Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence
 

THE STANDING SENATE COMMITTEE ON NATIONAL SECURITY AND DEFENCE

EVIDENCE


OTTAWA, Monday, October 27, 2014

The Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence met this day at 1 p.m. to study and report on security threats facing Canada and on national security and defence issues in Indo-Asia Pacific Relations and their implications for Canada’s national security and defence policies, practices, circumstances and capabilities.

Senator Daniel Lang (Chair) in the chair.

[English]

The Chair: I would like to welcome everyone to the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence on Monday, October 27, 2014.

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. On my immediate left is the clerk of the committee, Josée Thérien, and on my far right is our Library of Parliament analyst assigned to the committee, Holly Porteous. I will now go around the table and invite senators to introduce themselves and state the region they represent.

Senator Mitchell: Grant Mitchell, deputy chair of the committee, and I'm from Alberta.

Senator Stewart Olsen: Carolyn Stewart Olsen, senator from New Brunswick.

Senator Kenny: Colin Kenny from Ontario.

Senator Beyak: Senator Lynn Beyak, Ontario.

Senator Ngo: Senator Ngo from Ontario.

Senator Day: Joseph Day from "J" Division.

Senator White: Vern White, Ontario.

The Chair: Colleagues, this afternoon the committee will be meeting to continue our two studies pertaining to our mandate of national security and defence. In the first two hours, we will look at the terrorist threats in Canada, and in the third hour we will focus on the Indo-Asia Pacific region as part of our second study.

Before we begin our study I wish to express, on behalf of all members and all senators on this committee, our deepest condolences to the families of Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent and Corporal Nathan Cirillo, our two Canadian Armed Forces members who were murdered by terrorists in Canada last week in two separate incidents. Canadians are proud of our women and men in uniform and we will not be intimidated, nor will we surrender to those who promote hateful religious and non-religious views as a means of advancing their political objectives. I also want to point out that, like many other Canadians and on behalf of members of this committee, we like to see our soldiers proudly wearing their uniforms in public. We must not be intimidated.

On June 19, 2014, the Senate agreed that the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence be authorized to study and report on security threats facing Canada, including but not limited to cyberespionage, threats to critical infrastructure, terrorist recruitment and financing, and terrorism operations and prosecutions, and that the committee report to the Senate no later than December 31, 2015. The Senate commenced this study because we, like all Canadians, are concerned about the threats to our safety and security. We wish to get to the core of the issue in a reasoned and well-informed manner.

Commissioner Paulson, we are very glad to have you here with us today along with Mike Cabana, Deputy Commissioner, Federal Policing, and Peter Henschel, Deputy Commissioner, Specialized Policing Services. You are not strangers to this committee, and I welcome you back. We hope this will be an informative session and that at the end of the day Canadians will have a better understanding of the magnitude the threat, the nature of support for those threats, a better sense of what radicalization means and the counter-radicalization that is taking place.

Commissioner I understand you have an opening statement.

Bob Paulson, Commissioner, Royal Canadian Mounted Police: Thank you, Mr. Chair and members of the committee.

[Translation]

I would also of course like to assure you that we will provide the committee with a copy of my opening remarks in both official languages as soon as possible. Given the ongoing changes in the situation and in our understanding of last week’s events, we had to make last minute changes this morning. Thank you for your understanding.

[English]

Thank you for the invitation to discuss the range of security threats facing Canada now and into the foreseeable future. I had originally intended to focus my comments on topics including cybercrime, cyberespionage and threats to critical infrastructure to name a few. However, in light of recent events in Quebec and Ottawa, I will focus on the threat of terrorism, specifically those intending to commit acts of terrorism both in Canada and abroad. That said, my colleagues and I are happy to take your questions on the range of security threats.

At the outset, I would like to again express the RCMP's condolences to the family and friends of Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent and Corporal Nathan Cirillo, as well as to all the women and men of the Canadian Armed Forces.

Terrorism has been a threat to Canada and to the safety and security of Canadians for many years. We are not and have not been immune to acts of terrorism. However, it does feel as though the events of the last seven days have led to a sense of loss and vulnerability not felt in this country for a long time. Perhaps most hurtful is that the attackers were Canadians. They were members of our own communities who somehow turned against their friends and families to commit violence and spread terror.

In light of such senseless acts it is natural to have a desire to seek out those who want to do us harm. However, we must be mindful that Canada is a nation of laws, and the Charter ensures the protection of all citizens. Terrorism is a serious crime with harsh penalties, and we must be sure that our pursuit of justice is based on evidence, which will support prosecutions, secure convictions and bring eventual penalties. Our approach must be balanced with dogged police work, evidence gathering and collaborative efforts with our partners, particularly those in the Public Prosecution Service of Canada, to ensure that the full weight of Canadian law can be brought to bear.

The RCMP is mandated to investigate and prevent terrorist activities. It is one of our most important duties, and we take this responsibility extremely seriously. Over the past decade we have been successful in detecting, disrupting, investigating and charging terrorists across the country. In total, 17 individuals have been convicted under Canada's anti-terrorism laws.

Just last week, Misbahuddin Ahmed, who was convicted in July, received a 12-year sentence for terrorist activities. We have also prevented a number of terrorist attacks through other disruptive means. We are leveraging our long-standing and effective partnerships with the police departments across the country, indeed the entire safety and security community, to combat this growing threat. Terrorism is one of our most challenging investigative areas. It is extremely difficult to detect the early signs of radicalization and ultimately determine if an individual may be preparing to launch an attack on any scale. Many of these individuals often show few signs of being disposed to violent action. Even those under close investigation often exhibit little to no warning signs before an attack is carried out. Ironically, the more elaborate the plot, the greater the opportunity for successful disruption.

[Translation]

Terrorism is one of the most difficult kinds of crimes that we have to investigate.

It is extremely difficult to detect early signs of radicalization and to determine whether or not a given individual is planning an attack, no matter what the scale of the attack is. Quite often the terrorist gives no indication of being disposed to violence. In most cases, even in those of individuals being investigated, there are few or no signs that they are about to take action. Ironically, the more sophisticated the plot, be better our chances are of foiling it.

[English]

Further, there is little commonality amongst these individuals besides their eventual radicalization. Our holdings tell us that they come from different socio-economic backgrounds, are of different races and have taken vastly different paths to their eventual radicalization to violence. The attacks of last week underscore the challenges faced by the security and intelligence committee. These acts were carried out with no advance warning and, thus far, seemingly little to no preparation. The events of last week are clear examples of just how suddenly these attacks can occur and how unpredictable radicalized individuals can be.

As you are all aware on Monday, October 20 at 11:40 a.m., Martin Couture-Rouleau struck Canadian Armed Forces members with his vehicle in the parking lot of a shopping plaza in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, and on October 22, beginning at 9:52 a.m., Michael Joseph Zehaf-Bibeau opened fire on the ceremonial guards at the National War Memorial. He then headed to Parliament Hill. After entering the grounds, he commandeered a vehicle and drove to the main entrance while being pursued by RCMP. Upon entering Centre Block, he engaged in an exchange with House of Commons security and RCMP officers where he was killed. Neither of the individuals in these events was linked, nor were they a part of a coordinated attack.

If prevention poses challenges when we are aware of an individual, it is even more daunting to prevent the acts of someone unknown to us. We did not learn until after the attack that Zehaf-Bibeau was hoping to leave for the Middle East. While we now have a video he made describing his ideological and political motives, our investigation is determining whether he had shared or communicated these intentions to commit violence to anyone. Just like the earlier incident that week, the attack came without warning. Unfortunately, we are all too familiar with the unpredictability of these events.

These attacks were similar to the deadly events of last June in Moncton, New Brunswick, where three RCMP officers were murdered and another two wounded by an individual radicalized to violence by another political ideology. While hindsight offered some indication of potential violence, there was no forewarning. While we are facing this threat at home, we must focus efforts on preventing individuals from travelling abroad to commit acts of terrorism. Preventing the individuals from travelling is critical. If these individuals return with training and/or battle experience, they pose an even greater threat to Canada and our allies.

We are seeing a growing number of Canadians drawn into the ranks of ISIS and ISIL and al Qaeda and attempting to or travelling abroad to conduct terrorist-related activities. In January 2013, two Canadians participated in an attack on an Algerian gas plant where 36 people were killed. Since then, still others have gone to join conflict zones in places such as Syria and Iraq.

We are taking active measures to address these threats. Internally, we have implemented a range of activities to detect, prevent and respond to terrorist activity. This includes leveraging our domestic and international partners and identifying new and unique ways to combat this threat. Operationally, the RCMP-led Integrated National Security Enforcement Teams based across the country have been fully mobilized to address the threat of high-risk travellers. In addition to the existing 170 resources, we are reallocating the necessary funds and personnel from other priority areas to combat this threat. In recent months, and over the past week, over 300 additional resources were transferred in to enhance the capacity of INSETs from other federal policing priority areas such as organized crime and financial crime.

We are continually assessing the threat and the required resource levels and taking the necessary steps to reallocate resources as required. Additionally, other partners have contributed resources to our INSETs. Further, the wider law enforcement communities in Canada and abroad continue to offer their help and assistance.

We are meeting daily with our partners at the Canadian Security Intelligence Service to assess the threat posed by known, high-risk travellers and those radicalized to violence. The RCMP has established a group which has resulted in an unprecedented level of interdepartmental cooperation. The high-risk travel case joint operations centre is housed within the RCMP op centre in order to respond in an expedient manner to changes in threat and to bring the full powers of the Government of Canada to bear the moment an individual is identified.

Our partnerships are not limited to the security and intelligence community or law enforcement. The active engagement, cooperation and support of the community are key to our efforts. It is likely that family, friends, teachers and community members will be the first to see the radicalization process begin and perhaps hear the first threats of violence. For example, it was the concern and vigilance of the family and friends of Couture-Rouleau that brought him to our attention.

Early notification of sudden changes can be key in assisting an individual before they become radicalized to violence. These changes vary. It could be anything from withdrawal from positive social interactions and activities to isolation, segregation, expressing increased hatred or espousing the virtues of violence and expressing an "us versus them" understanding of the world. These are often not criminal actions — far from it — but we would suggest that friends and family members pay close attention to these indicators and reach out to law enforcement or other services in the community if there are concerns.

The RCMP and the broader law enforcement community recognize that the best way to prevent terrorism is to prevent radicalization in the first place. We are doing this through countering violent extremism efforts and programming. The RCMP, in collaboration with key partners, is implementing a program to provide front-line police officers and the community with the tools they need to recognize and assist individuals at risk.

In closing, I would like to reiterate what I said in my comments to the media last week: Canadians are safe. Fundamentally, the events of last week have not changed us. This was evident last Wednesday when citizens joined with police, medical technicians and military personnel to protect and provide medical aid to Corporal Nathan Cirillo. There were other acts of bravery and examples where citizens cooperated with law enforcement. In the face of this adversity, Canadians of all faiths, races and political persuasions came together to protect and support one another. I am confident that this will continue.

Thank you very much for your time, and we're happy to answer any questions.

The Chair: Thank you very much, commissioner, for being with us this afternoon and for your informative presentation. I would like to begin with a question. The question that's outstanding for Canadians is what exactly is the magnitude of the public threat that we as a country and as Canadians face going forward. I want to refer you back to the document called Security, Freedom and the Complex Terrorist Threat: Positive Steps Ahead, which was a report by the special Senate committee in March 2011 chaired by Senator Segal and Senator Joyal.

The statement was made:

. . . the RCMP has estimated that as many as 50 terrorist organizations are present in some capacity in Canada, and, as of May 2010, CSIS was investigating over 200 individuals in Canada suspected of terrorism-related activities.

Commissioner, can you provide us with an update for 2014 in view of what we were facing back in 2010?

Mr. Paulson: Thank you, Mr. Chair. I guess the best way to frame up the magnitude of the threat, you will have heard perhaps that I had sort of assigned a number when I was at another committee hearing, talking about the number of individuals who were identified as high-risk travellers. At the time, I think I identified 90; last week it was 93. It's a number that fluctuates in terms of the identification of people who for one reason or another and to one level of understanding or another want to go abroad, participate in terrorist activities, participate in jihad. That is one way of understanding that element of the threat.

We do, however, have a number of other active investigations in partnership with the intelligence service. How to frame that in terms of the numbers of individuals, there are both individuals who are of high risk, perhaps arising from radicalization, and there are others who are being actively investigated for criminal offences related to national security. So I think the magnitude of the threat is perhaps best characterized as serious and present and one that requires all people in the national security business, in the law enforcement business — indeed, all Canadian citizens — to be vigilant.

The Chair: I want to pursue my initial question. I go back to the statement that the RCMP estimated that as many as 50 terrorist organizations — not individuals, organizations — are present in some capacity in Canada. Is that true today?

Mr. Paulson: I can't really say in terms of the number of terrorist organizations. We are framing up our targeting on the back of individuals, some of whom are inspired by the broader sort of al Qaeda threat, and others who are inspired by the recent ISIL phenomenon.

In terms of the organizations, I'll ask my colleague Mike Cabana to speak to you.

Mike Cabana, Deputy Commissioner, Federal Policing, Royal Canadian Mounted Police: Thank you, commissioner.

Senator, maybe my answer will not be quite as helpful as you would like. We start first by understanding that 53 different organizations are listed as terrorist entities in Canada currently, so there is a slight increase from 2011. But I think the danger in trying to quantify or define the level of the threat through numbers is rather a daunting one but also a dangerous one.

The threat is multi-dimensional. It involves the high-risk traveller that has been the subject of much discussion over the past week or so, but it also involves actual organizations that are operating in Canada. There are individuals coming back to Canada from participating in foreign conflicts. We have individuals in Canada who are attempting to travel abroad for the purpose of participation. Then, of course, we have organizations here in Canada that are involved in supporting the terrorist organizations through recruiting and funding. I would caution about trying to put an inventory in place and define the threat based on number of organizations.

The Chair: Perhaps I could pursue that later on.

Senator Mitchell: Thank you to each of you for being here. I do want to underline the gratitude of the people of Canada. For every person on the Hill and who works there it was clear that there were a lot of RCMP uniformed men and women going directly at that gunfire, and it was very inspiring to see that.

I would like to do two things to refine further the chair's question. First of all, he is talking about the magnitude of the threat. Maybe it's a fine distinction, but in terms of the nature of the threat, is it more likely we have the single gunman, the single car driver? How do you compare that possibility to larger possible attacks, bombs or even more coordinated attacks with more coordinated, organized organizations?

Mr. Paulson: Thank you, senator. As I said in my opening comments, ironically, the more elaborate the plot is, the more likely it is we are able to respond in advance. There are probably more indicators that will come to our attention of a developing plot.

To the heart of your question, I think the threat, which is continually evolving, is now predominantly being understood as that sort of single individual actor doing things like using his vehicle as a weapon. So that presents a much more challenging threat. In that sense, I would suggest that the threat has evolved to a state which is much more challenging and disconcerting for law enforcement in terms of responding to that lone actor.

Senator Mitchell: And to go further still in pursuing this line of questioning, over the last number of days I've been asked this question many times and we’ve read about it: How is it that if there are 80 returnees that you and others have alluded to, from fighting or some terrorist activity abroad, they can still be functioning here in Canada in freedom? How is it that for somebody whose passport has been taken back, as was the case with Couture-Rouleau, we can't secure that person more? If you are following 90 people, what level of restrictions and monitoring can be brought to bear?

Are there gaps in your authority? Are community programs not broadly enough based? Is that outreach not working? I don't mean to be critical at all; I'm trying to get to the root and nature of the problem.

Mr. Paulson: Perhaps I could begin to answer your question. I will invite my colleague to weigh in because it is an important question. Couture-Rouleau is a very good example of having the suspicion, having the instinct and intuition that his intention was to travel abroad to participate in jihad. Certainly that was the family's concern as he was radicalizing.

In a law enforcement response, we have to translate those misgivings, intuitions, thoughts and concerns into evidence that will permit us to make an arrest, bring a prosecution, and provide the evidence to a court to have a conviction.

The challenges are multi-dimensional in the sense that we need to have evidence of his intent — never mind him for a second, but somebody else who has been abroad and come back — have evidence that they did participate in some of these activities that were related to a terrorist group. So it's the transition from the apparent belief and suspicion to the hard-core evidence that is tangible, articulable and transferable to a courtroom.

Mr. Cabana: Actually, commissioner, it was very well said, very eloquent. I'm not sure there is much I can add. Whether there are gaps in the tools we have is actually the subject of analysis and review on an ongoing basis.

I can assure you that the RCMP and its security partners, including the rest of the law enforcement community in Canada, work consistently at identifying what those tools are and leveraging every tool that is at our disposal to try to prevent anything else from happening.

Senator Mitchell: This relationship between the preliminary work that CSIS does — and CSIS has told us that they follow people up to a point, and there is a threshold point at which the RCMP become involved — how is that coordination working? Would it not be more productive to have the RCMP involved earlier? Is there a strong coordination of those two forces, or is that a place where there is a weakness?

Mr. Paulson: I would say that's a place where we're quite strong. We have been working on that since I've been in Ottawa, and we have gotten the relationship and the day-to-day operations between CSIS and the RCMP to a place that is very effective. There are challenges though that remain.

I understand you are going to talk to our colleagues in the Canadian Security Intelligence Service. We continue to be challenged with the transition of intelligence into evidence. That is a seemingly intractable condition of our work, because on the one hand we would have intelligence that the service might have from other sources or from their sources and methods that cannot be revealed. It makes it a challenge to bring that intelligence, which may give rise to a very strong suspicion and belief, into the criminal context, which requires a complete examination and exposure of the sources, to be able to weigh and test the nature and quality of that intelligence.

We have done a lot of improvements over the years in terms of handing off investigations, us being involved in the early part of the CSIS work, to be able to assist at informing the criminality that is arising to a point that requires intervention; hence, our 17 successful convictions, frankly. That has all been done through painstaking work between CSIS and the RCMP.

Every day we're sitting down with those folks, looking at our holdings and de-conflicting our holdings, and we continue to work effectively. But I would be less than forthright if I said it was all blue skies and green lights. We have challenges with respect to transferring intelligence to evidence.

Senator Stewart Olsen: Thank you for coming. After the events on the Hill and being at home this weekend in New Brunswick, I think we live in a country where people are not accepting of acts like this. One of the things that were very clear to me when I stopped at the National War Memorial this morning is that people want to know what they can do to assist. They don't expect our security and police services to do everything. You did mention something about ramping up programs so that Canadians can help, but if you could give some idea of what they can do, because overriding our meetings in this study is the security of Canadians and protecting Canadians. I know that's your overriding principle as well.

Mr. Paulson: Thank you for that question. Let me begin by saying you're absolutely right that a key solution to our challenges lies within our communities. What I mean is what I mentioned in my opening comments, which was encouraging and having people in our communities confident in referring changes in behaviours, unusual developments and suspicious circumstances to police.

I will use the analogy of a parent who is concerned about a child's drug use. They recognize that there is a problem, but they're reticent, and understandably so, to bring that forward to the police because the police response will be understood as an enforcement action on that drug use. We need to persuade Canadians and to develop their trust such that the problem of a significant change in behaviour giving rise to misgivings about a person's radicalization needs to be quickly identified to the appropriate authorities. We have a very effective network of law enforcement across this country, not just the RCMP but municipal police forces and provincial police forces, which are informed and ready to be able to manage that response. I think that's where a big chunk of the answer lies.

Senator Stewart Olsen: Having gone through the whole situation in Moncton as well, New Brunswickers are very concerned and wanting to help prevent something like that from happening again. They have identified, though, that they don't know quite how to go about it.

Do you have something in place that is easily accessed and perhaps secure for them? Of course, there's always a fear if you call the police or whatever. They will need some specific information about how to get a hold of you, how to report and also perhaps that list of what you should look for. I'm just hoping that you will be able to reassure me that you're thinking of how to put this all in place.

Mr. Paulson: Certainly we're thinking about it, and indeed much of it is already in place. One of the features of our countering violent extremism strategy is that every police force across this country has effective access points for the community to reach in on matters of prevention and matters of intervention. One of the things we're doing is using that infrastructure, if I can refer to it that way, to overlay the national security response.

We also have several other programs that I've referred to in other appearances. Our front-line counterterrorism information officers bring those pre-attack indicators and suspicious behaviours not just to the attention of police officers on the front line, which is vital to have, but also into the community so that people understand what it is they're seeing, what it might mean. It's one thing to say, "Johnny is behaving in a strange way." It's another thing to say that strange behaviour requires some steps beyond those that I can provide as a parent, a friend, a colleague or a neighbour.

Senator Day: Commissioner, gentlemen, thank you very much for being here. I support all the comments that have been made in relation to our support for the men and women in uniform. I hope you will take that back to the members of the RCMP, that we're fully supportive. The questions we are asking will hopefully be helpful. Both of the points that I wanted to follow up have already been touched on.

The first one, commissioner, is the relationship with CSIS. I think the importance of the transition from the intelligence investigation that CSIS does and the criminal investigation that you do and the relationship thereof can’t be overemphasized. We don't want two solitudes here. I heard what you said and your answer. I'm going to assume that you feel that things are flowing nicely, but I will ask the same question of CSIS when they are here in that regard.

You may comment on that if you like, and if there is some investigation or study going on to make sure that flows, I would be reassured by that.

Mr. Paulson: Let me take a quick second to say that for the last seven or eight years, I personally have been involved with colleagues in recognizing the importance of that relationship, recognizing that in this context, everything that we do, every piece of information that we have in the national security business, CSIS gets. We are continually making sure that they get all of our information.

In terms of getting the information from CSIS, as I mentioned in my previous answer, we need to be particular and purposeful in how we take that information from CSIS to build our investigations. We will continue to and often do run parallel investigations, not tripping over each other. We have accomplished some significant breakthroughs in terms of relying on each other's equipment and relying on each other's authorizations lawfully. We have come quite a long way. The relationship with CSIS is very strong, sound and functional.

Senator Day: Thank you. The other area Senator Stewart Olsen touched on, and I would like to re-emphasize, is that all of us here have returned to our regions across Canada, and I happen to be from the same province as the senator. Our communities are smaller, and most of the people I have talked to can't understand why someone who is starting to change his or her attitudes and is starting to say things that are worrisome, why that can't be brought to your attention. You're policing in many of the provinces as well, and hopefully all of your officers doing either national or provincial work will be trained the same way.

It seems what we're seeing now is not necessarily an ideological driving force but someone who has an emotional or mental problem and is focusing on people in uniform to vent that hatred that has developed. It seems to me that the ideological aspect of this is an adjunct to looking for some place to hang your hat and say, "I'm doing this because of this."

So it's the importance of being able to monitor activity that could develop into something very serious, like we've seen. With that background, could you tell me what your counterterrorism information officer and that newly created position are doing along those lines?

Mr. Paulson: Maybe I'll invite my colleague Deputy Commissioner Cabana to speak to that. I've mentioned some of it. We have the countering violent extremism program that we are, as we speak, rolling out across the country. We have other programs that pre-exist and are being supported and have been quite successful in many regards. I will ask Mr. Cabana to speak to that.

Mr. Cabana: Thank you, commissioner. Senator, as Commissioner Paulson mentioned, there are a number of programs, the most recent one being the countering violent extremism strategy that has been implemented, that seeks to provide front-line enforcement resources from other agencies, but also from the RCMP, with the necessary tools and knowledge to be able to identify if they are potentially dealing with the onset of radicalization but also how to deal with it.

There are many different components to it, but I would say one of the key components is the creation of community hubs, which engage a number of different specialists from different fields, such as health and social services, that come together once cases have been identified and develop a custom, tailored approach to each individual in an effort to provide them with the necessary support in order to change their way of thinking, if you want.

Mr. Paulson: In other words, if it's, as you mentioned, a mental illness issue perhaps or a drug addiction issue, compounding and interfering with the ability to get that person off this road of violent radicalization, then we will bring in and assist people at brainstorming, problem-solving and providing professional support to get to the heart of the matter.

Senator Day: I'd like you to comment on whether you have the sufficient resources and legislation to do just that, the intervention and preventing it from getting worse.

Mr. Paulson: As I've said — I'm not sure if I said it here or not, but I have said it in other places — current circumstances are requiring that we move our resources around within federal policing, and we're bringing all the resources we need to do this, and it's getting done. What's happening is other areas of our responsibilities and our mandate are being impacted, perhaps in organized crime or in financial integrity matters, but we have the resources that we are devoting to get this up, running and effective.

Senator Ngo: Thank you, commissioner. You mentioned you have about 90 or 93 high-risk individuals who have been identified, who have left for abroad and have come back. Those are the high-risk ones. Do you have anything like medium risk? If you have medium-risk ones who support or associate with radical Islamic extremism, do you have a list, and do you have any idea how many people are on that list? Can you characterize what "medium risk" means?

Mr. Paulson: Thank you for that question. You're referring, as I mentioned before, to our high-risk travellers program, which is now a task force, where I had recently identified 93 individuals as having been listed as high-risk travellers, either individuals who want to go abroad or who are abroad and want to come back. We are investigating that and we are managing that, and in fact, we are working with our partners at CSIS in a daily re-evaluation of that.

Let me talk about that other group of individuals, let's call them high-risk individuals, who for one reason or another we have a basis to suspect have taken the path towards radicalization. We have a number of those individuals as well. What we've been doing in the recent past with the service has been going back over all of our holdings, all of them. We have sort of recast and re-evaluated the basis upon which we have come to understand the threat posed by these individuals. And with our partners across law enforcement in Canada, with the service, with us, we have made sure that the evaluation of the threat on those people is articulated and is responded to in a way that gives us confidence that the threat posed by the individual is being responded to by either the intelligence service, the RCMP or the partner police agency.

Senator Ngo: Thank you, commissioner. If that's the case, how do you approach them, the so-called medium risk I'm talking about, not the 90 high-risk you mentioned? How do you approach them? Do you seize the passport, or what are the steps you have taken in order to evaluate the medium risk? And if there is, do you face any other radical Islamic extremists in Canada?

Mr. Paulson: The way we assess the risk is on the basis and reliability and accuracy of either the intelligence or the information that is bringing them to our attention in the first place. An evaluation process is applied. Who are these people? What is it that is being said they are intending to do? What is the nature and quality of the evidence and intelligence giving us an indication of what they intend to do? Then we will classify them as requiring immediate response, perhaps, in terms of a criminal investigation featuring wiretaps, surveillance, perhaps even, if it's manifest enough, an arrest and charge, all the way down to surveillance, to intervention for an interview, to perhaps an intelligence file for the service. The seizing of passports or the application for a revocation of passport is one of numerous tools that are available in this sort of non-charge space.

The ideal condition for me, the simple country cop, is we've got evidence, we bring this person under arrest, we bring him to court, charge him and convict him and deal with him. That's how we would like to roll.

There are a number of cases, as I have been mentioning, that fall short of that; and so we have to have a strategy to intervene, surveil, acquire more evidence, intervene, prevent, as well as detect and prosecute. That, in a nutshell, is our strategy.

The Chair: Could I perhaps go further on that question? At the outset we talked about wanting to look at the magnitude of the public threat that Canadians are facing. We've been told, and you have been very transparent and clear about this, there are 90, 93 travellers. It moves; it is fluid.

What I'd like to get at is, below those travellers, the high risk, let's go down to that medium level or even the lower level. What are we talking about in magnitude of individuals involved in this type of ideology, this type of mindset? Are we talking 300, 500, 1,000 people that between the RCMP and CSIS have been identified so that eventually as they become more involved, then they become high risk? They have to be identified at the beginning, so perhaps you could expand on that.

Mr. Paulson: I don't know how useful it is to understanding the threat to have a number assigned to that. Just for an order of magnitude, frame of reference, we can talk about thousands of police occurrences where people will have identified individuals who will require a response.

Those would be from "I don't like the look of that person I saw on that bus today, really looked shifty" to "I was in the bar last night and I heard this person plotting to blow something up" to "got pictures of this person putting together a plan." That's the range.

I think that, again, it's not particularly helpful to understand the magnitude of the threat, because as we go through the events, such as the terrible events that we have just gone through in this past week, people's interest spikes and we begin to get a lot of "don't like the cut of that person's jib on the bus this morning," but we are talking as an order of magnitude in the thousands.

Senator White: Thank you for being here today, and congratulations to your members in managing both incidents last week, one as a secondary but one as a primary, and thanks for that. Also, thanks for the transparency you showed. I think it was helpful to people living in the city to see you show the videos and explain the circumstances.

Deputy Cabana, you talked about the radicalization and the shape and a little about the perspective even around the New Brunswick incident as some form of radicalizing of someone's ideology, which isn't what we think about when we think about radicalization. We often hear about the Internet and how it allows people to become radicalized, but we also hear, if we look at the Toronto 18 case, circumstances around radicalization happening face to face often in institutions in this country.

Do you have the tools to manage those face-to-face encounters from an ability to stop some of the activity happening that does take someone who is at risk mentally, drug-induced or others, stop those individuals from radicalizing the people that we are seeing committing the acts, or do we need to step forward and start having changes in hate legislation or something else that allows us to attack those individuals? I can't repeat the question. I apologize.

Mr. Cabana: No, I don't think you need to. It's not an easy question to answer, whether we have the necessary tools to be able to address that issue.

Of course, first and foremost, it's important for us to have the knowledge that the issue exists in the first place with respect to certain individuals. I would say that when we have that knowledge and the individuals are brought to our attention or identified for us, whether the discussion occurred face to face, if you want, or even over the Internet, we're leveraging the tools we have to the extent that we can.

Unfortunately, as we saw in recent events, the ability — I'm not sure what kind of tool we would have to have in place to be able to prevent all kinds of incidents like the ones we saw last week, especially if the planning behind the incident is done just by one individual with very little collaboration from anybody else.

I realize I probably didn't provide the answer you're looking for, but I can't think of a tool that would actually allow us to make sure that there will never be any other incident.

Senator White: Have we successfully prosecuted anyone for successfully radicalizing someone else in this country? Is there a prosecutable offence?

Mr. Paulson: Yes, there is.

Mr. Cabana: There is. We have not, but yes, there is.

Senator White: So we have the tool from a legislative perspective?

Mr. Cabana: Yes, we do.

Mr. Paulson: That's right. In fact, not just these recent events, but a focus of our concern in the follow-up investigation, particularly in the Ottawa event, is to satisfy ourselves that there is no one behind this character. Were we to have the evidence, we would certainly bring a prosecution or a charge against those individuals — not just asking community members to give us indicators of people's behaviours but asking people to give us information about people who are leading this radicalization effort, because some people are vulnerable and some people are being taken advantage of and some people are taking advantage of these people, and those are high-value targets, in my mind.

Senator Kenny: I have three areas I want to touch on.

The first has to do with cooperation with CSIS. Your organizations have different objectives. For some time we've had the impression that the objectives would be at cross purposes. If you want to collect evidence and prosecute somebody, and they want to collect intelligence and keep on collecting intelligence, from the way you described it, you make it sound like everything's working well there. My impression is that this is a constant debate and that it's a challenge.

Mr. Paulson: I would agree with you, senator. You will recall my misgivings about our abilities to transition intelligence to evidence. Let me give you a real, concrete example of where we in the police have taken steps to contribute to a much more effective relationship, and that is in the case of these boats that were trying to come to Canada. We have shipped officers shoulder to shoulder with CSIS and other agencies of the Government of Canada abroad, and we had to demonstrate and say, "Look, we're not going to wreck everything by insisting that we manage everything towards a prosecution. We're going to help get to prevention." Prevention is equally our mandate, as is enforcement.

It's taken a little bit of a culture change within our world, which I'm proud to say that we've accomplished in that sense. But there is still work to be done on the broader sort of issue of that intelligence to evidence.

Senator Kenny: Did I understand you correctly through an earlier question saying that you saw no further need for legislation to enhance your ability to do your work?

Mr. Paulson: No, I didn't say that.

Senator Kenny: Were you close to that? The question came up with Senator Day about what sort of tools you require, and he was referring, I believe, to legislation. If you didn't say it, could you tell us what tools you do need in the way of legislation?

Mr. Paulson: I think that is being examined as we speak in terms of what some of the options would be. Frankly, generally speaking, I am of the view that in some areas we need to be able to lower the threshold and perhaps exclude some steps, for example, getting consent from the Attorney General in respect of bringing a peace bond against a national security target. I think that the thresholds for belief of either an offence being made or an individual being involved in that offence need to be lowered to a reasonable suspicion as opposed to a reasonable belief. There are some things that need to be addressed in the short term, and they've been identified and certainly we've raised them. Hopefully we'll be able to see some — it has to be balanced, of course, as you will know, senator. It has to be balanced against Canadians' rightful expectation that they're free and that they're safe from the improper application of police powers. I think there is a balance that can be reached there.

Senator Kenny: Finally, resources. You gave the impression — at least I got the impression earlier — that you were happy with the financial resources that you have. In light of the fact that the budget of the RCMP has been decreased 15 per cent over the last three years, I can't understand how you're okay. I know about the efficiencies that you're creating in headquarters, but it just seems to me remarkable that we're in this state of affairs and we're cutting back on the budget of the police.

Mr. Paulson: Senator, I prepared to come and speak with you here today. One of the things I did was review the testimony of other people who have appeared before you. Let me put it this way: We're doing what we can with what we've got.

Senator White: I guess a little bit on the discussion around mental illness and radicalization. I gave an interview last week with a CBC reporter who tried to suggest somebody who was mentally ill couldn't be a terrorist or couldn't commit a terrorist act. Just to clear the air — because a couple of people have jumped on that again this weekend, in particular in relation to the individual in Quebec — your perspective on the fact that a mentally ill person could commit a terrorist act.

Mr. Paulson: I'm not a psychiatrist. I understand mental illness and I understand the ravages that it can have on families and people. But certainly when it comes to some of the purposeful, deliberate, considered, premeditated actions that flow into some of the things that we've seen recently, I'm not persuaded at all that mental illness is what's driving these things. What's driving these things is a distorted world view of what's happening around these individuals perhaps coming to fruition on the back of somebody who has some mental challenges. But they are entirely distinguishable, in my estimation.

Senator Beyak: Thank you very much, gentlemen. You have our admiration, respect and gratitude. Like Senator Stewart Olsen, all weekend I heard from constituents that we live in a great nation, and they want to keep it that way and do their part to do what they can as well.

I have a three-part question about the 93 travellers. People wonder how many of them, if all or a majority, are what are commonly internationally known as radical Islamic jihadist extremists. If that is the case, how often are they travelling? How are they getting back? Do we need more tools to prevent them from coming back? Is this war more than a criminal court due process thing?

Mr. Paulson: Thank you, senator, for your comments at the outset of your question. I guess I would say that it's my view — and I would defer to my colleague to my right here in terms of these individuals. Again, we're just talking about the high-risk travellers. I would suspect that, at varying levels of belief, all of them have some indications of radicalized behaviour. That's the first thing.

How often are they travelling? We are endeavoring to make sure that they not travel. But that's not the objective, because I think there is a reasonable analysis that flows from stopping one of these radicalized individuals from travelling, but you better be ready to do something about that when you stop them.

So we're very concerned, as are our partners at CSIS, about individuals who come back from the war zone, from the terrorist activity abroad, with these skills and this mindset that they have acquired over there. That is an area of focus for us.

I must confess that I don't remember the third part of your question.

Senator Beyak: The third part was how many of them are born here to radical Muslim parents or are Canadian citizens, dual citizens, visas, temporaries?

Mr. Paulson: We do have that data. I don't know that I could provide it to you now. We do know that. I would say most of the individuals are Canadians. Let me defer to someone who does know with a little more confidence.

Mr. Cabana: Thank you, commissioner.

Senator, there is not one profile of someone who's been radicalized. A significant percentage are Canadian, a good percentage of whom were born in Canada. But not all of them — actually, very few of them — were born to what you term "radical parents." Radicalization occurs often outside the family unit.

Mr. Paulson: As I indicated in my comments, the most troubling and offensive element of these recent attacks is that they were both Canadians.

Senator Beyak: Thank you very much.

[Translation]

Senator Dagenais: Thank you to our three guests for coming today.

First, I would like to congratulate your entire team for their excellent work last week. I myself was a police officer for several years and I understand the kinds of problems you face during these types of events.

I have two questions that I will ask you in English.

[English]

For the sake of clarity, was Martin Couture-Rouleau under national security criminal investigation by the RCMP? Can you advise the public when the video of Mr. Zehaf-Bibeau will be released so that Canadians can make their assessment of pertinent matters?

[Translation]

Ms. Paulson: Thank you for the questions, senator.

[English]

Couture-Rouleau was a subject of a national security investigation. I think we have been fairly forthright in describing that, and I don't know that there is much more to add. We have tried to depict the challenges in that investigation in terms of what our actions were, how we intervened and how we worked with the family and others, meeting with them as recently as October 9, prior to this attack. He was the subject of a criminal investigation, and had we had sufficient evidence to charge him, we would have charged him.

The video on Mr. Zehaf-Bibeau is being analyzed right now for its intelligence and evidence value. We are all interested in getting that before the public, but we're interested in making sure that we have secured and are confident in its intelligence and evidence value. I don't know when it's going to be released. It will certainly be released someday, but I would be a fool to say when it will be released. I am inclined to overcome those challenges and get it released as soon as possible.

Senator Dagenais: Second, how would you characterize the level of monitoring applied to Couture-Rouleau? Was it equivalent to that of the other 89 persons suspected of terrorist activities or sympathies that you are currently monitoring?

Mr. Paulson: I would say this about Couture-Rouleau: We had a number of individuals in our national security investigative team personally engage with him and his family in frequent, if not constant, contact with family members. It was very aggressive in terms of trying to engage and monitor him. How would I characterize that against other individuals we are monitoring? It goes, as I said earlier, to the evaluation and assessment of the threat that the individual proposes. It would be no secret, and hopefully Canadians would understand, that there are individuals we are monitoring continually right now to try to get evidence that they are doing criminal acts; there are individuals we have just learned about and are assessing; there are individuals we have spoken to; and there are individuals that we have succeeded, in our view, in turning around. There is a complete range of activity.

Although it ended very badly with respect to Couture-Rouleau, the officers in particular, and Mr. Cabana would know better than I, were horrified — horrified — that things had happened, as were all Canadians. They were heavily invested in this man, and we're rethinking all of that.

Senator Mitchell: I would like to pursue the point you made that you've reallocated, I think you said, 300 people. I don't know what each one of those people makes, but if you made a rough estimate you're talking about $25 million. It sounds to me, one could argue, that you need them. You have allocated them, and you are $25 million short, not to mention what you might need for better community-based intervention to solve the problem before it occurs.

Bluntly asked, do you have the resources? How long will you need those 300 people? Where will you find the money to sustain that?

Mr. Paulson: Frankly speaking, one of the challenges in managing and leading a police organization is that you never have enough money — you never do. I will never have enough money. So what's your strategy? Get more money or manage effectively with what you have, and make periodic appeals for more money.

Given the threat, what's happened and how it's developed, I'm satisfied, and we continue to check daily our ability to move resources from one area of our operations to another. If we were blue-skying how we were going to increase our resourcing, for example, a lot of things would have to be put in place. We just now have our recruitment and Depot training system and all those elements operating in a very finely tuned way, so we need to be thoughtful around how we're going to approach that if there is a need to ramp up.

I didn't come here to get resources. I came here to help understand the nature of the threat. We are going to make decisions; we have made decisions; and we will continue to make decision around moving resources around to respond to the greatest threat to the safety of Canadians. That's sort of my mantra.

Senator Kenny: Commissioner, the government is going ahead with the building of a $50-million visitor centre here on Parliament Hill. Have you or has the RCMP been consulted on it? Are you satisfied that it will address the problems that exist now, such as people being searched for the first time right under the Peace Tower and those sorts of things? Is it going to be a plus from a point of view of security?

Mr. Paulson: I don't know that I'm in a position to give an answer to that. Maybe the deputy commissioner?

Mr. Cabana: Not to the level of detail that Senator Kenny is looking for. There have been preliminary discussions with us, so I know that we're engaged. But as for knowing what impact it will have on the security posture on the Hill and checking people, unfortunately I can't answer that.

Senator White: Commissioner, you mentioned the possibility of removing a step for approval on peace bonds to the Attorney General of Canada. Have we had a problem with the Attorney General refusing peace bonds, or is it just the timing?

Mr. Paulson: No. It's the preparation and the amount of extra work required to accomplish that. It seems to me that the Attorney General's consent in most of our national security investigations and charges is well-thought-out and properly placed. But in respect of these peace bonds, there is an argument to be made that cops can handle that.

Senator Day: Someone reading the transcript of this hearing or watching it on television might come to the conclusion that the term "radicalization" relates only to religious-based radicalization. You indicated that it is a term and an offence under the Criminal Code. I don't have my Criminal Code here, but maybe you can give us a brief understanding of "radicalization."

Mr. Paulson: It's probably laid out differently within the code. When we talk about radicalization, and don't let me be too elementary, there is no crime in having radical thoughts. It's the act of moving someone into doing something violent or in support of a terrorist activity that attracts our attention. The radicalization phenomenon is sort of recognized as being an individual who has maybe strong or contentious thoughts or those that are not in the mainstream, and that's generally no crime. It's moving that radical thought into an area where you begin to act and move towards violence, which is where we kick in.

It's probably no surprise or shock to anyone that there are individuals who would be developing and exploiting people's weaknesses at radicalizing their views and bringing them along. Even that, in terms of some areas, is not a crime. The moment they begin to advocate for violence, then that's a very serious engagement on the terrorist offence.

Senator Day: Thank you. I think that will be helpful.

Senator Beyak: I don't mean this question to sound critical in any way. I want an understanding of something I don't know.

I worked for the last five years with very moderate Muslims in the United States and Canada. I don't think I can say their names, but I was a little appalled and glad that you repudiated the handbook, United Against Terrorism, but there were some pretty radical Muslim groups that were part of that book, and I wondered how we were associated with them and why. I'm glad that you repudiated it. If you're going to take a stand, would you explain a little bit why you were associating in the first place with them?

As I said, I don't mean to be critical. I just didn't like the book at all.

Mr. Paulson: I'm used to being criticized.

In respect of that pamphlet, first, it needs to be said that in terms of our prevention activities, we need to engage and hang out with people of all different ilk and all different activities. While I did make a statement with respect to the ultimate pamphlet that was produced, our chapter within that pamphlet is pretty solid, and I stand by what we had to say about our role and how we respond to the threat. It's unfortunate that I had to ask that we not put a public aspect to an announcement of that. But really, when you look at our chapter in that book, we stand by that.

Senator Beyak: There's talk that three of the groups were unindicted co-conspirators in radical Islam. Do you have any comment on that or did you have any knowledge of that?

Mr. Paulson: I'm afraid I don't know what you're referring to.

Senator Beyak: Okay, thank you.

The Chair: I have one question on the threshold of the legal framework we presently work under and that we could in some areas lower it to allow you and your force to do the job we ask you to do.

Right now we have 93 individuals, as I understand it, and Canadians have heard that 93 individuals out there are under some sort of surveillance, or at least it is identified that they could be of some violent consequence to the general public. If we were to lower the threshold in a number of areas that perhaps you and other departments of the government could recommend, would that put us in a position where you as a law enforcement agency could perhaps constrain, restrain or detain these individuals for a period of time so that at least you have an opportunity to deal with this radicalization as opposed to trying to deal with it at the doorstep?

Mr. Paulson: Yes, that's right. There are two areas where I think we could examine and discuss the lowering of thresholds. As we've talked about already, one is in respect of the peace bond. After an application to a court, the peace bond assigns conditions to restrict the movement of an individual, have them account perhaps, have them report or have them do this or have them do that. I think that's entirely reasonable.

Another area is in getting assistance from various corners of our communities and society in terms of getting information. Information has become very difficult to come by. Privacy interests are very strong, and properly in many instances, but in getting information perhaps relating to Internet registration or getting information in respect of telephone numbers. The world is changing rapidly, not only in terms of the threat that we've been discussing but also in terms of the technology that people are using that we have to keep up with.

You've heard this lament perhaps before, but I think there is room to be able to discuss lower thresholds of assistance orders to individuals to provide information where it's reasonably suspected an offence has or will take place and where it's reasonably suspected that an individual is perhaps contributing to that offence.

The Chair: Commissioner, I appreciate your giving us the time you have. We felt it was an important enough issue for Canadians that we should take as much time as we can.

I want to thank you and your colleagues for appearing. Obviously this is a committee you're familiar with, and I'm sure we will be seeing you in the future. Thank you for doing the job you do.

As we continue our look at terrorist threats to Canada, we're pleased to have with us Michael Peirce, Assistant Director Intelligence, CSIS. I apologize for the lateness of our start. I know we were due to start at two o'clock, but, in view of events, you can see why it has taken a little bit more time. We appreciate the time you have taken out of our schedule to be here with us today. I understand that you have an opening statement.

Michael Peirce, Assistant Director Intelligence, Canadian Security Intelligence Service: Good afternoon, honourable senators. Thank you for your invitation today to discuss the terrorist threat to Canada. Mr. Chair, first, on behalf of the men and women of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, I would like to express my deepest respects for Warrant Officer Vincent and Corporal Cirillo, as well as my condolences to their families, friends, and fellow members of the Canadian Armed Forces. I can assure Canadians that, though we, too, are deeply affected by these acts, we are firm in our resolve to protect Canadians and the security of Canada.

Mr. Chair, unfortunately, as Canadians now know first-hand, the threat posed by radicalized individuals, be they inspired by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, which I will refer to as ISIL, al Qaeda or other things on social media, is, as our director recently said, all too real. While I will not speak of the specifics of the recent events — it's simply too soon for us to do that — I will endeavour to address some of the questions that have been raised in the aftermath of those events.

Honourable senators recently heard from the service's Deputy Director of Operations, Jeff Yaworski, who is responsible for the service's human intelligence collection activities. As Assistant Director of Intelligence, I am responsible for the production and dissemination of intelligence assessments.

The service's intelligence assessment function is integral to the conduct of our investigations. In fact, our analytical work is increasingly integrated with our collection and operational activities. Just as my analysts draw on insights gained through the service's operations, those same analysts provide direct support to operations. These core functions of the service are mutually reinforcing.

Our assessments are also outward-facing and strategic in nature. They enhance the government's awareness of the nature and magnitude of the threat, assist decision makers in their efforts to counter these threats, support the mandates of other domestic and foreign partners and identify gaps and emerging issues regarding the national security agenda.

Classified CSIS threat assessments are shared widely with partners such as the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Canada Border Services Agency, the Communications Security Establishment, Citizenship and Immigration Canada, Public Safety and other government departments and agencies. The timely dissemination of these assessments is critical as it enhances our partners’ situational awareness and allows them to consider their response to any new developments or trends. To be clear, this is in addition to the operational cooperation between the service and its provincial, federal and foreign partners. I should also point out that the Integrated Terrorism Assessment Centre, ITAC, which is a community-wide resource housed within CSIS — and when I say "community-wide," I mean within the national security community — is responsible for producing integrated, comprehensive and timely threat assessments for all levels of government with security responsibilities, first-line responders, such as law enforcement, and, as appropriate, critical infrastructure stakeholders in the private sector. ITAC's all-source assessments are likewise shared so that measures can be taken to prevent and mitigate threats.

While my analysts produce assessments related to all threats to the security of Canada — cyber, counter-espionage, counter-proliferation — as you might expect, terrorism, including radicalization and terrorist travel, is our top intelligence priority. Though what we know continues to evolve, CSIS has to date found that radicalized individuals in Canada come from varied social backgrounds and varied age groups, tend to be educated and tend not to come from impoverished circumstances. I say that in contrast in particular to the profile that we see from European radicalized individuals. They often at least appear to be integrated into society. Whether these characteristics apply equally to lone actors is an area of continuing study.

Just as the service has prioritized operations, likewise our assessment branch has mobilized all available resources and continues to work diligently with domestic and foreign partners to leverage all available intelligence against this terrorist threat. This is because, as noted, there is not one set of identifiable characteristics or behaviours amongst extremists. There isn't one profile there where you can say, "This is it. If we had that profile, it would be easy to target those individuals in our investigations." Rather, we know the threat posed by radicalized individuals is diffuse and can materialize quickly. For these reasons, terrorism continues to pose a consistent tactical threat in Canada and facing Canadian interests.

One constant is the extremist narrative which holds that the West is at war with Islam. This narrative continues to exert a powerful influence. We are concerned about the emergence of new, more violent and radical groups such as ISIL, as it's clear that their violent and extremist ideologies are resonating, unfortunately, with some individuals within Canada.

The Internet and social media increasingly play a role in the radicalization of individuals, their mobilization to violence and the facilitation of threat activity, be that fundraising activity, recruitment, training or planning. We have also seen that extremists and their networks are resilient, adaptive and opportunistic. I want to assure honourable members of this committee and all Canadians that CSIS is taking every step to identify terrorists and their activities, to assess the threat and to share information with our partners.

It's important to stress in this regard that CSIS is not an enforcement agency. We are not authorized to arrest, detain, revoke status or deny travel. CSIS does, however, support its partners who have their powers in their efforts to administer and enforce Canadian law.

While what we do and how we do it must remain classified so as not to jeopardize our ability to investigate threats to the security of Canada, by sharing advice or assessments with our partners they are able to take action in accordance with their mandates.

In relation to our own authorities who have been the subject of much discussion, I respectfully request that the proposed measures recently announced by the government, which will soon be introduced — very soon — be discussed at a subsequent appearance. This is both to respect the parliamentary process and also to allow senators the opportunity to consider the proposed amendments. On that note, I will conclude my remarks to allow time for questions.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr. Peirce. We appreciate your coming here today. Once again, we apologize for the lateness of beginning the proceedings.

From your perspective, could you speak for a minute or two about the magnitude of the threat that Canadians face? That is in part why we're having this study, namely to define what the threat is and to look at what we can recommend regarding confronting the threat and perhaps resolving some of the issues. Could you expand a little on that?

Mr. Peirce: To begin with, on the magnitude of the threat, as the director and the deputy director of operations have both recently said, it is a very real threat here in Canada. It's a tactical and persistent threat. The scope of the threat is affected significantly by the travellers issue, often referred to as the foreign fighters issue as well. I'm sure you've heard considerable testimony about the fact that 230, 135, 140 Canadians who have a nexus to extremist activity have travelled abroad. We have approximately — and I say "approximately" because the number changes, and we have concrete numbers but within 10 minutes the number could have changed because of a development out there — 80 individuals who have returned. Those are significant numbers and much more significant than the numbers we saw, for instance, during the late 1990s, early 2000s, where we had individuals travelling to the Afghanistan, Pakistan region. Those individuals returned to Canada and we had 20 years of counterterrorism work to do as a result. The numbers are far more significant today. As well, I think the nature of the threat is different. The ability to communicate through social media has changed that threat. It is more diffuse and it is able to change rather rapidly. It is a significant challenge for us which increases the threat.

There's been a lot of focus on the numbers, the 130 to 140, the 80 returnees. We have to be careful not to be distracted by the numbers. In addition to the travellers issue, we have existing and ongoing investigations into terrorist threats within Canada — that is, individuals who may not want to travel. There is that component of it as well. In addition, when we talk about numbers, a definition is always tied to that particular number, and we could parse the definitions differently. It gives you a picture of the idea of the volume of the threat, but we shouldn't focus too much on the numbers by themselves. The nature of the terrorism threat has grown; it is a real threat

Senator Mitchell: Thank you, Mr. Peirce. Last week Mr. Yaworski wasn't Pollyanna about it, but he said Canadians are safe. Today Canadians probably feel quite safe, but maybe a little less secure than they did prior to last Monday. What are you doing or thinking about doing today that, a week ago yesterday, you weren't doing? Have you upped or changed your game in some way as a result of the realization of these threats last week in two cases?

Mr. Peirce: The first thing we have done, and I think it is a natural reaction, is make sure that the business you have been doing already has been done well and that you're not missing anything. As a result, everyone takes their files and goes over them as carefully as possible. We've been working 24-7 to do that to make sure there isn't something out there we're missing that wasn't apparent in our files.

We have shifted both operational and our assessment resources to make sure we can give that kind of coverage, both as an immediate response and then doing so on an ongoing basis. Frankly, it's the nature of our organization that we have to be nimble. We have to be able to respond to changing threats. We have seen an increase in threats in a number of areas, so it's not just the terrorism area that we have to address in that regard.

Senator Mitchell: You use the word in the context of ISIL, of how it's possibly resonating, in Canada. I'd like to have you assist us in qualifying that in the sense of resonating. Would it be that there is a specific, coordinated effort on the part of ISIL to send agents or to recruit them in a place like Canada to develop a coordinated plan of attack? Or is it more that they're through the Internet and the news media, and just the fact that they're doing what they're doing somehow captures the imagination of people who are vulnerable to radicalization or have other problems?

Mr. Peirce: ISIL first and foremost is focused on the area in which they are at war. That said, the Internet is a very effective recruiting tool, and it is the number one tool for recruitment and radicalization. That is one of the differences we see, whereas in the late 1990s, early 2000s, individuals who went to Afghanistan or Pakistan to train had to come back to Canada to radicalize individuals. They were in relatively small numbers, as I have indicated, so it was a much more contained message. Now you see it all over the Internet. You can go on YouTube and see things that you ought not to spend too much time watching, frankly. There is a serious aspect that way.

As well, because we have a number of Canadians — approximately 50 or so in the Syria, Iraq area — who have travelled there and individuals who have come back, they both bring with them the ability to radicalize. When they come back, in particular, they have tremendous what we call "street cred." They come back and they're the cool kids. Kids want to listen to them, and that has an impact. They can do that from Syria and Iraq. They can run a website and send out Twitter messages from Syria and Iraq and have that impact, but when it's in person it has that much more impact.

It's not so much a matter of a planned attack by ISIL. We don't have a clear, developed plan of attack against Canada by ISIL. What we have are individuals who are being radicalized and encouraged to action.

This isn't an entirely new activity. Certainly under al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula they used to put out a magazine called Inspire. You may have heard of it. It encouraged lone-actor attacks the same way ISIL has. What's different is this has happened in Canada now.

Senator White: Thank you very much for being here, sir.

My question is going to talk quickly about the information that came out a couple of weeks ago surrounding nuclear power plants. My understanding is the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission advised nuclear power plants to tell people living within a certain area around those to be prescribed with iodine tablets. I'm trying to get my head around whether this was a warning from CSIS and, if so, why there wasn't a broader discussion. I know in relation to the Darlington, Pickering nuclear power plants the police service wasn't engaged in any discussion about a possible threat and whether that came from CSIS.

Mr. Peirce: The assessment of threats does come from CSIS on a number of levels and in a number of ways. We share with our government partners. We don't have the mandate to advise the private sector per se. As to a specific threat to the Darlington station, I don't believe that that was direct advice from CSIS.

We provide advice, as I said, to the Government of Canada, and that advice may have gone on.

Senator White: I used to meet with the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission regularly, and they receive information regularly from CSIS. My question surrounds the local police service jurisdiction, the Durham Regional Police Service, which is 1,300 strong, receiving no advice from anyone in relation to that same threat; that's a concern of mine. Local police agencies are the ones who will respond to the call, as we saw last week at least in part here on Parliament Hill and just off Parliament Hill. Is there a thought that information should be shared more broadly with police agencies that will respond to those calls instead of them hearing it from, I think it was, CBC that actually reported on it?

Mr. Peirce: I can't speak specifically to that particular situation, but I can say that ITAC, the Integrated Terrorism Assessment Centre, does provide threat assessments to first responders, including the police. And generally speaking I would expect that if threat advice was provided in regard to Darlington station, it would have been provided to the local police as well.

Senator Stewart Olsen: Just to continue a bit on the provision of threat assessment warnings, ITAC was originally conceived as a service that would provide the threat warning requirements to a range of clients, some of which operate at a non-classified level. Can you give me some idea of what the difference is between classified and non-classified? How many would be non-classified?

Mr. Peirce: I don't know the exact numbers as to how many would be non-classified. The bulk of individuals or organizations receiving intelligence either from ITAC or from CSIS will be receiving it at a classified level.

There are sometimes difficulties in their holding the intelligence. They may not have appropriately secure facilities for holding the intelligence, so they may receive it in a written form that's at a non-classified level. The bottom-line threat message will be consistent, whether it's at a classified or unclassified level. The difference will be in the detail that can be given.

For instance, if you're providing unclassified threat advice, you will endeavour to obscure your sources so that you can protect those sources.

Senator Stewart Olsen: If I might just follow up, you referred to your client base. Does that extend beyond the federal government and selected law enforcement agencies? What is your client base?

Mr. Peirce: For CSIS, formally and officially, our mandate is to advise the Government of Canada. We will share, with foreign partners for example, and the purpose of that is to ensure that they're informed and can help protect Canadian interests. Obviously, it helps us if they are well-enough informed. We will also share on a give-to-get basis. We need to get information, and often to get information we have to provide some information. We will share in that way.

ITAC does have a broader mandate for sharing of their assessments, and it does include, as I said, first responders, provincial governments, local police forces. It's a broader base in that respect.

Senator Stewart Olsen: Basically, when you say first responders, fire departments, ambulance, it is not just law enforcement. ITAC would make a decision as to who should be informed, depending on the threat?

Mr. Peirce: Absolutely. Whenever you are disseminating intelligence, one of the things you have to do is make a determination as to who should be receiving that intelligence and ensure that it gets into the right people's hands.

Senator Day: ITAC is integrated terrorism, and you say assessment or analysis.

Mr. Peirce: Analysis.

Senator Day: I hear both. It was a threat analysis centre previously described. Have you restricted your activity for financial reasons or just because terrorism is one of the threats that is most important from your point of view now?

Mr. Peirce: To be clear, I'm not the head of ITAC. ITAC is an independent organization, but we work very closely together. The mandate of ITAC was changed a few years ago. Now the organization is 10 years old; it's just celebrated its tenth anniversary. It was changed simply to focus that mandate on terrorism. That is, I should say, consistent with what we see among our international partners. The Brits have JTAC; the Americans have NCTC. They're terrorism focused.

Senator Day: Are there other threat-assessment-focused entities in Canada or the Five Eyes, for example, the other countries that we share a lot with that deal with other types of threat assessment that we participate in and that CSIS is part of?

Mr. Peirce: We do, but the others are generally structured in the same way that CSIS is, which is that we cover the broad range of threats. There aren't necessarily bodies that are targeted specifically to the national counter-proliferation centre.

Senator Day: Cyberthreat, for example.

Mr. Peirce: There are different parts of the federal government that deal with the cyberthreat: the Communications Security Establishment, CSIS and Public Safety.

Senator Day: Where is that integrated threat assessment centre located for cyberthreat?

Mr. Peirce: There isn't a single, integrated centre for it. Each of us has a piece of the responsibility, but we work all very closely together and are closely integrated in that respect.

Senator Day: I wanted to clarify your point earlier about ISIS and international Islam suggesting that or encouraging single-terrorist activity, one-person activity. You are not suggesting that all of these one-person terrorist activities that we are starting to see quite a bit of here in Canada and some in the United States are all ideologically based as opposed to other types of focus for these individuals. Maybe they hate people in uniform because they grew up with a father who was in the fire department and never home. There could be all kinds of psychological reasons why they don't like people in uniform, so they go around doing whatever they can to remove them.

Mr. Peirce: I think it's a very important point that you're making, senator. We should not jump to conclusions about the drivers. It's actually very difficult, as I'm sure you know, to determine the threshold factor that motivated an individual to violence. We should be very careful in reaching those conclusions.

In saying that, I'm not speaking at all about the two recent events. I really don't think that this is a moment for us to do that and certainly not for CSIS to do that.

Senator Day: My question wasn't specifically on the two recent events either.

Senator Beyak: Thank you very much for your excellent intelligence work.

I asked a question of the group that was here previously, the RCMP, and I'd like to ask a similar one of you.

Mr. Peirce: Did you get a good answer?

Senator Beyak: I did.

Mr. Peirce: That's what I wanted to know.

Senator Beyak: Canadians are tolerant, welcoming, open-minded and flexible, and I've worked for years, since 2008, with moderate Muslim groups and Muslims in Canada and the United States. But there is a concern amongst Canadians about the term "radical Islamists." And the RCMP said that 93 of their travellers, the vast majority, are associated with what is commonly known internationally as the radical jihadist Islamist State, ISIS. Could you tell me how many individuals you follow who are radicalized and what your concerns are, and if you have the tools to do it effectively?

Mr. Peirce: On the first part of the question, while we have talked about traveller numbers, one of the things we haven't talked about and we hold very closely is the number of targets of investigation that we have. That remains classified information. I wouldn't go down that road.

Senator Beyak: I was afraid of that.

Mr. Peirce: In terms of the tools that we have, that does lead us over into events that are taking place momentarily, which is some new legislation I believe that is being introduced. We will see some developments in that area. Certainly they are welcome developments, but we'll await a subsequent opportunity to speak to those.

Senator Beyak: Thank you very much. I thought it would be classified, but I had to ask.

[Translation]

Senator Dagenais: Mr. Peirce, I would like to ask you four questions, with the chair’s permission.

[English]

That's a very short question.

The Chair: If I could do it for Senator Day, I could do it for Senator Dagenais.

Senator Dagenais: I will begin with two.

Senator Day: I began with one.

Senator Dagenais: Mr. Peirce, thank you very much. Thailand has been going through political turmoil for the past five or six years. Could you provide us with an overview of the current situation in the country now?

Mr. Peirce: There's going to be follow-up to that, too?

Senator Dagenais: Would you like to have the other questions right now?

Mr. Peirce: I think that I should be very cautious about speaking about another country, first of all, and their particular circumstances. Certainly, there's been a difficult past there that we are aware of, and we have seen progress in some areas.

The threat certainly has not been eliminated in relation to Thailand, and it is an area of ongoing concern. Beyond that, as I say, I should be cautious about my comments.

Senator Dagenais: What are the prospects for a stable solution?

Mr. Peirce: With caution, what I'll say is this: I am optimistic about progress that has been made.

Senator Dagenais: Thank you so much. I will keep my other questions for the second round.

Senator Kenny: Could you please put on the record for us what your products are and why they're useful? I think Canadians know you don't predict the future, that you're more inclined to give context and options.

Talk to the committee, if you would, for a few minutes about the sort of products, why they're useful, who uses them, and I'm going to be asking about a reallocation of resources after that.

Mr. Peirce: Excellent. Let me start with our products then. We provide, out of my directorate, which is the intelligence directorate, two primary kinds of products. One is intelligence assessment. Those are assessed intelligence, where we've taken the intelligence from multiple sources. It will be our own collection, but we'll be informed by intelligence from foreign agencies as well as open source intelligence, and assess it to give a picture of an evolving or developing threat.

As you say, prediction isn't our business — prediction is a fraught exercise — but being able to indicate things to look for, sign posts. "If you see this happening, this is a concern." When we talk about operational intelligence, we talk about trip wires: "When we see this event take place, you should now be watching for the following threat."

That is our assessed intelligence. We also provide raw intelligence, and we provide thousands of raw CSIS intelligence reports. Those are set in context. We have some reference to the source, so there is some context for the reliability of what we are providing. We provide it to other government departments and agencies, as well as, in appropriate circumstances, to our foreign partners.

Assessed intelligence can be used for everything from guiding decision makers, including policy-makers within the Government of Canada, including up to the highest level, on potential threats. The assessed intelligence may also inform our operational people. As I said, it may give an indication that here are five indicators of terrorist travel, and if you see these indicators then you should watch that your target may be preparing to travel; so that kind of assessed piece.

The raw intelligence we don't provide for the purpose of making direct policy decisions. We don't want individuals to take a single piece of raw intelligence and make a policy decision on that. We want to make sure they're informed and they can come back to us and ask us an assessed view of the intelligence if it's on an issue of relevance to them. That single piece of raw intelligence is a bit dangerous by itself, so you want to make sure. We educate our clients about that regularly. We disseminate those, as I said, to our government departments and agencies. Then they're aware of evolving threats and can come back to us and ask for those assessed pieces.

Senator Kenny: How do you know if the stuff you're producing is any good? How much of it is produced because there is a demand for it? Somebody says, "I need to know something," or "I need to know more about something." And how much is pushed out or offered by you: "Hey, you had better pay attention because this might affect you"?

Mr. Peirce: I think it's a cycle, and it's not one or the other of those things. Both our collection of intelligence and the intelligence that we disseminate are based on the priorities set by the Government of Canada. Those are high level, but they are set by the Government of Canada and give us our guidance. Then, as an organization, we take that high-level guidance and break it into intelligence requirements. I forget what our total is right now. We have 80-odd intelligence requirements, very specific and detailed: "Collect intelligence on these issues." We use that to provide the raw intelligence that's collected and, as I said, to assess based on those priorities.

We take the time to inform government about the threat so they can make informed decisions about how to set priorities. It is a cyclical piece. We give you this intelligence. We give you this briefing that gives you some context, and then you tell us what you want to know.

We always have to be alive to the fact that we may collect intelligence that hasn't been specifically requested. We keep the flexibility to make sure we can report on emerging issues and seek feedback. We have a robust feedback mechanism to do that.

Senator Kenny: How do you evaluate the work you're doing? Who evaluates you?

Mr. Peirce: We get feedback from our clients. We seek that feedback actively. When we send out an intelligence report, there is always a request for feedback as part of that, and we do compile the feedback we receive. We're working to develop a more robust feedback mechanism.

When you go out and solicit feedback, sometimes you only hear from either end of the spectrum, the people who really like you or those don't like you. We want to make sure we're getting comprehensive feedback, so we're continuing to work on developing a more robust mechanism.

The Chair: I would like to follow up on what your organization does. You said 80 targets?

Mr. Peirce: Yes, 80 individuals; returnees, I believe. They're individuals who have returned to Canada, having travelled abroad for extremist purposes.

The Chair: Another agency actually informs you of those individuals; is that not correct? You are not out there finding or identifying them.

Mr. Peirce: We very much are on the front-line of identifying those individuals. We are aided from a variety of sources, including the Canada Border Services Agency, who will share information with us. We're very much on the front-line of identifying the individuals. These are individuals who have travelled from Canada —

The Chair: I know what CSIS is; I was thinking about your responsibility.

Mr. Peirce: I am CSIS.

The Chair: You are CSIS?

Mr. Peirce: I have a boss.

The Chair: I think I've got it somewhat clarified. I want to go further, and that has to do with the financing of terrorism, which we haven't touched on so far.

I have two questions: How does the glorification and financing of terrorists increase and contribute to radicalization in Canada? How serious is the question of terrorist financing in Canada, and where is that financing taking place, if it is?

Mr. Peirce: There are at least two different kinds of financing. One is financing for individuals within Canada, for example, who want to travel to engage in jihad. Those are relatively small sums but very operationally important.

As you can imagine, if you see money going to an individual, it may be an indication that they're amassing those funds for the purpose of travelling, if they're someone who is otherwise on our radar; so tracking that kind of financing is very important.

There is financing that flows from Canada to terrorist organizations, and that kind of financing is very dependent on the kind of terrorist organization. If we look at ISIL, it is a terrorist organization that holds considerable territory; they have control over banks and oil in Iraq. As a result, they are a very well-funded terrorist organization.

We see other terrorist organizations, such as al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, who actively engage in kidnapping for the purpose of raising funds for their operations. We see smaller sums that flow from Canada for organizations like al Shabaab, which is a terrorist organization active in Somalia and Kenya, in particular. We watch for the flow of funds there. There are different kinds of funding relationships, each one of them very much of concern to us.

The Chair: You cannot operate unless you have money, no matter where you are. But our focus point has to be within Canada, and where this money is being raised and the volume of money that is being raised. You've obviously been able to identify at least some of the sources for that financing?

Mr. Peirce: Yes.

The Chair: Perhaps you can expand on exactly what we're speaking about and what volume of money we are speaking about.

Mr. Peirce: On the sources of financing, they are certainly varied. You have organizations that attempt to operate under cover of different purposes or individuals attempting to operate under cover of different purposes, ostensibly raising money for humanitarian purposes in Syria and Iraq, and they may well be actually funneling that money to a terrorist organization, so we see that kind of piece of work.

We have seen a recent phenomenon, essentially crowd share. The Internet age has given us the ability for people to go on and put out a public message seeking funds. They won't necessarily direct the full purpose of raising the funds. Again, they might do it under the cover of humanitarian aid, but crowd share. "I want to go carry out humanitarian aid in Somalia, please share funds," and they set up a website, and funding flows through. It's quite a troubling development from the Internet. You have more astute organizations that try to raise funds directly associated with terrorist organizations. One of our significant concerns is fundraising for Hezbollah in Canada, for instance.

The Chair: I want to go back. What volume of money are we speaking of in this context? Are we talking about tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars? What are we speaking about here, in your estimation?

Mr. Peirce: I don't have an overall volume, and I would be loath to get into specific details in relation to specific organizations. When we're talking about individuals, for instance, individuals who are raising money for terrorist purposes within Canada, they can be relatively moderate sums, up to $10,000 kind of thing. That's the range you'll normally see for individuals, particularly individuals who want to travel, for instance, up to that kind of range. When you're talking organizations, you are talking six-figure sums.

The Chair: Are we laying any charges?

Mr. Peirce: First of all, I have to say that's not my end of the deal. We provide the advice, and we know that FINTRAC also provides advice, and it would be for the RCMP or local officials to lay charges.

The Chair: We'll definitely follow up on that.

Mr. Peirce: It is a difficult area, though, because you have the fundraising, but until funds are used for something, it's very difficult to prosecute simply on the basis of the collection of funds. It's done under careful cover. "I want to go and study at a madrassa in Yemen." Okay, on the face of it, that's what you're collecting it for, and I'm going to have a very difficult time, based on the collection of intelligence, prosecuting you on that basis.

Senator Beyak: Thank you, again. I wonder if you could tell me, I will word it a little differently, not the numbers that you're following but the actual numbers in Canada. How big is the magnitude? How big is the threat? How many individuals are radicalized, are following radical Islam? Do you have the funds to investigate the mosques and the imams who are espousing hatred towards Canada?

Mr. Peirce: In terms of the numbers, again, I will be very cautious about doing that, so I won't provide a set number for individuals. Certainly, the question of resources, I think you've heard much testimony today about the importance of prioritizing our resources. We work within the resources we have. We do shift our priorities around. We've always shifted our priorities around and shifted our resources accordingly, and at this time, we are certainly going through the process again of moving resources in response to the terrorist threat.

Senator Beyak: Thank you.

Senator Day: I have a request for a definition. You talked about the dangers of sharing raw intelligence. I've always thought of intelligence as being facts or information that has been put together and in some way looked at that is different from pure raw facts, but are you using the term "raw intelligence" just to mean raw facts?

Mr. Peirce: I will give some concrete examples of raw intelligence. Raw intelligence may be that we have spoken to a human source. The human source says that person X is interested in doing something, and let's consider that terrorism-based. It may be that human source tells us that a particular country is interested in collecting intelligence in a certain area. That's raw intelligence because, while we've assessed the source — this is a long-standing source, a credible source and we have an assessment of our source there — it's just an individual piece in isolation. You want to set that against other intelligence to give a full context and assessment.

However, if we've collected that piece of raw intelligence and it says that country X is looking to collect such and such information or it says that an individual is intending to carry out some conduct, we want to share that, but we want to share it saying that's just one piece. That's why I call it "raw intelligence." It has not been put together with all of the other intelligence we may have in the area, and that other intelligence adds context. It might fill out an assessment. For instance, there could be a spin on that intelligence that we see from other collection.

Senator Day: Thank you. That's helpful.

Would it be helpful in the work that you do and that your colleagues do at CSIS to have a law requiring everyone who leaves Canada to report to Canadian authorities so that we have a record of everyone who has exited Canada?

Mr. Peirce: Undoubtedly, we don't have that exit information, as you know, now.

Senator Day: Yes, I understand.

Mr. Peirce: We do collect from a variety of sources and try to cover that, but certainly a law that gave us that kind of information would be helpful. That's not to comment on whether that law or however that law might be framed would be an appropriate law. I don't go into policy.

Senator Day: Is your name spelled like that as a result of your working at CSIS and that everyone who works there has a name like that, or spelled somewhat differently, so they can't find you in the phone book?

Mr. Peirce: I will say a few things first. It's not a nom de guerre. Second, I am very well practiced in grammatical rules. It's "I" before "E" except after "C" or in words that say "AY" as in "neighbour" and "weigh." There are other exceptions. They include the name "Peirce." Unfortunately, they also include the word "weird," so you can make the connections you want to make with that.

Senator Day: You've been asked that question before.

Mr. Peirce: I have.

Senator Kenny: Following up on what Senator Day was asking you about, when you say you go to other sources, would that be, for example, airline travel information?

Mr. Peirce: Not necessarily airline travel information. There may be times when we can get airline travel information. We may get information because somebody may be on the specified persons list, which is part of the Passenger Protect Program, so we may get information there, but we'll also collect information from sources in the community. We will in some instances have technical sources intercepting communications that will give an indication. We may have a technical source that allows us to intercept Internet traffic so we can see their booking their ticket online. It's a broad range of sources.

Senator Kenny: If we could go back to the reallocation of resources, when Commissioner Paulson was here, he talked about taking a significant number of people away from, amongst other things, white-collar crime. We've had a director of CSIS in the past come to us and say 50 per cent of CSIS is focusing on Chinese espionage. Are we not paying any attention to the Chinese now and refocusing on the terrorist threat, or how have the resources been moved around in the organization?

Mr. Peirce: We first of all looked at our priorities, based on the direction from the Government of Canada, and we re-established our intelligence requirements, the tiering of them. When I say "tiering," what happens is, as I said, you've got let's say 80 intelligence requirements and you're going to have maybe 15 to 20 that are tier 1. These are your highest priority. You will collect against these.

You will have a tier 2 set. These are important intelligence requirements. You will put resources to them, but you're going to moderate those resources compared to those tier 1s.

We'll have tier 3. Those are really ones where, if you get collection on them, possibly secondary collection, you're going to report on them, but you're not going to put resources necessarily.

There are four tiers. The fourth category will be areas where you say that's a watching brief; we're not actively collecting on that, but it's a watching brief.

We've just recently looked at those tiers and said, "Do we have them right?" and adjusted them slightly. We didn't take ones off and say, "This one, Chinese espionage, is no longer important," and take it off and we won't collect. We are still covering those priorities.

We did also go through the exercise, though, of looking at our investigations and, for example, looking across the country and looking at the threat that's being investigated and saying, "Are we getting a lot out of this region on this threat?" And if not, maybe those resources don't have to be directed in that region to that threat, so maybe we can move some of those resources onto the terrorism threat, for instance.

That's the kind of exercise that we've been through, very actively looking at where are we not as efficient or not as effective, and maybe those resources can be put to a more efficient or effective use. That's the exercise.

Senator Kenny: The committee has heard a fair amount about the relationship between CSIS and the RCMP. Could you talk to us about CSIS and the Communications Security Establishment? What sort of mechanism do you have to ensure that you're functioning in a way that is constructive and complementary, and how do you ensure that Canadian resources are put to the best use between the two organizations?

Mr. Peirce: We have a number of mechanisms to help us in that regard. We have very close relations with the Communications Security Establishment.

Senator Kenny: They are just next door.

Mr. Peirce: They are now just next door, our new neighbours. They're keeping it down, so we're quite comfortable with that.

First of all, we have joint management team meetings where their management team sits down with our management team and we identify any issues. We identify priorities and areas where we can work together more effectively. As you can imagine, with the fact that they've moved in next door, we're very conscious about opportunities for efficiency and effectiveness, areas where we can share services with them, for example. So we have those joint management team meetings.

We have individuals from each organization seconded to the other. Sometimes it's not just knowing that they work this way and you can work with them, but you bring one of them over and you send one of your people over; and by working so closely, you get to understand the other better. We've done that, and it has proven very effective for us.

We've also sat down and looked at our intelligence requirements, which I spoke of earlier, that set out our priorities. We've cross-referenced them to make sure that we have coverage — there are no big gaps across our priorities — but also to make sure that they're rationalized against each other. You want to understand what it is they're collecting on and what you're collecting on. Sometimes they can be mutually supporting. If we can collect signals intelligence, it may aid us in our human-source activity, for instance, and vice versa. You want to make sure you're well-coordinated in that way and that you're going after the same priorities. That's how we operate in that sphere.

The Chair: I would like to go into a whole different area from the point of view of CSIS and your responsibilities. Earlier today, we learned that there are 93, 95, 90 extreme travelers; 80 have returned. We've also been told — and don't quote me on this; I'm going on memory — that there are up to 145 Canadians, or dual citizenship Canadians, fighting with various terrorist organizations offshore. We have been told that thousands of individuals have been identified in a lower level in respect to perhaps their involvement in the terrorist movement, either indirectly or directly.

I'd like to hear CSIS's comments about the statements being made in some quarters that some schools are perhaps espousing radical Islamic views, or doctrines, in some quarters in Canada. Is that true, and do you have some concerns?

Mr. Peirce: First, one point of clarification, just because I don't want to leave any misimpression out there. When we're talking about individuals who are overseas, the 135 to 140 individuals, they are not necessarily engaged in fighting; they are engaged in supporting. It's a distinction because, for the Canadian public in particular, we don't want them to think that there are 135 to 140 individuals who will come back with hardened combat abilities. That's not the case, and we don't want to leave that misimpression.

On the second part, I wasn't sure what you were referring to when you were referring to schools.

The Chair: I'm referring to a certain ideology or doctrine that obviously these individuals are being exposed to, either individual or individuals. My question is, where are they getting those teachings to be able to go to radicalization? It's one thing to talk about an isolated situation off in Quebec and another situation that happened on the Hill, but at the end of the day there seems to be at least a thread of ideology at the base of this. Are there teachings going on in Canada that are espousing that particular viewpoint, which is then transferring itself into radicalization?

Mr. Peirce: The short answer to the question is yes. There are individuals who are espousing a radical extremist view of Islam, and they are doing so specifically to radicalize individuals, oftentimes young individuals. That message is having an impact and we are, as a result, seeing people turn to a radical view of Islam. In addition, there is an enormous proliferation of extremist propaganda on the Internet, and it's a very powerful radicalizing tool.

The Chair: I want to go back to get it clarified on the record. There are actual schools or classrooms or venues that are being utilized on an ongoing basis to espouse this type of doctrine; is that correct?

Mr. Peirce: I'm not talking about specific institutions. I'm talking about individuals. I should be very clear about that. When we investigate, we investigate individuals and their activities. There may be individuals whose activities may be associated with a particular institution, but it's the individuals we investigate. For instance, we don't investigate mosques.

The Chair: If you have a school and a classroom and a teacher who has been identified by your organization espousing that type of doctrine, do you pass that information on to the provincial government or the authority that has the responsibility?

Mr. Peirce: If we have that kind of information.

The Chair: Have you done that?

Mr. Peirce: I can't say that we have done that with regard to schools, for instance. I can't say comprehensively "ever," but I haven't seen information specifically about a school saying, "This school has an individual in the classroom undertaking this activity." We will target individuals.

Individuals don't tend to operate in an institution quite so brazenly as that. Individuals may be associated with an institution, but they'll take students off to the side and conduct their activities in the community as opposed to in the institution. That's what we'll target.

The Chair: Colleagues, time is coming to an end here. I want to thank our witness. I believe you have been very forthright. I speak for all my colleagues when I say that we appreciate your candour. It's a very important issue for Canadians. I know many Canadians are watching this public forum. One of the reasons we're having these hearings is so we can inform Canadians of what you do, why you do it and the importance of what you do.

Mr. Peirce: Thank you very much.

The Chair: On June 19, 2014, the Senate approved the following reference for this committee: that the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence be authorized to study and report on national security and defence issues in Indo-Asia Pacific Relations and their implications for Canada’s national security and defence policies, practices, circumstances and capabilities; and that the committee report to the Senate no later than December 31, 2015.

Joining us today to discuss the Indo-Asia Pacific, we have, from the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development, David Drake, Director General, Security and Intelligence Bureau; and Peter MacArthur, Director General, South, Southeast Asia and Oceania Bureau. From National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces, we have Rear-Admiral Gilles Couturier, Director General International Security Policy. Welcome to the committee.

I understand we have two opening statements, one from each department.

[Translation]

Peter MacArthur, Director General, South, Southeast Asia and Oceania Bureau, Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada: Honourable Senators, thank you for the invitation to speak to you today.

I welcome this opportunity to speak. Canada maintains nearly 40 missions in the Indo-Asia-pacific region with close to 1,000 staff. Canada’s diplomatic network in Asia is stronger than in any other region and it is growing.

By the title of the committee’s study, I acknowledge and important choice that recognizes India’s place in regional and global security. With a reform-minded government holding broad democratic power, the Indian economy could be on the verge of important reforms with global implications. Both Canada and India value freedom, pluralism and respect for human rights and the rule of law. We are Westminster-style parliamentary democracies, experiencing both majority and minority governments. We believe that all members of society have a role to play and a stake in the future.

Engagement is the fundamental premise of our approach to Asia. Some of the great democracy success stories of the last generation are found in Asia, and they are South Korea, Japan, Indonesia and Mongolia. Most recently this year we have seen major elections in India and Indonesia, two of the world’s three most populous democratic nations, as well as a democratic breakthrough in Afghanistan and last year in Pakistan. At the same time, when respect for democracy and human rights is challenged, such as post-coup Thailand, Canada must continue to exercise influence and promote a values-based agenda. Societies which fail to develop democratic checks and balances contribute to instability.

[English]

To further Canada's engagement in the region, the government seeks to join two vital forums: the East Asia Summit, EAS, and the ASEAN Defence Ministers' Meeting Plus, ADMM+. The EAS likely will become an increasingly important venue for security as well as political and economic dialogue. ADMM+ is a relatively new mechanism that provides a framework for discussion and cooperation between regional militaries.

Canada is a participant in the ASEAN Regional Forum, ARF, a long-standing venue which facilitates cooperation on regional security. Canada also participates in the Shangri-La Dialogue, another important regional opportunity for security discussions in Singapore. Canada holds a number of high-level dialogues to discuss security and defence issues in the Indo-Asia Pacific region, including with regional partners such as India and Japan. In August 2014, Minister Baird announced $14 million to help address security issues of shared concern in Southeast Asia on top of $30 million that has already been announced and invested in recent years.

Projects include those to mitigate biological and nuclear threats, disrupt illicit flows while protecting legitimate trade, combat human smuggling activities, improve regional cybersecurity tools, further public-private partnerships and sound financial regulation, promote health and effective disaster response, and work with our ASEAN partners to address the foreign fighter phenomenon and radicalization. We are currently pursuing the most ambitious trade agenda in Canadian history, including with Japan and India as well as the broad Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations.

We have recently ratified the Canada-South Korea FTA and the Canada-China Foreign Investment Protection and Promotion Agreement. Energy security is a very important opportunity for Canada as Japan, South Korea, China and India are leading importers of energy, including liquefied natural gas. Canadian development programs and activities in Asia are a concrete tool to help bring security and prosperity in all their forms, including through sustainable economic development. Let me touch briefly on some particular areas of interest.

The Indian Ocean: While the rise of China has been at the forefront of geostrategic thinking for some time, India has led the way as a model in the region of a knowledge-based economy. As the world's largest democracy, it also has the advantages that institutions of political accountability and the rule of law confer.

As the world's fourth-largest economy, India's relations with its close neighbours are central to regional stability. Supported by important investments in its navy, India is looking to assert itself as the dominant power in its Indian Ocean neighbourhood. However, India is also prudent in its approach to maritime disputes to its east. It is preoccupied by maintaining access to trade routes but avoids taking sides in maritime disputes. This approach has been to the benefit of regional security, and many commentators agree that India-China relations are on a relatively stable footing.

Tensions in the South China Sea area reached a new high early last summer. Sovereignty over parts of the South China Sea is disputed by China, Brunei, Malaysia, Philippines and Vietnam, as well as Taiwan. The most prominent disputes concern the Spratly and Paracel Islands. Two thirds of the world's trade passes through the South China Sea. An escalation in maritime boundary or territorial disputes between Asian countries could have disruptive effects on the global economy and threaten regional stability and global prosperity.

In East Asia, regional dynamics have also become more complex. The East China Sea has been a flashpoint for China and Japan. Destabilizing factors such as resurgent nationalism are stoking fears. China has become increasingly assertive in pursuing its interests, including through the establishment of an air defence identification zone which covers, in part, islands disputed with Japan. Japan is seeking a more active role for its military in defence and cooperation with allies, though it seeks to retain strict limitations on its role.

In conclusion, there is wide recognition that the balance of power in Asia is shifting. As economic growth and integration continues, all countries in the region are being forced to recalibrate their relations. Indeed, the Indo-Asia Pacific region is the new centre of global affairs, and it is here that profound economic and strategic changes are unfolding.

Rear-Admiral Gilles Couturier, Director General International Security Policy, National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces: Mr. Chair and senators, thank you very much for having me before the committee today to speak on the Indo-Asia Pacific.

Canadians live in an uncertain world, and, as I know you understand, increasing globalization has meant that developments far from our shores can have a deep impact on the safety and interests of Canadians at home and abroad. The events of last week clearly demonstrate that point.

Speaking at the Shangri-La Dialogue in 2013, the then Minister of Defence Peter MacKay stated:

Asia-Pacific security is now part of global security dynamics and however you define it . . . .

. . . Asia-Pacific . . . .

. . . Indo-Pacific . . . .

. . . or pan-Pacific, as I like to call it from the perspective of a Pacific country.

[Translation]

In short, Asian security challenges and concerns are by their very nature Canadian security challenges and concerns, and the Department of National Defence involvement in this dynamic area of the world works to support overall Canadian government objectives globally.

[English]

The regional security environment in the Indo-Pacific remains ever changing, uncertain and challenging. Several long-standing boundary business disputes, particularly in the maritime area, have increased tensions and are at risk of devolving into open conflict due to misunderstanding, miscalculations and the inflexibility caused by nationalistic audiences.

For example, the tension rose last spring in the South China Sea, the sea lines of communication that feed our own economy, which came under duress. With regard to North Korea, stability is threatened by the erratic behaviour of the leadership and its pursuit of nuclear weapons as well as the technology to deliver them. Finally, the region is challenged by piracy, illegal migration, resource pressures and natural disasters.

As part of the Government of Canada's overall focus on the Indo-Pacific region, the National Defence team is committed to defence and security cooperation aimed at maintaining peace and stability in the region to which Canada is integrally connected.

[Translation]

Our primary objective is to encourage a stable security environment where disputes are managed according to international norms and laws. But contributing to regional security requires a development of a comprehensive strategy.

[English]

Canada is not alone, and many of our friends and partners have similar concerns and are undertaking similar processes. We are sharing information with like-minded nations, such as Australia, New Zealand and the U.S., and coordinating responses to help strengthen our representative approaches.

At home, the Defence team is actively working with whole-of-government partners to explore approaches and develop plans that will take us in this direction. This was the impetus for the Asia-Pacific policy cooperation framework signed by Minister Nicholson and U.S. Secretary of Defense Hagel at the Halifax International Security Forum last fall. This framework sets the foundation for closer cooperation between our two countries, while respecting our individual national interests.

In carrying out this undertaking we are building upon existing commitments and engagements. The Canadian Armed Forces have been contributing on an ongoing basis since 1953 to the United Nations Command Military Armistice Commission in Korea. The defence team has actively been working alongside friends and partners in the region to mitigate regional security challenges through important activities such as participating in engagements with China's People’s Liberation Army, respecting the theme of "modest, enduring and reciprocal," and with an aim of encouraging them to take on their role as a responsible and participatory member of the global community.

We had numerous disaster relief team, or DART, deployments since 2004, the first one being in Sri Lanka for the tsunami, in Pakistan in 2005 for the earthquake and most recently in the Philippines for Typhoon Haiyan. We are also demonstrating our commitment and capabilities through our participation in regional military exercises.

Indeed, after the U.S., Canada has been the largest contributor of troops to many of the exercises in the Korean peninsula such as the Ulchi-Freedom Guardian in South Korea. Last summer more than 1,000 Canadian sailors, soldiers, airmen and airwomen deployed to the Hawaiian Islands and southern California as part of RIMPAC, Exercise Rim of the Pacific, the world's premier combined and joint maritime exercise. Their performance in this 22-country strong exercise was absolutely stellar.

Further, the Military Training and Cooperation Program has been a valuable defence diplomacy tool, building regional capability as we strive to develop important bilateral relations within the region. Eleven Asian countries participated in the program, and over the last fiscal year more than 150 officers from member countries received training sponsored by the MTCP in language, peace support, military staff and professional development programs. Canada has also sponsored several high-profile seminars in Indonesia through the MTCP.

The Defence team is focused on developing key bilateral relations, continuing participation in the ASEAN Regional Forum and exploring opportunities to contribute to the ASEAN Defence Ministers' Meeting Plus, which would give Canada a stronger voice in the region in the defence and security sphere, as you heard from my colleague from Foreign Affairs.

Multilateral dialogue tools hold great promise and opportunities to work on defence and security-related issues and strengthen cooperation in the region. At present we are striving for targeted engagement in making contributions where we believe we are adding value. This includes the areas where Canada has such a strong reputation, such as peacekeeping, counter-IED and anti-terrorism and of course HADR.

In sum, if the government's objectives and ambitions in the Indo-Asia Pacific region are to be fully realized, defence engagement must remain a priority within a coherent and comprehensive Canadian effort. The sense of a renewed effort speaks to a more focused priority set and achieving impact in a region of dynamic growth and complex security challenges.

[Translation]

Overall, for Canada to realize its broader aspirations in this dynamic region, we must continue to invest in our security and defence relationships for the long haul. This investment requires a dedicated and constant effort.

[English]

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to appear before you, and I look forward to the discussion.

The Chair: I'd like to begin with Senator Mitchell.

Senator Mitchell: Thank you very much, gentlemen. This is an interesting and important topic, if not quite as urgent as the one we had earlier. We've had your testimony today, and we've had some before. I'm seeing these two lines of thought, and I can't quite figure out which way the consensus would come down. On the one hand, China, as well as this region, is clearly an economic opportunity, and the risk there might be that we would miss it. On the other hand, there is this theme that there is a military threat somehow. Mitigating that, in my mind, is the fact that China holds, I think, $3 trillion or $4 trillion worth of U.S. bonds and wouldn't want to do much to offend that economy, I would think. We actually included them in RIMPAC this year for the first time. We're training with them.

This is kind of a high-level question in a sense: Are we concerned about a war with that region, or are we concerned about missing out on the economic opportunity that’s inherent in trade with that region?

Mr. MacArthur: Perhaps I could begin, Mr. Chair. I think our relations with China and North Asia need to be seen in a holistic manner. There is an economic opportunity there, and we are determined to engage with eyes wide open. There is the capacity, on parallel tracks, to maintain relations, whether it's commenting on human rights abuses or attempting to do more with China in terms of FIPA, for example, which was just ratified and allows Canadian companies to invest in China with greater predictability and transparency. I think we can walk and chew gum at the same time in these very important strategic relationships, which are multi-faceted. I would turn to my colleague about your comment on the military potential of the country.

Rear-Admiral Couturier: Like you said, we do our engaging "mil-to-mil" with the Chinese. The goal there is to share some of our own best practices and to better understand how they work as far as a military associated with their own engagement in the way they do business. We've had a least two engagements to date. In both cases, it was an exchange of ideas. They had an opportunity to look at how we operate, how we do business. One of them was on how we do human resources, and there were some significant differences in the way we proceed in how we do business. At the same time, we had an opportunity to hear from them about how they deal with their own challenges and how they see the future developing from a human resources perspective. The goal there, without a doubt, is to get a better understanding of where they are coming from and to share some of our best practices.

The example of RIMPAC speaks volumes on where we believe the way ahead is. The best way to understand where the country comes from and to avoid any misunderstanding is to operate together. If you put this in the maritime environment, the fact that we have four ships — but three operational ships — deployed there gives us the opportunity to see how they react at sea and to get the commander's appreciation that, if things were to happen, there is a way to communicate that would prevent any misunderstanding. They achieved that within the exercise of RIMPAC.

Senator Mitchell: My next question is more specifically military in the idea of the division of our resources between the East Coast and West Coast. I don't know how much of this you can actually answer, but is the navy giving thought to redeploying due to reassessing priorities?

Rear-Admiral Couturier: It's hard for me to speak for Admiral Norman. Right now, he is not my direct boss, but he could be soon. So we have to be careful of where we tread.

Having said that, we do discuss that on a regular basis amongst some of the senior naval officers. What needs to stay at the forefront is that where we're based doesn't really affect where we can operate. Over the last two years we did have ships deploy from the West Coast into NATO theatres of operations, and we can certainly do the opposite if necessary.

The infrastructure as it is right now is more favourable to the east-west split that we have as far as forces. One should not interpret that as meaning that we can't deploy on the West Coast because of the number of assets in Victoria. If the need or requirement is there, there is certainly the opportunity to deploy ships from both coasts to answer the request of the government to deploy in a specific region.

Senator Stewart Olsen: Thank you, gentlemen, for coming.

Because Canada is very much focused as a country on the protection of democratic rights for people, I'm wondering about certain concerns that have been expressed about democracy and whether it is thriving in the region. I'm wondering if you would agree that it is a matter of concern. If so, are there areas we should be looking at? Second, what more can Canada do to beef up making democracy more important on the agenda of these countries?

Mr. MacArthur: Very good question. Because we are a value-based foreign policy, we are focused on democracy, the rule of law and human rights, particularly for women and girls, for example. This is something we promote through our diplomatic presence around the world. I think it's a mixed picture on democracy. There has been a setback in Thailand after the coup d'état there, which seems to be a harder coup than previous, softer coups and is something of great concern. It's not business as usual, currently, with Thailand. You saw statements by the minister when the coup took place. We are also concerned about human rights and democracy in Vietnam, for example.

On the other side of the coin, we see some progress in Burma, which is opening up and becoming more democratic. We expect elections in 2015, and we just opened our embassy there, our first resident embassy. The trend line is in terms of very complex, historic elections in Indonesia, India and Afghanistan, in two rounds. They are good trends. However, the elections that were held in Bangladesh were dysfunctional because the opposition party boycotted the election. It's very much a question of governance, and we have funding called the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives. Combined with our development programming, there is funding available and being invested in trying to enable greater democratic flows. For example, in the case of Burma, we had actual practising politicians brought to Parliament Hill to experience committee meetings, Question Period and the work of the house, and we sent parliamentarians and officers of the house into Naypyidaw, the capital of Burma, for peer-to-peer mentoring. That is designed to show other countries, including Thailand, in this case, which has more military in its government than Burma currently does. That's the kind of change we're seeing.

I think Indonesia and India are showing a model to others, and it is very much a focus of foreign policy. The work of our ambassadors around the region is consistently pushing our messages and looking for progress, including through some funding programming.

Senator Stewart Olsen: Overall, you're more encouraged than discouraged?

Mr. MacArthur: Overall more encouraged than discouraged. I think the rise of ASEAN is helpful in that regard, as is Indonesia being a model as the core, largest country of that organization.

The Chair: I trust you didn't show them Question Period during the course of that mentoring that took place. I will go to Senator Day next.

Senator Day: ASEAN has been talking about more political integration. Has there been any advance on that? The ASEAN nations, from a military point of view, have cooperated, and Canada has been part of that for a while.

Can you tell us what's happening in those Southeast Asian nations?

Mr. MacArthur: I can start, and my colleagues can add in if they wish. Yes, you're quite right, senator, there is a move afoot to economically integrate the ASEAN 10. The theoretical date is the end of 2015. Most observers believe it will take longer than that, but you're looking at a regional economic block of 600 million people, the size of the European Union. It is quite vibrant, with some of the faster-growing economies in the world, the Philippines and Indonesia being examples of that. Political union will not be possible.

This is a coordinated secretariat in Jakarta. Minister Baird was the first foreign minister to meet with the Secretary-General, former Vietnamese foreign minister, in August of this year. We are keen to assist ASEAN through their connectivity agenda —not just economically, but helping them people-to people, in justice, politics and democracy, to bring them together. We're watching how successful they are in doing that, but there is disparity in the economic development between Singapore and Laos. Culturally, it’s not a monolith; it's federated. Some of our capacity in federalism would be of interest to certain member countries of ASEAN such as the Philippines, for example Mindanao in the south.

I will turn to my colleagues on the ARF, which is a separate institution.

Rear-Admiral Couturier: We are trying to support the progress that they’re doing, and we've offered our services as far as the mil-to-mil aspect in both the bilateral function and a multilateral agenda. At this stage, however, there is minimum engagement from a military perspective.

Senator Day: There used to be good cooperation between China and some of the other Southeast Asian countries, particularly in trying to stop piracy near Singapore. Singapore was sort of the centre for the think tank in that regard. Since the difficulties in the South China Sea and the East China Sea, are we seeing any military cooperation between China and any of its neighbours?

Rear-Admiral Couturier: You're correct that Singapore used to be the centre. They are still coordinating response for participating countries in the region. The Chinese are dealing not only with anti-piracy in that region but also with the anti-piracy challenges we are facing in the Arabian Gulf. There are still discussions and they're still engaged, but our appreciation of the level of cooperation that's happening at the lower level has changed quite a bit since the recent past.

The Singaporeans are trying to bring everyone together. They are going to build an HADR centre of excellence within Singapore to support anti-piracy. By centralizing all those central committees, they hope to be able to get better interaction from all the countries.

Senator Day: As a final concluding comment, there are a good number of parliamentarians both in the Senate and in the House of Commons who have spent a lot of time on the ASEAN inter-parliamentary political group that we have been an active member of and the Asia Pacific Parliamentary Forum. I urge you not to forget parliamentary diplomacy and the assistance that members of the House of Commons and Senate can be in that regard.

[Translation]

Senator Dagenais: Thank you to our three witnesses. I have two quick questions for Mr. Couturier. I would like to go back to the subject of Thailand. How does the Canadian government promote stability in that region?

Rear-Admiral Couturier: We do it in two ways. There is our participation in an exercise like RIMPAC — I speak here of a military meeting of minds. During the exercise, there were discussions between the senior officers in the region. The Chinese senior officer was there, and there was a Japanese officer as well. This exercise allowed us to get an idea, not from the political standpoint because that is out of our purview, but from a military standpoint, of how we lead operations and the opportunities to better work together in order to meet the objectives of our respective governments, again without touching upon the political aspect of that work. That is the main goal of an exercise like RIMPAC.

Senator Dagenais: You answered my second question in part. I wanted to know how the Thai government participated in establishing that stability. You said a Japanese officer and a Chinese officer worked alongside you?

Rear-Admiral Couturier: More specifically, in the case of Thailand, we suspended our joint military exercises for the time being, until we see how the region’s political situation plays out. We have an attaché deployed there, but we suspended activities. We expect that at a certain point we will have to go back to the country in order to pursue activities that are crucial to them.

One of the things we do, from a military standpoint, during our joint exercises with the MTCP, is to study relations between the military and an elected civilian government. This is part of the development work we do with them. We see it as a positive and a fairly major contribution.

[English]

Senator Beyak: Rear-Admiral Couturier, could you provide the committee with the full list of the defence and security agreements being signed and the list of those being negotiated? Would you be able to give me that?

Rear-Admiral Couturier: I would have to go back and look at what those are. Of the ones that were signed, the most obvious is the one we signed during the HISF, and that was between the minister and the secretary of defence. I will look at some of the others.

Senator Beyak: There is some concern about China's military expenditures by other countries in that region. Do you see it as a problem? Is it destabilizing things in any way?

Rear-Admiral Couturier: There is certainly expansion. For example, in the submarine world — for us navy guys, it is an important area — they're building three to one compared to our U.S. counterparts. If you hear about the U.S. rebalancing in the region, this is an area where they are refocusing. The U.S. has sent more submarines on the west coast to try to rebalance that element. We're monitoring and, based on what you have heard from Dr. Boutilier and others, there is not only the expansion part of China but there is also a national element. You have to consider that aspect when you analyze the growth of military hardware in all areas. We're monitoring and are concerned to a certain extent, but at this stage we're engaged with our allies and we are comfortable with where we are.

The Chair: Our last witness here last week, Dr. Boutilier, commented that we were late in having our presence felt in this particular area of the world.

Yet, Mr. MacArthur, you stated in your opening address that Canada maintains nearly 40 missions in the Indo-Asia Pacific region, with a staff of close to 1,000; and Canada's diplomatic network in Asia is stronger than in any other region and is growing. Perhaps you can comment on the statement made by Dr. Boutilier?

Mr. MacArthur: Certainly, Mr. Chair. I was referring to our diplomatic footprint which was growing in places like an ASEAN ambassador’s presence in Laos and Cambodia to ensure that Canadian values and foreign policy and economic interests are well understood for all ASEAN capitals. That’s the work of our ambassadors and diplomatic staff. Canada's soft power has a lot of take in that part of the world given our human rights values, our governance, which is tested; even our banking system is of interest. The robust nature of Canadian society, multiculturalism, and the way we are governed — we shouldn't underestimate that brand image in countries not just of ASEAN but in the general region. My point was that diplomatically, and that includes economic diplomacy as a subset of our diplomacy, we are much more engaged than we have been in the past.

I will give you an example. In June this year, the trade minister invited an ASEAN trade ministerial delegation to Vancouver and Toronto. Only Japan, China and the United States have done that. These were ministerial and deputy ministerial representatives of all ASEAN capitals who came to Canada. It was an eye-opener for many of them. That's the kind of engagement we're trying to reverse our steady flow of ministers and officials, including our foreign and trade ministers who have been to ASEAN dialogue meetings for three successive years and have presented substance at their meetings and engaged better than ever before. That's all supported by our web of networkers in the embassies and consulates across the region.

Rear-Admiral Couturier: From a budget perspective, if you look at 2007-08, we had 11 per cent of our DMTC budget going toward the Indo-Asia. Next year it will be at 30 per cent, so we certainly realize the importance of that region, and we have refocused some of our resources to meet training requirements in the area that I mentioned earlier. We are seeing the importance and trying to ensure that, both from the DMTC perspective and the military-to-military aspect, we keep increasing our ability to share our own lessons learned with them.

The Chair: Turning to another area, ballistic missile defence, can we hear your comments with respect to the installation of that particular program in that part of the world?

Rear-Admiral Couturier: From a Canadian Armed Forces perspective, I will be clear what we're seeing in that region is led by the U.S. for the threat that's generated from there. From a Canadian perspective, we in the military are looking at the options in the future and how to best deal with that the BMD threat. That will be addressed by the government's decision in the near future, depending on whether they decide to go that route or not.

David Drake, Director, General Security and Intelligence Bureau, Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada: Of course, ballistic missile defence concerns are focused primarily at North Korea, which has an extensive missile program and delivery program that I'm sure you're well aware of. Canada is very focused on this. We work within the international community to try to contain North Korea. It's problematic now because of the lack of the six-party talks, but significant work is taking place around the world focused on North Korea at this point in time.

Obviously, we have extensive economic sanctions placed on North Korea, including prohibition of imports and exports from North Korea, with humanitarian exemptions. North Korea has systematically ignored a whole series of UN Security Council resolutions, and Canada plays a big part in trying to keep pressure on them to come to the bargaining table and deal with these worrisome issues.

Senator Ngo: The question I wanted to ask you was already answered, so I will turn to another one. In your presentation you say that tension in the South China Sea reached a new high early last summer, and the sovereignty of the South China Sea is disputed by China, Brunei, Malaysia, Philippines and so on. The dispute concerned the Spratly and Paracel Islands.

Recently, the United States has been forging a closer relationship with Vietnam in the hope of ramping up its presence against China, by lifting its ban of selling weaponry to Vietnam —. There is concern throughout the region and beyond that these hostilities could erupt because of a lack of tranquility at sea. We know that the United States has signed a military alliance with the Philippines, a military presence in South Korea, military protection in Japan, and recently selling weaponry to Vietnam. The question I'm asking is in the wake of the — and economic exploitation by Beijing. What is Canada's position on the territorial dispute in the South China Sea, and how critical is it for Asian nations to see that Canada is committed to contributing to peace and stability in the region?

Mr. MacArthur: Very good question there. Obviously, I think the Government of Canada's position on the South China Sea is that we are seeking a peaceful resolution under the Law of the Sea, all international law and peaceful resolution. We do not take sides, but we very much call for a cooperative approach. I know, for example, when the deputy prime minister and foreign minister of Vietnam were here that was the Canadian message, the need to make sure that this is done through international negotiations.

I'm happy to say there are reports of senior officials of China and ASEAN meeting currently or very soon to talk about a code of conduct for the South China Sea. So diplomatically, amongst senior officials, there is dialogue. I think ASEAN plays a key role given its weight in the region and, for example, the role of Indonesia behind the scenes seeking to ensure that things are done in an appropriate manner.

Mr. Drake: I think it's important to recognize that what you have right now is a whole series of — and in some cases overlapping — claims, like multiple countries. Obviously, the Chinese have the largest claim. They are also involved in the East China Sea in terms of their new air defence zone. The Chinese have put forward a dispute, but certainly they have never substantiated their claim as demarcated by the so-called "Nine Dash Line," which covers 80 per cent of the sea. Clearly a lot of work needs to be done by the international community, notably the countries themselves.

The best thing to do is call parties, as Mr. MacArthur said, to start talking according to international law, and there is not enough of that. In terms of where we need to be here, I think Canada's position is quite strong on this. We don't take a particular position vis-à-vis one country, but it is the process. It is the process of international law, which we need to focus on, and certainly Canada is a country that has been highly regarded for our advice for many years.

You mentioned the South China Sea, but there is also the East China Sea, a series of territorial disputes. And the way through this is by the force of international law.

The Chair: Before we close, I would like to follow up on Senator Beyak's question about agreements that are being negotiated or have been negotiated with the Indo-Asia region. Has either department considered moving to a strategic cooperation agreement with either Japan or India, similar to what Australia and the United States have done in the past? Do you have any comments on that?

Mr. MacArthur: I think the Canada-India relationship, particularly since the Prime Minister's visit in November 2012, has taken a certain significance and improved relations with India and presents good opportunities on a whole set of levels to do more with India.

For example, just a couple of weeks ago both the foreign and trade ministers were in India, along with the British Columbia premier. There was a massive Canadian presence, including the private sector, in the delegation. In effect, we are already conducting a very high-level, substantive relationship with India across a whole range of factors.

It wouldn't be impossible to contemplate that kind of a special relationship that's very much developing, particularly with the election of the new government under Prime Minister Modi. I think there are good possibilities for the kind of cooperation Prime Minister Modi had when he met with our ministers in New Delhi. It was a warm meeting and highly cooperative. I think there are good, winning conditions there at present for that kind of development.

Rear-Admiral Couturier: With India, on the military side, we're at the early stage of engaging in some discussion.

For example the head of our navy was recently conducting bilaterals with the head of the Indian navy, so we're certainly looking at this, but very much at the beginning of trying to reinforce that bilateral relationship.

On the Japanese side, we have a series of discussions on the bilateral element. One is the cross-service agreement, more oriented towards a logistics element. Once this agreement is signed we believe that will be the first of others we will be able to generate to increase our cooperation with the Japanese. As I said, all services are very much engaged. There is some discussion between the chiefs of services regularly. In June of this year we had a discussion with their academic community on the military aspect of it where we shared some views of the world including, at the time, Ukraine and Iraq. I believe that bilateral is very strong.

The Chair: Colleagues, I see time has moved on here. I would like to thank the witnesses for taking the time to come and appear before us. You have added to the information in respect to the ongoing study we have undertaken.

I will excuse the witnesses before we go in camera.

(The committee continued in camera.)