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Proceedings of the Standing Senate Committee on
National Security and Defence

Issue 3 - Evidence


OTTAWA, Monday, December 17, 2007

The Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence met this day at 4:10 p.m. to examine and report on the national security policy of Canada.

Senator Colin Kenny (Chair) in the chair.

[English]

The Chair: I call the meeting to order. My name is Colin Kenny. This is a meeting of the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence, and I chair the committee. Before we begin, I would like to introduce the members of the committee.

Senator Pierre Claude Nolin, from Quebec, is a lawyer who was called to the Senate in June of 1993. Senator Nolin was the chair of the Special Senate Committee on Illegal Drugs. He is currently the deputy chair of the Special Senate Committee on Anti-terrorism and the deputy chair of the Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources. He also sits on the Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade.

Senator Tommy Banks is from Alberta. He was called to the Senate in April of 2000 following a 50-year career in the entertainment industry. He is known to many Canadians as an accomplished and versatile musician and entertainer. Senator Banks is the chair of the Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources and is also a member of our Subcommittee on Veterans Affairs.

Senator Robert Peterson is from Saskatchewan, where he is widely recognized as a leading entrepreneur and community activist. He has served in the Senate since March of 2005. In his professional career, Senator Peterson has held several senior level managerial posts in a variety of engineering firms. In 1994 he became the president and chief operating officer of Denro Holdings Ltd., a diversified corporation involved in real estate development, investor fund management and property management. He is also a director of Cameco Corporation and a director of General Properties Ltd. Senator Peterson sits on the Standing Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples and the Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry.

General McDonald is the senior military adviser to our committee.

Honourable senators, I am pleased to introduce to you today Mr. David Mulroney. Mr. Mulroney is currently Associate Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs with particular responsibility for interdepartmental coordination on Afghanistan. Prior to this appointment, Mr. Mulroney served as the Foreign and Defence Policy Adviser to the Prime Minister of Canada, a role that included responsibility for security and intelligence issues at the Privy Council Office.

Accompanying him today is Ms. Kerry Buck. Ms. Buck is currently Director General of the Afghanistan Task Force of the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. Prior to joining the Afghanistan Task Force, Ms. Buck was Director of Operations at the Privy Council Office responsible for providing advice on machinery of government issues, structure of cabinet and transition planning.

David Mulroney, Associate Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Interdepartmental Coordinator for Afghanistan, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada: Thank you for this opportunity and thank you for your ongoing work and interest in Afghanistan and Canada's mission there.

Earlier this year, the Prime Minister asked me to take on the role of Interdepartmental Coordinator for Afghanistan. This coordinating function is housed in the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade and is essential because, as you know, the three pillars of reconstruction in Afghanistan — security, governance and development — are mutually reinforcing; no one of them can exist without the others.

For that reason, there are not three separate Canadian missions in Afghanistan — a DND mission, a DFAIT mission and a CIDA mission — there is only one mission and we are all part of it. All departments and agencies contribute to all three pillars, and not only the Department of National Defence, the Canadian International Development Agency and the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, but also others such as Justice Canada, the RCMP, and Correctional Service of Canada.

[Translation]

Our military goals, our development goals, our political, diplomatic and governance goals are all one and the same: to help create the necessary conditions under which Afghans can build an enduring nation.

[English]

To be stable, sustainable, free, peaceful and more prosperous, Afghanistan needs governance structures that institutionalize the rule of law and the protection of human rights. That means developing legal and correctional systems that meet international standards. It needs well-managed borders so that security can be sustained and regional development can take place. It needs clean water, health care and roads — basic services that a people expect of its government. It needs an education system that will prepare the next generation to inherit this legacy and build upon it. In turn, this progress in development and good governance will help build security.

As I said at the outset, the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, DFAIT, is the coordination centre of Canada's whole-of-government engagement in Afghanistan. Since I took on the role of coordinator, we have been working on a full range of tools and processes to ensure policy coherence. This means that all our efforts — military, diplomatic and developmental — are in support of the same policies and the same overarching priorities.

I am delighted that you will have a chance a little later this evening to hear from my colleague Stephen Wallace. I meet with Mr. Wallace, with General Gauthier of CEFCOM, the Canadian Expeditionary Force Command, with the assistant deputy minister responsible for policy at National Defence and with other senior leaders in relevant departments on a regular basis. In fact, we have a regular meeting in the form of a conference call that includes our ambassador to Afghanistan, Arif Lalani, and the senior commanding general in the south, General Laroche. Together we work to make coordination and coherence a reality.

[Translation]

Even more significantly, we have stepped up our civilian presence on the ground in Afghanistan. Our ambassador in Kabul is at a more senior level than ever. He oversees the coherence of all our efforts in the field, and reports directly to me.

[English]

The key for me, in terms of working to achieve coordination on the ground, is not a new tool. It is not something that we have to invent. It is the role of the ambassador. One of the first things we did this year was to make it clear that the ambassador to Afghanistan would be an even more senior diplomat. This position now ranks as one of our most senior diplomatic appointments. We have appointed a very able person to that post, Arif Lalani. It is important to note that, while he reports directly to me, I work to ensure that deputy ministers in the Department of National Defence, CIDA and other departments also believe and understand that Ambassador Lalani is working for them, too. The ambassador is a tremendously important coherence tool.

We have greatly increased our Canadian-based civilian numbers in Kabul and Kandahar. At the Provincial Reconstruction Team, we grew this summer from one political DFAIT officer to five. We have a new deputy head of mission, Ron Hoffman, who was formerly with our High Commission in London, and two new political officers, in addition to other civilians posted there from partner agencies like the RCMP and Public Safety Canada.

We have also launched a new position in the south in Kandahar that we are calling the Canadian Representative in Kandahar. That person will function essentially as a consul general in the south, helping to bring coherence and unity to our programs there.

In the final part of these introductory remarks, I would like to map out some of the specific operations undertaken in DFAIT itself to create durable solutions in Afghanistan.

At headquarters, we have a robust Afghanistan Task Force that provides policy leadership and overall coordination. My colleague Kerry Buck and others are part of that task force. DFAIT's programming capacity comes primarily through the Stabilization and Reconstruction Task Force, or START, which you have heard about before. That administers the Global Peace and Security Fund.

Over time, we have steadily increased the amount we have available for Afghanistan through the Global Peace and Security Fund. Last year, it was at $15 million; this year, it will be at $30 million.

Security sector reform is a priority for us. It includes things like police equipment and infrastructure like substations. It includes related work in justice sector reform; training judges, prosecutors and legal officials in Kandahar; and assessing the needs of correctional institutions that we have a responsibility to monitor.

[Translation]

Border management is another priority. We just completed a technical mission to the Afghan-Pakistani border region in the south, and we have started to hold best practices training workshops for officials from both sides.

[English]

We are doing some very practical work with Afghan and Pakistani officials on specific issues related to the border and managing the border and looking at ways to ensure that the border becomes more of an economic gateway and not just a security frontier.

DFAIT also has a substantial envelope of $30 million for counter-narcotics programming this year. As the committee knows, counter-narcotics is one of the most obvious areas in which long-term security is dependent on development and good governance. That is why our counter-narcotics priorities include support for the development of alternative livelihoods and building the capacity of Afghan law enforcement.

We also have been at work internationally. One of the things that I do in foreign affairs is ensure that our wider diplomacy is informed by the priority that we attach to Afghanistan. In addition to working with Ambassador Lalani in Kabul, I am in regular touch with our other ambassadors and heads of mission to ensure that they reflect in their work, whether it is in London or Delhi or Canberra, the importance that we attach to Afghanistan, that they are following up on specific issues of interest, and that they are putting forward a Canadian point of view.

We also work hard on issues related to coherence. Recently we organized a meeting in London for our partner countries in the south to focus on our respective experiences and responsibilities vis-à-vis the transfer of detainees.

We also organized a meeting in partnership with the Lithuanians. We invited all the countries that manage PRTs in Afghanistan to talk about, for the first time, joint best practices in managing PRTs, lessons learned, and what our common objectives are and should be.

[Translation]

And finally, our diplomats advance Canadian priorities and objectives through our work in key international institutions: the United Nations and NATO.

[English]

Honourable senators, I know you will agree that the way forward in Afghanistan is to pursue security, governance and development in concert. You know that the Canadian Forces are making an enormous contribution in that effect, one that stands out.

I hope that, with my remarks and those of Stephen Wallace and his CIDA colleagues to follow, you will appreciate that DFAIT and our partner departments are playing a role in partnership with the Canadian Forces in terms of advancing Canada's entire role in Afghanistan.

Senator Banks: Welcome to you both. Ms. Buck, Mr. Mulroney has told us pretty clearly what he does and what his responsibilities are. You are the Director General of the task force. Would you tell us what that means? What do you do? What are your responsibilities?

Kerry Buck, Director General, Afghanistan Task Force, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada: The task force has been created to have two mandates. One is the regular DFAIT mandate — that is, international advocacy and policy direction for DFAIT programming through the Global Peace and Security Fund.

A second part of our mandate actually takes up more of our time and efforts, and that is interdepartmental coordination, which flows from Mr. Mulroney's mandate from the Prime Minister to ensure whole-of-government coherence and coordination.

The task force has two directors general. I am responsible for policy, as I said, including international advocacy and policy direction on programming, public diplomacy abroad, and a range of operational oversight of our operations in Kabul and Kandahar. The second director general, Ms. Sheila Bird, is responsible for communications. That includes not only communications from a normal DFAIT perspective but, more importantly — and it takes up much more of her time — interdepartmental coordination of communications on Afghanistan. That is the rough structure. All told, we are up to 56 people in the task force at DFAIT, which, if you are familiar with DFAIT's structure, you know is a pretty impressive group of people. I have great staff working for me. We are lucky. We have a top-notch team.

Let me pursue briefly the interdepartmental part. Regarding the general thrust of our some of our concerns, it is fair to say we are not currently utterly convinced that the development part of the 3D approach in Afghanistan can be clearly seen. We are anxious to do that.

We have always made a practice of visiting troops before they go to Afghanistan — and this concerns interdepartmental coordination, I believe — and then visiting those same troops in Afghanistan, and then doing an exit strategy as well, visiting them when they have come back, because things intervene and change. We were surprised to find when we visited the next rotation in Camp Wainwright, where they were preparing to go to Afghanistan, that there was no one there from DFAIT or from CIDA. I think I am remembering that correctly.

The Chair: That is correct.

Senator Banks: You have described a three-pronged approach, and Mr. Mulroney said that none of the three will work without the others. Since the cultural situation in Afghanistan is so utterly different — and related to the security situation — why is it not a matter of course that DFAIT people and CIDA people who are to go to Afghanistan to be part of the three-pronged approach work and train in concert with the forces that will be going there?

Mr. Mulroney: That is certainly our objective. First, we have tried to ramp up the number of civilians that we have available for deployment. In the course of the year, we have more than doubled the number of civilians. That has taken a fair bit of work recruiting and changing the conditions of service to improve and to reflect the fact that both Kabul and Kandahar are very tough places in which to serve. It has taken us some time simply to get those positions staffed.

I spend a lot of time here now working with our personnel people to identify, as the Canadian Forces do, the next rotation beyond this and the next one after that, so that we can be more effective in deploying people very early, not recruiting and staffing people four or five months in advance but eight to nine months in advance, so that we can get them into the DND training cycle. We are trying to get our training cycles in sync. We have many exchanges with the forces before they go, and we try to get people into whatever programs we can, but my objectives are to identify the people who will be serving one and two rotations into the future and to get them linked up.

Senator Banks: I understand the difficulty, but it is precisely that coordination that you are concerned with and are directing. We would be up in arms at the very idea of sending to Afghanistan part of a contingent of soldiers who had not had training with the rest of the people they were going to serve with just because the schedule could not be worked out or the people could not be found.

Do I understand that in some cases people are going there who have not been embedded with the army before?

Ms. Buck: For the last three rotations, we have sent people to participate in Canadian Forces training. You will understand that some of the CF training before they deploy is not aimed at or appropriate for our civilians. We ensure that prior to each rotation we have a briefing of the command about whole-of-government priorities and DFAIT priorities. We ensure that as much as possible diplomats being deployed do participate at Wainwright. We have had people down at Wainwright, in fact. It depends on which rotation you were there for.

We also have an extensive list of training requirements that are more tailored to our civilians — international human rights training, for instance, and training on project management under the Global Peace and Security Fund.

We have been making significant process in ensuring that there is more of that joint training. As I said, not all the CF training is appropriate for our civilians, but we want to make sure that the CF command going out is very familiar with our priorities. We have done this through training and briefings in advance of deployment.

Senator Banks: Then the next time we go there, we would be able to find folks working in DFAIT and CIDA jobs who would be perfectly comfortable with the milieu in which they are working?

Ms. Buck: It depends on which component of the Wainwright training, but there are DFAIT personnel participating in Wainwright training.

Mr. Mulroney: If I can add to that, senator, the answer is yes. This is essentially the first major rotation of this large group of civilians. As I say, we are working on the second and the third rotations. We want to be sure that we have addressed that issue. We have also been successful in getting people who have served in Afghanistan before or who have served in other post-conflict situations, so they are familiar with this type of experience. I set a premium on developing a pool of people in foreign affairs who have this experience, because increasingly this will be one of the specialities we need for deploying people.

The experience in Canada is key, but other relevant international experience is key as well, and working with both the Canadian Forces and their CIDA partners and the people who will essentially be living and working beside them 24/7 is fundamental to us.

The Chair: Mr. Mulroney, we were particularly concerned when we got the briefing note from DFAIT that stated, at the end of the first paragraph, that in many cases joint training with Canadian Forces is also required. That was the last sentence in the paragraph describing how people were trained. Just to drive home Senator Banks' point, we cannot understand why it did not say that in every case joint training is required.

This came to our attention because soldiers working or going to be working in the next rotation at the PRT had not seen a civilian. They thought it was strange that they are functioning out at Wainwright and going through the preparations to operate the PRT when they get to Kandahar, but they look around and there are no Mounties and nobody doing the aid piece. Why is that so?

We are trying to make this as realistic as possible. We have people pretending they are Afghans and going through the drill like that. We are left scratching our heads.

Mr. Mulroney: As I said, senator, it is our intention to get people into that training. We do some training with the forces now, and we intend to make that a more regular part of our rotation system. What we have to do, though, is to get our recruitment done in time and well in advance of when we are doing it now. That is our intention.

The Chair: We have been hearing that this is not a popular posting.

Mr. Mulroney: I have to say, senator, that quite the reverse is true. One of the things I am proudest of is the kind of people we have been able to attract, both to Kabul and to Kandahar. I will say it is not an easy posting, but we have a long list of people who have applied and we are rigorous in terms of screening them to make sure they know what they are getting into and are prepared for it. We have an extensive training program for the preparation and the security briefings they need. We have no problems right now in attracting good people from throughout the department. You will find that when you talk to our people in the field. They enjoy what they are doing. They understand the importance of it. They are realistic about the hardships, but I am very proud of them.

Senator Banks: I have a comment rather than a question. I have been here for only seven years, but you will not be unfamiliar with the fact that on the part of committees like this, and certainly this one, there is a great deal of frustration with answers along the lines of, "We are going to address that; we are working on that; we are looking at that situation; we are moving towards . . .'' We tend to become extremely frustrated with such things.

Mr. Mulroney, as you have described it, everybody from the ambassador and all of the operative folks in Afghanistan report to you and through you, I presume, to the Prime Minister's Office or to Parliament, one way or the other.

Mr. Mulroney: Yes.

Senator Banks: You are the choke point. We can look to you, and we will, for occasional report cards along the line of how we are doing and what progress is being made.

A number of Canadians have misgivings about how we are doing. Trying to create, as you have described it, a functioning country that can actually sit down at the table of countries in the world, out of what has been the history of Afghanistan over the last couple of hundred years, is a monumental task. How long will it take before you can say that we have achieved success — not victory, but success — in leaving a functioning country? Are we measuring that in terms of months, years or decades?

Mr. Mulroney: Senator, let me come back on the first point. I am not someone who makes excuses or makes commitments lightly. We were not able to make this particular training run at Wainwright with staffing up, but we will make it. That is fundamentally important to me. Judge me by how we perform, but I will come back to you on that.

In terms of how we are doing in Afghanistan and how we measure it, the measure that we use and we find most relevant is the Afghanistan Compact. That measure was agreed to by the Government of Afghanistan and our major allies for measuring progress on concrete benchmarks in five-year increments.

Senator Banks: Our commitment under that compact ends in 2011.

Mr. Mulroney: Correct, senator. We have committed ourselves as part of the international community to making progress towards a series of objectives under the headings of security, governance and development. We are doing well. We do not have progress on every single benchmark, but we are doing well on key benchmarks, such as development of Afghan national security forces, though there we are doing better with the Afghan National Army than the Afghan National Police.

One way of looking at it, and the key of it for us, is to look at the compact. It is also important every now and then to look back over our shoulders at where we have been.

We look back to the Afghanistan of not so long ago, under the Taliban, the Afghanistan of the civil war period, a totally lawless state that allowed for the emergence of al Qaeda and for the domination of the Taliban and where women had no rights whatsoever, an Afghanistan of a high degree of brutality and an Afghanistan where all of the major instruments of civil governance were basically broken. Much of the network that bound society together, right down to the community level, had been shattered.

Working with the government and the people of Afghanistan, through the UN and with our NATO allies, we have come a long way. I am just back from Afghanistan. I was there a couple of weeks ago. Under a lot of headings, we still have a long way to go. Your committee has been looking at some of those challenges. Yet, looking back at where we have come from, we have made progress. The benchmarks, as set out in the compact, are both practical and realistic. Most important — and this is where in recent years we have made real progress — they are more owned by Afghanistan than ever before. There is an acknowledgment that it is not just us but us in partnership with the Afghans. This is not something that happens in the short term. It will take a long time, but I think we have made progress and I am confident that we can continue to make progress.

Senator Banks: A long time past 2011?

Mr. Mulroney: Meeting the benchmarks set out in the compact for 2011 will take us a long way in terms of some basic measures of success, and that is an Afghanistan that is increasingly able to defend itself, that is moving up according to various development indices, and that is able to provide more for its people, an Afghanistan where the writ of government is felt not just in Kabul but out into the regions. As this committee has accurately said, we have to be honest and frank about end states in Afghanistan and what we can expect.

I was in Afghanistan in the 1970s, just after the end of the democratic period, in that transitional period before the Soviets arrived. Afghanistan then, while it was relatively secure, was still an impoverished country, and there were still some basic problems that you find in the developing world. Afghanistan will be a developing country for a long time and will still have some of these basic problems, but its ability to provide a higher degree of security and service to its people will have been enhanced by 2011 if we stay on track and if the international community continues to meet its part of the compact.

[Translation]

Senator Nolin: I would like to look at a whole other area of this great Afghan question. A number of Canadians are listening to us and many may not be familiar with the phenomenon that is Afghanistan. I would like you to explain a little how the Afghan state is organized in terms of public governance. What is its overall structure? We know that there is a president. We hear about him regularly in the news. What are the other components of the Afghan government? My question is a little academic, but the intent is for us all to be able to clearly understand the steps we are taking to help in the reorganization.

As Mr. Mulroney mentioned, this is the second of the three pillars of our reconstruction plan in Afghanistan. I think that it is important to know where we are starting from in order to understand where we are going.

Ms. Buck: Before speaking about the formal structure of the Afghan government, let me set the context for you.

Afghanistan has a long tradition of decentralized political organization. The fundamental political unit is the clan, the village. Afghanistan also traditionally has a central government. But its links to and its presence in the provinces and the regions are minor.

Afghanistan has lived through 30 years of quite severe conflict. In 2002, the international community saw that it was faced with a situation in Afghanistan where formal governance was virtually non-existent. The international community therefore tried to help Afghan political movements to establish an elected central government. In the person of President Karzai, we have the proof that this major and very important step was a success. There is now a democratically elected government.

As to the structure, President Karzai heads the government. Members of the cabinet are appointed by the president and are not elected.

Senator Nolin: Is this a parliamentary or a republican system? Are members of the cabinet also members of the parliamentary assembly?

Our listeners are mostly Canadians who are used to that form of government. This is why I am asking you these questions. They may not seem significant, but they are important for Canadians trying to understand our mission.

Ms. Buck: The Afghan parliament is elected, but the members of the cabinet are not members of the parliament. It is noteworthy that 25 per cent of elected members are women. This is a significant milestone in the history of Afghanistan. During the elections, 350 women ran for a seat in parliament. This participation is very significant, when we consider the history of the country, particularly under the rule of the Taliban.

So there is an elected legislature, an elected president and a non-elected cabinet. Provincial governors are appointed by the president. Canada has brought significant pressure to bear so that a mechanism is in place to require a degree of transparency in the appointment of governors. This mechanism was created in 2006, and we are working closely with the Afghan government to make sure that it operates smoothly.

Senator Nolin: The president has the executive authority to appoint a governor. That is, a man or a woman who represents that executive authority in a given region. When you say that the goal is transparency, are you referring to the appointment being confirmed by popular support? What do you mean by the term "transparency''?

Ms. Buck: I mean transparency in the nomination process; not necessarily during the voting, but through public debate.

Senator Nolin: So the right person can be identified?

Ms. Buck: Exactly. Government departments in Kabul are now establishing a presence in the regions. But doing that is no small undertaking.

Senator Nolin: I will come back to that. At the moment, I would like us to get a good understanding of how the government is organized.

Ms. Buck: The international community has also helped the Afghan government to set up economic development councils. These are helping to consolidate political power in the villages. The task for the international community and, from now on, for the Afghan government, is to establish links between Kabul, the provinces and the villages.

Senator Nolin: Let us take a look at the problems facing the central government in Kabul, that is to say President Karzai and his cabinet. What are the main challenges they have to face? Let us say challenges, not obstacles. What are the main problems facing President Karzai and his administration?

Mr. Mulroney: First of all, there is the lack of governmental structures which were destroyed during the 30 years of civil war. We are in the process of rebuilding these structures. Then, the country is multi-ethnic, divided by war and located in a region where its neighbours historically tend to play a less than constructive role.

Senator Nolin: For the benefit of those listening to us, tell us about the multi-ethnic composition of the country. Which is the largest ethnic group, which is the smallest and what influence does each one have?

[English]

Mr. Mulroney: Afghanistan is a multi-ethnic country that has ethnic groups that exist not only in Afghanistan but that also have brothers in other regions, on the other side of Afghanistan's frontiers.

There are Tajiks and Uzbeks in the north and Pashtuns largely in the south, but they also exist in a region that includes a portion of Pakistan. There are Uzbeks who live in Afghanistan and also live in Uzbekistan, which is the similar case for Tajiks. There are pockets of Hazara who live in the central area. These Hazara happen to be Shia Muslims, not Sunni Muslims, like the rest. Their links are more to Iran in terms of where they come from and religious affiliation.

One of the challenges in Afghanistan, as in any multi-ethnic state, is finding a form of governance that also allows those groups, particularly the minorities and groups that are not only ethnic but also religious minorities, to feel they are receiving services and support from the central government. That is a big challenge.

There is also the long-standing challenge in the Pashtun areas that Pakistan, for example, has never accepted the borderline, the Durand Line, that was established by the British. Pashtuns have felt a loyalty that crosses borders. Therefore, the largest ethnic group has a much larger portion in a neighbouring country. It takes a very wise leader to create a sense throughout a country that the government is working for everybody.

Afghanistan is a large and mountainous country. It never had good infrastructure. Much of what it had was destroyed in the war. Again, the challenge of reaching out to people in remote areas is great.

Finally, as I said about neighbourhood, when we first looked at the Afghanistan challenge late in 2001 and early in 2002, we compared it to the Balkans. There were some points of comparison. While the Balkans faced many problems, one thing it had in its favour was a helpful neighbourhood. The Europeans could be present in the military sense or in terms of aid, but there was also the European Union to which countries could aspire to belong. The Balkans, for example, could think: If we get our act together and cooperate, we could be part of this association that will help our economies and political development.

There is no similar structure around Afghanistan. Afghanistan's neighbours have historically not been helpful to Afghanistan's development. There is no regional grouping like the EU for Afghanistan to aspire to. Part of our diplomacy must be regional in nature, first working with the like-minded to ensure we are not harming Afghanistan.

Second, and this will take time — we are not quite there yet but it inspires some of our border work with Pakistan — could we begin to think of economic linkages that promote cooperation rather than mischief making? Can we look at roads as infrastructure networks that promote trade? Can we look at borders as places where exports and imports flow? Could we look at pipelines, transmission lines and things that are in a country's interest to work on with its neighbour? We are a long way from making that a reality, but I think that is the key to long-term stability in the region, the sense that it makes more sense to cooperate than to scheme and undermine one another. That will take some time to achieve.

[Translation]

Senator Nolin: You say that there has been a vacuum in public governance for 30 years. Was there a republican tradition in Afghanistan 30 years ago, or did someone decide that Afghanistan would henceforth be a republic?

Mr. Mulroney: Not really. Let us say that there was a brief period of democracy.

Senator Nolin: You can answer in English if it is easier for you.

[English]

Mr. Mulroney: There was a brief democratic period in Afghanistan, one that coincided with the kingship of Zahir Shaw, who died this past summer. By 1973, there was intrigue about the advent of rule by a political strong man, and that then led to ongoing tensions along the northern border and, finally, invasion by the Soviet Union. It was a very brief period.

[Translation]

Senator Nolin: My question is whether there was a tradition of democracy 30 years ago. If so, what form did it take? With our coalition of 38 countries, are we in the process of imposing a form of government on Afghanistan? Yes, they want stability, yes, they want peace and reconstruction, but perhaps they want it in their way, not in ours.

[English]

Mr. Mulroney: There was a form of governance that could be called a constitutional monarchy. However, early on in the bond process — the king was very old and had several potential successors — it was determined by the Afghans themselves that rather than have the monarchy continue, Zahir Shaw would remain king for the term of his life but would not play the role he did, and Afghanistan would have a president.

At the macro level, that is a relatively new phenomenon. However, it is not so much replacing something else that worked. This was not a long tradition.

Senator Nolin: I know. However, Canadians are familiar with our own history and our own processes, and I think we can agree that our institutions are the result of a long, nurturing process of history. We have this because of a series of events that led Canadians at the time to decide something.

[Translation]

Canada has been part of the coalition right from the start, by the way. I just want to make sure that we are not dragging a horse to the water when it really does not want to drink.

[English]

Mr. Mulroney: There is a tradition. I think since Bonn we have realized that there are Afghan traditions, such as the jirgas, that bring together the consultative mechanisms that exist on very small levels and bring elders and leaders together but also exist at the national level. Most recently we have seen a jirga that included —

[Translation]

Senator Nolin: Popular assemblies like that are found all over the Muslim world.

[English]

Mr. Mulroney: In other ways, we are also conscious of traditional mechanisms that we need to respect and that will form part of a sustainable government in Afghanistan. There are traditional dispute resolution mechanisms, but not for capital or major crimes. We accept that there needs to be a more formal process in place for those, such as courts and judges.

However, in terms of allocating or adjudicating property issues, there are traditional mechanisms that work quite well. I think we are looking at a situation where we accept the fact that 60 per cent to 70 per cent, for example, of the justice system can work on traditional terms, but there is a need for a more specialized justice system to deal with more serious and capital crimes.

Part of the key to success will be recognizing what parts of the traditional Afghan system work well and will take Afghanistan into the 21st century and beyond, and where they need help to function as a 21st century state.

[Translation]

Senator Nolin: Mr. Mulroney leads me to ask one last question on the reform of the justice system.

In all self-respecting countries, people accept that a judge can decide on a matter when the judge is credible and impartial. Regardless of the system of government, whether it have a monarch, a president or a parliamentary system like our own, it is expected that judges will be impartial, effective and independent of the parties appearing before them. In terms of international assistance, can you tell us how the reorganization work is going — I think that this is one of Canada's objectives — so that we can be sure that Afghanistan has a justice system that meets the standards I have just described?

Ms. Buck: I believe that it is very important for me to frame my answer with the reminder that this is one of the poorest countries in the world, and, as a consequence, it has lived through a vacuum in governance for almost 30 years.

[English]

Judges are part of a broader rule-of-law system, and considerable progress has been made in forming judges, forming the Afghan bar, training prosecutors and, in that broader rule-of-law context, focusing on police and on corrections. There has been tremendous progress. Are we there yet? Absolutely not. We are dealing with a largely illiterate population. We are dealing with brand new Afghan laws. The Afghan legislature has been in a period of intense legislative drafting for the last while and will accelerate that.

We are at a construction phase. Sometimes we talk about reconstruction, but with the justice system we are at a construction phase in a way in Afghanistan, building the formal justice sector. However, we — the international community and Canada — have done a lot.

I will cite the following statistics as an example: 75 prosecutors trained; 68 public defenders; 90 judges including 16 women; judges training in specialized procedures. We have a project to train judges and the attorney general's office on counter-narcotics and corruption, for instance.

There is a lot of activity by the international community in the justice sector and in the broader rule-of-law sector. We have a long way to go still, particularly, as Mr. Mulroney stated, in bringing those formal justice structures down to the provinces.

There was a good conference in Rome last June on rule of law, and the Afghan permanent justice institutions have gone a long way to defining their own priorities. The attorney general's office and the supreme court have come up with operational and strategic plans, and the international community, being guided by those Afghans, is funding. That is the channel for our rule of law and our justice programming through Afghan-defined priorities and through Afghan-built justice sector programs.

There is a long way to go; however, we have come a long way since the international community went in and since the fall of the Taliban.

Mr. Mulroney: Ms. Buck talked about the community development councils that link all of the smaller communities of Afghanistan, including in Kandahar province. One thing that had been destroyed in 30 years of war was community structure. For example, I am building a well, but I need your cooperation and there is a way of making that work. Afghan friends have told from their experience that that kind of community spirit had been damaged to the point that many feared it was gone all together.

There is a practical outcome to the community development councils, because they plan projects that they then bring to places like the Provincial Reconstruction Team and say what they would like to see happen. In the planning of the project, individuals have to work together. They have to compromise. It is not one person saying he wants a well on his land; rather, it is a community of people saying that they need such and such for their community. It is a way of knitting the community spirit back together slowly over time.

We found that the community development councils were set up, established and meeting. Even during the fighting season, when the security situation is most challenging in the summer months, the community development committees continued to meet. They did not always meet with the same number of people, because sometimes the security situation did not allow it, but they did not stop meeting; they were not scared away from meeting, although a Taliban objective is to break up that kind of local governance. They wanted to meet and they saw it as important. This is a small but significant step in bringing back at the local level the kind of local cooperation that is the basic building block of a larger form of government.

The Chair: As a follow-up to Senator Nolin's question about the legal system, would Canadians recognize any aspect of it? Would there be a criminal code? Is there a civil code? Are things like habeas corpus part of the legal system there?

Ms. Buck: I am not a lawyer, I am a recovering lawyer. I used to be a lawyer. I cannot speak to specific habeas corpus writ. They have a civil law system that functions differently from common law writs, but I can tell you that Canadians would recognize some elements of the Afghan legal system, partially because we have provided Canadian technical assistance. We have just commenced a project to assist them with legislative drafting, sitting in the Ministry of Justice, sitting with the Taqnin, which is the legislative drafting arm, to help them draft laws. We can come back with a fuller description of what Afghan law has been put in place over the last few years, but there has been a rigorous period of legislative drafting through the legislature in Afghanistan. There are criminal laws on the books. They need more.

They need more laws in the areas of economic regulation, but laws have been drafted recently. Some of the legislative lacunae are filled in with presidential decrees as well, for the time being.

Canadians would recognize many elements because there has been a lot of Canadian technical assistance into legislative drafting and into the justice sector. If you want more detail, senator, we can come back to you with that.

The Chair: We have general questions like would an Afghan citizen expect representation; would he expect to be arrested by a policeman who is following a code that would provide for his safety while he was under arrest; would he expect to appear before a judge within a reasonable period of time; would he expect representation if he could not afford it.

Ms. Buck: It is a difficult question. It depends on where you are in the country, to be frank. That is part of the challenge in Afghanistan, bringing the formal justice system down to the provinces. There are a number of other challenges that make it not always the case that you will be seen by a judge within the appropriate time or that you will be treated completely the way a Canadian might expect to be treated by a policeman.

These are challenges in Afghanistan but, as I said, you have to take as your benchmark where the country was at the fall of the Taliban and where it is now. It is not reconstruction of a justice sector, it is construction. Bit by bit, training course by training course, police are being trained. Out of the PRT, for instance, we have delivered training courses to 555 policemen. Has every policeman in Afghanistan been trained? Yes. Have they been trained sufficiently? No, not yet. Judges have been getting trained but you do not see trained judges in all of the provinces yet. It is not a perfect system by any stretch. We have to use the Afghan context as the measure and not Canadian expectations. In the Afghan context, progress has been made.

Senator Peterson: Could you tell us what progress we are making with the training of the national police force and security forces in Afghanistan? Are they 50 per cent completed or 60 per cent completed?

Mr. Mulroney: With the Afghan National Police, we are less than 50 per cent of the way. That is largely because it is only in the last two years that we have really begun to take up in a coordinated way police training. The Afghan National Police had been much less the focus of international attention and probably were not as strong an institution at any time in Afghanistan's history as the Afghan National Army.

We have tried to remedy that at a coalition level. The major U.S. training organization, the Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan, CSTC-A, in Kabul, which is run by the Americans but has the participation of allies, including Canada, is beginning to step up police training at a national level.

In Kandahar, both the Canadian Forces and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police are stepping up local police training. We have Police Operational Mentoring Liaison Teams, P-OMLTs, out in the district. We also have more formal training being done by the RCMP at the Provincial Reconstruction Team, but we have a long way to go with the police.

There are two major issues. First, as you know, the police form a key component of the Afghan national security forces. Where we clear ground, it is often the police who are called upon to help hold that ground. Until they are present to hold that ground, it means that a larger share of that work falls to the army.

Second, at a basic level of civilian expectation, citizens want to have a police force that works and that provides basic security, and we still have a way to go. At least we are engaged in the task.

Senator Peterson: How are the forces compensated?

Mr. Mulroney: The Afghan National Police have not traditionally had regular payment. That has been part of the problem. That has led them to things like extortion on the highway. Canada contributes to the Law and Order Trust Fund for Afghanistan, which helps to fund police salaries, and that is done at the level of Kabul.

We are looking at two ways of delivery at the local end. First, Afghanistan itself is experimenting with means of ensuring that the pay packet gets put into hands of the individual police officer. That has been overseen in part by both Canadian and U.S. forces, which actually monitor the payment itself.

There is a challenge, of course, with infrastructure. There are not many local banks and places where people can be paid. Afghan authorities are seized with the problem of delivering that pay package to the individual policeman. We still have a way to go, but the situation is better at the end of the year than it was at the beginning of the year.

Senator Peterson: You must still be losing people. They must be leaving because they are not being compensated. That must be very detrimental to moving ahead.

Mr. Mulroney: That is still a problem. Although, as I say, in the parts of Kandahar where we are active — and I have actually been out to some of the police substations and talked to some of the police — we are doing a better job of getting them their salaries. We are dealing with some pretty significant infrastructure challenges in terms of getting that much money delivered to individual people across Afghanistan.

Traditional systems meant that people were taking cuts along the way, which corrupts society and is very discouraging to the average police officer putting his life on the line to defend a community. Working with Afghan authorities and other like-minded groups, like Americans and Europeans, we are working to change that.

Senator Banks: The Taliban do not have trouble delivering money to the people they are paying, but that is just a comment.

One of the provisions of the Afghanistan Compact — to which Afghanistan is a party — is that the good guys will do this and this. What Afghanistan has to do is actively address the question of corruption, the lack of that kind of infrastructure and the capacity to pay the police. Are they making progress in that area? Is the progress enough? Is it fast enough? Is it an impediment to our interests in moving these things forward?

Mr. Mulroney: Recently President Karzai talked about the problem of corruption and the insidious effects that corruption has on any society trying to pull itself up by the bootstraps. It is recognized as a problem, and there are some moves in the right direction that we find encouraging.

Canada advocated very hard in the process leading up to the formation of the compact to have a senior appointments panel established in Afghanistan. Then appointments would not be done simply by powerful individuals but would be subject to some broader review by an impartial group of people. That has been enacted but not put into effect, and Canada continues to ask for that. While we have made some progress, we are not happy that it has not been put in place yet, and we think it is important.

On the other hand, the creation of a new mechanism for ensuring that what the central government decrees gets done at the local level has been put in place. There is a new person, reporting directly to President Karzai, who focuses on governance at the local level and specifically on problems in governance. He is Director General Popal. He has been focusing on a couple of provinces where there were particular problems, bringing those to the attention of President Karzai and seeking high-level, swift action. We have seen some of that action.

I saw Mr. Popal just a few weeks ago. The international community thinks he is the right person at the right time. He said that he is getting a lot of support from our ambassador and embassy in terms of convening the international community to give him a mandate in the Afghan system. He said our international partners support what he is doing and he needs to get this right at the local level. That is another step in the right direction.

Other elements in Afghanistan are also moving them in the right direction: first, having a Parliament that functions and can point to instances of corruption; second, the presence of an increasingly frank and open media, who also point to some of these things.

It will take a long time to turn this around in Afghanistan — a very long time. However, these are some important steps in the right direction.

In the early days of our collective engagement as an international community, our frustration led us to say things like, "We do not like that person in that job; you should replace him and put that person in.'' Afghans naturally bridle at that kind of approach. It is not an effective approach for us. Everything we do should be designed to hand over increasing autonomy to the Afghans; we should be working ourselves out of a job. Increasingly, we will point out instances where we think there is a problem, or we will point to corruption and ask officials to investigate it. However, we expect the Afghans to do the right things and to take steps in the right direction.

Therefore, when we see someone like this new person responsible for local governance who seems to be doing a good job and seems to be moving in the right direction, we try to support him, but we do not try to do his job for him. As I say, long-term improvement will take time. It will take economic recovery.

In any developing country, as the police and border officials begin to make more money, it is not in their interests to do the kinds of things they used to do. As they are treated as professionals, they begin to act as professionals. That process will take time.

Do we have to be there until it is complete? I do not think so. Our responsibility as an international community is to ensure that the process is begun and beginning to build attraction and popular support in Afghanistan as people see that it works and they want to get behind it. We do not necessarily have to see it to conclusion. We have had a presence in many developing countries longer than Afghanistan where this is still an issue.

Senator Peterson: You mentioned in your presentation that you had $30 million for alternative efforts towards the poppy harvest.

Mr. Mulroney: In our counter-narcotics program.

Senator Peterson: Do you know what the value of the poppy harvest is?

Ms. Buck: We would have to come back to you with the exact statistics. I do not know that off the top of my head.

Mr. Mulroney: It still represents a significant portion of Afghanistan's GNP. It is in the neighbourhood of 25 per cent to 30 per cent in some estimates.

Senator Peterson: It is a real problem. The $30 million is a nice start, but how will you leverage that to even make a dint in the problem?

Mr. Mulroney: That is a Canadian contribution to larger international efforts.

The narcotics problem in Afghanistan is akin to the corruption problem. If we can be guided by experience in places like Turkey and the Golden Triangle, it is a problem that takes a long time to resolve. Alternative livelihoods are one part of it. The connection between narcotics and security is a difficult one. The narcotics trade flourishes where there is no security, and it in turn contributes to that lack of security. The other issue is economic development.

Everything that I have seen or read in relation to the narcotics problem in Afghanistan suggests that basically Afghan farmers would not grow poppy if they did not have to, because it is not a particularly safe business to be in. The farmers are the low people. They are the bottom of the pole. They are at risk from all the crooks and thieves and bad guys above them. It is not a very safe business to be in. They know the government is against the cultivation of opium poppy. Finally, it runs counter to religious teaching, to Islam. There are many reasons why they would rather not do it, but in areas where there is a lack of government and a lack of security, where there is not the infrastructure to get their products to market and where the gangs or the Taliban prevail, poppy cultivation grows.

In every society that we have had experience with, a combination of enhanced security and improved economic growth begins to work against the cultivation and the narcotics trade.

Some people say maybe we should legalize poppy production. Maybe that is a solution. Afghanistan does not have a comparative advantage in terms of poppy production. There are other places where the comparative advantage is higher. Unfortunately Afghanistan does have, in some parts, a comparative advantage in lawlessness. As we make progress in those areas, we will make progress, as we are seeing in the north of Afghanistan. In the south, it will take a long time.

Senator Peterson: If Canada removes combat troops in 2009 and they are not replaced by other NATO countries, what will the impact be?

Mr. Mulroney: The security situation in Southern Afghanistan is sufficiently difficult that some form of partnership will be needed in Southern Afghanistan for some time to come.

The Chair: Just following up on the poppy questions, the committee met recently with the Afghan ambassador to Canada, and he made three comments. I wonder if you can reconcile them for us.

The first was that the Afghan government does not support the eradication of poppies at this time. The second was that they are considering subsidizing poppy farmers. The third was that he does not support The Senlis Council's proposal to utilize poppy product for medicinal purposes.

Mr. Mulroney: I want to be careful about speaking for the Afghan ambassador.

I do not know whether he was speaking about aerial-based or ground-based eradication. The Afghan government has allowed manual eradication of the poppy plant.

The Chair: He was referring to air spraying. I was not asking you to comment particularly on his remarks, but I wanted to know the Canadian position vis-à-vis those three points.

Mr. Mulroney: The Canadian position has tended to focus on a number of elements. One is alternative livelihoods, and another is reinforcement of the justice system so that there are prosecutors, judges and police who are trained to take action against the narcotics trade.

Some forms of manual eradication in controlled settings can be effective, but the larger question of eradication is one where you get into the support of the local communities and work with the local communities. Any eradication program needs to be done carefully so that you are not generating more opposition than the progress you may be making against the poppy.

In terms of subsidizing, our preference in that area would be to get farmers onto a sustainable, economic alternative as quickly as possible. You want actually to restore traditional forms of agriculture to Southern Afghanistan rather than to create something that is not sustainable. If farmers can grow wheat again and feed their families and their livestock and have some wheat available for sale, then that is probably a pretty good outcome. There may be other alternative crops that are economically viable over the long term. The idea is to create a system that does not require outside intervention but that works for Afghans.

We think that the best systems are those that have always worked for Afghans. Southern Afghanistan was once a highly productive agricultural zone. It is famous for its fruit, raisins, pomegranates, grapes and wheat. We think that with the proper security, with more work on infrastructure — wells, irrigation systems and roads so that farmers can get their product to market — you can make it easier for farmers to do what they probably want to do from the start.

Regarding The Senlis Council's proposal, the legalization of poppy is one thing they have focused on. There are a number of major flaws with that approach. As I understand it, in those countries in the developing world where there is a controlled poppy cultivation, the leakage into the illegal market is in the neighbourhood of 30 per cent to 40 per cent. Although Afghanistan is the major producer of opium poppy, nowhere near all of the available land is under opium poppy production. If you created a controlled price scheme, one almost inevitable effect would be to push more people into opium poppy production. In a place where the infrastructure is as underdeveloped as is Afghanistan's, the chances of having leakage higher to 30 per cent to 40 per cent on a production that is much larger than in those other countries would be significant. I do not think the conditions exist in Afghanistan to allow for controlled production along those lines.

If you want to think in sustainable terms, would it not make more sense to get Afghans back into a form of agricultural production that is their own, that is natural to them and that is self-sustaining, rather than one that involves a high degree of foreign intervention and control? This is kind of the idée fixe of Senlis, but I think it is fundamentally flawed. I do not think it is good for the long-term development of Afghanistan or for countries like Canada that suffer from illegal opium production in places like Afghanistan.

The Chair: Did I understand correctly that you were suggesting that pomegranates or raisins or wheat would be a rational economic choice for a farmer to make if poppies were available?

Mr. Mulroney: No. Rather than growing opium poppies, which are illegal, dangerous and obviously detrimental and which feed corruption, I think we would all be better off, and Afghanistan's farmers would be better off, if they grew the crops they used to grow and can grow quite well in Southern Afghanistan.

The Chair: Would they live as well as if they were growing poppies?

Mr. Mulroney: I think they would in the proper economic environment. Poppy production is highly labour intensive, so you have to hire lots of people. You are also threatened by shakedowns from all of the crooks in the system above you. You cannot feed opium poppy to your livestock, and you tend not to have other means of production. You are putting your land into something that you cannot feed your family with. If the government then comes along and confiscates your crop, or if you are cheated by people in the drug cartel that you are dealing with, you are left with nothing. It is a very precarious livelihood.

When you compare the economics of opium production, with all the risks and all the pieces that get taken out of the pie, against something like the production of wheat, given that you use wheat as a food staple but you can also feed the straw to your cattle and you can grow wheat with much less labour than you can grow opium poppy, the numbers are not as wildly out of sync as they sometimes appear to be.

When you add to that the security and the fact that growing wheat is in accordance with traditional Afghan culture and religious beliefs, it is not such a leap as it sometimes appears when presented by people like The Senlis Council.

[Translation]

Senator Nolin: When questions of opium and drugs and cartels and mafia come up, we unfortunately tend to confuse several concepts. We have to have a thorough discussion.

In your reply, you mentioned Turkey. I think it is important for you to tell us, if you know, how Turkey became a producer of medical opium. I feel it is important for people to know that. If you do not know the answer, I do: It is because they had a problem with growing poppies. Do you know how many countries produce opium for medical use? Five. And most of those countries became producers precisely because they had a problem with growing poppies. They transformed an illegal crop into a legal one.

We have to give careful consideration to the proposal made by The Senlis Council which can seem quite far-fetched if we do not take the time to look at its basic premise. What percentage of the world's supply of poppy-based medicinal products do we and our western allies in Afghanistan consume? What percentage would you say we consume of all the medications legally made from poppies as designated by the Control Board in Vienna?

Mr. Mulroney: I do not know.

Senator Nolin: Eighty per cent. We have 20 per cent of the world's population. The converse is also true. Eighty per cent of the world's population has to make do with 20 per cent. Do you see what The Senlis Council's analysis is based on? This is why we have to go beyond easy answers like saying that it is too much of a leap. I think that the analysis has to be along the same lines as for Turkey, as for India, as for Australia when they had a problem. I can list the countries that had problems. They are all allies of ours.

Are there people in the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade who have seriously considered the proposal made by The Senlis Council?

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Mr. Mulroney: People inside this and other ministries look at that. We also rely on the analyses of multilateral organizations and independent researchers. There are key considerations. First, while there are controlled producers, in some of those states there is still leakage into the illegal market, especially in states that are still very much developing. Afghanistan is a much less developed state than the ones you have mentioned, and the amount of control it would take to ensure that none of the production went into the illegal market is, I think, beyond the ability of Afghanistan and would certainly put a strain on international resources.

Second, by most estimates, only about 10 per cent of the suitable land in Afghanistan is currently under opium production. We want to ensure that we do not increase opium production in Afghanistan by creating two markets, in effect.

Third, Australia is probably better suited to poppy production than Afghanistan, but Australia is much more able to control the production of a product that has a high demand on the black market.

Analyses that I have seen from respected international observers show that those challenges are significant, and before you went down that road you would want to be sure that people had a solid answer, and I have not seen that answer to date.

From everything I have seen on development theory, I believe that something is wrong with the agricultural development of Southern Afghanistan when so much land is put into the production of a product that is not immediately usable by the people of Afghanistan. I would rather see us work in a concerted way to restore the agricultural sector in Southern Afghanistan to products that are more traditional, more benign and more useful. I would be the first to say that a pharmaceutical industry in Afghanistan in the future would be a very good thing, but I do not think it is in the Afghanistan of today. I think we have some way to go before that, and I do not think we can segue from the current opium poppy production, which is a huge problem, to a pharmaceutical industry in one step. That is not the panacea.

[Translation]

Senator Nolin: I do not think that people are dreaming in Technicolor. Do we agree that the primary objective is to provide these Afghan farmers with an income that is at least the equivalent of what they are presently making completely illegally? Transforming the industry then —

By the way, I need to correct you: you mentioned the economic impact on the country. It is much more than 25 per cent, it is almost 65 per cent of economic potential that comes from this illegal crop, it is huge. This is about 90 per cent of the world's illegal poppy harvest. So the goal is not to transform the industry into a giant pharmaceutical industry, but rather to see if it feasible.

This is my question, and I am going to be quite blunt. Vienna, the agency you referred to — when you say international body, you mean the International Narcotics Control Board in Vienna — dismissed The Senlis Council's proposal out of hand in less than a day. Is Canada prepared to sit down and seriously look at all the options? Let us do a feasibility study: What would it take to take a part of this crop and make it legal in order to benefit 80 per cent of the population who live mainly in regions like that? India is one of the producing countries, but much of the Indian population has no access to medicines that can treat my pain, your pain, the pain of every member of this committee when we need it. We can easily get codeine or a narcotic, a doctor prescribes it for us and a pharmacist sells it to us. In some countries, it is a lot more complicated.

So, they want a feasibility study. Is Canada prepared to sit down — perhaps it just seems ill-conceived because we are using the word "legalization'' — and look seriously at what can be done? There we are in a country where everything needs to be done, so why not look at this possibility? Would you be prepared to do that?

[English]

Mr. Mulroney: Senator, we are ready to consider and promote a variety of economic development options for Afghanistan. In my own ranking, that one would not be high on the list. I think there are other things we need to review before we get to that. That is my honest assessment.

The Chair: Since The Senlis Council has come up, could you give us a sense of the weight you attach to the reports and studies they have done in that regard? They appear to be the only group of NGOs active in Kandahar that is taking public opinion surveys.

Mr. Mulroney: Over the last couple of years we have seen a fair bit of activity in terms of public opinion surveying by organizations like Environics, The Asia Foundation and others.

The Senlis Council did some research, but when I saw it, the research seemed to be selective in that it involved only males, I think, in a portion of Afghanistan. I have seen other opinion research that I thought was more carefully based and more professional in its approach. The Senlis Council bases much of its analysis on what their researchers say they have observed in the south. They are not the only NGO to be active there. Other NGOs, like the International Committee of the Red Cross, ICRC, or the World Food Programme, are less inclined to speak publicly about what they are saying and doing. There are multilateral organizations or other non-governmental organizations active in the south. Not all of them are as vocal as The Senlis Council, but all of them have their distinct ideas.

Ms. Buck: It might be worth the committee members' time to look also at some of the comments made by Canadian NGOs who are active in Afghanistan and who know Afghanistan extremely well. I am thinking of Nigel Fisher of UNICEF, who has spent a number of years in Afghanistan. He has commented recently on The Senlis Council report. To be frank, there are some questions about the direction and tone of the reports that are echoed by Canadian NGOs who know Afghanistan well.

The Chair: Is there a difference between knowing Afghanistan well and knowing the south well?

Mr. Mulroney: Yes. Nigel Fisher has been in the South. I also hear often from the American who has been a journalist and who set up her own small business in Kandahar. There are others in the UN system, in addition to the sort of traditional Canadian voices who report to us on what they are seeing in Kandahar.

I try to listen to all of those voices. I have been in Kandahar about five times this year myself. When I am there, I try to talk to Afghans as well as to internationals to begin to piece together what is happening. It is a big place as you know, and I think you have to sift a lot of perspectives to begin to understand what is happening.

The Chair: Are you telling us that Senlis has an agenda?

Mr. Mulroney: My assessment is that a lot of their material is anecdotal: "I went out and this is what I saw.'' That is valid up to a point, but I do not find it to be systemic or based on a lot of analysis. It is often impressionistic. Mr. Wallace may speak to this in his next session, but some of the critiques of the hospital often come down to the fact that hospitals in Afghanistan are not always nice to look at. There are things you see in hospitals in Afghanistan that you would not expect to see in hospitals in Canada. Many, including the Red Cross, would say that the particular hospital that they had visited is one of the better ones in Kandahar City and has been making progress. There are measures of progress you can look to.

The Chair: When they appeared before us, The Senlis Council alleged that the hospital did not exist.

Mr. Mulroney: I am confident that it does exist, and I take seriously the views not only of colleagues in CIDA but also the people in ICRC, the Red Cross, and the people of Kandahar and the minister of development up in Kabul.

I do not discount having alternative voices out there — you must to listen to those voices, too — but I would not give those voices complete credibility over all the other people who are saying something a little bit different.

Do they have an agenda? I do not know.

The Chair: Can you comment on the role your department has with the Strategic Advisory Team in Kabul?

Mr. Mulroney: The Strategic Advisory Team was a brilliant initiative by General Rick Hillier, who saw earlier on, when we did not have much presence in Kabul, that the new ministries would need help with people who could provide assistance in very basic ways — for example how to organize yourself, how to organize meetings, how to hold meetings, how to recruit staff and how to set up ministries. The testimony from Afghans that I have spoken to about the work that these colonels from the Canadian Forces have done in various ministries is uniformly positive.

Over time, we now have a much larger Canadian presence in Kabul. We have worked with General Hillier and General Gauthier and the people who run the Strategic Advisory Team to begin to incorporate it. While it is primarily military, it reports to the ambassador and takes guidance from him regarding what ministries we want to be present in, how that relates to national priorities for Afghanistan and where we want to focus.

We are putting more civilians into the Strategic Advisory Team, and there Stephen Wallace has been helpful. We have had a mission in Afghanistan whose objectives included looking at the Strategic Advisory Team — looking at what have we learned; where are we now, three or four years since the SAT was there; do we still need that function performed; is it performing other functions; and can we take some of the things we have learned in Kabul and migrate them down to Kandahar.

With Kandahar, I think we are doing a good job in the hinterlands. We talked about the community development councils. We are doing a good job in terms of quick impact projects that the forces are delivering and we are beginning to look at some of the larger infrastructure needs such as irrigation and water supply. We are doing a good job getting started in police training, but what about the basic governance? How does the governor organize himself? How does he connect the programs from Kabul and deliver power, water, customs and taxation? What is it like if you are trying to start a business in Kandahar? Do you get a response from government? That is an area where we are keenly interested in what average Kandaharis feel. It is in our interest and in President Karzai's interest to ensure that the average person in Kandahar feels that the government is working for him or for her.

There may be ideas that we can take from the establishment of the SAT in Kabul and migrate down to some kind of structure in Kandahar that builds out. Too often, government in Afghanistan is someone on a cell phone solving a whole bunch of individual problems. There is a problem here and he fixes it; there is a problem over there and he fixes that. The next day, another guy can have the same problem so a senior person gets on the cell phone and solves that problem as well. How do you put in systems and procedures so that it is not dependent on a few overworked people but you begin to have a network of professionals who deliver on a professional basis? We see the Strategic Advisory Team as a bit of a laboratory from which we can take some insight.

The Chair: I can see the logic of General Hillier seizing an opportunity if he had a good relationship with Mr. Karzai. However, it does not seem to be a military job at this point. Yet, the military continues in a key role in this job.

Mr. Mulroney: The military continues in a key role because they have staffed it up. They have people with experience in those ministries. However, one change is that it is clear that Ambassador Lalani's mandate includes having the colonel who runs the SAT report to him on his plans and objectives before taking major initiatives, even though he also has a reporting relationship in the military chain of command. We now have some CIDA officials in the Strategic Advisory Team, and we are looking at whether or not to expand the SAT in Kabul. We have not reached that decision yet, but if we do expand the SAT, we would want to put in more civilians and not just from government departments but also, perhaps, retired people who have had experience in power generation or in the ministry of justice in a province. Or, we look at it and do something similar in Kandahar.

In Kandahar, any project would include an even higher number of civilians. There is, however, in places like Kandahar a security challenge as well. There is a rationale for having at least some military personnel, because some of the places they go are harder for civilians to get to.

The Chair: You talk about having someone like a consul general in Kandahar. What role would that person have? It is obviously not to be issuing passports. How does that individual relate to the military there? Are we looking at assistance by committee? Would this individual or the general be the senior person in Kandahar?

Mr. Mulroney: Those are all good questions.

The inspiration for this started with our focusing on the role of the ambassador in Kabul. We needed to make it clear to the foreign service community, for example, that the Kabul job was one of the most important, so it is now in line with being the ambassador to Germany or High Commissioner to India.

I call the ambassador in Kabul my coherence agent. He looks at all the programs — the CIDA program, what the RCMP are doing, the consular program and what we are doing in terms of justice, governance and foreign affairs — and answers to me and Ottawa in terms of whether this makes sense, whether we are focused and are getting the balance right. If he does not feel we are, he tells me and the deputy ministers.

Because Kandahar is not always easy to get to from Kabul, we need a person in Kandahar to answer to the ambassador and, through the ambassador, to me.

As we put more foreign service, CIDA, RCMP and correctional services on the ground, the good news is that more things are happening. More program activity is happening. However, I want to be sure it is happening in a coherent way and toward all those ends and objectives that we have collectively agreed on in Ottawa as we look at our plans for Canada and Afghanistan. That person is the one who sits down with the civilians regularly and says, "I want to hear what you are doing. Let us make sure we are still on track in terms of what we said we were doing.'' If that is not the case, he speaks to the ambassador.

He or she is the senior civilian coordinator — we are in the process of selecting a new one — and is the senior person in Kandahar when it comes to Canadian government programming, but not senior to the brigadier-general when it comes to carrying out the work of Task Force Afghanistan. It requires a high degree of collaboration between the general and the senior civilian. We have never had quite this kind of a set-up before, but it is an essential next step.

I see the evolution going from a role that is more focused on security, through a process of civilianization of some of these development functions — so that some of the development and governance work is being carried out by civilian specialists — to an ultimate end state of Afghan ownership. Getting more civilians into Kandahar, delivering what they are specialized and trained to do, is the phase we are in now. The senior civilian will play the key role in coordinating that, reporting to the ambassador and back to me that that is happening.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr. Mulroney. Time is always our enemy. We have run past the allotted time. On behalf of the committee, I would like to thank you and Ms. Buck for appearing before us. Your testimony has been helpful and we look forward to calling upon you again in the future.

General McDonald will be in touch with you shortly to work on different matters, but we are grateful to you for coming and giving us a better understanding of what is going on.

We have before us a mixed panel. I am pleased to introduce to you, from the Canadian International Development Agency, Stephen Wallace. Mr. Wallace has focussed much of his career on development and international affairs. In recent years, he has assumed special CIDA responsibility for conflict areas such as Bosnia and Kosovo. He has led development policy for Africa and the Middle East and worked for the Treasury Board as an assistant secretary for government operations. He was appointed CIDA vice-president of policy in 2005, and assumed responsibility for an expanded CIDA Afghanistan Task Force in March of 2007.

I would like to introduce the other members of our panel, two officers from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. We have Deputy Commissioner Pierre-Yves Bourduas. Deputy Commissioner Bourduas first joined the RCMP in 1975. He has performed numerous roles with the RCMP, such as in the Integrated Proceeds of Crime Unit and the National Ports Security Program, among other assignments. In December of 2005, he was promoted to the position of Deputy Commissioner, Federal Services and Central Region. As such, he is responsible for federal and international operations and protective policing for A, C and O divisions of the Central Region.

Is there anything else left after that?

Pierre-Yves Bourduas, Deputy Commissioner, Federal Services and Central Region, Royal Canadian Mounted Police: I can get a life, basically.

The Chair: With him is Chief Superintendent David Beer. He is here with us in his capacity as Director General, International Policing.

Stephen Wallace, Vice-President, Afghanistan Task Force, Canadian International Development Agency: Thank you for welcoming us to the Senate today to discuss Afghanistan, which is Canada's largest single recipient ever of Canadian aid.

Let me start by saying that Afghanistan is distinct. It is a country that, from our perspective, is worse than poor. When you go through 30 years of conflict, destruction and oppression, and you add that to the fact that it is the fifth poorest country on the planet, you start with a daunting set of challenges when it comes to rebuilding.

I have been to Afghanistan several times now over the course of the past year. It is a country where a great deal remains to be done. However, on every trip I have made — and I have made four over the course of the last 12 months — I have been encouraged by what I have seen in terms of the rate of progress. I would like to talk a little bit about that progress.

There are plenty of signs of what is taking hold right now in Afghanistan. We know these signs not only through development statistics — and I can talk about that if you like — but also because of what our staff members and our partners are doing and how they are talking to people from the village level on up.

Reality on the ground is daunting in Afghanistan. That said, however, we should not be blind to some of the advances that have been made. We can see in Kandahar and in Afghanistan development in action right now, and this is in tandem with the political and diplomatic efforts led by Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada and the security work led by the extraordinary efforts of the Canadian Forces, together with the RCMP and Correctional Service of Canada. This effort is truly a whole-of-government effort.

The two charts I circulated give you some sense of the measures of progress so far, and they cut across the three areas of the Afghanistan Compact, with which you are familiar: security, governance and socio-economic development.

This effort is indeed an increasingly coordinated whole-of-government effort and it plays out, particularly more recently, in a number of operational areas: joint planning of operations and joint training. All CIDA staff undertake joint training with the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Forces. This coordinated effort, we think, is absolutely key to success in Afghanistan and in Canada's effort therein.

Last year, CIDA invested $139 million in a variety of programs administered by the Afghanistan government and other on-the-ground trusted partners like UNICEF and CARE Canada.

In Kandahar, our year-over-year programming increased eight-fold over the past year, and we now operate in every single district of the province.

[Translation]

In Afghanistan today, we see girls and their mothers learning and going to school. Six million children are in school. One third of those children are girls. Five or six years ago, there were 700,000 people in school, all boys.

The literacy program in Kandahar, our only program with UNICEF this year, is reaching almost 6,000 adults, 90 per cent of whom are women. Education and literacy tell a tale of concrete progress that is changing the country.

[English]

We are seeing busy markets and other signs of entrepreneurship, boosted by Canada's lead support of microfinance program. This program adds 3,000 to 4,000 new clients every single week. We are now over the 400,000 mark of clients for a program that has won international awards and for which two-thirds of the clients are women. Per capita income is still desperately low, but it has doubled in four years.

In rural areas, roads destroyed by war are rehabilitated with Canada's help, and now 6,000 kilometres, and counting, of roads have been rehabilitated.

Food aid is helping vulnerable people and stimulating local growth in places where natural calamities, conflict and land mines have made Afghan communities among the world's poorest. More than 8,700 metric tonnes of food aid has been delivered in Kandahar province alone over the past year to more than 400,000 beneficiaries. Village by village, town by town, democracy is increasingly at work.

You are all aware, honourable senators, of the community development councils. More than 18,000 councils are now at work in the country. They mobilize local resources; they deliver a variety of services, including drinking water, transport, irrigation, health and education; and they carry the voice of communities across whole districts and provinces. In Kandahar, these councils have completed more than 600 projects that are economically and socially vital to the province.

Almost none of these projects have been attacked. We believe, over the course of the coming six to eight months, we will reach 1,000 completed projects in Kandahar province through these community development councils.

Compared to the situation in 2001, there are some things we do not see in Afghanistan. We do not see as many sick and dying women and children as we would have in the past. Canadians alongside our international partners have delivered almost a half million vaccines in Kandahar, protecting the most vulnerable from polio, measles and tetanus. Through this and other programs, infant mortality is down 22 per cent in the country, and 40,000 more babies survive each year.

We do not see as many amputees as we would have a few years ago had Canada not helped lead the community of nations clearing mines in Afghanistan. More than a billion square metres of land have now been cleared and can be farmed and otherwise used. The number of land mine victims monthly has been cut by 55 per cent. We have seen it go from four victims a day to two a day. With recent programming we have put in place, it will go below one over the course of the coming three years.

These aid investments are at work, but we have much more to do, and our efforts will require commitment and persistence.

I look forward to your questions.

Mr. Bourduas: The Canadian police arrangements are set up as the interdepartmental memorandums of understanding, MOUs, implicating Public Safety Canada, CIDA, the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. The Canadian Police Agreement provides a framework for the deployment of Canadian civilian police to international peace operations.

Ministers representing the interdepartmental committee have authorized the participation of up to 25 civilian police in Afghanistan. I draw the committee's attention to Appendix A, which you were provided with, and that outlines the Canadian deployment and unit detachment.

[Translation]

Canadian police have been working in Afghanistan since the Canadian Provincial Reconstruction Team in Kandahar was first deployed in August 2005. In addition, Canadian civilian police joined the US-led Combined Security Transition Command — Afghanistan in February 2007, the Canadian Embassy in Kabul in May 2007, and the European Union Police Mission-Afghanistan (EUPM-AFG) in September 2007.

The Provincial Reconstruction Team, commonly known as the PRT, is a combined military-civilian reconstruction operation located at Camp Nathan Smith near Kandahar City. The police officers there assist in planning the development of the Afghan police, advise on logistical support, and review and make recommendations on standard operating procedures.

In addition, they provide advice on command and control, on the relationship between police and the community, and they conduct local police training. Recently, an RCMP commissioned officer was assigned to the Kandahar airfield, to act as a liaison between PRT members and airfield personnel.

[English]

The Combined Security Transition Command Afghanistan, CSTC-A, was established by the United States to assist the Government of Afghanistan and the international community to reform, train, equip and operationalize the Afghan National Security Forces and the Ministry of Interior.

Combined Security Transition Command Afghanistan now works in partnership with the Government of Afghanistan, the international community and the European Union to count Canada as one of its lead nations.

CSTCA's objectives are to plan, program and implement the establishment of a self-reliant, self-sustaining and enduring Afghan security forces, including a competent Afghan National Police, capable of conducting independent operations to ensure a stable Afghanistan, strengthen the rule of law and deter and defeat terrorism within its borders.

Given the extent to which international partners contribute and influence security issues and development, our coordination on police issues is important for the effectiveness and efficiency of the said police force.

In terms of other Canadian deployments in Afghanistan, Kabul has one senior adviser who follows, reports and assists in the coordination of the work. This officer was deployed in May of this year.

[Translation]

In 2007, a European Union Police Mission was created in Afghanistan, essentially amalgamating a number of police missions of European countries. EUPM will contribute to the establishment of sustainable and effective civilian policing, and will ensure appropriate interaction with the criminal justice system, in keeping with the advice and institution building work of the EU member states and other international actors.

EUPM replaced Germany, which was the lead nation involved in police reform in Afghanistan. Canadians have been asked to participate in the EUPM mission. One police officer is currently deployed, ten more will follow. The Provincial Reconstruction Team will become part of the EUPM mission, for a total of 22.

[English]

The next Afghanistan pre-deployment training has been scheduled by the RCMP International Peace Operations Branch and is set to get off the ground February 4 to 15, 2008, right here in Ottawa. Six members will be trained and sent to the provincial reconstruction team, PRT, to replace six members that are rotating out.

Also, one RCMP inspector is to be deployed to the position of CSTC-A's Police Standards Officer at Kandahar Airport. He will work on developing new training standards for the Afghan National Police.

The European Union has made a call for contribution, and the Government of Canada has agreed to advertise for key EU positions. In-service training facilities in Kandahar will address Afghan National Police training needs in the south by providing professional skills development to bridge the gap between existing basic recruiting and senior leadership training.

The facility will also provide training to Afghan justice and correctional officials. The In-service Training Facility, ISTF, is scheduled to be built directly adjacent to the Kandahar PRT. That component is a key one when we look at training and providing a secure environment, because we all recognize that the environment is everything but secure. We want to ensure that the facilities are there.

The construction of an interim ISTF has commenced and is scheduled for completion next month, January of 2008. A permanent facility will begin in early January. It is the same facility but it is a permanent structure. This particular facility will have the capacity for up to 500 students, including short-term living accommodation for 150 so these people will be right there on the ground and would stay there. At the Canada-EU summit in June, the EU committed to provide personnel to help deliver training at the ISTF.

In the weeks ahead, RCMP officers will join representatives of Correctional Service of Canada and other Canadian government departments in assessing the current state and needs of prisoner handling and interviewing in Afghan corrections. From that assessment, future capacity building needs might be identified.

[Translation]

The Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan has initiated a radically new concept called Focused District Development which will see the removal, retraining and reinsertion of Afghan national police officers. Police officers will be completely removed from their normal surroundings for training support. Officers will be trained one district at a time.

Canadian police will very likely have a training and mentoring role when Kandahar's districts are targeted.

By any measure, the Afghan national police is a fragile institution. If the capacity to provide a secure environment for the people of Afghanistan is to be developed and if the obstacles of political interference, systemic corruption, lack of infrastructure, insufficient resourcing and dysfunctional management systems are to be overcome, a long-term commitment is required from the international community. This will help to create a secure and stable environment for the development of all Afghanistan institutions, and to diminish the capacity of Afghan-based extremists and terrorists to endanger Canada and Canadians at home and abroad.

With this, I thank you once again for granting me this time. I am ready to answer your questions.

Senator Nolin: Mr. Wallace, last November 27, appearing before the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, Mr. Greenhill, the president of CIDA, stated that you had recently undertaken an evaluation of your programs in Afghanistan. I would like to know first how you evaluate your programs and second the result of the evaluation.

Mr. Wallace: The evaluation is actually part of an accountability strategy that includes audits and internal and external evaluations. An external team looks at our mandate as a whole. External consultants, together with people from our own performance review branch, evaluated the 27 projects that were part of our mandate at the time, including a more detailed evaluation of 11 projects in particular.

The results are on our website, meaning that the report is available for anyone to read.

In general, the overall results suggest that the projects were by and large going well.

Senator Nolin: By "going well,'' you mean that the goals and objectives of the programs were achieved.

Mr. Wallace: The anticipated results were achieved or were on the way to being achieved, they were proceeding satisfactorily. One or two weaknesses in some projects were identified and two specific recommendations were made: one on increasing our presence on the ground — at the time, we had about 10 people on the ground whereas we have 24 today — and the second was about the inconsistency of reports that we were analyzing from the World Bank, the United Nations and other partners. We therefore had to be more rigorous in the way we look at accountability reports that come from our partners.

That, in summary, is what the evaluation showed.

Senator Nolin: That leads to my second question. Do I gather that a large percentage of our development effort goes through international partners?

Mr. Wallace: No, we have 30 or so partners in three main groups, one of which is made up of international partners as you say: the World Bank, UNICEF, the Red Cross, the United Nations Development Program.

Senator Nolin: In dollars, what is the approximate percentage?

Mr. Wallace: The better part of it. This group of ten or so international organizations must account for two thirds of the budget. We also have a dozen Canadian partners like the Aga Khan Foundation, Care Canada, World University Service of Canada and the Mennonite Economic Development Association. This group is growing at present. We are noticing that Canadian organizations are beginning to establish roots in the country.

The third group is made up of local partners. We call them "the pillars of expertise.'' The microcredit program, for example, is handled internally, as is the mine disposal program.

Senator Nolin: Which is a resounding success, I believe.

Mr. Wallace: Yes. The education program is national. The community development council program, called the National Solidarity Program, now brings together 18,000 councils throughout the country; it is a national program, an Afghan one. It is part of our third programming group.

Senator Nolin: So this is not the first time that CIDA is part of a development initiative that makes use of international agencies. What is the goal you are aiming for? Why does such a large part of the budget go to another group of stakeholders? After all, you are the ones waiting for the effort to bear fruit.

Mr. Wallace: For one, if local abilities are limited — and they are — international agencies are very solidly based and can provide a great deal of support to local authorities.

Senator Nolin: Give us some examples.

Mr. Wallace: For example, the Red Cross has very deep roots in Afghanistan, and has had for over 20 years. They are the experts in health care systems in conflict zones. After 30 years of decay, the Afghan government had to set up a system of health care starting from scratch. The Red Cross was able to help through a number of hospitals in the country, including Kandahar. This technical cooperation between the Red Cross, a specialist organization that we see as the best in the world, and local authorities, show that we are heading in the right direction.

Senator Nolin: So, as I understand it, Canada does not want to reinvent the wheel. An international organization with known expertise — the Red Cross — is already in place. You provide Canadian funds, other countries do the same, and it all makes for a critical mass of funding in the pursuit of specific objectives.

Mr. Wallace: Exactly; if the people on the ground are strong, we support them, if they are not strong enough, we look around the world for better people to provide support. That is what we have done in this case.

Senator Nolin: At that point, are evaluations done in the same way? I know that we are talking about the Red Cross, a highly credible organization with a proven record, but do we still evaluate the performance, the achievement of the objective?

After all, we have to put Canadians' minds at rest when we are spending their money.

Mr. Wallace: It is absolutely critical that we have performance standards. If they are not met, Canadian programs are put at risk.

When we evaluate our international partners, we look at their accountability system to see if it measures up to ours. For example, take a respected program like the World Food Program. The Auditor General of the United Kingdom audits it. So we look for people of equivalent stature for our evaluations.

The World Bank has a reputation for sound management. Yet it hired Price Waterhouse Cooper to audit and account for the trust funds we make available for central government organizations. So we look for partners who have accounting systems that are as rigorous as we expect.

Senator Nolin: Let us get back to Kandahar. You have people on the ground. What can you tell us about their security?

Mr. Wallace: The situation is difficult. This year, more than 100 aid workers have been killed or kidnapped. The situation is very troubling. It means that our partners have less mobility on the ground. It has caused us to think about new ways of meeting our objectives.

The World Food Program cannot get into all areas of Kandahar. But some economic development councils are beginning to rise to the occasion and they can be found everywhere. In a region in the north-east of the country, economic development councils are our base for delivering programs. They work with the World Food Program to distribute food aid.

Senator Nolin: You mean the north-east of the province?

Mr. Wallace: Exactly. The areas near the border with Pakistan, in the north-east of the province, are dangerous and international bodies sometimes find it difficult to get in. So we have to find different ways of working.

These economic development councils are often platforms for program delivery. They have taken the lead in irrigation projects, in wells, and have achieved other objectives in the villages. Given the problem with food aid, they help with delivery since they have contacts in place and know the situation well. This has allowed new partnerships to be created between agencies that once operated independently. We should do the same in high-risk zones.

Senator Nolin: Mr. Bourduas, the RCMP's role in Afghanistan is in training?

Mr. Bourduas: It is about helping people.

Senator Nolin: You have no rules of engagement?

Mr. Bourduas: None.

Senator Nolin: You have no mandate to protect Canadian workers on the ground?

Mr. Bourduas: That is not part of our mandate.

Senator Nolin: When you provide instruction to police officers in Kandahar, do Canadian officers help local officers?

Mr. Bourduas: They do.

Senator Nolin: So it must be the case that RCMP members, there to train the local police, can become involved in a policing action. Or is that not permitted? In other words, there are no rules of engagement and Canadian police officers cannot become involved in police activities except to train local officers?

Mr. Bourduas: That is the primary goal. Our officers are deployed in Afghanistan with a clear mandate, to train police officers. Training is a huge task. Afghan officers are deployed according to a clearly established procedure. Our role is to instruct them so that they can do their work safely. We must stay clear of any involvement in police work. Our basic philosophy is to allow local officers, not ours, to do the work of maintaining order.

Senator Nolin: Are your officers armed?

Mr. Bourduas: Our officers are armed. I invite Mr. Beer to answer that question in more detail. Mr. Beer has considerable experience on the ground.

Senator Nolin: I would like you to give me an example. We have heard that civilian workers, not military ones, are there working in the name of Canadians. Their lives are in danger. I would like to know how Canadian police can help to ensure the safety of those workers.

[English]

D.C. David Beer, Chief Superintendent, Director General, International Policing, Royal Canadian Mounted Police: Perhaps I could speak to the whole notion of the PRT. As members of the PRT, we are totally reliant on the Canadian Forces for security and logistics.

Although we work as a group, we often travel about with members from CIDA or foreign affairs, depending on the engagement.

We are essentially protected by members of the military — combat arms specialists.

As police officers, we work in tandem with military police officers. A platoon of military police officers is stationed at the PRT with whom we work hand in hand to develop the Afghan National Police.

In terms of protecting other members of the Provincial Reconstruction Team, as Canadian police officers trained to a certain degree in the use of firearms, there is an expectation that we will at least be able to look after ourselves if, in fact, a difficult situation arises.

In that context, we are under the capable umbrella of the Canadian Forces. They are our protectors there.

Senator Peterson: Welcome to the presenters.

Mr. Wallace, you described a progressive picture of your achievements in the area. I am certain that the Taliban and al Qaeda do not want you to succeed. Do you encounter difficulties where projects you are working on are destroyed by the Taliban and al Qaeda to refute what you are doing?

Mr. Wallace: The insurgency does not have an interest in the success of a democratically elected government. That said, I think there is a real difference between what is considered local and what is considered foreign.

When we see 600 community development projects completed through 530 development councils in Kandahar province and virtually none of these projects attacked, we ask ourselves the question: why is that? I think the answer is they are considered to be local priorities; local projects, led by local authorities.

When we see local Afghan communities taking charge of their own development and implementing their own projects, these projects do well.

That is the biggest single difference here. Where Afghan communities take responsibility for their development, we see a level of protection that we otherwise might not see.

Senator Peterson: You do not encounter any problems when you go to these areas yourself, in a security sense?

Mr. Wallace: Yes, the security situation remains challenging in Kandahar province and other parts. Some weeks we do not go into some areas. This area continues to be a tough situation.

We tend to work with a lot of local organizations who are our eyes and ears on the ground. They have better access. We continue to be highly selective and careful about where we go and what specific role we can play. We do that as a team.

The Canadian Forces, through the Provincial Reconstruction Team, has a strong track record operating in areas they judge to be safe, and we take that record seriously. We work in tandem with them, and where there is space to operate, we do. Where the situation is tough, we look at innovative ways in which to deal with it, including, as I mentioned, through local groups like the community development councils that are already out there working.

Senator Peterson: Some people say we should not undertake redevelopment and reconstruction until an area is secure. You do not necessarily subscribe to that, or maybe nothing would ever get done.

Mr. Wallace: When we say security and development go hand in hand, that is the case. Security creates space where people can operate, and then all of sudden, hundreds of families come back to an area that was a direct conflict zone. The security operation has been able to create the conditions for local populations to take root. When local populations take root, start programming and have livelihoods where they have a stake in the future, that activity provides a further impetus for security. Security and development interact here. It is clear that in a place like Kandahar, we cannot operate without security providing a space where development can occur.

Senator Peterson: You have a daunting task to train the police and security forces and all the attendant problems in attempting that. You said that to overcome that, a long-term complement is required. How would you define "long- term''?

Mr. Bourduas: That question is an interesting one when we look at the current environment. We are not dealing solely with the civilian police aspect of it, but also with the commitment by our country and other countries for the stabilization and application of the rule of law. When we look at long-term, we are looking at a commitment that will have members of the RCMP and other police agencies working hand in glove with the militaries to ensure that our people will be on the ground to assist these folks.

The task is made monumental because of the limited capabilities of the government and the people that come our way with regards to their personal capacity to assimilate what we are teaching them. Therefore, when we talk about long term, we are looking at these types of commitment.

Mr. Beer may want to elaborate in relation to other points I have highlighted in my introduction: the district initiative with regards to going step-by-step with each and every district and also the long term commitment in relation to the PRT and the training facilities that we are building on the site of the PRT to ensure long-term commitment to a stabilized training environment.

Mr. Beer: I think it is fair to say there are two immediate priorities in terms of the security sector. One is to establish a secure environment to work in, and two is to work on a sustainable security force at the same time that can maintain that secure environment so that development can thrive.

There are five component parts, if you will, to building a sustainable organization, and they are money, time, coordination among partners, political will and a secure environment. We are working on the secure environment first.

At the same time, as the Deputy Commissioner said, we need to consider that policing and the security forces per se cannot be established or work in a vacuum. We need to look at the longer term, justice development, as a broader umbrella of security for development.

It would be highly speculative on my part to even put a date on it, but it is not beyond the realm of possibility that at one stage or another, to one degree or another, we will establish partnerships with the Afghan National Police so Canadian police officers are working with them in some shape or form for decades to come, a full-blown commitment. We will be there for some period of time.

Senator Banks: Mr. Wallace, you said that you have 24 people in Afghanistan. How many of them are in Kandahar?

Mr. Wallace: There are ten: five Canadians and five local staff.

Senator Banks: The 24 folks include some locals.

Mr. Wallace: That is correct.

Senator Banks: Out of the 24, how many staff are local in the whole country?

Mr. Wallace: Fourteen of the 24 are local, and 10 are Canadians.

Senator Banks: Half of our Canadians are in Kandahar.

You said that last year, you spent $139 million on programs delivered through the Government of Afghanistan or other non-governmental and service organizations. You mentioned UNICEF and CARE. How much have you spent totally on an annual basis?

Mr. Wallace: Last year, it was $139 million: $100 million for nation-wide programs and $39 million targeted specifically in Kandahar province.

Senator Banks: Last year, you invested $139 million in programs administered by the Afghan government and other on-the-ground partners.

Mr. Wallace: That is correct.

Senator Banks: You refer elsewhere to direct support. Does CIDA have a direct, short-line connection with the delivery of any specific programs in Kandahar that are not delivered through UNICEF, CARE or the Afghan government?

Mr. Wallace: No, we always go through local or international partners.

Senator Banks: Is that working? Is going through the local partners the best way to deliver programs? I understand the Afghan government part, because Afghans need to have confidence in the fact that their government is working for them if their government is to succeed, but is the UNICEF and CARE Canadian money well spent?

Mr. Wallace: It is absolutely essential for us, because we leverage support. If we look at Kandahar province and the number of aid workers through the UNICEFs, Red Crosses and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, there are about 400 right now in Kandahar province. If we look at the number of aid workers, Afghan NGOs we are working with through the Red Cross or World Food Programme, there are about 900. About 1,300 aid workers are linked directly to Canadian support, operating in Kandahar province. That is how we must operate. We must look at how we can lever local capacity and the best we can find internationally, and then build a critical mass of support, both people resources, suppliers and whatever, in the places we need to build them. That is the way we have operated.

Those 10 CIDA staff operate within that network, and their whole job is planning across the whole PRT in a coherent way with the way we work as a government, but also trying to ensure that we leverage the best out of that network possible, including finding the people who are the most capable and most accountable, and then extending our reach so we can go into all parts of the province.

Senator Banks: There are 1,200 such workers.

Mr. Wallace: In Kandahar province, there are 1,200 or 1,300, yes.

Senator Banks: Do they operate out of the base?

Mr. Wallace: For the most part, they are the Afghans themselves. They are Afghans working with the World Food Programme and local NGOs. They know the place. They know the language. They operate within the framework of the Red Cross, World Food Programme and others. They are the ones doing the heavy lifting in that province.

Senator Banks: Can we have confidence in the efficacy of their using that money in the way it is intended?

Mr. Wallace: If we choose the right partners, like a World Food Programme or the Red Cross with good track records and strong accountability, and if we have our own oversight programs to monitor and perform audits and evaluations, we will raise levels of comfort that we can deliver.

Senator Banks: Do you have those monitoring capacities, evaluations and so forth?

Mr. Wallace: Yes, Senator Nolin talked about looking at the evaluation of our whole portfolio last year, but we have an external monitoring team that goes in from time to time. They came out of the PRT to look at some of these programs.

The environment is challenging. I personally would like to kick the tires on a lot of these projects, and I cannot; I work through other people, and we need to check the bona fides of the other people as much as possible. It is not as easy as in other countries, but careful choice of partners and careful oversight are the two keys to ensure that we can do better in that environment.

Senator Banks: You have confidence in those relationships?

Mr. Wallace: I have evidence, through audits and evaluations, that projects are going well so far. In Kandahar province, they have gone fairly well, but I am only as confident as the next audit, evaluation and monitoring report. We do not let up on this kind of thing.

Senator Banks: We talked about 8,700 metric tonnes of food this year. Are packages of food delivered to people in Afghanistan labelled as coming from the Afghan government?

Mr. Wallace: No, much of the food is labelled as coming from Canada in this environment. However, the Afghan government is involved because it has many local authorities involved in identifying needs and helping to deliver. In this case, the lead agency is the World Food Programme, because this organization is the best in the world at this work and we felt we would be more comfortable with them in the pilot seat.

Senator Banks: We have heard often that, although we put a lot of money in the general hopper, there is often not a Canadian flag on things that happen in Afghanistan. We have egos, and Canadians would like Afghans to understand that some of this stuff comes from Canada. We have also been told carefully that the object is to show Afghan people that this program is delivered for them by their government, regardless of where the money came from. They need to see that it is given to them by the Afghan government so that the government will become stable and unopposed.

Are our long-term interests served if we put Canadian flags on that food?

Mr. Wallace: I do not think so. Your point is well taken. When a capable democratic state meets the basic needs of its citizens, its citizens have a stake in the future. It is good for every project that we undertake to have a strong local Afghan government presence on it. Sometimes the government can play the central role and other times the Red Cross and other such organizations must play a strong role because the local capacity does not exist.

Senator Banks: Afghans see that program as international charity as opposed to their government doing something for them.

Mr. Wallace: The best local projects are ones where, even though an international organization is involved, that organization works hand-in-glove with local authorities. For example, the work of the International Committee of the Red Cross with the ministry of public health is strong.

The Chair: How do you factor in the relationship with the local Canadian troops? The troops clearly benefit in terms of the security and intelligence they receive if local Afghans feel that their life improves when the troops arrive. The troops are the most visible part of the iceberg, if you will. If there is no connection with that help coming from Canada, they see the troops as folks who run over their cows, break their fences or perhaps cause their kids to be wounded.

Mr. Wallace: That question is fair. We need to look at this matter from the perspective of whether life is becoming better. People go through a hierarchy. First, if life is better now than it was two or three years ago, people have a stake in the future. Second, if life is becoming better because my government is offering basic services to me and I have a stake in that democratically elected system, that also helps. Three, if there is knowledge that life is becoming better, and the government is becoming more capable and more directly related to the lives of citizen because of international partnership with countries like Canada, there is great appreciation for that.

My sense is that it is not one or the other. You need to work through all three levels to achieve the maximum effect. Visibility is important, but visibility in partnership, not visibility by Canada parachuting in a Canadian flag project.

Senator Banks: Deputy commissioner, I have a tough time reconciling the fact that Germany, European Union Police Mission, EUPOL, and Canada are sending police officers to train Afghans to be police officers. We understand that the Afghan National Police are at least quasi-military, if not utterly military, because whenever an army, from whatever country, goes in and cleans the bad guys out of a place, the people who are expected to hold that territory are the Afghan National Police. That job is an infantry one. One of the main tenets in war is that when we conquer territory, to keep it we must be able to occupy it, and we occupy it with military forces.

Are the police the right people to train people to do that? Is it proper for the Afghan National Police to do that job?

Mr. Bourduas: The question is valid. We were taking into account the volatile environment. We must also bear in mind that there is not a line-up of volunteers to join the Afghan National Police, because they have recently constituted soft targets.

Senator Banks: That is because they are functioning as infantry, and they are not infantry.

Mr. Bourduas: There have been a number of casualties, and that does not help with recruiting. As you have indicated, when the military has secured an environment, the Afghan National Police, with an auxiliary force, comes in to maintain it. It is part of their training to establish a community relationship and take into account what has taken place there. There is a role for the police and a role for the military.

Given that the area is highly volatile, at times we must remove these police officers to regain territory, and that has created many problems. Also, we have experienced a number of desertions. Some people have dropped their guns and left.

Senator Banks: Do they not take their guns with them? Do they actually leave them behind?

Mr. Bourduas: They leave them behind. That is the current reality on the ground.

Mr. Beer: Senator, you have hit an important nail squarely. The security environment is such that bringing civilian police, as we know them, to the international development table is perhaps years away, at least in Kandahar province.

The relationship that we as a police organization have with the Canadian and international military needs to be replicated in the Afghan environment. The police will not, in the immediate future, be able to provide a security net in Kandahar province in a war-like environment. That will be the responsibility of the Afghan National Army, supported side by side with the developing police.

In fact, a strategy is now unfolding, on a region-by-region basis, where, to stimulate more development in the police organization around the country, the Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan, CSTC-A, will extract the Afghan National Police, put them into an all-encompassing training environment, bring them up to speed, backfilling the otherwise void with the Afghan National Army and with coalition forces providing the security where police would be participating, and then returning the police, hopefully to that environment, working side by side with the Afghan National Army.

Senator Banks: That sounds like a reach to me. You are trying to train them to be police officers, and to do police things. Then, someone comes to the police station — if someone came to the police station in Edmonton where I live and said, "There is an army coming down the road to attack us,'' the police could not do much about it.

Mr. Beer: I agree. On the ground, with the Afghans, we need to find a balance as to what is required within a given region. Is it the Afghan National Army? Is it a paramilitary police organization like the Gendarmerie, one that will in time become a civilian police organization as we know it? Will there be different component parts now and in the immediate future? It is a security environment that demands a military response at the moment. That is what we are wrestling with.

Senator Banks: When you teach these folks, are you teaching them infantry things?

Mr. Beer: No, our role is to provide professional policing development over and above what they receive in their basic training, which is survival using basic infantry-like techniques. Our role is "professional development''; it is training above and beyond that but unique to the policing environment.

Senator Banks: Are they equipped at all to do the quasi-military part of their job? They receive the basic boot camp training before you see them, and then you teach them some refined policing?

Mr. Beer: Some are. We wrestle with issues of literacy and a basic understanding in culture of civilian policing. We have a long stretch to go.

Senator Banks: Let me ask you the cultural question and maybe the linguistic one as well.

Commissioner, you said that people have difficulty assimilating what you are trying to teach them. Is that because of a language problem, a literacy problem or a cultural problem?

Mr. Bourduas: It is a blend of all of the above. As you indicated, there are different cultures even within that country. Plus, the way we instruct policing goes against the grain of some of these folks and their past experience with authorities.

Talking about community outreach in a war-like environment creates challenges when we talk about training. That is what I alluded to when I discussed some of the challenges our folks experience currently on the ground.

Senator Banks: You have given us a chart about who is where. I was going to ask that question but you have answered it.

The Chair: Mr. Wallace, The Senlis Council was before this committee in the past month. Are you familiar with their testimony?

Mr. Wallace: Yes, I am.

The Chair: Would you care to comment on it?

Mr. Wallace: I think it is important that all voices are heard and all voices are looked at. We look at this view carefully, as we have for some time.

However, we have been disappointed in The Senlis Council because they seem to be a lot longer on opinion than on analysis; in particular, in the areas that are part of our work. For example, efforts are under way with local authorities and the World Food Programme on food aid across the whole province. There is irrefutable evidence of what is going on. There is video footage, there are monitoring and site visits, and so on, yet The Senlis Council says there is no evidence of food aid in Kandahar province. It is puzzling that they would make an assertion like that.

When The Senlis Council members walk into a hospital, they do not talk to anyone in authority, they take a few photographs and walk out again, then they say that a hospital is an absolute — I think they used word "nightmare'' without analyzing the hospital and gathering facts on it, that is puzzling. We then take a close look at this one. We see what Johns Hopkins University is doing in terms of a report card on hospitals. We know what lies ahead in terms of challenges for local hospitals. They are not anywhere close to a Canadian standard — and it is not realistic to think they would be — but are we starting to see report cards on hospitals making progress against a particular standard? Johns Hopkins rated that Kandahar hospital third out of 30 in the whole of the country. We then start to see there is an evidence base that says here is what we must do and here is the progress we are making. We do not see evidence of that in the work coming out of The Senlis Council on the development side. Yes, we are disappointed.

The Chair: If my recollection is correct, they talked about a hospital that CIDA said was in existence but they claimed did not exist.

Mr. Wallace: I walked through that hospital myself personally. I went through the floors and talked to its people — so have other Canadians and other locals. We work with a lot of people to ensure that when opinions that fly in the face of what we think are the assumptions, we receive word of that and check them out. In this case, we went to an external health adviser, someone who has absolutely impeccable credentials out of the Balkans, from Queen's University, to look at Mirwais Hospital. We went all the way through it and made our own report card of that institution.

Overall assessment is that it has a long way to go, but the Red Cross is one of the best organizations in the world. They have some good local staff. They made improvements along the way. The hospital is going in the right direction. They have a good plan. What is needed now is persistence. This hospital needs support for some time to come, but it has the right ingredients to do well. When we see it rating well against other hospitals in the country, we know that we have something we can work with.

We undertook that process in relation to this hospital. Yes, our assessment flies in the face of assertions made from that particular council.

The Chair: The Senlis Council receives a fair amount of attention. Do you ever meet with them?

Mr. Wallace: I have met with them in the past. I have never refused a meeting with them. We sometimes ask them what their analysis is so we can look at it. We seem to receive more information in the reports from press conferences than from internal discussions, but so be it.

The Chair: Do you ever have an opportunity to go through reports case by case with them and dispute what they are saying?

Mr. Wallace: Yes, we have made attempts at that. It does not seem to have penetrated so far, but we will continue to do so as we have opportunities to do so.

The Chair: Deputy Commissioner, the RCMP has substantial skills in dealing with drugs. Are any of those skills used in Afghanistan?

Mr. Bourduas: We work with the Afghan authorities because we are fully aware of the current situation with regards to the poppy culture in Afghanistan and the fact that Afghan opium is flooding the European market and reaches our shore to a certain point.

We are fully aware of this situation. Currently, we have people on the ground that are specifically training some individuals from the Afghan National Police in the field of drug enforcement. However, with respect to the question asked earlier, namely, whether we are involved in these types of operations, no, we are not.

The Chair: In our report of last January, we recommended that there be 60 Canadian police trainers. At that time, there were six. We noted that soon there would be 10. I gather you have 11.

Given the number of resources you have, and correct me if I am wrong, I know there is a new line in your A base that has 105 positions.

Mr. Bourduas: For the record, senator, we currently have 15 people deployed. We are aiming for 25. The 10 missing is in relation to the EUPOL.

The Chair: We are talking about Kandahar, and the EUPOL is Kabul.

Mr. Bourduas: We are talking about 25 in Afghanistan as a whole. You are correct that we received funding in April of 2006, in relation to the RCMP roll being deployed in international theatres, a total of 200 resources where money was allocated. Currently, we are deploying people in various parts of the world. You are absolutely right that the money has been A-based.

The Chair: Is 60 a reasonable number to expect at some time in the future in Afghanistan?

Mr. Bourduas: Once again, it comes back to the issue of the need analysis and discussions that would take place with our key partners at the federal level.

If the need is there, we might consider certain numbers of additional police officers that could be deployed potentially to assist in the performance enhancement of the Afghan National Police.

The Chair: If you have funding for 200, I think you said, and as part of your A base, where are the other 175 going?

Mr. Bourduas: For instance, we are close to 100 now. My understanding is that it was close to 180. We have other deployments in African countries and Central America. Mr. Beer might have more finite details in relation to other deployment.

Mr. Beer: We have nine missions underway right now, senator, as the deputy commissioner said. Haiti is our largest mission. Afghanistan is our second-largest mission. We have a variety of other missions underway from East Timor to Côte d'Ivoire, missions as large as 100 in Haiti and down to one in Kazakhstan.

The Chair: What is the total?

Mr. Beer: The total is not 200 yet. If memory serves me correctly, the commitment is about 159. We are approaching that number at the present time, which means the Canadian Police Arrangement, which is the administrative vehicle of the three departments that oversees police deployments, asked the RCMP to deploy 159 of the 200 resources.

The Chair: With regard to RCMP values, how do you train people when you clearly have a set of values that are well articulated and that are fundamental to your existence as an organization? How do you deal with the group of people who have values that are fundamentally different from yours, and how do you even approach the question of policing when people live in a corrupt environment and they do not expect anything different? How do you approach the problem? Perhaps give us some examples to help us better understand.

Mr. Bourduas: You have said something interesting, senator, that they do not expect anything different. Ultimately, we strive to raise their expectation to have something different.

When you talk about Canadian values, those values are a reason why we are asked by so many countries to assist them. We are obviously well recognized for the values that we bring to policing on the international scene.

Specifically, dealing with the issue around the Afghan National Police and their training, we are fully aware and cognizant of the fact that we have people who come from different backgrounds that do not necessarily have similar values. However, I am a strong believer that by working with these folks and trying to show them the way police work is done, and especially the importance of the rule of law that brings economic stability to an environment, we see time and again, not only in Afghanistan but in other countries, how these values benefit a country immensely.

When we look at training on the ground for the Afghan National Police, we recognize a challenge, but we also have a training component that starts with the basic training. Then, when we identify people that have similar values to us, are solid individuals or are natural leaders, we provide enhanced training to bring these people to the next level where they will manage a small group of police officers, and then we challenge these folks.

We promote leadership, and we encourage people who have a strong set of values in a fragile environment. We basically show the other people that this is the way it must go.

Perhaps Mr. Beer can elaborate on how the training translates on the ground per se.

Mr. Beer: Senator, the best way to describe it is to suggest, first, that all our lessons in policing development come from our partners in CIDA.

You will be aware that in the early days of police peacekeeping and capacity-building, CIDA was our funding agent as an intergovernmental partner.

We came to learn quickly that our model is not the only model. We need to present opportunities and access to ways of conducting business in this particular circumstance, in the business of policing.

We ask that whatever model the local government and officials decide on is transparent and accountable, and that the police are independent.

We can find a way to teach them the basic skills of policing, if there is transparency and accountability. We instil a sense of independence of the police, which is, by the way, particularly difficult in an environment of tribal history.

Those goals are our real ones. We do not need to teach anything except those things, and if we can, we can teach them how to be police officers.

The Chair: I hear you, Chief Superintendent Beer, but your training provides you with the expectation that you will be able to find a Crown and explain the circumstances to the Crown. You expect to have a court that functions in an adversarial manner. You expect to have a jail that functions in a reasonable way. These things do not exist.

You are also looking at two different levels of justice or laws, if you will, where the way the law is administered in a village is not necessarily the way that the Parliament in Kabul has decided it should be done.

What are your benchmarks when you try to train individuals? How do you know that you are not training the next bunch of thugs to take over a village?

Mr. Beer: Some of it, senator, is part and parcel of being prepared to stay there over the long term, mentoring and monitoring. Part of it, as the deputy commissioner mentioned, is that we select individuals who, through a mentoring and advisory process, we come to trust and to count on to be leaders.

[Translation]

Senator Nolin: Our information material refers to an auxiliary police force. I would like to know how recruitment is done, what were the reasons for creating and auxiliary police force, and what would it be used for?

Mr. Bourduas: The mandate of the auxiliary police force is different from that of the national force. Their training matches what they are asked to do. The auxiliary police force is deployed on the ground only in order to immediate stabilize an area until the regular police force takes control. Mr. Beer can perhaps elaborate on that.

[Translation]

We expect a political will within the local government to rid the community of elements that are unsavoury and corrupt, and often in an environment such as the one we work in, which is a small community and a tribal environment, the locals know who the corrupt officials are and who they are not. They have been there for generations, in some cases.

The Chair: That is my point. How does a police officer arrest the son of somebody who is powerful when the officer knows fully well that the father will get the son out of jail?

Mr. Beer: The police officer does it when that officer comes to realize that the system supports him or her in their role; that there is a whole-of-justice approach; and that efforts have been taken to clean up the justice system and the corrections system at the same time as developing police officers.

In time, successful cases will breed more successful cases, and successful police operations and individuals will rise to the top.

It is an environment where we are trying to change a culture, or instill a culture of policing in a democratic, transparent and accountable model. It takes time.

The Chair: You depend heavily on the support of the community and the confidence of the community to be successful in policing in Canada. When the Afghans have had decades or longer of experience with the police, who have exploited them, how can they expect to be successful in policing?

Mr. Beer: That benchmark may be our final one in the long-term strategy, when the Afghan public says they respect and accept their police as a civilian police and as their security umbrella. Once we accomplish that, we will achieve success; until that time, we will not.

The Chair: Can you venture an estimate in terms of time?

Mr. Beer: I will dodge that question with all nimbleness, if I can, but it will take years, many years.

The Chair: Can you think of a country or another situation where people were able to accomplish what you are trying to accomplish?

Mr. Beer: Each conflict area is a little different where security within the international community is called upon to establish security and build capacity in the security environment. However, the number of success stories is growing. There are small measures of success in Côte d'Ivoire, for example. I would not go so far as to say the number is enormous.

A couple of years ago, I served as UN police commissioner in Haiti, and as many as 40 different countries were represented on that UN deployment. There were three countries, if memory serves me, where over the past 20 years the international community had intervened and taken steps to build capacity in policing, which is to say, over that period of time these countries had evolved and developed their policing skills to the point where they were able to send police on a UN mission. Kosovo was one, and I think Slovenia was another. There were two or three. The list is not long — it takes a long period of time — but there are minor success stories along the route. Perhaps only Iraq will be more difficult than Afghanistan will be.

The Chair: Thank you.

On the second round, we have Senator Nolin.

[Translation]

Senator Nolin: Are they paid?

Mr. Beer: Yes, but I am not sure what their salary is. They do not earn exactly the same as the national police force.

Senator Nolin: A little earlier in your testimony, you were talking about a police officer's work, and you used the words "he'' or "she.'' How many female police officers are there in Afghanistan?

[English]

Mr. Beer: I do not want to venture too deeply into this matter, senator, because, to be completely honest, I am not familiar with the reasons behind why an auxiliary police was developed, except to say that in the first two or three years of police development, there were a number of significant failures, particularly with respect to pockets of armed groups that had tribal allegiances. It was difficult to recruit, in certain areas of the southern provinces, people who were prepared to set aside their tribal allegiances in favour of a national policing organization.

It was hoped to perhaps take people from a local region, albeit that they may have had tribal allegiances, and have them brought into the police through the doorway of an auxiliary police. At the front end, they may have had more tribal allegiances than one might have wanted from a recruit for the national police organization.

I am not sure that approach has been entirely successful. We could say essentially that the auxiliary police are people recruited in a particular region, a local region, who may have tribal allegiances, and who, it is hoped, can provide some security for people in that particular area. Hopefully in time, these recruits will prove themselves and can move on to the Afghan National Police at some time.

I believe about 10,000 or 11,000 people were recruited into the Afghan National Police. There is an end date to that particular initiative. I am not familiar with that end date.

The notion was to focus particularly on the southern region and provide some security, something short of the Afghan National Police training, and consolidate the training and build on local knowledge and experience. Only roughly is the model what we might consider an auxiliary police, but I cannot say it has been entirely successful. It is a program that has been end-dated.

[Translation]

Senator Nolin: Canada has paid the salaries of these police officers. That is what the Law and Order Trust Fund for Afghanistan is for, according to the document you submitted to us. The fund allows 64,000 police officers to be paid; how much has Canada contributed?

Mr. Wallace: I should say that it is not a CIDA program. It is a fund established by the Department of Foreign Affairs. I think that the contribution was in the order of $27 million last year. Canada is one of a number of countries that contribute to the fund. The on-going costs of the civilian police force are going to have to be supported by the international community for a number of years, and Canada's contribution will certainly continue.

Let me end by saying that Canada is playing a significant role in the development of female police officers in Afghanistan. We have a retired RCMP officer working in the ministry responsible for the civilian police force, and she is doing an absolutely phenomenal job.

Senator Nolin: Not another of our great Canadian secrets that has come to light?

Mr. Wallace: In my view, she is a Canadian hero. She has not only worked for greater accessibility for female officers in the Afghan police force, but she has also recently played a key role in the organization of an international conference for Muslim countries on increased policing by female officers. Tangible results are being achieved.

Senator Nolin: Do not keep that too much of a secret. We have to tell people about good news like that!

[English]

Mr. Beer: I cannot say for sure. I can find out. It is a small percentage, but a growing number. Part of the issue is, again, this notion of cultural change.

Our end state is to develop a policing organization, a professional organization in which young men and women are both interested in joining as professionals and whose families will not discourage them from joining. There are all sorts of issues around the history of a civilian policing organization, or absence of a history of a civilian policing organization, but the traditional role of women is another ceiling that must be broken here as well.

[English]

Senator Banks: I do not want to replough old ground. I do not have my notes, and I have not consulted with my colleagues, but my recollection is that the second time this committee was in Afghanistan and we went to Camp Nathan Smith, we met a CIDA rep there, whose name I cannot remember, I apologize. The representative told us about a contribution that I believe was in the amount of CAN$100,000, which was made to the establishment of either a maternity pavilion or a women's pavilion attached to the hospital that you named earlier. At least, I think it was attached to it. It was sort of red. We drove past it and wondered whether it was up and running yet.

We heard subsequently that a tent was there for a while, but the tent disappeared and nothing happened. Do you have a handle on that particular $100,000, by way of example, or am I remembering this situation all the wrong way?

Mr. Wallace: I think there are a pretty good set of circumstances here. UNICEF is a player in Kandahar province in supporting Mirwais Hospital, like it supports a lot of hospitals throughout the country.

UNICEF has been working, in particular, with the Ministry of Health on something called maternal waiting homes, a concept for expectant mothers who come in from outlying areas and need a place to stay. They have been working on six centres around the country, including in Kandahar province.

They worked for about a year on a program to figure out what an Afghan design would be of a maternal waiting home. They worked with local councils, village elders and the public health authorities. They completed a couple of pilot projects, including putting up a tent, which last November was used as a trial to see who came in to use it. We found it was used as a waiting room for families who were visiting family members who were patients at the hospital.

However, it is not a long-term solution, so they try to figure out other options. They completed the design of a permanent home. They completed the training of 14 obstetrical health workers in emergency procedures. They are now about to break the ground on a permanent waiting home that is adjacent to the Red Cross Mirwais Hospital.

Canada contributed $350,000 to UNICEF over the course of the past year, and we have pretty much figured out most of the elements of it. The only thing left is the actual construction of the home itself. It looks like the contracts are let and ground will be broken pretty soon on it. It seems to have gone in the right direction.

Senator Banks: Is there any residual benefit, aside from design and trying something out, for our country?

Mr. Wallace: Yes, the training in emergency obstetrics and gynecological procedures with health care workers has helped very much. The hospital has now gone to care, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, when it comes to some of the health services at the hospital. That has helped very much.

The maternal waiting home will do well because, typically, people do not come in from outlying areas unless there is a problem.

Senator Banks: I appreciate that explanation. Thank you very much.

The Chair: I want to thank the three of you — Deputy Commissioner Bourduas, Chief Superintendent Beer and Mr. Wallace — for appearing here today. You have been forthcoming in your answers. You have assisted the committee in its study a great deal.

We hope we can have you back again before too long to assist us in understanding better the challenges that face you. Thank you very much for the good work that you are performing and for helping us today.

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

The committee continued in camera.