Proceedings of the Standing Senate Committee on
National Security and Defence

Issue 7 - Evidence - Meeting of May 12, 2014


OTTAWA, Monday, May 12, 2014

The Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence met this day at 1 p.m. to study the status of Canada's international security and defence relations including, but not limited to, relations with the United States, NATO, and NORAD (topic: ballistic missile defence); to study the policies, practices and collaborative efforts of Canada Border Services Agency in determining admissibility to Canada and removal of inadmissible individuals; and to examine the subject matter of those elements contained in Divisions 1 and 7 of Part 6 of Bill C-31, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 11, 2014 and other measures (topic: Division 7 of Part 6).

Senator Daniel Lang (Chair) in the chair.

[English]

The Chair: Welcome to the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence. Before we welcome our witnesses, I would like to begin by introducing the people around the table. My name is Dan Lang, senator for Yukon, close to Alaska. On my immediate left is the clerk of the committee, Josée Thérien, and on my right is one of our Library of Parliament analysts, Holly Porteous.

I would like to go around the table and invite the senators to introduce themselves and state the region they represent, starting with our deputy chair.

[Translation]

Senator Dallaire: Good afternoon, gentlemen. I am Roméo Dallaire, from the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

[English]

Senator Beyak: Senator Lynn Beyak from Ontario.

[Translation]

Senator Dagenais: Jean-Guy Dagenais, from Quebec.

[English]

Senator Wells: David Wells from Newfoundland and Labrador.

The Chair: This afternoon, the committee will be meeting for the full four hours. In our first panel, we will continue our study of ballistic missile defence; in panels two and three, we return to our study of the Canada Border Services Agency; and in our final panel, the committee will consider those elements contained in Divisions 1 and 7 of Part 6 of Bill C-31, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 11, 2014 and other measures, which is part of the Senate's pre-study.

On December 12, 2013, the Senate adopted the following reference:

That the Senate Standing Committee on National Security and Defence be authorized to examine and report on the status of Canada's international security and defence relations, including but not limited to, relations with the United States, NATO, and NORAD; and

That the Committee report to the Senate no later than December 31, 2014, and that it retain all powers necessary to publicize its findings until 90 days after the tabling of the final report.

As we continue our look at ballistic missile defence, we are pleased to welcome two distinguished experts on the subject of arms control and non-proliferation, Lieutenant-General (Retired) Robert G. Gard Jr., Chairman, Center for Arms Control & Non-Proliferation; and the Honorable Philip E. Coyle, Senior Science Fellow, Center for Arms Control & Non-Proliferation. Gentlemen, welcome. We appreciate your taking time to be here today as we consider the issue of ballistic missile defence from a Canadian perspective.

I understand you each have an opening statement. We have one hour for this panel. Please begin.

Lieutenant-General (U.S.A.) (Retired) Robert G. Gard Jr., Chairman, Center for Arms Control & Non-Proliferation, as an individual: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Permit me to start by mentioning that I was the military staff member of the International Campaign to Landmines, I was present at the signing of the Ottawa Treaty, and I subsequently travelled with Canadian delegations to various countries to encourage them to sign on to the treaty. So I'm especially pleased to have the opportunity today to meet with the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence.

My only experience as a serving officer in air defence was right after the Korean War, when I was assigned to defend the city of Chicago against Russian bombers. I had 90-millimetre guns — not Nike missiles — that could shoot a maximum altitude of 10,000 feet. My soldiers were required to memorize the fact that the greatest threat to the Chicago defence was the Russian Tu-4 bomber at 25,000 feet. Some of my thoughtful soldiers asked me how we were contributing to defence, and all I could think of to say was, "Well, if we weren't here, they would fly lower and be able to bomb more accurately."

I lead in with that only to tell you at the beginning that I regard the national Ground-based Midcourse Defense system about as useful as my 90-millimetre guns were in Chicago.

The United States has attempted, without success, to develop a workable national missile defence capability since 1944. The most recent initiative is the Ground-based Midcourse Defense, GMD, system intended to defend against a limited attack by one or two intercontinental ballistic missiles launched by North Korea or Iran. In 2002, President George Bush directed the deployment of an initial operating capability of national missile defence in 2004, only two years later. Deployment of interceptors with the Capability Enhancement-I kill vehicle began in July 2004, well before the first intercept test of this design more than two years later.

As noted in subsequent Government Accountability Office reports, "unsustainable," "inappropriate" and "problematic" parts were incorporated into the interceptors, requiring extensive diagnosis, retrofits and the redesign of the kill vehicle.

The redesign of a Capability Enhancement-II kill vehicle began in 2005. Starting in 2008, it was affixed to six new interceptors, and it replaced the CE-I on four interceptors already deployed; 10 of the 30 deployed interceptors are armed with the CE-II and 20 with the CE-I.

Again the CE-II interceptor did not undergo its first two flight intercept tests until 2010, some two years after initial deployment. Both tests failed. In July 2010, another intercept test of the CE-I was attempted. It, too, failed.

So there has not been a successful intercept test of the GMD system since December 2008, more than five years ago.

The next intercept test of the CE-II design is scheduled for the third quarter of this calendar year. If this single test is successful, 14 more of these CE-II interceptors will be deployed in Alaska by the end of fiscal year 2017, despite the fact that thrusters currently being redesigned will not even be included in the upcoming test.

As J. Michael Gilmore, successor to Mr. Coyle as Director of Operational Test and Evaluation for the Department of Defense, stated last month that the CE-II kill vehicle cannot be relied on against even "rudimentary long-range missiles" and it requires yet another redesign.

Vice-Admiral James Syring, director of the largely independent Missile Defense Agency, stated that the second redesign of the kill vehicle would not begin until 2015, with the first flight test program for 2018 and deployment scheduled beginning in 2020, along with a new long-range radar. The problems with GMD are much more extensive than fixing the kill vehicle and deploying another radar. In a report from 2012, the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences reported that GMD lacks "fundamental features" necessary for success and recommended a replacement system consisting of a new and faster booster, a redesigned kill vehicle, improved radars and sensors on land and in space, and two additional locations for interceptor launch facilities — all this at an additional cost of $25 billion.

Unfortunately, however, even this will not provide an effective capability due to the inability of GMD to distinguish between an incoming warhead from debris or countermeasures. As early as 1999, a National Intelligence estimate noted that many countries developing ballistic missiles, such as North Korea and Iran, could develop countermeasures by the time they flight test their missiles. The report enumerated several penetration aids and other countermeasures that are readily available without having to rely on transfer or purchase from more technically advanced countries.

There had been repeated warnings from authoritative sources of the necessity to deal with the discrimination problem. Director Gilmore himself summed it up in 2013:

If we can't discriminate what the real threatening objects are, it doesn't matter how many ground-based interceptors we have; we won't be able to hit what needs to be hit.

Unfortunately, there is no known solution to the discrimination problem. Richard Garwin, a distinguished defence scientist, stated back in 1998 that a ballistic missile threat "with even simple countermeasures" cannot be defeated. More recently, in 2011, a Defense Science Board report expressed strong doubt that technology to intercept intercontinental ballistic missiles "can ever be reliable." Let's assume, for a moment, that the inconsistent argument of the proponents of GMD is correct and that North Korea and Iran can develop intercontinental ballistic missiles but somehow, perhaps because they don't intend to, they cannot develop effective countermeasures — and these countermeasures involve far less complex technology than an intercontinental ballistic missile. States with ICBMs without countermeasures still could easily defeat GMD simply by overwhelming the system, which is designed to combat one or two incoming warheads, with multiple missiles that are far less costly than defensive interceptors.

Finally, and even more fundamentally, why would a rogue state employ an intercontinental ballistic missile to attack the United States or Canada knowing that it would leave an easily detectable track back to its source, inviting a devastating retaliatory attack, when other, more convenient, accurate, reliable and less extensive means are available?

The opportunity costs are far too high to justify continuing to invest in an expensive weapons system to counter an unlikely threat that can easily defeat the GMD system.

That concludes my statement, Mr. Chairman.

The Honorable Philip E. Coyle, Senior Science Fellow, Center for Arms Control & Non-Proliferation, as an individual: Thank you, Mr. Chairman and members of the committee. I appreciate the opportunity to appear before you to contribute to your study of missile defence.

In the interest of your time, I'm going to skip the first part of my prepared remarks, which introduce me, and go directly to the questions that I think are the most important considerations for Canada as you go forward.

First, can Canada, or for that matter the United States, rely on the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system now being deployed in Alaska and California? Since 2005 the performance of this system in flight intercept tests has gotten worse, not better. As Dr. Wilkening told you last March, in flight intercept tests the GMD system has not performed well. Since 1999, there have been 16 or 17 — depending on how you count — attempted targeted intercept tests, and only eight of those produced hits, but it gets worse. Since 2002, there have been nine attempts but only three hits, and since early December 2008 there have been four attempts with only one successful hit, so that's 25 per cent.

The performance of the GMD system has been getting worse with the passage of time when it ought to be getting better. The last partially successful flight intercept test on December 5, 2008, did hit its target despite an interceptor malfunction, but the planned decoys did not deploy, so there was no opportunity, as General Gard pointed out, to look at how you would deal with decoys. An attempt on January 31, 2010, failed, as did an attempt on December 15, 2010. The most recent attempt on July 5, 2013, also failed, and the next test is not now expected until this summer, perhaps next month. If successful, by then the program will not have had a successful flight intercept test in five and a half years.

The hardware being deployed in Alaska and California has no demonstrated capability to defend the United States, let alone Canada, against enemy missile attack under realistic operational conditions.

Second, what would Canada get for its participation, and would you be satisfied with a scarecrow defence? For example, would Canada receive detailed briefings on the limitations of the GMD system and why it has failed, and on all the ways in which flight tests are scripted for success? The latter is something that members of the U.S. Congress have been unable to receive.

Third, what would it cost Canada? The U.S. currently spends about $10 billion a year on missile defence, and it proposes to add $5 billion to that over the next five years, so that's $55 billion. The U.S. has already spent over $40 billion on the GMD system and proposes to add to that total in the next five years.

Fourth, what would be the consequences for Canada? China, for example, has only about 20 ICBMs that can reach the U.S. and Canada, and some of them have decoys and countermeasures. So in response to U.S. and Canadian missile defence efforts, China could decide to build up their stockpile of ICBMs to Russian levels so that China also could overwhelm those defences, just like Russia. If China does that, missile defences will have further destabilized the international situation.

Canada has excellent relations with China. What are the implications of going forward with Canadian missile defence deployments, and what would hold for the overall strategic environment and Canadian arms control objectives? Many nations that see Canada as a friend do not see the U.S. as a friend.

When I mention to Americans the debate in Canada over missile defence their astonished reaction is, "Really? Who would ever attack Canada?" If Canada permitted the deployment of U.S. missile defence assets, such as radars or interceptors, on its territory, would that change the equation? Would those assets now become targets that an enemy would need to strike first to blind or cripple the overall system? Would Canada's actions cause nations that see the U.S. as an adversary to now see Canada as an adversary?

Fifth, would Canada's participation provide additional protection against the threat? Apparently some Canadians believe that participation in U.S. missile defences will somehow guarantee Canada's protection from enemy missiles. The GMD system can't even guarantee protection for the U.S. Canada already benefits from whatever marginal capability the GMD system may have. The U.S. would try to shoot down an enemy missile whether it was headed to Washington or Ottawa.

Last, is Canadian participation the best way to deal with the perceived threat? Some American politicians regard Iran and North Korea as a threat, but neither North Korea nor Iran has demonstrated missiles with enough range to reach Canada. Further, we can ask whether North Korea or Iran would be so suicidal as to attack the United States or Canada, whether Iran would be so suicidal as to attack Europe, or North Korea so suicidal as to attack Japan. In each case, such an attack would justify massive retaliation by the U.S. military and others. Iran and North Korea have done some reckless things, but they are not so reckless as to bring about their own destruction.

In my view, Canada can be the most effective by working to reduce the threat through negotiations with North Korea and Iran and with the international community, such as the current negotiations with Iran to reduce the scope of its nuclear program to peaceful purposes.

Mr. Chairman, I would be happy to take your questions.

The Chair: We appreciate the point of view that you have brought to us, as well as the background you have in respect to your testimony.

I would like to start out with one question directed to Mr. Coyle. In your presentation, you basically have indicated that Canada should rest assured that if a ballistic missile was headed to Canada, the United States would shoot it down, that we do have the defence there, and we have no reason to be involved and should not worry.

I'm wondering why it's okay for Canada to surrender its responsibilities that it has in NORAD, one aspect of NORAD that we're not involved in, without having any say in what's going to happen if that situation were to occur — a nuclear warhead or an errant nuclear warhead — and we have no say of what will or should be done, depending on what technology is being made available.

You are not suggesting that we should not be involved in that case because of Canada's being involved in NORAD. Perhaps you could explain to us why you feel that Canada should not be involved in this case because we might be able to play a part in the international forum in respect to armaments.

Mr. Coyle: Mr. Chairman, I wouldn't think it would be a bad thing if Canada, as a partner in NORAD or as a part of NATO, wanted to participate simply to be a willing partner, but that wouldn't change anything.

As far as the United States is concerned, if a missile is coming from North Korea or Iran, it's coming over Canada first. The shortest great-circle distance is coming from the north towards the United States. The U.S. Missile Defense Agency and its supporting elements would have to shoot down an enemy missile because it was on its way to the United States from the north. They wouldn't dare say, "Well, maybe it will land short, maybe it won't make it all the way to the United States." They would have to shoot down any missile that came from the north.

The Chair: In respect to our involvement, you're not disagreeing that in that type of situation we should at least be knowledgeable and involved in that aspect of the ballistic missile defence program in order to make sure that our sovereignty and our country is fully aware of what is taking place if such an attack were to take place?

Mr. Coyle: That's correct, but I would caution about what being involved would mean. There is an enormous amount of confusion and misinformation, which, as I indicated in my prepared remarks, even the U.S. Congress can't penetrate. My only concern would be that you not buy a pig in a poke, that you think you're going to get involvement and find you don't get it.

Senator Dallaire: I thought your comments were interesting to say who would ever think that somebody would attack Canada. My answer is it makes a lost sense because nobody really knows we're here; if we look at your American weather maps, there's nothing north of the United States. They don't even have the decency of putting Canada on their blackboard. We may not even be on their target list.

I'm also the patron of Pugwash, so I'm very much into the non-proliferation side of the house. On that dimension, I'm quite familiar with your work and the desires of your work.

However, with that said, the capabilities that you are describing as non-existent, I love the analogy with the 90-millimetres. Being an artillery man, I'm very familiar with what you are talking about. It doesn't preclude the ability to break the code. I mean, your country does have a reputation, when it has a technical problem, of putting the energy and cash behind it to solve it. Who would have thought we could be walking on the moon?

This is a technical problem that can be solved. I won't agree with the premise that it can't be solved. The question is, is it worth the effort is what you're saying, where there may be other means of preventing this from happening, like engaging in negotiations, or is it even conceivable that these two rogue characters would want to use them, as there are potentially other means?

As an ex-general officer, I always look at the worst-case scenario. So the possibility does exist, if we're not playing with this one. What's the other answer in regard to the possibility of their using those missiles? You're saying the community of scientists says there could be some fundamental features that should be completely reassessed. Is that option off the table, or is that simply perceived not to be the angle that the government wants to go down to make it a more effective? I leave it to both gentlemen, from soldier to soldier.

Lt.-Gen. Gard: It's very interesting what you said about we can solve any technical problem we put our minds to. I think that is largely the basis of people of goodwill in the United States who feel Yankee ingenuity or American initiative can solve anything — technology, even science, be damned.

Well, this has been pointed out in the last century, and we're not even addressing it in any serious way. When you get people like Richard Garwin, a very distinguished defence scientist who had a good deal to do with designing the hydrogen bomb, who has been advising our government for years and who simply says, in agreement with the National Academy of Sciences, that radar and infrared are simply incapable of dealing with decoys and countermeasures, there may be some scientific problems that we can't solve. I'm not saying we shouldn't try. I'm for a research and development program, but to spread 44 missiles in the ground that can't deal with primitive countermeasures is a monumental waste of money. That's why I suggest that if we spend more money it ought to be on the science to get after the discrimination problem, because what you've got out there now is not going to help you.

Mr. Coyle: The point you made at the beginning of your question represents a point of view that I hear from Russian scientists and Russian military. Russia has been objecting strenuously to our missile defences in Europe.

I say to them, "Why is Russia so upset about its missile defences in Europe? They're not aimed at you or directed at you. You know from your own efforts to try to build missile defences that they don't work; so why are you upset?" These Russians will say somewhat in the manner you did, "You give those crazy Americans enough time and money, they're going to figure out a way to do it." That's part of their concern.

The United States has been trying for 50 years now, since World War II — and Germany was launching V2s at England, Belgium and other countries — to solve missile defence and still hasn't. Part of the problem is that missile defences can be overwhelmed by numbers. You can ask whether North Korea would be so suicidal that they would launch one missile at the United States and then sit back and wait to see what would happen. That would be truly suicidal. And if they launch many missiles, then U.S. missile defences, even if they worked perfectly, still can be overwhelmed.

The GMD system has performed so poorly in tests that the Warfighters' plan to launch five, six or seven interceptors at every incoming enemy missile, so that supposing North Korea had seven missiles that could reach the United States — they don't, but pretend they could — we'd have to launch 40 or 50 interceptors at those seven incoming to have a chance of shooting them down. Since they've been so unreliable in tests, you have to figure if the first one misses, maybe the second one won't, and if doesn't, maybe the third one won't and so forth, so that if you try enough times, maybe you will be successful. A big problem for the GMD system is developing a system that's reliable and dependable enough so that you don't need huge numbers of interceptors in order to deal with the threat.

Senator Dallaire: Do you remember the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in Dr. Strangelove presented the President at the time with the great analysis that it would cost only maybe 100 million to 110 million casualties, which would be acceptable under the conditions? I guess my question is how many casualties are we prepared to handle without putting up at least a capability of some sort to prevent somebody who's rogue, who can be suicidal, as they're destroying part of their population by starving them right now, to actually do something that stupid? How do you balance that sort of assessment?

Lt.-Gen. Gard: Even former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, who headed the famous Rumsfeld commission in 1998 saying that either North Korea or Iran could develop an ICBM to attack the United States within five years, said that would be a stupid way for them to attack us when they could shoot a cruise missile or a short-range ballistic missile off a vessel 100 miles off our coast. We have no defence against that, so why pour all this money into a less likely means of attack when we can't do anything against a more likely means of attack?

Senator Wells: In reading some of the things that you've written in the past and listening to your presentation today, it sounds like — and I'm looking for clarification — you're not supportive because it doesn't work, or you're not supportive and it doesn't work? That is to say, if it did work, would you be supportive?

Lt.-Gen. Gard: Under current circumstances, no, I would not because, particularly now, the United States is in a very constrained situation as far as the military budget is concerned. As you doubtless know, we're reducing large numbers of ground forces. If the Budget Control Act of 2011 remains in effect, we will reduce the size of the army to 420,000. The Chief of Staff of the Army has said he does not believe he could conduct a sustained ground combat with that number of troops because we have too many support troops.

I don't think it is a cost-effective way to spend our money when there are alternative ways for potential enemies to do the same thing that we fear they might do if they had an ICBM.

Now, if we had unconstrained resources, there would be no problem. Okay, put the missiles out there, and maybe someday if we ever figure out how to beat the science, we can redesign the missiles and tinker with them, replace those unsustainable parts and make it work. But it seems to me very foolish indeed to spend the amount of money we are, $10 billion a year, and not all of it on the GMD program, by any means, but a significant amount of it on the GMD program, when there are uses that will give us a higher payoff in terms of our national security by alternative expenditures.

Mr. Coyle: My position is the system isn't working in the flight tests that we've conducted so far. If it did, I'd be all for it. If the tests were showing that it was reliable, I'd be the first to say. That was my job in the Pentagon. When things worked, we said they did; when they didn't, we said they didn't.

I'd go further. Suppose peace broke out all over; the problem of North Korea has somehow been solved; and the negotiations going on with Iran have been successful and Iran is no longer regarded as a threat. If all those threats went away, I would still support research and development on missile defence if for no other reason than to avoid technological surprise, perhaps not at the current level of spending, most of which is not going into R&D, but is going into hardware — hardware that doesn't work, I might add. But I would support R&D in this program even if there were no threat.

Senator Wells: When we look at military defence and the strategy of military defence, we're thinking many years ahead. Thirty years ago, we may not have considered North Korea or Iran to be significant threats. Obviously, our sights were on the Soviet Union and others. We don't know where we're going to be in 25 years.

Wouldn't it make sense, Lieutenant-General Gard — and, Mr. Coyle, I gather you would agree from your previous comments — to continue with a program of development technology hoping that our failures will lead to successes?

Lt.-Gen. Gard: Well, I don't disagree with what Mr. Coyle said in terms of an R&D program, but I would focus it in some way to deal with the discrimination problem, which in my view is the Achilles heel of the system. Let's go after the thing that the experts tell us invalidates its effectiveness, instead of continuing to deploy hardware without addressing in any serious way the problem of discrimination. That's what I'd work on. Yes, sure, I'd work on that.

Indeed, in terms of protecting our deployed troops from shorter-range, slower missiles that we don't have to intercept in space, where everything travels together and creates the problem, I'm even in favour of deploying those systems. I'd be in favour of an R&D program looking out 25 years and hoping we will get some kind of technical breakthrough. Right now, we are reliant on radar and infrared. Maybe there are other ways of getting at this.

We tried some boost-phase systems to try to catch the missile before it released its payload, but the airborne laser and — the one we had to put next to Korea. I'm blocking the name of it.

Mr. Coyle: I'm not sure what you're referring to.

Lt.-Gen. Gard: Attempt the boost phase. Airborne laser and —

Mr. Coyle: There was supposed to be a very fast interceptor.

Lt.-Gen. Gard: They didn't work. They were cancelled during the Bush administration by Secretary of Defense Gates.

Senator Segal: Thank you both for coming to help us with our discussions in this area. I appreciate it very much, particularly the wisdom and experience that are implicit in your comments.

It strikes me that one of the problems we have is that those of us who live in largely non-authoritarian states have discussions like this, the U.S. Congress, the U.S. Senate, the British Parliament. In their case, they have endless debates about the Trident system. There are endless debates in the American Congress and Senate about the viability of these ballistic missile defence proposals. We have endless testing. We have a fair amount of media comment. We have expert comment in some of the publicly available, distinguished journals. We have debates, like this around this table, here in Canada.

The folks we're dealing with whom we worry about, Iran, North Korea, whatever else might be said constructively about those societies — certainly none of us have ill will towards these people — don't have these debates. There is no discussion.

By definition, a rogue state is a state where a leader can decide, pretty well independently, that he's going to deploy against his Ukrainian neighbours, or he is going to deploy against Kuwait with an Iraqi invasion force. That's the kind of problem we face.

I'd be interested in your view as to how we deal with the threat as between the authoritarian countries that are driven in an authoritarian way, that do not have a democratic framework. I don't think defence planners on your own side, in our own country, in the United Kingdom, et cetera, worry about rational democratic states deciding for no apparent reason to launch rogue missile attacks on others, but we have no true way of understanding what's going on at the top in North Korea.

Classically, if you think about game theory over the years, the bias has been to build some sort of protective, mutual, balanced response. This is what happened with NATO and its successful, if you wish, dilution of the Berlin Wall and bringing freedom to millions of people without firing a shot because there was a known capacity to respond.

What I hear you saying is that there is no capacity to defend against rogue missiles. Even being seen to invest and develop that capacity is largely, for Canada as a partner, a misuse of our time and our resources.

If that is the case, if that's where you net out, what do we do about whoever it is that's helping the North Koreans with their technology? What do we do about the potential relationship between rogue elements in Pakistan and North Korea and Iran in a cycle that moves technology which is of threat to the people of Canada? Why wouldn't Canada, stepping up not necessarily to be a firing zone but to be a further surveillance capability, to contribute to the analytics of the people who are trying to protect against these things, why would that not be a step in support of non-proliferation? Why would that not be helpful to the non-proliferation movement?

I should say thank you to Senator Dallaire. The Senate of Canada passed a unanimous resolution on non-proliferation in support of President Obama's initiative at the UN a short time ago. That was mirrored by a motion in the House of Commons. Our Prime Minister met with distinguished Canadians from Pugwash and others who were going to be part of that.

There's no push-back on non-proliferation. We're with you, but we worry that by just sitting back and not doing anything, just hoping our next-door neighbour will get it right at some point, we are sending two messages. Message number one is that Canadians don't really care, and they're not prepared to carry their fair share of weight. Message number two to the rogue states is that that Canada may be a surveillance-free zone, and because the surveillance can always benefit from further linkages and network arrays, that may be another opportunity for a rogue state to take a run at America.

The Chair: Do you have a question, Senator Segal?

Senator Segal: The question is, do you agree with anything I've said?

Lt.-Gen. Gard: I certainly agree with you that we need, in a very systematic way, to look at what threatens our security in a broad sense and to try, in a cost-effective way, to deal with the more likely of those threats.

I would certainly welcome Canada's joining in some sort of serious research effort to see if there might be some way of dealing with the problem of discrimination if, in fact, we regard the likelihood of an attack from an ICBM as being greater than attacks by other means, which most people believe is not only more likely but would be much more effective. We're not doing anything against cruise missiles right now, because they fly under the radar. We don't know how to deal with them. Even in the case of a short-range missile off our shores, we have no way to defend against that.

I'm a big R&D fellow, but I'm not for buying hardware when we can't see any way to make it work against a threat that's realistic. That's why I'm saying I don't think that's the right place to deal with the range of challenges that you have posed.

Now, is it possible that some head of state would feel he'd go down in history by having his own country blown up, himself included, by doing something dramatic? You can't legislate against that.

Mr. Coyle: Is there time for me to add a quick word?

The Chair: Go ahead, Mr. Coyle.

Mr. Coyle: As I said in my opening remarks, I think Canada can be most effective in reducing the threat. I cited the ongoing negotiations with Iran to change their nuclear program, which so far have been positive and successful. You never know how they might turn out, but Canada has a fine record of helping in the international community in reducing threats. That's where I think you can help most.

Senator Dagenais: Mr. Coyle, with regard to costs of joining the ballistic missile defence program, you indicated that America has been spending significant dollars. I believe you stated the United States has spent $40 billion on the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system and will be spending $5 billion over the next five years to improve the system.

You did not say what it would cost Canada. Do you think there are contributions such as real estate or other technological capabilities, such as satellite warnings, that we can share with NORAD allies to counter ballistic missiles?

Mr. Coyle: I don't know what it would cost Canada. That would depend on what kind of arrangement you might make. You could decide to take a role where you were on the sidelines and it doesn't cost much, but then you don't have much influence.

On the other hand, you might say, "We want to be full partners as we are in NORAD, so we'll do the same cost share as we do with the United States and NORAD, which is 10 per cent." That would say that, for Canada, it might be a billion dollars a year. I don't know how it would turn out. I think it would depend on what kind of arrangement you had.

Senator Dagenais: Thank you for your answer.

Senator Dallaire: Mr. Coyle, you've been working with the Obama administration and they haven't crashed the program, although they could because they've been doing some nasty things to the rest of the forces with regard to the budget. They could crash it. I'm not sure who will replace President Obama in a few years when you crank up again, so the chances of a future administration crashing the program, particularly if it's not Democrat, might be fairly slim, in my opinion.

We're working from a premise that we're not going to crash the program, or not likely to crash it, and we know that the Koreans, the Iranians and possibly the Pakistanis and others have now developed capabilities of moving those warheads by other means, simply on the back of a two-tonne truck. So they've moved over the years.

I'm looking down that road 10 to 15 years. Do we pursue with the advancements to C-2s and the current thrust of delivering hardware in the interim and trying to upgrade it as we're doing that? Or do we actually tend to influence our colleagues to the south by saying, "We'll join you but we think you should go another way and pursue another angle to it," versus simply copping out and not wanting to do it? What side of the coin should we go with? I think the option of not joining is just as remote as the option of your administration down there crashing the system.

Mr. Coyle: I can imagine that Canada could make a difference in the current plans. For example, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, as you alluded to earlier, has said we should basically start from scratch, so to speak, a clean sheet of paper and design a new Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle, a new EKV, and a new two-stage booster to replace the current three-stage booster. They recommended changing both of those from scratch. The Missile Defense Agency is not doing that. The Missile Defense Agency is trying to do some upgrades, but these are changes around the edges, so to speak, compared to what the national academy recommended.

I imagine that Canada could say, "We'll participate, but we don't want to throw good money after bad; we don't want to put more Canadian resources into something that you already know doesn't work and needs to be fixed. Your own National Academy of Sciences has said it needs to be fixed. We won't participate unless you design a new kill vehicle, a new booster and try to make a system that would work." I think that would be salutary.

The Chair: The purpose of our review of the ballistic missile defence is we did not become full partners in 2004. We've basically had 10 years go by, and it's time to look at what Canada's position should be. Should it remain the same? Should we participate? If we were to participate, to what degree would that be?

It seems to me, just from what you've said, Mr. Coyle, that we're involved in NORAD, in all facets of NORAD, and this is the one area that we're not involved in. We're in the same building seven days a week, 24 hours a day, to ensure the security and safety of North America, which of course includes Canada.

The question that's being put to us is if we should, as a committee, consider recommending an involvement by Canada in this particular aspect of security for North America. If you were us, would you recommend that at least we should become involved so that we know what's going on and then we could maybe become part of that conversation that you spoke of in respect to saying, "Perhaps the technical direction this program is going in should be altered or redirected"?

Right now, we have no say. From the point of view of Canada's security, isn't it more beneficial for us to be part of it as opposed to being outside the tent?

Mr. Coyle: If Canada could be a full partner in that way, I think the premise of your question is correct. Yes, that could be helpful.

What I tried to say in my opening remarks is that so far that has not been the way the program has worked. It has been very difficult even for members of our own Congress, the House of Representatives and Senate, to get answers to their questions. The Missile Defense Agency doesn't like to let people in and understand where the weaknesses are in the system. If you could get that, more power to you, but I think you should know going in that it's not going to be easy.

The Chair: Nothing in this particular area is easy. We know that, but at the same time we know it's an ever-changing world. I agree with Senator Segal. When we look at countries that have these nuclear capabilities, they're basically rogue states because one particular individual could wake up one morning, decide he's having a bad day and make sure everybody else does. That's what we're talking about here.

It would seem to me, following on what you've just said, that it's to Canada's benefit to be part of this as opposed to not being part of it at this stage, looking ahead and forward.

I want to follow up a bit on the technology side of it. From Senator Wells' point of view, perhaps you could comment on that as well. The fact is perhaps it's not as accurate as it should be and perhaps it's not doing exactly what it's set out to do. But if we don't continue the research and development that Senator Wells referred to, how are we ever going to get to the point where we get a 100 per cent guarantee that we're going to be able to take care of that missile coming towards us? If we sit back and do nothing, won't we be abrogating our responsibilities?

Mr. Coyle: I think we've both made it clear that we would support R&D in this area. As I've said, I'd support R&D even if the threat went away and there were no threat.

The question is whether that is what the Missile Defense Agency is going to do. Currently, their budget is going into hardware, deploying systems that don't work and have had serious failings that have been documented by the Defense Science Board, by the GAO, by the National Academy of Sciences and others, and not wanting to do R&D.

In the U.S. Congress, after the Rumsfeld report came out, which in my view exaggerated but certainly emphasized the threat, members of Congress became impatient and said, "We're getting sick and tired of all this R&D. We want to deploy something, and we want to do it now." A law was passed calling for deployment as soon as possible. It said "an effective system," but what everybody has forgotten is the "effective" part. The focus is now on deploying hardware, whether it works or not.

So the premise of your question is we'll be doing all the R&D we need to do, and that's simply not happening. That's not where the resources are going.

Senator Dallaire: How did Europeans get suckered in?

Mr. Coyle: I don't know. I think they were concerned about the threat from Iran also, although from my point of view it would be equally suicidal for Iran to attack any part of Europe as it would be to attack the United States. The U.S. would respond massively to that, and the regime in Iran that called for the attack would be gone.

Senator Dallaire: Some of us don't have the same strength of belief that if a target that is not the continental United States is hit the United States would respond under Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty so diligently, particularly in this realm. That factor is eating away at us because taking out one of our cities is not taking out the United States, which leaves some room to manoeuvre for some wacko who wants to do it.

I still don't understand why the Europeans, with their depth of capability, would have put their money into a system considered by you to be ineffective. Do you have an argument for that?

Lt.-Gen. Gard: Initially go back to 2005 when NATO was looking at a theatre missile defence system.

Senator Dallaire: Beyond Patriot.

Lt.-Gen. Gard: It was against short-range missiles or immediate-range missiles where we had had some success. When the European Phased Adaptive Approach came in, the U.S. said, "Let's expand this and let's not have a theatre of defence but have a continental defence and protect the population of all of Europe, and the U.S. will kick in the EPAA." The NATO nations said okay, so we're proceeding. There are problems with that system as well, but at least it has shown much more promise than GMD because you're not intercepting the incoming warheads in space.

The Chair: I thank you both, Lieutenant-General Gard and Mr. Coyle, for attending and taking our questions. We very much appreciate your contributions and the work you do.

On December 12, 2013, the Senate adopted the following study reference:

That the Senate Standing Committee on National Security and Defence be authorized to examine and report on the policies, practices, and collaborative efforts of Canada Border Services Agency in determining admissibility to Canada and removal of inadmissible individuals; and

That the Committee report to the Senate no later than December 31, 2014, and that it retains all powers necessary to publicize its findings until 90 days after the tabling of the final report.

With us this afternoon to offer their perspectives on the Canada Border Services Agency and our study are Sharryn J. Aiken, Associate Dean of Graduate Studies & Research and Associate Professor, Faculty of Law, Queen's University; and Jayne Stoyles, Executive Director, Canadian Centre for International Justice.

Ms. Aiken and Ms. Stoyles, welcome. We appreciate your taking time to be here today. We understand that each of you has an opening statement. Ms. Stoyles, I would invite you to begin, followed by Ms. Aiken. I believe that's what you have agreed to.

Jayne Stoyles, Executive Director, Canadian Centre for International Justice: Distinguished members of the committee, I want to thank you very much for the opportunity to speak with you today. I was asked to provide my views on the international efforts to prosecute war criminals and whether Canada is living up to its obligations in that regard. I'm pleased to have the opportunity to do so.

I'm the Executive Director of the Canadian Centre for International Justice based in Ottawa. CCIJ is a charitable organization. We work with survivors of war trauma, war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. We try to seek redress and bring perpetrators of those crimes to justice both in Canada and internationally. I'm a lawyer and I previously directed the global campaign to establish the International Criminal Court that's now operating in The Hague.

After the Holocaust, the world said "never again," and yet mass atrocities have since been committed in every region of the world, subjecting people to torture, murder, rape, mutilation, and many, many other horrors, and it's happening right now as we sit here. Many people are forced to flee the country because they're not safe or have no means of survival, and most who then come to Canada are the victims of armed conflict or human rights atrocities.

Approximately 1 million people in Canada have suffered such abuse according to torture treatment programs. Yet there will inevitably be a relative few who were involved in ordering or participating in committing the atrocities as well. There are an estimated 2,000 people in Canada currently who may have been involved in planning or perpetrating war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.

If we have not fulfilled this dream of bringing an end to mass atrocities like genocide, what else can be done? I strongly believe that part of the answer lies in the effort that has been made over the past 15 to 20 years to build a global system of legal mechanisms that can hold individuals personally and criminally accountable for planning and carrying out atrocities.

There is now an International Criminal Court, the ICC, operating in The Hague, and Canada was one of its architects. Canada was also the first to pass implementing legislation when it ratified the ICC treaty in 2000, and that created new Canadian war crimes legislation that clarifies the ability to bring alleged war criminals to justice in Canada in support of the ICC, which has significant limits on its jurisdiction and funding and was really only intended to handle the highest-level perpetrators.

The goal has been to have a global web of accountability mechanisms such that there is nowhere to flee to escape justice. In the same way that outlawing murder, rape and robbery in Canada and putting people in jail for those acts does not prevent all murder, rape and robbery, I think we can all imagine what Canada would be like if people knew that our laws would never be enforced. Unfortunately, that is exactly what the world has been like because we have outlawed genocide and war crimes in many international treaties, but for most of history it was not possible to bring anyone personally to account for those crimes.

With atrocities still being committed around the world and a global system of accountability being created as a new way to help prevent that, what is Canada doing on this issue now? Most unfortunately, in a my view, Canada is primarily trying to prevent people from entry into the country on the basis of allegations of involvement in war crimes, or trying to deport them if they're already here. Canada helped to create this new global criminal law system, as I mentioned. We have excellent war crimes legislation in place. We have a federal interdepartmental war crimes program that is considered a global model, and it's staffed with committed and experienced people.

Yet with all that in place, we keep the War Crimes Program's funding at the same level as it was at the time of its establishment in 1998 without even an increase for inflation in 16 years. Then we take the program from three departments to four when the CBSA is created in 2003, still with the same amount of money now going four ways, and then we give most of that funding to that new fourth department, the CBSA. This reflects a stated policy of highly prioritizing efforts to prevent people from entry into Canada and seeking deportation of anyone suspected of involvement in war crimes.

In my view there are two problems with this almost exclusive emphasis on immigration versus a criminal law approach. The first is that relatively little evidence is needed in the immigration system to paint people as alleged war criminals. It may be simply on the basis of a loose affiliation with someone believed to have committed crimes. It's nothing like the standard of proof required in a criminal case, and there is therefore risk of barring victims from escaping their abuse and dramatically affecting the lives of those individuals and their families.

The second concern is that we are not contributing to developing this web of accountability mechanisms that has that potential to reduce the level of global violence and really incredibly significant human and financial costs associated with that. We simply deport the problem, and then we continue to have to respond to it over and over again.

I don't believe that approach makes Canada safer, nor does it make the world safer. It's also in violation of our obligations under a number of international treaties which carry a duty to prosecute or extradite for prosecution people implicated in these acts.

I have two specific recommendations as to what Canada should do instead. First, I recommend that both bureaucrats and members of Parliament and their staff discuss with their counterparts in the affected country the evidence against some of the most high-profile alleged war criminals in Canada and the possibility of bringing them to justice there. These discussions can also take place with third countries that have a history of trying some of the cases related to a particular conflict. Relatively few resources are implicated in that approach.

The second recommendation is that when there do not appear to be options for justice anywhere else, an investigation be undertaken in Canada with a view to a potential prosecution here.

I'm not suggesting that the Government of Canada take on the 2,000 alleged war criminal cases that I said are currently in Canada, when these cases can cost several million dollars each. But if these two things were done, collaborating and negotiating to see justice served in other countries where possible, and undertaking at least a few more criminal trials in Canada, that could really make a difference in terms of the possibility of prevention.

We have had our new war crimes legislation in place since 2000, and in the 14 years since then we have undertaken only two war crimes trials in Canada, both related to the 1994 Rwandan genocide. That's really not sufficient to meet the important goals of international justice that I've described.

In sum, if those two things are happening I do think there can be a place for some of the other alleged war criminals in Canada to be deported when there is sufficient evidence against them and, very importantly, in a way that does not violate their own rights.

Thank you very much.

Sharryn J. Aiken, Associate Dean (Graduate Studies & Research) and Associate Professor, Faculty of Law, Queen's University, as an individual: Thank you for the opportunity to appear before you this afternoon. I am speaking as an individual, but I would also like to let you know that I have strong connections with the Canadian Council for Refugees as co-chair of their legal affairs committee, as one co-counsel in two constitutional challenges of immigration security certificates before the Supreme Court of Canada. The most recent case was that of Harkat, which I understand the court will rule on on Wednesday of this week.

I am also a board member of the Canadian Centre for International Justice, but will not be speaking directly to the issues that my colleague raised with you this afternoon. I might mention as well that in my former career I was an in-the-trenches lawyer and in that capacity had the opportunity to represent Mr. Suleyman Goven before the Security Intelligence Review Committee. It was his case in particular that I wanted to highlight in my remarks, and it's very much from my first-hand experience working with Suleyman Goven that my remarks are framed.

I was asked specifically to comment on the extent to which Canada's international human rights obligations align with the activities of the Canada Border Services Agency or, in other words, how we measure the CBSA's performance with respect to Canada's international human rights obligations.

I'd like to emphasize at the outset that there are many international human rights obligations that are either directly or indirectly implicated in the work of the CBSA on a day-to-day basis, from the right to seek and enjoy asylum from persecution, the absolute prohibition on returning any person to a state where there are substantial grounds for believing they would be in danger of being subjected to torture, the fundamental right to liberty, as well as the freedoms of association and expression and, quite critically, the right to an effective remedy for anyone who alleges that her or his rights have been violated — that right to an effective remedy being a cornerstone of the rule of law.

As I know you've heard in previous testimony, the CBSA itself processes some 100 million travellers to Canada in any given year. That's a large number of people. My remarks are actually focused on a very small subset of that population — very specifically, the some 20,000 to 30,000 refugee claimants, most of whom arrive by air and seek to enter Canada through an airport in any given year. It's a very small group of people who are making either port-of-entry refugee claims or inland refugee claims.

I'm also concerned with the refugees that actually never make it to Canada who are buried in the statistics of the approximately 4,000 interceptions that take place offshore and which you heard alluded to in previous testimony. Those are interceptions with which the CBSA may have some involvement, often indirect, with counterparts offshore. Of course, of that 4,000 people, I'm concerned with the subset who may be genuine refugees and who are being turned away from Canada offshore, far below the radar for most of us here in Canada. Most recently I've heard of a case from just last month where apparently Canadian authorities were somehow involved in the interception of a boat off the coast of Guinea carrying Sri Lankan Tamils. Of course, that rarely makes news here in Canada. We rarely hear about it, yet the CBSA can be involved in those interceptions.

So I'm concerned about the rights of refugees as a subset of this much larger group of people who are border crossers and whom the CBSA has a mandate to deal with.

I know this committee is not tasked with a direct review of the legislative framework, yet I think it's absolutely critical to underscore that any assessment of the actual implementation work by the CBSA has to start, first and foremost, with a look at the security and admissibility criteria that govern the work of the CBSA. You've heard other witnesses speak to the problems of the overly broad criteria that the CBSA has to work with. You've heard that people like the late Nelson Mandela would effectively be precluded from Canada because of that overly broad net.

This is not a new topic. This topic was examined by the McDonald commission back in the 1970s, and in its report in 1981, we saw very strong recommendations regarding the importance of bringing the immigration security criteria in line with a definition of a threat to the security of Canada that's contained in the CSIS Act. That's a very old recommendation. Yet, repeated reformulations of immigration legislation in this country have failed to address that recommendation. Indeed, if anything, in 2014, the net has been cast even wider, with far fewer mechanisms of redress for people affected.

I know the committee has already heard of a number of case examples from previous witnesses, but I want to highlight very briefly, for the sake of making these cases very concrete, two. The first is that of the passengers on the MV Sun Sea, who arrived off the West Coast of this country in 2010. One would have thought there was almost a national emergency when the boat first arrived. We need to remember, though, that these were people arriving from the country of Sri Lanka, which, at the time, had just concluded a decades-long civil war and committed egregious human rights violations, human rights violations that continue to this day. We had 492 people all automatically detained. It's important to note, based on statistics released just last week by the Immigration and Refugee Board, that, to date, some 156 people aboard that boat have been determined to be genuine refugees. That's a very significant percentage, and the claims are not all finished. Many are pending. There were only some 25 deportations issued in relation to inadmissibility findings.

Those are important statistics in terms of making real the problems with this overzealous reaction to security, and, in particular, as we're speaking about the CBSA — and I know other witnesses have referred to it — I think it's very important to underscore how inappropriate it was for that agency to issue a memo directing officers to use all legal means to detain the passengers for as long as possible. Prolonged detention of refugee claimants is surely an abdication of our responsibilities to refugees when there are no grounds for doing so. I would argue that in a very significant percentage of cases, the grounds were spurious at best, and, ultimately, the positive findings of the refugee board attest to that.

Briefly, on the matter of Suleyman Goven—

The Chair: If I could just interrupt very briefly here, we only have an hour, and if you can —

Ms. Aiken: I will conclude.

The Chair: Okay, thank you very much.

Ms. Aiken: On the matter of Suleyman Goven, I want to emphasize that although the CBSA was not directly involved in the impropriety in relation to his case at the outset, the agency took over primary responsibility in 2002, when it was established pursuant to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. You have a prime example of a genuine refugee whose case languished in limbo for over 13 years, with a profound psychological toll. These are human beings who are directly affected.

The one critical recommendation I have to make to you this afternoon in relation to the problem I've outlined is the need for accountability, and that accountability must exist on two levels. There must be an adequate, integrated policy-review mechanism for all of the government's security activities, which include, within its rubric, the CBSA. Quite critically, there needs to be a complaint mechanism that's available to both individuals and third parties, including non-governmental organizations, to pursue redress in individual cases. That accountability mechanism is some 33 years overdue. It has been underscored repeatedly by group after group, from the Office of the Privacy Commissioner to the Auditor General to a whole range of civil society organizations. Accountability is critical in the area of immigration security.

Thank you.

The Chair: Thank you. I want all colleagues to keep our preambles somewhat short as time is moving on. That applies to everyone.

Senator Dallaire: After 9/11, the Americans came to us and said that we were a bit of a sieve security-wise with regard to immigration and so on. In fact, they were proposing fortress North America, if you remember, in which things would be instituted like not letting anybody into the country who has a black moustache or something and go downhill from there. We've gone down this road of fiddling with our civil liberties and even our human rights, with torture and so on, let alone the USA Patriot Act and the security act. We're still working from a bit of panic with regard to this realm.

I think your comment of overzealous reaction is pursued today in the analysis of how people are looked at. Professor Aiken, you have written on how some of our procedures, the directives internal to CBSA, could be discriminatory and even racial profiling.

Have we actually brought people to the bar because of that? Has there been any fundamental internal analysis by CBSA as to whether that is factual now in their operating procedures with people who are identifiable in a different way?

Ms. Aiken: Just to make sure I understand, you're asking about whether there are problems within CBSA with respect to differential treatment of border crossers, whether they be refugees or others?

Senator Dallaire: Particularly, those discriminating by racial profiling.

Ms. Aiken: There is no question that profiling is the stock-in-trade of border security. It's not all forms of profiling that are problematic. Profiling plays a role in effective border management, but racial profiling is a problem. The reason I actually can't answer your question is because there is absolutely no oversight of the work accomplished by the CBSA in this regard. I have no means, as a Canadian citizen, to actually check up on what CBSA is doing because it's not required to be scrutinized, and so we can't actually answer your question. We certainly have lots of anecdotes, lots of individual cases. We can look at the case of Suleyman Goven as an example or how the Sun Sea passengers were treated as other examples, but we need to have effective oversight and accountability and a mechanism that can initiate reviews of its own initiative in order to actually answer your question.

Senator Dallaire: Ms. Stoyles, you are well known in the realm of going after some bad people internationally. We had the trial of Désiré Munyaneza, one of the two over the last 12 years when we actually used that legislation. I actually testified there and I'm happy to see the appeal court has upheld the life conviction.

In my discussions with the people at Justice, they indicated that funding was the primary limitation for them first doing the investigations and then doing the trial. The Munyaneza trial cost nearly $2 million. You've given us a feel for the fact that the funding has not been increased but has been split more. Why is that the case when we know there are more of these perpetrators of crimes against humanity that are floating around the world more easily and are entering this country, to the extent where I have people telling me that we're a haven for some of these wackos? Do you understand why we want this reputation here as opposed to going to other countries and helping them sort it out?

Ms. Stoyles: That's a great question. Maybe I can talk more about the budget figures and how they break down to the extent they're useful. Yes, there has not been an increase since the program was created in 1998. The annual budget for the program has been $15.6 million. As I said, that was initially for three departments: Justice, the RCMP and Immigration. The CBSA was created in 2003, so the program went from the three to four departments.

Of that $15.6 million — and this is from a report in Embassy magazine that quoted a CBSA spokesperson — $7.2 million goes to CBSA. That funding has now been made permanent, so that has actually been hived off from the program. There's a remaining amount of $8.4 million for the other three departments. In effect, it has gone down quite significantly since it was created for those three departments. About $5.7 million goes to the Department of Justice; $1.9 million goes to Citizenship and Immigration Canada; and about $680,000 goes to the RCMP.

Senator Dallaire: That includes salaries?

Ms. Stoyles: I believe so, yes, operating budget and salaries. In 2009, an independent evaluation of the program recommended more overall funding for the program, particularly for the RCMP to do more investigations. We understand informally from the Department of Justice that their portion is enough to do about one case at a time. Contrasted with this figure, that's an informal tally from within the program of about 2,000 cases.

It really does baffle me how there can be a sense that this is something that makes Canada safer to put such an emphasis on border services. Of course, screening is incredibly important and there are real safety concerns. Those are serious concerns. I think it's a matter of knowing that there isn't enough funding for everything and looking at what is the most effective way to use that. Really, is there more that can be done? If you've got 100 million people coming in a year, ideally you would investigate all of them thoroughly through the RCMP, but that seems impractical as well.

Perhaps the answer to the question is simply that there hasn't been an approach of looking at the problem in a holistic way and thinking about the issue of prevention. You do invest $2 million, perhaps $3 million or more dollars, particularly if the cases do go to appeal, but if we really think about what we invest as a country in responding to human rights abuses and conflicts that emerge around the world in human and financial terms, our view is simply that a few criminal cases could help to send that message, and it really wouldn't be a significant investment. I really think it's simply a matter of not thinking of it in that holistic way and thinking that if we can prevent a few more people from entering the country, then we solve the problem.

Senator Dallaire: I have a short supplemental. The Munyaneza case cost $2 million. You say we could do one at a time. It took over two years, so that means maybe one case every two to three years.

Ms. Stoyles: That's right.

Senator Dallaire: We're a sieve for that.

Senator Segal: I have a question for each one of our witnesses today. On my question for Ms. Stoyles, we had a guest in the Senate of Canada last week, Dr. Yasmin Sooka, who chaired the report recently released by the Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales and the International Truth & Justice Project, Sri Lanka: An Unfinished War: Torture and Sexual Violence in Sri Lanka 2009—2014. The report is public domain and it's graphic and it's horrific.

That being said, when you have a country like Sri Lanka, which is not signatory to the International Criminal Court; and you have a country like Canada, where our Prime Minister, our foreign minister and others have spoken eloquently about serious human rights violations in Sri Lanka — in fact, our Prime Minister refused to attend a Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting there for that reason — what instrument does Canada have to do something about something as horrific as this when the offending country isn't actually under the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court?

To be more economic with time, Ms. Aiken, you talked about the need for policy review with respect to the CBSA and the way refugees are dealt with. When I look at the way other countries deal with legislative oversight of intelligence and security operations, the ones that are successful are the ones that actually have operational review. They have the capacity to engage in both. I would appreciate your comment on that.

Ms. Stoyles: In response to the question about what to do, perhaps specifically using Sri Lanka as an example, if the country is not a signatory to the ICC, there are three things that Canada could do in terms of seeking justice, if we can agree that that could help as part of the puzzle. There are ways that the ICC can still get jurisdiction, particularly through a referral from the UN Security Council. That has happened with a couple of the situations that have gone before the ICC, in particular a situation in Darfur, Sudan, and in the case of Libya, when Moammar Gadhafi was still in power. That's something Canada could advocate for.

We have seen with the situation in Syria, for example, that those efforts can get stymied by the politics with the UN Security Council because there's a veto. However, it's still a way of raising opportunities for justice and sending that signal that the world is looking at opportunities for justice.

The second way — and this is really what I wanted to highlight today — is through Canada's own courts. What you've highlighted is exactly the point about the International Criminal Court; that is, it was not intended to take on all the cases. As advocates, when the court was being created, we wanted it to have the broadest jurisdiction possible and we wanted it to take as many cases as possible, but it does have that kind of limit in the situations over which it has jurisdiction. It also has limits on its funding. That's exactly why as countries ratify the treaty they are asked and expected by the communities supporting the ICC, of which Canada was a key player, to create domestic war crimes legislation, which we've done. As I said, it's quite a model piece of legislation. We have a model department to deal with these cases, yet we haven't taken the next step now, which is to use it effectively. That would be an important contribution. I can only imagine that there are some individuals in Canada who may have been implicated in the atrocities in Sri Lanka. That's another way.

I was trying to emphasize that before we do that, we always look at opportunities for justice elsewhere. We don't always expect it to be possible in the affected country, but there are cases going on in countries around the world. There can be real expertise in certain countries and in certain regions, and we can negotiate, as we do from an NGO perspective, with our partners to see where it's best to bring a case that can be done at the governmental level as well.

The Chair: Ms. Aiken, can you be somewhat brief because we have a number of other questions for you as well.

Ms. Aiken: I just wanted to clarify that I was recommending an integrated, high-level approach to the oversight of both intelligence and security, and that it be both operational and policy and include redress for individual complaints — so all of it. Right now, we have very little of it.

It needs to work fundamentally in a more integrated fashion across all the various departments involved in security-related work. And it's long overdue.

Let me also add that, having had the opportunity to listen to Ms. Yasmin Sooka present at the University of Toronto on Friday and having read her report, I find it highly ironic, on the one hand, that Canada is actively pursuing the matter of human rights violations in Sri Lanka and is, on the other hand, subjecting genuine refugees from that country to absolutely abhorrent treatment. We need to get our act together when it comes to how we, on the one hand, respond to the refugees in our midst and, on the other hand, how we actually address the fundamental problems in Sri Lanka today.

Senator Wells: Thank you, guests, for your responses so far. Ms. Stoyles, speaking before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration in 2012, you estimated — and I think you mentioned earlier in your presentation — there were 2,000 individuals residing in Canada who were involved in planning or perpetrating war crimes or crimes against humanity and genocide. Can you help me with the distinction between the terms "war crime," "crime against humanity" and "genocide?"

Ms. Stoyles: Sure. There is a lot of overlap, and individuals often get charged with most of them. "War crimes" are crimes like rape and torture that are committed in the context of an armed conflict. "Crimes against humanity" don't necessarily need that nexus to an armed conflict; they're widespread or systematic crimes. "Genocide" adds an additional element of intent to destroy a particular group, on the basis of ethnicity or race, for example.

Senator Wells: What are Canada's obligations with respect to refugees that apply for status or immigration to Canada? What are Canada's obligations with respect to refugees who may have a history with one of those three categories?

Ms. Stoyles: I can speak to the justice options, but I wonder if I might give that to my colleague.

Senator Wells: Sure.

Ms. Aiken: The legislative framework in place today very ably provides mechanisms to identify people who may fall into that category. First of all, if information comes to light prior to their claims being referred to the Immigration and Refugee Board, they will be subject to inadmissibility hearings and, ultimately, deported with very few appeals available to them.

On the other hand, if their cases are referred to the Refugee Protection Division and it comes to light either before or during their hearing that they may fall into one of those categories, the government will often intervene and seek to have those individuals excluded from protection. The Refugee Protection Division decision maker has the authority to exclude them from protection, because there are serious reasons for believing they have committed a war crime, a crime against humanity, et cetera.

In my view, that system functions well. We have these legal tools already embedded within the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act to sort out who doesn't deserve our protection.

At the same time, a finding that somebody has possibly been involved in committing a war crime doesn't mean that they should necessarily be booted out of the country, which my colleague emphasized. We have the mechanisms here in Canada in appropriate cases to subject them to trial, and that's what should happen — not deportation and certainly never deportation in circumstances where they are at risk of torture of other serious human rights violations.

Senator Beyak: Thank you very much, ladies. According to figures provided to the committee, China, India and the Philippines are the top three countries from which immigrants to Canada are arriving. Combined, they accounted for 67 per cent of immigrants in 2013. I wonder if you can explain how refugee claims inland are processed by the Canada Border Services Agency, and what is your interpretation of that?

Ms. Aiken: I'm going to deal with the immigration-related piece, but I'm just not quite sure I understand the question in terms of the relationship of the refugee claim procedures to the overall immigration intake. Could you try to clarify that?

Senator Beyak: The Chinese nationals accounted for the highest numbers.

Ms. Aiken: Yes, of immigration.

Senator Beyak: Right. Do you want to explain that?

Ms. Aiken: Are you talking about the highest percentage of claims before the Refugee Protection Division?

Senator Beyak: Yes.

Ms. Aiken: So you're wondering why these countries, which aren't the classic refugee-producing countries, account for such a high proportion of claims?

Senator Beyak: Exactly.

Ms. Aiken: Okay. Let's put it this way: There may be safe people, but there's no such thing as an absolutely safe country. While it certainly is the case that countries like Canada and the United States are most unlikely to produce refugees, it is not the case that countries like China, the Philippines or India never produce refugees. They do. They may not be on our list of top 10 human rights violators. I think Sri Lanka today, by contrast, might be.

However, there are many serious human rights problems in each of the three countries you mentioned, affecting certain categories of claimants from those countries. If you look at the statistics of how these claims are dealt with, it's not the case that every person from the Philippines is found to be a fraudster or a bogus claimant — not at all. In fact, there are serious problems with the ethnic minorities in the Philippines or India today.

I can't speak to it in the few minutes that I have to respond, but we have to look beyond the statistics. If you actually look at the number of claims that are accepted positive from those countries, you'll understand that the Refugee Protection Division is doing its job well in sorting out who is a genuine refugee from who isn't.

Senator Beyak: Thank you very much. Would you like to address that as well, Ms. Stoyles?

Ms. Stoyles: I'll pass on that, thank you.

[Translation]

Senator Dagenais: Thank you to our two witnesses.

Ms. Stoyles, could you please tell us about the role of external resources in investigations into war criminals and the prosecutions that may result from them?

[English]

Ms. Stoyles: Could you just clarify for me what you mean by "external resources"?

[Translation]

Senator Dagenais: When you investigate war criminals, you use outside resources or other stakeholders who can help you in your investigations.

Could you please tell me about those resources and perhaps how you work with them? I would imagine that these investigations lead to the prosecution of the identified war criminals.

[English]

Ms. Stoyles: It's not just about Canada's resources going into these. In the two cases we've had in Canada, both related to Rwanda — now I'm talking about the government prosecutions — those were primarily because there was a real interest on the part of the Rwandan government in having those individuals tried in Canada. At the time, there was the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, but it was very overstretched and was close to being finished. There were trials going on in Rwanda, and there were local trials, called the Gacaca trials, all of which were very much overstretched.

There was an interest in having some of the people living in the other countries also tried in those countries. There have been a number of cases related to the Rwandan genocide that have proceeded in Europe, and we've had cases in Canada. I'm sure there was a significant amount of resource allocation on the part of the Rwandan government, for example, to help with these cases.

Certainly on the part of the non-governmental community, there's a significant investment, as well. Many human rights and victims' rights organizations are involved in putting together evidence and helping to build a case. That is what our organization does in Canada, but we also have a dialogue and collaborate with our counterparts around the world. We can help to build a case to a fairly significant level and then bring it to the attention of the Department of Justice in Canada. We have a very close working relationship, and we have also worked with prosecuting authorities in other countries as well to bring those cases forward.

Senator White: Thanks to both of you for being here today. Ms. Aiken, the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP has a strong model across Canada. It oversees 27,000 employees in 800 communities and can operate from an investigative capacity all the way up to a forum of public inquiry. Do you see that agency as providing the type of service for CBSA? If so, do you see that agency — not about capacity — being able to provide the service that is now missing, as you would say, for CBSA officials?

Ms. Aiken: I think it's more complicated than just that, but it would certainly be a step in the right direction. The problem is that the need for oversight, scrutiny, accountability and a complaints mechanism transcends just the CBSA alone. If we look to the recommendations from the O'Connor commission, for example, and to a whole series of other inquiries, we see a need for greater integration in the oversight mechanism. We have so many disparate security-related functions going on across the government right now and complete fragmentation. So I would be concerned about exacerbating fragmentation if we just say okay, we're going to deal with CBSA over here and not be concerned with the oversight with respect to intelligence gathering and the whole range of other operational activities.

That would be my short answer, and I certainly don't have the details of an accountability mechanism to present to you, but I would say if this committee could come up with one overarching recommendation, it would be that the oversight and accountability mechanism has to be integrated. We need to end the fragmentation.

Senator White: The second question is to you as well, Ms. Aiken. One of the greatest resources that agencies have to stop the ships from Sri Lanka from hitting our shores in Canada and the tragedies that often occur at sea — the conditions people are travelling in, the homicides that have occurred, the people who have been tossed overboard, the extortion that happens when they do land in our borders — is the fact that you can have success if you can reduce the opportunity from leaving the other country. In fact, research out of Australia would argue that the greatest level of success you can have is making it not palatable for people to buy a seat on the boat in the first place.

From your comments earlier about some of the activities in Canada stopping boats before they leave countries, are you suggesting we stop doing that?

Ms. Aiken: I'm not saying there's no role for international interdiction efforts or interception when talking about this work in a maritime context. I am saying when it comes to people who are genuine refugees we have to ensure there are mechanisms for them to pursue their asylum claims. Until and unless we address the root causes of why people who may be refugees are leaving these countries in the first place, we have an absolute obligation to ensure they're not refouled or returned to their home countries.

What does that mean in a practical sense for the boat that might be intercepted off the west coast of Africa? It doesn't mean all those passengers have an absolute right to travel onward to Canada, but it does mean that for anyone who presents a prima facie asylum claim — in other words, at the outset says "I fear return to my home country" — we have an obligation to ensure they're not returned there. We refer their case to the local UNHCR office and provide the protection they need. That's our human rights obligation pursuant to a whole range of human rights treaties that Canada has signed and ratified.

The Chair: Colleagues, I'd like to pursue one area. I was listening to Ms. Stoyles very closely, and I think most viewers would be interested in your statement that there's in the neighbourhood of 2,000 people currently in Canada who may well have been involved in planning or perpetuating war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.

As you know, our study in part is about whether individuals coming into this country are admissible or inadmissible. This leads me to my first question. Have we identified 2,000 people in this country, by name and by address, who may well meet these categories?

Ms. Stoyles: It's very difficult to have an exact figure because even the report that comes out of the War Crimes Program every year doesn't actually have a number like that to give us a sense of the number of people against whom they have evidence. Our understanding is that number comes from an informal tally that people within the program have kept. There are meetings with representatives of the four departments that comprise the program, and they share information about the people against whom there may be some evidence that has come to their attention. That's our understanding of what that informal tally is. Some of those people may no longer be in the country; it's difficult to say.

One thing members of the committee might be interested in is that this isn't new. In fact, all of this history of allegations of war criminals being in Canada dates back to at least after World War II when there were members of the Jewish community in Canada who knew there were people living in their communities who were alleged Nazi war criminals. It took 40 years, but 40 years later there was a commission of inquiry into that and it found that yes, there were about 800 people at the time who could be identified as having had some connection with the Nazi-era regime, which simply means that there's enough basis to launch an investigation. It doesn't mean a criminal investigation had been conducted. That's exactly the problem. There would be nowhere near enough resources to do investigations on all of those people.

The Chair: If I could pursue one more question in respect of this. We're looking outside our borders to what other processes we can put into place so we would be able to identify these individuals prior to their coming into Canada and obviously prevent them from coming here. Do you have thoughts of what we could do in these foreign countries where these individuals are trying to get into Canada under false pretenses and putting us in a situation where we're forced to deal with situations we did not intend to happen? Do you have any comments on that?

Ms. Stoyles: It's something I've thought about a lot, the question of whether there is more we can do and if it would help prevent more people from coming in. I keep coming back to the thought that with the number of people coming to Canada, unless we have a significant increase in resources for screening, such that there are actually real investigations that could be taking place, I don't really think it's practical to imagine that we could be doing more in screening people from entering the country.

My point around prevention is that I do think that if there were an investment in at least a handful of additional cases at any given time in Canada, it would also be enough to deter some people from coming to Canada if they knew that they were likely to be investigated here. The more countries that do that, the idea is to prevent the crimes from being committed in the first place, not just people picking Canada or another country after committing the abuses.

I feel that with the investment of resources to investigate and bring a handful of people to justice at any given time, coupled with these efforts to cooperate and try to make sure that more may be tried in the affected countries — rather than simply deported with no discussion of justice and no negotiation in that regard — with some cases going before the ICC and yes, some people also being deported, all together we would have a system that could send a message that you can't simply be involved in these kinds of abuses and expect to move somewhere else and have a comfortable life.

Senator Dallaire: Thank you very much. I like the point you raised that there's no oversight and means of going into CBSA to see how they're doing. That oversight aspect is critical to what we're doing so that we don't take off and end up a police state without knowing it.

I also like very much what you said about the web of accountability that has to be created as we fight impunity. The angle hasn't come out on your side that — and I was hoping to pull this idea from you — many countries that have been in conflict have people who have committed crimes against humanity or massive abuses of human rights and have escaped to other countries. They remain a security problem for those countries because they could start regenerating the will of minorities or others in those countries to go at it again. I use the example of Rwanda and how the Rwandans and the French are in discussions to try to get the heads of the genocide brought to trial in France because they are running free in France and still haven't been brought to trial. The leadership is still there, which creates a security problem inside Rwanda because these people are possible re-enactors.

In the web exercise I'm going beyond the borders because, as Senator White said, we want to get them before they come here. We don't seem to have a tool, certainly not well funded, to participate with countries in conflict through either links through the diaspora here or others to go after some of these people in those countries or provide assets as we did with the International Criminal Court or the criminal court for Rwanda, Sierra Leone and Yugoslavia. Right now, apart from the court, we're really ineffective. Am I overstating that case?

Ms. Stoyles: No, I don't think you are. That's exactly right, and your point is extremely well taken. For some people, it's not just a matter of their not being brought to justice and the victims not seeing justice served, it is a matter of the way that the conflict gets perpetuated and spread across regions as a result of that. You're absolutely right that so much more could be done to coordinate efforts. If Canada wanted to make a contribution globally now, having done quite a lot around the establishment of the ICC, we hope to see that commitment continue. There could be a very interesting exercise to identify around the world who the people are that really need to be brought to justice to send that message and to ensure that you are breaking up some of these situations that lead to ongoing violence.

That could be a very interesting exercise: putting the resources into full proper investigations of those cases and fair trials with proper defence, et cetera. We have expertise around the world. Many governments are prosecuting these cases. We have the ICC and not only a web of accountability mechanisms but also one where people are communicating and collaborating and cooperating, which could be extremely effective in that goal of deterrence.

The Chair: Before we come to a conclusion, could you provide us with a list of countries that are prosecuting cases as we speak and going back five years? That would give us a comparison of what is happening in Canada versus other parts of the world. Of course sometimes they're not publicized and that information isn't made available to us.

I would like to thank our witnesses. It has been a very interesting hour of testimony.

As we continue our study of Canada Border Services Agency, we are pleased to welcome two seasoned security professionals to the committee.

Mr. Garry Clement is a 30-year veteran of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and an expert on the subject of money laundering, detection of suspicious activity and currency reporting. His last position prior to retirement from the RCMP in 2003 was as director of the national Proceeds of Crime Unit. Mr. Clement now works in the private sector, offering anti-money laundering and counter-terror financing investigation, consultancy and training services.

Mr. Sandy Boucher also has almost 30 years of experience in complex fraud, corruption, asset tracing and due-diligence investigation. During his service with the Hong Kong Police from 1983 to 1996, Mr. Boucher led numerous international investigations and would have had a close-in view of efforts by Hong Kong and Macau's criminal elements, the so-called triads, to secure a safe refuge for themselves and their financial assets in the years leading to the 1997 and 1999 transfer of power over Hong Kong and Macao back to the People's Republic of China from the United Kingdom and Portugal respectively. Mr. Boucher is now serving as a senior investigator, forensic and advisory services for Grant Thornton in Toronto.

Gentlemen, welcome. I understand you each have an opening statement. Please begin. I understand Mr. Boucher will go first.

Sandy Boucher, Former Detective Chief Inspector, Royal Hong Kong Police, as an individual: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you to the members of the committee for inviting me to speak today.

I'm testifying today as a private individual. My interest and my relevant experience stems from my 30-year career as an investigator, first as a detective chief inspector with the Royal Hong Kong Police, where I served for 12 years until just prior to the handover back to China, and second, as a fraud and corruption investigator here in Canada in the corporate world, where I've lived and worked for the past 18 years.

First, a little history. As a criminal investigator in Hong Kong in the late 1980s and early 1990s, I conducted many cases involving Asian organized crime groups, primarily the triads, but other groups too, international narcotics trafficking, people smuggling and other serious offences. I worked closely with police forces around the world, including Canadian police forces. It was during that time, when Hong Kong was struggling with the impending handover of the territory to the People's Republic of China, that immigration to Canada became a significant outflow. Over this period, it became apparent to me that Hong Kong criminals and triad members were successfully securing landed immigrant status in Canada.

In the early 1990s, while in Hong Kong, I worked with the local representatives of Canadian law enforcement bodies at the consulate in Hong Kong, providing them with background information and intelligence on Hong Kong criminals who had links to Canada. We also provided specific intelligence on criminal activities involving Canada and worked on cases together.

Mr. Clement, on my right, was at the time an RCMP liaison officer and, frankly, the first with whom we felt we were able to enjoy an active and productive relationship.

We also worked closely with Mr. Brian McAdam from the Canadian immigration service, who was also invited to testify here today.

The matter really came to a head in the middle of a major global narcotics case in the activities of a Hong Kong-based criminal called Lee Chau-ping, who is a lady, by the way. At the time, Lee Chau-ping headed the largest crystal methamphetamine syndicate in the world and was under active investigation by the Royal Hong Kong Police and the Public Security Bureau of China. The case had world-record seizures of Ice and precursor chemicals which were made in China.

In the middle of the operation, to our surprise, Lee Chau-ping fled to Canada after a police raid on her home in Hong Kong. When she arrived here, again to our surprise, we found that she had become a landed immigrant. She continued to run her global syndicate from her home in British Columbia until her syndicate was dismantled in China and Hong Kong at the end of the operation.

I knew that Lee had a criminal record. I also knew that she was known to Canadian police and immigration authorities. You can imagine my surprise that she was given landed immigrant status. I am aware of a number of other prominent Hong Kong-based criminals and triad members who have also successfully arrived in Canada to enjoy their ill-gotten gains and mostly to continue their criminal activities.

The Lee case resulted in process changes in Canada and, in particular, a mechanism whereby information provided by overseas police and other intelligence agencies could be used in the Canadian court system without jeopardizing the source of the intelligence.

I now work in the corporate world where most of my time is spent trying to help Canadian companies from unwittingly becoming involved in, or victim to, fraud, theft, corruption, money laundering and many other types of white-collar crime. In particular, I have for many years managed a practice providing background due-diligence investigations on individuals and companies for Canadian corporate clients. This process involves the use of purely private sector, mostly public-record-based tools to identify criminals and other people with problematic backgrounds.

Sadly, my work over the past 10 years in Canada has brought me into contact with numerous cases where foreign criminals, and particularly those from organized crime syndicates around the world, are still clearly able to enter Canada both as immigrants and as visitors. I have seen prominent organized crime figures from Asia, the former Soviet Union, Europe and other countries, as well as corrupt Chinese officials and criminals with their illicit proceeds, crooked Middle Eastern and Asian businessmen and their families and many other undesirable characters successfully enter Canada.

I have also seen and continue to see what is known as politically exposed foreign persons, that is, foreign leaders and the people who are connected to them, particularly their families, come to Canada with their assets and enjoy the benefits of our society when it is clear that they and their governments are corrupt and the funds are clearly the proceeds of crime or money extorted or stolen from the people of their countries.

During the so-called Arab Spring, I cringed every time I saw the Canadian government proudly tallying the assets it had frozen from fleeing dictators and their families, because in my mind, the underlying question was how did they get here in the first place? How could the funds be here when we all know where they came from and how they were obtained?

Canada has become a choice destination for these people because of our enviable quality of life and the cosmopolitan nature of our society, but also because our system is not, apparently, efficient at identifying and preventing their entry.

In the past two years, I have done a considerable amount of work helping companies understand and avoid foreign corruption. Just last year the Senate passed amendments to the Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act, which greatly strengthened the law and clearly underlined our intention to fight corruption and cut off corrupt governments from their primary source of funding.

If we are serious about playing our part in the global fight against corruption, we must do more than force expensive compliance regimes on Canadian companies. We must also target corrupt foreign officials and ensure that they cannot send their families here to hide and enjoy their illicit wealth or to flee here when they are deposed. Other Western nations are already doing this.

As you can see, my experience working in Canada has shown me that the problems I first saw in Hong Kong some 20 years ago still persist. The answer to the problem appears to me to be in improvements to the system by which we control the entry of such people into our country and sharing information with other international agencies. I have a number of recommendations for the honourable senators regarding the CBSA and other related bodies whose mandates also cover this area.

First, intelligence-based operations. By its very name, the Canada Border Services Agency is defined by its role at Canada's borders. Despite this, I believe that we cannot afford to wait until people arrive at the border to try to determine whether or not they should be allowed entry. I see the need for enhanced capability for intelligence-based activities which will allow the agency to develop the knowledge necessary to determine the admissibility of applicants for entry, visas and residency long before they arrive at our shores.

Effective intelligence gathering would also allow the agency to identify and effectively target people already in the country or using Canada for their operations, money laundering or asset hiding and remove them. There are many ways in which such intelligence can be gathered, but it's clear to me that one key step would be posting more experienced investigators overseas in countries where we are experiencing problems. I view this as essential. I would like to stress that posting administrators and bureaucrats to positions of this nature is a waste of time. Only investigators will be able to develop the knowledge and information sources necessary to determine the true state of affairs.

Number two, more effective inter-agency cooperation. I'm aware that other agencies such as the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Citizenship and Immigration Canada play an important role in combatting the abuse of our entry system, and they also have a number of overseas offices. They are clearly key partners on this issue.

In addition, there are other agencies in Canada such as the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada, FINTRAC, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, and the Communications Security Establishment Canada. All of these have intelligence and operational capabilities that should have aspects of them brought to bear on this problem.

I do not pretend to have knowledge about the nature and extent of inter-agency cooperation between these bodies, but my earlier observations lead me to believe that they could be significantly improved or enhanced. There are also many foreign agencies with whom the CBSA should be cooperating closely.

Third, enhanced visa and immigrant application screening. We've heard here earlier today about the number of people who need to be screened and the number of people who appear to have evaded screening. Once again, I don't claim to possess detailed knowledge of the processes applied to the different categories of people trying to enter Canada, but having worked with these agencies and as an immigrant, having been through the process myself, I have a good idea as to what they entail.

I don't doubt that the system is faced with resource issues, particularly financial resources, given the number of applicants, but it's clear that the current system has gaps and weaknesses. The screening processes need to be enhanced, and I believe that one way this might be achieved is the use of additional, cheaper options for screening, including the use of some of the private sector tools and methodologies that I'm now forced to rely on given that I'm no longer a law enforcement officer. I'm sure Mr. Clement and other witnesses can expand on the theme of enhanced screening.

Fourth, a greater commitment to protecting whistle-blowers. Many of the people trying to enter Canada whom we do not want here are powerful, wealthy and well-connected. Corruption is a way of life for them, and in many cases it's the source of their power. Accessing key persons within the Canadian system to assist them in gaining entry to Canada is a logical step for them, and we repeatedly see examples where individuals responsible for policing the system succumb to greed and are corrupted themselves.

The Charbonneau commission and other high-profile cases have shown us that we tend to be naive and complacent about corruption within our own borders, but it is here, and its insidious effects can be very dramatic.

My experience of 30 years tells me that the cheapest and most effective way to fight these influences and to learn what is really going on in our agencies is through the use of whistle-blowers. These are invariably individuals who value integrity so highly that they sacrifice everything to point out wrongdoing. Canada has passed a law purporting to protect government whistle-blowers, but it is weak and there has been virtually no attempt to make it work properly.

If we are to benefit from the genuine efforts of whistle-blowers and face up to the flaws which they expose, they must be properly protected from retribution. To achieve this, the Office of the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner of Canada must be totally reformed and the law which created it amended to provide real protection for the people trying to do the right thing and tell groups what is really going on. This is particularly critical in high-risk areas like immigration and border control.

Thank you again for inviting me to speak to you today.

The Chair: Thank you very much.

Garry Clement, Retired RCMP officer, as an individual: Good afternoon. I would like to thank Senator Lang for inviting me to testify at this hearing. I'm glad I won't have to do a hatless dance before the commissioner when I finish.

In light of Canada's role in fighting terrorism and organized crime, which are extremely important issues for me, as some of you are aware I've been involved throughout the Arar inquiry; I'm going to be living through the latest civil procedures, and I'm looking forward to finally getting the truth out on that. So I have lived through these and what it means to Canada.

I believe these topics don't receive the attention they deserve, and I'm really pleased that you're looking at it. I appreciate the fact that you are taking the time to delve into the issue of determining admissibility and inadmissibility of individuals entering Canada in the important role that CBSA plays.

My government investigative and private sector consulting experience has provided me with a rare opportunity to understand two very distinct perspectives. For over 34 years I had a law enforcement perspective. In that capacity, my perspective was government-investigative driven. For the last six years, in my current position as a consultant, my perspective has shifted to one that is industry-and compliance-driven.

Having been a liaison officer in Hong Kong from 1991 to 1994, I witnessed first-hand the weaknesses of our immigration system, wherein criminals were permitted to enter Canada virtually unimpeded, as was mentioned by my colleague.

Most recently, I oversaw a unit at Pace Law Firm, a firm that focused on immigration. At that time, I had working with me on that team the Honourable Gerry Weiner; the Honourable Sergio Marchi; Mr. Jim Metcalfe, who had 24 years of service with the departments of Citizenship and Immigration Canada and Foreign Affairs; Mr. John Burke, who had 30 years of experience with Immigration; and Mr. Scott Newark, a former prosecutor and a well-known government policy writer. During this tenure, I witnessed extreme weaknesses in our system relative to the determination of the admissibility of applicants, and I had an opportunity to explore those matters with the team. We wrote a number of position papers that did make their way to the government with respect to that.

I believe this provides me with a unique understanding of the responsibilities, sensitivities, challenges and frustrations experienced by the government in dealing with identification of individuals who have recently arrived in Canada.

The Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act has mandated that our financial sector become the eyes and ears of government in an effort to identify both criminals and terrorist risks, but I would suggest more needs to be done at the outset to ensure our first line of defence is efficient and effective.

Before delving into the issues of interest, I want to emphasize that I firmly believe that the catalyst for success hinges on rethinking the role of CBSA. I strongly believe the time has come to treat CBSA as a law enforcement organization with commensurate powers, responsibilities and accountability.

This requires having senior management with an executive law enforcement background in order to change the culture away from a bureaucratic, regulatory organization, which is far too risk-averse, to adequately deal with the environment Canada is exposed to. This will require CBSA to accept an enforcement role which will serve to clarify peace officer status.

To highlight the risk of adversity, I'm aware of a few recent events which this honourable committee may wish to pose to CBSA or the union. One case resulted in what I believe was a disciplinary investigation of two CBSA officers who assisted the RCMP, which required their leaving the point of entry. As a second example, I testified for the union where an alert of a possible dangerous criminal should have been provided to all points of entry, but management opted not to release the information, resulting in a hearing pertaining to the decision not to release the information flowing from a knowledgeable CBSA officer who voiced health and safety concerns.

I would now like to make some substantive recommendations in addition to what I've already stated with respect to the need for peace officer status clarification for CBSA. These recommendations flow from discussions with my colleagues. Mr. Sandy Boucher, whom you have heard from today, can elaborate further on some of the examples that we experienced and worked on while in Hong Kong.

We need to have a better system of detecting and preventing entry of inadmissible persons. We need to modernize the bad guy look-out system. I would add that it's not just admissible persons coming in, but in light of recent events of where we've got homegrown terrorists and individuals exiting this country, the same needs to apply on exit. We need to know who is exiting this country and why, and I believe we're failing miserably. Identify and ensure targeted domestic and international information sharing continues, improve and expand safe third-country agreement and regulations, restrict temporary residence permits issuance for criminality and security inadmissibility cases, modernize our inadmissibility grounds to include defined national security and public interest, ensure a deficit reduction action plan does not compromise screening and enforcement functions and ensure CBSA maintains adequate intelligence resources.

My information says that one of the things that they did with cutbacks was to eliminate a lot of their intelligence officers. In this day and age, that is, in my humble opinion, very flawed.

Ensure an exit/entry system is used to improve inadmissibility decisions. I would like to see, in our modern day, with all of the technology, a biometric lookout system. It's something I believe we need to employ. We need to enhance the screening of persons, again, both exiting and entering this country, and make sure that we have enhanced visa screening, including biometrics.

I would like to add that one of the things both my colleague and I do a lot on is teaching how to do risk assessments and risk assessment models with financial institutions. As you know, when you take a look at any of the large banks, they're not capable of looking at all the transactions that come through their system on a daily basis, so it has to be based on a risk-based approach. In all of my time of being involved with immigration matters — I'm testifying for the defence on two and have also done some expert testimony for the Crown — one of the biggest flaws is that everybody is treated the same when they look at it. It's impossible. As a result of it, I think we've done a real disservice to this country. Had they done a proper risk review, we wouldn't have let half the criminals in from Hong Kong and elsewhere that we did when I was over there.

We need to ensure adequate intelligence officers. We need to have an automated boarding clearance program. Again, it relates to risk profiles. Ensure low-risk programs, allow for automated border clearance and corporate CANPASS Air, but also make sure that they also have a sufficient level of screening. I would like to see an expedited removal of persons who are found to be inadmissible. That means that CBSA maintains an adequate number of enforcement resources with appropriate peace officer status. This gets rid of the issues around border patrol and when they pursue. I'm a very proud former member of the RCMP. I would do my career over in a heartbeat, but the RCMP can't be all things to all people. CBSA needs to stand up and be an enforcement agency as well. We need to have targeted inter-agency operational focus. I would like to see an amendment to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act to restore peace officer reporting of inadmissibles. Amend the CCRA, Corrections and Conditional Release Act, to prohibit early release, except for removal. Amend the International Transfer of Offenders Act to remove the requirement of offender consent for transfer, which in my mind seems somewhat ridiculous. Amend the IRPA to authorize use of — for release pending removal. Amend the IRPA to permit criminal sentencing court to order removal in defined circumstances, thereby reducing duplicative appeals. I believe, in our court system, properly presented with the proper counsel representing them, we go through a lot of systems of appeals. I believe that everybody has a right to appeal, but I think we take it one step too far, at a very high cost, which would free up those resources to do some of the war criminals and so on that our courts are bogged down with today. We have to streamline that through examples like this. Secure citizenship confirmation and entry, again through use of biometrics.

Secure the UN Convention against Torture arrangements with third countries so that we can allow people to go back, and I use the example of China. When I first started dealing with China, we had a number of cases, and the big concern was that you couldn't return anybody to China because of their sentencing provisions. They would probably be put to death. We have now returned people to China because we've got an agreement in place, and I think that can still apply to some of these other countries.

I'm going to move quickly to the fourth one, Mr. Chair. Preventing illegal entry between ports of entry is fundamental. I'm not sure we're doing a great job at the ports of entry. Biometrics can do a better job.

I have worked with CBSA for a number of years. I continue to have a relationship with a number of CBSA officers. I believe that by creating a police officer environment, that culture will create a higher degree of professionalism and a higher degree of accountability to the taxpayer in this country. I'm not trying to say that they're not doing an adequate job today, but I can tell you some things like Honourable Senator White mentioned about having oversight. There's tremendous oversight on everybody who is a peace officer. I believe it gives them a far superior thought process by having that peace officer status. It will improve their investigative prowess, which is sadly needed today, and give them the capability of being our front line of defence on the ports.

I think we need to authorize CBSA to be able to interdict between our ports. I can recall, many times, the RCMP getting a call that somebody has left the port in such-and-such a car and has taken off. That, in my mind, is ridiculous. We need to be able to have individuals on the port that have enforcement authority and can take that action. Calling a detachment that's 20 miles away is not going to solve crime in this country.

Then, the other one that came as a real surprise to me happened long after I left the RCMP. Most of you are aware that we have Shiprider, which is with the United States. CBSA isn't even part of it. It makes absolutely no sense for a country.

Last, relevant technology issues — again, I'm reiterating — face recognition, biometrics, electronic monitoring, automated analytical marine radar surveillance are out there. They exist. We're requiring our financial sector to implement a lot of tools now. We should be doing the same in government.

CBSA needs to become threat-focused and intelligence-driven. Just as their adversaries continue to evolve, so, too, must CBSA. We live in a time of acute and persistent terrorist and criminal threats to our national security, our economy and our communities. Therefore, every CBSA professional must understand that preventing the key threats facing our nation means constantly striving to be more efficient and more effective. To quote Steve Maraboli, author of Life, the Truth, and Being Free, the best way to succeed is to have a specific intent, a clear vision, a plan of action and an ability to maintain clarity. Those are the four pillars of success. It never fails.

I would like to thank this committee for affording me the opportunity to participate in this forum. I would be happy to answer any questions or elaborate on my statement.

The Chair: Thank you very much, gentlemen. It has been very informative. I would like to begin with one question if you have the information. When you refer to the peace officer status clarification for the members of the CBSA who are on the front lines, is that a status given to the equivalent on the American side and in Australia and in the United Kingdom?

Mr. Clement: Absolutely. I'll let my colleague elaborate further on Hong Kong customs. These are all enforcement-driven organizations. They became enforcement. I worked very closely with them on various enforcement initiatives when I was in the proceeds of crime program. It creates a total different culture. They are law enforcement. They have very good tools. The other thing I would add is that it created, in most cases — occasionally you get conflicts between organizations — healthy competition, which, in my view, was a real benefit to the country.

Senator Dallaire: We built the infrastructure of this country with the idea that nobody would ever attack us. We don't have octogenarian World War II veterans guarding the massive hydro capabilities in Quebec to start with, and any platoon of dummies could take that out no problem. I look at the Coast Guard, and they don't have any weapons. They don't have any interdiction capability, nor do they have an intelligence-gathering capability. They're certainly a whole world away from intelligence-based policing, which I know is still, in some police forces, a new capability that they're trying to grab, meaning going ahead of the actual crime and getting out the guys beforehand. We have a Coast Guard that doesn't look like the Americans' in any way, shape or form. We have a border guard that we're just arming now at a cost of a billion dollars, and they're still not too sure exactly whether they like that or not and how that will be used. They have no other equipment to neutralize people and still count on the police forces.

Then, you tell me that we have a national police force, the RCMP, that is to be the backup, the peace enforcement or the peace officers, and they can't be everything to everybody, right?

Are you saying that we change the nature of those instruments at our borders and institute in them a whole different ethos with regard to their role in the security of this country inasmuch as making them more offensive weapons than the purely monitoring instruments they are now?

Mr. Clement: Absolutely, senator. However, I'm not looking at it as an offensive action. We are taking a group of people and making them more proactive and making them more of a benefit. They are there on the border. They have the capability, and we've defined them partway as police officers by arming them; let's be honest. We've given them partial responsibility. I think it's a step in the right direction, but I don't know where the block is that we don't look at them as being an effective front line and give them a more defined mandate that can work in concert — I'm not saying in isolation — with current existing operations, but having the defined mandate to work. That would create an organization with more capability and capacity.

Rather than looking at the U.S. — because I agree with what you're saying in that the U.S. seems to do everything in a large way — take a look at Hong Kong customs. I had the opportunity to work with them. They traded commissioners, as my colleague will allude to. He was a deputy commissioner. He went over and took over the role of commissioner of the Hong Kong customs. They were a highly effective organization. One of the things they also did was to look at admissibility and helping out.

We've got this organization. It's costing a lot of money. They are terribly risk-averse right now, and is that really the organization we want in this current environment we live in?

Senator Dallaire: The term "offensive" is a military term, not a pejorative one.

We had the Coast Guard that, through its union rules, had problems saving people when boats were capsizing and things of that nature. Up north, we have a Coast Guard person, an RCMP person and a CBSA person. We have more people on those boats than Carter has liver pills, but they all have an angle to the problem.

If we want to give the CBSA peace officer status, we have to change the legislation of that organization because you cannot just give them that.

Mr. Clement: Correct.

Senator Dallaire: Why not do like the Germans and create one force that has components to it in which they can specialize, instead of having three or four different forces with all their infrastructure and overhead command and control capabilities?

Mr. Clement: My only argument to that — and I know there are varying arguments to be made that one organization can do it — one risk in that is that an organization can become too large, and I believe being too large does not necessarily make it better. I'm not convinced that having one organization would be the best way to go.

Senator Dallaire: A fast supplemental, if I may.

The Chair: Senator, I'm being very lenient.

Senator Dallaire: I'm sure you are. We'll debate that one day.

The Chair: I just want that for the record.

Senator Dallaire: I wouldn't have fiddled with the Germans at all, at any time, in that regard. However, it's a different scenario now.

Thank you for your responses.

The Chair: Senator Wells, and I'll try to be lenient.

Senator Wells: I wasn't seeking anything further than I would be due. Thank you, gentlemen, for your presentation.

Can you please discuss your experiences in seeking criminal records using INTERPOL and how that's linked with the systems that Canada has?

Mr. Clement: I can't go into it because I'm before the courts, but I have one good example. INTERPOL is a great organization. It bridges the gap, especially in countries that have not evolved as far as some other parts of the world. The dilemma, though, is that there is no vetting of anything that comes out of INTERPOL. As I said, I'm testifying in a case right now where it has really highlighted how extremely weak it is and how we as Canadians really need to look at where it's coming from, what's the corruption index of that country and whether that information is suitable to be relied upon. That's the dilemma.

We have to look at it, and that's where in some of these areas — I was fortunate to go into more difficult countries. Boots on the ground can bridge the difference, as can creating relationships in those countries, because you can't rely solely on what you might receive out of that country.

Mr. Boucher: There are a couple of points I would make to add to what Mr. Clement has said. First, many of the people I referred to did not have criminal records. They were criminals, but they did not have criminal records. That's a limitation.

Second, this is a good example of where sometimes governments and law enforcement agencies tend to rely on particular systems — the criminal records system, for example — that have all sorts of limitations. This may be one area where we need to branch out, because there's a lot of information out there that's not secure or confidential — it's public record — and it can be equally or more informative about what is going on in a country.

Senator Wells: Mr. Boucher, I think your third recommendation talked about screening tools that Canada should be using that private firms do use. What would some of those be? If they're cost-effective, or less costly and effective, what would those be, and why is Canada not using them, in your opinion?

Mr. Boucher: I'd like to clarify that I don't have a detailed knowledge of what is and isn't being used, but I believe there tends to be a reliance on those legacy systems, like the criminal records systems. In my inquiries, we rely purely on public records systems. The simplest example is news media databases. We use tools that cover 40,000 or 50,000 newspapers from around the world in many different languages. They're cheap and cost-effective. They go back 30 or 40 years. You can type in somebody's name and immediately you can get a lot of information. That may be oversimplifying it.

I believe some police forces use those tools now. We use tools built for corporations to understand about other corporations for credit and things. But when we're looking at people, it's not as simple as "this individual"; it's "this individual and all their front companies and their influences and associates." We use those corporate tools, which are designed for a different purpose, to understand the network of companies that an organized criminal group might use. Those are two examples.

But they're all public records. We use information from the courts, which is open source, and a range of other tools like that. I suspect that where there's a great deal of expense in having offices doing fieldwork and things, sometimes you can build a good base of background information using these open-source tools.

They're not the only answer, but they're cheap, quick and can give you a good source of information.

Mr. Clement: If I could add one point, I had an opportunity about two years back. I did training for a group of immigration file reviewers for the Province of Ontario. What I walked away with is that it really explained to me why our system is failing. No offence to them, but the training they had was totally inadequate. They didn't know how to review a file. They had no interviewing techniques; I spent a full day giving them interviewing techniques.

Also, they're relying solely on what's being provided by the applicant. I don't know an honest criminal, and that's the concern. Without doing that background and knowing where to delve into, those are the areas we're falling short on. That's where we need to tighten up.

The Chair: I will follow up on this so we have it on the record. I want to follow up on the 40,000 newspapers that you can access through a particular server. So you type Senator Segal's name in, and you immediately get this information, for what it's worth. You're saying that we may not be doing that as part of our normal course of reviewing someone's application coming into the country, if it's as easy as you say it is?

Mr. Boucher: Use of the tool is easy. The question in my mind is whether we actually give our government departments access to those kinds of tools.

Senator Segal: I have one question for each of our guests. First of all, with respect to their public sector careers, let me express my appreciation for the work that they did, both in terms of international policing in Canada. They were not jobs that involved zero risk personally or otherwise, and I for one don't take any of that for granted.

I wanted to ask a question of Mr. Clement to make sure I understood one of his recommendations. When you said, sir, that we really need to know who's leaving the country, we will have a recollection around this table of the legislation that was passed, which criminalized going to another country to do things that are illegal here. This was about people who might be travelling for terrorist or terrorist-related activities. One of the questions raised at that time was that we don't have exit controls. When the question was put to the various police agencies that were doing their best to help us, they said you would need to have a link-up with solid criminal intelligence, which would link up, in Toronto's case, to the Peel police. Hopefully with some cooperation with the airline they can engage before someone left, and certainly be able to engage before they came back. Perhaps there could be some lawful disruption that went on prior to their departure.

Does your recommendation mean that we should be putting all Canadians, when they travel, wherever they're going, through exit controls, which exist in some countries and manage quite responsibly? I want to make sure I understand that.

My question to your colleague is with respect to those folks who got into the country from the other places and should not have. You were kind enough to say not necessarily all of them had criminal records, to be fair. Was this because we had a looser system back then than we do now? I know the present government has taken a strong view that if the bureaucrats do not recommend an admission they will not go over their heads. They've been very formal about that. I'm wondering, in your view, whether that was a contributor to the looseness in screening out folks who came to this country. I leave that to you.

Mr. Clement: I'm now doing a lot of work in the area of cybercrime with organizations. The stats say now that one of six of us will be the subject of an identity theft in the next several years. With the statistics of what's happening in that whole arena, most people are naive and they don't realize how serious it's becoming. We are dealing with a lot of false identification out there. I think some of you would have seen the recent Ontario driver's licence fiasco. I was privy to that and worked with the media to get that story.

I'm also well aware of another incident; I talked about the change of name in the province of Ontario. All of these things, I believe, are showing us the new era that we live in. I don't think it's a case of whether we want to do exit screening; I think it's a case that we're going to be forced into it. With the amount of false documents circulating out there, the Ontario driver's licence is the one that really hit home for me. They were supposed to be ultra-secure licences and there were more than 100,000 of them out there. That gets you access to your passport, whatever.

We need to have biometrics at our exits, and we have to do a better job. I honestly believe it's going to be forced on us. We may not see it as an absolute urgency today. Five years from now, I think it will be an urgency. I believe in being proactive, so let's start, and it will prove beneficial to this country.

Mr. Boucher: Senator, as an officer in another country where we had a complete immigration system in one place, I can tell you it was a very effective tool. It doesn't mean that in any one case you might be able to get as far as stopping someone from doing something, but if you're trying to monitor sophisticated criminals, more often than not you're just looking at people. You may not know what they're doing; they may be doing three things at the same time.

I've done drug cases where the drug couriers took off when we surveilled them around the world. They ended up in Canada, and the so-called couriers tore up their passports, put them in the toilet and claimed refugee status. One minute they're doing one thing, the next minute another. We had a closely controlled system of entry and exit where, in a different country at a different time, I could monitor people going in and out. I could say there are law enforcement benefits to having a system like that. How you would create one now, I wouldn't hesitate to venture.

In answer to your question on some of the cases we talked about, Lee Chau-ping, for example, became a cause célèbre but she not only was involved with ongoing criminal activity but also was known. I believe a lot of those high-profile cases have been dealt with, and there have been improvements to the system, but unfortunately we are not catching lots of people we ought to be. It's more about the screening. Do you really know what's in this application? Is it true? Is this a real identity? It's the detail of the process and the overseas intelligence gathering about the person you're dealing with. Thank you, senator.

Senator Beyak: Thank you, gentlemen. I'm sure Canadians watching this broadcast are as reassured as I am by your knowledge and expertise and the presentations you've given.

I'm wondering in this enhanced CBSA role if you would see agents trained to be investigators in foreign countries speaking to people before they actually come here.

Mr. Clement: That's a great question. Absolutely. We do have a very good RCMP liaison officer program, but from having been there myself, you're covering multiple countries. It was because of an interest that I took on the whole immigration program. I did a lot of that in hours outside of what would have been a normal working day. For me, it was something I believed we had to do, so I really delved into it. I believe there is a role and it's an important one.

If I was sitting before you right now and saying I was running the CBSA as a commissioner in a police environment, I would be having a flying squad. I'd be looking at risk adversity, where the flow of illegal immigrants is coming from at the present time and putting boots on the ground. I may not have a station there for months at a time, but by doing that we send a clear and defined message that we're out there and Canada is not going to allow it to happen. I don't think we're doing that, and that's where it's falling down.

Mr. Boucher: The training of investigators is critical, and that can be a very early part of building those bridges with all sorts of other people outside. For example, many police forces, including Canadian police forces, will send local officers to train with other countries. They've built bonds with people in those forces and other places. That's how we build. When you get to someone like Garry or me who has been in the business for 30 years, we know people all over the world who can help us figure out what's going on. That's a good point.

The Chair: To follow up on that, when we talk about having our own investigative officers and boots on the ground, for example with respect to Hong Kong, how many investigators are we talking about? Are we talking 10 or 100?

Mr. Boucher: No, senator, you don't need lots of people because you're talking about intelligence-based activities. You're talking about having people who can undertake investigations legally in collaboration with the local forces that you're dealing with, but more importantly they're there to make a network and gather intelligence and information, which would be a much more important role than actual policing and investigations. It's an intelligence-gathering role. You're out there as the eyes and ears of Canada so you know who these people are long before they make an application. When it does come in, you know who you're dealing with.

[Translation]

Senator Dagenais: Thank you to the two witnesses.

My first question is for Mr. Clement. The committee understands that the RCMP focused its resources for vetting visa applications in three cities: Mexico, Kiev and Moscow.

However, we do not understand clearly how the 37 liaison officers posted to 26 locations around the world can interact with those three resources responsible for vetting visa applications.

Could you please describe the role played by RCMP liaison officers in Hong Kong and elsewhere, and how the duties that are carried out do or do not contribute with respect to the visa application requirements?

[English]

Mr. Clement: Thank you, Senator Dagenais. I would be remiss in trying to say because that has all changed since I left the RCMP. I can tell you about my time in Hong Kong. I worked almost hand in hand with the immigration department because the RCMP has a role, by statute, in the Immigration Act. I'll be quite honest: If it weren't for Brian McAdam, I wouldn't have been able to get access to files. I had some really heated debates with the people in charge of the immigration program because they saw it as a closed-door shop and that law enforcement shouldn't be involved. We agreed to disagree, and after a lot of debate I did get access to files. As a result, we became very effective because of my relationship with law enforcement and intelligence agencies. I was able to put concrete parameters around it rather than having to say, "We suspect this or that." I worked closely with Brian McAdam, and we were successful in keeping major criminals out prior to the amendment of the act when organized crime became a prohibitive ground. As you will recall, prior to that it was not.

How they interact today with those three vetting centres, I would be wrong in trying to comment as I'm not sure. I'd be surprised if there's much of a relationship.

[Translation]

Senator Dagenais: In your opinion, what is the logic behind the RCMP's allocation of resources to vet visa applications and how well does it address the risks raised by Chinese criminal elements wishing to exploit the vulnerability of the Canadian immigration system?

[English]

Mr. Clement: I honestly believe that we probably still have a naive understanding of China, the ability of Chinese officials and the amount of wealth continuing to come to this country. I wrote a paper a number of years ago about Asian organized crime and worked very closely with the Royal Hong Kong Police Association at the time. I read a paper in Canada that said triads don't exist. I would strongly suggest that today, the understanding of triads is that they exist in Chinese communities. As a result, there's a tremendous outflow of financial resources.

I guess where I'm coming from is that I'm not sure yet about the individuals coming over. The government recently changed our immigration program. People with wealth could buy a passport. That's really what it came down to. That has changed for the better because there was not the appropriate vetting of those people. When I did an audit at Pace Law Firm, I worked closely with Mr. Al Pace, who was the owner. We put a due diligence program in place such that with any person they represented, we did the background. You would be surprised how many we quit acting for because I was able to find it by using open-source information, which Sandy referred to. I believe we're still not doing an effective job.

I'll give you another good example. I've filed five intelligence reports over the past 18 months dealing with Iran and money laundering occurring in this country via unlicensed Hawalas, but there has yet to be an investigation into them. We talk about being concerned about terrorism and all that but it's still not happening. I've filed this with many organizations.

I believe we still don't have it right, Mr. Chair, and that we need effective resources and effective means. The CBSA needs to have more of an enforcement role as they can play a very important role. I'm sure this country will benefit from it. The RCMP was cut $195 million last year and another 15 per cent this year. How do we keep stretching them and saying they're going to do more? We need to take the resources in this country and use them effectively. We have all the right resources; we're just not using them effectively.

[Translation]

Senator Dagenais: I have a question for Mr. Boucher. In your international experience, where is Canada with respect to its ability to detect and counter attempts to compromise the integrity of our immigration monitoring system?

[English]

Mr. Boucher: Senator, I don't claim to have a broad knowledge of every country. However, I would say there are a couple of important factors. There's no doubt in any mind that Canada is a very attractive location for people to come to. Therefore, we're probably attracting a very high proportion of people out there looking for somewhere to go. My feeling is that we are not the most effective country, and we don't have the most effective system and network to try to prevent those loopholes from being utilized by criminal elements.

Senator White: I appreciate two comments you made, Mr. Clement: one in relation to the resources we have and using the most effective and the other around multiple agencies. Having been in the RCMP at the same time, you and I have always been defensive of the role we had in the country serving 800 communities. At the same time, many have questioned the role of the RCMP in some of those communities taking over municipal policing functions. I guess rather than argue whether we should have one organization doing border and security, and federal and international policing, if we were building it today, would you agree that there are many things we wouldn't be doing and, as a result, we would have to pick up some of those things we're not doing?

Mr. Clement: Senator, you're absolutely correct. As you are probably well aware, my application went in for commissioner. I wrote exactly that: If I were commissioner, I would put up a Chinese firewall between federal resources and municipal resources with the idea that at some point you could get out of municipal. I believe the RCMP is a federal police force. That's what its charter was. It does a phenomenal job; and you and I both know that. We've bled for the organization, and I will continue to fight for it; but I also believe that federal resources suffer as a result of it.

Senator White: Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and others have one organization that is successful. The Netherlands moved to that model five years ago because they felt that it shouldn't depend on relationships, and you talked about relationships and sharing information. It should be a requirement. One organization brings a requirement. When you have multiple organizations that acknowledge power is important to them, then we have challenges. About 80-plus per cent of our population live within 100 kilometres of our U.S. border, yet we don't have RCMP officers at every one of those borders.

I'll ask bluntly: If we could rebuild one organization today, do you believe we could have fewer issues around sharing information and be more vigilant at those border crossings, whether by plane, train or automobile, and that everybody coming in would be appropriately cleared either at their source or at our entry point?

Mr. Clement: Based on what you just said, I'm in 100 per cent agreement with you.

Senator White: Then we want nothing else. Thank you both for being here.

The Chair: I want to follow up on one item. I want to go back to other countries about looking for intelligence so that we can identify individuals that shouldn't come into the country — inadmissibles.

I understand that at various borders in foreign countries, we have what they call migration integrity officers or liaison officers that we employ through the CBSA. Isn't that their role, as you know it?

Mr. Clement: It is their role, but let me put it in context of a police culture. I'm sure Sandy is in a position to comment on this as well.

I did a study prior to going to Hong Kong on the value of keeping the Hong Kong office open, because 85 per cent, prior to my arrival in Hong Kong, was administrative telexes. The study basically was right from the force, major police force, that Hong Kong was of no value. You have to understand that this is from a major transshipment point for drugs and is also a place where we're getting a lot of immigration.

I went over my background. I have never apologized for this. I'm a cop, and always have been. I now work in the other world, but that was my background. Having done a lot of undercover work in organized crime, I have a real police thought process. That really worked well because, when I went down and met people like Sandy and his team, being able to relate on an investigation, you have respect immediately. That had not transpired previously, and it doesn't transpire going with a regulator into a law enforcement organization — call it cultural barriers — and it never will. We have a great relationship, senator, as you know, with the military and always have, but there is definitely a defined block from a culture. That's what you're dealing with. CBSA is not viewed as a law enforcement organization in foreign cultures.

The Chair: Could we take a few more minutes? I think Senator Dallaire has a question.

Senator Dallaire: A follow-up. Thank you, chair, for this. I was going to bring up a Sergeant Preston story, but I won't do that, apart from the fact that they did control the border in those days. In the 19th century, the RCMP had control of the borders on the West, particularly on the West side. I sat on the national police services advisory board for quite a few years. What surprised me, however, is that the higher authorities of the RCMP never raised the fact that they wanted out of the municipal-provincial role. I could never figure out why they wanted that, when, on the other side of their mouth, they were screaming for resources to be able to continue to build that national capability that they had.

Going back a bit to my original thought, do we continue to try to build up something that's not there, create an ethos, create a culture, create a whole realignment of an institution like CBSA, which is still young enough that maybe you say you can do it, or in fact do we shift gears significantly with the federal responsibilities on our borders and in those international spheres and put it where it should be in one institution that has different competencies in regard to border and everything else?

Mr. Clement: I go back to my agreement with Senator White. If you could tomorrow say that the RCMP was going to become solely federally focused, I would 100 per cent agree with you. I would like to say that that's feasible. As you know, some new contracts have been signed, fairly long-term, so in the short term it's not going to happen. My argument would be there is nothing wrong with making CBSA an enforcement agency with the goal of eventually bringing them over. You're then at least going to have police officers with a police officer mentality that can fold into the organization.

Senator Dallaire: May I just complement this, Mr. Chair? Those contracts provincially are not done in favour of the RCMP.

Mr. Clement: No.

Senator Dallaire: You're not making money with them.

Mr. Clement: I agree with you.

Senator Dallaire: It's not crediting the training or the experience that the RCMP should be getting to do its real job. I just do not know where they continue to want to engage in that dimension when we have vacuums of capability on our borders.

Mr. Clement: If I could make one last comment, I would argue that it is the uniform thought process and rank process that has been a real problem with creating expertise in the areas where we need it, and it has had a tremendous negative impact.

The Chair: Gentlemen, thank you very much for coming before the committee. It has been very interesting and informative. We are all going to walk away from here with a lot more information than when we first started.

In our final panel of the day, we'll be doing a pre-study of the budget implementation bill, Bill C-31. Specifically, the committee has been asked to consider those elements contained in Divisions 1 and 7 of Part 6 of Bill C-31, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 11, 2014 and other measures.

With us in this panel are four representatives from the Department of National Defence: Mr. Steve Harris, Director of History and Heritage; Lieutenant-Colonel Jeff Smyth, Director Defence Force Planning, Organization and Establishment; Lieutenant-Colonel Perry Poirier, Assistant G1, Canadian Army; and Patrick Bryden, G1 Heritage, Canadian Army. In addition, we are pleased to welcome, from the Royal Canadian Legion, Mr. Brad White, Dominion Secretary, and Mr. Danny Martin, Secretary, Defence and Security Committee.

Gentlemen, welcome. I understand you each have an opening statement. I would invite Mr. Harris to begin, followed by Mr. White. We have one hour for this panel.

Steve Harris, Director of History and Heritage, National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces: My name is Steve Harris. I've been employed at the Directorate of History and Heritage, DHH, National Defence Headquarters, since 1979, having previously taught military history and strategic studies at the now defunct Canadian Forces College Extension School, Armour Heights. I became chief historian at DHH in 2000 and have served as director in an acting capacity for the past three years.

DHH has the mandate to preserve, conserve and promulgate Canadian military history, and the span of our work covers museums, the music branch, drill and ceremonial, unit honours, war diaries, official history, the Canadian Forces Artists Program and, most generally of all, Canadian military heritage. We do not control policy. Rather, we advise the Chief of the Defence Staff through the Chief of Military Personnel and record and publish the results of policy in our manuals on behalf of the CDS.

DHH was involved in the matters before you only on the margins, on the periphery, and that's not really surprising. From a heritage point of view, the proposed amendments to the National Defence Act are not trying to fit something new to policies and practices, thereby requiring heritage advice, but rather, reintroducing terms and nomenclature that have been embedded in our military heritage, whether as law, regulation or practice, for decades. "Royal Canadian Navy" dates from the period 1910-11; "Royal Canadian Air Force" from 1924; and officially, "Canadian Army" from August 1940, but people spoke of a Canadian army long before that. Indeed, it is my sense that although these terms disappeared from official usage in 1968, they never really left public consciousness.

The same is true of the rank nomenclature being reintroduced. Many of these functional or regimental designations were in use before Confederation, and although most ceased to be used formally in 1968, they have certainly continued to be employed informally in-house up to today, because they are seen to reinforce the sense of esprit de corps that exists within the corps, branches and regiments of the army. In short, these terms, too, never really left public consciousness.

As a result, DHH's main role on these issues was to provide contextual advice on the translation of some terms into French. For example, we affirmed that both voltigeur and carabinier had been used for the English "rifleman" over the years and that either was consonant with our traditions. We explained that the literal translation of "colour sergeant" as sergent des couleurs was a misunderstanding of the English roots that of appointment and therefore not appropriate from the standpoint of traditions and heritage. We were able to provide some context on the various translations of "Royal Canadian Air Force," the first of which was Corps d'aviation royal du Canada and was the product of a First World War veteran of le Royal 22e Régiment who had that conflict's Royal Flying Corps in mind when he included Corps d'aviation in his dictionary.

In short, our contribution to this process, if you could call it a contribution, was really technical. That said, I would be happy to answer what questions I can.

Brad White, Dominion Secretary, Royal Canadian Legion: It's a pleasure to be before the committee. With me is Dan Martin, Secretary of the Legion's Defence and Security Committee. On behalf of the Dominion President of the Royal Canadian Legion, Gordon Moore, we offer our support to the changes being proposed to the National Defence Act but with a few caveats.

[Translation]

Our presentations today will be in English, but we will be able to answer your questions in French during the question period.

[English]

From a historical perspective, the changes to the names of the three commands specifically re-establishing the "Royal" to the titles is a positive acknowledgement of our military heritage. We do not view this as a step backwards but, rather, an appropriate correction that symbolizes our proud and accomplished military history, as well as signifying the portion of three distinct services both to the public, and more importantly, to those who have chosen to serve.

The Legion realizes that not all serving or recently retired members were or are advocates of this change. In fact, many have expressed their displeasure with what they see as a step backward. Unification occurred in 1968, and for over four decades, those serving did so under a generic system replete with neutral uniforms, ranks and a command structure. What was lost through assimilation was a lineage of accomplishment and a sense of esprit de corps that never completely disappeared but through time was severely diminished.

Today's serving personnel trace their history to unification. Re-establishing the ties that were lost will be a slow and, at times, bothersome process, but the Legion believes that through time, this initiative is the correct way to go.

The predominant concern of the Legion is the cost to conduct the transition and the effect on budgets. If given a choice between new titles and ranks or monies that would otherwise be spent on operational effectiveness or looking after our injured service personnel, we would certainly choose the latter. Too many times over the past decades new uniforms and accoutrements took precedence, leaving the Canadian Forces with outdated equipment, lack of spare parts, restricted training budgets to all, all to supply those serving with the new uniforms, most of which have disappeared into history today. I think I have had four or five different versions myself through my career.

Today's reality also now includes effective programming to look after our injured personnel and assist in their transition from military back to civilian life.

The implementation of new titles and ranks will cost money, and the funding must come from somewhere. The Legion advocates the implementation of these changes in an ordered and structured environment with the least amount of effect on those who are serving today. To do otherwise would be a disservice to those men and women.

The final point we would like to make deals with the appointment to the rank of master corporal. Historically, we believe that the rank of master corporal was made an appointment rather than a rank because of the administration required to amend the National Defence Act. With these amendments being proposed to the National Defence Act going forward, we believe that the rank of master corporal should be included in the rank system now being recommended.

The Royal Canadian Legion is in support of the changes to the National Defence Act and believes that over time, the historical connections will again take root and help reconnect today's military with that of their predecessors. We would be more than willing to answer any questions you have.

Senator Dallaire: The officers in uniform have nothing to say?

Lieutenant-Colonel Jeff Smyth, Director Defence Force Planning, Organization and Establishment, National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces: No, sir.

Senator Dallaire: I was in the first class to graduate out of RMC under unification in 1969. A bit of an advantage, because we got a free uniform, but we also got $400 to buy the old uniform, but we have ended up paying it back.

In 1986, the Conservative government brought in the three uniforms, of which the army decided to keep the green instead of going back to the khaki. It cost about $46 million, but an assessment was done that bringing back the accoutrements in a more formal way enhanced the pride, brought back the ethos, even the soul of the services, which brought an enhanced performance, cohesion by the troops to the task they had at hand. So there was an operational enhancement or increase by the fact you are rebuilding that sense of pride and cohesion which is so critical to people who face danger and don't have much else to protect themselves in the battlefield.

I didn't agree with us staying with the green, but anyway, that's another story.

Now, where we are with this thing, for many years many of us fought to bring back the old rank structure of the pips and crowns and red tabs of general staff officers and so on, but we've been now with this rank structure four 45 years and that has gone.

I'm retired, and many of us are retired, and so my question is this: Do we want those accoutrements coming back also, or would it not be sufficient just with the navy ring and the terminologies? Who in the hell initiated that exercise inside or from outside of DND, if you please?

The Chair: Would anyone like to answer that question?

Lieutenant-Colonel Perry Poirier, Assistant G1, Canadian Army, National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces: To be quite honest with you, I wasn't prepared to talk about the pips and crowns, as it were, the rank structure.

The amendments we have today deal with the return to the historic titles, and Colonel Smyth will talk to that. I'm specifically looking at rank designations, and the two are associated from the historical context — reintroducing tradition, et cetera; but the changes to the act we're dealing with today are specific to just rank designations, making official those terms that the army has been using even after 1968, such as bombardier and gunner, terms the artillery have been using all the time but they have not been official. That's what we are trying to do with these changes.

Senator Dallaire: You'll notice I'm wearing my regimental tie.

Lt.-Col. Poirier: That's why I mentioned it.

Senator Dallaire: Thank you very much. Am I wrong to say that the pips and crowns are coming back? If that's the case, why is that not part of the funding exercise that we're caught up in with Bill C-31?

Lt.-Col. Poirier: I'll speak for rank designations. There are no discernible costs associated with this current initiative. Why it's in Bill C-31 is not for me to say.

The Chair: Perhaps we should get this clarified. The actual implementation of this policy is going to be a minimal cost overall from your perspective; is that correct? Or if there is a cost, what is the cost?

Lt.-Col. Poirier: Sir, this just deals with rank designations, and there are no discernible costs associated with calling a private a soldier, a gunner or a trooper. We are simply trying to make official what regiments and corps have been using unofficially since 1968.

The Chair: Just to clarify for the record, what we're doing now with this particular aspect of the budget and the policy contained therein, effectively over the last 40 years this terminology has been used day to day, even though it hasn't been officially recognized, and subsequently we're putting that into place. I'm wondering if Mr. White had some comments with respect to that.

Mr. White: I take Senator Dallaire's comments. My experience is in the armoured corps, so we have been calling privates "troopers" for years, as every other combat arms has been calling their people by their generic names. As Lieutenant-Colonel Poirier is saying, this is just formalizing that issue.

When you start buying new pips and crowns and all the other accoutrements, that's when it starts to become an issue as to the cost expenditure. Frankly, I don't know what it is because we don't cost those things in the Legion.

Senator Dallaire: When is the implementation of the new rank designators?

Patrick Bryden, G1 Heritage, Canadian Army, National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces: The implementation of the rank, as per the soldiers — trooper, gunner, sapper — would happen as soon as the legislation can be effectuated. The identification of the officers is a partner for the identification of the soldiers; so the soldiers get their names, the officers get their new rank badges back. The implementation for that we're hoping is early fall 2014.

Senator Dagenais: In your view, Colonel Poirier, or the other witness, what is the opinion of serving members with regard to such potential changes?

Lt.-Col. Poirier: As I said, the rank designations that we're talking about, they have been using them since they've joined. Will they notice a difference? Yes, on their pay stubs it will say "Trooper Jones," not "Private Jones," and other official documentation like that; but to be quite honest with you, they would probably welcome it, if they noticed it. We're just trying to make what we do now official.

Senator Dagenais: They don't change the pay?

Lt.-Col. Poirier: No. They get the same pay.

Senator Dallaire: My brother-in-law says it's cheaper to give us medals than pay increases.

Dr. Harris, you're quite a scribe, historically, of course, and you've published. You also hold the war diaries at DHH. We know these terms have been used in the field; now they will be rendered official. This changes the nature of the ethics of it being legal for the forces to use these terms versus, with unification, all those terms were eliminated and at times we were not allowed to use them. Am I correct with that?

Mr. Harris: I can remember having to find ways to avoid using the term "army" or "air force" or "navy" that I found artificial at times because when people see somebody in a light blue uniform, the assumption is air force; a dark blue uniform, the assumption is navy; or green or the old tan that I wore with foot guards, army. These are coming back formally. It's really strengthening what existed in the ministerial organization order, which renamed the commands; but yes, it's now going to be embedded in the National Defence Act as these are examples of commands, which means the terms can be used for the commands.

As I said in my remarks, I really don't think that the terms ever disappeared from public consciousness, and I suppose as we approach the commemoration period when I expect we'll see books and documentaries and whatever about the Canadian Corps in the First World War or the Canadian Armed Forces in the Second World War, people will be hearing the terms Royal Canadian Navy, Canadian Army, and Royal Canadian Air Force in documentaries — ships of the Royal Canadian Navy patrolled the seas, squadrons of the Royal Canadian Air Force helped defend the United Kingdom against air attack.

To my mind, this brings that past back to the present and the present to the past, if you will. It just seems consonant to me that the terminology now is going to be the same.

Senator Dallaire: But for the troops to be able to use these terms, we are now able to do it ethically without going against any of the actual rules that unification brought in.

Mr. Harris: Yes.

Senator Dallaire: This cleans up an ethical problem within the forces in regard to their traditions and the application thereof?

Mr. Harris: It makes it very simple to speak about the Canadian Army, the Royal Canadian Air Force and the Royal Canadian Navy, whereas before —

Senator Dallaire: You weren't allowed. Literally, it was unofficial, and I've seen officers' careers affected by that term.

The thrust behind all this is of interest to me, because it's bringing closure from the uniforms to the nomenclature, making it official to the rank structures. It's closing the loop on the near destruction of the soul of the three services by unification, and throughout those 40-odd years, the reserves were particularly strong in fighting this and maintaining those traditions.

Where does the desire to do this come from? Is it political? Did it come from the forces? Did it come from Armed Forces Council? Did it come from cabinet? The Prime Minister? It is impertinent to our work because it is not written anywhere. Who is the core of this idea to bring all that back and make it official?

Mr. Harris: I can't answer that because we were involved only after the process began, when the question of the ministerial organization order came up. Certainly, in terms of that, it is a minister's prerogative to rename, but I don't know the source of this. I shouldn't say this, sir, but I joined the militia in 1963 and served into the 1990s as a military musician. Through that period, the sense that "Canadian Army" was really the term for what I belonged to was there; I don't think it ever disappeared.

The Chair: If I could maybe add to this, I think it's safe to say that at one stage or another there was a cabinet decision to proceed with this because we have the budget in front of us, and it's an item in the budget. Obviously, a political decision was made. The government chose to make that decision in respect of consultations with those who were involved. Obviously, we have it before us, and, quite frankly, I don't see a lot of opposition to it. Obviously there's a history here, for all of our Armed Forces, that we all want to remember and should remember. As you said, Senator Dallaire, it cleans up a situation where unfortunately, as you've said — and perhaps you might want to expand on that — individuals might have gotten in a bit of trouble because they referred to the Royal Canadian Navy when, apparently, you weren't supposed to.

So it would seem to me that a political decision was made, and, obviously, it is being implemented.

Senator Dallaire: Thank you, chair. We can't minimize the disciplinary actions that were taken after unification and the impact, including many general officers, particularly naval officers, resigning and a whole series of constructs, frictions, under-the-table actions and manipulations of uniforms and buttons and bows and so on over the years. This is not a small thing. This is not just that we've changed a name. This is a major step in the history of the forces.

I think there are still a number of members who are not sure whether this is the right answer. Some are not at ease with the change. Some have spent all of their careers with the new ranks that came out of unification. They have an attachment to that. They fought. They bled in Afghanistan with this rank. As my father fought with the Red Ensign, he had a hard time taking on the Canadian flag because it wasn't a flag under which he fought and had injured and lost buddies.

Obviously, the political side took a decision. I think it's worth people knowing the genesis of this move. If you're going to say, "Well, the minister decided it," okay, but I think there's something more to it than that. That's why it would be helpful for those who are not fully in line with this to understand that in order to accept it better. I think it's important that they do accept it. I'm not against it. It's just that I think I owe a loyalty to many years of serving under this old rank. Those who do believe that that old rank structure should remain deserve at least to know who did all of this to start with. That's in the positive sense. I don't see it as pejorative. I gather you can't give me that answer.

Mr. Harris: No.

The Chair: Colleagues, if there are no further questions, I'll ask the witnesses to be excused. We have a little bit more business that we have to do on the formalities of the committee.

I want to thank you very much for coming. I think, as Senator Dallaire said, the symbolism of the recommendations that have been put before us cannot be understated. I think it rectifies a decision that was made 40 years ago, and it's 40 years overdue. I'd like to thank you for coming, and we will proceed with the rest of the business here.

We have two more items of business, I believe. Senator Dallaire, I believe you have a report from the Veterans Affairs Committee with respect to the section of the budget bill that you and your colleagues dealt with.

Senator Dallaire: Thank you, chair. Yes, in accordance with the rules and regulations, I can provide you an oral report of this, although we do have written notes to the effect, remembering that the portions that we looked at — Division 1 of Part 6 of Bill C-31 — spoke specifically of the lifetime disability pension under the Pension Act and Earnings Loss Benefit under the New Veterans Charter. The people who fall into this category have had their pensions reduced by the amount of the Earnings Loss Benefit since April 2006 on that side.

We applauded the government for acting upon the Manuge decision that allows veterans to collect benefits that had been disbursed previously under their lifetime of benefit reception. That is a significant amount of money. The other two dimensions of the pensions from the New Veterans Charter have been included by the government in this process. It has been recognized and supported, in fact, by the Royal Canadian Legion that the clawbacks will stop and have stopped.

The retroactivity, however, may be a point of discussion in that it goes back only to May 2012. There was discussion of, "Why not go back to April 1, 2006?" The response we got was of a very complex administrative and fairness exercise that had to be decided upon. Politically, it was deemed appropriate that to bring everybody in line with the new charter requirements on the Earnings Loss Benefit, the May 29, 2012, reference point was to be applied. We have acknowledged it. Not all of us totally agreed with it, but we acknowledged it as being part of the process. So I recommend that that portion of Bill C-31 be accepted as part of an acceptable process for veterans' Earnings Loss Benefit, for cancellation of clawbacks and permitting the full benefits to be applied to them.

The Chair: Is it agreed that it will be reported to the chamber for their consideration? This is a process for all of us.

Senator Dallaire: We don't go to the Finance Committee? Very good.

The Chair: I'd like to ask for the permission of all members to report the item that we just dealt with, which was contained in Divisions 1 and 7 of Part 6 of Bill C-31. Can I have permission to also proceed with that to the Senate?

Senator Dallaire: I endorse it, absolutely.

The Chair: Is it agreed?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Colleagues, thank you very much, and I will now call the meeting adjourned.

(The committee adjourned.)