each other, but at the moment they are so interconnected, so umbilically connected, it makes it difficult — and I think it is safe to say, in our view — to make sure that we are always getting what Senator Forrestall reminds us is "truth to power." When we see a problem, and when we see that same problem addressed in other countries, we observe that the military officers can come before politicians and say: "Here is what is wrong and here is what we need to do to fix it." In Canada, we have found that that is less so. I think that is a fair way to put it. Would you just comment generally, to the extent you can, upon that contention that there ought to be a separation? I am asking you a question that I suppose you cannot really answer. However, if you can, and to the extent you can, would you?

Mr. Ross: It is a slippery slope, and I was in the force for 30 years and four days. I started very young. I could comment that at National Defence Headquarters, there is a mixture of officers and bureaucrats who work together every day. I hate the word "bureaucrat," but I guess I am one. I have three general officers who report directly to me, my chief of staff and two brigadier-generals and the commander of communications room who is a colonel, and from my perspective, that relationship is very healthy. We are very careful about exercising authority under the National Defence Act, and under Queen's Regulations and Orders, in terms of discipline and other things. We have been very careful about that. For example, if there is a disciplinary issue in the communications reserve, the colonel works with my chief of staff, who is a rear admiral, in terms of military courts martial and that sort of thing. That is very carefully laid out and defined.

Your broader question was difficult for me to deal with in terms of whether you feel general officers can be as forthcoming or not in front of standing committees. Perhaps that is a question you should address to General Hillier, or the minister.

Senator Banks: We will. Thank you.

Senator Cordy: I am wondering, when you are making your plans for the purchasing or development of IT materials, who actually is responsible for your future planning? Do you do that yourself or do you work in conjunction with commanders of army, navy, air force? Who has the final say in determining what you will get and who makes the wish list of what you need?

Mr. Ross: I do not buy or develop anything for IM group. IM group is purely a service organization for everyone else in the Department of National Defence and the CF. I listen to the needs and requirements of the army, navy, air force, finance people, materiel group and so on, where do they need to take their systems or their support? We collectively bring that together; my group manages that process.

Throughout each fall, we bring together an investment plan that is actually a schedule of investment over 15 years, in our military portfolio, our corporate and our common. The common portfolio is all of those infrastructure things that support military business; by "corporate" I mean human resources, materiel, finance, and infrastructure, essentially.

In the spring of each year, we sponsor the investment of that to the vice-chief of defence staff, who is the resource manager and, basically, finance manager for the Department of National Defence and the CF. We try to bring rationality to where you should make investments in human resources, in finance, in HF radios, in air traffic control capability at the wings across the country on a cyclical basis, but with a view to questioning whether we are making the right decision or investment over the next foreseeable future of eight or nine years of technology.

Senator Cordy: In fact, your role is to determine, from talking with the other groups, where are we going and where do we want to be in a number of years' time?

Mr. Ross: To recommend.

Senator Cordy: There is a difference, yes.

Mr. Ross: For example, if we choose to make a different investment in PeopleSoft HR or in SAP Finance, I would have to work with my colleagues, those assistant deputy ministers or Vice-Admiral Jarvis, for example, to agree on where we should make the right investments. We will do work for them and propose some strategies that make long-term sense, and have the minimum cost and the lowest version upgrade liabilities in the future.

Senator Cordy: Do you actually meet with the other assistant deputy ministers regularly?

Mr. Ross: Yes. I meet with them every week. I meet with them one-on-one several times leading up to this investment plan process, every fall. It is a very close relationship.

The Chairman: Mr. Ross, could you wrap up for us by reviewing your priorities for the next year and for the next decade?

Mr. Ross: My priorities for supporting the department and the forces would be in several regards. The first regard would be to manage the needs and requirements better of the army, navy, air force and the other assistant deputy ministers. What I mean by that is to take a much broader enterprise approach of client support and service, and of support to their needs; being more attentive and thinking about a particular system or solution in a way that we make an investment for all of the commanders, and wing, base and garrison commanders, and National Defence headquarters managers, in a particular thing. That could be an infrastructure system or an E-learning system, a long distance electronic learning system, so that we begin to make better investments and we begin to routinely buy things integrated, and not siloed, that do not talk to each other.

The second priority, which will be an enormous challenge for us, is to take those existing-legacy, big-system investments that we have made and transform them into enterprise systems that support all managers. That is a challenge because you have to listen to all of the key stakeholders, and I use the example of finance, of what assistance they really need from an information management system for their budget planning, business planning and budget management needs. It is so that we understand, that we get the requirement things right up front and then when we make a new investment in our finance system, we make it "enterprise." Once you have made it enterprise, everyone's local system can be stood down because it becomes redundant. That depressurizes the load on bases, wings and garrisons of all of these national systems and running their own and paying the training and licensing costs, and all the other things associated with that. On the one hand, you get much better support from a national base; on the other hand, you depressurize the cost and demand where it really counts, with the local bases, wings and garrison, the operational units.

The last piece, which is related largely to strategic planning, is this iteration of the strategic IM/IT investment plan. This is the first time we have done it. We have not had a long-term investment plan on where to take information management for the department. I need to institutionalize that. I need to make that a part of the culture and the routine planning of how we are doing business.

Unless you can stand back from something like this, at least five years out, and say, on this band of capabilities which is finance, or joint command and control, we are planning on making 10 investments there, piecemeal. Does that make sense? Can we make one investment in command and control that is the right investment, once, and is integrated and gets us where we want to be eight years from now? We need to institutionalize more in our business planning. That is related to the first thing I said, actually focusing on client service and listening to the requirements of all of those people we serve in the forces and in National Defence.

The Chairman: Is not your obsolescence cycle getting shorter and shorter?

Mr. Ross: That is true on individual pieces of technology, but it is less true on big systems that were largely coding software. It only changes because these big companies who deliver these things implement a new version on us, and they cease supporting the old version and force us to upgrade to a new version, while every day you are paying those licensing fees.

Senator Forrestall: Do you have an archival capability? Do you retain information that will enable you to move towards your goals?

Mr. Ross: On the information management systems, yes, we do. Over this year we brought together all of those big systems in a new division in my group, so we can collectively look at the whole package and support them once we understand what software versions are where. The other aspect of that question is the maintenance of government information, which is not as robust.

The Chairman: Mr. Ross, on behalf of the committee I would like to thank you for appearing before us. It has been an interesting session and we are grateful to you for assisting us with your testimony today.

For members of the public who are viewing this program, if you have any questions or comments, please visit our Web site by going to www.sen-sec.ca. We post witness testimony as well as confirmed hearing schedules. Otherwise, you may contact the clerk of the committee by calling 1-800-267-7362 for further information and assistance in contacting members of the committee.

The committee adjourned.

The committee resumed at 2 p.m.

The Chairman: Honourable senators, We have before us today Vice-Admiral Bruce MacLean, who is the Commander of Maritime Command and Chief of Maritime Staff. Vice-Admiral joined the Canadian Navy in 1970, initially as a submariner. He has also served with the Royal Navy and the Royal Australian Navy. He has commanded at all levels of the navy, including command of a submarine, a fleet replenishment ship, and Maritime Forces Atlantic. He has served in National Defence headquarters in a number of positions, including a secondment to the Privy Council Office. Prior to him becoming commander of the navy, he served as Canada's senior military representative to NATO in Brussels.

Welcome to the committee. We understand that you have a brief statement and we are looking forward to hearing from you.

[Translation]

Vice-Admiral Bruce MacLean, Chief of Maritime Staff, National Defence: I want to thank Senator Kenny and the committee for inviting me here today. I would like to make some brief opening remarks, following which I will be happy to take your questions. I will be focusing primarily on what our Navy is currently doing, and on what it stands to accomplish tomorrow and in the foreseeable future.

[English]

The Canadian Navy has shifted focus since the Cold War, moving away from a navy that excelled solely in open ocean operations to one that is capable of operating anywhere in the world, alone or jointly with allies, in the open ocean or close to shore. We have done so at a high operational tempo, in modern and capable ships, most recently and effectively in the Arabian Sea and Gulf, where we dispatched four task groups of 15 ships over a two and a half year period, as part of Canada's Operation Apollo. Our significant command and control capability, inherent in our ships, combined with our doctrine of putting flag leadership at the commodore level at sea in command allowed our navy to achieve significant influence among coalition forces during this period, with up to 12 other maritime nations working under our leadership.

At the same time, there has been increased requirement for naval involvement and support closer to home. We have been instrumental — in my view — in providing co-ordinations, support and leadership in a wide variety of operations from fishery patrols to anti-drug and customs support, to offshore surveillance and control of our ocean areas. The navy led the way for the Canadian Forces in the 1990s with the development of a strategic-to-tactical command and control system, fitted in our ships and ashore, that became the underpinning for the Canadian Forces-wide system in use and development today.

The navy of today was developed from decisions made some 10 to 20 years ago, even before the Cold War ended. It was predicated on a multipurpose and combat-capable fleet, ready to deploy anywhere quickly, with full interoperability with U.S. and NATO partners. In effect, while we talk about transformation now, the Canadian Navy changed its whole way of doing business in the 1990s to become a rapidly deployable, effective and modern Maritime force built around capability and influence, ashore and afloat.

It is no coincidence that in the space of ten days in October of 2001, the navy was able to dispatch the first task group of four ships and 1,000 personnel to the Arabian Sea for six months with little fanfare, but huge impact for Canada and the coalition. We were the first navy to arrive, outside of forces already in the area, and we had the greatest distance to travel.

Let me say a few words about where we are today and how we intend to position ourselves tomorrow for success. In that context there are three interrelated and inclusive components, what I call sustainment, transition and transformation.

First, sustainment: With the U.S. to the south and the historical insularity of lots of geography, Canada has been able to focus a greater share of its wealth, outside of two World Wars in the last century, towards Canadians. Today we are a modern and affluent society but still spread thinly across the vast, and often cold, half-continent and all that means. Further, the changing geopolitical landscape has diminished the comfort of this traditional geographic security buffer.

From a maritime security perspective, the enormity of our Canadian geography splits our maritime needs, in effect, into three almost mutually exclusive directions, east, west and north. To have an effective navy you must be able to react quickly to an emerging event at home or abroad. You can only do this if all the elements associated with maritime success are in place. This means all training, support, infrastructure, equipment and command are focused squarely seawards, ready to handle any number of contingencies from our doorstep at the harbour mouth, to halfway around the world, and to do so almost immediately.

[Translation]

Generally speaking, the realization dawned that we needed to do more, both at home and abroad, and that we needed to act without further delay. Therefore, I expect the Navy to play a key role in this area.

[English]

Our navy is built around a relatively small number of surface combatants, submarines, helicopters and patrol aircraft and the requisite command, support and training facilities ashore. My absolute first priority is to maximize the usefulness of what I have. This takes resources, both people and money, to keep our current fleet and supporting pieces ashore modern and available. Still very much effective today, the navy will continue to need sufficient resources to maintain our qualitative edge.

Secondly, transition: During the period between now and about 2015, the navy will not see a major change in the number of combatant hulls that we have. However, there does need to be change to their capabilities if we are to have them continue to be competent over the next 10 to 20 years. The air force is updating the Aurora to make it more sustainable, more operationally effective. We will have to invest significantly in our frigates — I remind the senator that the lead ship Halifax is 15 years old. This will include better radar, better self-defence and some offensive capability beyond what we have today, and long-term maintenance for the hulls. We want to introduce up-to-date communications and surveillance equipment for the fleet and shore facilities, focused on giving the Canadian Forces and other government departments better knowledge of what is going on in our maritime areas of responsibility.

There are currently insufficient capital resources to update our three remaining command and control destroyers but we will need to find a way to keep this critical capability relevant until the ships are retired over the next decade. Submarines form an essential element to our navy today and could play an even greater role in the future for Canada, and we will need to invest in their update. The same applies for the maritime coastal defence vessels operated by our naval reserve.

[Translation]

Lastly, transformation, the principal elements of which already exist in the form of projects or, at the very least, concepts. These take into consideration the goals that the Navy will need to set to meet Canada's future defence and security requirements over the next two decades.

[English]

Here I am referring to the joint support ship that will replace the Protecteur class AORs, or auxiliary oil replenishment ships, that are becoming unsupportable and too costly to operate, the single-class surface combatant that will eventually replace the destroyers and frigates, and finally the new maritime patrol helicopter that will replace the Sea King. These new platforms will be capable of providing greater flexibility and combat power for both Canada and our allies, and in a more joint fashion. These units will have improved offensive and defensive capabilities which will allow them to operate in both the blue and brown or littoral waters, directly or indirectly effecting operations ashore while maintaining better situational awareness.

When required, this transformed navy, with other elements of the Canadian Forces, will be able to move safely and relatively rapidly, deploy ashore personnel and materiel effectively and safely, ensuring that the Canadian Forces have a greater capacity to influence events from the sea. This transformation will require the introduction of new concepts, innovative crewing doctrine, more modularity of packages of systems for our ships, advanced construction methods and introduction of new materials. Such ideas as these are actively being explored both in Canada's navy as well as in other major western navies.

Most important, there must be an early commitment of resources to this second postwar naval transformation. As noted earlier, decisions around our current navy were formulated some two decades ago. It is no different today. We will need to grow significantly the number of people and ideas, and those people particularly who will lead this development both within government and in industry.

Such a plan obviously requires strong and effective leadership; leadership that is both visionary and enabling, but most of all it requires commitment and resources.

[Translation]

I have given you a quick overview of several components and I am confident that by the end of the session, you will want us to elaborate further on some of them.

[English]

With that, senators, I will be most pleased to take your questions.

The Chairman: Thank you very much. Our first questioner is Senator Forrestall.

Senator Forrestall: Welcome, Vice-Admiral MacLean. It is good to see you again, sir. As you perhaps know from conversation earlier with our chair, during our current review of defence policy, which is our principal aim, the committee hopes to receive information on the ability of the navy to execute their presently assigned roles. I think you referred to it as today's navy, tomorrow's navy, and the day after tomorrow's navy. It is to that end that I would like to ask you about today's navy. You have talked to us a little bit about it. Perhaps we might get you to flesh out today's capability, today's duration. I was quite surprised, although I should not have been, to learn that the Halifax is now 15 years old. When was the last one built?

VAdm. MacLean: About 1996 or 1997, as I recall.

Senator Forrestall: We are looking at eight years or so. What about the Tribals?

VAdm. MacLean: They are significantly older. They were completed in the 1970 to 1972 period. They underwent a significant TRUMP, or Tribal update and modernization program, in the early 1990s for about $1.5 billion.

Senator Forrestall: Did all of them undergo the TRUMP program?

VAdm. MacLean: They did, all four.

Senator Forrestall: How much longer a lifespan would you estimate that they have?

VAdm. MacLean: We will try to nurture those ships as long as we can. We expect there will be some qualitative degradation but fundamentally those ships and what they represent are key to the success of the navy. They represent a significant command and control capability. They have a significant area air defence capability. A point which not a lot of people often reflect on is they also represent what I call significant quantity. In other words, if you have only a relatively small number of hulls on the East and the West Coast, as one pundit once said, quality is always better than quantity, as long as you have enough of them, I tend to subscribe to that. Be very careful in investing so much in quality that you are ostensibly down to one or two ships. We have to remember in a country of our size that we have two coasts, the East and the West, plus the Arctic. You can only be in one place at one time, so no matter how much quality you have invested in a particular unit, you still have to think of the quantity as well.

Senator Forrestall: Do we need a heavier vessel for the Arctic?

VAdm. MacLean: There is no doubt that the fleet we currently have is not competent to operate in the Arctic year-round. We will invest with the joint support ship, a capability which will allow those ships to operate in new ice. That is a significant change in the right direction. There is no question that our navy today, at least in the surface ships, outside of the summer months in the Arctic, does not have a full Arctic capability. That is a reflection, again, of trying to match the overall resources that are available with what we have to do, and also risk-managing the situation. Of course, you are investing in this, and when you build a ship or a capability, that investment has to last over the course of 20, 30 or sometimes 40 years, so it is very much a long-term investment.

Senator Forrestall: It certainly is. Would you talk to us for a minute about your manpower, both regular and reserves? Perhaps you could give us an update as to where you stand. I accept your argument, and in asking you to do that I am inviting you to look ahead with respect to numbers, if you can.

VAdm. MacLean: All in all, we are not in too bad shape with respect to people. We have shortages currently amongst what we call our MARS officers, the people who ostensibly drive the ships. We are about 7 per cent below what we would like to be in the navy. Our biggest concern, though, is probably within our technical trades. These are the people, the electronic techs, who are very much in demand in society in general in this country. We have to compete with other industries to get these very bright people. Frankly, all the people we need in the navy, army or air force are bright and in demand today like we have never seen. If you want to have a transformed Canadian Forces, you also need to have the right kind of people to match that transformation.

We have always had in the navy a particular issue, and that is that we go to sea in submarines and ships. Even in the context of the Cold War, the 1990s and beyond, ostensibly our sailors in the fleet will be at sea for 100 or 150 or 200 days a year, year in and year out, as long as they are going to sea. That is what it takes. In this modern society, that does put us at a bit of a disadvantage right from the start. Really, whether a sailor is off to Chebucto Head or to the Straits of Juan de Fuca or in the Arabian Sea, in terms of the time away, it will be very significant. Sometimes the operation is actually of less importance than the fact of the amount of time that the sailor is at sea, so that represents a problem for us.

Overall, we are about 2 per cent below our preferred manning levels, but as I indicated, it is not linear. It is not two per cent across all trades and all officer classification. It does vary, and the pressure points for us today are very much the seaman officers and the technical trades.

However, in the last few years we are making progress. We are better off today than we were last year and the year before that, but those percentages of anywhere up to 20 per cent for some of the technical trades are worrisome, and we have to continue to try to find ways to make those numbers better.

Senator Forrestall: We have heard that the navy has seven or eight of the nine most efficient trades. Because of that, do you anticipate any acceleration in catching up?

VAdm. MacLean: It will be difficult, and I would not want to suggest anything other than that. We have made some improvement over the last couple of years, as I have said. It does put a strain on these particular classifications and trades because the navy will continue to go to sea, and that sometimes means that some of these people are spending more time at sea than I would like to see them spend. However, on the whole, the morale in the two coastal commands, the east and west, is generally good.

Senator Forrestall: As a final question, are two of the submarines that we have currently capable of going to sea, if directed to, and on a mission?

VAdm. MacLean: When we have created the conditions for trust and confidence inside and outside, we will be in a position to put those submarines back to sea. We are at a point now where we have, as you are aware, reconvened the board of inquiry to look at some specific issues. I would certainly hope that sometime in the very near future, after I have received the report and made it available to the Chief of Defence Staff, we will be in a position to put those submarines back to sea.

Senator Forrestall: I wish you well. I am one of those who believe that it is not what I would have wanted for you, but it is a very capable ship.

The Chairman: Admiral, just to clarify your comment about destroyers, are you going to TRUMP or reTRUMP them, or will you move ahead to fix up a frigate to take on the role?

VAdm. MacLean: No. What we are doing at the moment is looking at replacing that capability with the single class combatant, which would occur sometime in the late part of the next decade, which means we will nurture that capability along, investing as necessary to keep those ships competent and qualitatively useful at sea.

The biggest risk that we face with that kind of a strategy is in the hull and the safety aspects, and we must make sure that those ships go to sea in a very safe and competent way. We are looking at that aspect at this particular juncture. At least at this point, the ability to go to a program similar to what we have with the Canadian patrol frigate, which is a mid-life update, is really not there. Remember as well with the TRUMP, that we did that already in the early 1990s, so now it is a matter of whether we can keep this vessel going for about another decade to allow it to then fold into the class after the update to the CPF. That is the current strategy.

The Chairman: You cannot seriously be telling this committee that you will have a replace in a decade? You and I both know that that just does not happen.

VAdm. MacLean: We would certainly like to see a new ship in the latter part of the next decade, which would be the 2018, 2019 period.

The Chairman: So 15 or 20 years from now, not 10 years from now?

VAdm. MacLean: For a period of two, three or four years, we may have to migrate that command and control capability into the more modernized Canadian patrol frigate. That, in my view, is not necessarily unreasonable, to gain that bridge into the new program. However, what I am trying to say is that for us to take those three command and control destroyers and basically tie them up alongside now would not be the right solution, in my view, so we will keep those going.

The Chairman: I understand, but there is no order for a replacement. There is no government commitment to replace them.

VAdm. MacLean: There is no government commitment for a specific TRUMP replacement, as we knew it in previous days, a couple of years ago, called CADRE, or command control and air-defence replacement. There is only the CPF mid-life update. The way in which we can at least manage that issue will be to extend this ship, keep it running as a command and control destroyer as long as we can, allow it to degrade elegantly with the right kind of investment into it, and then bridge that to the new fleet. Doing that with the CPF update also in place in the mid part of the next decade, the 2015, 2016 period, we may have an opportunity to migrate that fairly reasonably. It is not the ideal solution, but that is how we will manage it at the present time.

The Chairman: The words "elegant" and "migrate" sort of confuse me. I have difficulty relating them to warships.

Have I understood you correctly to say that the destroyers will not last long enough for the replacements to arrive and that, as part of the mid-life update of some of the frigates, you will put some of the destroyers' capabilities into them?

VAdm. MacLean: I think you have captured that correctly. We will run these destroyers as long as it makes sense to run them. We will have the mid-life to the CPF in play. That will obviously increase the relative capability of these CPFs, but in no way, shape or form, at least as we understand it today, will the CPFs —

The Chairman: Just for the audience watching, "CPF" means Canadian patrol frigates.

VAdm. MacLean: Certainly. There is no way, as we understand things today, that the Canadian patrol frigate will have the kind of physical space that we would need in order to install the command and control capability that we currently have in the destroyers.

The Chairman: What was the "migrating" that you mentioned earlier?

VAdm. MacLean: We will migrate as much of that command and control capability as is possible and allow the Canadian patrol frigate, the updated version, to act as a bridge into the new, single-class ship which would come on stream sometime towards the end of the second decade.

The Chairman: The single-class ship that you are hoping for is what? Is it a hybrid between a frigate and a destroyer?

VAdm. MacLean: It would be a single class ship, but it could very well have various modules. For example, it may be focused more on command and control, or there might be some parts that are more focused on area defence. There may be some that have a more general purpose frigate capability, which we have currently in our Canadian patrol figurate. It could be a mix of all of those.

We have to take greater advantages of modularity today and put systems in 12 to 15 ships so that we are not stuck with exactly the same package every time we go to sea. We will have to look at this. With the cost of crews and equipment, we will have to make sure that that makes the right degree of sense, and we are simply not there yet.

In the 2018-2020 period, the Canadian patrol frigate will be some 30 years old and we will be ready to make a transition to a new fleet. That will be the time when we will have to bring back together the command and control, the area defence and all the general purpose frigate capabilities that we currently have in our fleet.

Senator Cordy: I will follow up on a couple of Senator Forrestall's question. The first is with regard to the future of submarines. After the horrendous accident with the HMCS Chicoutimi, some articles in the Halifax newspapers said that perhaps in the navy of 2005 we do not need submarines. Today you spoke of the essential need for the submarines. Could you expand on that?

VAdm. MacLean: We are a small, qualitatively capable navy. I would want at all times to maximize the options available to government. There is one thing that a submarine can do that no other vessel in the Canadian maritime inventory can do, and that is to sink a ship of any size, from a fishing vessel to an aircraft carrier. That kind of influence at sea for a nation of Canada's size is fundamentally important. You never know exactly what risks will transpire in the world today.

When I passed my commanding officer's course in the United Kingdom in late 1981, we were at the height of the Cold War. The only threat was the Soviet threat, and for a submariner it was really the Soviet submarine threat. As I sat with other new commanding officers from other countries, I had no idea that within six months one of my friends at the table would be in a British submarine in the south Atlantic in a war with Argentina, and in the process of sinking the Belgrano, and that was only six months later. Things change that quickly.

Submarines are essential as the ultimate capability to stop ships in your areas of interest and control. If you want to give submarines up, you give up that capability as well.

Senator Cordy: Senator Forrestall also asked about the shortage of personnel, particularly in some of the engineering trades. We heard from army personnel that where there were shortages in certain trades, there was great difficulty in training those who were brought on; that it is almost a Catch-22 situation. They bring new people in but, due to shortages, they cannot pull their trained people off to train the new people. Does that same situation exist in the navy?

VAdm. MacLean: Not to the same extent. Ever since 1939, the Canadian Navy has gone to sea, and in terms of what we are doing, not much has changed. Whether we were in the midst of the Cold War and looking for submarines off the mouth of Halifax harbour or were involved in both Gulf War I and Gulf War II, the navy has always been at sea, and it has always been at sea quickly. Consequently, not much has changed in some ways. It is not as though we are all garrisoned here or in Europe. Therefore, we had to have the training capacity, the support and the infrastructure. We have had to have everything in place since 1939, and we have been growing that ever since.

There is a very different construct between the way the army, the navy and the air force operate. In that context, our fleet schools, our training facilities and our logistic support has always been in place, and that is key. A navy that does not go to sea tonight, if it is called on to do so, is not a navy for Canada.

Senator Cordy: Since 9/11 we have been talking not so much about the defence of Canada and the defence of the United States but, rather, about the defence of North America. Indeed, the world has become so small that that is the way in which we should be looking at it.

We hear a lot about NORAD and how the air forces of Canada and the United States have come together to prepare for the defence of North America. How does the navy fit in? Will our role expand, or has it expanded in contributing to the defence of North America?

VAdm. MacLean: That is an excellent question with regard to where we are today. At the tactical level, by which I mean what is happening on the East Coast and West Coast today, there is and always has been a great deal of discussion and interoperability between the United States forces, be it the U.S. coast guard or the U.S. Navy, and ourselves. We have always had a significant amount of intelligence in terms of what is going on in the areas of responsibility, but that has been enhanced since the late 1990s, and of course since 2001.

It is fundamental that we understand as much as we can about every ship or vessel that is in our areas of interest. On any given day on the East and West Coasts, that can number anywhere from 2,000 to 3,000 vessels. They are not always going to Canada; they may be transiting through. That number includes fishing vessels and merchant ships. It is a very significant task to understand who the master is, what kind of cargo is on board, where it has been, where it is going, and all that that means.

Today, through the interdepartmental piece, we are working that problem like we have never worked it before. There is the Canadian piece and there is the U.S. piece. Both of them are a work in progress at the moment, and they will have to be joined together to a greater extent. I have already told the fleet commanders on both the East Coast and the West Coast to get on with it in terms of working with their counterparts south of the border so that at the tactical level, at least, we have a seamless operation in terms of what is happening in our areas of operations and the U.S. areas of operations.

Historically, we have always worked well with the United States Navy. We have a ship on the West Coast that we will deploy this spring to the Gulf where we will work with American forces, and we have done that on a regular basis. Getting ships together at sea is no big thing. We do this all the time. The tactical piece is not hard. The more interesting piece is as you move up the chain in terms of strategy: What kind of structure do we want to put in place? Do we want to use something like the NORAD model or do we want to use something with a little less of an agreement? That has not been worked out fully.

In the meantime, with other Canadian government departments and with liaison with the U.S., we are getting on with it.

Senator Cordy: Are there people in the navy who are in regular communication with the American Navy?

VAdm. MacLean: Yes, every day. As you are well aware, we are putting together these maritime security operation centres on the East Coast and the West Coast. There are three phases to that. There is the interim piece, which is ad hoc. We want to put together now the various departments in Canada that have a need to be part of this organization in the future, be that customs, the border agency, the Department of Fisheries, the Coast Guard or Transport Canada. We have people, more on the East Coast than on the West Coast at the moment, actually in the chairs, and we are connecting that up.

However, that only takes us so far. The next piece is an initial operational capability where we start to apply a significant amount of resources and people to the equation and we formalize better what we have. We are still a couple of years away from that. About two years after that we will have a fully operational, seamless organization. This will take time. I am pleased to say that it is now under way, but it is not complete. That is what we have to do.

Senator Cordy: Just on a point of clarification, when you spoke about the components of positioning for the future and you talked about transportation, one of them was transformation, and you talked about innovating crewing doctrine. Could you explain that to me, please?

VAdm. MacLean: About the most fundamental piece for the navies of the future, and it is not just the Canadian Navy but all navies, is the cost of navies. They are hugely expensive. When we introduced the TRUMP Program and the CPF Program in the 1980s and early 1990s, it was essentially an $11 billion program for 16 ships. As we look to the future, the next new surface combatant in the dollars of those days will be substantially more than $11 or $12 billion. Therefore, it is very capital intensive. What we have to do, then, is make navies more affordable.

It is not just the Canadian Navy. If you look at the American Navy in the mid 1980s, they had almost 600 ships. That is down to 295 today. The British Royal Navy, when it went to the Falklands, had 50 frigates. That is down to 25 today. In the Falkland campaign in 1982, the U.K. suffered a loss of four ships that were sunk and eight others that were severely damaged. That is 12 ships. That is a significant number, so we have to somehow find a way to not only invest in quality but maintain quantity. That is very important, in the context of Canada. We only have a relatively small number on each coast and we do not have the option, generally speaking, of bringing all those forces on both coasts together for a single point. That was possible during the Arabian Sea and Gulf War, because it was essentially the same distance from each coast. It is very important to understand how expensive it is.

Consequently, we need a smaller number of people in the ships. We have to be more innovative. Perhaps the ship goes overseas and stays there, and we find ways to maintain that and recycle the crews back and forth, much like you would with an aircraft crew. The smaller the number, the easier it is to do that. We have to invest in modularity, so that we have a single hull form, as I talked about with the single-class ship, but what we put in that hull form might be quite different. That is how you start to save money.

The good news about a navy is that, once you have a navy it is actually relatively cheap, in terms of the incremental cost, so if you want to deploy that fleet of four ships over the Arabian Sea, it takes all of its logistics with it. It can go for six months and the cost, relatively speaking, is not that significant. However, the capital investment is significant. That will be by far the biggest hurdle for us as we position the navy for success for the next two decades.

The Chairman: Admiral, we have been looking at your impact assessment for 2004. Are we reading it correctly when we see that the demands put on you exceed the funds provided to you by $142 million?

VAdm. MacLean: That is what they reported, and certainly I can tell you that if we were to add up all the things that we would like to do, we would be short in that order of money. I can explain that I am not aware of any organization in the private sector or in the public sector where there is always an allocation of scarce resources, from a strictly management perspective. That is the reality. For most organizations, demand will always exceed supply. I have two points: one, I want to ensure that people understand what the shortfall is and, having said that, let me also tell you how I intend to manage that shortfall to the greatest extent and preserve the effectiveness of the navy as well. It is a double-edged sword.

The Chairman: These are not things you asked to do. These are things the government asked you to do. If I understand your impact statement correctly, you say the government asked us to do these things, but they did not give us the $142 million dollars we needed to do them. You could go on to say that it was the same the year before. Am I reading the report correctly?

VAdm. MacLean: I am not sure which report you are reading. Is it the 2003-2004 report?

The Chairman: No, it is the 2004-2005.

VAdm. MacLean: I think that is accurate. However, you must put that into context as well. For example, on the infrastructure side, we have $2.2 billion in infrastructure. We would like to, basically, be able to invest to about two per cent a year in that infrastructure. We have not been able to do that, so that represents a charge against that $140 million. Therefore, it does not necessarily mean that tomorrow your infrastructure is useless or will put you into some kind of a risk, but it does mean that over time you will have to basically recapitalize that infrastructure. Pay me now or pay me later, but you will pay me. It does not necessarily mean that because we are out that $140 million that the sky will fall tomorrow, but it is something of which you have to be aware, and I am aware of that.

The Chairman: In the same report you talk about your operational performance caps, and every class of vessel you have has significant problems. Halifax class: high operational tempo, insufficient maintenance; Victoria class: requirements to generate technical expertise, unforeseen delays have created additional O and M; Iroquois class: you have the Huron tied up, operational tempo and insufficient maintenance problems, replenishment ships. You do not have a class of ship there that does not have really significant problems. Is that correct?

VAdm. MacLean: It is always a challenge, and certainly any time you have a demand that exceeds the supply, you have to make choices. Everything you have said is absolutely correct. We have challenges in each of our fleets. We have pressure points in our fleet maintenance facilities, in ensuring we have the right people to take the navy into tomorrow, and indeed to the day after tomorrow, but we will, to the best of our capability, manage that issue.

The Chairman: I have no issue with your capability. All I am trying to establish is that demands are being put on you by the government that are not consistent with the funding being provided to you by the government. That is what your impact assessment says.

VAdm. MacLean: Our impact assessment is as you have read it.

Senator Munson: Good afternoon, Admiral. Everybody in life has a wish list. There was a headline today that Canada needs a warship to fulfill a top general's dream. Do you share that general's dream and his wish list — I guess you would call it — in having a joint support ship program?

VAdm. MacLean: We are into the definition for a joint support ship program. There is absolutely no question that where we were yesterday, which was an ostensibly blue water navy, has shifted dramatically over the last decade, and we can see that navies today, not just the Canadian Navy, are very much more involved in the littoral regime. This joint support ship will provide a significant piece for Canada in terms of creating more influence in the littoral regime. It will, on the other hand, try to do several things all in one ship, whether it is doing what we do with our replenishment ships today, which is provide fuel and supplies.

On that note, just as a digression, it is interesting that Canada was one of the first countries, back in the 1960s, to take ammunition carriers, re-fuelers and supply ships and put them all into one ship. That was innovative in the 1960s.

Ostensibly, what we are trying to do with this joint support ship is use some of those same innovative techniques to put three different capabilities into this ship, which would include some strategic lift for vehicles, command and control, across the beach, not in the same way that we use command and control at sea in our ships but to provide a jumping-off point before you actually can get ashore. You could do this from this particular ship and, from a naval perspective, maintain the kind of capability we currently have in our replenishment ships today: the fuel, supplies and ammunition. That is quite a tall bill. To do that again in three ships is significant, but it is probably the most cost-effective way to do that.

Senator Munson: Therefore, you share General Hillier's sentiments, but can we afford it?

VAdm. MacLean: I certainly share them to the extent that, of course, today we have a program in existence called the Joint Support Ship. That will certainly be useful in moving Canadian Forces from the blue water into the littoral regime.

Senator Munson: What does that mean, to what regime?

VAdm. MacLean: The littoral, or close to shore. Ostensibly, during the Cold War period, navies generally could be expected to fight battles or campaigns in the blue water, or open ocean. However, what we have seen with failed and failing states is, increasingly, navies and forces are being drawn in much closer to shore to provide the capability across the beach. Whether it is the Royal Navy and the U.S. Marines going to the aid of Sierra Leone a couple of years ago, or whether it is the Coalition forces attacking Iraq, we have seen a focus of military power — land, sea and air — brought together from the sea across the beach, and I think that is likely to continue into the longer term. To what extent Canada wishes to participate in that, of course, will be up to the government, and will be very much up to what we see in the defence policy review.

Senator Munson: Where will the navy be if we do not have this sort of program in six years?

VAdm. MacLean: From a strictly navy perspective — the joint support ship piece — what I am looking for as a naval officer is replacement for the auxiliary oil replenishment ships we have today. That would satisfy me in keeping our Canadian naval task groups at sea.

However, what does the Canadian Forces and what does the Government of Canada want to do with respect to creating conditions for influence, either far or close by? That is another issue. That is what has led to this project called the joint support ship, which would have some strategic lift capability, and some additional command and control capability, but would also preserve the very important requirements that the navy has in the auxiliary oil replenishment ships today.

The Chairman: Given that we have established that you are feeling stresses throughout the system, why are we looking for a unique and innovative solution for the new ships? Why are we inventing something that is new, that no other country has, that clearly will be very expensive? Why are we not looking for something that other people have already spent the time and research and development in developing, and buying one of theirs?

VAdm. MacLean: I think that is a good question; but I would say as well that we need to replace the auxiliary oil replenishment ships. That, to me, is the absolute first principle. What we have in those ships today is more than just a fueler, for example. It is more complex than that. Those ships are ammunition carriers; they are fuel carriers; they have a modest hospital capability. Of course, they were built in the 1960s. Therefore, if we intended to do anything in terms of creating a better, more cost-effective platform, we would want to improve on that AOR protecteur-preserver capability we have today.

However, if you decide to build something new, steel today is relatively cheap and air is even cheaper. Consequently, what we are talking about here is creating more space. It is not that significant to the overall cost. If, however, at some stage, it was decided that we really did want to have some strategic lift or some kind of capability across the beach, then we would have to have at least two different types of vessels with all the complexities that brings as well.

When our folks have done their options analysis, this is probably the most cost-effective solution to provide what the navy needs to do its stuff — but also from a Canadian Forces perspective, if we wish to do more, bearing in mind that steel and air are relatively cheap. When the Canadian patrol frigates were built, about 50 per cent of the cost was in the steel or in the hull and the machinery, and about 50 cents on the dollar was in the combat systems. That number is rising. It is probably closer to about 30 cents on the dollar today that is in the steel and the machinery, and about 70 cents on the dollar is in the combat systems.

These ships, per se, are fairly agricultural in comparison to a frigate. That does not mean that they are not complex but, relatively speaking, they are not as difficult if we base it around the joint support ship concept as we are looking at it today. You probably get a good, cost-effective solution with this joint support ship, as we are currently envisaging it, if you want to do some strategic command and control and AOR capability rolled into one.

I will make one point, however. At the end of the day, you can only do one thing at one time with one ship. That means that you may not have the 100 per cent solution; you may have to settle for the 80 or 90 per cent solution. This is a good thing to do, but we still have to manage it prudently; and that is something we will be very careful about as we go through the next couple of years.

Senator Munson: According to your impact assessment, this is your number one priority; this is what you really want?

VAdm. MacLean: We have to look at this situation in stages. We are already gearing up for the joint support ship, but we are also gearing up for the Canadian patrol frigate upgrade, which has several important component pieces — new radars, a new command and control system, better machinery controls. The ship itself, the Canadian patrol frigate, has really got two life spans associated with it. One is the hull, which we look at as having a 30-year capability, and the other is the combat systems, where you are starting to stretch it after about 15 years. We are already there with the combat systems, so we have to deal with that aspect. A combination of some stand-alone projects, as well as some command and control pieces and machinery pieces — put that all together over the period of time of about 2011 to 2017, and you have the update to the frigate. That is JSS, the frigate. We also have the helicopters, which are in play, and the maritime patrol aircraft update, which is in play.

I do not separate things in these terms as my number one thing. I cannot do that. I have to look at it across the waterfront and make sure that we are investing the right kinds of money at the right time across that spectrum of capability. Otherwise, at some stage, we will not have all the capability that we need at exactly that right point in time.

Senator Munson: Where does that leave the poor old Coast Guard? This committee issued a report in 2003 describing the longest under-defended borders in the world, which proposed that Coast Guard cutters should be armed. Obviously, you do not agree with that.

VAdm. MacLean: I really do not have a view. That is an issue for the government and the Coast Guard.

Senator Banks: Would you say that again, the last thing you said about the Coast Guard?

VAdm. MacLean: That is really a decision for the government and for the Coast Guard.

Senator Banks: When you talk about the navy having a littoral responsibility, getting right up snug to the coast someplace, does the navy consider that defence of the coastlines of Canada — never mind the third one where we cannot go in the wintertime, but the other two — is the responsibility of the navy?

We said in our report, and perhaps you need to tell us that we are wrong, that the MCDVs, for example, do not perform that function well, and are not used for it anyway; they are used for training reserve officers.

VAdm. MacLean: The navy is very much responsible for dealing with the security of the maritime approaches from the coastlines out. That is our responsibility — and we take a very strong view that that is our responsibility. That is not to say that there are not other government departments that have to deal with certain aspects associated with the maritime regime. Whether we are talking about regulatory features, in terms of when ships have to report in on coming into our harbours, when they cannot come in, the whole issue in terms of fisheries and fisheries protection, the economic zone — there is a whole range of things that have to be done in the maritime regime, including customs. However, when we are talking about security and defence, that is very much our part. If we are talking about constabulary duties — policing, customs — then we are very much supportive to the other departments who are leading in those areas.

Increasingly, we will find that all of those departments will need to work together across that whole regime. We do that now, of course. We take fisheries protection officers to sea with us when we do fisheries patrols off the Grand Banks, for example. We are not the lead agency for that. That is very much the responsibility of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. Hoewever, we need to ensure that there are no seams. I think that is really the key: seams.

The Chairman: The question Senator Banks put to you had to do with the coastal patrol vessels. We have received testimony from Admiral Buck that those vessels are beamy and they are not well-suited for inshore duty.

VAdm. MacLean: They are very good in terms of providing presence and in the inshore. Where they are not good is they cannot operate, for example, on the Grand Banks in the wintertime. They are simply not able to provide that mid-ocean capability. You need to ensure that when you operate those vessels, you operate them, particularly in the winter months, very carefully. In that context, Admiral Buck is right. The maritime coastal defence vessels cannot do that. In that case, is in the winter months, what we must do is use a frigate or destroyer to do that duty.

Senator Banks: You are right. It is the seams that I think we have talked about in the past. It is our observation that there are a lot of open seams. There is a lot of surveillance, a lot of patrolling and a lot of attention with respect to our coasts that is not being paid at the moment by anyone. The thing that Senator Munson referred to was our suggestion that perhaps we could be helped in that respect by making use of the Coast Guard. I understand it has nothing to do with the navy, but I was interested in the extent to which the navy sees coastal defence per se, and security and defence, not just in the mandate of this committee. However, they are pretty well interlocked now in a way that they were not, to use your example, in 1939. That asymmetrical fact means that we need to look for boats that do not look like warships delivering warship kinds of capabilities. That is the kind of patrol I am wondering about.

VAdm. MacLean: You are right. I think there is very much a long-term need as well. We could invest, for example, in a mid-ocean patrol vessel which would be more than a maritime coastal defence vessel that the navy operates, but that would not necessarily have all the combat capability that a frigate or destroyer has. You can certainly do what is necessary with a frigate and destroyer today. The question is could you do it perhaps more cheaply with another kind of vessel? Or, if the frigates and destroyers were deployed somewhere else, is there another niche that could be filled by that ocean patrol vessel? The answer is yes, you could. From a strictly naval perspective, this would have to be looked at in a full governmental way as opposed to just strictly and exclusively from a navy perspective.

Senator Banks: Further, again with further reference to the question of Senator Munson, the joint support ships obviously are necessary if we are to have any kind of fleet, which needs to be fuelled and ammunition has to be taken to those ships. Yesterday, General Hillier was talking about a different kind of big ship; a warship that would deliver to the beach a greater combat capability than you have described would be in the joint support ships, which would have limited abilities to deliver that kind of thing. He talked about heavy-lift helicopter capabilities on them and the capacity to carry 1,200 or 1,500 troops, as opposed to 200. Are those in your plans yet? Have you considered that kind of ship, and what is your general comment with respect to that kind of almost — I guess it is almost like the Royal Marines?

VAdm. MacLean: Yes. I must tell you that, if I have my numbers correct, even an amphibious ship that the Americans would have today would carry in the order of 700 or 800 troops. I am not aware of any ship that could carry as many as 1,500 unless it was an amphibious carrier the size of the WASP, which is about 40,000 tons. Even at the lower numbers, 500 or 600, an amphibious capability is a unique capability. It does not have the strategic lift. It very much focuses on billeting troops, having helicopters, and having a well deck capability to move troops ashore under fire. It is a significant capability but it is also certainly different in the broadest context to where the joint support ship is at the moment.

They are, however, related in the context of trying to move the Canadian Forces at large to a greater extent into the littoral or groundwater regime off a coast. The question, therefore, is to what degree. It may not be an on-off switch as much as it is a rheostat. I think that is the part that will have to be better understood. Without really speaking specifically to General Hillier on that particular point, I think that will have to be looked at over the next couple of weeks.

Senator Banks: I am presuming it would be in addition to, not instead of, joint support ships, right? It does not have the same function at all.

VAdm. MacLean: There are some elements in common, but one thing that would not work for the Canadian Navy is that embedded in that amphibious capability we would not have the auxiliary oil replenishment capability that we need. That would drive you to at least two different hull types and all the associated costs that you would have.

There certainly is some scope within the joint support ship. We have what I would call now a very balanced approach in terms of what we want in that ship. It could be varied a bit, but we certainly cannot vary it to a point where you ostensibly are talking about an entirely different hull form doing an entirely different piece of work.

Senator Banks: Let us talk about steaming for a second. When we have been visiting at maritime bases, we have heard and seen evidence that, for training purposes and for patrol purposes and otherwise, ships of our navy cannot spend as much time steaming as they would like to, as they would expect to, as they think is prudent in the various circumstances. Is that part of the constraint that falls within that $142-million shortfall you were talking about?

VAdm. MacLean: Absolutely. It is always a challenge to maximize the number of days that we think we need to have our ships at sea doing training. However, there are ways in which you can also manage that. We do have a greater simulator capability today than we had previously with the introduction of both the Canadian patrol frigate and the Tribal updates. We are making good use of that. We have better computer capability ashore and the ability to hook in ships and our shore facilities to allow the command teams to practise their craft at a much higher degree of fidelity than in the past. We do not have to put ships at sea to the greatest extent to get that team training complete.

I think you are absolutely right: We need to consolidate the experience of our sailors at sea. In other words, you need to train the sailor, then you need to train the sailor in the ship, then you need to train the ships in company with each other: ships, submarines and aircraft. It is like an orchestra. Each of the players can be virtuosos in their own right but can sound pretty dreadful when you put them together for the first time. You need to practise that, and doing that in a coordinated, collective way is vitally important. Depending on the ship and where it is in its program, whether it is just coming out of a refit or whether, in fact, it is at the top edge of capability, we try to manage that very carefully to make sure that the right amount of time is given to each of the sailors on the ships.

Senator Banks: In that respect specifically, a Canadian warship was in exercises with some of our allies and had to break off in the middle of the exercise because we could not afford the oil to keep going — or is that an apocalyptic story?

VAdm. MacLean: That would not happen. We would not have that situation.

Senator Banks: I have been corrected; it involved the Coast Guard. Do you have any opinion as to whether it would be advisable if, with respect to Coast Guard and navy communications, they could talk to each other in a secure way?

VAdm. MacLean: We will do that. Certainly, over the next couple of years, we want to improve very much that capability. If we have these maritime security operation centres and if we are to minimize the seams, then we want to understand, when a ship leaves Rotterdam and arrives in Halifax, exactly what is happening all the way along the line from the time it delivers its papers to the harbour master in Rotterdam to the time it arrives in Halifax. That also means ensuring that all Canadian government ships have the right stuff at sea so they, too, can fully understand what is going on. That is an essential piece. We cannot do that to the full extent today, and we have to be able to do that, so we are working on that piece.

Senator Banks: I have one final question, ancillary to the question Senator Kenny asked you earlier about the fact that we will inevitably lose the destroyers and the command capability that they alone have. You have said it will not all quite fit into a frigate. You talked about a new class of ship, which some of our members have heard of before, but I have not, being the single class. The Norwegians or the Swedes have been doing ships like that for a while. They are sort of modularly built. You can build a hull and put whatever you want into it.

Since that is so, will you talk, from the navy standpoint, about the procurement process? How important to you is it that you get the biggest bang for the buck by buying a hull that will do that work, from Sweden or Norway or wherever, on the one hand, as opposed to ensuring that that aspect of the ship is built in Canada, in Canadian ship yards?

VAdm. MacLean: Can I answer that in several different ways?

Senator Banks: Please.

VAdm. MacLean: From a strictly naval perspective, I do not much care where the ship comes from as long as I get the absolute maximum capability embedded in that ship. From a Canadian perspective, I might have a view, and then from a perspective of migrating the capabilities we have today, particularly on the command and control side, into a new hull, I have to be conscious as well to the challenges that might be there if we have to do that offshore. If we have, for example, a very strong and resilient capability resident in Montreal, which is the major supplier for the combat systems for the frigate, can I ensure that, from a Canadian security perspective, we can do all that together? I think we can. It may very well be that in today's world, for the next class of ship, maybe you assemble it in Canada. Perhaps bits of it will be built around the world. I do not think there is anything outside the realm of possibility today.

From a naval perspective, I just want the capability. From a Canadian perspective, I think there is some very good value in ensuring that we have the commitment from Canadian industry to ensure that, for the life of that ship, I am not going somewhere abroad every time I have to deal with a very important issue with that ship.

Similarly speaking, there are security implications associated with the command and control. Remember I said that in today's modern ships, about 70 cents in the dollar is the combat control piece and only 30 per cent is the steel. When we think of shipbuilding today, we think about the steel, not the combat control and the integration part, and that is where the real business is. By the time that ship is developed, we may have a real mix of how we bring that to market. Nothing should be off the table.

Senator Banks: Could we do that in 15 or 18 years? Could we design it and build it?

VAdm. MacLean: We can, but I will tell you that we will be hard stretched to make those targets. This is challenging.

Senator Banks: How much will it cost?

VAdm. MacLean: I honestly do not know. At the very least, if you look at what the CPF costs us, which is ostensibly amortized with the infrastructure and the integrated logistic support and the ship itself, you are up to about $800 or $900 million a copy, and that is in 1990 dollars.

Senator Banks: Call it $1 billion per ship?

VAdm. MacLean: It will be at least in that ballpark.

The Chairman: Did I understand you correctly when you were replying to Senator Munson that you were looking at the support ship and the Halifax class modernization and other things all equally? Did you say that you did not have a list of priorities that you were working down?

VAdm. MacLean: They are all priorities. In order for the capability to be maintained across this spectrum, you have to invest in each of those elements so that you do not end up with, for example, a frigate which is incapable of supporting a joint support ship, so all these pieces do have to mesh together. Of course, tomorrow I may say that the joint support ship is the piece we must absolutely concentrate on over the next five months, but five months after that I will be saying we must get this particular radar upgrade project through to Treasury Board because this becomes an essential piece. It is very much a jigsaw puzzle. It means ensuring that all these pieces mesh together at exactly the right time.

The Chairman: Perhaps it is a question of understanding your 2004 impact assessment. There, you seem to have a clearly established set of priorities, starting with (a), the joint support ship, and finishing with (h), the single class surface combatant.

VAdm. MacLean: They are all important.

The Chairman: It says, "I intend pursuing the development of projects in the following order of importance." That tells me you will do (a) first and (h) last.

VAdm. MacLean: I think as much as anything else, though, it is also a reflection of the timing of each of those events as well. Maybe it is something I should have considered more carefully when I put that together, but certainly, all of those elements are important. All of them will be important to make the navy of the future the right navy.

The Chairman: Given the tempo of operations, given the demands the government has been putting on the navy, I look at the challenges and pressures that you comment on. I will read it back to you and ask you to comment: "The impact of delaying/cancelling several large projects will force the navy to retain equipment in service longer than planned. This will inevitably require increasing amounts of already scarce national procurement funds, and there is a risk that the effective equipment will not be supportable, not to mention the associated potential safety concerns that could arise with continued usage. Without additional funding, I may not be able to continue to provide the same level of capability. We are already facing serious supportability issues with the current Halifax and Iroquois class radars."

What are you telling us here, sir?

VAdm. MacLean: Much like your car, you can invest in keeping your car on the road, and the car, of course, may go down the road but the degree of certainty that it will get to the next destination may be somewhat less. More important from a military point of view, you do not want to be investing in obsolescence. We will always have a navy, and those choices, obviously, I will manage again as best I can with the resources I am given.

The Chairman: We have so much respect for you and the folks who work for you. We find it remarkable that you are able to deal with it all. The question I would put to you is, we have a budget coming up this month. Even if you had substantial increases in funding, the problems that you are talking about in your impact assessment will get a lot worse before they get better. Is that not true?

VAdm. MacLean: Sustainability, which is really keeping the forces we have today operating at the best level, is an issue. It is not just a matter of resources, it is a matter of people as well. It takes time to continue. If it takes time to degrade that capability, it also takes time to ramp that back up.

The Chairman: The degradation will continue and get worse, even if there is a significant injection of funds tomorrow. You will have two or three years of it continuing to drop before it levels out and then gradually improves.

VAdm. MacLean: Let me say that the navy today continues to be an effective navy. There is no question, though, that if we do not have the right funding, you will have that degradation. I cannot tell you how much of a lag there will be, whether it will be one year or two years or three years. It takes time from when you get money and apply those resources with the right people. It takes time to level that off.

Senator Forrestall: One cannot help but wonder why it takes so much time. Can I ask you a couple of questions about the Sea King, and the transition and acquisition of the S-92s and the trading of pilots? Generally, what kind of support are you getting from Maritime Air with respect to this transition? Are you looking — perhaps you may have to — at long-term use of simulators for the Sea King, or is this some kind of an extension of the very few hours that must be left?

VAdm. MacLean: Militarily speaking, in the far right of the spectrum, the really tough issues in terms of anti-submarine warfare, the Sea King is fundamentally obsolete. We have to replace that aircraft, and that is understood. However, the Sea King is also a good heavy-lift aircraft. We operate it because it is safe to operate. It is a big helicopter and can be very useful in a number of operations such as we did in the Arabian Sea, and such as we do off the coast of Halifax. We will operate that helicopter for the next five years until we bring in the S-92. That is the reality, and we will have to manage that piece.

Senator Forrestall: I wish one had gone North in support of a recent deployment there last summer.

The problems associated with this aircraft plague all sorts of planning and must stand in your way. When will you start breaking away from the Sea King technology and maintenance of flying skills and move to the new aircraft?

VAdm. MacLean: That will occur before we take delivery. A number of trials will have to take place. We will need to ensure the safety of the Canadian patrol frigate. It is ongoing now at a preliminary stage, but as we get to 2007, 2008 and 2009, a number of these pieces will have to be very well understood. From the air crew and aircraft perspective, I would defer that to the chief of air staff to answer.

Senator Forrestall: It is such an important component of the destroyers.

VAdm. MacLean: It is.

Senator Forrestall: Do you have a contingency program in the event that people like myself start saying, "For God's sake, ground those things before we start losing lives?" I get so frustrated with the process that I have murmured aloud about asking the civilian authority to give me an opinion as to whether that aircraft is safe to fly. I know what their opinion would be, so I do not do it. Do you have no contingency plans?

VAdm. MacLean: We do have a program in place. The Sea King will not be flown unless it is safe to fly: It is as simple as that. Consequently, if at any stage it is viewed as not being safe, it will not fly. However, at this juncture, and for the anticipated future, we will invest whatever is necessary to make that aircraft safe to fly.

Senator Forrestall: If it becomes unsafe, is there one you can rent? I am serious. I am not joking.

VAdm. MacLean: You are referring to the issue of safety. The way in which we operate the aircraft makes it safe. The other issue is how operationally viable that aircraft is, and that is the part that, as the head of the navy, I am concerned about.

Senator Forrestall: It is not operationally viable.

VAdm. MacLean: In some parts of the more difficult challenges at sea, it is not.

Senator Forrestall: We sent one of the better aircraft we had North and it very rapidly developed five or six problems, any one of which would have immediately grounded it. That is not an operationally safe aircraft, in my judgment. I know a lot of these men and women well. I have known them since they were youngsters.

General Hillier mentioned a super re-supply vessel that is much more than has been suggested. Would you describe the 101 as a medium- to heavy-weight lift helicopter?

VAdm. MacLean: Yes. Even the Sea King would be a medium-lift helicopter.

Senator Forrestall: How would you describe the Cormorant?

VAdm. MacLean: The Cormorant is about 30,000 pounds and the Sea King is about 20,000 pounds, so it is obviously heavier, but it would still fall into the category of medium-lift.

Senator Forrestall: It is my understanding that there is a configuration of the Cormorant that could take a wheeled vehicle and 25 or 30 fully-armed troops. Is that something that might be under consideration?

VAdm. MacLean: Certainly the naval variant, the Cyclone, would not be large enough to do that.

The Chairman: We were talking about army requirements when General Hillier raised that, Senator Forrestall.

Senator Forrestall: He spoke about it being carried on a vessel.

VAdm. MacLean: It would not be a naval helicopter. It would be a medium-lift helicopter for army support. They are different.

Senator Forrestall: You have got my point. I do not care who it is for; I just want it to be good and safe, and be within manageable financial proportions, which the Sea King is not. The Cyclone is useless. Buy something good and useful. Put your foot down, Admiral.

VAdm. MacLean: We are buying the Cyclone, and I certainly hope it is useful.

Senator Munson: I am intrigued by the impact assessment. On page 6 you say that the implications of the shortfall in funding are significant. You say that the representation on international and NATO forums will be minimized to the point that Canadian navy presence, active participation, credibility, and thus influence, will be nearly lost. Under "governance" you say that your ability to fully support programs such as employment equity and to adequately exercise due diligence and environmental and safety issues will be significantly challenged. It is pointed out here that you will be unable to progress in the cleanup of many contaminated sites and will be obliged only to limit access to them.

These are strong words. If you do not have the money, you cannot do your job.

VAdm. MacLean: If I do not have the money, I will manage to the best of my ability. We are stating that I will make choices in order to do what I think has to be done in order to preserve the effectiveness of the navy at sea.

Senator Munson: With regard to employment equity, what can you not do?

VAdm. MacLean: We are describing a number of regulatory features, be it the environment or employment equity, all of which cost money. In taking any decision, I would look very carefully at all the things I must do and spend the money in the way that I thought best positioned the navy. It might very well mean that I would have to make some very hard choices on those types of issues, not only with respect to employment issues but across the board. The environment is mentioned as well. They all cost money.

Senator Munson: That is a significant statement.

Senator Day: Admiral, we are getting a lot of new information from the new Chief of Defence Staff in relation to issues that one would expect to find in a new defence policy statement. This has all come out in the last week or so. We understand that the previous draft was sent back by the Minister of National Defence as well. Are you engaged in a new round of thinking, blue-skying and developing a new draft of a defence policy?

VAdm. MacLean: I am not, but you would have to ask General Hillier about that.

Senator Day: All of these statements and all that we are seeing here that is quite radical and different from what we heard two weeks ago in terms of his vision, are not being developed by anybody other than General Hillier?

VAdm. MacLean: I do not think that that is fair, either, I think a great deal of effort and work has been going on for a long period of time, from a naval point of view. I am very supportive of where we are going. I think that from what I have seen and where I have been involved, it represents very much what I have indicated earlier that, increasingly, we will be a navy that is moving from exclusively the blue water to the littoral regime. We have been doing that now for some period of time. It reinforces many points that the maritime forces have been talking about and, indeed, have been doing for a number of years.

Senator Day: But with respect, Admiral, two weeks ago, for the navy, we were talking about a joint support ship, or two or three of those ships. Today, we read in the paper that what General Hillier would like to see is something like a San Antonio class troop carrier. Where did this new idea come from?

VAdm. MacLean: I recall that the article also indicated that certainly he would like very much to explore the joint support ship concept, and whether or not that has the capacity. I do not think the general was as definitive in that, and certainly there are options which start with the joint support ship. That is where we are headed at this particular juncture. Any change to that, any demonstrative change, would have to be discussed.

Senator Day: You have not been involved in any discussion with respect to a 1,500 soldier troop carrier?

VAdm. MacLean: No, I have not.

The Chairman: Thank you very much, Senator Day. Admiral, we appreciate your coming here today. We value your testimony before the committee. We find that the information you give us has been of great assistance in our studies. We hope to have you back again once the paper comes forward. We will look forward to having further discussions with you on the subject, but for your contribution today on behalf of the committee, thank you very much. We are grateful to you for being here.

The committee adjourned for ten minutes.

The committee resumed.

The Chairman: Honourable senators, we have before us today Vice-Admiral Greg Maddison, who is Deputy Chief of Defence Staff. He is a career naval operations officer who has commanded at all levels of the navy, including commander of the navy. As well, he served as the commander of NATO's Standing Naval Force Atlantic in 1993, which enforced a multinational embargo in the Adriatic Sea against the former Yugoslav Republics of Serbia and Montenegro. He has held a number of senior staff positions in Ottawa.

VAdm. Maddison is a graduate of the Royal Military College, the Canadian Forces Command and Staff College, the National Defence College in Kingston. He was invested in the Order of Military Merit in 1984 and was awarded the Meritorious Service Cross in 1994. He was promoted to the rank of Commander of the Order of Military Merit in 1997.

Welcome to the committee. We are very pleased to have you before us. We understand you have a brief statement to make.

Vice-Admiral Greg Maddison, Deputy Chief of the Defence Staff, Department of National Defence: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you for that kind introduction.

Honourable senators, I very much appreciate the opportunity to be here today with you. As Deputy Chief of the Defence Staff, one of my responsibilities is to plan and to execute the missions assigned to the Chief of the Defence Staff by the Government of Canada. The forces to execute these missions are primarily generated by the commanders of the navy, army and air force. Although I do have direct responsibility for generating some of the more specialist forces, such as Joint Task Force 2 and the Joint Operations Group. Once the commanders have trained and equipped their personnel, it is then my responsibility, on behalf of the CDS, to employ them around the world or in response to any crises here at home.

[Translation]

As you know, Canadian Forces have represented all Canadians remarkably well. However, we find ourselves facing a major operational challenge. Not since the end of the Cold War has out military seen this much action. Since 1990, the number of operations in which our military has taken part has tripled, compared to the period from 1945 to 1989.

At the same time, the length of many of these missions and the number of missions taking place simultaneously in various theatres around the world has increased. This increase along with the complex nature and the requirements of international missions has been striking.

[English]

While dealing with this high operational tempo overseas, the Canadian Forces have also had to contend with numerous domestic demands here at home. Not including routine domestic and continental missions, we have deployed on ten major domestic operations since 1989. Although generally of short duration, these "spikes" of domestic operations have imposed additional demands on our people and on our equipment.

Overall, however, I believe that our people have responded extraordinarily well, reassuring Canadians that they are ready to answer the call for help at a moment's notice. This, I believe, is reflective of the impressive level of training we provide our people, and of the quality of leadership that exists at all levels across the Canadian Forces.

However, responding to these missions has come at a price. Recognizing that for much of this period we have had to contend with a constrained budget and a significantly smaller force structure, the increased operational tempo has been demanding for our men and women in uniform, directly impacting on their quality of life. It is also important to understand that, in addition to these direct personnel impacts, there has been a negative impact on equipment as a result of their increased usage. This tempo has resulted in an increased need for production by our schools and training centres. In short, the operational tempo level has not only had a critical impact on our people and the generation of replacement capabilities, it has also impacted all Canadian Forces elements, including equipment and infrastructure. This, in turn, has affected our overall ability to sustain operations.

[Translation]

Recognizing the need for regeneration, the government recently acknowledged that Canadian Forces needed to take an "operational break" and temporarily scale back its commitments. The Army, Navy and Air Force will all see a balanced reduction in their level of commitments. What is the likely scenario for the long term? What should we expect to see in terms of future operational levels?

[English]

The reality is that well-trained and experienced armed forces are at a premium. In my estimation the turbulent nature of the international security environment suggests that a few nations, Canada included, will continue to be called upon to provide the modern, robust forces required for such complex operations, and to continue to play a leadership role in promoting security and stability abroad.

Ours is one of the few armed forces in the world that can perform diverse missions across the operational spectrum of humanitarian assistance, stabilization operations and combat with equal effectiveness and at the same time. In this regard, our Operation Apollo experience is instructive. Our air force, amongst other missions, was providing humanitarian airlift; our naval forces were conducting stabilization operations in the Arabian Gulf, searching for terrorists to permit a stable environment for commerce at sea; and the 3-PPCLII Battle Group was conducting combat operations against the Al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan: in basic terms, a regional three block war.

[Translation]

Although difficult to predict, the demand for Canadian Forces on the domestic front is certainly not likely to decrease. In fact, given the new context of continental security, it is not unrealistic to expect that the Army will be called upon to increase its level of support to other government departments and agencies in a coordinated bid to provide enhanced protection to Canadians, to our territory and to our air and maritime approaches.

[English]

Suffice it to say that the ability of the Canadian Forces to meet these future requirements will depend heavily on the government's ability to invest in both our people and in our operational capabilities.

To conclude, Mr. Chairman, the Canadian Forces have made a difference in the lives of many people, both at home and abroad. Further, it is my belief that the role of the Canadian Forces in protecting Canadians and their interests and values will remain an essential role of our national security policy in the future. Accordingly, I do not expect the heavy demands on our military, either domestically or internationally, to diminish; rather, they may well increase.

This being said, our military has been stretched in recent years. We ought not to underestimate the severity of the operational tempo on our people, equipment and infrastructure and of the need to address these challenges. We in the Canadian Forces are keenly aware of your support and the support of your committee in this regard and we thank you for it. I would be pleased to answer any of your questions.,

The Chairman: Thank you, VAdm. Maddison. We should be thanking you. We are continually impressed at how well the men and women of the Canadian Forces do under such adverse circumstances.

Senator Banks: Good afternoon. It is very nice to see you again. I want to reiterate what the chair has said about the admiration and high respect we have for you and the people who work with you in doing the things that you do that sometimes look like miracles to us.

I was pleased to hear in your opening remarks a reference to the operational pause. When we first recommended it in one of our reports, it was scoffed at by everyone, but it followed shortly thereafter because it was patently essential that it be done. We are glad that it happened.

The nature of what the forces are required to do, I think everyone understands, has changed dramatically in the last little while — there are no more symmetrical wars, at least not yet — which has changed the way the forces are made up. Will you talk about two things? First, how do you decide how to make up the constituent parts of an armed force that you send to a different job, whether it is domestic or foreign? They are not the same as they used to be. They are meshed together from different resources. How do you decide that? What aspects of the skills that are within the Canadian Forces are the hardest pressed with respect to that? For example, is it the people in communications who are in the shortest supply, and therefore experience the greatest stress when they get into an area of operation, or who is it?

The second part of the question is, would you tell us about the process by which the rules of engagement are developed for each of those groups? There are now popular entertainments before Canadians that will bring to their attention again the problems having to do with rules of engagement — whether you are allowed to dive into that boat, whether you are allowed to use deadly force in order to protect those people's lives.

When we are in an engagement of that kind with allies, is it always the case that our forces' terms of engagement are the same as our allies' terms of engagement? I hope you will see that those questions are somehow related to each other.

VAdm. Maddison: Senator, there are many different points within your question. However, perhaps I could provide you with a bit of an example in answering your question. When it appears that there is a crisis that is in the national interest of this nation, in which military force may very well be deployed, there is a great deal of discussion and debate amongst the various departments within government, up to and including the Prime Minister's Office, the Privy Coucil Office, and so on.

Once the government has decided that there is a mission that the Canadian Forces can contribute very positively toward, then they will outline what is in the nation's strategic objectives that they wish us to accomplish. From those strategic objectives, we develop our mission in terms of what components within the Canadian Forces would be used to make sure that we can optimize our capability, and the skills of our people, to meet those strategic objectives.

In the case of Afghanistan, as an example, clearly we had a failed state. We had a situation where the predominant demand was to provide a level of security within that nation to allow the growth of an indigenous government capability over a period of time. Therefore, we knew we needed to have a number of different components, primarily focused on the land component, to assist in a coalition effort to defeat the terrorists — the al-Qaeda and the Taliban — and, subsequently, to support the government and the government components to allow them to get to the point where we have had successful elections from a presidential perspective and, subsequently, new elections will occur from a parliamentary perspective in the spring.

We look at the different constituencies: Where do we have our capabilities; where do we have our skills; and how can we optimize those strategic objectives that the government has asked us to accomplish? There is a great deal of discussion as we go through building that sort of capability.

In terms of your question with respect to where some of the stresses and strains are when you are looking at putting together a capability, most of our challenges are with the specialist groups: Specialist groups such as those who are in the health care side of the house — doctors, nurses, pharmacists and anaesthetists, and so on — that capability is quite fragile at the moment in terms of the number of people that we have to provide a health care capability to support our people when they are deployed.

Second, engineers: some of the very high-tech, sophisticated technicians are a bit of a challenge in terms of the number of people we actually have and shortages we have therein. Some of our heavy-range communications are very stressed in this regard as well. Those are some of the areas — what I would call the glue that supports an operation, whether it is land, sea or air — in which we have some of our most difficult stresses or challenges.

Your third point, with respect to rules of engagement, based on what the strategic objectives from the government are, based on what it is that is agreed to by the government as to what the coalition wishes to achieve, the Chief of Defence Staff — in consultation with people like me, with the Judge Advocate General and a number of others — will develop the rules of engagement that we will issue to our people to make sure that they can succeed in achieving their mission. It is our responsibility — ultimately, the CDS's responsibility — to issue those rules of engagement to ensure that we can achieve the strategic objectives. Does that answer your question?

Senator Banks: It does. Is that done subject to political direction?

VAdm. Maddison: Not at all. It is the responsibility of the Chief of Defence Staff to put out the rules of engagement and to train his people on them, so that when they go into the theatre, they are ready to execute their mission. They understand what limits or parameters they will have on the use of force, whether it is deadly force or non-deadly force. Obviously, every soldier, sailor, airman and woman is able to defend themselves in terms of the rules of self-defence. However, in terms of actually applying power, it is the CDS's unique responsibility to develop those rules of engagement to make sure that he can assure the government that we will succeed in achieving our mission.

Senator Banks: He or she will do that in order to be consistent with this policy of the Government of Canada, is that not so?

VAdm. Maddison: Absolutely. Clearly, there is a direct link there that we have to be 100 per cent consistent with the government direction.

When we are involved with a coalition, which is almost always the case with the Canadian Forces, we attempt to synchronize our rules of engagement with what the coalition's rules of engagement are. However, it is our responsibility to provide national rules of engagement; and sometimes our rules of engagement will be somewhat different. This will allow us to do some things. Perhaps, more than what a coalition would initially envisage; or in some cases, we will constrain our people more than what the coalition wanted. The rules of engagement are a nation's responsibility, and if we can synthesize them with the coalition, as much as we can we will; but ultimately it is our national responsibility to decide what level of force we are prepared to have Canadians use.

Senator Banks: If you were the commander of such a force, as you have been, and if those rules of engagement are different in any significant way, does that not impede your capacity to command effectively?

VAdm. Maddison: That is a very interesting question. As an example, what I will use is one of my experiences when I was in the Adriatic. I had 14 different nations under my command: each of them had its own rules of engagement, although there was an overall coalition set of rules of engagement. However, some nations, for example, were not permitted to board commercial vessels. Some nations' boarding parties were not armed, whereas most other boarding parties, including the Canadians, were. As a commander, you take those different caveats and those differences and develop a concept of operations where you maximize your capabilities and minimize your limitations.

For example, those nations that were not allowed to do boardings, I would employ them where they would not be in a situation where they would board. They would be doing other surveillance-like tasks, and so on. Any commander worth his salt can take those different caveats, if you will, and use them to his best advantage to achieve the end.

Senator Banks: In short, you deal with it?

VAdm. Maddison: Absolutely.

Senator Day: Admiral, let me start by saying that we are aware that you will be retiring from the armed forces later this year. Having risen to the rank of deputy chief of defence staff is a wonderful achievement. We are very proud of you and the service that you have performed over the past 33 years. As a Senate group, we would like to thank you for your cooperation and service over those 33 years. We wish you well in your new endeavours.

VAdm. Maddison: It is very kind of you to say that, thank you.

Senator Day: Senior officers are always concerned about the men and women who serve under them. During your presentation, you raised the issue of the toll that frequent deployment has taken, not only on the equipment but also on the men and women of the armed forces, and we have to extend that to their families as well. Several years ago, this committee and a House of Commons committee did a lot of work with respect to quality of life within the armed forces. There were very significant improvements made as a result of that work.

We are now hearing comments that there is so much demand for armed forces equipment replenishment and hiring of new personnel that perhaps that issue has fallen off the table, or at least does not have the same stature that it had in the past, of the quality of life issues. Can you reassure us that that continues to be a matter of importance to the armed forces?

VAdm. Maddison: Certainly, every member of the Canadian Armed Forces of a certain age will remember the work that your committee and the House of Commons committee did on the quality of life package, which was terrific. Admittedly, there have been a few members join in the last year or two who may not remember that work. However, there are many people still around who serve who recognize and appreciate the tremendous work that was done in this regard.

To reassure you, senator, this is very much front-of-mind for all of us. We cannot achieve what we want to achieve, in terms of increased capabilities, in terms of having a relevant and credible force, if we do not have people who are comfortable with their quality of life and comfortable with the support that they and their families are getting. Certainly we have seen some significant improvements in terms of pay and allowances. There has been much focus in terms of trying to improve our accommodation stock, our housing. That will take a period of time, but lots of resources have been put towards that goal.

We are trying very hard to lessen the number of deployments for individuals because we have a number of folks who have deployed quite often over the last 10 years, and that has a subsidiary effect on one's family over a cumulative period of time. We recognize that, because of the diversity and the complexity of the operations in which we are asking our people to participate, a certain percentage of them will come back with a level of psychological stress. There has been a considerable amount of work done, first of all, in trying to understand this particular illness and, second, to put into place various operational stress injury centres and support mechanisms to provide our people with the level of support that they deserve and need.

People who are on large deployments now have some sort of reintegration support program that allows them to decompress, both outside of the country for a few days before coming back after a six-month mission, and then continuing that follow-up over a number of many months when they are back here in Canada. This was the number one issue for the current chief, the previous chief and the armed forces council, and continues to be our number one issue in terms of trying to make sure that our people have the level of support from a quality-of-life perspective to allow them to continue to want to serve and do the good work that they have been doing.

Senator Day: I am including in the quality of life the family support network that you have been developing.

VAdm. Maddison: Yes.

Senator Day: Has the funding that was originally allocated to those initiatives kept up with inflation, and have there been any increased and new initiatives?

VAdm. Maddison: There has been continuing funding towards this initiative. I do not know the details of whether it has kept up with inflation. You may have an opportunity to speak with Admiral Jarvis, who is responsible for the Canadian Forces for this particular series of issues. My belief is that it has, but he would have more definitive information on that.

Senator Munson: On post-traumatic stress disorder, are there more or less people coming back who are being treated? How significant is it?

VAdm. Maddison: We have had an estimate by some of our experts within the health community, within the HR mill working for Admiral Jarvis. Although we cannot be particularly specific, they have indicated that perhaps 10 to 15 per cent of our people are finding themselves in very complex situations in which there is risk and are coming back with some level of psychological discomfort, for which we are providing a level of support. In the vast majority of those cases, over a period of time they recover and become 100 per cent ready to be redeployed. In some cases it is more severe than that and, as a result, they are getting the level of care that they need. We do have people coming back from deployments who have been traumatized.

Senator Day: Another area of questioning on this first round to which I will ask you to direct your attention is with respect to lessons learned, particularly in your most recent position as deputy chief of the defence staff. Could you provide us with some information in relation to the problems that you have encountered over the past years by reason of the many and diverse missions that we have seen and that you have described? In supporting a large number of missions, in so many different areas and on so many different kinds of missions, what are some of the lessons that you have learned that you anticipated and/or did not anticipate that we can all learn from?

Second, perhaps you could be more specific about any of the command and control issues that might have been encountered because of that situation.

VAdm. Maddison: Many lessons are learned when we conduct the number of operations that we have been conducting over the past few years, and many lessons are relearned as a result of the same number of missions. From my perspective, let me focus in on two or three of them.

The first one is what we call C4ISR, which is command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. I would like to use an analogy as to what I mean by that. Because of my professional cultural background, I will use the naval task force as an example. A task force commander at sea with a multitude of different assets at his or her disposal can have all kinds of different weapon and sensor systems, and he or she can take the strengths and the limitations of those weapon and sensor systems and put together a concept of operations that will achieve the mission. However, if the commander and his subordinate commanders do not have a level of situational awareness of what is actually happening in their area of influence 24/7, they cannot display a common operating picture so that the various sub-commanders, all the way up to the task force commander, have the same picture as to what is occurring in their area of influence. If they cannot communicate with one another, then the chances are that that commander is very likely to fail in his or her ability to achieve the mission.

You improve that situation by improving the whole architecture of being able to share and display information so that the right people can make the right decisions at the right time. That is at the tactical level — that is, our force is deployed somewhere, and at the operational level in terms of those who direct those forces, and at the strategic level, the CDS and myself here in the strategic headquarters. We have learned the lesson that we need to enhance our capability in this area. We recognized that two to three years ago, and have been doing a lot of work towards that goal — so much work that the Auditor General has come in to take a look at how we are doing on that, and will comment on that in few months. It is a very serious and primary focus of ours because of the lessons that we learned from our operations.

Part of this is the intelligence domain. We really do need to enhance our ability to have the analytical capability to ensure that our tactical commanders and our operational commanders have all the intelligence information they need so that they can make the appropriate decisions to lower the level of risk against our people who are deployed. There is quite a bit of focus on that occurring now.

There is a certain level of technology enhancements that we have learned have been very helpful to us in allowing us to be successful in our missions. If you look at the Afghanistan example, the UAVs were absolutely critical for the commanders to take the right decisions. Very useful information was provided to people on the ground. We had counter-battery radars that we deployed for the first time, which allowed us to detect incoming projectiles, perhaps, to one of our camps. Being able to take that information and put together a picture that allowed the commander to make the appropriate decisions was something that we very much learned as well. We learned about heavy-lift helicopters. In that kind of environment, we needed helicopters that were more robust than perhaps what we currently have within our inventory in the Canadian Forces.

Senator Day: Not surprising, perhaps.

VAdm. Maddison: Those are the kinds of lessons that we have learned and relearned.

Senator Day: Yes, and now you are using that information in training, and in your operational brochures and documentation for the future, presumably?

VAdm. Maddison: Yes, indeed.

The Chairman: Admiral, we have been having some difficulty getting a list of deployments over the last decade. Is there any reason why this is hard to come by from the department?

VAdm. Maddison: Not that I am aware of, senator. There may be some elements of each of those deployments that is a bit classified, but in terms of the actual deployment itself, no.

The Chairman: We wanted to know the number of people deployed by environment on each of the deployments. We did not want details beyond numbers.

VAdm. Maddison: I am not aware of that request.

The Chairman: Is that something you could expedite for us?

VAdm. Maddison: I could look at that when I get back, yes.

The Chairman: Do you think there is a problem?

VAdm. Maddison: I do not think it is a problem, no.

The Chairman: The message we got is that it had to do with incompatible computers and that you could not go back that far. It seems strange.

VAdm. Maddison: I could probably assist you in that regard.

The Chairman: I appreciate that. You mentioned UAVs in Afghanistan. They are currently crated and back here in Canada now, are they not?

VAdm. Maddison: They are not crated. They were crated to get them here, but they are back here at Valcartier under the authority of the army at the moment. One of the lessons learned is that we discovered a bit of a challenge in the link between the actual airborne vehicle itself and the master control station on the ground. A whole bunch of very smart people are trying at the moment to figure out why the link is being broken, so that is the challenge that the army is facing in terms of trying to rectify that problem. Until they can get it sorted out, we will not be flying that equipment, for obvious safety reasons.

The Chairman: The helicopters you are referring to, are they the same ones that we sold to the Dutch a few years ago? Are you talking about that class of helicopter?

VAdm. Maddison: We are talking about that capability, the Chinook type of capability. I am not advocating for any specific frame, but it is that type of power train capability that allows you to lift a lot more weight than we can currently lift, and operate in atmospheres that are at a higher altitude than that in which you can currently operate the other helicopters that we have.

Senator Day: You referred to UAVs. For us all, that is the unmanned aerial vehicles. You indicated that there is a difficulty with respect to the communication from the aerial vehicle to the ground. Is that a communications signals group's problem? Are they wrestling with that?

VAdm. Maddison: First of all, they are not under my responsibility at the moment, so I do not know the specific details of the problem right now. As I understand it, there is a problem with the link going from the UAV to the ground station. I do not think it is a particularly difficult problem, but the right people, as I understand it, are looking at this at the moment. They just do not yet have it resolved, but I have very confidence that it will be resolved.

Senator Day: Would this be a tactical communications issue? We had Mr. Ross in here, Assistant Deputy Minister of Information Technology, and he explained to us the different roles of different groups within his organization. He talked about the communications reserve and the communications group. Is that the kind of issue that would be dealt with by his group of people?

VAdm. Maddison: No. This is a tactical capability. There is a whole family of UAVs that range from basically tactical to strategic. There are very large uninhabited aerial vehicles that can fly for hours and hours at very high altitudes that are there for strategic surveillance, as opposed to a very focused tactical area in which a land component, for example, may be operating, or a task force at sea in a relatively small area would be operating, where you can fly the tactical UAVs off ships, and so on. The ones that we had were a tactical UAV, not the strategic UAVs. As a result of that, this is really an army issue — with a lot of air force advice, I might add — but it is not something for Admin.

Senator Day: That is my point, and I will finish with this. It seems to me that we are developing this new technology, but from a tactical point of view you might have an army unit using it, and on the coast you have the navy involved and developing an expertise. Somewhere else you have the air force more heavily involved.

VAdm. Maddison: Who coordinates all that?

Senator Day: Exactly.

VAdm. Maddison: I am the guy who coordinates all of that. I chair, as part and parcel of the C4ISR domain, what is called the C4ISR oversight committee, and the UAVs are very much a part of that.

We have put into place what is known as the joint program office, which is a group of people who are actually coordinating all the issues surrounding UAVs and the future requirements for UAVs: what is it we think we need, why do we think we need what we need, how do we optimize our current capability, and how do we prepare ourselves in terms of the right people with the right skills to get to the next level with respect to the family of UAVs. We recognize that this should not be a single service responsibility, or three or four different service responsibilities. This has to be coordinated. Although I volunteered, I was given the responsibility to be the focal point for coordinating all of that.

Senator Banks: I want to observe, Chair, what a refreshing thing it is to have one of our members ask somebody who is responsible for something, and have the witness say "I am." That is a very rare thing.

Admiral, I have two questions. Do we say "uninhabited vehicle" rather than "unmanned" for politically correct purposes?

VAdm. Maddison: Both terms are interchangeable. You meant politically correct purposes?

Senator Banks: Is the communications problem with the UAVs one of control, in telling it where to go from the ground, or of its sending information down to the ground?

VAdm. Maddison: I am not a hundred per cent certain.

Senator Banks: Will you let us know?

VAdm. Maddison: Certainly. I am not a hundred per cent certain. I think it is a matter of control, but do not quote me on that.

The Chairman: If I can restore some semblance of order.

Senator Forrestall: I am not sure our Chair would allow us to restore any order. I am going to go off in a couple of directions. Admiral, may I share jointly with Senator Day in expressing, first of all, our regret that you are not going somewhere else; that you are taking a well-deserved retirement path.

I am a little concerned that this preoccupation with the Sikorsky helicopter will get us into all kinds of continuing difficulties and troubles. I have nothing against the Sikorsky. I lived at Shearwater most of my young life, and played basketball there. Hundreds of men and women went through that establishment over a long period of time. Neither am I against, nor necessarily for, the Cormorant EH-101. What I am very much for is a piece of equipment that the Canadian military professional officers want, a piece of equipment they say that they require to do the job, outlined by the task given to them. I have a sense or a feeling that in this respect we have not really bitten the bullet 100 per cent on this S-92, or the sea based version, or the land-based version Cyclone, which in both instances, of course, are merely aircraft on paper.

I want to talk to you about lift capability. I do not want to compare, in particular, those two aircraft, but it is my understanding that the lift required, and indeed asked for, was significantly above that of the Sea King, and as for yourselves, significantly above the capability of the S-92, and more in the area of the EH-101, although that is not the only aircraft that can provide that kind of lift.

With respect to the ongoing support vessel, I have been told today that it would noy be a naval vessel but an army vessel. Are we going back to the Paul Helyer days and some form of integration or unification, or are we now trying to put together the parameters of the vessel that will replace the two remaining supply vessels that we do have? If that is what we are doing, have you made any plans, or are you looking at plans to deploy in support of that vessel — hopefully on it — a light-heavy weight lift?

VAdm. Maddison: Light-heavy weight lift in terms of helicopters, do you mean? Let me make a couple of points. Senator, I think I am the only one left in service who signed the statement of requirement for the maritime helicopter. Having been one of the architects of the statement of requirement for that maching, I am very comfortable with the decision as to which airframe would be the Sea King replacement, so I will just make that point.

Senator Forrestall: I am very much aware of that, sir.

VAdm. Maddison: My second point is with respect to the sea-lift component. Clearly, the navy has recognized for some time — certainly when I was CMS — that we needed to have a requirement to not only support our naval task group at sea but also, from a Canadian Forces perspective, to support a capability to move a task force of a detachment of helicopters and air wing to somewhere for deployment, or a component from the land forces to be able to move somewhere and disembark and conduct operations. That has evolved into a joint ship concept. It is a concept at the moment, which was announced by the government just at the end of last year. Now there is a great deal of work being done to try and flesh out what that joint support ship concept — as I understand it, under the lead of the navy — should consist of, how big, and what kind of lift do we really need. Certainly, the new CDS has indicated that he is extremely supportive of the concept and wants us to take a look at it even further in terms of whether we have the right size of vessel envisaged, and will it be able to carry the number of people that he envisages. Being led by the navy, there will be considerable activity in fleshing out that concept. However, there is no doubt that we need that kind of capability for the Canadian Forces.

Senator Forrestall: Can I make sure that I understand your answer? Is the Cyclone S-92 capable of the lift that the general would like to have to assist in the development of this concept?

VAdm. Maddison: I think it is premature to say that one way or the other. Certainly, the CDS's vision — and the vision of a number of us over the course of the last few years — will be focused in upon before this committee over the course of the coming days, and perhaps we will be able to be a lot more clear on this concept in the future, but at the moment, we do not have the answers for some of those questions.

Senator Forrestall: That is fine. Can I get you to move to something a bit more current? The suggestion that we assist in the training of troops, is this a matter that you would feel comfortable discussing for a minute or two? Is it a conversation that you would not mind engaging in for a minute or two?

VAdm. Maddison: It depends on what your question is.

Senator Forrestall: In other words, to send troops to Iraq to train Iraqi forces,or any of the other scenarios that seem to have been suggested, including the deployment of Canadian Forces to Jordan to train an Iraqi military, or to Palestine to train security forces there. How many Canadian Armed Forces personnel are there in Iraq today?

VAdm. Maddison: The first thing I will say is I think we are seeing some encouraging signs in the Middle East between Mr. Abbas from the Palestinian Authority and Mr. Sharon from Israel in their willingness to talk. We certainly hope that this will lead to peace in that area. We also recognize that it is possible that should that occur, we may very well be asked to consider the use of military forces there. That is one of those contingencies that, in terms of the military doing prudent planning, we are looking at in case we should be asked to do so by the government.

The government made a decision some time ago that we would continue to support our exchange officers and exchange NCMs who are with various nations. We have about 175 who are on exchange, 100 with the Americans, 50 with the British, and 25 with other nations — the Australians, the French and a number of others. Every now and again, with reference to those people who are on exchange with various units with those countries, those units deploy to various theatres of operations. Some of them have deployed to Iraq. We have had, through the approval of the government, Canadians belonging to those units on exchange in Iraq, and have had for some time.

The NATO alliance is very much the same way. We have 300 Canadians who are on exchange with NATO in various different billets. They are treated like exchange officers so there are a handful of NATO officers who are also on exchange in Iraq. We have about 10 people who are currently on exchange in Iraq.

Senator Forrestall: Can you tell us how many personnel the government are thinking of in terms of the next rotation through Afghanistan? Will they be at the brigade level or at a battleground level?

VAdm. Maddison: I cannot be definitive on that right now, because there are a number of analyses and a lot more work that must occur here. The government has stated that they very much wish to have Canada take over a provincial reconstruction team sometime this year. We are planning towards that. The timings have not yet been determined. With regard to any future expansion to that, there are a couple of contingency plans we are looking at, but a lot more discussion between ourselves, Foreign Affairs and a number of other government departments must occur.

Senator Forrestall: We hear rumours that the Canadian participation at the Golan Heights may soon come to an end. Is this in preparation for a move somewhere else?

VAdm. Maddison: Actually, senator, it is not. There are about 193 people on the Golan Heights in that mission. Many of those are some of the specialists I referred to earlier that are more stressed than some of our other trades. We have been there for a long time. One or two nations have expressed an interest in coming in behind Canada should Canada decide to regenerate, if you will. We are planning to reduce our mission in the Golan Heights sometime this summer such that we will still have around 40 people there who will be quite key in terms of the continuing success of that mission, but we will have reduced our number of people there fairly considerably — it is planned; it has not yet been firmly decided because negotiations with the nation that is likely to come in behind us have not been completely concluded, and therefore it would be premature for me to allude to which nation it is, but certainly if it all goes well, we will go from 190 or so by 40 to this coming summer.

Senator Forrestall: I will switch to the Pacific. Do we have any contingent plans to deploy warships in support of multinational operations off North Korea or in terms of the crisis in the Taiwan Strait?

VAdm. Maddison: No, we do not.

Senator Forrestall: Has it been considered and put on the shelf?

VAdm. Maddison: We have a number of contingency plans that, should we be asked to consider it further, we can build on. As to the specifics of your question, no, we have no plans to operate off North Korea.

Senator Forrestall: Thank you.

The Chairman: Admiral, General Caron, the Chief of the Land Staff of the army, told me he was currently in a position to sustain two groups, 1,000 troops overseas indefinitely and search for another 1,000 once every two years. This was in the context, or from the perspective of the individual soldier being put in harm's way in any given 36 month period for six months, and also being away from home for four months. Thus, over a three-year period, ten months away from home, six of it in harm's way, with the projection of 2,000 troops surging to 3,000 every second year.

Can you tell us what the capabilities would be of the other two elements to project force, and whether they would have similar periods in harm's way and similar periods at home?

VAdm. Maddison: Just to clarify on his comments, and I was not here, but I presume he meant that starting in February of 2006?

The Chairman: He was talking in the present, but if he meant it beginning February 2006, that is fine.

VAdm. Maddison: The navy has as well a tiered-readiness system in terms of having a certain number of ships that are at very high level of readiness, that is, the ship's companies are totally trained and they are ready to go should they be asked to go. That is, they have one ship on either coast, which is the ready-duty ship, that could be prepared to go, and has one other ship plus a high readiness task group which consists of three to five ships, depending on what the tasks are. The navy has two to three single ships for single responses if required, and either one of the coasts — I am not sure which coast it is at the moment — has the responsibility for generating a high-readiness task group. I think it is the West Coast at the moment but I am not 100 per cent certain of that.

The Chairman: If I was following you, that described the navy and it is a total of four ships at any given time. You could do that indefinitely?

VAdm. Maddison: Yes, we could.

The Chairman: What about the other part of the equation? How long do the sailors —

VAdm. Maddison: We operate under a six-month maximum in terms of whether it is from the army, navy or air force to be deployed.

The Chairman: Right, but we hear time and time again that yes, I was on a six-month deployment but I got home and I was shipped away to this course or that course. In any given three-year period, how long can a sailor expect to be away from home?

VAdm. Maddison: That is a question that I do not actually have the specifics of, the three commanders would, but perhaps I could answer it in a general way. An individual deploying for six months, when he or she comes back there is every attempt made to try to keep that individual close to home. We are not always successful in being able to do that, and that involves some of the quality of life issues we have talked about, and some of the challenges we have in terms of our current capacity and the lack of flexibility because of the number of people we currently have within the Canadian Forces, to give us the flexibility to allow people to have more time at home after they have been deployed.

We do have situations where people come back and, within a relatively short period of two to three months, they have to leave their home to go and conduct additional training or other coursing, which, in a year's period of time, can cause people to be away from home for seven or eight months and, over the course of three years, perhaps be away for a year and a half.

The Chairman: It is, join the navy and you are away from home half your life?

VAdm. Maddison: Join the navy and see the world.

The Chairman: It is all in how you put it. How about the air force, Admiral?

VAdm. Maddison: The air force has a slightly different operational tempo. Although they have deployed for six-month periods, they do not normally do so. In their operations at our support base in the Middle East, for example, they deploy for 59 days and then are rotated. They have the flexibility that allows them to do that. That has been very helpful for them, and they have seen some very positive developments as a result. They still have detachments that will deploy for six months but it does not happen that often; certainly not at the same level as with the navy and the army.

The Chairman: You did not describe what the air force could sustain indefinitely overseas.

VAdm. Maddison: The air force can sustain a maritime patrol aircraft detachment.

The Chairman: That is one aircraft?

VAdm. Maddison: That is normally two aircraft. For six to 12 months they can sustain a Griffon detachment of about six helicopters, and the same with an F-18 group.

The Chairman: Just to be clear, when we were talking about the army and the navy, we were talking about sustaining things indefinitely. With the army, it was 2,000 indefinitely with a surge to 3,000. You then talked about the four ships that you could sustain indefinitely. When you are talking about the air force, you are not talking about sustaining indefinitely.

VAdm. Maddison: I am with respect to the MPA.

The Chairman: So that is two aircraft indefinitely for surveillance?

VAdm. Maddison: Yes. With the F-18s, there is an issue with respect to modernization that is impacting their ability to sustain indefinitely. They can do it for a period of time but they cannot do it indefinitely, as I understand it from CAS. With the Griffon helicopters I think they can sustain indefinitely, but I am not 100 per cent certain of that.

The Chairman: So six helicopters indefinitely with Griffon helicopters?

VAdm. Maddison: That is my sense.

The Chairman: As we speak today, how many F-18s are available and on what sort of notice, in the event there was a problem with an airliner flying over Canada?

VAdm. Maddison: We have the ability to respond to that kind of an incident, senator, but I cannot give you the details because they are classified.

The Chairman: You have the ability to respond to it. We read reports that there is one aircraft in the West and one in the East, and that is it.

VAdm. Maddison: I cannot respond to that, senator.

Senator Munson: What is the budget of the Deputy Chief of Defence Staff?

VAdm. Maddison: It is about $190 million annually, senator. That is just to run the business of the DCDS group. If there is an unforecast contingency operation, the department goes back to government to get supplementary or incremental funding for each operation. However, my annual budget is about $190 million to run my organization of about 2,600 people, which does not include the people who are deployed.

Senator Munson: Speaking of budgets, we heard a rather harsh reality statement from Admiral MacLean before you arrived here. I am sure you heard what he said. He said that the implications of the shortfall funding are significant, and he listed many areas where the military cannot do its job.

VAdm. Maddison: I was not here for that.

Senator Munson: He said that, because of the shortfall, the representation on international and NATO forums will be minimized to the point that Canadian Navy presence, active participation, credibility and, thus, influence will be nearly lost. Under "governance" he said that his ability to fully support programs such as employment equity and to adequately exercise due diligence in environmental and safety issues will be significantly challenged.

Those are pretty harsh statements. It is difficult for him to do his job. Is it difficult for you to do your job when you hear this kind of thing?

VAdm. Maddison: I am not the main force generator. I well appreciate that the commanders of the navy, army and air force have some significant challenges, but when they produce the task group, the air wing or the battle group, they have done all the training and readiness and have provided the equipment, and I get to employ it. I do not have the same challenges that the three of them currently have.

Having said that, I have my own challenges, and I have referred to some of them with respect to the whole level of the C4ISR. We need to enhance that and make it more robust.

Senator Munson: What does C4ISR stand for?

VAdm. Maddison: Command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.

We need to have the situational awareness in order that we can properly oversee the 18 different operations that we currently have around the world. We are doing that and we have done it well, but it is causing people to work 12 to 16 hours a day, seven days a week to ensure that we are doing it well. I need additional resources to ensure that we can continue to do that in the future, and do it 24-7. We need some additional intelligence assets as well. Those are some of my challenges within my group, but they are not the same as the ones that the three commanders have.

Senator Munson: Just two other questions on training Iraqi police or military. It has not been ruled out that we could be asked to do this in Jordan or other countries. Are we prepared to do it? You talked about having to be prepared for every contingency.

VAdm. Maddison: I think that is still under discussion and I cannot give you a definitive answer on that. We understand that NATO is trying to establish a training centre that may be located in Jordan, and NATO allies might be asked to support that. We also understand that there may be funds set up to which nations can contribute monies to help the training element. NATO is currently discussing a number of those things, but there have been no decisions from Canada with respect to that yet, as I understand it.

Senator Munson: I see in your biography that you are retiring in mid-April. Why do military people retire so young? You bring so much to the table.

VAdm. Maddison: I have been in the forces for 37 years. I have had a varied, diverse and challenging, but exciting, career. I reached the point where, having been in command of the navy for four years, having been the Deputy Chief for four years, there is not too much else that I can focus my activities on, so I think it is probably time for me to do something else and let someone a little younger than me, believe it or not, take up the mantle.

Senator Atkins: To follow up on Senator Munson's comment, I have heard nothing but great compliments about you as an outstanding officer. The military will miss you.

VAdm. Maddison: That is very kind of you. Thank you.

Senator Atkins: Have you got a fix-it list? I ask that because I am wondering whether there is an obligatory period of silence once you retire, or will you be free to make comments about the military that you are probably restricted from making while you are on duty?

VAdm. Maddison: As I think you appreciate, senator, I am a public servant. I happen to be one in uniform, but I am a public servant. As a result of that, public servants are there to explain policy, and not to defend or criticize government policy. That is role that all of us have when we are sitting in front of committees such as this.

Senator Atkins: Once you retire?

VAdm. Maddison: When I plan on retiring in April, I think I will be travelling around a fair bit, just to decompress and relax for a little bit. We will see what happens after that.

Senator Atkins: Have you got a fix-it list?

VAdm. Maddison: Could you be more specific in what you mean by that? Fix it around the house? I have all kinds of lists that the good lady wants me to do.

Senator Atkins: Do you have some thoughts on improving the situation in the military that you would apply if you had the opportunity?

VAdm. Maddison: I do. Fortunately, they are elements or issues that we are currently dealing with at the moment. In my job, my biggest challenge at the moment, because of the superb quality of our people in what they have been able to do for Canada over the course of the last few years, is to deal with the demand for more and more Canadian Forces to be deployed, and not have the supply of them. One of our biggest challenges is that we just do not have the capacity and the flexibility to meet many of those demands that are out there.

Senator Atkins: There is one word you did not include: Funding.

VAdm. Maddison: We have had to operate under constrained budgets over the past few years, as you are aware.

Having said that, I must say that we are quite encouraged by some of the comments that have been made by the Prime Minister, and by our own minister and others, with respect to really wanting to focus on the defence construct, and providing us with additional resources to allow us to do a number of things — to deal with the 5,000, and 3,000 enhancement, which is a very positive step forward. They will be well used, if I could put it that way, in terms of adding additional flexibility, although it will take us a few years to recruit and train them and have them fully operational.

Second, if additional resources come our way, we have to fix the base — all those things that support us in our ability to put sailors, troops and airmen and women out the door to conduct operations — the infrastructure. Some of the training infrastructure, some of those support mechanisms — repair parts, spare parts — these are the kinds of things that we are struggling with at the moment. If we do have the funds to allow us to do that and to begin modernization, we can transform ourselves to continue to be relevant and credible with respect to the asymmetric threat that we believe we will have to deal with over the next five to 10 years.

That is part of my fix-it list, and that is actually part of the government's fix-it list as well. We are quite encouraged by some of the statements that have been made. Certainly, the rank and file out there, our young people, have a level of expectation that they will get increased support here in the coming months.

Senator Atkins: When they talk about increasing the military by 5,000 over five years, how do you see the progression of recruitment from day one?

VAdm. Maddison: I do not know the answer to that exactly. That is not my responsibility specifically. I know that Admiral Jarvis will be here in the coming days, and that will be his primary responsibility — or one of them.

At the moment, we are doing an analysis as to where those 5,000 will be focused. I think it is fair to say that the large bulk of them will be to support the army, which has certainly seen its fair share of stresses and strains over the course of the last few years. However, not all will be going toward the army. Some of them will actually come to my organization, and some of them will be going to support the air force and the navy as well. However, it is fair to say that the significant portion of them will be towards the army.

Senator Atkins: How does your intelligence staff interface with the intelligence staffs of other government departments?

VAdm. Maddison: Thank you for that question, because as you obviously know, the Chief of Defence Intelligence works directly for me. We have been looking very closely at this situation over the course of the last two to three years; and it has become very strongly supported throughout the department, with the chief and the deputy minister, that we do need to provide additional resources and refocus our efforts from a defence intelligence business. Part of that is being able to enhance our capability to make sure that we have the linkages with other government departments. We have had them and we have enhanced them over the course of the last year. We are now involved, on a daily basis, with PCO, with CSIS, with CSE and with the National Security Adviser. The government has decided to implement an integrated threat assessment centre in which we are very much involved.

We have a number of liaison officers now from our intelligence section with all those different organizations, including PSEPC, or Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada. As a result of the national security policy, that relationship has begun to grow over the course of the last year. I do not think it is at the level yet that is optimized, but people are seized of this issue and it is something we strongly support. We are prepared, as long as we get the support for it, to put additional resources into making sure those links are strong.

Senator Atkins: When this new department is formulated, do you feel comfortable that the interaction between your responsibilities and other departments and the new minister will be a good working operation?

VAdm. Maddison: I believe so, senator, yes. Intelligence is something that I personally deal with on a daily basis; at least an hour or two of my day's output is focused on intelligence-related issues. Whether it is related to tactical issues in terms of support to our people in the theatre, whether at sea or on the ground, all the way up to dealing with the RCMP, CSIS, CSE, et cetera, it is very much a focus within our department.

Senator Atkins: You should know that when this committee went to Washington, and we talked to different agencies and Homelands Security, there was a lot of disconnect.

VAdm. Maddison: In our organization?

Senator Atkins: Not in ours, but in theirs. One of the concerns is, will that happen here?

VAdm. Maddison: The great advantage we have is that we are so much smaller in terms of numbers of people involved in these organizations, that the linkages are easier to establish than perhaps they are when you have large organizations, as the Americans have.

Senator Atkins: I have one final question on the role of the reserves. Do you think they are underfunded, and how do you see them fitting into the future?

VAdm. Maddison: When I look at funding issues, I look at them from a macro perspective. The Canadian Forces has a number of different elements, so I do not look at it specifically from a reserve perspective. I look at it holistically. I think that part of the organization does need support, does need some enhancement.

My personal experience over the course of the last four years in this appointment is that we have had reserves operating in many of our missions abroad, and they have done superbly. Not that I doubted that they would not, but they have done extremely well. Last year, we had close to 1,000 reservists on various missions around the world, who really conducted themselves extremely professionally. You could not tell the difference in terms of who was regular and who was reserve. They were doing the job as part of the team and making a difference.

Sometimes, because we have reserve units in so many different places across the country, they cannot actually train in their home town. When we are preparing them for deployment, we provide significant amounts of training, but it may not be in their home town. They may actually be away from their families for quite a number of months before they deploy, then they deploy and then come back. They could be nine or ten months, perhaps, away from their families. That is an extra challenge for the reservists, but they are volunteers, and they are willing to do it. It is something that the army is looking at to see if they can improve, and it is part and parcel of the Land Force Reserve Restructure Organization, or work that is being done. They have never let me down

Senator Banks: Admiral, I am grateful that there is a little bit of time for a second round of questions. In fact, there will be 8,000 new folks?

VAdm. Maddison: There will be 5,000 regular and 3,000 reservists, yes.

Senator Banks: With respect to intelligence and the question that was asked before, a number of us were on a committee that travelled to various places in the world looking at the question of intelligence, including the sharing of intelligence between civilian and military agencies having to do with security in the largest sense, and we have made a report. Have you seen that report yet?

VAdm. Maddison: Your report on intelligence? No, I have not.

Senator Banks: It was not a report of this committee; it was a report of an ad hoc committee of parliamentarians.

The Chairman: It would be titled the Parliamentary Intelligence Oversight Committee's report.

VAdm. Maddison: I have not seen it.

Senator Banks: Admiral, I am reverting now to a matter that the chairman asked you about, the F-18s. He said that we had heard that there was one quickly available in the East and one in the West, and we know, or at least we think, that six have been upgraded so far and that when it is all done, 80 will be upgraded with the new equipment.

VAdm. Maddison: That is my understanding as well.

Senator Banks: We are beginning to think that there is more than a coincidence between the fact that every time we have examined something rather closer to the ground with the folks who are at the pointy end of the stick, to use your vernacular, and find that there is a dangerous shortfall, or a shortfall in respect of being able to instantly get at something, and we have asked that question of folks in authority, each time we do that, and the answer is, "I cannot tell you that." I am beginning to get the impression that when we ask those questions and when we get the answer, "I cannot tell you that," it is a sort of stamp confirming the fact that there is a shortfall that they do not want to tell anybody about. We are thin on the ground in that place, or there is a break in the seam over there, and we do not want to tell anyone, so we hear, "I cannot tell you that." I understand that there are other kinds of constraints too. Out of 80 airplanes, are you able to tell us where our information is wrong that there is one in the West and one in the East that could go up right now? My second question is, if we cannot ask you, who can we ask?

VAdm. Maddison: Well, this is a dilemma. The dilemma is the following. We are, at the moment, conducting an operation, and have been since 9/11, to ensure that we are able to respond should an incident occur, God forbid, such as what happened against the World Trade Center in New York. We do not want to let "the bad guys" know what kind of response posture we have our assets at. If I were to indicate to you how many aircraft and where they are in terms of their ability to respond, as much as I would like to tell you that, and it is not you I am concerned about, obviously, but some people who might be listening to this could use that information to their advantage, and to our disadvantage.

Senator Banks: But those people have heard us say that we have heard that it is one. Can you refute that so they will not get that impression?

VAdm. Maddison: Let them think it is one.

The Chairman: To put it another way, if you describe that there was this overwhelming force that was there to address this problem, they would not try it.

VAdm. Maddison: Somewhere in between, is the answer.

The Chairman: Thank you. We will end on the in-between note. We had actually hoped, admiral, that we would have a second chance to have you back before you retired. We were hoping to talk to you again after the paper came out. Given the fact that the paper seems to be a moving target, we may not have you back. That being the case, both on a personal level and on behalf of the committee, I would like to thank you very much for your appearances before us and for sharing the information you have with us. It has added to our fund of knowledge, and has assisted us greatly in the course of our studies. Thank you very much, and best wishes in your future endeavours.

VAdm. Maddison: Thank you very much.

The Chairman: This committee is now reviewing Bill C-6, to establish the Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness and to amend or repeal certain acts. This bill not only creates a new department but also sets out the powers, duties and functions of the minister. In addition, it also provides for the appointment of a deputy minister, public safety and emergency preparedness.

In its report of October 2003 entitled Canada's Coastlines, the Longest Under-Defended Borders in the World, the committee recommended the creation of a permanent department under the Deputy Prime Minister to oversee borders, national security issue, natural and man-made disasters and coasts. We are pleased to see this legislation arrive here.

We have before us today Dr. Wesley Pue. He is the Associate Dean of Graduate Studies and Research at the Faculty of Law at the University of British Columbia, and has been so since 2003. He has been with the University of British Columbia since 1993 as the Nemetz Chair in legal history and professor of law, educated at Oxford, the University of Alberta and Osgoode Hall Law School, York University. He is an expert in legal history, constitutionalism, legal professionalism, and legal education. Previous academic appointments include Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto, Oklahoma City University, Carleton University and the University of Manitoba. Dr. Pue is well published in the United States, Australia, British and Canada, in both journals and books.

Dr. Pue, welcome to the committee. We understand that you have a short statement and the floor is yours.

Mr. Wesley Pue, Professor, Univeristy of British Columbia: Thank you so much, senator. After that introduction, it sounds as if I cannot hold a job. Not an experience any of you have suffered lately. I am honoured to be here, to appear before this particular committee, but also to be before a Senate committee. I have appeared before a committee at the other place once or twice in the past, but this is my first time before the Senate.

I have the honour of being named — and this must surely be unique — after a Liberal Senator from Alberta, Wesley Stambaugh He was a close friend of my father's, and my father-in-law was a member of Cell 13. Liberal Senator Keith Davey is a close family friend and I have always had a great deal of respect for this chamber.

I thought what I would do is provide a quick summary by way of an introduction to Bill C-6, which I am sure many you know in intimate detail. Bill C-6 looks to me, as I am sure it does to you, like a good idea in a climate in which security has to be taken seriously and a series of good moves are incorporated in that bill.

I would like to point to one flaw; I think a very serious one that it seems to me is likely an oversight on the part of parliamentary draft persons. I would like to explain the significance of that flaw and suggest a remedy which is actually extraordinarily simple.

Bill C-6 is designed to establish the Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness. It is a new department that rolls into one, by and large, the duties of the Solicitor General of Canada plus Canada Border Services, plus I perceive a kind of coordinating role and preparation role that is not inherent, necessarily, in the pre-existing jurisdictions and authority. Significantly, and this I think is a flaw, the new bill does not explicitly continue the Office of the Solicitor General. I think that is as a result of oversight, rather than deliberation. I cannot, for the moment, think it would be deliberate to abolish the Office of the Solicitor General. Probably it is an oversight that arises from the need, or failed need, to express things in modern terms rather than old language. If so, that is regrettable, and the oversight should be remedied before the bill passes into law.

The term "Solicitor General" has a peculiar ring to it, but it is not just an archaic description for a kind of minister of police and security. Solicitor General is a term of art, and it refers to an important constitutional office of extremely long standing. It is an office that is intended to operate at crunch times, at difficult times, at times when the Constitution and when the country is in trouble in ways quite distinct from the ordinary political ministries.

One of the unfortunate consequences of passing this bill in its present form would be, possibly, to effect a change of profound constitutional significance, either by accident or sideswipe. In Canadian constitutional practice, the Solicitor General is one of two law officers of the Crown. The other law officer of the Crown is the Attorney General. The meanings of those terms of art are extraordinarily important. A law officer of the Crown has a primary duty of serving the cause of the rule of law as distinct from any other function, political or otherwise. The rule of law is to be served by the law officers of Crown above and beyond their own personal interest and chance for advancement, above party interest, above their own personal desires to please the electorate or other people who are above them in the hierarchies of power. The principle that these are above partisan politics is of central importance to Canadian constitutionalism.

You will find for example, that both offices are mentioned in several places in the British North America Act and founding constitutional documents. They are simply important assumptions as to the way the country operates. The powers of the two combined, one by and large for policing and add-ons and the other for prosecution, is immense. The terrible, draconian, overbearing power of state is combined into two offices in ways like no other.

The duties become larger still when the departmental realignment created by Bill C-6 is taken into consideration. The powers of the law offices of the Crown are varied. They have been described in a number of ways in Canadian constitutional history and practice. Quite often, the term "quasi-judicial" is attached to them. Another term of art, one indicating personal responsibility in the sense of the law offices of the Crown, is not to take directions in these areas from other people, and one connoting a duty to rise above their own peculiar needs and circumstances to do the right thing. It is a fundamental principle of justice and the rule of law.

The security agencies, be they police or CSIS or others, should never be allowed to be reduced to the status of mere political agents doing the will of somebody who finds it politically convenient that they do things. If such things were to happen, Canada would become a very different country than it is today. Experience shows, occasionally, with blemishes in Canadian history. Certainly, too, in the experience of other countries, that disaster lies in the path when governments cross that line, and I am sure you can multiply examples in your own head of countries that have gone wrong, ranging from Nazi Germany in the past to Zimbabwe today.

The duties of the officer of the Crown were outlined cogently and concisely and explained at length 30 years ago by a former Attorney General, Ron Basford, who is very recently deceased. He said that the first principle — and I am will quote him:

... is that there must be excluded any consideration based upon narrow, partisan views, or based upon the political consequences to me or to others. In arriving at a decision...the Attorney General is entitled to seek information and advice from others but in no way is he directed by his colleagues in the government or by Parliament itself. That is not to say that the Attorney General is not accountable to Parliament for his decisions, which he obviously is.

... the special position of the Attorney General in this regard is clearly entrenched in parliamentary practice... This special position has been diligently protected in theory and in practice.

The Solicitor General is deemed to be the junior law officer of the Crown, and stands in a similar relationship to power as that described by Attorney General Basford. It was no accident, I believe, that in 1966, when a government reorganization took place, the RCMP and other things were taken out of the Department of Justice, and the government of the day deemed it appropriate to put those powers under the overview of the Solicitor General of Canada, and not under the overview of a political minister.

Prime Minister Pearson, then-Solicitor General Larry Penne and Attorney General Pierre Cardin emphasized the many merits of that particular reallocation. Separating policing and such like from the prosecutions functions and the drafting functions of the Department of Justice created a kind of division of powers that they thought was well balanced to protect Canadian liberties; in other words, two minds instead of one before Canadians would suffer penalties of the criminal law. They said it allowed for a more efficient allocation of resources because the Minister of Justice had a big portfolio to start with.

Prime Minister Pearson and his colleagues were extraordinarily deeply schooled in Canadian constitutionalism. The Prime Minister was a former history professor; a renowned scholar, in fact. They were acutely aware of the importance of ensuring that the civilian oversight of the police and so on was conducted through a non-partisan office rather than a political ministry. Their choice of the ancient office of the Solicitor General in this regard was deliberate. It underlined the quasi-judicial character of the office, the desire to buffer police, prisons and pardons from the ordinary run of politics, and the ethical and moral duties of the incumbent to behave in a fashion distinct from that of ordinary political ministers.

The importance of the work of the newly proposed department cannot be gainsaid. It is important that coordination be brought to the number of functions that are rolled into this new unit, and that public safety be enhanced through that very important coordinating function. For the sake of clarity, a simple amendment designating the minister of the new department as the Solicitor General, and clarifying that she or he is to fulfill the role of that office in accordance with the established understanding, expectations and constitutional duties of that ancient office, would protect the values of common law constitutionalism and, in my view, profoundly protect Canadians from things going awry in the future.

It strikes me as certainly not the intent of the government, in introducing this bill, to corrode the principles of impartiality, judiciousness and service to the rule of law that define the Solicitor General's office, but such outcomes can arise through inadvertence, by accident, by mistake, by a slip of the draftsman's pen that leaves something unsaid that should have been said. A straightforward amendment could remedy the problem without affecting the thrust and direction of the bill in the least, and it seems to me that it would be highly desirable to be done for that reason.

Senator Cools: Thank you Mr. Chairman. I would like to thank the witness for his statement, and also to take the opportunity to welcome him before this committee, and also to underscore the work of this committee by saying that probably no institution or no group of people have contributed as much to the public understanding of defence as it is connected to national security as has this committee. No other organization has contributed as much.

Even in the formulation of this committee, I believe that the constitution of this committee crystallizes the connection between those two areas. We know that events around the world are confirming that notion.

I understood the witness to say that the Solicitor General is an ancient and important office that should not be taken away for any reason. I understood the witness to say, and I believe correctly, that the aims of this bill and the aims of attaining the goals of this bill could all have been met without eliminating or abolishing the office of the Solicitor General.

The United States of America is the jurisdiction in which 9/11 occurred, and is the jurisdiction that demonstrated to the world the need for rethinking these relationships. Is the witness aware that when the United States of America created their ministry of homeland security they did not touch their position of Solicitor General? As a matter of fact, the current incumbent is a man named Olson. They went about it by merging whatever they had to, but they did not go into those sacred positions of the law officers of the Crown. They were able to preserve that.

Has the witness noticed that? If so, has he any comment?

Mr. Pue: I understand that that question has two parts: One is comparison with U.S. practice and the other is what is implied in Canada.

I have huge respect for U.S. constitutional practice. They are a country founded on constitutional undertakings and assumptions very similar to ours, although in some ways curiously frozen in time in the 18th century, and then carried forward on their own trajectory. Offices often have the same title and sometimes the functions are the same. However, I do not have the knowledge to begin for a moment to probe the U.S. Solicitor General's department. That is, however, an interesting point that you note.

On the other point of whether all the objectives of Bill C-6 could be achieved while retaining the notion of a law officer of the Crown and all the good things that imports, it seems to me that clearly that is the case. The act could very easily create the minister as also Solicitor General and bring in the duties of impartiality, non-partisanship and all of that explicitly. I suspect that everyone would want that if they addressed their minds to it. I think it would require a very simple amendment.

Senator Cools: I, too, was quite surprised when I discovered what was happening. I read with some care the report of this committee of October 2003 entitled, Canada's Coastlines: The Longest Under-Defended Borders in the World. I am pleased to say that there is absolutely nothing in this report that could possibly be taken or used to eliminate the office of the Solicitor General. As a matter of fact, my reading of the relevant sections of this report reveals that the report seems to call for an enhanced role for the Solicitor General.

On page 118 of the report it says:

It was proposed that a separate department for security be created, that a parliamentary committee take charge, or that a cabinet committee of ministers with some responsibility for defending our borders (such as the defence minister, the solicitor general, and the minister for national revenue) take the helm.

To my mind, this report was very respectful of the ancient office of the Solicitor General and, if anything, I think was attempting not only to preserve it but also to enhance it, because it identified its role in the areas.

I should like to look at clause 7 of the bill, which is another puzzling phenomenon. If one were to examine the Canada Gazette and the nature of the oath that the incumbent took when cabinet was sworn in with Mr. Martin on December 12, one would discover that the minister was really sworn in as the Solicitor General. It is quite an oddity. I think the words are something like "to be the Solicitor General styled as the Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Public Safety." It is a rather curious phenomenon.

To the extent that that appointment happened at Government House on December 12, 2003, I wonder why it is necessary for this bill to deem that an appointment has taken place.

Clause 7(1) says:

Any person who holds the office of Solicitor General of Canada or Deputy Solicitor General of Canada on the day on which this section comes into force is deemed to have been appointed under this Act as Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness...

Mr. Pue, have you wrapped your mind around this? If the minister was appointed, why is there a clause in this bill deeming that such an appointment is to be made? Deeming is a very questionable and strange phenomenon. Have you any thoughts on that?

Mr. Pue: I have not thought about that a great deal. It is headed "Transitional Provisions" and I thought it was an attempt to continue having someone performing some functions into the new position.

Senator Cools: It is very curious. This ministry has been up and running for more than a year. I find this very puzzling and curious. You do not have any thoughts on it?

Mr. Pue: I am sorry, I cannot help you with that.

Senator Cools: An Order-in-Council or a commission issued under the hand of the Governor General in Her Majesty's name is pretty powerful stuff. I just wonder why the minister is being reappointed. I find it very odd.

There is another clause of the bill that I wonder if you could wrap your mind around. I put this question to you in light of your suggestion that this bill could be fixed. Clause 34 at page 13 of the bill describes the elimination of the Solicitor General as a terminology change. I think you have demonstrated to this committee that this is no name change; this is not a terminology change. Clause 34 says essentially:

...every reference to "Solicitor General of Canada," "Solicitor General" or "Solicitor General of Canada to be styled Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness" is replaced by a reference to the "Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness" in any Act of Parliament...

It then, for several pages, lists the acts that will be affected.

In light of the suggestion that you made, what would that entail? Would that entail a deletion of this clause? It is quite a huge one. What would the impact of your suggestion be on this clause? It involves a large number — a huge number — of sections of the acts. I also wonder about the constitutionality of describing this as a terminology change. This is no name change. This is much more fundamental.

Mr. Pue: I guess there are two ways of looking at that clause. One is that there is a new department being created and it is not called "Solicitor General" any more, so you have to change everything where it said "Solicitor General" to match the new reality. In one way of thinking of it, that does not really change what the job of the department is at all.

The thing that concerns me about that is the law of unintended effects. Will some court or ministry at some point construe this as a deliberate attempt to transform the impartial, non-partisan role of Solicitor General into something quite different from that — into a minister accountable through the ordinary mechanisms of cabinet solidarity up to the Prime Minister's Office, of a very political sort, that has massive oversight of really intrusive state apparatus? Just as I think the 1966 reforms deliberately placed awesome power in the Attorney General and the Solicitor General because of the incorporation in that of the history and understanding of the impartiality of those two law officers of the Crown, it seems to me there is a danger here in moving away from that language. It does not seem to change the effect of the bill at all to continue the language, responsibilities and duties of the Solicitor General expressly, rather than doing a terminology change that may have unintended negative consequences.

Senator Cools: Are you familiar with the Public Service Rearrangement and Transfer of Duties Act?

Mr. Pue: Would you please remind me?

Senator Cools: Over at PCO, they have people who just work at this sort of thing; I believe they call it the machinery of government, which has to do with the organization of ministries and departments, and moving aspects of departments around and so on; quite a complicated business. The Public Service Rearrangement and Transfer of Duties Act allows the Governor-in-Council to enact Orders in Council affecting these reorganizations and transferring duties from one department to the other.

The government relied on this act to enact a plethora of Orders in Council on this matter. It is very interesting how they do it. For example, in the instance of the Canada Border Services Agency, they are transferring everything to the Solicitor General, to the minister, and then they are turning around a while later to do away with the Solicitor General. It is all very strange and a little odd.

I believe, and I could be very wrong, that the Public Service Rearrangement Act is an act of Parliament, which allows the ministers or the government to reorganize in many ways. However, I do not believe that it confers upon the government any powers to touch what I would call constitutional issues or questions, such as the law officers of the Crown.

If I could just cite to you the relevant portions of the Public Service Rearrangement and Transfer of Duties Act, in section 2, which is headed "transfer of functions, amalgamation of departments," it states:

The Governor-in-Council may,

(a) transfer any powers, duties or functions, or the control or supervision of any portion of the public service from one minister to another or from one department or portion of the public service to another.

Then it continues in (b):

... amalgamate and combine any two or more departments under one minister and under one deputy minister.

I believe that the powers to do away with the Solicitor General do not exist in this act. This act is about organizing and reorganizing bureaucracies, and the key words are, "any portion of the public service from one minister to another, or from one department or portion of the public service to another." I believe that the government, in proposing Bill C-6, has overstepped the boundaries that are permitted under this particular act.

Do you have any thoughts on that? For example — and I said this on the floor of the chamber, and some thought I was saying it in jest — could the Prime Minister have an Order in Council enacted to call himself king or president? Certainly, this statute has very important constitutional limitations.

The creation of the new ministry of public safety is very clearly within the authority of this act. The moving of parts of departments around to create it is very much in order. However, I believe there is no authority whatsoever in that Public Service Rearrangement Act to touch the office of Her Majesty, or the office of the Governor General, or the officers that flow from that office.

Do you have any thoughts on that? Maybe we are in a time where these words are sounding so antiquated.

Mr. Pue: I would have to have a really good look at the act to follow some of this. It is an interesting point, that the Solicitor General is not just a public servant. The Solicitor General is a Crown office, and that is a significant part of our Constitution that operates differently from other parts of it.

The language used about powers and duties and functions struck me, because that is very similar to language used in clause 8 of the bill:

Any power, duty or function that, immediately before the coming into force of this section, was vested or exercisable by the Solicitor General of Canada.... ... under any Act, order, rule or regulation, or any contract, lease, licence or other document...

it continues, which is an interesting clause.

I was immediately struck by the fact that there is no reference to the constitutional conventions or the common law governing the office of the Solicitor General in that clause. That, again, causes me a bit of concern as to what has happened to the nature of an impartial, non-partisan law officer of the Crown to oversee these tremendously important functions. However, I am afraid I cannot comment in any more detail on the relationship between prerogative office and public service reorganization. That is a fairly large area. I have not pursued it.

Senator Cools: Your point is well taken about clause 8, because it pretty clearly talks about the powers, duties and functions that were extent and exercisable by the Solicitor General of Canada, and it says very clearly, "under any act, order, rule or regulation"; but it does not continue "the common law," which, interestingly enough, is that body of law that governs the exercise of these offices. They call them officers for a reason, because they are part of the office of the Governor General.

How much time do I have left, chairman?

The Chairman: We are very easy in this committee, Senator Cools. I would observe that you have used close to 25 minutes.

Senator Cools: We should let other senators have a chance. I was waiting for you to —

The Chairman: If a senator has some questions they want to ask, we normally let them ask them.

Senator Cools: Obviously, I should come to this committee more often.

The Chairman: You are always welcome. I would be glad to have you.

Senator Banks: My first question has to do with the matter just raised by Senator Cools, which as I understand it is that the government ought not to do this change of the name of a department because it is not proper to do it under the Public Service Rearrangement Act because that act does not go so far as to allow this to happen. That may be true but that also may be why the government, rather than simply doing that, has brought a bill forward, which will become an Act of Parliament and, if Parliament passes it, will become the will of Parliament. Would that not, in your view, obviate a question about the propriety of the government doing reorganization under the Public Service Rearrangement Act, whatever it says?

Mr. Pue: There are at least three levels of propriety that occur to me in this context.

Senator Banks: Which is the pre-eminent one? How about the will of Parliament?

Mr. Pue: Parliament is sovereign in this country within the parameters of the Canadian Constitution, and Parliament can do many things. There have been times in our past when we have not had a Solicitor General. I suppose if Her Majesty's Government does not recommend to the Governor General that anyone be appointed to that post, then there is not one, no matter what, because one of the conventions is responsible government. That is one question about propriety.

Another question is about propriety in the sense of showing fidelity to constitutional conventions that have served this country extremely well. Canada is one of the privileged countries in the world. It is a country where we have enjoyed, for the most part, both security and liberty, and the Solicitor General's office is part of the history of liberty. You can put a line underneath that.

There is a question of propriety in a larger constitutional sense. It is not the sense that the government cannot do this, but in the sense of whether it is wise, is it consonant with our traditions and values, and should we want to do that?

A third sense of propriety would be, would it be right for a government to deliberately introduce a bill that transformed impartial, quasi-judicial offices of the Crown? "Of the Crown" is important in our constitutional tradition, as we have not turned the corner to a republic yet, and the Crown in Canada represents the people as a whole, whereas the government represents the party interest in power at the time.

I was talking to Dean George Curtis, who was a professor at Dalhousie Law School before he moved to start the University of British Columbia law school in 1945 and opened with a veterans' class in September of that year. He was trained at Oxford in the days of Dicey, and this man is, to this day, at age 98, as sharp as they come. He should be a senator.

Senator Banks: He cannot be. He is 98.

Mr. Pue: I know. Terrible treatment of the traditions. Dean Curtis was reminding me of what the Crown represents, which is impartiality, the service of all the people, and not the partisan politics of the day. That is what a Crown office represents. He gave me the example of the courtroom. I do not know if senators have noticed through TV shows or visits to the United States that a U.S. courtroom always has a U.S. flag at the front, and a Canadian courtroom never does. The reason for that is that Canadian courtrooms have the royal arms, because the royal arms are representative of justice and the law for the people as a whole without regard to party politics, and the flag represents the political state.

That is a terribly moving interpretation of our Constitution. People forget. People imagine we are a republic. If we were a republic, we would have systems of checks and balances quite other than the law offices of the Crown, but we are not a republic at this point, and we do have traditions that provide some of the protection of liberties that republics obtain in other ways. Tampering with one thing that is key to our Constitution without the full-blown move towards setting up the full system of checks and balances of a republic is probably a dangerous thing to do. That is another level of propriety, touching on the Crown.

Senator Banks: Do we assume that the Solicitor General of the United States does not have impartialilty?

Mr. Pue: I make no presumptions whatsoever about the Solicitor General of the United States. I am sorry. I cannot do that.

Senator Banks: You have observed that it is the continuity of the office from the origins of our parliamentary system that imbues in the office of the Solicitor General an impartiality that makes it impervious to political suasion, pressure, whatever. I am not sure that that is entirely true. Does that imply that a Solicitor General's office which does not derive from that line is therefore not impartial?

Mr. Pue: The U.S. has a funny Constitution, because they metaphorically cut off the head of the king when they had their little tea party and revolution, but they kept all the forms. They kept the law as it was. They kept the common law, and many of the structures of government. They formed themselves into a state in the way that English country gentlemen would have, had they had the opportunity without a despotic monarch to deal with at the time.

The United States is an interesting quirk in our own constitutional history. They have maintained some language that is the same: Attorney General and Solicitor General. I am not intimately familiar with the operation of either. I know their Attorney General's office has gone to great lengths, even in the aftermath of 9/11, to observe the tradition and follow the behaviour of an impartial, non-partisan arm of government. That is apparently under pressure in the United States, as these things are around the world. They have traditions similar to ours.

I guess that does come back to the final point that I would like to make in response to that question. We have our own constitutional history and trajectory, and our Solicitor General does not look exactly the same as the British one, or the American one, or the Australian one, or the New Zealand one, or whatever, but we have a fair history. We are one of the older free and democratic countries in the world. We have had these traditions now for a long time, and we have taken, as the United States has, a thousand year history of British liberties and transformed them into ways that are compatible with the life and constitutionalism that we are evolving.

Senator Banks: The United States would have been a monarchy had George Washington not refused the Crown that was offered him. You talked about the long continuity of English common law. Do we need to have, in every Act of Parliament, a clause that says that common law will be observed in respect of this Act of Parliament? I cannot think of another one where that is so, yet common law obtains.

Mr. Pue: In looking at Bill C-6, it seems to me that there are many interpretations possible, and that from my point of view does not seem desirable. It is better than an Act to have have one clear interpretation on these central things.

One really important feature about Bill C-6 is the scope, the reach, the size and the implications of this new department. It is enormous. It is very powerful. It is very important. It must be done right. It must be done right in the interests of safety and security and emergency preparedness, but it also must be done right in the interests of not jettisoning the traditions and liberties and values that we all have in pursuit of those things.

The ambiguity regarding a key constitutional officer, that of the second law officer of the Crown, troubles me because we are not sure whether we are jettisoning that tradition while we create a mega department, or whether the bill in some kind of way is intending to carry that tradition forward. We have lost the language, and we have lost the office. When you lose the language and the office, you may be on the verge of losing the concepts.

I was struck when I was preparing to come here, reading a book by Professor Edwards of the University of Toronto, prepared for the MacDonald commission, one of those occasions when we have had cause to review security and policing in Canada. Professor Edwards said that the constitutional propriety of a country always turns on the hearts and souls of the people in public office, and if you have a bad Solicitor General or a bad person as Attorney General, there is not a lot to protect you from that.

He also says that the duty of Parliament, the duty of government in the broader sense, is to try to structure arrangements in such a way as to encourage the positive and reduce the possibility for the negative. From my point of view, the Solicitor General is a pretty positive tradition — not without blemish, not without problems, but a positive tradition to build on.

Senator Banks: We are concerned with the scope, the power, the authority and the breadth of the department that is being formed by this bill because it is, in fact, our recommendation that that be done. One reason we recommended that those powers converge into the hands of specifically the Deputy Prime Minister was a cogent awareness which we had of the order of hierarchy or precedence in the ministry in which past Solicitor Generals have not only been merely the junior legal officer but also, with all respect, have been very junior indeed in the order of preference.

We wanted to make sure that these matters that have a new-found importance to everybody were in the hands of a person who was much higher in the order of preference, and would therefore be sitting in more places in cabinet. That is a statement, not a question. I just wanted you to be aware of that.

This country used to have a minister of external affairs. We now call him or her the Minister of Foreign Affairs, which has not had any effect on the efficacy of the persons in that office. We used to have a minister of the interior. We used to have a minister of war production. But I gather that you think that the office, in itself, and the name of that office — we could call it the Lord Provost or the Lord Chamberlain, which would actually be more British — the name itself carries with it something that will determine the character of the person who holds the office, or the nature of the office in itself. Could you explain that to me, because if we called this person anything —

Mr. Pue: National dog catcher.

Senator Banks: Yes, and nevertheless they access the responsibilities, the authority and the powers of that office and the purpose of the office. Does it not, as you said earlier, rely upon the character of the person in that office, in the end? I have not looked, but I suspect that perhaps my republic may have had some Solicitor Generals, and the fact that it might have even carried forward into the next hideous government did not make any difference. A bad guy is a bad guy, is a bad guy. If you paste a label on his head, it does not make him a good guy.

Mr. Pue: The history of recent Solicitors General is probably somewhere that we do not want to go in great detail, in terms of the stature that they have brought to the office. It has been very unfortunate. I much regret the way that that office has been treated sometimes in the recent past. The current officer fulfilling those functions is somebody who I submit would bring status, power, privilege, rank and precedence, no matter what we called her.

Senator Banks: That was our point.

Mr. Pue: It is very important that this position be staffed in those kinds of ways, rather than just trying to find someone to create regional balance or something, to serve in a position where they will, in fact, be prevailed upon by other people because they do not understand their job. It is a very important job; both Solicitor General and this new ministry are very important jobs. In Canadian law we have terms of art that mean things. One of those is Solicitor General. It is not just a minister of foreign affairs or external affairs or national dog catcher, it is a term of art in law that imports a whole lot of constitutional convention, constitutional history, which is an important part of the Constitution of this country, and common law rulings in cases all over about duties of the Crown. It is more than just the name of another bureaucracy subject to shuffle. It carries a lot of meaning.

When Mr. Pearson and his cabinet brought in their changes, the choice of name was quite deliberate. It was not an accident; it was very deliberate and had a meaning as to what that office would be.

The question arises, if we abolish the term, is there a meaning implied in that? I am less comfortable with having a minister of police, for example, than a Solicitor General, who respects the separation of police from political power.

Senator Banks: Thank you.

Senator Day: Professor Pue, I think you have touched on most of the points that I wanted to ask, but I will just clarify. Prior to 1966 and Mr. Pearson, there was no Solicitor General before that creation?

Mr. Pue: There was a Solicitor General, but not a department. There was a Solicitor General serving in the role of the junior law officer of the Crown in the Justice Department.

Senator Day: At the time of that creation, the person had held the office previously, and Lester Pearson was in a minority situation most of his time in office?

Mr. Pue: The person came out of Justice to head a department called Solicitor General, which was an innovation there.

Senator Day: A political person with the title of Solicitor General, and Lester Pearson gave the title to somebody. In practice, was it understood that that person would be expected not to be partisan in a minority government and therefore could not be called upon to support the minority government?

Mr. Pue: There is partisan and partisan. I have not met a politician yet that is not partisan to some extent. The distinction that the Solicitor General should honour, and the Attorney General should honour, and should be briefed on when they take office by their staff, and that they can be reminded by the Commissioner of the RCMP when they traipse over the terrain that they are not supposed to traipse into, is when they are dealing with certain kinds of things that they are not acting in a party political fashion.

Senator Day: It is only certain kinds of things. It is not in all of their actions?

Mr. Pue: When you run an election campaign, you are running as most often a liberal, I would guess, but sometimes other things.

Senator Day: When they are sitting in the House, are they supposed to be non-partisan, is that what you are telling us? They act like the Speaker of the House and be neutral?

Mr. Pue: They are supposed to, first of all, give independent legal advice to the government. This is the law office of the Attorney General, that one. They are supposed to step outside of the partisan role when they are dealing with things that affect the individual liberties of people. Thus, if there is a desire to have a police investigation, say, of a former prime minister for some breach of the law, that should not be motivated by party political concerns; that should be motivated by legal concerns because there is evidence of wrongdoing. If there is a decision not to prosecute somebody, that should be made for good legal decisions, not for partisan points-gaining. The law offices of the Crown can make decisions not to prosecute because of a desire to advance the larger public good. A case that is quite common is all the criminal activity that happens during labour disputes. You have a picket line and people are violent and threatening, and destroying property, and all that stuff. The labour dispute comes to an end. The last thing for industrial peace, and peace in communities that is helpful is to go ahead with all the prosecutions that were begun. Quite commonly, the law officers of the Crown will decide that it is not in the larger interests of the community to proceed with those prosecutions. If they decided, for example "We won our last majority by one seat, and it is in this particular constituency where there are some real bad actors, and we had better not press them" that would be legitimate. It is that kind of personal, independent, non-partisan judgment, that when the crunch comes, when the rubber hits the road, the law officers of the Crown are supposed to exercise in the larger interests, not in the narrower partisan one.

Senator Day: If the Solicitor General were called upon to support the government legislative proposal, say, for example, Bill C-36, which deals with a collective security that has to be balanced against individual liberties, are you suggesting that they would be called upon to advocate the individual liberties as opposed to, or against those that are advocating for a more collective security?

Mr. Pue: I think there is a question that the relationship between liberty and security is one that has to be balanced in particular circumstances at a particular time. By Bill C-36 you are speaking of the one that became the Anti-Terrorism Act?

Senator Day: Yes.

Mr. Pue: I assume that members of Parliament voting for that did so in good conscience in a period of time when they felt there was extreme stress on the security situation. Having tried their best to balance things like liberties and the rights of Canadians against other things, and in that particular case I happen to think that there is need to revise, to clarify, to make things that are very ambiguous less ambiguous for the protection of everybody.

However, I do not suggest for a moment that it would be inappropriate for somebody who holds the office of Solicitor General to back a bill of that sort. That is the parliamentary process in which the Solicitor General is acting as an MP and a member of cabinet, passing though legislation which one hopes is in the interests of the community as a whole. If any minister perceived legislation as being diametrically opposed to Canada as a whole, then they should not act.

Senator Day: I agree with that, as I think we all do. I was trying to understand the special onerous duty that you put on these law officers of the Crown. I think of all cabinet ministers as being ministers of the Crown, but you were giving them a more important role.

Mr. Pue: No. Law officer of the Crown is a distinct role, and there are only two of them. The rubber hits the road with these ministers. Imagine a malafide person occupying the position of minister of police because we do not have a Solicitor General, or even that notion. If that person does not like members of the NDP, they may decide to have the police investigate people because of their party stripes.

Senator Banks: We have done that, and the office did not stop it.

Mr. Pue: You are right, and that led to its own review process and its own criticism, which led to Ron Bassford, among others, re-enunciating the standard of integrity that is supposed to attach to these offices. That power, when misdirected, is draconian. It is very important that police powers, the Parole Board, Justice prosecutions and such, not be misdirected for partisan purposes, because there go the liberties of everyone.

Senator Day: I think this question was asked, but I am not sure that I understood your answer. Do you have a difficulty with these law officer of the Crown duties — at least some of them, including the Solicitor General duties — being invested in the individual who also has responsibility for police, intelligence and security measures?

Mr. Pue: It seems appropriate to me that the people bearing those responsibilities view themselves as law officers of the Crown, not as partisan political actors, and it seems appropriate to me that they understand their office, as a law officer of the Crown, of being buffered from interference from above or the side so that their cabinet colleagues cannot say, "So and so is being a real nuisance in my riding. Can't you get the police to prosecute him or her?" The Prime Minister cannot say, "If you ever want to get a better job, you had better do this, because I don't like those people."

That is where the law officer of the Crown notion comes in. It is outside of the ordinary cabinet solidarity thing. If all the ministers of cabinet are sitting around the table and they agree that it would be highly desirable, from a party point of view, to persecute someone through the police and prosecution process because they are of an opposing political party, the law officer of the Crown should say, "No, these things are in the quasi-judicial terrain that attaches to my office and, even though I am a member of this cabinet, I will not do that."

Senator Day: Where you and I are having difficulty communicating is that I do not have the same low opinion of the other cabinet ministers. I do not feel that other cabinet ministers would do the things you have suggested they might do that would require certain cabinet ministers to have a higher standard. I am having difficulty understanding a higher standard because I think all cabinet ministers have that higher standard.

Mr. Pue: Many ministers will not be blamed for acting in their own partisan interest. The ministry, the partisan role and ideological commitment that comes with party identity roll into one. However, the ideological commitment of someone in charge of the police must be the ideological commitment to the rule of law in all its integrity. That is where the difference arises.

Senator Day: Surely that applies to the Minister of National Defence as well?

Mr. Pue: There is a lot of constitutional stuff around National Defence that is very important too.

Senator Munson: I have two simple questions after those complex questions. I like to keep things simple, and your amendment seems to be simple. Have you had any reaction from the government?

Mr. Pue: I am not an advisor to the government, except through you.

Senator Munson: You are proposing something here. Is this the first time that you have mentioned this publicly, or have you written letters to the government?

Mr. Pue: No. This is my first time commenting on this matter. To tell you the truth, I thought it was a fait accompli a year ago. A new ministry was announced, everything seemed to be set and I just assumed it had been done.

Senator Munson: Is it simply a matter of putting the words "Solicitor General" inside the short title "Establishment of the Department?"

Mr. Pue: That would make me happy.

Senator Munson: I am asking these questions on behalf of those of us who are not conversant in constitutional law, although many here are.

For ordinary Canadians who are watching this committee, why is what you are proposing so important for ordinary Canadians? How can they understand how important it is for their lives?

Mr. Pue: I take it for granted that we want security, and security comes, in part, through packaging powers that are extraordinary — powers of the police; powers of investigation; powers of spy agencies, for lack of a better word; powers that on the whole we, as citizens, do not like coming into our lives. We have a need for security because there are bad people out there. Because there are bad people out there, we need powerful interventions in civic life to control them and stop them from harming us.

The point is not about ministers not being trustworthy, or not being held to high expectations generally, but because we have that profound belief in the rule of law and constitutionalism, we want to build in protections as much as we can where we create extraordinary powers. The new ministry is enormous and very powerful, and will lead in the future to interesting cross-fertilizations, which is the very point of it. Our liberties have been protected to some extent by keeping agencies apart, and now we are bringing them together under one bureaucracy.

Frankly, the constitutional responsibility for ensuring that things do not go off the rails under pressure of particular crises at particular times rests with individuals such as yourselves. I think the Senate is a very good institution to be policing these things, because of the lack of immediate political interest. The vigilance of parliamentarians in the other place is very important as well.

The office of the Solicitor General happens to be one place in our Constitution where we have underlined in bold ink the importance of impartiality, of the rule of law and of integrity in the operation of justice. Those are key values to which all Canadians subscribe. I believe there is a difference between a minister for police and security, or whatever you want to call it, and a Solicitor General

The Chairman: You mentioned that Canada has gone through periods of time when it had no Solicitor General. Can you cite any examples of harm or damage that was done as a result of that?

Mr. Pue: Canada is a really interesting country. We have had many evolutions, but one is as a British colony that was dependent on governance from the Colonial Office through to, as of 1981, a fully sovereign and independent country on the world stage. The RCMP, for one example that is important in this portfolio, was founded as a colonial police force. Its model was the Royal Irish Constabulary, which to this day has a terrible name in Catholic portions of Northern Ireland. There were similar police forces around the empire. They called them native police in Australia. The RCMP started out looking not very much like a police force. They marched west in red uniforms, on horses, armed with lances. It was a colonizing force in the positive, and maybe the negative, sense of that word.

The transition of Canada from a colonial territory to a full-fledged constitutional democracy involved, in part, bringing the police into a civilian role rather than a military one, and throughout their history the RCMP was brought from colonial foundations more and more into the domain of civilian police. There was tremendous acceleration in that in the period after the 1950s.

There was a case called the Nicholson affair, where a commissioner of the RCMP felt he had to tender his resignation because of political interference by Prime Minister Diefenbaker and his cabinet. There is a another whole story there, and I think it has been significantly misunderstood in terms of what happened.

The Chairman: There was no Solicitor General at that time?

Mr. Pue: By that time, there was a Solicitor General. The Solicitor General's office comes into play as a junior office in the Department of Justice in the late 19th century, and then transformed to cabinet status around the time of World War I.

The Chairman: Why bring up the Nicholson case if there was a Solicitor General, then? My question was: Can you cite problems that have happened during the periods of time when there was no Solicitor General?

Mr. Pue: We are talking about an entirely different operation of police and security forces in Canada, a time when there was no Solicitor General. The period before 1966 would be a time before the Solicitor General had a department that was in charge of the RCMP. My assessment of Nicholson is that part of the reason we find the RCMP being rolled into Solicitor General as a new department in 1966 was in the aftermath of the concerns about police that led up to that, and the decade immediately preceding. There is a question of continuity between the 1950s and the 1960s in that respect. Things did, apparently, go wrong in Nicholson, but that would be a very long tale.

The Chairman: In your view, was it a question of someone having that particular title that caused reforms to take place that meant we no longer had problems with the RCMP?

Mr. Pue: Yes, there were no problems with the RCMP in the 1970s, were there?

The Chairman: That is why I asked the question.

Mr. Pue: I do not think there is a magic bullet here. I do not think that waving the wand and saying, "Solicitor General here or there" will solve all problems. It is simply one of those traditions built into our Constitution that is intended to create a buffer that is helpful, but it is not the end of the story.

The Chairman: That being said, would the same object be achieved if words were written into the bill that specifically described the sort of impartiality and lack of partisan activity that someone in this position should have?

Mr. Pue: That would be an alternative to writing in the words "Solicitor General." It would not be hard to draft.

The Chairman: In your view, "Solicitor General" would constitute code for just spelling out how you would want the individual to behave differently from other members of the cabinet?

Mr. Pue: You might specify in the statute that it is confirming the common law, understanding the exercise of these powers. It is many-layered. It attaches to police officers as well a Solicitor General. There is a lot of common law history there. You might assert and make explicit that the duties of this new office are to be carried out in a non-partisan way. You might acknowledge that many of these powers traipse into what used to be called the quasi-judicial sphere. I am not sure what language you would use to describe that because developments in the administrative law render that problematic. However, you want to capture that sense. You might, as a final measure, just simply incorporate the term "Solicitor General" somewhere in it.

The Chairman: Did I understand you correctly, professor, in your introductory remarks, to suggest that the absence of the position of Solicitor General would increase the likelihood that Canada would become a country like Nazi Germany?

Mr. Pue: You have to ask why we have constitutional conventions and why we have a Constitution at all. I firmly believe in the good faith of people who hold public office in this country. I firmly believe that the values that Canadians adhere to across the board are those of the rule of law, decent behaviour and people keeping within their constitutional jurisdiction. We have a fine history of constitutionalism; we have a fine partly-written Constitution, and we have a fine set of people in public office.

My concern is not that if you leave the word "Solicitor General" out, you are immediately Nazi Germany, but that the historical weight of this office, what it has borne in our history, is precisely that of upholding those values that we hold dear, namely, the values of the rule of law and impartiality, and the understanding that even when this person holds cabinet office, he or she is not a minister just like any other. He or she has special duties to the law.

Senator Atkins: Could you see a time when the minister of this new portfolio, who is so powerful and who is also Deputy Prime Minister, in a conflict where, in that person's good judgment, he or she should say to the cabinet, "No, this is something that we cannot do because it violates the principles of democracy?"

Mr. Pue: Can I see a situation where somebody would do that?

Senator Atkins: Yes.

Mr. Pue: I hope so. That is our constitutional tradition.

Senator Atkins: Is there conflict in the fact that that person is Deputy Prime Minister and has a portfolio that gives him or her somewhat significant powers? Do you see the possibility of a conflict?

Mr. Pue: Does this bill require that the Minister for Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness also be Deputy Prime Minister? I do not think so. I think that is an accident of history.

Senator Cools: They corrected it in the bill.

Mr. Pue: "Deputy Prime Minister" is an interesting constitutional innovation. One of the unfortunate things about putting those powers in that office is that it implies you are deputy to somebody else, but you have quasi-judicial functions, you are supposed to exercise independent legal judgment, yet you are accountable to your superior in the chain of command. There is a blurriness there that leaves me uncomfortable, but I do not see it built into the bill as such.

Senator Atkins: There are always anomalies in the structure of the government. You have confidence in this new minister who is in charge of this function, but there is the possibility that the next minister who might succeed is not one you would have confidence in, and you raised the fact that there were a number of Solicitors General you had some doubt about over the last few years in our history.

Mr. Pue: We have constitutions and we have statutes, come to that, not to protect us against people who are entirely right-minded in what they do, but to protect us against the possibility of error, or the possibility of circumstances developing where right-minded people do wrong-minded things, or the possibility of wrong-minded people coming into office. Therefore, a Constitution or a bill of this sort is not to protect us against the incumbent now, but to structure things so we can have confidence, as much as is humanly possible, that five, 10, 20 or 30 years down the road, we have put the structures in place that tend in the right direction, that underline principles that are important, that tend to confirm constitutional values that we hold dear. That is the most that can be done. The heavy lifting, when this new department is fully up and running, will be with people in the various positions within it to police it for its integrity, to ask critical questions of themselves and, when the time is right, to be asked critical questions by parliamentary review processes, in the courts and all the usual mechanisms of accountability in Canadian democracy. There will be a lot of work, for this committee amongst others, in helping to shave off the rough edges and refine this new creature as it develops to make sure it is efficient but also rights respecting at it develops. There is a lot to be done. That is not an argument against it.

Senator Atkins: "Solicitor General," in a sense, had an arm's-length relationship sometimes with the government?

Mr. Pue: It absolute should have. That is the nature of Solicitor General and Attorney General.

Senator Banks: My question, professor, has to do with the sort of omnipresence of the common law. In the last Parliament, we were dealing with a bill in which it was being argued by some that a particular reference to the common law ought to be included in the bill. The Department of Justice argued to us that that was unnecessary because the common law is pervasive, and no reference need be made in any particular bill in order to ensure that it will be evoked when and if required. Would you agree with that opinion?

Mr. Pue: The common law is, generally speaking, presumed to continue, yes. Should I give the follow-up?

Senator Banks: Sure.

Mr. Pue: With this one, we have more than the question of the common law being presumed to continue; we have what appears to be a formal abolishment of a constitutional office of great antiquity.

Senator Banks: But not of the common law.

Mr. Pue: Not of the entire common law, certainly not. When you abolish the office, the question that the courts would have to deal with in interpreting this subsequently is: Did the legislature, by abolishing the language of Solicitor General, intend also to abolish the concept of Solicitor General or, despite their choice not to use those words, which are well-known, did they intend that the office of Solicitor General continue in an informal way? That is the question the courts would face.

Senator Forrestall: Does the office of Deputy Prime Minister have any statutory authority?

Mr. Pue: The office of Deputy Prime Minister is one I have never fully understood. I understand it was an honorific created by Prime Minister Trudeau for Senator MacEachen. It was an office that was designed originally as a help to the Prime Minister in controlling the House. I think the House leader and the Deputy Prime Minister won. It is an institution that seems to be evolving and changing without a whole lot of forward planning about that. It is a Republican form, senator.

Senator Forrestall: I will leave it to Senator Cools. It is something she has concerns about.

Senator Cools: I will deal with the Deputy Prime Minister last. I think that some members of the committee were having difficulty grasping the fact that the law officers of the Crown have additional powers from ordinary ministers, and that a person may be a law officer of the Crown and not be a member of cabinet, because those positions have been in and out of cabinet for centuries. In other words, a minister has one set of powers; the law officers of the Crown have an additional set of powers, and those powers all relate to the administration of justice and the guarding of the public interest in respect of national justice.

I believe you were referring to the Dorion inquiry, although you did not mention it by name, which interestingly enough gave rise to the separation of the Solicitor General from the Department of Justice.

The Chairman: I would ask you to ask a question of the witness.

Senator Cools: I am about to. May I make a comment?

The Chairman: It is customary, when we have someone coming from a long way, to take advantage of their visit.

Senator Cools: I am. I was trying to assist him in what he was saying. In respect of the Dorion inquiry, I would like to read from what Professor Edwards had to say because, if you remember, a Minister of Justice fell precisely on these very questions.

A separation of functions, it is suggested, was not breached by the minister's failure to consult the full-time legal staff in the Department of Justice. Rather, it was violated by Mr. Favreau's failure to comprehend that he had certain functions to perform qua Minister of Justice with respect to the RCMP's investigation of the allegations, and an entirely distinct role to play as Attorney General of Canada when the decision was whether or not to authorize criminal prosecutions.

When one is looking at the combining of these ministries here, you are looking precisely at those enormous — you say quasi-judicial powers; I would describe them as judicial powers in respect of initiating and processing prosecutions against Joe public. It is a very important matter. I just wanted to get that out there for you.

The Chairman: It is a bit like jeopardy, Senator Cools. You have to work into a question at the end.

Senator Cools: And I will. You said a few minutes ago that you have some concerns about the Deputy Prime Minister. Unfortunately, the Deputy Prime Minister has no constitutional history. I am talking about the position, not the person. This has nothing to do with the person. The Prime Minister derives his authority to be Her Majesty's First Minister by virtue of the fact of his relationship to the House of Commons. The Deputy Prime Minister has no such constitutional validity. In addition, if you were to look at some of the descriptions of the Deputy Prime Minister, it is said that, really, the position has no legal force.

I understand that the intention of this particular Senate committee's report was to upgrade the status of the issues by housing some of them in persons near to the Prime Minister. What is wrong here is the abolition of the officers. Sir John A. Macdonald was Prime Minister, Minister of Justice and Attorney General, so it is the merger here with which we are concerned.

Have you given any thought to the constitutional position of the Deputy Prime Minister?

Mr. Pue: The merger of Minister of Justice and Attorney General seems to me to be a template that could be applied here. Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, that is not complicated, and the office is protected and the values that accompany that office are protected, while achieving the substantive goals of the legislation. The Deputy Prime Minister is an interesting constitutional innovation. Some of the senators were commenting that it is like a deputy president. It is a republican form of government appended to a Westminster constitutionalism, which is always an uncomfortable and awkward fit.

Senator Cools: What I am hearing you say is that the government should look at making a correction to this bill to preserve the position of Solicitor General and the Minister of Public Safety. It could be the Solicitor General and the Minister of Public Safety, as the Minister of Justice is the Minister of Justice and the Attorney General. All that could have been accomplished. What I have not been able to understand is why did they think they had to jettison the office?

I have a follow-up question. I am told that the model for doing this comes out of Quebec because apparently around 1988, the Assembly of Quebec passed a bill which essentially renamed the Solicitor General of Quebec as the Minister of Public Security. They have a different name. That is despite a section of the BNA Act that states clearly that Quebec must have a Solicitor General. Do you have any thoughts on that?

Mr. Pue: It is not for me, from British Columbia, having come on the Red Eye last night, to take on Quebec constitutionalism, which is its own special case, in part because of the special history of this country. I cannot comment on that.

I am sure Parliament does not behave in the same boring way that faculties do, but we would call it a friendly amendment to put in the words that surely were intended in the first place. What I have been talking about is not hostile to the intent of the bill.

Senator Cools: I agree with you. The government could have achieved all the same goals of looking at national security without touching that ancient office. I know it sounds unrealistic or beyond the pale of our imagination, but there are many jurisdictions where, when all constitutional power has collapsed, the sole constitutional authority that they can look to are those positions. I would be the Governor, the Attorney General, and the Solicitor General.

Your point is well taken by me, but the real problem that we have everywhere throughout this country is the fact that Canadians and members are no longer acquainted with the constitutional system. I notice that you made a reference to Mr. Basford's statement in the House of Commons on the role of the Attorney General. It was very interesting that when Mr. Basford became aware of this paucity of knowledge, he went out of his way to try to support and to promote a greater debate and a greater understanding of the independent roles of the law officers of the Crown. The man has recently died, but he did make a good contribution in being able to resuscitate an interest in the importance of these positions because they are supposed to administer justice in a very particular way.

The Chairman: Professor Pue, on behalf of the committee I would like to thank you very much. It was very good of you to take the Red Eye. We appreciate your coming before us. We appreciate your assisting us in the examination of this important piece of legislation. We are grateful to you for your time.

The committee continued in camera.