Proceedings of the Standing Senate Committee on
National Security and Defence
Issue 21 - Evidence, May 6, 2005
HALIFAX, Friday, May 6, 2005
The Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence met this day at 11:10 a.m. to examine and report
on the national security policy for Canada.
Senator Colin Kenny (Chairman) in the chair.
The Chairman: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. I am calling the Standing Senate Committee on National
Security and Defence to order. Inasmuch as after a couple of days here I feel like we know everybody already, I will
dispense with the more formal introductions.
On my right are Senator Forrestall, Senator Nolin and Senator Munson, and on my left is Senator Cordy. We have
just returned from an instructive and interesting visit to a submarine and a destroyer and we are looking forward to
continuing with today's hearings.
We have before us Rear-Admiral Dan McNeil, Commander, Maritime Forces Atlantic. RAdm. McNeil was
commissioned into the Canadian Forces in 1973. He served in a number of Her Majesty's Canadian ships, and between
ship appointments was also an instructor at the Naval Officers Training Centre. He was promoted to Captain in 1990
and went on to command the HMCS Protecteur and HMCS Huron. Upon promotion to commodore, he was
appointed Director, Force Planning & Program Coordination; then later, Director of Operations and Strategic
Planning, Foreign and Defence Policy, in the Privy Council Office. In 2003 RAdm. McNeil was promoted to his
present rank and assumed the title of Senior Defence Policy Advisor in the Privy Council Office. In 2004 he was
appointed as Commander, Maritime Forces Atlantic.
With him is Commodore Tyrone Pile, Commander, Canadian Fleet Atlantic. Cmdre. Pile entered the Canadian
Forces in1975 and has served at sea on a number of Canadian warships.He was promoted to captain (naval) in 1999
and in August of 2000 was appointed Director of NATO Policy at National Defence Headquarters, where he served
until assuming command of the Fourth Maritime Operations Group in August of 2000. He relinquished command of
the operations group in August of 2002 to participate in a symposium course in China, graduating in December of
2002. On promotion to commodore in July of 2003, he assumed his current appointment as Commander, Canadian
Fleet Atlantic. Cmdre. Pile is a graduate of the combat control officer course, national security studies course, and a
Canadian Forces command and staff course.
Gentlemen, welcome to the committee.
Rear-Admiral Dan McNeil, Commander, Maritime Forces Atlantic, National Defence: Senators, it is a real pleasure
to be here in Halifax and not Ottawa and to be with you today.
Mr. Chairman, members of the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence, on behalf of the
7,800 military and civilian people in my organization, I wish to welcome you to Halifax. I have with me Cmdre. Ty
Pile, the Commander of the Atlantic Fleet. He will also make a statement. I will make some concluding remarks and
then we will be prepared to answer your questions.
We are happy to situate for you the overall state and readiness of Canada's East Coast navy, to speak about the
national security policy, the new defence policy, and to speak somewhat about the future of the Canadian Forces in
Atlantic Canada. It is actually a story of accomplishments and challenges.
However, I have a sense of déjà vu sitting before you and it all comes down to the adage I love very much, ``Where
you stand depends on where you sit.'' Where I stood the last time I was a witness before your committee, Mr. Chair,
was as Director, Force Planning and Program Coordination, in charge of the capital plan for the Canadian Forces,
and I had a wonderful repartee with Senator Forrestall, among others, because I would not defend the replacement of
the 280 class destroyer. Wearing a naval uniform in front of you, I said it is the navy's job to do that. I had what we call
a purple job. I am not there now. I am here. When I reported back to the building I was called by the Chief, Maritime
Staff, who said, ``What have you done, Dan?'' VAdm. Buck understood perfectly that where I stood depended on
where I sat. However, it will be a pleasure.
The Chairman: We still plan to compare transcripts word for word.
RAdm. McNeil: Our mission is to generate, employ, maintain and sustain maritime forces to meet Canada's defence
needs. Halifax was the place where war was most felt in Canada during the Battle of the Atlantic commemorated last
weekend. I commend to you a recently released social history of Halifax and the navy of the period called Sailors,
Slackers and Blind Pigs. It is a very good read and a very good social history.
The Canadian navy has been at home here in Halifax since its inception almost a hundred years ago. Of course, in
the Maritimes, defence and security have always been real, as evidenced by the citadels, fortresses, and naval, air, army
and militia bases and units that occupy the landscape right on the peninsula; and the ships, submarines and aircraft
that sail and fly right in front of the people of the Halifax region.
As I continue, let me say we have come a long way, and especially so in the last decade and a half. They have been
years of transition and transformation for Canada's Maritime Forces. Nowhere has this been more evident than on our
Back in the late 1980s your fleet consisted of 30-year-old steam-propelled destroyers, many of which were more
often in refit than at sea, and this is personal for me because my last command before I came here to command the
formation was HMCS Assiniboine number two.
It is remarkable to me that, having visited Athabaskan with you today, I tell you I was the last commanding officer
of the Assiniboine, and she was into her thirty-third year of service. You went aboard a destroyer today that is in its
thirty-second year of service. The difference is, when I commanded Assiniboine she had not been modernized during
those 30-plus years. We simply put in a flight deck and flew Sea King helicopters off of her. She was converted in the
In my last year of commanding that frigate destroyer, we actually went down to the storerooms to get vacuum tubes
out that had been packaged in 1952. The destroyer you went on board today was modernized with a significant mid-life
conversion and will carry on, but it is an indicator of the transformation.
Our Oberon submarines, back when I commanded Assiniboine, were going through a submarine update program we
used to call SOUP, and of course we were planning the Tribal class conversion that you saw this morning.
Our operational readiness at that time was at what we would call a very low tide. Happily, and we are all very
grateful actually, the Cold War did end at a time when we had major recapitalization in progress — and capitalization
is important for navies — specifically, the Canadian patrol frigate program and the maritime coastal defence program.
We say quite proudly today that Canada has the best navy in its weight class in the world. The big question is can we
sustain that position?
Today, the Halifax class frigates are veritable workhorses, performing a myriad of missions on the high seas and
projecting our reputation and credibility worldwide. Our MCDVs are also true workhorses. We have Goose Bay and
Shawinigan in Londonderry today operating with our NATO allies. Our Victoria class submarines were well on their
way to assuming an operational place in the fleet until the Chicoutimi accident, and hopefully today we are well on the
path to recommence making those submarines a part of the fleet.
And of course the TRUMP destroyers, including Athabaskan today, are a vital part of our command control and air
defence capability for the fleet, and we will continue to sustain them as long as we can. We have Preserver down on the
waterfront just coming out of refit, the one AOR, and there is a funded program to replace them with a joint support
In the air, you heard yesterday our long-range air patrol capability is being modernized, and finally we are moving
forward in Shearwater with replacing our Sea King fleet. You heard that yesterday as well.
The ships and planes, or the capability that is represented, would never leave the jetty or take flight without
supporting infrastructure. Here again our assets are quantifiable, and they are expensive. There are pluses and minuses
in this equation. Our dockyard supply depot, electronic maintenance facility and this brand-new wardroom represent
the modern and what we have been able to achieve.
On the other scale, I do not think there is a building in CFB Shearwater that is less than 50 years old, and it will be a
huge challenge to modernize that. The base commander will be speaking to you later and I leave you to challenge him
as to how we will do that.
However, our most valuable resource is, of course, people, the men and women in uniform and our civilian
workforce counterparts, all of whom together make this formation the extraordinary organization it is. There is no
greater privilege, no prouder responsibility, than to command such a group of dedicated professionals. Every day our
people add real meaning to the motto, ``Ready, Aye Ready.'' This is a results-driven team tested by the challenges and
proven by accomplishments, from the significant transformation of the recent two decades and the contribution to the
campaign against terrorism, what we call Operation APOLLO, to missions at home such as the Swissair disaster
recovery and aid to civil authorities during events like Hurricane Juan. Our men and women and their families, regular
force and reserves, are proud members of the community of the Maritimes and of Canada.
I will end my opening remarks on this very positive note. There is no doubt that my formation faces huge challenges
in adjusting to the new and improved maritime security policy, the newly announced defence policy, the challenges of
resources, the demographic and fiscal challenges. However, we will endeavour to continue on our mission, and as long
as we can put our emphasis on people, military and civilian, we will succeed.
I will now turn it over to your fleet commander, Cmdre. Pile.
Commodore Ty Pile, Commander, Canadian Fleet Atlantic, National Defence: Mr. Chairman, members of the
committee, thank you. Good day. Bonjour. The ability to generate forces remains challenging, to say the least. The
aftermath effects of Op APOLLO and Op ALTAIR on force regeneration, coincident with a multi-ship tiered
readiness program, an ever-present fleet maintenance ``bow wave,'' and the increased scope of activities particular to
the introduction of the Victoria class submarines are exercising MARLANT's overall capacity to maintain, let alone
improve, fleet readiness and sustainment.
Of most concern is the ability to get the Victoria class submarines back to sea following the tragic accident last year
with HMCS Chicoutimi. As well, we need to address current engineering and maintenance deficiencies within the fleet.
All activities performed in MARLANT are prioritized as much as possible to generate force capability represented by
the fleet warships and the fleet diving unit.
The direction and resource allocation guidance is contained in the ``Maritime Capability Planning Guide 2005.'' It is
in this plan that the following three issues were discussed as matters of caution.
First is the NATO Reaction Force. MARLANT's direction to conduct two NATO Standing Naval Maritime
Group deployments, and to assume command of the Standing Naval Maritime Group flagship duties in 2006 are
national responsibilities. As such, they must be considerednon-discretionary. However, as they are nationally directed
contingency operations, it is expected that separate funding will be provided for the planning and execution of these
The second caution is submarines. It is easily forgotten amongst the profile and concern created by the Chicoutimi
incident last fall that we had already achieved significant progress in the submarine operational capability and
milestones with this Victoria class submarine. HMCS Victoria made the coastal transfer to her new home base in
Esquimalt. HMCS Windsor was at sea, training and qualifying new submariners and preparing to conduct operations
at the task group level. HMCS Corner Brook's Canadianization was well under way and the sailing of Chicoutimi
marked the end of the United Kingdom-based portion of the Victoria class acquisition.
This momentum was genuine and the accomplishments were significant. This must be the point that we return to
quickly once the operational pause is lifted as we restart our essential training program and transition our submarine
fleet to operations and a greater operational capability.
Our progress was tempered, not only by Op APOLLO and post-Op APOLLO regeneration priorities, but also by
inflexible workforce limitations. I am very pleased we have decided to move submarines to the front of the priority line.
The third point is our civilian workforce. This is an issue that Capt. Smith will speak to in terms of the limited
capacity of the Fleet Maintenance Facility. Due to the lack of personnel resources, MARLANT is approaching the
limit of the work that can be completed until further hiring can be accomplished. Last year we had to impose a hiring
freeze. It put MARLANT a year behind in to putting personnel resources in place to address not only short-term
priorities such as Fleet Maintenance Facility capacity, but also the implementation of a robust workforce renewal
That completes my comments. I will now turn it back to Adm. McNeil for some final comments on the effect of the
most recent budget on the formation.
RAdm. McNeil: I have just discovered that reading my notes is rather boring, so I will just conclude by telling you
the meat of the last page.
I do know what my new funding is this fiscal year. It is tens of millions of dollars more than it was last year, and as
stated by the commodore, we will prioritize on submarines, on operations, on paying those high fuel bills. You will
hear from the base commander that we will prioritize a lot of infrastructure and getting the best out of the new
helicopter in Shearwater. It remains to be seen what the Chief of Defence Staff will actually want me to do in
conjunction with the new defence policy in the standing up of what he is now calling the joint task force Atlantic, an
operational command that I believe I will have here in Halifax later this year.
With that, I think we are prepared for questions.
Senator Munson: Yesterday, some of the sailors we talked to over lunch were pretty happy with their pay and their
lot in life and enjoy what they are doing, but the problems I would describe as the three Ps. I asked what the three
issues were, and they said lack of people, lack of parts and being peeved off — I am paraphrasing the peeved off part —
over the fact that perhaps the military here, the naval part, will not get many more people out of the new 5,000 regular
force and 3,000 reserve force personnel. That was just a statement I thought I would make on their behalf.
What you did not read, admiral, was about the specific shortfalls. If we gave you $400 million, could you spend it?
RAdm. McNeil: Of course I could.
Senator Munson: How would you spend it?
RAdm. McNeil: I would need a little time to make sure we spend it wisely because that is what we owe our taxpayers.
We would put the emphasis on people and those issues that they have identified for you.
You heard yesterday from 12 Wing and 14 Wing, and we suffer from the same repair and overhaul problems that
they do. It is parts in the bins. In other words, you try to repair something and everything gets held up because you do
not have enough parts and then you have to steal from one ship to get another ship going. It is very frustrating for our
people because they want to do a good job.
I have to say something else about the opportunity that you had to sit down and speak with our sailors, which I
really appreciate that you wanted to do and we made it possible. In my wonderful career in the navy, one of the things I
always loved to do is go out and talk to the people, because especially in a ship, when you go out to the smoking area
and talk to them, you find out what is really going on.
I have an adage for you, senator. If I go around the ship and talk to my junior people and they do not bitch to me, I
am very concerned. I will then know I have some real problems. They will always have issues. It is up to us to listen to
them, but boy, is it not nice that they can actually raise them?
Senator Munson: As my son would say, ``That is a good thing,'' or ``It is all good.''
Commodore, on the hiring freeze you describe in the statement, why did you need to impose the freeze in the first
Cmdre. Pile: The freeze was imposed by government direction.
Senator Munson: By government direction. What impact did it have on your ability to handle the maintenance bow
Cmdre. Pile: There is always more maintenance that needs to be done, that can be achieved, and part of the problem
is the limitations on the Fleet Maintenance Facility's workforce itself. One of the areas where we have been most
effective, and I would say the Canadian navy has been gifted, is learning how to stretch resources, how to stretch that
dollar as far as we can and maximize what we have. We have been able to do that by working very closely with the
Fleet Maintenance Facility on this coast.
Our fleet personnel have very much adopted a mentality ofself-help, and anything they can do themselves on board
those ships to make sure that the work is done properly, they will, provided it is safe and within the regulations.
It is a function where, as the admiral has already mentioned, we have finite resources, and we are able to take the
resources that we are given and stretch them as much as possible to meet our missions.
RAdm. McNeil: The heart of this issue, without question, is actually something that we discussed yesterday, Mr.
The freeze on hiring was imposed by government because the analysts within the bureaucracy looked at the public
service and saw that it had been growing much more rapidly than they thought since the resource cutbacks in the
1990s, and the way to resolve that instantly was to put a wage envelope freeze on the whole structure. That probably
made sense, but we were successful in arguing, after months and months, that it did not really make sense for the
Canadian Forces, and particularly here in the Atlantic, since what they were trying to achieve from the centre with an
overall broad policy actually prevented us from getting the job done. We had the money to hire people and this
artificial barrier just did not make sense. We argued that and we actually won.
The issue, senator, is broad policies across government are sometimes not appropriate to the Canadian Forces and
Senator Munson: I would like to talk briefly about NATO Standing Naval Force Atlantic. You said that you
expected to get an infusion of funds, but if there are no additional funds, will you go ahead with the deployments?
Senator Nolin: We have to.
Cmdre. Pile: Yes.
Senator Munson: If you do, what would have to be left out?
Cmdre. Pile: We mentioned the requirement for additional funding and that funding is coming through, whether
through the navy or supplemental means, for that nationally directed deployment. We are well on the way in terms of
preparations for that deployment. HMCS Athabaskan will be the first flagship on the rotation starting in January of
2006. The commander of that force has already been named and his staff will start to take up their appointments as of
this summer, get situated here in Halifax and begin preparations for that particular deployment.
HMCS Iroquois is currently going through a technical readiness program and will be the second ship to take that
rotation in June of 2006, so Canada will have that command for a full year.
Senator Nolin: Since when have we known that we would face those expenses?
Cmdre. Pile: Canada has known about this commitment for the last two years.
Senator Nolin: You are telling us that you will get the money through the supplementary budget process?
Cmdre. Pile: I do not have all the details on where the funding is allocated, but I am confident that the navy will
receive funding for this deployment.
Senator Nolin: We are saying the same thing, but we are saying it differently.
Cmdre. Pile: We have to this point, sir.
Senator Munson: How many ships could you sustain indefinitely on an overseas mission? In other words, what is the
status of your landed fleet right now?
Cmdre. Pile: These are difficult, hypothetical questions to answer. It depends on the nature of the deployment, the
requirements of the ships being deployed. However, we could deploy a task group for up to six months.
Senator Munson: Task group meaning?
Cmdre. Pile: Up to four warships.
The Chairman: That is it for this round now.
Senator Munson: Then how long would it be before you could deploy a similar task force again?
Cmdre. Pile: We would be able to replace those warships for a second rotation in six months.
Senator Munson: So you could sustain that for a year?
Cmdre. Pile: That is correct, sir.
Senator Munson: How long would the pause be after that?
Cmdre. Pile: There would be a regeneration requirement, and probably a reduction in the size of the commitment
after a year. I would have to have more specific details in order to give you more specific information.
Senator Munson: I understand.
Senator Cordy: Admiral, you talked about the dedication of the personnel in the military overall, and particularly
the naval personnel in Halifax, about which I probably know a fair amount, and they are extremely dedicated
Yesterday at lunch was a wonderful opportunity to speak with some of the people, who were very open in their
discussions with us. The submariners that I spoke with had a great concern about the way they have been portrayed in
the media for the past seven months. They said that every time an article appeared in the media it talked about them as
if they were not trained. They went on to say how well trained they were. They spoke about the incident on the
Chicoutimi, and said that nobody had been talking about all the positive things, all the heroic measures that the
personnel on the Chicoutimi undertook in that situation, which was horrendous. I know Adm. MacLean yesterday
spoke about the heroics of the people on the Chicoutimi and the people in the British navy.
I am wondering how we, as a committee, and the military as a whole, can address that situation to ensure that in fact
the Armed Forces, or in this case it was submariners, get their just reward in the media in terms of the high quality and
dedication of the people involved.
RAdm. McNeil: That was well said, senator. We are all very hurt by the way the media have treated us. There is a
certain ``je ne sais quoi'' about submarines, and I am very sorry, to the submarine community, that I have not been able
to speak out during the board of inquiry. However, that is over. You say anything negative about my submariners, I
will be in your face from now on, and so will the rest of the leadership of the navy. They are heroes. They are well
Senator Cordy: We will not say anything negative, I assure you, so perhaps we can also work on that, because I
agree with you that if people look realistically at what happened they will see that they were outstanding individuals.
RAdm. McNeil: Absolutely.
Senator Cordy: Another issue that we talked about yesterday — and we got a lot of information yesterday — was
the shortage of personnel. You have spoken to us about it and so have individuals, not just in Halifax, but across the
country. That was created, I guess, when hiring was not taking place in the 1990s.
I asked them, ``Well, will you stay in? You have been in15 years.'' They said they really loved the job, but there are
the frustrations of working long hours. How can we deal with this, or is this just one of those blips that we will have to
I know that hiring is taking place right now, but how do you deal with it so that people are encouraged to stay? If
you are working long hours and you have a shortage of personnel, of parts, and you are dealing with older ships or Sea
Kings and trying to maintain them — and they are only used when they are safe, I understand that — that is due to the
work of the technicians.
RAdm. McNeil: In summary, the question is, how do we keep these good people, given the circumstances?
Senator Cordy: Yes.
RAdm. McNeil: There is no easy answer to that. That is an issue of incentives to stay rather than incentives to leave,
and we do provide incentives to leave these days, it seems to me.
The bottom line is we are all here because we have great pride in the job we are doing for Canadians. That is the
most fundamental aspect of keeping our people, being the kind of organization they want to belong to because it is
meaningful and they are doing important work for Canadians. That is why most stay.
Now, we do have to make sure that all the other issues are looked after, that they are paid properly, that they do get
time off in compensation for working overtime, and quite frankly, as I stated earlier, we have to help them get the job
done. They want, above all, to do the job. The restrictions, the, allow me to use the word, stupidity from time to time,
of the things we do that stop them from getting the job done will make them want to go elsewhere. There is no simple
Once again I will go back to what I said about them talking to you. The very fact that they can tell you these things
openly, and you can tell me — and they tell me as well — makes us the kind of organization I want to belong to. The
leadership here will do as much as we can to solve those issues when we hear about them, and if they are not solvable
within our formations and groups here, that is army, navy and air force, then we will all work as leaders to get the
centre — the Ottawa structure, NDHQ and those barriers — to solve the problems.
We are looking as good as we ever have these days in terms of the support of the people, especially here in the
Maritimes. They like us and we like being liked. We like working for our neighbours.
With the budget increases, we now have top-down direction and a new policy. The Chicoutimi episode is behind us
and we can defend our submariners in what they do for Canada. We are on a roll, as far as I am concerned, and you
will hear more of the leadership speaking out. I think our people need that.
Senator Cordy: Certainly. I assume there are signing bonuses for some, what I will call trades, but particularly in the
health field in the military. Are there bonuses or financial incentives for people to re-sign or to sign up again?
RAdm. McNeil: Now is the time for me to turn it over to the commodore, who is about to enter the world as an
admiral of HR and bonuses and what we can do.
Cmdre. Pile: Senator, if you do not mind, I will come back to the first part of your question before I move on to
that. You are absolutely correct. We do demand a lot of our people. I demand a lot of our people in the fleet, and it
always amazes me how much they are willing to give. As the admiral has already mentioned, they are willing to give so
much because they believe in this country and that they do make a difference.
This is especially notable when they are deployed on special operations or for long deployments away from their
families. That is when they give the most. When they do come back the job does not get that much easier. As we
already talked about, it would be wonderful to have all of the spare parts bins full and never have to worry about
trading parts and people among ships to make them ready for sea, but we do that. We juggle a lot of our resources and
people all the time, and that is probably a cause of some of the frustrations that you have heard from them.
We continue to work towards that, which brings me to the second part of your question, on recruiting people into
the navy. As I said, there is that personal incentive to serve the country, and once we get them in, that will always be
there. Then we look at taking care of the quality of work life, and quality of life, period.
There are a number of incentives — and I cannot give you the details. I am not au fait with the amounts — certainly
for the health field, as you mentioned, and engineering occupations as well. There are bonuses for signing on as a new
engineering officer in the Canadian Forces.
I just recently had discussions with my future boss, VAdm. Jarvis, and one of the areas of focus for human resources
in the military will be to re-look at, rethink and revamp the way we attract, recruit and retain people in the Canadian
Forces. I think bonuses will play a part in that, but I am hoping that a greater part will be just getting the country to
know who we are and what we stand for, getting this message out a lot better than we have in the past.
Senator Cordy: Being from Dartmouth, I have to ask about the maritime helicopters. I know that the first maritime
helicopter is supposed to be available in 2008, but when can we expect them to be operationally deployed?
RAdm. McNeil: That is an issue of the project being run out of Ottawa and what the manufacturer is contractually
responsible for in terms of timeframes. You were told yesterday, I believe, that the first helicopter will fly in 2008. We
were told that it will be a four-year transition between the new helicopters arriving and seeing the last of the old ones.
Therefore, somewhere between 2008 and 2012 we will declare an operational capability, andmy experience tells me it
will be in the middle of that period, in 2010 or thereabouts.
Senator Forrestall: Over the last few months, we have frequently heard senior officers such as yourself, in other
branches as well, speak of the necessity to almost micromanage, whereas 25 years ago you just told the boss that you
needed so much money to run so many ships to do so much work and train so many people.
Necessity is always the mother of remarkable things, and I perhaps will put this to the admiral, because I have heard
him allude to it and I am somewhat impressed by it. However, I would appreciate an answer from both of you because
you have a slightly different perspective on how money should be managed and how you cannot wait for the system to
produce the right amount of money to spend in the right place at the right time.
Could you tell me how you have evolved in this business? Perhaps the best way I can put it to you is if I asked a
simple question. Gasoline costs a dollar a litre or something like that. When it was 50 cents a litre you could sail for 10
days and now you can only sail for 5. That used to be the way it worked perhaps, and it is perhaps the way the general
and his air force compatriots fly. How do we manage to continue to sailfor10 days? How do you do that type of
micromanagement that enables you to look so closely at all of your resources?
We have not transferred any new authority to you or given you anything new. Is it just a better understanding and
grasp, trust, better education, better whatever it is? Could you talk about it for a minute or two? I have a feeling it will
remain a very vital factor in running organizations, certainly over the next four or five years.
RAdm. McNeil: You are absolutely correct, senator, in your analysis. It is all of those factors, and it also includes
more authority. We have delegated more authority to our operational commanders in terms of resources.
In those years of serious cutbacks in the department and the Canadian Forces, we did transform our resource
management structure. As with most pendulums, I would say that pendulum has swung a little too far, but it has most
certainly allowed us to manage our resources a lot better than we used to be able to. In the bad old days, when I
commanded Assiniboine, if the fuel prices went up, I would say the command structure had no recourse but to cut sea
I have far more flexibility, and so does my fleet commander, in terms of swinging resources from one pot to another
pot, and the fuel budget is only one part of the overall resources of the formation, and a very manageable part. I
certainly do not like it when fuel prices go up, but it will not restrain the sea days and the flying hours. We will move
money around and manage.
Among all people, I am very fortunate to command this formation, having been a business manager in the
department in a former life, and I know that there is money all over the place. It is just a matter of finding it.
The pendulum has swung in the organization of NDHQ and the Canadian Forces, as I say, and it is all based upon
what we call level 1s and level 2s, that is, a responsibility for budgets and money. Some of these people need help to
spend their money, and I am always there to help.
Cmdre. Pile: Well I certainly do not mind that I have different opinions from the admiral. He is probably happy
about that. However, in terms of resources, I think we come very much from the same playing field.
One of the things that have changed over the last decade is flexibility. What I will add to what the admiral has
already said is that we have a very well-coordinated and effective short- and long-term planning process. This works
extremely well in house, within the formation.
Between the fleet and the formation we have regularly scheduled groups that work together to do short- and long-
term planning for how we will spend the resources, both within the infrastructure assets that the admiral has ashore,
and on the fleet assets that actually deploy and go to sea and the maintenance facility that has to sustain them.
It is very well coordinated. We do long-term planning as to our operational commitments, whether those are
sovereignty patrols, fishery patrols or ships deploying on a special operation. What is really different now as opposed
to what was happening before is we build flexibility into the plan. As I mentioned earlier, I think we have become quite
gifted at dealing with the resources that we have been given.
Senator Forrestall: What do general education levels have to do with this? We had a big drive with respect to
education several years ago, and now and then it slacked off and we started to close our institutions of higher learning,
I think to the regret of a number of people, and that regret has simply grown over the years. We have good educational
facilities, but I am not sure — and I am hoping you can contradict this — whether we have achieved the levels of
education that are desirable in the Canadian Armed Forces. However, are we approaching it? Are we moving in that
Could this committee say in its report that we found great interest in the educational standards and levels and
capacities for teaching, not just in house, but in sending our better soldiers and sailors, men and women, to private
institutions, colleges, universities, for the doctorate-level work that has to find its way into the system if we are to stay
on track? What will happen over the next 20 years?
RAdm. McNeil: Sounds like an HR question, Ty.
Cmdre. Pile: I cannot give you the exact statistics, but I can tell you there has been a significant cultural change —
Senator Forrestall: That was the term I was looking for.
Cmdre. Pile: — in the quality of men and women in the Canadian Forces today as compared to 20 years ago. It is
not unusual. I spend a lot of time talking to the sailors in the fleet, especially when we deploy to sea, either in one-on-
one conversations or me and a group of sailors. As the admiral said, whether it is in one of the smoking areas or the
other areas, they do congregate to discuss things.
One of the things that have amazed me personally is that I will be talking to a college graduate or a university
graduate. These are non-commissioned people who have joined the navy and achieved that educational level prior to
joining. Now I am not saying that is a high percentage, but it is certainly a much greater percentage than it was a
decade ago and before.
There is a policy in the Canadian Forces to develop an educated officer corps, and that is Bachelor of Arts-plus for
officers achieving senior rank. We have policy and support programs in place to encourage higher education in the
officer corps, and you will find it quite common today to speak to senior officers with master's degrees and above in
specific areas of expertise that will assist them in their duties, whether that is a logistics officer aboard a ship who has
taken a graduate program in business administration or some other field that would assist him in his duties, or an
engineering officer who has gone on to higher education to assist us in developing better, more efficient ways of
conducting our maintenance business.
I would say that we are certainly at a higher level today than we were 10, 20 years ago.
Senator Forrestall: I look around the room and I can only see one officer who is pursuing a doctoral level degree. Do
you know of any others?
Cmdre. Pile: In fact I have an officer coming into my command this June to take over the Maritime Operations
Group who has either completed or nearly completed his Ph.D. It is also a function of time, sir, and how much time
you have within a career span to head off and do post-graduate studies, because that is quite a commitment.
Senator Forrestall: You have to identify them early, kick them out early and bring them back sooner.
Cmdre. Pile: That is not to say that there are no areas of specialization where that could be done or where we would
require it. However, certainly at the master's level, you will find dozens of officers who have been supported by the
Canadian Forces in achieving that.
Senator Forrestall: As a small group of the Canadian Senate, we have some warm feelings for better education,
better access to education, and even access to better and higher education for the children of the forces that serve under
your command. Thank you.
Senator Nolin: I want to talk about not PR, but RP, relations with the public. I think you were here last night,
admiral. You heard the strong comments on either side of our military effort in Canada.
First, let us talk about money. What is your overall annual budget?
RAdm. McNeil: The operating budget is now in the order of $250 million, I believe.
Senator Nolin: How much money is spent on direct RP, relations with the public? I am saying ``direct'' because of
course the fact that you are reinvesting $250 million a year in the economy is very good PR.
RAdm. McNeil: We represent for the economy in Nova Scotia closer to a billion dollars, including —
Senator Nolin: Well, that is not exactly what I am talking about. Last night there were interventions from two honest
Canadians who were representing a significant portion of the population. First, we had a lady who was definitely a
peace activist, and we cannot have anything against that. She was asking fundamental questions. We had a teacher
who came here out of curiosity. It means that we are not exactly performing, and we are on your side on that.
We all want you to perform your task properly, but we have a duty to Canadians to explain a lot of things to them.
That is why I am asking you, what is the amount of money you can or you do spend on that, not only here in the
immediate Halifax area, but more generally?
RAdm. McNeil: That is a tough question. I do not know how much money I spend. My public affairs people doing
the outreach, especially community outreach, would be able to tell me. I would say out of my operating budget it is a
very small percentage. My business is not selling my business. My business is working for Canadians.
Quite frankly, it is easy. Community relations here in the Greater Halifax area are easy. We do it naturally. Our
people are the hockey coaches, the Boy Scout leaders, the Girl Guide leaders. They are out there in the community.
They are members of the community. As I said earlier, the community know us, they know what we do. You will get
the odd person who believes rabidly in peace, and I do not care how much money I spend, they will always believe
rabidly in peace. I could never bring those people to my way of thinking, nor would I want to spend a lot of money
The real challenge is the national challenge outside of the Maritimes, in the downtowns of Toronto, Montreal and
Vancouver. I would challenge you to challenge my boss, because my job is regional and I do believe in community
outreach regionally; I am committed to do it.
Next week I am going to P.E.I. I plan to meet with a large number of individuals there to talk about the new defence
policy and what it means for security and my working relationship with the RCMP and border services. We will do
outreach. It is part of the job. However, the national challenge is always much more difficult.
Senator Nolin: Do you think you should have more freedom? I am directing my question to you. I am not saying
that all military personnel should have the same freedom to speak, but do you think you should have more freedom to
RAdm. McNeil: I believe we have sufficient freedom to speak, and I would tell you that we could do better. We
could make it a more important part of our culture. I know this committee has examined the rules, for example, under
which we appear as witnesses, which are fairly restrictive. We certainly cannot comment on government policy. We can
only comment on our area of operations.
I would say that we are not big risk takers these days in terms of going out into the communities and speaking. We
perhaps could do better.
Senator Nolin: It is not a great risk to explain to Canadians all the good that you are doing. There is no risk there,
because the biggest enemy is not us, it is not you, it is not your employees, it is not your personnel, it is not your
contractors. It is Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver. They are your biggest enemy. They do not know what you are
doing. Who should explain to them?
RAdm. McNeil: Well, we have a large role to play in that, and as an example, in July we are sending HMCS Toronto
up to the Great Lakes to visit Toronto and a large number of other communities, supported by the naval network and
the naval reserves. We will do outreach as much as we can, and that is an expenditure to bring the navy to Canadians.
Some people would actually argue that that is not our business and we should not be making that expenditure, but we
are and we will.
Senator Nolin: Canadians are proud of you people. There is no doubt about that. Wherever we go, Canadians are
proud of what you are doing. They want to know more. They want to be informed about what is going on. I think it is
not only a matter of a lack of political leadership, no matter what the brand and the colour; it is all the same group. I
think we have a collective responsibility to explain to Canadians what we are doing.
RAdm. McNeil: I agree.
Senator Munson: Shearwater was once a very nice place. It still is a very nice place. I am a Maritimer, but I am not
privy to all the recent information. However, I understand that developers want to develop it, that people want to
make money; they want to add to congestion on the bridges going across to the peninsula and so on. That is my
understanding from one perspective, but then there are others who feel that Shearwater should be utilized in a more
contemporary way. In what condition are the facilities at Shearwater now?
RAdm. McNeil: I will leave that for the base commander to answer when he is here. Let me comment generally
though, and simply tell you that your observations are correct.
In the years of resource cutbacks and some questioning about the operational requirements, there was not a lot of
reinvestment in Shearwater because many people questioned its future. I believe those days are gone now, and with the
commitment to the Sikorsky helicopter project, a significant reinvestment in Shearwater must occur. My job, and the
job of my predecessors in the formation, has always been to state: We send ships to sea with helicopters as part of a
team and we have an operational requirement to continue with Shearwater.
Senator Munson: What would you personally like to see?
RAdm. McNeil: A huge reinvestment in Shearwater and a complete re-analysis of what the operational requirement
will be, given the notional requirements of a Canadian contingency task force to be ready on 10 days notice, which is a
huge undertaking. I am waiting for the Chief of Defence Staff action team to scope out what that means, because it
implies a greater operational requirement for forces to be available, stationed and ready to do a job. Without sticking
my neck out too far, let me tell you that for the last 100 years, that is what Halifax has done, it sends Canadians abroad
to do important work.
Senator Munson: Is their proposal realistic in today's world? Others have talked about Greenwood and so on.
RAdm. McNeil: I can once again speak very clearly about my operational requirement for facilities in Shearwater,
which include the fleet diving unit; the cadet organization; the maritime helicopter; the necessity, when we have
accidents with helicopters, which will inevitably happen, for a jetty there to crane the helicopter. We need to have a
partnership with the maritime air community at the Maritime Warfare School and, with our infrastructures and
facilities, become a team to operate in the maritime sphere. Therefore, there is a definitive operational requirement for
Shearwater to continue and be improved.
Senator Munson: You mentioned helicopters. Admiral, we were on the Athabaskan today, and that helicopter pad
looked so clean, neat and well painted. It did not seem to me that too many helicopters have landed on it recently. I
would like to ask you about that maritime helicopter program. When will it be operational, in your estimation?
RAdm. McNeil: Actually, I could pass this question to the fleet commander too, because he takes them to sea. Let
me precede his remarks by telling you the issue is more people than it is actual helicopters — the people who operate in
helicopter detachments, how in demand they are, how difficult their job is and how complex the training is.
Cmdre. Pile: Not unlike some of the navy regeneration issues you have probably heard about at prior committee
meetings, the air force also has some regeneration challenges in its maritime air community.
I can tell you that last year the Sea King community had a bit of a setback with a technical problem, and it required
some months to address that issue. The Sea King fleet was limited in its at-sea operations for about four months.
Other than during that period, the air force and the navy have worked closely together. We are joined. We have been
joined for decades, and the Sea Kings are an integral part of the ship's combat suite. Last June I had four Sea Kings
flying with the task group. Two of them were embarked in HMCS Athabaskan, so the flight deck got very dirty and
greasy looking and was well used. As we do in the navy, the air force maximizes the number of decks that it can deploy
to sea, and as I said, they have some regeneration issues on which they can provide you with details, and which from
time to time have limited the number of air decks they can deploy with the navy.
For this upcoming exercise in May and June, we will have three Sea King decks sail with four Canadian ships and
with the potential for a fourth, but that is not confirmed yet.
Senator Forrestall: There is at least one building at Shearwater that is not 50 years old, and that is the junior officers'
mess. I know that because I opened it.
Thank you for your comments about Shearwater, because it is obviously of vital interest, not just to your
professional needs, but to the needs of the community. Thank you for being here.
The Chairman: Admiral, earlier in the testimony the comment was made that the Canadian Forces should not be
treated like any other department. Tell us why, what restrictions or limitations you believe should be removed, and
what difference that would make to how the Canadian Forces function.
RAdm. McNeil: I do not know how to answer that. It is a big question.
The Department of National Defence in Canada is the only completely integrated military and ministerial
headquarters in the world. Douglas Bland, a professor at Queen's, can provide tomes on this subject. I used to say that
90 per cent of the time I thought things really worked well in NDHQ. Ten per cent of the time I thought Douglas Bland
The issue is applying bureaucratic, administrative rules, through Treasury Board essentially, that applied to the rest
of the federal structure to military operations and simply calling the Canadian Forces another part of the federal
system. I would argue for the uniqueness of military operations.
Based upon the unlimited liability our people face, they deserve to be treated a little differently from others who are
committed to Canadians, but not in so drastic a fashion that they are willing to put their life on the line.
I talked about the fine people around here, about having to be away while babies are being born, while sons and
daughters are having weddings and it is a real commitment. Military operations are dangerous and different from other
operations in government, although there are other operational departments — Fisheries and Oceans. You can name
However, let us treat our fine people in the Canadian Forces who face unlimited liability a little differently. That
would be a huge cultural change for Canada. It would require a group of very educated, experienced people to slice and
dice the answer to the question, the most difficult question you have asked, senator.
The Chairman: Well maybe I can help you, admiral. Work it through department by department. Talk to us about
Treasury Board, and then talk a little about Public Works or Heritage Canada.
RAdm. McNeil: Let us start with Treasury Board and simple issues like pay. Once in a while we win, and we can be
For years and years, on the quality of life issue, we fought for what we called the post living differential. That is
based on the fact that, especially for the navy, the cost of living in Victoria is so much higher than it is in Halifax, and
we had a heck of a time getting people to go to Victoria. People we would post at a junior rank were not able to live in
the economy in Victoria, were not able to afford the housing and would leave rather than stay in the navy. For years
the answer was no — and by the way, it was the parliamentary committee looking at quality of life that actually
removed that barrier.
I remember being in meetings with Treasury Board where people were pointing their fingers at me, saying, ``What
makes you think you should get more for living in Ottawa when I do not get more for living in Ottawa?'' not
recognizing that there is a difference.
We won PLD after years of arguing, and that is just one small example of a policy that is applied across the federal
system, that people are not paid different rates in different parts of the country. The bureaucracy does not want to have
to change that, but in one case they did.
Another more recent example — and it was incredible to see it happen — was in the budget before last, the income
tax deferral for members of the Canadian Forces deployed in, the correct words are, ``dangerous areas.'' Anyway, there
is a criterion, and it is difficult. You can go over many more of these.
Procurement is a big issue and I hope you can study that carefully as well. In the context of the last budget and the
recapitalization, whether for a big ship or a 280 replacement, the conventional way of buying things, having to go
through Public Works and Government Services and ensuring regional benefits — and it goes on and on and on —
means that we cannot seem to build a ship without 25 years' notice.
The Second World War only lasted six years and the navy went from something like three ships to 300. Things can
get done, but not with the levels of bureaucracy that seem to exist and are applied without exception to defence issues
and Canadian Forces issues.
I know I have not answered the question, by the way.
The Chairman: No, you are doing okay. You have three or four more departments to work through still, and I am
anxious to hear your answers.
RAdm. McNeil: You want me to make real enemies, do you not? On the capital issues, the contracting — and it
seems in today's climate that will actually not get easier — Defence will need help from outside their current
bureaucratic structure to make the transformation we are talking about.
The Chairman: Well, I am anxious to hear more about Public Works. I am anxious to hear more about Heritage
Canada, and if they do not have an impact on your operations, that is fine, but if they do, I would like to know about
RAdm. McNeil: Let me talk about Heritage Canada — a wonderful organization actually, preserving Canada's
heritage. But I have a constant battle with Canada's naval memorial, The Sackville. I give The Sackville and the trust as
much as I can without breaking any Treasury Board rules.
However, now that we have officially recognized the Battle of the Atlantic, I would hope that Heritage Canada will
come forward with a mandate to make the investment that some people expect me to make.
Senator Forrestall: The investment started, though, with another branch, other than the military, when we moved it
from Citadel Hill.
The Chairman: Commodore, you sometimes have a different opinion from the admiral. You can also sometimes fill
in the gaps. You have been silent. Can you add anything to this?
Cmdre. Pile: Without sticking my neck out too far, I will say that our procurement system needs to be addressed. As
the admiral has very succinctly stated, we cannot afford to wait around for decades to replace ships that are quickly
becoming obsolescent and other ships that are obsolete, and we can do a better job.
I understand why government policies and regulations are in place. They are there to protect the Canadian
taxpayers' money, and we want to make sure that it is spent properly. However, there are better, common sense ways
of doing business.
Military technology is changing as we speak, and there are certain technologies that we need to adapt to in order to
function effectively with other forces and within our own forces. To be that flexible and adaptive we have to be able to
acquire things more quickly than is currently the case.
On Heritage Canada — this is partly systemic within our own military as well — honours, awards and medals that
recognize the significant contributions that people in the Canadian Forces make sometimes take a lot longer to go
through the bureaucratic system than I think they should. Those systems can also be streamlined. I am not pointing the
finger at any particular department. It is just that I know that we can do things a lot smarter and faster, and dealing
with red tape is frustrating.
Senator Nolin: The chairman is making my point. Work on making friends and the attitude will change in Ottawa. I
live in Montreal and it is rare that people there talk to me about the navy. They do not know what you people are
doing here. They are not aware, so invest in friendships and the rest will follow. That is why I think you must invest
much more time in selling what you are doing. It is not ``évident,'' as we say in French. It may be very evident to you; it
is not to the rest of the world. We are on your side; we are not your enemies.
The Chairman: I am not sure there is a question in there. It is a challenge. I must say I thought the dynamic was
expressed earlier in the exchange you had with Senator Nolin, about the witness last night who was concerned about
peace. Frankly, that is how we see you here; you are the agents of peace. I think that is what Senator Nolin is trying to
address, that that is not the perception. A strong military is the best way to peace.
The individual who was speaking last night, for example, described NATO as a nefarious organization, whereas
some of us think that it has brought stability and peace to Europe for half a century. It is that kind of perception that
Senator Nolin is talking about, and it is a question of how we can collectively communicate that message. Purely, the
burden rests on politicians. However, we have noticed that sometimes people in uniform have more credibility on some
of these issues than we do, and I think that is the point that Senator Nolin is trying to make. There is a problem if you
appear to be pleading your own case — no question. It is a balance.
On that note, I would like to thank you both for appearing before us. We have appreciated it. I should tell you we
have appreciated all of the arrangements you have made for us, admiral. It has been a remarkable visit. It is not over,
but you are here on the stand and I just wanted to say publicly that the committee feels that you and your people have
gone to great lengths to assist us with these hearings and with this visit.
We would also like you to convey a message to the men and women who serve with you here about how proud
Canadians are of them, of the work that they do, and how important it is, we feel as parliamentarians, that the work
that they do continue, and with better equipment, better funding. The main message that we would like you to take
away with you today and communicate to them is the pride that Canadians have in them and in their work, and we
would be grateful if you would do that for us.
RAdm. McNeil: Absolutely.
Senators, are next two witnesses are navy captains. First we have Captain Roger MacIsaac, Base Commander, CFB
Halifax. Capt. MacIsaac joined the Canadian Forces in 1974. Shore appointments have included Comptroller,
Maritime Forces Atlantic, and, subsequently, Chief Maritime Staff Comptroller in Ottawa. He served as Commanding
Officer, Forward Logistics Site, in Bahrain during the Gulf conflict. Following advanced military studies and national
strategic studies in Toronto, he was appointed to Vice Chief of the Defence Staff Secretariat at National Defence
Headquarters, Ottawa. In April 2003 he was appointed Base Commander, CFB Halifax. Capt. MacIsaac will be
promoted to commodore in June and will be appointed director general of the reserves and cadets. We congratulate
you on your upcoming promotion and thank you for appearing here.
With him is Captain Smith, Commander Officer, Fleet Maintenance Facility, Cape Scott. Capt. Smith has been
Commanding Officer of Fleet Maintenance Facility since the summer of 2003. He joined the Canadian Forces in 1979
and has served on both land and sea in a number of different positions. He was promoted to commander in 1997 and
was posted to National Defence Headquarters as Section Head responsible for Marine Auxiliaries and Damage
Control. In 2001 he was posted to Canadian Fleet Atlantic Headquarters in Halifax as Task Group Technical Officer,
and subsequently spent six months deployed in Southwest Asia in support of Canada's contribution to the war against
terrorism. He is a graduate of the Canadian Forces Command and Staff College in Toronto and holds master's degrees
in Naval Architecture and Industrial Engineering.
Welcome. We are glad to have you here.
Captain (N) Roger MacIsaac, Base Commander, CFB Halifax, National Defence: Mr. Chairman, members of the
standing committee, it is my pleasure to provide both you and the public with some information on Base Halifax, and
hopefully to answer the questions that you may find of interest. I will just give some tombstone data to get started. You
are probably aware by now that CFB Halifax is the largest base in Canada. Although a unit of Maritime Forces
Atlantic, the base's mandate is to support significant formations of the air and land force commands in the region here,
as well as some central units of the Canadian Forces, be they health services and/or information management groups.
Geographically, the base consists of 41 sites and 3,500 hectares of property across Nova Scotia. In addition, CFB
Halifax provides administrative support to satellite integral units such as Canadian Forces Station St. John's,
Newfoundland, and the CF detachment in Sydney. The units the base supports do vary in size, from the significantly
large Fleet Maintenance Facility Cape Scott, 12 Wing Shearwater and 36 Canadian Brigade Group, to smaller offices
of just a few people who are detached from National Defence Headquarters. The principle sites, of course, of CFB
Halifax are here in Halifax Regional Municipality and accommodate the bulk of the members of the Canadian Forces
and the civilian component of the Defence team that serve here in Halifax. The remaining sites are mostly small
armouries and ranges that support reserve and cadet training in smaller municipalities around the province.
You are probably aware also that CFB Halifax is unique among bases in Canada. In 1996, as part of our history,
part of the major restructuring initiative, the traditional base concept wherein the base commander was responsible for
materiel and personnel support was abandoned and those responsibilities were divided for a time so that another
captain, naval rank, handled the personnel aspects. The Assistant Chief of Staff, Personnel, assumed responsibility for
such services as the base administration as well as personnel policy, training and health care. However, in July of 2003,
the structure was amended slightly to place formation administration and the line support of personnel back under the
jurisdiction of the base commander. Finally, a new single point of responsibility was created, base operations, which
commands all security and emergency response services ashore, as well as the Queen's harbour master.
Under the formation's regional support structure, the base now consists of five departments: logistics, construction
engineering, administration, safety and environment, and operations. With the exception of safety and environment,
each of these other departments consists of approximately 300 to 500 personnel, so each is quite large. Each of the
departments is headed by a ``single point of responsibility,'' an officer of commander rank or civilian equivalent. In
addition to commanding the people in those departments involved in the delivery of support services, that senior
person is also the senior staff officer for functional areas within the formation and provides direct advice to the
I will say a few words on each of the SPRs and their departments. I will start with construction engineering.
My formation construction engineering officer manages approximately 700 buildings occupying 650,000 square
metres. The planned replacement value of the infrastructure is approximately $1.4 billion. On the whole, the facilities
are relatively old. Budget shortfalls over past years have considerably inhibited the capability of staff to maintain all
the infrastructure to what we consider comparative industry standards. The list of projects to meet these standards
would total approx $280 million. We are presently addressing the state of the infrastructure from the ground up. The
base's master realty asset development plan will provide near-, medium- andlong-term solutions and the capacity to
meet present and impending infrastructure requirements. Enhancements have begun, as you are no doubt aware, and
continue. By way of example, this complex, which houses the chiefs' and petty officers' mess, the wardroom and the
accommodation tower, was just completed, and the sod-turning ceremony was conducted for the new maritime
helicopter training facility.
Formation logistics here in Halifax is the largest logistics organization in the Canadian Forces and controls 13 per
cent of the CF's total inventory of materiel, valued at approximately$1 billion. My formation logistics officer is
responsible for providing second- and third-line inventory warehousing and distribution for most units in Nova Scotia
and Newfoundland. Formation logistics is also responsible for regional contracting coordination, logistics sustainment
of deployed forces, and transportation services and second-line maintenance of a fleet of over 600 vehicles.
Formation administration provides an extensive personnel support capability to the Canadian Forces and its
members in the region. There are in excess of 1,400 bed spaces and 10 galleys to accommodate and feed students and
transient personnel. With the exception of the new complex we are in today, the facilities are relatively old. However,
they are subject to an overall infrastructure renewal program as part of the master realty development program.
The formation safety and environment department is very active, with ongoing programs to meet legislative
requirements in the order of about $5.4 million per year. Three main programs of safety and environment address the
remediation of contaminated sites, management of hazardous material, and safety and environmental awareness
training and control systems.
As I mentioned earlier, the base operations department was recently established to provide an integrated approach
to force protection and emergency response and command. It provides police, fire protection, port operations and
operations support services. It is this department that plans and controls collective action by teams drawn from other
military and civilians who make up part of Maritime Forces Atlantic. A few examples would include hazardous
material spills and response, chemical-biological-radiological-nuclear incidents, response to threats from unexploded
ordnance, and submarine search and rescue. In addition, a well-trained team is in place to respond in the unlikely event
of a nuclear-powered vessel incident in the Port of Halifax. Beyond employment of CF personnel and assets, base
operations routinely collaborates with civilian counterparts to ensure the capability to provide mutual response to
disasters or threats.
In addition to emergency response liaison, the base enjoys a high profile and good working relationships with many
organizations in the region. In addition to the admiral's participation at the federal level, I am a board member of the
Halifax Chamber of Commerce and have spent a significant amount of time as a member of the economic summit for
Many of the base staff have links with their counterparts in local emergency measures, public works, police, fire, or
port organizations. Members of the base attend training given by the Nova Scotia Emergency Measures Organization,
and the Halifax Regional Municipality civilian firefighters participate in our training that we conduct on base. In
conclusion, Canadian Forces Base Halifax is well positioned to carry out its mission of providing support to units of
the Canadian Forces in the region, and while deployed. The defence team here on base is proud and ready, and I stand
by to answer your questions.
Captain (N) Andy Smith, Commanding Officer, Fleet Maintenance Facility, Department of National Defence: Mr.
Chairman, it is my pleasure and duty to command a group of some 1,500 dedicated military and civilian personnel all
of whom work together at the largest industrial military complex in Canada. This government-owned maintenance
facility is located at Her Majesty's Canadian Dockyard in Halifax.
The unit's mission is to provide fleet engineering and maintenance services in support of Adm. McNeil and his units
in order to maintain and deploy combat capable, general purpose maritime forces to meet Canada's national and
international defence commitments. Fleet Maintenance Facility, Cape Scott, has consistently demonstrated its strategic
importance in generating and sustaining maritime forces, at home and around the world.
Of recent significance was the contribution to thepost-9/11 campaign against terrorism known as Operation
APOLLO, which saw all but two of MARLANT's major surface combatants deploy to the North Arabian Sea over
several years. The initial deployment of a three-ship task group from Halifax with only 10 days' notice was made
possible from a technical perspective by the ability of FMF Cape Scott personnel to effect planned maintenance,
corrective maintenance and selected capability upgrades on a 24/7 footing. This effort was similar to the preparations
for the Operation FRICTION during the Gulf War deployment in 1991. These achievements speak to the strategic
importance of the unit.
FMF Cape Scott has also been instrumental in the reintroduction of a Canadian submarine capability. The unit has
extensive experience in the maintenance and repair of the Victoria class submarines and has completed the
Canadianization package in two of the four boats.
In addition to supporting Canada's Atlantic naval fleet, FMF Cape Scott also provides onsite engineering and
maintenance services to visiting NATO warships when required.
In Halifax and around the world, the FMF Cape Scott workforce provides a full range of naval engineering and
maintenance services to support warships, submarines, auxiliary vessels and other formation units. The ability to
provide all of these services must be maintained across all classes of vessel and all systems, inclusive of command and
control systems, communication systems, above water and underwater weapons systems, propulsion, power
generation, auxiliary machinery and structural systems. These capabilities also extend to our deployed warships
when mobile repair parties are dispatched to ships around the world.
Without question, the strength of the Fleet Maintenance Facility rests with its people. As I indicated earlier, there
are approximately 900 civilian workers represented by six different national bargaining agents and approximately 250
military members, for a total of 1,150 personnel. Military and civilian staffs work side by side at all levels throughout
the unit. I sit here to tell you that in the sphere of ship repair and maintenance, there is very little that we cannot do.
The main industrial facilities are located within HMC Dockyard and include a synchrolift that can dock all
MARLANT ships except HMCS Preserver, the fleet tanker. The synchrolift was constructed under a shared financial
agreement with NATO and visiting warships are provided access to it as required. In addition to these facilities, the
FMF also operates and maintains ship's signature ranges, specifically, a magnetic degaussing range, an underwater
signature and sound range, and the naval electronic test range.
The FMF is central to the navy's ability to sustain the fleet. We continue to operate in a resource-challenged
environment, and will continue to prioritize work and risk-assess options in the ongoing efforts to meet the needs of an
Maritime Forces Atlantic will continue to play a key role in the security and defence of the Atlantic Coast. The Fleet
Maintenance Facility will continue to be an important component of this mission. In the short term, one of our biggest
priorities will be the commissioning of the Victoria class submarines, a process that will see us call on limited
engineering and scheduled maintenance services for deployed vessels and on scheduled and corrective maintenance for
the rest of the fleet's vessels. In short, we will still have a number of challenges to overcome. However, I am confident
that the Fleet Maintenance Facility will prove to be a strategic component of the defence team of the future.
Senator Nolin: Capt. MacIsaac, I understand, reading your material, that your budget is not enough to do what you
are asked to do. Am I right?
Capt. MacIsaac: The raison d'être, of course, of the base is to provide and to sustain the infrastructure in support of
deployed operations and the people who work on the base. Our present funding is not sufficient to bring us to where
we want to be to recapitalize the aging infrastructure, so in that vein, I would say you are correct. I could quote some
Senator Nolin: Well, I want some numbers. That is exactly where I am heading. Let us talk about real things,
buildings. What is your annual budget?
Capt. MacIsaac: For the base itself?
Senator Nolin: Yes.
Capt. MacIsaac: It is about $100 million.
Senator Nolin: That is what you have?
Capt. MacIsaac: That is correct.
Senator Nolin: What have you asked for?
Capt. MacIsaac: Approximately 10 per cent more than that. The limiting factor, of course, is the mechanisms
available to us to move the projects forward. I think it is important to note that we probably got to the state of
infrastructure that we are at now over many years of neglect, and it will take us quite a number of years to get to —
Senator Nolin: However, only $10 million more on a budget of $100 million would give you the capacity to keep up,
because we are aware of the reduced budget in the past years?
Capt. MacIsaac: That is correct.
Senator Nolin: So 10 per cent would have been sufficient to do what you or your predecessors have not been able to
do in previous years.
Capt. MacIsaac: Ten per cent over a period of time would allow us to maintain the infrastructure, but it would take
us a number of years to do that. We did receive another approximately $8 million more and we were able to plough
most of that into infrastructure renewal. If you look around the base at some areas — as I said, from below the ground
up — at some of the sewer systems and the water systems, of course, what you cannot see requires repair. Our capacity
to spend money is a determining factor. Given the number of people we have to move contracts forward under present
contracting regulations, I would say that we have the capacity to spend about another $10 million. That is my estimate
at this point.
Senator Nolin: So you had to prioritize.
Capt. MacIsaac: We definitely all had to prioritize, that is correct.
The Chairman: On this subject, we heard testimony yesterday about Greenwood, and if my recollection is correct,
they were looking for, was it $50 million? Did Greenwood testify yesterday that they needed $50 million over the next
five years? In any event, they were not able to provide us with the information for Shearwater. Shearwater is part of
your base here.
Capt. MacIsaac: Yes.
The Chairman: They project that they need $50 million over five years to keep the place functioning. Can you give
the committee projections of your requirements and what is not being met?
Capt. MacIsaac: In respect of Shearwater or the whole base?
The Chairman: Both.
Capt. MacIsaac: We had a 10-year infrastructure plan for the base itself, which just ended, and we are in the process
now of doing a baseline assessment of the total requirement. It is called a master asset realty development plan and is
normally alook-ahead for about 25 years. In terms of Shearwater, for instance, it would be a 25-year plan to coincide
with the normal lifespan of the maritime helicopter program. The deteriorationof infrastructure at Shearwater is
probably the most significantwe have and our guess would be it would take approximately$450 million over time to
recapitalize Shearwater alone.
Senator Nolin: Shearwater is not included in your $10 million.
Capt. MacIsaac: Portions of it would definitely be included, yes — roads, sewers, water systems.
Senator Nolin: Let us say that you received the 10 million. Are you sure that would do the job that you are asked to
Capt. MacIsaac: Well given the job that we are asked to do, depending on which standards we use, we would
probably require about 10 years to bring the infrastructure up to industry standards. If we got $250 million tomorrow
we could not spend that amount of money.
Senator Nolin: Of course.
Capt. MacIsaac: I am saying that the capacity that we hadand that we have shown over the past year was for an
additional $10 million. We were able to address some of the aging infrastructure and replace some old infrastructure as
part of a long-term program of rationalizing and upgrading the infrastructure. Of course, it is a very rough estimate,
and as the years go by and the costs of construction and destruction of properties increase, then those figures would be
adjusted. However, with significant effort, we managed to spend an additional $10 million this year.
Senator Nolin: However, your budget requests are not only on real estate. What about services, quality of services,
health services? How do you qualify those services, not only for your personnel but also their families?
Capt. MacIsaac: I do not have an operating budget for health services.
Senator Nolin: No?
Capt. MacIsaac: No. Health services funding comes direct from National Defence Headquarters to the hospital
Senator Nolin: That is a separate budget that you do not administer.
Capt. MacIsaac: Correct, and when I talk about $10 million, that is money for which the admiral has the authority
to set the priorities within the formation. Money spent on infrastructure over time at the national level comes from the
long-term capital program, which is for projects in excess of $5 million, $10 million or higher amounts. There are also
funds for that for the long term. I am talking about the operating budget, day-to-day maintenance of the facilities. In
past years, we have had to use breakdown as our method of replacing infrastructure because at the time, funds were
not available to maintain the aging infrastructure. However, we have developed a programwith National Defence
Headquarters that will look atthe 5-year, 10-year and 25-year horizon and that process is ongoing now.
Senator Nolin: That includes housing?
Capt. MacIsaac: For the first time, PMQs, if that is what you are talking about, will be included in that master
development plan. In fact, next week the CEO of the Canadian Forces Housing Association is meeting with us here on
base to do a baseline survey of our needs, the site-specific needs of Halifax and they will go to every base and station
across Canada to do the same. The asset realty development programs will include married quarters and other
Senator Nolin: I am sure my colleagues will have other questions for you, Capt. MacIsaac.
Captain Smith, I understand that you speak French. Therefore, I am happy to be able to address you in French. I
have the same questions for you concerning your budget. I understand that you also have greater budgetary
requirements that what your budget provides for. How do you go about setting your spending priorities? You can
answer the question in English, if you prefer.
Capt. Smith: First of all, my annual budget is in the order of $65 million.
Senator Nolin: And what were you seeking?
Capt. Smith: For fiscal year 2005-2006, I had identified the need for an additional $10.8 million to meet fleet
Senator Nolin: By that, you mean specific requirements in terms of naval equipment?
Capt. Smith: That is correct, senator.
Senator Nolin: And this has nothing to do with sewers and maintenance?
Capt. Smith: No, I am talking specifically about naval equipment.
Senator Nolin: You requested $10.8 million more than you were in fact allocated. Correct?
Capt. Smith: I had identified the need for an additional$10.8 million.
Senator Nolin: How did you proceed to set your priorities? What did you have to set aside?
Capt. Smith: This is a subject of ongoing debate with authorities. Setting priorities in terms of requirements is a daily
as well as monthly exercise. Sometimes we are called upon to make rather difficult decisions. The admiral stated clearly
that submarines should be our top priority. We also need to take into account personnel levels for December 2005 and
Senator Nolin: That would be your number two priority.
Capt. Smith: Correct. Not that this is necessarily a matter under debate, but it is critical that we identify our future
Senator Nolin: You have identified the funding levels required to carry out your stated mandate. A shortfall of $11
million on a $65 million budget is nonetheless a significant amount. What impact will this shortfall have on your work?
You stated very eloquently in your opening remarks that proper funding is vitally important to ensuring that the fleet
does its job well. If you are not able to do your job, then fleet efficiency suffers. This is not the first year that you have
encountered a financial problem, and you are not alone in facing this dilemma.
Capt. Smith: No, we are not.
Senator Nolin: What kind of long-term impact do you anticipate this shortfall will have?
Capt. Smith: First of all, the stated mission of certain vessels would be affected. Some ships might be deployed
without the proper capacity or without the proper backup.
Senator Nolin: Is that what we refer to us as redundancy?
Capt. Smith: Precisely, senator. Some submarine maintenance operations are non-discretionary. Obviously, there is
more discretion when it comes to fleet maintenance because these vessels do not dive.
Senator Nolin: They operate on the surface of the water, not under water.
Capt. Smith: That is correct. However, with respect to the surface fleet, my responsibility is to identify for the
admiral the impact of funding shortfalls not only on operations, but on safety as well. I must ensure that the admiral
fully understand the potential impacts in order to prevent injury and more serious consequences.
Senator Nolin: Have budget cuts had an effect on your workforce?
Capt. Smith: The additional $10.8 million requested was for manpower.
Senator Nolin: In which trades are the shortages more acute?
Capt. Smith: I have engineers involved in planning operations. I also have a number of persons working on logistical
matters. The shortage of workers is the most acute in the blue collar trades, that is technicians and electricians.
Senator Nolin: The most acute?
Capt. Smith: Yes.
Senator Nolin: Do you rely on civilians to make up the shortfall?
Capt. Smith: We certainly do. I have a contract officer. We always have the option of hiring civilian contractors in
Senator Nolin: Is that an effective way for you to do business?
Capt. Smith: It is. Normally over the course of a year, we spend between $3 million and $4 million on contracts.
Senator Nolin: When I asked if this was an effective way for you to do business, it was somewhat of a loaded
question, because if it proves to be too efficient an approach, then your permanent workforce will be cut even more.
Capt. Smith: Yes.
Senator Nolin: And more of your work will be contracted out.
Capt. Smith: That is correct. However, I must say that we do rely on contractors when we cannot do the work
ourselves. This is an effective option for us at times, but not necessarily always.
Senator Nolin: That is why I would like you to explain more specifically your understanding of the word ``effective.''
Capt. Smith: Contractors are not necessarily able to meet the same deadlines as we are. We are there to fill that need.
Skill and the ability to respond immediately to the fleet's requirements set us apart from a civilian shipyard.
Senator Cordy: Capt. Smith, you spoke about the Canadianization of two of the four submarines. Could you just
explain to us what it means to ``Canadianize'' a submarine?
Capt. Smith: Certainly. The Canadianization package primarily deals with the communication and fire control
aspects of the submarine, which are unique to Canada. There were additional opportunities to particularize some
aspects of the boat for Canadian use, but it is primarily communications and fire control-related upgrades.
Senator Cordy: How long does it usually take to do this?
Capt. Smith: There was a learning curve. Certainly Victoria was the first. It took a little longer in Windsor, but that is
usual in any shipbuilding enterprise, where follow-on projects benefit from lessons learned. It is roughly a 10- to 12-
Senator Cordy: Does this make it interoperable with other countries? Is that part of the Canadianization?
Capt. Smith: Not specifically. It certainly standardizes the communication suites such that they are at the same level
of operability to allow the submarines, from a crypto or secure voice perspective, to operate with our own forces.
The Chairman: Do you make the decision on whether this is undertaken? Do you advise on it? Where is the decision
taken to make this kind of adjustment to a vessel?
Capt. Smith: The Canadianization package was identified early in the project process by the project office within
ADM Mat in concert with the navy. My facility implements it, but the requirement and the engineering function
associated with getting it into play were driven by the ADM Mat offices.
The Chairman: Are you consulted or are you simply the person who makes it happen?
Capt. Smith: That is not an easy question. There is a close working relationship between the Fleet Maintenance
Facility and the ADM Mat world.
The Chairman: Perhaps I can help you. In terms of the communications, to a civilian, it seems reasonable. The
explanation we have heard is we need to upgrade the communications and the ability to encrypt it so we can talk
securely with other people. It makes sense. We understand how quickly electrical components seem to wear out. As for
the fire control, I assume you are talking about new torpedo tubes. I do not understand why we did not buy British
torpedoes to fit the tubes that were already in the submarine. Now I understand we have quite an inventory of
torpedoes, but at some point there is a trade-off here. Are you part of this process? Or should I be talking to somebody
Capt. Smith: I am not, sir.
The Chairman: You want out of here. Okay, I understand. I should go to the ADM Materiel back in Ottawa and
Capt. Smith: That decision is an enterprise driven by the navy and then ADM Mat is charged with implementing the
design package. This was what we would call third-line work, which is normally the purview of Canadian industry.
Given the uniqueness of the submarines when they first came here, the FMF was identified as the friendly contractor, if
you will, to implement the Canadianization package.
The Chairman: Am I putting words in your mouth by saying that your technical advice was used, but in fact you
were not an integral part of the decision-making process on this?
Capt. Smith: I think we are agreeing, sir. The FMF was chosen as the implementation agency, but the upfront work
was done in Ottawa between the navy and ADM Mat staff.
The Chairman: Then we go to the navy or to ADM Materiel or we have to get them both at the same table.
Capt. Smith: The navy establishes the requirement, and the execution, from a capability upgrade perspective, falls to
the engineering staffs within ADM Mat.
The Chairman: It is beginning to sound like we need to get all the cats in the same room.
Senator Cordy: I want to discuss a similar point. You spoke about 900 civilians that you have working in
conjunction with the military staff and that you have a number of bargaining units. I am just wondering if there is a
differential in salary between the military people and those who are unionized. Is this a problem?
Capt. Smith: In the first instance, I would say that the military salaries are closely tied to public service employee
salaries at the relative group and level.
Senator Cordy: So the civilians are, in fact, public service workers?
Capt. Smith: They are all public servants. Of course, each individual bargaining agent negotiates salaries with
Treasury Board, and the national presidents of two of the unions in Cape Scott reside there. However, overall the
salaries are certainly comparable for similar skill sets and rank levels. Of course, military people have a 24/7 liability;
but civilians who work after their regular hours benefit from the provisions of collective agreements.
Senator Cordy: Do people who are not signing up again in the military in fact move over to the public service to
work at the same jobs?
Capt. Smith: There is some of that, although I would say that the majority of the competitions are closed, are
internal to the public service. Although we have, at times, run parallel external and internal competitions. However, the
civilian workforce is suffering from the same phenomenon as the public service at large. The average age in Cape Scott
is over 50, and I have one person who is 77. The average age of workers in some of the trades is 53 or 54 years old and
those people are retiring as well. Very few of the military people who have retired have come back to work in that
civilian workforce to date.
Senator Cordy: Capt. MacIsaac, yesterday when I was having lunch with enlisted members, they were very
complimentary about the family resource centre. I wonder if you could tell me where it is located and about the
Capt. MacIsaac: Until recently there were two family resource centres, one in Shearwater with a separate board of
governors and volunteers, for the most part. The second one is located at Windsor Park, which is the Halifax one. The
significant amount of work done by these family resource centres in giving all manner of support to the families is
admirable, was admirable. During the entire submarine problem it was to the family resource centres that each of the
individual families were brought for briefings every few hours and provided with all manner of information that we
knew at the time. They offer other services and are considered a charitable organization, so sailors themselves can
actually donate money to the family resource centre as a charity of choice through the United Way or the GCWCC.
They provide counselling services. Family members can go there and use the Internet to email their spouses or their
sons and daughters at sea. It has probably been one of the most significant quality of life enhancements that we have
had, from a sailor's point of view. There is a lot of support for families. They run flexible daycare hours to
accommodate military hours. For example, they will open very early in the morning, at 5:30, for drop-off of children.
They are providing significant support in the Halifax area to army, navy, air force and all serving personnel. It is
understandable that they are very complimentary about the service that is provided. We just had an appreciation for
the people who work there, and many of them are in uniform also. A significant number are volunteers, with very few
Senator Cordy: You said there were two, one at Shearwater and one at Windsor. Are there still two?
Capt. MacIsaac: They were amalgamated from an efficiency point of view, because initially it was a co-location
arrangement. It was driven by location, and then we found that by putting the two together and making it one charity,
we could assign resources to each depending on need as opposed to using stovepipe funding that might be identified for
one only. In other words, the larger Halifax centre was receiving a lot more money than Shearwater, I suspect because
of the proportion of navy versus those at 12 Wing. Therefore, to provide equitable support services across the board
for everybody serving in the area, we consolidated the funding and the management.
Senator Cordy: You have a lot of military personnel in Halifax who actually live in private housing, so they might
live in Sackville or Eastern Passage or Dartmouth or wherever. Is there any provision made with the resource centre for
people who are unable to get to it easily in terms of transportation?
Capt. MacIsaac: Do you mean after hours?
Senator Cordy: Well, even during the day, if you do not have a car and you live in Sackville and you need access to
the family resource centre, how do you get there? At some bases the centre is located on the base or just outside.
However, here people are living all over HRM so it is a little different.
Capt. MacIsaac: Fortunately, people who require access to the family resource centre and do not have transport
would be able to call the centre first and they would try to organize transportation for them, perhaps via a rear party
from one of the ships that has a group that could provide transportation. The MFRC does have some vehicles, and we
have the whole base duty structure. The MFRC would contact either the padré or, depending on what the requirement
was, the officer of the watch and transportation would be provided. We would bring them if the need was there.
Senator Cordy: In fact, everybody that I had lunch with yesterday owned their own home, lived off the bases, and
that seems to be pretty common in Halifax. Interest rates are low now, but that has been the case for a long time, even
when interest rates were higher. There was such a high vacancy rate in Shannon Park, it was old and it was closed. The
housing facilities on the bases are certainly old in Shearwater and around Halifax. In looking at the renewal program,
how many facilities do you need for military personnel living on the base?
Capt. MacIsaac: I can give you some current statistics. We have about 40 families on a waiting list who have
expressed a desire to live in married quarters. That is the first indication, obviously, that demand is a little higher than
supply. That is one of the reasons we have invited the CEO of the Canadian Forces Housing Association to Halifax, to
rationalize the requirements in the area, the region, as part of a realty development plan, because married quarters
have been outside of the realty development program for quite some time. We had a significant number of married
quarter units in the Shannon Park area that just became too small and did not meet the needs of the individuals; and
that is what they told us. I remember the first thing that I had to do when I came here as the base commander was,
unfortunately, to decommission a Roman Catholic church at Shannon Park because the park was closing. The media
wanted to know why we were doing this to our sailors, until they actually interviewed some of them, who said, ``We did
not want to stay here.'' They were just too old, cost too much to replace, and there was a broader story there.
Therefore, at present we have 40 families who live elsewhere, but would probably prefer to live in married quarters at
this time. We have not done a satisfaction survey, but one is under way as part of this entire rationalization of the
married quarters on bases across Canada.
Senator Cordy: I would like to talk also about health care, and you said that, and maybe I misinterpreted you, the
money for health care is not in your budget. It comes directly from Ottawa?
Capt. MacIsaac: That is correct. The health service on base, the hospital, is a unit of National Defence Headquarters
and the funding for that is funnelled from Canadian Forces health services down to the hospital itself. Obviously we do
provide some infrastructure maintenance, but the provision of medical services is centrally funded.
Senator Cordy: There is still a hospital on Stadacona?
Capt. MacIsaac: We have the only accredited Canadian Forces hospital in Canada.
Senator Cordy: How large is it? What services can it provide?
Senator Forrestall: Just look out the window.
Senator Cordy: Yes, well I did not know it was still open.
Capt. MacIsaac: It is right there. I do not know the statistics, how many beds it has, but it does have a functioning
O.R. and it is used for first aid medical treatment and a number of other processes. The pharmacy is there. Dentistry is
located there also.
Senator Cordy: Does the military have access to beds at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital?
Capt. MacIsaac: Yes, we do.
Senator Cordy: How does that work?
Capt. MacIsaac: It is an interesting point. If a Canadian Forces person is sick, we go to a civilian hospital if it is for
something that requires specialist treatment. We do have patients who stay overnight in the hospital here, perhaps
before minor surgeries or something like that. However, as you know, health care is a provincial responsibility and the
Canadian Forces has a mandate to provide health care to its own, so there is always a significant question as to how
much we have to pay in the Province of Nova Scotia to receive health care, which is significantly more than most Nova
Scotians because we are considered non-residents. The premium that we pay for health services in the City of Halifax is
significantly more than for the normal taxpayer.
Senator Cordy: Now when people move from place to place, as military families do, they have difficulty finding a
family doctor. That is no different from businesspeople moving from community to community. Do you play a role at
all in helping families find a family doctor?
Capt. MacIsaac: The family resource centre has a significant amount of information to help acclimatize people, and
we have also a personnel support structure other than the centre. We call it doing your ``in-routine'' at the base, and it
includes all manner of information in respect of doctors, dentists, insurance companies, schools. The family resource
centre provides a lot of information on that. The support that people coming to Halifax receive is a success story and it
tends to be the envy of a lot of other bases. I can assure you of that, due to, in large part, the family resource centre.
Spouses know what it is to move from point A to point B frequently, and as you mentioned, the family doctor issue is
significant. You will see on some other bases in Canada where they do not have a functioning hospital they will try,
under the public support system, to bring a doctor's office on base.
I believe they have done that on other bases and we are looking at that also.
Senator Cordy: I think Edmonton is doing it.
Capt. MacIsaac: Edmonton? Okay, yes.
Senator Munson: I would just like to go back to Senator Nolin's questions on your $100-million budget and get the
specifics. Does something suffer when you have to move money around from one pot to the other for a priority? Does
some inefficiency occur, and if it does, could you be specific about how difficult it may be for you?
Capt. MacIsaac: First, I will focus on the $100 million. Those are not all of the available funds. That is not all the
money that we use to provide support because some items are centrally funded, health services being one of them. The
$100 million is inclusive of all the branches and the support that they provide on the base. Take a significant event like
Hurricane Juan, in which many of our people were involved, with a lot of provision of foodservices, et cetera, 24/7,
something we are not normally funded for. We identified that as an incremental cost, and if we had not received extra
money, we would have had to deal with a re-prioritization. However, there was reasonable assurance that it was
recognized that we provided support outside of our mandate in that instance. We were given significant funds to cover
those costs. We are in ``if'' scenarios, but we always have to prioritize certain areas. I would suggest that is what has
happened to the infrastructure since the early 1990s. Probably a lot of money was put into operations and people,
maintaining readiness of the individual and the ships, which is our raison d'être, and then we let slide what we could
not see, maybe some infrastructure, routine maintenance of water systems and whatever. We have had to start
reinvesting money in the infrastructure, which again, I think if you look around Halifax and the base itself is becoming
a good news story. It will take a long time but we will get to where we need to be.
Senator Munson: Well speaking of infrastructure in a real world, what is the real world for you at Shearwater? You
Capt. MacIsaac: The real world?
Senator Munson: How would you like to see it restructured, so to speak, or Capt. Smith could answer?
Capt. MacIsaac: I was intending to say, without sticking my neck out too far I do have an opinion on that.
Senator Munson: Well all kinds of necks are being stuck out today, why not?
Capt. MacIsaac: Yes, I will get it out. I am a logistician. I supported deployed operations in another life as a base
commander and when I look at Shearwater I see a rail line going into a base, a significant amount of land where I could
marshal just about any vehicle in the Armed Forces. I see a runway that was operational at one time and I would say
that the raison d'être of Shearwater in the future could be as a major staging area for deployed operations. It would
take a significant investment, but all the factors, from an operational point of view, in supporting and mounting forces
for deploying come together at Shearwater. Therefore, I think major investment would be the way to go.
Senator Munson: I have one other question, and I do not mean this to be unfair. This is not the former reporter in
me. I am not trying to get you, as they would say.
Capt. MacIsaac: I would not think so.
Senator Munson: We had discussions over lunch about how Canadians see Canadian soldiers on the front lines in
Afghanistan and the Kosovo conflict. We saw F-18s doing what they had to do. I do not think Canadians see or care as
much about the navy's role in the world. The navy, to me, has not fired anything at anybody for a long time. We have a
tremendous history, and of course, the last few days we have been remembering VE Day and so on. Some Canadians
question why we have a navy. This is just a general question to hear your theory of why a navy is so important to us all,
because I do not think Canadians get it.
Capt. MacIsaac: I would tend to agree with you. I think there are some reasons for that. Land forces or air forces
typically occupy a space where reporters are readily available, where CNN is, where cameras are, so the visibility of
occupying a piece of land or a runway in another country makes news. With ships at sea, of course, it is a little different
story. In my opinion the lack of visibility is a result of the geography in which we operate; the navy has always
conducted its operations at sea or in the protection of land masses from the sea, so what is being done is not in the
public eye. However, on the importance of a navy, there are a number of things that contribute to the sovereignty of a
country, and one is being able to protect it from the seaward approaches.
In addition to the other missions of the navy, I think Canadians will probably understand, after 9/11, the avenues of
attack that can hit Canada, one of them being a maritime attack. We are a shipping nation and a trading nation, and I
think the importance of knowing what is going on and who is entering our ports, from a domestic point of view, is
probably more in the minds of Canadians now than it ever was. From my perspective at the base, that is what I would
see as the navy's importance.
Senator Munson: The role has changed.
Capt. MacIsaac: I do not think it has ever changed. The roles have always been the same. The visibility of some
aspects of those roles has changed. I think Canadians are more aware of the domestic component, notwithstanding
that the navy was the first to deploy in Operation FRICTION and the number of ships that were deployed on that
mission. It was in the mind's eye of the people at that time also.
The Chairman: There is a certain logic that if you have to have a fight, have it over there rather than over here.
I would like to pursue a couple of points. You were talking about a master realty development plan.
Capt. MacIsaac: Master realty asset development plan. I can provide it.
The Chairman: Yes, if you would like to, that would be good. Are there built-in incentives for a base commander to
manage realty or assets well? If you can figure out a way to, for example, get rid of an asset for which you do not have a
requirement, do you get to keep any of the revenue from that or does it all go back into the consolidated revenue fund?
Capt. MacIsaac: Years ago it would have gone back into the consolidated revenue fund. Most recently, respecting
the entire disposal program and our business case for disposal, I think you are probably aware that we have been given
some targets to divest ourselves of a certain percentage. I think it is 10 per cent of the realty asset, of holdings. We have
met that target. Yes, we do have infrastructure we do not need. We are divesting ourselves of that, and if it is sold,
some of the proceeds then come back into the operating budget of this base to advance some of the aspects of the
overall realty asset development plan.
Senator Munson: How much? What percentage?
Capt. MacIsaac: I am not positive on the percentage. I think each individual disposal is different.
Senator Munson: It does not sound like it is much of a motivator if you do not know the percentage.
Senator Nolin: Is it operated by your people?
Capt. MacIsaac: We are part of the process in developing the plan itself. However, we go back and forth with
Ottawa through the assistant deputy minister, infrastructure. It is a cooperative effort to assess and rationalize the
assets and the realty holdings.
Senator Munson: I understand that. My question is what is the motivation? At Parks Canada, for example, I have
talked to superintendents who said, ``Look, I could run this place a hell of a lot differently, but why bother if the money
is going back to the black hole in Ottawa? If I could keep it here in the park, I would. You know the fancy house that I
live in? I do not need that. I could live somewhere else,'' and so on, so forth. What I am trying to get from you is do you
have as good a deal as Parks Canada has negotiated? My impression now is that superintendents have a real
opportunity to run parks in a more useful way for Canadians than previously. If you do not have the information at
your fingertips —
Capt. MacIsaac: There is a very positive incentive for us to divest and receive a percentage of the proceeds to use to
recoup, modernize and address those items on our prioritized asset development program. I just do not know the
The Chairman: If you could provide that to us, I would be grateful.
Capt. MacIsaac: We will provide that, sir.
Senator Forrestall: Would it be a weighted judgment to divest? I should ask you who would make that kind of
judgment, because it seems to me that while there is some residual value in that, there is also down the road, in the not
too distant future, the very real cost to the Department of National Defence should those lands be lost. As ambitious
as you may be to husband your resources and even expand them, to do so out of profits from the sale of Shearwater, I
do not think that even though I am a retiring politician — I have been at it for almost 40 years — I would appreciate
that very much. Indeed, it might cost you hundreds of millions of dollars to recoup the value to the Canadian Armed
Forces, especially of territory that you already own. To sell it, to recoup $50 million for Stadacona, for Base Halifax,
would seem to me to be very short-sighted.
Capt. MacIsaac: Yes, maybe I was not clear on who has the authority to decide. That is another question. Who has
the authority to decide whether we can divest? You may be aware that I as the base commander cannot say, ``I want to
get rid of this because I can get $10 million for it.'' You are probably aware that there is a formal process for divesting
Crown property that the federal government uses, provincial governments use, and it happens among departments at
our national headquarters. It is based on whether or not the infrastructure is useful to the operations of the base or
station. It is not necessarily a case of, ``We do not need Shearwater any more. Let's make some money.''
Senator Forrestall: You were the one who talked about force deployment and being a believer.
Capt. MacIsaac: Oh, I believe in keeping Shearwater.
Senator Forrestall: A believer in truth, you made sure your boss, the admiral, knows that there are some people who
would seriously wonder about the wisdom of giving up land too quickly, before we are absolutely certain what its real
value is to the future plans of the Canadian Armed Forces. We have 20/20 vision that does not miss that suggestive
trend. We are getting closer to the point where people like me will not sit still and watch losses unless there is absolutely
no military value. The land you do have I would like to see then turned into a park, not for the passing capital gain that
would accrue on a thousand homes or something like that, and a six-lane highway coming from somewhere but going
The Chairman: If I understand you correctly, captain, the decision is not yours, it is made elsewhere, but there is a
provision for some recovery of money by the base when sales are made.
Capt. MacIsaac: Right. Through the Canadian lands corporation; I can give you the details of the process.
The Chairman: Thank you.
When you were asked about your capacity to spend additional funds, you came up with $10 million, I believe. Was
the limiting factor your ability to manage that funding?
Capt. MacIsaac: That was part and parcel of the procurement process, when in the fiscal year it was identified that
we would receive the money. For instance, like other federal government departments, $10 million on March 1 is
probably not very useful. It is over-programming in the capacity and having some of our infrastructure programs at
least defined, the architects having drawn some of the estimates and put them on the shelf, trying to bring those
forward at the beginning of the year. Given that which we know we have to do, whether it happens this year or next
fiscal year, we were able to compress an additional $10 million we received for infrastructure projects and other
support services. It was over-programming at the beginning of the year, with the knowledge that probably there would
be slippages in other places in the departments, or the CF's budget, that would accrue to us. However, in all cases it is
projects that we know we have to do, so that if they do not occur this year, they will have to occur next year. It is risk
The Chairman: Perhaps if we came at it another way I would have a better understanding. Could you give the
committee a list of your critical needs? Can you tell us what needs to be done at the base now and how much it would
Capt. MacIsaac: I could provide those details, as there is a major process we go through to prioritize that, which
includes committees of all of our lodger and integral units. In the master realty development plan and the long-term
capital plan, there is input from all levels within the department, up to National Defence Headquarters, of course. I
have a major long-term capital plan that we can provide to you and that will give you our top priorities. For instance,
number one is the refurbishing or construction of accommodation for our junior ranks.
The Chairman: Am I correct in assuming that this list will vastly exceed $10 million?
Capt. MacIsaac: It would, definitely. The synchrolift modification, for instance, although not totally within my
purview, is part of the master realty development plan and forms part of the critical infrastructure requirements that
flow through to National Defence Headquarters.
Capt. Smith: The synchrolift is a fundamental piece of the infrastructure here on the coast; it allows us to raise the
vessels. There used to be a shore-based shed associated with it. The Victoria class submarines did not fit in the shed,
which had been purpose-built for the Oberon class submarines. That shed has now been demolished. However, by
virtue of the current limitations on the synchrolift, we cannot transfer the Victoria class submarines ashore. Therefore,
one of my highest priorities, shared by Adm. McNeil, is to upgrade the synchrolift from a strength perspective such
that we can transfer a submarine ashore and work on it on a set of rails. Then the synchrolift becomes available to
service other platforms. That project is in its embryonic stages but we are trying to move forward as fast as possible.
The Chairman: And other platforms? You would not attribute the cost of the synchrolift just to the cost of the subs?
Capt. Smith: Oh, certainly not. The Athabaskan, any of the Halifax class frigates, routinely go up on the synchrolift
The Chairman: No, but the new one you need. Is it sub-specific?
Capt. Smith: It is primarily sub-specific because the frigates and destroyers are too heavy to transfer ashore.
The Chairman: How much is it?
Capt. Smith: The upgrade to the synchrolift and the shore-based infrastructure needed to buttress it is in the realm
of $7 million to $8 million. In the fullness of time, it is anticipated that we would build a shed onshore into which the
Victoria class submarine would fit so you could more easily work on it year round. That is another $7 million to $8
The Chairman: The business case would be that that is more efficient than working on them in the water?
Capt. Smith: First, when they are up on the dock it is normally for underwater-related maintenance that you cannot
do in the water. From a business case perspective, when they are ashore, or even on the synchrolift, in the wintertime,
you cannot paint without a shelter. To erect some type of temporary shelter and heat it as a one-time cost is
prohibitively expensive, so we would recoup that initial capital investment fairly quickly.
The Chairman: Capt. MacIsaac, if we could come back to your list of critical needs. I do not know if this is a
reasonable question, but can you enumerate the top 5 or 10 for us and associate a number with them?
Capt. MacIsaac: I could not put numbers to them because I do not have the figures here with me. The plan is
sensitive to some flexibility. In other words, the priorities are listed at a given point in time, and the synchrolift, I
believe, is number one, at about $15 million when you include the shed and the enhancements to the lift itself. The
accommodation block for the junior ranks, if built new, was in the neighbourhood of $38 million. If we refurbished
existing accommodation, and that is where it is now; they are doing estimates on that accommodation structure —
The Chairman: Just so I understand the synchrolift, do you go to Canada Tire and say, ``Give me a synchrolift?''
Capt. Smith: Sir, Synchrolift is actually the name of a company now owned by Rolls-Royce, and as the original
equipment manufacturer, they would certainly be one of the contenders to participate in the design upgrade of that
The Chairman: This is a device that you have to design from scratch?
Capt. Smith: No, it currently exists but it will have to be structurally strengthened. There is no problem lifting the
submarine out of the water at the moment. However, it is the transfer capability ashore that is limited by the strength
of the platform.
The Chairman: Is there a lot of design work involved? If you had the money, could you buy it this year, or is it
something in which you have to invest a lot of time and contract management effort?
Capt. Smith: Undeniably, upfront design effort is required. That has been scoped out, but not done yet. It is not
terribly difficult to execute, and design and implementation would reasonably take 12 to 14 months if the funds were
The Chairman: I am sorry to interrupt you, Capt. MacIsaac. You were giving us the list.
Capt. MacIsaac: Yes. Some of the others would be jetties. We are demolishing some old wooden jetties in
preparation for the construction of a larger jetty for the joint supply ship. There is also infrastructure at Shearwater,
the water main systems, the firefighting systems, the power grids. However, that is put together as a package so I
cannot put a dollar value on it, but it is listed individually in the long-term capital program and the asset realty
development. We can get that for you.
The Chairman: We would appreciate that. Just out of curiosity, do you have a jetty of a significant size where a San
Antonio class vessel could park itself?
Capt. Smith: I believe we do have one at the southern extremity of the dockyard that would certainly be able to
accommodate it from a size perspective. I am not quite sure from a depth of water perspective.
The Chairman: You are getting support from behind you. I just want you to know that. Let the record show that.
Capt. MacIsaac: Up to 69,000 tonnes, so yes.
The Chairman: We would appreciate that list, particularly those items that you need now, and if we could get some
indication on how close they are to implementation or whether you still have to spend a lot of time planning or
working through the management of it. We are travelling across the country and asking the same questions
Capt. MacIsaac: We can provide that shortly.
The Chairman: We are keen to know what the constraints are on military spending, whether they are political or
whether they are because you do not have enough people here to manage the contracts. It is probably some of both,
but we want to find out which are which.
Senator Forrestall: Could you throw in the magazine and the armament depot in those properties?
Capt. MacIsaac: The magazine does not belong to us.
Senator Forrestall: Who does it belong to?
Capt. MacIsaac: ADM Mat.
Senator Forrestall: Who?
Capt. MacIsaac: Assistant deputy minister, materiel. We do provide some infrastructure support to that.
Senator Forrestall: What about the armament depot itself?
Capt. MacIsaac: The depot itself?
Senator Forrestall: The gunnery right across the road.
Capt. MacIsaac: Oh, NAD? That belongs to us, yes.
Senator Forrestall: I always thought that that meant naval armament depot. Maybe it does not.
Capt. MacIsaac: That is correct, yes, it does.
Senator Nolin: I want to go back to one of your answers to Senator Cordy about married quarters. Do I understand
that you are researching why there is an interest in those quarters, and is it a new interest or has it always been
Capt. MacIsaac: No, it is a rationalization. You may be aware that the management of married quarters across the
country now is centralized in one agency.
Senator Nolin: No.
Capt. MacIsaac: Oh, sorry, there is one agency in National Defence Headquarters, the Canadian Forces Housing
Agency. They were charged with reviewing the requirements and enhancing the quality and the utility of married
quarters across the entire Canadian Forces. In some cases that meant divesting of old properties that were beyond
economical repair, insulating others. The resources that we used to maintain our PMQs as part of my operating budget
were given to the central agency as an efficiency measure, to allow them to do it on a larger scale, as opposed to each
base trying to maintain a possibly different standard of married quarters. It was intended to draw a baseline for all
married quarters so that when someone left Halifax and moved to Victoria, the standard would be similar.
Senator Nolin: That is what generated the interest?
Capt. MacIsaac: That is what generated the interest in the Canadian Forces housing, sir.
Senator Nolin: Thank you.
The Chairman: On behalf of the committee, Capt. MacIsaac and Capt. Smith, I would like to thank you very much.
We appreciate you coming before us. We appreciate the information you have provided to us and we are very grateful
for your assistance with our study. We look forward to receiving the information to come and our officials may well be
in touch with you for further information to assist us. We would be grateful, if we provide you with some written
questions, if you could assist us with further answers. On behalf of the committee, thank you very much for a very
We are taking advantage of our visit here in the course of our defence review to get an update on first responders
and to follow up on a hearing we had in Halifax a little over a year ago, when we undertook to come back and hear of
the lessons learned from Halifax. As you are undoubtedly aware, we are great believers in lessons learned and
compiling them in a way that other communities can benefit from them.
I have a list here of those who are appearing before us, colleagues. They include Colonel Roch Lacroix, Chief of
Staff, Land Forces Atlantic Area. Col. Lacroix is an artillery officer who enrolled in the Canadian Forces in 1975. He
has occupied various regimental command and staff positions. He has completed various operational tours in
Germany, Cyprus, Haiti and East Timor.
We also have with us Mr. Barry Manuel, Emergency Measures Coordinator for the Halifax Regional Municipality.
He joined the municipal emergency measures organization in 1988 and was appointed as the region's full-time EMO
coordinator in 1997. He also acts as a guest lecturer at the Canadian Emergency Preparedness College in Ottawa. He
and the Municipal EMO have been part of many emergency responses, both localand international in nature, including
the crash of Swissair Flight 111 in 1998, the humanitarian assistance given to over 7,000 air travellers who were
stranded in the Halifax Regional Municipality after the terrorist attack in September of 2001, and Hurricane Juan in
We also have Mr. Craig MacLaughlan, who joined the Emergency Measures Organization of Nova Scotia as its
Executive Director in February of 2005. Before joining EMO Nova Scotia he was a 30-year member of the Royal
Canadian Mounted Police. Most recently, he served as Superintendent of Support Services in Nova Scotia's Criminal
Operations Branch. In that capacity he spearheaded the RCMP's response to Hurricane Juan and the blizzard of
February, 2004. He won a Premier's Award for his leadership during the hurricane.Mr. MacLaughlan appeared before
the committee in September 2003 — and welcome back.
We also have before us Mr. Adam Rostis, who is the Federal/Provincial/Municipal Liaison Officer with the Nova
Scotia Emergency Measures Organization. He is responsible for administration of the province's federal/provincial
emergency preparedness program and also assists in the administration of disaster financial assistance programs in
Nova Scotia. Before joining EMO he spent four years working for the International Federation of the Red Cross in
Harare, Zimbabwe, as the Regional Information Systems Management Delegate. His work in Southern Africa helped
develop the capacity of the Red Cross to use information technology for disaster preparedness and response.
Finally, we have Mr. Bruce Burrell, Deputy Chief Director for Halifax Regional Fire and Emergency. Mr. Burrell
started his career in the fire service in 1981 as a volunteer member of the rescue company. He joined the Halifax Fire
Departmentin 1994 as a member of the dangerous goods response teamand eventually became the program
coordinator. Over the past18 years he has been an apparatus operator, training officer, operations officer and manager
of safety. He is a member of various associations, instructs at the Canadian Emergency Preparedness College and
serves on various national committees.
Mr. Craig MacLaughlan, Executive Director, Emergency Measures Organization, Province of Nova Scotia: Mr.
Chairman, honourable senators, it is a pleasure to appear before you today to update you on the provincial emergency
measures organization and its related programs and enhancements since Hurricane Juan, and to follow up on the
provincial EMO report submitted to the Province of Nova Scotia in November of 2003, a copy of which I supplied to
your committee, sir.
You will recall that Hurricane Juan made landfall in Nova Scotia at approximately midnight Atlantic Daylight
Time on September 29, 2003, a category 2 hurricane with wind gusts of up to 180 kilometres per hour. It left incredible
destruction in its wake, toppling thousands of trees, ripping up wharves and breakwaters, destroying barns and other
farm buildings, and knocking out power to 300,000 customers of Nova Scotia Power Incorporated. Tragically, two
Nova Scotians died during the storm.
Thirteen recommendations were identified in the final EMO report, and I will advise you of our progress in this area
since the report was filed. I think it is important to recognize that Nova Scotia's Emergency Measures Act requires and
empowersall 55 municipalities to have emergency measures organizations, emergency bylaws, emergency plans,
committees of council and emergency measures coordinators. All municipalities are evaluated by the provincial
emergency measures organization biannually. Having just completed the municipal evaluations, I am pleased to report
that the municipalities have improved their preparedness planning from 72 per cent in 2003 to 95 per cent in 2005; 52
out of 55 municipalities rated ``Good'' or ``Excellent,'' and three rated ``Fair.'' My organization will continue to work
at increasing this level of municipal preparedness.
EMO Nova Scotia offers training programs to persons and agencies throughout the province, including the 9-1-1
dispatch and call-taker courses, basic emergency preparedness, emergency operations centre, and a basic emergency
awareness course, to name a few. Persons from provincial, federal and municipal governments are included in these
training opportunities. EMO Nova Scotia has developed a provincial emergency activation team, known as PEAT,
that practices real-life scenarios on a regular basis. The last practice, ``Exercise Triple Play,'' was held one month ago.
This was the first time in many years that executive directors, deputy ministers and ministers were trained within the
Contacts and resource asset lists are continually being updated by EMO and are reviewed as a part of the evaluation
process. This summer, EMO Nova Scotia is introducing an electronic events management program that will assist in
updating our resource list. EMO Nova Scotia, EMO Halifax Regional Municipality and Nova Scotia PSEPC are
working together to establish a team of trained personnel who can relieve each other during long-term events. EMO
Nova Scotia has just hired a director of emergency programs to enhance our operational training abilities and
Under improved operational protocols, EMO Nova Scotia recognizes that the joint emergency operations centre
requires updating, especially in the area of electronic technology. Nova Scotia is the only province that has federal,
provincial and municipal EMO agencies in the same location, sharing two emergency operations centres, and planning
continues in order to enhance the response capabilities of these centres. Individual backup centres have been identified
for the three EOCs. However, planning to have all three agencies co-locate their backup centres is now under way,
enhancing the overall response capabilities of EMO Nova Scotia. Remote access to EMO Nova Scotia is available to
its employees, should a forced evacuation occur, allowing them access to deployed resources at a moment's notice.
Under improved communications, since taking on these duties, I have established an executive advisory committee
representing the 55 municipalities and a search managers' advisory committee within the volunteer ground search and
rescue teams. Both committees were established to improve communications to EMO and the provincial, federal and
municipal governments. Nova Scotia Power was invited to join the EAC group and this is a positive step in opening
communication lines between Nova Scotia Power and the municipalities. EMO Nova Scotia has a full-time
communications person who works closely with Communications Nova Scotia to deliver messages of preparedness
such as those we have seen in the paper this week, on Emergency Preparedness Week in Nova Scotia, May 1 to May 7.
The Land Forces Area Atlantic have established a working group with EMO Nova Scotia to assist government and
municipalities with their contingency planning. This will allow us to understand how the military can play a role in
emergency response within their communities, and will assist the military with understanding its roles and
responsibilities when called upon. LFAA have a representative on the provincial ``PEAT'' team during events, and they
work within a team environment out of the JEOC, the joint emergency operations centre. One area of concern that
merits mention is the previous lack of comfort centres to provide warmth and food within the municipalities.
I am pleased to report that the Government of Nova Scotia, under the direction of the Minister responsible for the
Provincial Emergency Measures Act, the Honourable Ernest Fage, established a grant program that saw 151 portable
generators placed throughout the province within community centres and fire halls. This grant program will continue
for 2005. This undoubtedly shows the commitment of the Nova Scotia government to the people of Nova Scotia
during times of emergencies. EMO Nova Scotia has taken the lead in establishing a CBRN, or chemical, biological,
radiological, nuclear working group; SRAC, a special response advisory committee that will see the development of a
response team or teams with the sustainability and abilities to respond to CBRN events throughout the province.
EMO Nova Scotia continues to work with PSEPC to address the eight priorities agreed to by the provincial
ministers responsible for emergency preparedness at the January 2004 meeting in Ottawa, and I feel that real progress
is being made within these initiatives to assist Nova Scotia in addressing emergency response needs and capabilities. I
hope that I have outlined the efforts of EMO Nova Scotia and its provincial, federal and territorial partners in
I wish to thank Senator Kenny and his committee for keeping emergency preparedness in Canada at the forefront of
their work and for keeping us, the provinces, accountable for ensuring that emergency preparedness is on everybody's
The Chairman: Thank you, Mr. MacLaughlan, we appreciate your remarks.
Mr. Barry Manuel, Coordinator, Emergency Measures Organization, City of Halifax: Good afternoon, Mr.
Chairman, honourable members of the committee. Thank you for inviting the municipality here today to discuss with
you our response to Hurricane Juan, September, 2003.
Before I begin, I would just like to mention, as you have already heard, this is Emergency Preparedness Week in
Canada. I would like to thank you for coming down here during EP Week just to convene this forum. I appreciate that.
The HRM Emergency Measures Organization, or EMO, has plans and operational procedures in place that are
designed to provide a management structure and process to allow the municipality to successfully deal with any large-
scale emergency event. These plans and procedures have been in use successfully since amalgamation and are designed
to be evaluated after every large-scale event to allow for enhancements to the system.
The Hurricane Juan response was, in itself, a large-scale,multi-site, multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional event. In
preparation for the storm, the municipality's emergency response management team met in conjunction with
provincial and federal agencies at the joint emergency operations centre to plan and prepare. The municipality declared
a state of local emergency before the storm actually arrived in order to complete part of the pre-storm preparation.
To set the stage for you, by 9 o'clock on the evening of the storm, before it had actually arrived, both bridges
connecting the municipality were closed due to high winds, and by 10 o'clock, commercial power supply to the
operations centre was lost, leaving the centre working from a generator. The EOC was dealing with reports from field
staff that people were gathering along the shorelines throughout the municipality to watch the surf and wave action
and were ignoring our warnings of the danger.
The storm itself hit at 12:15 the next morning. Throughout the storm, the municipal EOC's prime mission was to
respond to the many storm-related events that occurred while maintaining connectivity with its critical infrastructure.
At first light, an assessment of damage was commenced, along with the opening of primary roadways. In fact,
municipal transit service was re-established within 24 hours. However, the HRM did suffer from a lack of intelligence
during the initial stages of the recovery period when it was trying to coordinate resource deployment with critical
outside agencies who were not included in the joint emergency centre management group. We have started the
rectification process by inviting some of these agencies to join us in our operations centre. This is an improvement, but
more work is needed in this area. The damage assessment indicated a tremendous number of downed trees and power
lines, along with structural damage to our infrastructure in the private and public sector.
A request was initiated through EMO Nova Scotia for the use of Canadian Forces personnel to work with
municipal response teams. The CF response was coordinated with our divisions of real property and asset management
and our public works and transportation department.
The municipal operations centre itself was in operation for a total of 10 days to facilitate this process. On November
2, 2003, a full debriefing was conducted to analyze the multi-jurisdictional response to the hurricane and to look
specifically at HRM's roles as well as the emergency operations centre's effectiveness. The debriefing indicated that the
emergency measures system that the HRM uses worked very well during the hurricane; however, there were some areas
where improvements could be made to make it work better. These are in the areas of business continuity and recovery,
evacuation profile data revisions and shelter management, outside utilities liaison, and additional emergency
management training for our responders and managers.
The HRM master emergency plan is more than just a document lying dust-covered on a shelf somewhere and was
not created just to satisfy a piece of legislation. Our emergency plan defines a system that allows the municipality to
effectively manage its resources in affected areas in times of emergency and also to continue provision of services to
unaffected areas during these same periods. This system worked well during the hurricane response and subsequent
recovery and is consistent with the current curriculum being offered at the Canadian Emergency Preparedness College
in Ottawa and, at the provincial level, the office of EMO Nova Scotia. Coordinated planning and response are the
keystones to a successful mitigation of an emergency event.
The HRM strongly believes in this type of coordinated approach, allowing a multi-jurisdictional team to be
assembled to mitigate an event. This is normal practice among the municipality, the Province of Nova Scotia
Emergency Measures Organization and the regional office of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada, as
was evidenced by the swift approval for deployment of the Canadian Forces to assist the municipality in its restoration
of essential services following the hurricane.
Large-scale events can, by their nature, create the potential to evacuate many residents from their homes. Reception
centres, evacuation centres and comfort centres are staffed by volunteers. While large-scale evacuation events may be
required, this has to be balanced with the protection, mostly against exhaustion, of the volunteers who turn out to staff
these facilities. This is especially true in the rural areas of the municipality where the populations are less concentrated,
thereby requiring more shelters to be opened in order to keep the residents close to their communities.
The municipality has begun the development of localized disaster planning groups in these rural areas to better
assist and coordinate future emergency responses. The municipality, combined with the provincial and federal
government, maintained an aggressive public notification system before, during and after the hurricane. However, the
municipality believes that emergency public notification in Canada has become a critical area of emergency
management that needs to be addressed. This is especially true for sudden impact events.
There is no one agency in Canada that can provide all services to all citizens all the time, so collaboration between
agencies is essential. The HRM emergency management system is based on relationships and teamwork. The system,
called emergency site management, has been deployed at HRM emergency events before the hurricane, during the
hurricane and since the hurricane. As evidenced by the group that is now before you, the HRM does not stand alone,
but will always be part of an integrated emergency response team. I will be pleased to discuss this further and to answer
any questions you may have.
The Chairman: Thank you very much, Mr. Manuel.
Colonel Roch Lacroix, Chief of Staff, Land Force Atlantic Area, National Defence: Mr Chairman, honourable
senators, first I would like to thank you for giving me the opportunity to address your committee today.
It is my pleasure to provide you with some background on Op SPLINTER and specifically on the CF response to
Hurricane Juan from September 29 to October 5. During this operation I was employed as Chief of Staff of LFAA,
and as such, I assisted in the planning as well as in the provision of advice to the Commander, MARLANT, Adm.
Davidson, who was at that time designated as the joint task force commander.
Before describing the mounting and execution phases of Operation SPLINTER, I would like to highlight the normal
state of readiness for the Land Force Atlantic Area troops.
First, we have an immediate reaction unit, consisting of soldiers from the Second Battalion, Royal Canadian
Regiment and 4 Engineer Support Regiment, both of which are located at CFB Gagetown in New Brunswick. As well,
we have soldiers from 4 Air Defence Regiment located in Moncton, New Brunswick. The reconnaissance party of these
regular troops is at four hours' notice to move with the vanguard and the main body of these organizations at 12 and
24 hours notice respectively.
The LFAA does not have a regular force brigade so, unlike other areas that you have visited in the past, we also
maintain reservists at a heightened state of readiness; 36 and 37 Brigade Groups each maintain 100 soldiers at 48 hours'
notice to move. This group is known as our immediate reaction force.
During the build-up of Hurricane Juan, my headquarters monitored and tracked the movements of the storm. We
kept our high-readiness commanders informed and discussed the possibilities of receiving a request for assistance from
one or more of the Maritime provinces. On September 28, in anticipation of such a request, I deployed my liaison
officer at EMO Nova Scotia and had the LO of New Brunswick, PEI and Newfoundland on standby.
Hurricane Juan swept through the Atlantic region late on September 28. Halifax was the hardest hit. The storm
caused extensive damage and left the city, including DND infrastructure, without power for several days. Reports from
our liaison officers indicated that damage in PEI was manageable with the local resources. Therefore it was decided the
CF primary effort would be in Halifax.
A state of emergency was declared and the requestfor CF response was officially received just before noon on
September 29. Preliminary coordination with EMO staff was conducted to determine the scope of the damage and
potential CF tasks and to set priorities. The three main priorities established for the CF were as follows:
First, open the main traffic routes and emergency routes; second, clear the routes to allow Nova Scotia Power crews
tore-establish the power grid; and lastly, clear the right-of-way, and by that I mean clearing off sidewalks and other
areas for fire hydrants and power transformers.
Our concept of Ops was pretty straightforward. The joint task force commander's overall intent was to have CF
troops on the ground and tactically deployed where they were needed most and as quickly as possible. With that in
mind, plans were developed with EMO Nova Scotia. The city was divided into two areas: the Land Force immediate
reaction unit, stationed in Gagetown, were to operate in the Dartmouth area, while the immediate reaction force, 36
Brigade, and MARLANT forces would operate in Halifax. CFB Halifax would provide the logistic support for both
By late afternoon on September 30 we were fully operational and work began in earnest. On October 2 Dartmouth
had most of its power grid restored so the immediate reaction unit was redirected to Halifax. The area then was re-
divided into three sectors, one each for the immediate reaction unit, the reaction force and the MARLANT force.
Operations continued until noon, October 5, when Op SPLINTER was officially stood down. However, Halifax EMO
had requested further CF assistance to continue the clearing of the rights-of-way. This resulted in the stand-up of
Operation SLIVER and 36 Brigade was assigned the responsibility while the remaining forces were redeployed.
Overall, Op SPLINTER and SLIVER were successful operations from a military perspective. The CF response was
swift, yet deliberate. The immediate reaction unit deployed in Gagetown arrived on the evening of the 29th and the
early morning of September 30. The immediate reaction force recall went exceptionally well, considering the
telecommunications problems we faced at that time. Most reported well within the 48-hour reporting period. Our
reservists came from across the Maritime provinces.
A large part of CF success on Op SPLINTER is due to the 1,100 sailors, soldiers, airmen and women, including
over350 army reservists, who left behind families in damaged homes without power and responded to the call of duty.
The initiative and the can-do attitude of these individuals and leaders carried the day.
The second contributing factor to the success was the relationships that had been established over time with our
other government departments, EMOs and the like. The importance of the relationships with EMOs at the operating
level, andsenior-level relationships such as are found at the Nova Scotia Federal Council, for example, cannot be
overstated. As well, we worked hand in hand with the ground troops from Nova Scotia Power, Public Works and
Transport Canada, which led to the clearing of the major routes and restoration of power to the city.
A third positive point was that the lessons learned from previous domestic operations across Canada were employed
in Op SPLINTER. For example, we were able to anticipate and hasten the approval for class C contracts for our
reservists. In fact, this was accomplished in a 24-hour turnaround, which is a substantial improvement over previous
missions. We were also able to quickly ascertain the medical status of our reservists prior to them being deployed, and
finally, we integrated ourselves with the crews, as I said before, which was a key lesson learned from our participation
in the B.C. forest fires.
Of course, no deployment of this nature is without its challenges. Op SPLINTER showed that when
telecommunications networks were disabled, traditional recall procedures were ineffective. This challenge was
overcome with the help of our local radio stations, who agreed to broadcast our recall orders, which proved to be quite
effective and, some may even argue, more effective than the traditional means.
Op SPLINTER highlighted the need for contingency planning capability. I believe we in the CF can provide a
capability that would enhance the overall preparedness for domestic operations at the provincial and municipal level.
Through the Land Force Reserve Restructure project ongoing now within the army, LFAA has developed a concept of
contingency planning teams. This concept has been briefed and enjoys the support of all EMOs in Atlantic Canada.
We believe this will provide an added capability to any organization that needs or requests it.
Perhaps the biggest challenge from my perspective at that time was the inability to obtain a clear picture of the
overall situation, particularly in the early going of the recovery mission. We did not have a full grasp of the situation
until about 48 hours after the storm hit. Thousands of localized damage reports were flooding into the various call
centres from affected citizens, but the capability to consolidate these reports into a clear intelligence picture was
missing. This information must be collected, analyzed and distributed to allow decision makers to make rapid,
informed decisions on how best to employ valuable, and in some cases limited, assets.
In closing, I would like to stress that from our perspective, Op SPLINTER and SLIVER were successful. We were
able to respond on short notice and I believe we achieved mission success. Current lessons learned have been captured
and in many cases we have acted on several in close cooperation with EMOs across the Atlantic area.
Mr. Chairman, this concludes my introductory remarks. I would now be pleased to answer any of your questions.
Senator Forrestall: Welcome, gentlemen. It has been a while since you were here. It is interesting to note that when
we last met on this general and broad question of first responders, it was just before a major event, and just to check up
on you, we sent you one last February that we all had to live with. I think it is proper to note that you have made
progress. You have learned lessons, obviously, and you are to be commended for that. However, there are still some
lingering questions. First of all, there is the level of usefulness of the linkage between your personnel, colonel, and the
city, particularly during the hurricane. Were the lines of communication as good as they could have been, and if they
were not, have they been improved, and how?
Mr. Manuel: The lines of communication, the process with the joint emergency operating centre, which we discussed
the last time we were here, is the area that we would start with. The advantage of having that joint EOC is that
whenever the provincial government is part of the operation, they will stand up a federal Canadian Forces personnel
Senator Forrestall: Well I thought I would work from the city to the province. That is what I started to do.
Mr. Manuel: What I am leading up to is that, as a municipality, we have no idea what goes on in the rest of the
province. I want the best for my municipality, simple as that. I would defer to the provincial joint EOC to start those
lines of communication, and having them next door is an advantage.
Senator Forrestall: Certainly.
Mr. Manuel: I remember when we actually asked for the Canadian Forces' assistance, one of the things we asked for
was a field kitchen. I remember the conversation. I was speaking to the executive director, Mike Lester, at the time. He
was looking at the OCIPEP regional director, who happened to have the military person standing behind her. I made
the request and automatically, every level of government that needed to be involved was involved. We each went away
and did up our initial reports. By the time the paperwork was done, the approval came from Ottawa. We actually had
the field kitchen there a day earlier than I had planned. I had planned to have a volunteer service prepare breakfast that
morning and when they arrived, the field kitchen was in place. There is no issue with the initial contacts, the way we get
together, the way we do business.
Senator Forrestall: Well we will start with Mr. MacLaughlan. It is the lines of communication between the province
and the cities, whichever comes first, and the military, because if the assistance that you could offer was underutilized, I
hope that has been overcome; we would like to hear that.
Mr. MacLaughlan: I am pleased to report that, as Senator Kenny said, I have left the RCMP after 30 years and am
taking on this new role, but my job within the RCMP was as division incident commander for all of Nova Scotia. As a
result, I got to work with my colleagues here for the past four and a half years. I would like to share with you a couple
Unfortunately, we had the MK Airline crash. As a result of that, I made a phone call to Col. Lacroix and said, ``I
need a city built.'' It was pouring with rain. The winds were at 100 kilometres an hour. We needed to feed over 2,000
people, ground search and rescue, police officers. By the next morning, my city was built. We could not have done it
without the cooperation — and of course, Barry had joined us — of the HRM or within the HRM. We have set up the
lines of communication, not only at the top but also right down to the ground worker, so that they know we have a job
to do; and we try to get over some of those stumbling blocks of worrying about getting documents signed before we
perhaps get things put in order, if I might be so bold. However, it does work. I know that when I was in the RCMP we
were supported by the senior officers and we got the job done.
I will give you one final example. As my retirement gift, they gave me four and a half days to put together the
security package for President Bush's visit. For four and a half days my friends at this table joined me and I think you
are well aware of how successful that was. Again, I could not have done it without the lines of communication that we
have established. Perhaps it is our Eastern flare down here for getting along with each other, because we see each other
off duty too. We know when the phone rings at 4 o'clock in the morning that we have established good lines of
communication, both electronically and on a personal basis. I think we have come a long way. We established one
group in EMO Nova Scotia called DEPOs, departmental emergency planning officers, who are throughout
government and they sit at that table with me. We meet now every six weeks and we are getting into more training. We
are trying to come up with terms of reference. I can make a phone call to those people now. It is in my briefcase. We
call it an event. If an event happens, as Barry said a few minutes ago, within minutes we are activated. I think we have
learned a lot, because I was the incident commander for the RCMP for the hurricane and I got that phone call at 4:00
in the morning. The trees were down in my driveway, I could not get out and we were kind of running in a circle for a
few minutes. I do mean a few minutes, because when those EOCs opened up, things started to get done. Think about it.
I remember driving into Halifax from Fall River that morning. It was black. The city was black. It was probably one of
the most difficult in my career to get going. However, I think we are fortunate down here in that we are a small-enough
province for us all get to know each other. We understand the needs of each others' organizations, but we also work
hard at helping each other to be successful within our own programs.
Senator Forrestall: Would you have a comment on that? Good news is always nice to hear.
Col. Lacroix: It is good news, sir, and I think that there is still room for improvement, obviously, as in anything else.
However, we are in good shape right now and we have proven that time and time again over the last two years.
Senator Forrestall: Will the single roof over your heads — and I gather you are either in that one headquarters now
or in the process of coming together — help?
Mr. MacLaughlan: Yes, senator, under that one roof are myself, Mr. Manuel representing the municipal EMO, and
the director of PSEPC. We have two large command centres. We have several boardrooms and Mr. Manuel and I are
now going through some reconstruction. It is the only place in Canada that I am aware of where the provincial, federal
and municipal EMOs are all located within steps of each other. I believe PEI has the municipal and the provincial
organization together but not the federal one.
Senator Forrestall: I think Vancouver has a somewhat similar arrangement.
Mr. MacLaughlan: It certainly works. There is no question about it. It is a very positive step. As the colonel said,
there are always lessons to be learned. The part that I really enjoy is that we are thinking the same way. We are
thinking strategically and he is sending people to us now to help us to develop provincial plans.
Senator Forrestall: Are you thinking of having a permanent military representative under the same roof?
Mr. MacLaughlan: I spoke with the colonel about that as recently as yesterday, and I will let him speak to that in a
moment. However, that is one thing that we would like to see down the road.
Col. Lacroix: At the current time there are no plans for that. I think that our organization as it is and how our LOs
are interacting with the EMO organization at the onset of an incident are doing the job. When we start bringing the
contingency planning teams back online — and they should be operational by the end of next March — all four of
them will be stood up and ready to go. That will be an added benefit that will bridge any shortfalls or gaps that are out
there in working with the municipalities as well as the provincial EMO. This isAtlantic-wide. We are fortunate to have
three major components here, the air force, navy and army, all under one roof, which makes things a lot easier as well
in terms of whatever we need to deal with. Therefore, we only have one boss to talk to and that is my friend here, and
we sort things out from that point on.
Senator Forrestall: We understand that the Auditor General's report in April, just last month, identified several
concerns about the federal emergency preparedness arrangements. For example, she said that the training of first
responders for CBRN incidents had been moving slowly. She also said Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness
Canada had been slow in developing a national emergency response system that would clarify the federal command
and control structure during and after an emergency response. What do you think of that observation? Does that hold
true, in your experience, and yours, Mr. Manuel?
Mr. MacLaughlan: On the NERS program, I belong to the senior managers responsible for emergency preparedness
in Canada. We just met in Ottawa and that is a topic that we speak about, although I will not speak for PSEPC, and I
do not think I should. However, I am very pleased with the progress that they have made since this time last year. I
mentioned in my presentation an eight-point plan that was approved by the ministers responsible for emergency
preparedness in the different provinces, and in Nova Scotia we are working on putting together a response group for
CBRN. I will letMr. Burrell or Mr. Manuel speak to it if they wish. Yes, I think it did go off the rails a little at first but
it seems to be straightening itself out. It is like anything else. We react when things happen, but we seem to wrestle with
it after awhile and try to point it in the right direction.
Mr. Bruce Burrell, Deputy Chief Director, Halifax Fire and Emergency: Just so you know where my bias is, I did
work with PSEPC on the development of the CBRN programs for all four levels that are being delivered through the
Canadian Emergency Preparedness College. I think the plan was overly aggressive at the outset. I do not think that
they adequately scoped out the dynamics of dealing with volunteer fire departments and the difficulties in providing
the more basic training to those kinds of forces. The intermediate and advanced level courses have been going quite
well. They were a little slow off the mark but they are well-developed courses. It is my opinion that they should be
endorsed and become national standards for training rather than course offerings, because if we do not, then we
cannot guarantee consistency and interoperability across the nation. I also feel that the areas and the numbers that
have been identified for training are, once again, over-aggressive at those levels. PSEPC may be well served to go back
and look at the consolidated risk assessment that was conducted by CSIS and identify thetop 10, 15, 20, 25 or whatever
communities in Canada that are deemed high risk, concentrate their efforts on training in those areas first and ensure
that they are consistently trained and equipped. That way, we would have the ability to integrate those forces, if you
want to call them that, with other, neighbouring municipalities. For example, say it was determined that Saint John,
New Brunswick should have a team, Halifax, Nova Scotia should have a team, and potentially, Sydney should have a
team. As long as we have consistent training standards, consistent application of equipment and are using the same
response protocols, then there is the ability for all of those teams to interact in the event of a large-scale event and
become fully integrated and interoperable. This is similar to the manner in which urban search and rescue has been
approached in this nation.
Senator Cordy: You must have mixed feelings, though, appearing before us again. Somebody said earlier, ``It is bad
news, good news.'' The bad news was all the storms and emergencies that we have had in Nova Scotia over the past few
years, but the good news is it has certainly helped to develop our EMO and coordination between agencies in HRM.
Mr. Manuel, you spoke about a Canada-wide need to get storm warnings out to people. I can remember Hurricane
Juan and that Sunday afternoon. Certainly the TV stations and the radio stations were indeed telling people that a
major storm was coming. However, there was very much a laissez-faire attitude among the people, me included. We did
take our deck furniture in, but I was saying to my husband, ``You know what? This will not happen, but it is the end of
September so it is a good chance to get it in.'' I do not think I was alone in thinking like that. The pictures of people
down by the waterfront watching the storm were quite frightening, that people would actually choose to do that. What
advice have you given to people in the rest of Canada? How do you ensure that people will actually heed the warnings
on the radio, TV or in newspapers?
Mr. Manuel: To put things in perspective, Hurricane Juan was a terrible storm. In the part of HRM that was
affected it was the eastern side of the storm that went through. That type of storm is strong on wind and lighter on rain.
On the western side it is the opposite. The last time that a storm of that intensity went through Nova Scotia was over
100 years ago, so there is no collective memory left. Part of the issue we were dealing with that day was that there is no
one still alive who remembers that. We had to work against that. People were going by what they remember from the
storm of 1996 or the storm of 1974. Up to that point, ninety-nine times out of a hundred, the hurricanes that came up
blew out to sea.
Well, this was the one-hundredth time, so that is one issue we have to combat. It will not be like that again in Nova
Senator Cordy: True.
Mr. Manuel: Unfortunately, it took a storm like that to change people's attitudes. When I go to the college and talk
about the hurricane, I talk to the first responders who are training there. I talk to them about how the hurricane
affected the municipality, but also how it affected me as an individual, what I felt like when I left my family alone to go
Mr Burrell and I were the first ones in the EOC, twelve and half hours before the storm hit. The first thing we did,
after we made coffee, was bring everyone together and start talking about how we planned to get the message out to
the public. The way to get our message across is to be sincere, succinct, and timely with our information. If it is an
environmental storm, we have to get working with Environment Canada. The proper agencies need to be in the mix.
The public has to see the right people on the TV screen. They have to know that this is a trusted agency and that they
can say to themselves, ``I believe what they are saying. They have not been wrong before and I trust them.'' That only
happens with time. You have to have a track record of successful operations, small, medium and large, so that people
will say, ``Okay, I know these people. I know what they are saying. I will heed them. If nothing else, I will take my deck
furniture in and go from there.'' It is a small step. If you were to go to Peterborough now to talk about instantaneous
floods, you would have a different response than if you went to some other place, because they have experienced it. If
you go to a nursing home after they have had a fire, you talk about doing fire drills. It I think that is part of it; it is an
awareness. We have to raise awareness of what can happen in this country and how things can change so very quickly.
Senator Cordy: You are right. People in Nova Scotia will certainly listen the next time it comes up. Continuing with
the subject of communication, communicating with the general public was very difficult because there was no power.
People did not have access to TVs or radios. How do you overcome that type of problem? I ended up flying to Ottawa
the next day, and when I talked to my husband he would say, ``Can you tell me what is happening?'' because I would
hear it on the Ottawa TV channels.
Mr. Manuel: There are tools to get around that. However, you need to use multiple tools. The single most important
tool you can have at home is a battery-operated transistor radio with fresh batteries, or with a dynamo, one that winds
up, such as the province is promoting right now. That is a way to get the message out. Our operations centre has
generators. It has extra generators, and I will get my people together. They will have electricity. Radio stations have
generators. We can use amateur radio personnel to transfer the message from my operations centre to the radio
stations. If there are no telephones, they will work. They work on generators. The radio station will get the message
out. However, if you do not have a battery-operated transistor radio, you will not hear the message. My question to
you as a committee is, do you have one?
Senator Cordy: Obviously, from my story, I do not. However, maybe we have to get in the habit. I do have an
emergency kit in each of my cars, so I guess we have to get in the habit of having an emergency kit in our homes.
Mr. Manuel: That is our message. When I go out and stand on my soapbox, I say that. Every meeting I go to —
including this one — I talk about battery-operated transistor radios, because this is all part of public awareness. We
have to teach the public by saying, ``This is what you need.'' A battery-operated or solar-powered radio will allow us to
get our message to you, among other tools. We have different ways of doing it, but that is the most important one, in
Senator Cordy: Mr. MacLaughlan, you spoke about comfort centres and how there are grants available so that
schools and legions halls or public facilities can buy generators. Would you expand on that a little?
Mr. MacLaughlan: Yes, and it is not schools or churches or legion halls.
I just want to be clear on that point. This past November,Mr. Fage secured funding as a result of complaints that we
received in EMO Nova Scotia that a lot of the small towns did not have a place where people could go when the power
was out that could provide warmth and food and assist them in getting through the event. We felt there were two places
that could do that, fire halls and our community centres. We developed a cost-shared agreement of 50 per cent with the
province and the municipalities. We sent out 156 generators across the province this go-round. Now we are doing it
again this year, and eventually, we are hoping that we can extend this to larger centres such as special care homes. We
have to be careful because there are so many centres out there that will want this equipment that it could be extremely
expensive for the province, not only to purchase them, but then obviously there is wiring to be done. There would be
maintenance, that type of thing.
We are finding that the best thing to do is to go to the people in charge, like Mr. Manuel, and say, ``Where do you
think a generator should go?'' If they say, the fire hall on such and such a street and that will be part of their emergency
planning, then we leave it to them. I have become the facilitator throughout the province to get them the equipment
they need to ensure the safety of the people of Nova Scotia. We intend to do it again this year and we will see how it
works out for next year.
Senator Cordy: Now after Hurricane Juan, as you said, the transit system was up and running within 24 hours,
although not in all parts of the city. People would have been able to access community centres, and luckily, it was very
warm following that storm. But during ``White Juan'' people just could not get to the end of their streets, and that was
in the middle of winter. How do you deal with those situations?
Mr. MacLaughlan: Again, it comes down to planning. Nova Scotia's EMO is not a first responder. EMO Nova
Scotia prepares people in communities for eventualities that we know will happen. Yes, not everybody can afford a
generator, but there are alternative heat sources — blankets. There are battery-operated radios, battery-operated TVs.
There are networks amongst family and friends. Our golden rule is: Try to take care of yourselffor 72 hours. In most of
the events we have seen, we have been able to get to people and start clearing roads in that time. Personally, I have a
generator at home so that I know that I will have a heat source and my own personal comfort centre.
Mr. Manuel: You said that we were lucky that the weather was so beautiful just after the hurricane. However, White
Juan would have been something totally different. An evacuation in those areas at those times is not the key, because
you are putting people in greater danger. Sometimes it is better to stay home.Mr. MacLaughlan is saying that teaching
people to be prepared is better, and that is part of our message. For example, if you were cold in here this morning, and
you had to come back here tomorrow, you would probably dress differently. You are prepared for what you think will
happen. Part of our message is to make sure people have emergency kits, they have enough food to last for two or three
days, they have enough clothing, enough blankets. We said we had started to create these local disaster planning
committees more or less in the rural areas. We have created two so far, almost as prototypes, and their role is within
the community. They are made up of people who know the community. Their role is to identify persons who may be
significantly at risk and be prepared to help them at a local community level in case something goes wrong. That is part
of the liaison work we are doing at the community level.
Senator Cordy: So your job really is to encourage everybody in the community to be part of emergency
Mr. MacLaughlan: Yes, and it was interesting, what you just mentioned about the radios. We will be coming out
with stronger campaigns to ask people to have those. You may have seen on the Weather Channel during Emergency
Preparedness Week that they are encouraging people to have a kit at home. Have alternative heat sources, blankets,
food, power bars, lights, batteries, that type of thing. You should also always have a family plan. During hurricanes
and snowstorms, we might get stranded apart from each other and we should know where each other would go, what
we would do, how we would contact each other and that type of thing. I think a lot more people in Nova Scotia,
because we have gone through so much, are looking at that kind of planning. I know that downstairs in my house —
and this was before I took this job — I have a box in which there are certain things that ensure that at least we will have
light and food for a period. We encourage that.
Senator Cordy: My last question has to do with the personnel, a lot of volunteers who did an outstanding job. Your
report talks about burnout, because it was not a two-day cleanup or athree-day cleanup. It went on and on and people
were burnt out. One of your suggestions is to have backup personnel. How would that work? Would they come from
somewhere else, because my thought was that you would put everybody possible out at the beginning, or is that part of
the coordination, that you do not do that?
Mr. MacLaughlan: In any type of investigation you have front-end loading, which means you have to get the
personnel out there to try to bring some sense of calm as quickly as possible and then regroup. I will have two
commanders in my shop and Mr. Manuel will have some in his. After two or three days, they are burnt out. However,
there all kinds of people available to us that we could perhaps train — retired military personnel, retired RCMP,
retired HRM personnel — and whom we can bring in to be part of the staff. We have done that. We are continuing to
look at other people that we can use so that Mr. Manuel, Col. Lacroix and I can go home and get a couple days of rest
before we have to come back, if it is a two-week event. That is what we meant by that, that we are trying to make other
teams available that can come in and continue with the restoration program.
Senator Cordy: This would also be part of the coordination, telling people, ``You cannot stay 24 hours a day for four
days. Go home and get some rest?''
Mr. MacLaughlan: Right.
Mr. Manuel: During Hurricane Juan there were two EMO people, myself and my deputy, Peter Bigelow, and we
would do it 12 hours on, 12 off. The first 36 hours we did it together. Now who goes home? That is the mistake we
made. It is very easy, at our level, to decide that you are indispensable, and the longer you are in there, sometimes the
easier it is to stay. At some point, you start to make dangerous decisions. Now, instead of two people, we have six
operations officers. You may bring in two to begin with, but there are two more behind them and two more behind
them. That is one of the lessons we learned from Hurricane Juan, to always have replacements. The hardest part is to
leave the work.
Senator Cordy: That is what I was intending to say. Everybody wants to be there. Is this a message that you carry
forward to the rest of Canada?
Mr. Manuel: Most definitely.
Mr. MacLaughlan: Yes. As I said, I belong to the senior emergency management group across Canada and that is
something we talk about. Between the forest fires in B.C., what happened here in Nova Scotia and the flooding in New
Brunswick, there is no doubt in my mind that this is a growing business, in the sense that we have to be better prepared
staffing level-wise, because some events will be longer term than what we have already experienced.
The Chairman: For the record, I have a battery-operated radio at home, with fresh batteries.
Senator Cordy: I am getting one, for the record.
Senator Munson: Good afternoon, gentlemen. I have a few questions here.
If you are not there, do you have a backup, and does the backup have a backup and so on? You talked about the
collaboration in Windsor and so on. If you are on vacation somewhere, I am sure you have a backup. However, does
that person have somebody who makes a decision and makes a call?
Mr. MacLaughlan: Yes, senator, in EMO Nova Scotia I have two directors, and we have 16 staff altogether. Again,
we are a coordinating body, so it is not as if I need 10 people on the floor at any given time.
Senator Munson: They are empowered to make that decision?
Mr. MacLaughlan: They are, yes. Our rule is that one of the directors must be in town at all times.
Senator Munson: You talked about the 151 portable generators and said the grant program will continue again for
2005. Should that not be forever?
Mr. MacLaughlan: Well, right now we are planning for the next two years. We have secured most of the funding for
this year. Again, this is a brand-new program. Yes, perhaps you are right. However, we have also identified other
equipment needs within the overall response and I think there is a responsibility on agencies such as municipalities,
legions, special care homes or hospitals to, within their business planning, purchase generators so that it does not cause
a financial impact on just the government. There are many things that first responders need to respond to events within
Nova Scotia or in Canada.
Senator Munson: In your statement you said that for the first time in many years, executive directors, deputy
ministers and ministers were trained within the exercise called ``Exercise Triple Play.''
Mr. MacLaughlan: That is correct, senator.
Senator Munson: Are you aware of whether this is being done on a federal level? Was the liaison across the country?
Mr. MacLaughlan: Yes, senator, that was a national exercise. Actually it was international, because it also included
England and the States, and this is ongoing. We are also moving into ``Atlantic Guard 3'' in the fall as part of this
exercise program. They do come to us as the leaders of organizations and say, ``What do you need for training?'' As I
said earlier, the staff, the people on the ground, are well trained right now and they do not really need a lot of exercises.
What we did find needs to be changed is decision making, policy decisions, who makes what decision. That is why on
Nova Scotia EMO's side of the house I injected that into the training. However, this one was international. It was done
right across the country.
Senator Munson: Can you tell us about any lessons learned by ministers or premiers or prime ministers in that
stream of communications?
Mr. MacLaughlan: I have had a supplementary report, but not a final one yet. In Nova Scotia we did meet our
objectives. I will say that the Minister of Health, the Minister of Justice and the Minister responsible for Emergency
Preparedness all took it sincerely. Our goal was to make those three get together. As we pushed the information out, we
waited to see if they would. As a matter of fact, they did. They stood up. They walked out. They got together. They
made a decision and we made our decisions. However, I do not have a final report on lessons learned at this stage.
Senator Munson: We are in a very provincial environment. You can get it off your chest. Is the federal government
doing all it can and should be doing to further regions' emergency preparedness? Can it do more?
Mr. MacLaughlan: I think we can always do more. I said earlier that I am pleased at the route that they are taking
right now and pleased to be part of that group. With my colleagues at the table, who I think look to me to get the
federal government's input, we are starting to make some headway.
Senator Munson: I do not like asking these questions this way because it is after the fact, but Col. Lacroix, in your
statement you talked about readiness, monitoring, tracking the movements and so on and so forth, and people on a
four-hour notice in Gagetown. I know the protocol of having to wait for the call from the provinces, and there are
heroes after a disaster. People came and cleaned things up and everybody was together. I am sure this has been
discussed here, that you were here before the storm. You had soldiers on the ground before the storm. Without even
making that call, after you track things, you are anticipating as opposed to reacting to the disaster.
Col. Lacroix: You are absolutely right, sir. We did have people on the ground already, in fact MARLANT troops,
the ship's crew that were onshore. The reserves from the Halifax area were also already here on the ground, so there
was an immediate response. However, in terms of bringing in troops from further distances, we had to make sure that
we were right, and to be honest with you, we did have the reconnaissance party leave much earlier, before we even got
the request. That was already ongoing. However, overall the protocol that the Armed Forces use is that we will be the
last in and first out, and essentially the force of last resort. We expect that we will respond and we will support a
request of this nature. We will consider a pre-emptive strike. That is part of the relationship, that we will discuss it and
say, ``All right, what are the chances?'' If there is anyway I can help to speed up the response, I will do so. However, it is
a command decision.
Senator Munson: I want to follow up on Senator Cordy's question about people on the streets, people down at the
wharf. Is there any legal way that you can declare a curfew and order these people off the streets?
Mr. Burrell: I had the dubious pleasure of dealing with that issue when Mr. Manuel was snowbound in Ottawa and
we had the blizzard in February. In fact, as a municipality, we did take the extraordinary step during White Juan of
declaring a time of day curfew in the downtown core of Halifax. It was enforced and it allowed us to restore the central
core and remove the extra large amounts of snow during night time hours, between 10 p.m.and 6 a.m. The curfew was
in effect for that time below a certain perimeter. It allowed us as a municipality to get the snow out of there in three
nights, instead of a process that would normally have probably taken weeks. Once the state of local emergency is
declared, it is a piece in the basket of goodies that we can employ, should we need to do so.
Senator Munson: I have a great deal of empathy for the five of you and I have to get this off my chest before another
senator brings it up. When I was Director of Communications for the Prime Minister, I can assure you the candlelight
was on during the Ontario blackout and I was a kind of Alexander Haig of communications, with a candle. The
backup to the backup did not work in the Langevin Building and I asked probably the silliest question of my life. I
called the Prime Minister, who was in Shawinigan. I said, ``You should get here.'' He said, ``Well, the lights are on in
Quebec. Why should I go to Ontario?'' I thank you very much.
Mr. Manuel: If I may just make one comment on whatMr. Burrell said. During ``White Juan,'' the winter storm we
had in February, I was actually away. I was in Toronto and could not get home. The system that we created is part of
the national system, emergency site management. I hate to say this on the record, but they did as well or better without
me. That means it no longer needs one person. The system is there, the backup to the backup is part of the system and
that has to be how we train others. That is a lesson we learned from the military across the way. That is how they
operate. As a civilian concept it is very simple, but it works.
Senator Nolin: Colonel Lacroix, a week or so ago, the Prime Minister released an international policy paper and
took the opportunity to present his new defence policy. Very little mention is made in the document of emergency
preparedness measures. In your opinion, does the document make adequate reference to emergency preparedness
measures like the ones you described in your opening remarks?
Col. Lacroix: In my opinion, yes. It is very clear, in terms of what is expected of us, from a response or support
standpoint. Naturally, a restructuring must be done to maximize available resources. The defence policy that was
unveiled provides us with very clear direction. I am fairly satisfied with the direction laid out for us.
Senator Nolin: In your opening remarks, you refer to the role of reserve forces. Do you see the day when the reserves
assume full responsibility for emergency preparedness measures and deployments of this nature?
Col. Lacroix: Personally and professionally, I do not.
Senator Nolin: Why is that?
Col. Lacroix: I do not think we could count on the reserve force to be our principal response unit for these types of
operations, unless legislative provisions were enacted or steps were taken to guarantee or protect the job of the reservist
who leaves his or regular employment.
Senator Nolin: I understand, but in your remarks, you alluded to fact that both reserve force units are available.
Col. Lacroix: Yes, our two units have a combined forceof 100 reservists who are available on 48 hours' notice.
Let me just clarify that these reservists are volunteers who have already signed preliminary contracts with their
employer and they are available for duty on 48 hours' notice. However, they were not hired to serve as the main unit in
such operations. They are available to augment existing troops in the field. That must be made very clear. Reservists
must be ready to augment troop strength to provide additional support to regular forces already deployed. That is their
primary role. If we alter that role, then ultimately we completely change the nature of the reservist's employment. I do
not think it is possible for reservists to become full-time employees or soldiers 24/7.
Senator Nolin: Yes, but our role is to provide you with some legislative measures.
Col. Lacroix: That is correct.
Senator Nolin: Assuming that this can be done, the mandate of the reserve forces could quite conceivably be revised
and the appropriate regulatory framework could be put in place.
Col. Lacroix: Yes, that is true.
Senator Nolin: If the reservist knows that he or she must be available on very short notice, as does the employer, and
if no retaliatory measures can be taken, then it is feasible.
Col. Lacroix: Everything is possible, given your scenario.
Senator Nolin: You are a professional soldier. In an emergency situation requiring the rapid deployment of large
numbers of people, do you feel that this constitutes sound use of our soldiers? Should we consider using our properly
trained reservists, provided an adequate regulatory framework is in place and reservists are supervised by soldiers such
as yourself, for example?
Col. Lacroix: As you yourself stated, senator, anything is possible. It comes down to a policy issue and to providing
resources for training. In fact, it would all come down to resources, and legislation would have to be enacted. However,
anything is possible. On my international missions, I had an adequate supply of reservists and I did not encounter any
problems. These were individuals that I trained or used within my organizations, units or companies. It did not pose a
problem as such. However, in terms of taking a unit and putting it in command, with the proper structure in place, well
anything is possible. It comes down to training and to resources and on that score, we are limited somewhat.
Senator Nolin: At this particular point in time, when a province wants your services, it must first put in a request to
your bosses in Ottawa because they foot the bill. Do you think a change in procedure is in order?
Col. Lacroix: Ultimately, someone has to foot the bill.
Senator Nolin: I understand that.
Col. Lacroix: However, cost is not the only factor that dictates how we proceed.
Senator Nolin: The bill always arrives sooner or later.
Col. Lacroix: That is correct.
Senator Nolin: So then it is not a problem.
Col. Lacroix: It is important to understand that for every level of command within the Armed Forces, there is a
certain amount of authority vested with either the unit commander, the municipality, or a resident. The sector
commander has a certain amount of responsibility and authority, as do the chiefs and deputy chiefs of staff. All must
respect certain limits before going to their superiors with a request. In the case you mentioned, the process worked very
well. It was truly an internal, or provincial, matter. Craig submitted a requested to me. If the commander has the
resources requested to provide support and has the necessary authority, he will not need to go to his superiors. The
decision rests with him. There is not as much red tape involved as one might think. If we were to chart the chain of
authority, it might seem complex. There is one situation where there really is no choice but to turn to a higher authority
and that is when agencies and the RCMP, for example, are involved. In these situations, the minister or the CDS will
be involved in the decision as to whether or not troops will be deployed.
Senator Nolin: Especially if the Emergency Measures Act is invoked in order to confer extraordinary powers.
Col. Lacroix: And especially if extraordinary measures are warranted at the time.
Senator Nolin: In that case, superior officers must be notified.
Col. Lacroix: Correct. That was the case when the President of the United States visited Nova Scotia. We worked
out an agreement on the resources required with the support of the operations CF. We knew what we had to do, but we
still needed to submit a request for approval to superior authorities.
Senator Nolin: I am from Montreal and I lived through the ice storm. We are not talking about the same type of
environment. Here, all of you live together.
Col. Lacroix: That is right.
Senator Nolin: In Montreal, I am not so sure things worked out that way. Hydro Quebec officials kept a great deal
of information to themselves before everyone ultimately had an idea of the magnitude of the disaster that was
Col. Lacroix: I can appreciate that.
Senator Nolin: Emergency preparedness took a back seat to public relations.
The Chairman: Mr. MacLaughlan, Mr. Manuel, this committee put out a report in 2004, National Emergencies:
Canada's Fragile Front Lines. Are you familiar with it? It includes a recommendation that there be a compilation,
community by community, of critical infrastructure assets, of threats, of shortfalls in assets to address those threats,
and that the list be examined by the three orders of government. Is there any evidence that that is happening?
Mr. MacLaughlan: That is being directed by PSEPC and I do have somebody on my staff who is working with
PSEPC to start developing that. We had an old list, and I cannot think of the name of the program right now, but
certainly we are working towards that to determine what are the critical infrastructures within Nova Scotia and what
needs to be up and running. However, we are also very much into what is called business continuity planning. We are
up and running on that as we speak and I think it will all fall into one.
Mr. Manuel: Even within the municipality we are looking at our own critical infrastructure, and it will change
incident by incident, so we have to be careful not to fine-tune it so tightly that we cannot change it. The other issue I
have is what do we do with that information in terms of its sensitivity? It is our critical infrastructure. How do we share
it? What are the proper tools for sharing it?
Even within our own municipality, even within our own individual departments, one issue we face is getting agencies
to talk to each other about what is critical to them, and that was noted during Hurricane Juan. It was noted in your
report. It was noted in the Swissair crash in 1998. Once you start creating critical infrastructure lists as well as resource
lists they have to be maintained, otherwise they will go stale very quickly. That is the other issue about which we have
The Chairman: Is it a worthwhile exercise? My question was more about the shortfall in assets to address the threats
and the ongoing evaluation of what is at risk. Is that something worth doing?
Mr. MacLaughlan: It is, senator. You heard me speak about the municipal evaluations that we do biannually. That
rolls right into it; the community's next step is to identify what is critical within the community, within the
municipality, that has to keep functioning during events. It is just another step. As Mr. Manuel says, there are lots of
great ideas coming down from Ottawa and I wish we had the resources to put it together, but we are taking small steps
and I think we are doing it right. It is so important. I will give you an example. If a pumping station in Kentville is not
functioning because of a power loss, then all of a sudden they end up having sewer problems. That is critical
infrastructure for them, so they have to recognize that and devise a fix for it. That means a generator has to be there.
They know that the power could go off. It is labour-intensive, but I think it is something that has to be done eventually.
I always use the word ``core.'' Let's get down to the core functions that have to be done, the core list that has to be
made, and not end up with all these lists that really do not mean anything.
The Chairman: Is there any capacity for peer review or any discussion of that as a useful tool?
Mr. MacLaughlan: I think we do that with each other now, if you are talking about looking over each other's
shoulders. I know Mr. Manuel has a full program to evaluate different agencies as they are doing their emergency
planning, and we do that too.
Mr. Manuel: If I may comment, part of the way we do that is through some of our integrated training. We
conducted an exercise less than a week ago on the Macdonald Bridge. It was an exercise initiated to test the emergency
plan for the bridge. It was six months in the planning, and by the time we were through, Halifax regional fire, police
and ambulance services and the Canadian Forces were involved. That is partly how we determine some of our needs,
because if you do not train together you do not have any concept of what works well and what does not in those kinds
of environments — if that is the question you are asking.
The Chairman: It is. Is there a tsunami risk on this coast?
Mr. Manuel: We have already had two tsunamis on the East Coast. We had one in 1927 in Newfoundland and the
Halifax Explosion created one in Halifax Harbour. I am not an oceanographer. I do not know the risk factors versus
the West Coast, but it has happened here twice.
The Chairman: Our understanding is that some communities are far more at risk of damage than others just because
of the geographic configuration. Do you have an inventory of those? It is really more a provincial-focused question.
Mr. MacLaughlan: The question, senator, is do we have a list of communities that are at risk in reference to high
tides or tsunamis?
The Chairman: Considering that the configuration of the shoreline would cause more problems in some communities
than others. They could be quite close to each other geographically but have radically different outcomes.
Mr. MacLaughlan: I think one would be flooding.
The Chairman: No, no, I understand what they are. I am asking do you have a list of which ones are likely to suffer
worse consequences than others in the event of a tsunami that ran the length of the province's coastline.
Mr. MacLaughlan: I cannot answer the question about a list, but I can say that the municipalities have prioritized
their contingency planning on what is the most likely risk to their community. I would suggest that a town like Truro,
which has experienced flooding in its past, has contingency planning on flooding that is probably very up to date and
that they are very aware of what measures they would have to take.
The Chairman: No, that is not the issue I am trying to pursue here because the flooding it has experienced in the past
was not caused by this kind of wave we are talking about. The flooding comes presumably from rainfall or snow
melting or something like that. We are talking about the way the force of the water hits the shore, and in some areas it
will cause extraordinary damage and in others, very little. It is unlikely that they would have the corporate memory to
Mr. MacLaughlan: Well we do have surge warnings and there are areas that are struck by high surge. We get those
warnings from Environment Canada and we send them out as part of EMO's plan. We send them out to the EMCs,
but to answer your question, I do not know of such a list.
Mr. Manuel: Two issues are connected to that. One is the surges. We do get these warnings and they give a strong
indication of which areas will be hit by a storm surge. From our flood history, we know what can happen. However,
the flood inundation mapping, those projects that were federally funded years ago, ended. We would like to see some
of that research done again. The second point is alerting the public. In a tsunami event, it is not so much telling which
people to leave which areas. It is telling people to get away from the coast, and how do you do that in a sudden event?
The municipality is concerned about that issue. We have a very long coastline. How do we get that message out in a
hurry? What is the cost of not getting the message out?
The Chairman: The tragedy of the tsunami in the Pacific was that in some cases there were many hours of notice,
and still there was an inability to communicate.
Mr. Manuel: Yes, and again you would be using tools. You cannot use just one tool. You can use radio. You can use
television. How do you notify people on beaches who may or may not have radios on? How do you do public
notification? I am asking this not because I have answers, but because as a municipality, we are starting to ask the same
The Chairman: Well I think there are answers if you are inclined to look for them.
Senator Forrestall: Use the reserves.
The Chairman: For example, in Florida, which experiences hurricanes on a fairly frequent basis, on the inter-coastal
waterway there are sirens and ways of communicating almost the entire length of the coast, so that particular
jurisdiction has addressed that question head on. If you are there and they go off, you cannot miss them.
Mr. Manuel: No, and that is an area that we are not in yet in the eastern —
The Chairman: It may not be economic either. If you have four hurricanes in a year, it is really economic, but if it
happens very infrequently, it is less viable.
Mr. MacLaughlan: Senator, the eight-point plan does cover the development of that issue. They are now looking at
putting out a vision paper — it is supposed to be out by the end of this month — on public alerting. PSEPC has taken
the lead in this and is working with senior officials across the provinces. We are looking at doing it nationally, so that
wherever you are, that same type of alerting would go out across Canada.
The Chairman: What was the experience with cell phones? Did the towers function or did they go down?
Mr. Manuel: During Hurricane Juan we had one failure, and actually it was a failure, the tower did not collapse.
Our own backup system tower collapsed. There was one trunk mobile radio system tower that they could not get to in
order to replace the batteries. I have been very critical of the system. Since it started it worked very well. There were no
issues with communications technology that way.
The Chairman: In our report we commented on the system in Alberta that mandates access to the radio. Is there any
uptake here on that?
Mr. MacLaughlan: You are speaking about commercial radio, broadcast radio?
The Chairman: Yes.
Mr. MacLaughlan: Community radio, like CBC, that type of thing?
The Chairman: It is not voluntary, but a system where in fact access on short notice is compulsory.
Mr. Manuel: One of the commercial broadcasters has an application before the CRTC right now to create an all-
channel alerting system for both satellite and cable television. It would put a crawler across the screen, if that is what
you are thinking of.
The Chairman: No, we are thinking of something much more comprehensive whereby you would force yourself onto
every station in the province.
Mr. MacLaughlan: We are working with Industry Canada and have struck a committee that is developing a
proposal to make that happen. That is going on right now through EMO Nova Scotia.
The Chairman: What about our discussions of a reverse 9-1-1? Is there any consideration of that in the province?
Mr. MacLaughlan: That too is under consideration as we speak. 9-1-1 does fall under my umbrella at EMO Nova
Mr. Burrell: The municipality currently owns technology and a bank of 75 telephone lines that have the capacity to
be used for reverse callback. We are working with the GIS people on mapping right now to be able to select a polygon
or an area where you could actually go in and draw a map. Depending upon the release of the PSAP information from
9-1-1, we would be able to select every phone number in that polygon and do a callback of a canned message. The
message would depend on the situation, and there are discussions going on between us and the province. DND is
currently on board and uses it for a call-out system. There are discussions ongoing about this existing technology
within the municipality and expanding its role for that type of purpose.
The Chairman: Is there any capability to track municipal or provincial vehicles so that you know where they are at a
given point in time?
Mr. MacLaughlan: I know the RCMP have a GPS in their vehicles. They can track them. I know that the provincial
EHS has them in their ambulances.
The Chairman: We were impressed in St. John's to learn that even the snowplows there are equipped so that people
know when they are coming and where they are.
Mr. MacLaughlan: We have a geomatics centre in Amherst; I was just out there a couple of weeks ago and was very
impressed. We are involved in the civic address file, whereby all addresses will be on a computer so that we will be able
to dispatch emergency services to them. Eventually, I want to tie this into the command centre so whatever is
responding, hopefully the GPS will be able to see what is going out there and we can make better decisions. The
technology is growing and sometimes the issue is the expense and the human capacity to keep up with it, but it exists in
pockets right now.
The Chairman: Our March 2004 report was intended to try to create a baseline. It was a self-assessment, essentially.
We intend to go ahead with another one and we would be interested in your advice. Do not do it at all? Do it again but
differently? Any comments that you care to share with us, we would be happy to hear them.
Mr. MacLaughlan: Senator, I think the work that you do is very important. The documentation of that work is also
important so that it continues to assist us when we go forward with proposals for which we need resources to
accomplish certain tasks or to put certain things in place. If you recall, in my statement I thanked you for the
accountability process of this committee. That is what it does for me. I think those documents should come out and
there should be continual follow-up. People who have worked with me or for me have always known that I believe it is
great to talk about it but it is not good to file it away. It is good to bring it out into the open again and say, ``What have
The Chairman: We would welcome suggestions, critical or otherwise, on adjusting the format or the design of the
Mr. MacLaughlan: It is good to read what everybody had to say, but at the end of the day it is nice to have that bold
print detailing things that, through your consultation processes, you have identified that we should be looking at.
Perhaps you have heard something overseas or in another part of Canada that we have not touched on and do not
know about. You can share best practices with us and say, ``Here is what happened. Perhaps you should check on the
Alberta way of doing NERS or early warning systems.'' I think it should be a short document, because we all have lots
of reading to do, but something we can grab, throw into our action plan and respond accordingly.
The Chairman: Thank you very much, gentlemen. It has been helpful to have you here. We appreciate you coming.
We know that you have challenging jobs and we admire you for the effort you put into protecting the lives of
Canadians. We think it is important work and we want to tell you that we value what you do, as we value all of the
professionals and volunteers who work with you to make Canadians safer. Well done.