THE STANDING SENATE COMMITTEE ON NATIONAL SECURITY AND DEFENCE
OTTAWA, Wednesday, September 21, 2016
The Standing Senate Committee on National
Security and Defence met this day at 10 a.m. to study on issues related to
the Defence Policy Review presently being undertaken by the government.
Senator Daniel Lang (Chair) in the
The Chair: Welcome to the meeting of the
Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence for Wednesday,
September 21, 2016. Before we begin, I would like to introduce the people
around the table.
My name is Dan Lang, senator for Yukon. On my
immediate left is the clerk of the committee, Adam Thompson. I would invite
each senator to introduce themselves and state the region they represent,
starting with the deputy chair.
Senator Jaffer: My name is Mobina Jaffer,
and I am from British Columbia.
Senator Dagenais: Jean-Guy Dagenais from
Senator Day: Joseph Day, New Brunswick.
Senator Beyak: Lynn Beyak, Ontario.
The Chair: Today, we'll be meeting for five
hours to consider issues related to the defence policy review initiated by
On April 21, 2016, the Senate authorized our
committee to examine and report on issues related to the defence policy
review presently being undertaken by the government. We are considering
issues around Canada's possible participation in future United Nations peace
support operations as well as other issues related to the review.
Joining us on our first panel of the day are
officials from the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed
Forces: Major-General Jean-Marc Lanthier, Commander, Canadian Army Doctrine
and Training Centre; and Lieutenant-Colonel Brian Healey, Commander, Peace
Support Training Centre.
The Canadian Army Doctrine and Training Centre
headquarters provides strategic staff support to the commander, Canadian
Army, and staff support to the formation commander. The strategic staff
comprises the Directorate of Army Doctrine; the Directorate of Army
Training; the Army Lessons Learned Centre; the Directorate of Lands
Synthetic Environment; and the Army Digitization Office Kingston. Although
located in Kingston, these organizations function as full-fledged members of
the Canadian Army headquarters, which is located in Ottawa. The formation
comprises most staff functions normally found at a headquarters and includes
personnel, operations, logistics, communications, finances and public
The Peace Support Training Centre is a joint
agency multinational training establishment located in Kingston, Ontario. It
offers training to Canadian Armed Forces personnel as well as additional
governmental sectors and foreign military members to prepare them for
deployment to full-spectrum operations within the current military operating
environment. Formally established in December 2000, the Peace Support
Training Centre currently has 60 staff members and trains approximately
1,000 individuals every year. Examples of courses include pre-deployment
training, hazardous environmental training, civil-military cooperation and
Gentlemen, welcome to the committee. I
understand you each have an opening statement. Please begin.
Major-General Jean-Marc Lanthier, Commander,
Canadian Army Doctrine and Training Centre, National Defence and the
Canadian Armed Forces: Thank you very much for providing
Lieutenant-Colonel Healey and myself the opportunity to talk about the Peace
Support Training Centre. You have introduced what the Canadian Army Doctrine
and Training Centre is.
I am responsible for all land operations
training in the Canadian Army. I synchronize training with doctrine
technology and operations. As you alluded to, the functional areas for which
I'm responsible include individual training, collective training,
professional military education, simulation, doctrine and lessons learned.
It is that portfolio put together that allows us to prepare our soldiers and
leaders for the missions we ask of them.
Lieutenant-Colonel Healey is responsible for
all activities and training conducted by the Peace Support Training Centre.
My opening remarks will provide you with an
overview of what the PSTC does and what it is. Later, if that is acceptable,
we will tag team to answer your questions. As a general officer, I know a
little about a lot but not much about specific things. That's why I have got
him here, to provide me that depth.
Senator Day: We understand that.
The Chair: We have a lot in common.
The Canadian Armed Forces must be fully capable
of operating across the full spectrum of operations. They must be equally
able to conduct war fighting, peace enforcement, peacekeeping, provide
humanitarian assistance, and often, a number of these simultaneously. This
dynamic and complex environment dictates the requirement for the best and
most comprehensive training possible.
Canada’s Peace Support Training Centre or PSTC
is a joint, inter-agency and multinational training establishment, nested in
the Canadian Army. It provides specific, individual training to prepare
selected members of the Canadian Armed Forces, other government departments
and foreign military personnel for full spectrum operations. Located at
Canadian Forces Base Kingston, PSTC’s staff of 58 personnel consists of all
three environments, Army, Navy, and Air Force, from both the Regular and
While it was officially stood-up in 2000, in
fact its original stand-up was in July 1996. The original role of the PSTC
was to deliver pre-deployment training to Canadian Armed Forces members and
to others selected for peace support operations, as well as to provide peace
support operations training assistance to Canadian and other foreign
Their signature course is the United Nations
Military Expert on Mission course. It is an accredited course by the United
Nations. It has been accredited since 1998. It trains selected personnel for
deployment with the United Nations as military observers, liaison officers
or staff officers in headquarters. We conduct three iterations of that
course each year. It is open to both Canadian Armed Forces personnel and
members of foreign militaries.
Since April 1, 2015, we have trained a total of
109 military personnel, that is, 85 Canadians and 24 foreign military
personnel, during six iterations of that course.
In July 2004, PSTC was assigned additional
Centre of Excellence and individual training responsibilities for
Information Operations, Psychological Operations and Civil-military
Cooperation. A Centre of Excellence is an organization designated to control
the development of training. PSTC currently conducts six courses related to
its Centre of Excellence Responsibilities. Last year, PSTC trained 261
Canadian Armed Forces members and 63 foreign military personnel on these
Of note, PSTC also has a Memorandum of
Understanding with Global Affairs Canada to deliver Hazardous Environment
Training to foreign affairs personnel and Heads of Mission. This five-day
training package was delivered to 170 personnel last year.
It is, as I mentioned earlier, a complex and
very dynamic and ever-changing environment and we are continuously evolving.
The training we deliver reflects the requirements of that ever-changing
Specifically, we've expanded our training
curriculum to reflect the United Nations' mandated training requirements
related to gender, peace and security, sexual exploitation and abuse,
children and armed conflict, conflict-related sexual violence, and other
relevant human rights issues.
The peace support website provides unclassified
information for anyone deploying to various Canadian operations around the
globe. The intent of the website is to include material from the Canadian
Armed Forces, other government departments and close allies in order to
provide relevant and timely information for personnel deploying overseas on
We also have a contract with the Peace
Operations Training Institute to provide online United Nations training for
all Canadian Armed Forces and other government department personnel. The
Peace Operations Training Institute is a public charity based in the U.S. It
provides globally accessible distance learning courses on peace support,
humanitarian relief and security operations.
Their curriculum, which is in use at national
peace training centres worldwide, fulfils many training needs, including
preparing for deployment to a peacekeeping mission, increasing effectiveness
in the field, complementing study in the classroom, and increasing insight
and knowledge of the UN system.
As part of its efforts to keep pace with the
contemporary operating environment, PSTC endeavours to remain connected with
deployed and returning personnel to capture lessons learned. PSTC also
maintains active relationships with other international and domestic
training establishments and institutions in the fields of Peace Support
Operations, Civil-military Cooperation, Information Operations and
Psychological Operations. By maintaining currency and relevance, PSTC
maintains a sound intellectual base and subsequently delivers the best
The PSTC is an internationally recognized
training centre, and as such the centre supports the Department of Defence's
global strategy to achieve the Government of Canada's strategic objective in
three key ways. First, we participate in a multitude of forums throughout
the world. For peace operations, we attend the annual International
Association of Peacekeeping Training Centres conference. It will be held in
Sarajevo this year, and Lieutenant-Colonel Healey will be departing on
Friday to attend that conference.
We also attend the Association of Asia-Pacific
Peace Operations Training Centers conference, the Latin American Association
of Training Centers for Peace conference, and we attend a multitude of NATO
events to discuss peace support operations, information operations,
psychological operations and civilian-military cooperation.
Second, we send our instructors to other
nations to assist with the delivery of their training and to build their
capacity. For example, in the last 18 months, we've sent instructors to
Australia, Chile, Colombia, Germany, Guatemala, Indonesia, the Netherlands,
New Zealand, the U.K. and the U.S., so quite a footprint.
Finally, we support other nations by hosting
foreign instructors and candidates at PSTC. That is a win-win for Canada. It
helps build the foreign capacity of our allies, and it currently enriches
our own delivery of training by leveraging the expertise, knowledge and
experience of other nations. Over the past year we've hosted 24 instructors
and 75 students from 30 different countries.
I would be remiss if I did not also note that
PSTC has also conducted university-focused professional development and
training in Kingston in support of Queen’s University, Bishop’s University
and the University of Toronto.
In conclusion, I would like to highlight that
the Peace Support Training Centre has a longstanding history of excellence
in providing UN-certified training at the tactical level and has
successfully achieved both operational and strategic impact through its
domestic and international partnerships.
Thank you for giving us the opportunity this
morning to present to you PSTC. We are ready for your questions.
The Chair: Thank you very much.
Colleagues, I'd like to set the stage, if I
could. We have had a number of days of hearings and there have been a number
of questions in reference to army doctrine or the question of engagement and
what governs our Armed Forces when they are deployed internationally. I just
want to ask a general question so we can get it on the record.
General Lanthier, what changes to the army
doctrine have been made as a result of the previous failures that we've
witnessed as Canadians in UN missions in the past in Rwanda, Somalia and the
former Yugoslavia? What has changed in the army doctrine that will best
protect our troops and the men and women who are deployed, if deployed?
Maj.-Gen. Lanthier: Thank you for the
Two key documents govern peace support
operations in general. The first one is the Canadian Armed Forces joint
doctrine on peace support operations. The last update of that doctrine was
made in 2002 and really looked at the contribution to different missions
over time. Certainly the conflict in Yugoslavia from 1992 to the early 2000s
provided us with a very wide breadth of experience. We've learned what is
needed as a mandate. We better understand the rules of engagement that are
necessary to support the mandate. As higher level mandates are defined,
rules of engagement, or ROEs, are prepared and staffed down and then
promulgated to the troops. That then is encapsulated in that doctrine.
At the army level, which I am responsible for,
the peace operations support field doctrine has also been updated as
recently as 2009. We've done that again by looking at all of the missions
and through the process of validation of the missions, deployment and
return, and encapsulated those lessons. How do we protect civilians? How do
we ensure that the conduct of our soldiers reflects the values and interests
There is strict training on the code of conduct
and the 11 associated rules on the Canadian Armed Forces ethics and ethos
that permeates the profession of arms. All of that has formally become part
of the training curriculum.
Our training regimen is also much more complex.
We work with a plan, which is then encapsulated in an army direction. That's
how we've captured those lessons learned. We have had the introspection to
allow us to be able to move forward and really deliver on the mandate the
Government of Canada gives us.
The Chair: Colleagues, if I can just pursue
this with one follow-up.
Do I take it, for the record, that the army
doctrine that has been updated up to 2002 and subsequent, that those
particular principles agreed to within our military are not negotiable with
respect to our deploying in another international forum? In other words, the
United Nations or any other institution cannot ask us to change what we
believe our personnel are permitted and shall do in certain cases if things
were to go awry.
Maj.-Gen. Lanthier: Absolutely, sir. The
law of armed conflict in general — the protocol is The Hague and Geneva
protocols — are non-negotiable. They're internationally recognized and we
adhere to those.
Unique to the Canadian Armed Forces, our code
of conduct is clearly enshrined. The UN has its own code of conduct, and
ours is certainly as rigid, if not in certain cases more rigid, and is
The Chair: I want to pursue this because
this is very important. They say they have rules, and then we learn that in
certain incidents in other countries around the world, they have run into
significant difficulties because those individuals representing the United
Nations aren't necessarily doing what they are supposed to be doing under
So my question is: What rules apply? Do our
rules apply or do the United Nations’ rules apply? Then who is responsible?
Maj.-Gen. Lanthier: The Canadian Armed
Forces’ rules apply to the Canadian Armed Forces. The United Nations’ rules
apply to the overall contingent. Whichever is the highest standard is always
what is applied.
As far as misconduct by a specific nation is
concerned, if we take sexual exploitation, for example, there are clear
parameters in UN resolutions that clearly define the conduct that is
acceptable and the actions and repercussions of not following this. So if a
contingent, for example, is not respecting that code, there are mechanisms
to withdraw the entire contingent, and those are the mechanisms under the UN
rules to ensure compliance to that code of conduct.
The Chair: I could pursue that, but I will
start with Senator Jaffer.
Senator Jaffer: Thank you very much for
your presentations here today. Can I get a bit of clarification before I ask
my questions? The Pearson centre is gone. Is that why you contracted with
Maj.-Gen. Lanthier: No, two very different
mandates. PSTC is concentrated on the tactical level of training. The
Pearson peacekeeping centre was at the operational and strategic level,
conducting non-UN accredited courses. One the reasons that the PCC
eventually disappeared in 2002 when the audit was done is there was not a
requirement at that time to train Canadian personnel, and the centre was
mostly training foreign personnel funded by Canada. That was one of the
reasons that the PCC went the way it did.
So there are different mandates, different
perspectives and different requirements.
Senator Jaffer: Why was it not training
Maj.-Gen. Lanthier: In 2002 there was no
requirement. The PSTC was doing part of that training. We were using other
institutions to train, so there was not a requirement. As of 2002, we
started to shift towards Afghanistan, and that carried out until 2014.
Senator Jaffer: What you're saying is we
were working more with NATO than with the United Nations.
Maj.-Gen. Lanthier: Afghanistan was, in
fact, the main effort. You're right.
Senator Jaffer: That's why we were not
working with Pearson, right? Now that we are looking again at peace
operations, there is a need for something like the Pearson centre.
Maj.-Gen. Lanthier: There is a need, but
I’m not going to say for exactly what the peacekeeping centre was offering.
I attended a conference yesterday at Global
Affairs. Honourable Gareth Evans and Honourable Roméo Dallaire were
discussing the topics of middle power and peace support operations. What is
clear is we need a place where the different partners, whether it's police,
military, NGOs, other agencies or the corporate world, in some cases, need
to have a joint doctrine, a whole-of-government, a whole-of-nation doctrine
where we know each other's strengths, know how we conduct business, and are
able to contribute to the edification of what we call a comprehensive
approach to a problem.
The example of operations in Afghanistan speaks
very loudly to it. We had an outstanding relationship with then DFATD and
CIDA. We had the policy adviser and the development adviser embedded into
the operations, and we had those intimate relationships over the better part
of 10 years. When the campaign in Afghanistan stopped, that relationship
slowly subsided because there was not an operational impetus.
When the next mission comes up, we will need to
restart and relearn some of the lessons we've learned the hard way. I
believe there needs to be a forum of some sort to allow the whole of
government to work together and get to know each other. This is not a
pick-up game. It has to be rather deliberate in its approach to maximize the
objectives we're seeking.
Senator Jaffer: In Afghanistan — everyone
here knows, but just because we have people watching — our involvement was
through NATO, not through the UN.
Maj.-Gen. Lanthier: It was a NATO mission
as of 2006.
Senator Jaffer: We have had many witnesses
before and also in the last few days saying Canada is not ready to take on
peacekeeping operations for many reasons. There is the UN doctrine, the
political and diplomatic aspects of the mission, the negotiation and
mediation skills, and the list goes on. Knowing how well you prepare, I'm
sure you've heard this being said. Are we ready?
Maj.-Gen. Lanthier: My view is different
than some others. I am responsible for land operations training. The way we
prepare our troops is through a very extensive three-year cycle. I'm sorry
to go through the mechanics, but it's important to understand why we do what
we do and how I believe we are ready to do whatever the government asks us
Basically, for an entire year a brigade and a
division — so about 10,000 people — are preparing and doing all the
individual training courses, training as a cohesive group, culminating to a
brigade-level exercise in the month of May at our Canadian Manoeuvre
Training Centre. That's about 5,000 people we train for the entire set of
missions, including combat operations, and that's the focus that allows them
then to move in a generic fashion to any mission.
Once we have a known mission in what I call a
"theatre of operation" — so we know the geography, the culture, the exact
mandate mission and the rules of engagement that will govern the rules of
force — then we do what we call "theatre mission specific training." That's
usually a few weeks, and that really focuses the training, which is very
global, on a specific region so we are ready and can react to all
contingencies. We have to keep a high threshold of training at all times to
be able to react quickly because otherwise we're irrelevant.
Senator Dagenais: Mr. Lanthier, I would
like to ask you about what you referred to as "international knowledge to
prepare members of the military".
I know it might be difficult to answer this
question, but do you have an idea of how many personnel have acquired that
international knowledge to help them effectively participate in missions?
Are we able to participate in multiple missions in more than one place at
the same time, since personnel has to be deployed to more than one location?
Maj.-Gen. Lanthier: To answer the first
part of your question, we train about 5,000 people every year to achieve
high operational readiness so we can deploy them with just one additional
training component tailored to the mission.
Their knowledge does not disappear after this
year of training. Personnel remain on high readiness for one year and are
ready to be deployed. In general, there are always 5,000 personnel ready to
be deployed, 5,000 who have just completed training and 5,000 in training.
This is also bearing in mind various experiences on smaller mission. Since
the Canadian Army is contributing in Congo, Sudan, Iraq and Kuwait, this
knowledge is applied everywhere they go. One of the strengths of the
Canadian Army is being agile, alert and able to spread out its contribution.
Right now, we are making a major contribution
in Iraq. From the army’s point of view, it is a bit more limited, but in
Iraq we have an all-source intelligence cell that supports operations. We
are part of operation UNIFIER in Ukraine. We are also part of operation
REASSURANCE, a special NATO operation in Poland.
So our footprint is quite big. Logistical
support is often a limiting factor, but we can maintain our commitments at
Senator Dagenais: I would like to return to
what Senator Jaffer said. Many former armed forces members have spoken to us
about training, and you said that the training available is sufficient.
Another issue is equipment. It is often said that people are well-trained
and ready, but do not have the necessary equipment.
In your various missions, have you had issues
with equipment renewal? We have even heard that, sometimes, it takes 10
years make a decision about a tank or light armoured vehicle. I do not think
it takes 10 years to build a light armoured vehicle.
With regard to equipment, do you think you have
the necessary equipment to carry out missions or do you think you need more
equipment or at least need to update it?
Maj.-Gen. Lanthier: I was in charge of land
equipment needs from 2007 to 2009 and I was responsible for defining
requirements. Although I am no longer responsible for that, I can draw on my
We introduced several new vehicle fleets. You
may have heard of the light armoured vehicle 6.0, a vehicle with the latest
technology that is the envy of many and provides unrivalled protection
against explosives and viewing systems. We introduced the light armoured
patrol vehicle, and 500 vehicles are being purchased. We have just received
the first vehicles at Gagetown.
We have modernized our communications and night
sighting systems. So we have the equipment. Yes, it is a lengthy process,
because there are four steps for each project, the whole bidding process,
and the dealings with Public Works. Depending on project size, good
coordination is needed to get through the Treasury Board process. So the
bureaucratic process is slow.
Once operational needs are defined, however, we
can acquire vehicles very quickly. I am thinking of the RG-31 minesweepers,
which can be acquired within months. But these vehicles do not necessarily
remain in the inventory after the mission because we do not necessarily have
the resources to maintain the fleets.
So we have some flexibility and I am confident
that, with the new acquisitions we are expecting, we will be very well
Senator Dagenais: When you say they do not
stay in the inventory, what do you mean? Are they sent elsewhere?
Maj-Gen. Lanthier: Some equipment is
purchased for specific missions and our long-term funding is not sufficient
to maintain and update them. So the equipment is sold — to other countries,
for example, and in some cases, they can even be given to the host country
—, or, to be quite honest, the equipment is at the end of its life cycle
after the mission and there is no value in maintaining it. That is the case
more often than not.
Senator Day: I appreciate the comments of
both of you.
The first point I wanted to make, general, is
that you are the Commander of the Canadian Army Doctrine and Training
Centre. Is there another centre being developed for the navy and the air
force, and do you coordinate that? Can you explain how that works for us?
Maj.-Gen. Lanthier: Each environment — the
air force, the navy and the army — have their own doctrine centre that
produces a doctrine specific to their environment. All of this falls under
what we call joint doctrine, which refers to when more than one service
contributes to capabilities.
The Canadian Armed Forces Warfare Centre is
where joint doctrine happens. The rudiments of that doctrine are the
cornerstone of everything else. That's where it is unified so that we have a
common and coherent vision.
At my level, I have the air/land integration
centre in my headquarters, because the army and air force work together
intimately. We cannot deliver the effects we need without the air force. So
we have to have a common air-to-land doctrine, the air/land doctrine. Think
of it as a Venn diagram with many overlapping circles.
Senator Day: Where is the warfare doctrine
Maj.-Gen. Lanthier: Shirleys Bay, sir.
Senator Day: Near Ottawa. Then when we go
to the more specific training for peacekeeping operations, you are an
interagency organization, and you have all three in Kingston with you?
Lieutenant-Colonel Brian Healey, Commander,
Peace Support Training Centre, National Defence and the Canadian Armed
Forces: On my staff, I have representatives from the army, navy and air
force. Once we conduct the training, we actually bring in people from, for
example, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the Toronto Police
Service and other UN agencies as available to actually teach the courses.
That's what we mean when we say "interagency," because we all combine to
provide the training to enable our soldiers to produce the effects the
government wants us to produce.
Senator Day: You have a number of trainers.
You talked about 5,000 trained each year for the army; I assume that’s where
that figure is from. But that's primarily in Wainwright or out in Alberta in
the summer exercise. How many are on an ongoing basis, and how long would
someone be in Kingston to go through the training they receive there?
Lt.-Col. Healey: Our signature course,
United Nations Military Experts on Mission course, is 20 days. They would
come to Kingston and do their training, and then they would go back to their
home units and get additional administrative training.
That's our longest course — 20 days — but in
terms of peacekeeping operations, it's 20 days.
Senator Day: With regard to training and
educating with respect to gender sensitivity, language and that kind of
thing, you can't do that in 20 days. How do you handle that? It's a
critically important part of peacekeeping.
Lt.-Col. Healey: The United Nations
Military Experts on Mission course is consistent with what the UN calls
their core pre-deployment training materials. We incorporate into our
training whatever the UN-mandated training is for gender and cross-cutting
issues, such as human rights, sexual exploitation and abuse.
As General Lanthier mentioned during the
opening remarks, our course has been certified with the UN since the late
1990s. That certification process takes place every five years. We recently
had our course recertified. That means that the training we conduct is
consistent with all relevant requirements mandated by the UN, including
gender, peace and security, sexual exploitation and abuse.
Maj.-Gen. Lanthier: You are right that if
is not part of the curriculum on a daily basis, then we don't get the full
benefit. So the CDS issued a directive on gender-based analysis training in
early summer 2016 — the army. We are conducting that training — GBA+, it's
called — across the forces at different levels. In my organization, for
example, all the leaders, all the way to the instructor level, all the staff
that develop policies, training courseware — that's all part of the training
curriculum necessary for them to undertake. So we design the training with
I have directed for all training events, not
only in Wainwright but throughout the entire year, the series of scenarios
that people will face, such as other nations conducting themselves
inappropriately, including sexual exploitation, detainee abuse by local
forces. All the types of incidents that we may see are part of the scenario
injected into the training. That way, we develop that base, and people
undergoing training can then truly understand what the right actions are and
how to consider those actions under the code of conduct.
Senator Day: Is that all under the umbrella
of peace support training or something separate?
Maj.-Gen. Lanthier: It is seamless.
Everything we do is a consideration.
Senator Day: That's not just the 20 days we
were talking about with the colonel?
Maj.-Gen. Lanthier: There is a specific
focus on that in the course, but it is embedded in everything else we do.
Lt.-Col. Healey: I will add that when we
have Canadians do the UN Military Experts on Mission course, we have to send
a certification to the UN saying that a member has completed all the
training in accordance with UN-mandated training. At that time, the UN can
decide they don't want to accept that member for another reason, so they
have the final say. As I said, our training is consistent with their core,
Senator Day: For our group, what is the
name of that UN agency or organization that does the certification?
Lt.-Col. Healey: It goes through the
international training staff, part of the Department of Peacekeeping
Senator Day: General, you made mention of
Queen's University and other universities, but you didn't the Royal Military
College, and it's right there in Kingston. Is there not some synergy with
your organization and the Royal Military College?
Maj.-Gen. Lanthier: There is not a lot. I
think Walter Dorn at RMC is in direct contact with both the Canadian Army
Command and Staff College —
Senator Day: Mr. Dorn was here a few days
Lt.-Col. Healey: Those universities that we
indicated in the opening remarks have approached PSTC because they want to
help educate some of their honour graduate and graduate-level students, and
they want to take advantage the fact that the Peace Support Training Centre
is actually in Kingston. So we do have interactions with RMC, but we tend to
do more with other universities because they have a process.
Senator Day: But surely with the future
officers graduating from RMC, the sooner you expose them to some of the
sensitivities of peacekeeping, gender issues, et cetera, the better it would
be. When do they get that training?
Lt.-Col. Healey: We need to equate RMC with
a civilian university. During the academic school year they are doing
civilian studies. All this other training actually happens in the summer
when they go to their respective environments.
For example, I'm an infantry officer. If I was
at RMC, I would go to Gagetown in the summertime. All those cross-cultural,
cross-cutting issues, like human rights, sexual exploitation and abuse, they
will learn that in their trade-specific training.
What the other universities are doing is their
academics are coming in and consulting with us, and we're sharing ideas as
we move forward to determine how best to prepare our soldiers for going on
Senator Beyak: Thank you, gentlemen. I'm
always gratified when I'm out in the riding to see how many Canadians watch
meetings of our National Security and Defence Committee on TV, and I think
it's because it is such a universal issue in the world that we live in right
now. Every meeting, every set of witnesses, we learn something new. Thank
you very much. I didn't realize the scope of your work.
When we are deploying to another country, are
there specific military requirements within the doctrine that have to be in
place before we go? Could you share those with us?
Maj.-Gen. Lanthier: I'm not sure I'll
answer directly, but please come back to me if I don't.
We define very precisely training requirements
in what we call the Canadian Army operating plan. Those are the generic
training requirements by which we judge whether we have achieved the level
of professionalism and technical expertise we need. Then, when we have a
specific mission, I issue, on behalf of the army commander, what we call the
high readiness direction and guidance. We call that the Battle Task
Standard. It is an exhaustive list of what needs to be trained, under what
standard, and what standard needs to be achieved. Then we have different
For example, on behalf of the army commander, I
certify or confirm brigade levels. Ten units, 5,000 people. A
brigadier-general that commands a division will confirm the battle groups.
That's how we achieve the training requirements that are expressly stated.
For a specific mission, it will go as far as the language, the culture, the
political and socio-economic background. All the aspects that form a nation
will be presented and taught.
Senator Beyak: Thank you very much. That's
good to know.
Lt.-Col. Healey: I would add that I
identify that our training is consistent with the core pre-deployment
training materials from the UN. We add Canadian-specific material to that,
such as first aid, the "Road to Mental Readiness" and "Conduct after
Capture." These are requirements in addition to the basic training that the
UN mandates in order to better prepare our soldiers.
The Chair: I will follow up on that before
we leave the area with respect to the instructors and the expertise in terms
of understanding the culture and the politics of a country to which you may
deploy. The people that are instructing, do they come from that country and
do they provide the expertise and nuances of what exactly is going on?
The reason I ask that question is that we have
had witnesses tell us that we are sometimes sending our military into places
where we have no idea of the political and religious doctrines that people
live by and therefore no understanding of the day-to-day dangers that our
men and women can face when they actually arrive in these particular
theatres. The question is, do you actually have people who understand it and
live it and who will be able to give the advice to our officers when they
take this training?
Maj.-Gen. Lanthier: In terms of having the
resident expertise within either the PSTC or the Canadian Armed Forces, it
is fairly limited. We rely heavily, of course, on our attaché, a network, to
get us part of that information, but we have a relationship with Global
Affairs Canada, where those experts come in.
I will let Colonel Healey expand, because he
manages that on behalf of the army and the forces.
Lt.-Col. Healey: We engage heavily with
Global Affairs Canada. They have cultural awareness experts. For every
course that we run, if we know the particular area that Canadians will be
deploying in, they send over cultural awareness experts, and they will give
all those details as you've identified in order to provide the atmosphere of
the environment that our soldiers will be deploying in.
The Chair: I don't think you have answered
my direct question, though. I will relate it closer to home.
I'm from the Yukon, three time zones away. We
have people in Ottawa responsible for the Yukon in various aspects of how we
live, but they don't live there, and a lot of times they don't get it right.
My question is, if you're going to deploy to
Mali or places of that nature, which are very dangerous, we've been told
that if the decision is taken to go to a country like that, we had better
have an understanding of what's going on in the day-to-day operations of the
Do you actually have people from that
particular country who give our troops or officers that insight, as opposed
to somebody who has maybe read a book?
Lt.-Col. Healey: For Roto 0, that's very
difficult to do. However, what we do is we go to our trusted partners, our
allies, that have deployed to those operations and bring them to Canada to
instruct our courses.
Once we go through a number of iterations, we
actually do what we call a reverse TAV, or technical assistance visit, where
we bring the commanders who were actually on the ground, who have interfaced
with the local population, who have perhaps identified some of their
friction points. They come back and help inform the current training.
The Chair: I think that in part answers my
Senator White: Thanks to both of you for
being here. I apologize for being late.
I appreciate it when you talk about the
training programs. It sounds like you have a package you put together and
you make changes to it, depending on if you know where you're going. But you
must be identifying capacity and capability gaps as you go through that. How
do you push that back to Ottawa? The highway is not always that quick. How
do you push it back to Ottawa to identify, "Look, we are planning into go
into Africa right now" — or Mali or wherever it happens to be, "and we think
there are some concerns"? Or do you just say, "We're the military." As
somebody said yesterday, "We are a ‘can do’ organization." How do you push
it back so that you actually make sure those capacity and capability gaps
are filled as much as possible?
Maj.-Gen. Lanthier: I'll speak from an army
level. The approach we take is that once the initiating directive comes down
to us, we identify the mission parameters and requirements. We then map that
against our capabilities across all domains: Do we have the right doctrine,
the right equipment, training, facilities, weapons and ammunition? What is
the art of the possible, we do; and the rest, we identify where those gaps
exist and the mitigation strategies.
This will be an iterative process. Are the
mitigation strategies presented acceptable? Is the residual risk acceptable
in Ottawa and of course ultimately to the Government of Canada? That will
make the mission mandate or the parameters of the mission evolve to a point
where the residual risks are acceptable. We will never put away all risks,
but we will always deploy with an understanding of the parameters and
capabilities we have so that there is a match with the two.
Senator White: Thanks for that. I
appreciate that you're always trying to tighten up those gaps. Our friend is
from the Yukon, and we know that working in isolated communities is the same
thing; you end up with those same types of gaps in some of the areas.
A number of years ago in Afghanistan there were
questions around UN CIVPOL, the policing side, being outside the wire and
whether or not they received the same level of training that the military
received to be outside the wire. In fact, they weren't receiving the same
training at all. I know that at the time, DFAIT — Global Affairs today — had
looked at whether or not they needed to change the training.
When you look at those new missions coming up,
do you also engage the police agencies to ensure that with the training you
are providing, which is narrowing gaps, is being provided to them, or do you
actually engage them in your training facility?
Maj.-Gen. Lanthier: When we conduct
training, we will invite allies and other agencies, so GAC. We will send
policy advisers. We will send those usual partners.
With regard to civilian police, unless it is
theatre-specific training, not the generic overall screening, there is not,
at my level, a mechanism to do that. I'm not resourced nor mandated to do
that. I cannot answer at the higher level, from an issue perspective, the
approach for that, unfortunately.
Lt.-Col. Healey: Sir, if I may, we have
a very good relationship with the Toronto police force. As part of the
United Nations Military Experts on Mission course, there is the requirement
for investigations, for interrogations, for following up. They provide
instructors who actually come down. By building those relationships, they
are actually exposed to the level of training that we do, and so we talk to
them. We also have a relationship with the RCMP with their training
We have had these engagements and
conversations, but as we've identified, we need to do better on how we get
the whole-of-government aspect together.
Senator White: I appreciate that
relationship, but that's about building your capacity when Toronto comes in
there. I guess my concern is whether or not the capacity is being built for
those police agencies. It's not just the RCMP; over 50 per cent of the
police officers who actually go into theatre right now are not RCMP. In
fact, about 65 per cent are not RCMP.
Would it be possible for us to receive a copy
of some type of syllabus that shows us how that engagement works with police
agencies? I am a little bit concerned that, right now, we are seeing a lot
of agencies come back. We had discussions with Minister Goodale last spring
about the fact that a lot of police services are getting officers back with
a number of different issues and aren't even covered through Veterans
Affairs from a medical perspective in the same way that the RCMP are. Is it
possible that I could try to figure out the syllabus to see whether or not
there is enough connection? Because I'm not convinced there is. No
disrespect. I respect what you guys do.
Maj.-Gen. Lanthier: If I identify a gap, it
comes back to one of my previous remarks where we do not have that forum or
that ability to train collectively, for everybody deployed to have a
commonality of training, understanding of the doctrine, combined and joint.
I don't know if we'd be able to provide you with something because I do not
know, at my level, if there is such a thing.
Lt.-Col. Healey: We do offer hazardous
environment training. This is for civil servants because we have a service
level agreement with Global Affairs. So we do have a package to prepare
civil servants. Can that be incorporated to better prepare police officers?
I think that's a good question, sir, and we'll look at that.
Senator Jaffer: The chair asked you a
question about knowledge of the area. I know Mali well. I have spent time
there. One of your biggest assets — and I'm sure you just forgot to mention
it — is our own foreign service officers who have worked for many years in
Mali and have tremendous knowledge. Mali is not a new country for our
country because it's French speaking. Our foreign officers have spent many
years there, so we have a great base of knowledge in that regard, which I'm
sure you will access.
I want to go back to the Pearson centre. I was
upset that it was closed because I worked in that centre. I know that it
helped to reach out to civilians, and it helped you people to specialize in
how to reach out to civilians and in peacekeeping operations. How have you
Maj.-Gen. Lanthier: It is not part of my
mandate. It's a Government-of-Canada-wide mandate, so my mandate is to focus
the training at the tactical level, for mission success at the tactical
level. That is truly that PSTC does as a subset of the overall training
strategy. It's a bit outside my lane, ma’am.
Senator Jaffer: I have one last question.
When I have seen great men and women that you work with on the ground, I've
seen you do really well with not so much boots on the ground but the
strategic advice that you provide. For example, in Darfur, I observed with
the AU the strategic advice that you were giving your men and women. I
believe that your strength is the training, the expertise you bring, the
high standard — I may be biased being Canadian — our men and women have, our
Canadian Forces have. That's the strength. Am I wrong in that? Is that your
strength? It won't be the numbers you send. It's the competency and the
knowledge that you share with peacekeeping operations.
Maj.-Gen. Lanthier: I think we've increased
tremendously our knowledge and ability to do what we call security force
capability building. That's an important thing to know. It can be done and
we've done it very well at the tactical level.
My first deployment in Kandahar in 2006 was to
train a brigade, a battalion, of Afghan forces, 205th Corps. Then, when I
was deployed for a full year in 2011-12, it was to do the same thing but at
a strategic level, helping the development of the ministry of interior, the
ministry of defence of the Afghan forces.
I guess my message is: We have to address the
entire spectrum. It you don't develop the governance level, if you don't do
security sector reform at the highest level, if we don't make sure of that,
from an economic perspective, a justice perspective, a legal perspective, a
constitutional perspective, if you don't attack all of this simultaneously
and follow through all the way to the tactical level, then sustainability of
mission success is compromised. It has to be a truly whole-of-government
effort focused across the wider spectrum of capabilities.
Senator Beyak: You answered most of my
questions just now in your response, but something you said earlier raised
another question. You said that we need a place where the different partners
can forge a joint doctrine. I wondered if you think we need a new Pearson
centre or if you have enough with enhanced funding there, if we could meet
new goals and objectives of the government when it comes to pre- and
post-deployment training for our allies in developing countries that are
sending solders to UN missions?
Maj.-Gen. Lanthier: Because there is not a
recognized, formally funded centre with clear priorities, it is done to the
capacity of each organization. The Canadian Armed Forces is unique in the
sense that our whole life is dedicated to training for contingencies. Global
Affairs Canada and other police corps or agencies do not have a training
capacity. Their day-to-day job consists completely of delivering a specific
role against specific objectives.
Everything we do is a bit ad hoc and is at the
whim of the party of the day for that department, for that agency. We need
to be able to create that space to train so that it's not a pickup team that
shows up but rather a team that is thinking the same way about stabilization
operations or peace support operations. That, from my perspective, is a bit
of a gap we have, and it needs to be formalized. Is it a physical place? Is
it a forum? Is it a series of directions and guidance that establishes that?
That has to be looked at, I believe.
Senator Beyak: Thank you. That is very
Senator Day: It might be helpful for us to
have on the record where the Peace Operations Training Institute in the
United States is located.
Maj.-Gen. Lanthier: We will have to take
that one on notice, sir. We'll get back to you.
Senator Day: Sure. That would be fine, just
so we can put it on our record.
Lt.-Col. Healey: I actually have
promotional material that you are more than welcome to have a look at. It's
POTI is not a replacement for Pearson. POTI is
the Peace Operations Training Institute, a U.S.-based charity. It allows us
to do blended learning so that we can actually leverage some of the UN
information. Their curriculum is based on the system within the UN, so they
provide scenarios and little vignettes that we use to complement our
training. It's a means to an end; it is not the end. It's not a replacement
The Chair: I want to follow up on Senator
White's question, and that's the question of army doctrine and how it
applies to all army members. We have heard that the reservists are treated
somewhat differently in many cases, as opposed to those involved in the
regular force. We've heard a number of stories, not just during the course
of these hearings but over the last number of years.
I would assume that the army doctrine would say
that all members of your force would be treated equally. So, if it does say
that, why are we in a situation where reservists and others are being
treated differently for medical purposes perhaps, for training perhaps? Can
you explain that? And if your army doctrine doesn't express that principle,
why doesn't it?
Major-General Lanthier: From a doctrine
perspective, the doctrine applies equally, without any distinction, in terms
of what we're trying to accomplish. The doctrine is a guiding principle on
how you conduct operations or other activities and it applies equally.
The difference of course is that the regular
force does that full-time. The reserves do it part-time, a few nights and a
weekend a month. So the level and standard they can achieve over the same
period is different and therefore expectations in terms of training are
To deploy, the standard is exactly the same.
That's why Lieutenant-Colonel Healey mentioned we don't employ reservists on
what we call Roto 0, because often that deployment does not allows
reservists to catch up and reach the level and standard of training
readiness that's needed. We recognize that gap.
The Chair: We're coming to an end here. I'm
sure you've heard it here, but for the record, even those reservists who go
on full time, there are some differences at the end of the day with respect
to how they are treated. I think that's what Senator White was referring to
as well regarding the military. I’m sure that is a cause of concern for
yourself with respect to how benefits and other things apply to them.
That being said, I want to thank our witnesses
Senators, joining us on panel two today are Ms.
Petra Andersson-Charest, Director of Programs, Parliamentary Centre; and Mr.
Paul LaRose-Edwards, Executive Director, CANADEM. Welcome.
As background, the Parliamentary Centre is a
Canadian-based international non-governmental organization established in
1968. It offers legislative, social and economic expertise to
parliamentarians across the globe. Its current mission statement resolves
around a three-year strategy plan looking to improve governance and citizen
participation in the democratic process. Part of its work includes conflict
prevention and peace-building education for legislatures.
CANADEM is a non-profit, non-government
organization established in 1996 by Mr. LaRose-Edwards. Its main goal is to
help with the mobilization and preparation of experts that can contribute to
international peace and security. Its roster is currently composed of more
than 25,000 individuals whose expertise varies from military experience,
governance experts and humanitarian response.
Mr. LaRose-Edwards, please proceed.
Paul LaRose-Edwards, Executive Director,
CANADEM: Senator Lang and committee members, thank you for the
opportunity to appear before you. Like Assistant Deputy Minister Gwozdecky
in his testimony, I will focus on UN peace operations in their broadest
sense and on the civilian contributions that Canada can make.
About halfway through my 35 years of
international service with the UN and others, I came to the enduring
realization that most systemic change is driven by innovative individuals
making small things happen in their immediate work environment. Such
individuals develop workarounds and make things happen despite
organizational hurdles, and when there is a critical mass of innovative
make-it-happen individuals, then UN systemic change miraculously happens.
So in 1996, as part of Canada's contribution to
strengthening UN field operations, Foreign Affairs funded us to set up
CANADEM, Canada's civilian reserve. It is a vehicle to identify individual
Canadians in international service, to find ways to inject them into UN
hiring processes ranging from P2 positions to the D1 and D2 diplomatic
levels. We take pride in strengthening the UN one expert at a time.
That remains our core role, enabled by our
roster of 14,000 Canadians and another 15,000 non-Canadians. Along the way,
the Canadian and British governments, the UN and others have funded us to
not only find the right experts but to hire and deploy those experts to join
UN and other field missions, including humanitarian emergency experts,
election and ceasefire observers, experts on governance and human rights.
I believe that one of Canada's biggest
contributions to peace operations could consist of getting more of the right
civilians into those operations. Even narrowly defined, peacekeeping
operations are not foremost military. This is counterintuitive, particularly
as in most UN peace operations the number of military personnel vastly
outnumber the civilians. But as you know, the military force commander
reports to the civilian head of mission, invariably the SRGS, the Special
Representative of the Secretary-General. In peace operations there is never
a military solution. The enduring solutions lie in politics, rule of law and
This has been validated most recently by HIPPO,
the 2015 High-Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations. HIPPO set out
just four essential shifts required for peace operations to better succeed.
The very first one is that for all peace operations:
Politics must have primacy. Political
solutions should always guide the design and deployment of UN peace
operations and political momentum must be sustained.
Because of the importance of civilians in UN
peace operations, therein lies perhaps the biggest potential for Canada's
renewed contribution to peace operations. As you know, cost will always
limit the size of Canada's military contribution. In contrast, Canadian
civilians on peace operations can be almost cost-free to Canada, and so it
would be easy for Canada to dramatically increase the proportion of Canadian
civilians in peace operations.
Peace operations normally hire their civilian
personnel directly, so it is merely a case of Canada making sure that
stellar Canadian candidates are injected into UN hiring procedures.
Peacekeeping operations alone have more than 19,000 civilian staff,
political missions have more than 3,000, and then there are other types of
peace operations. The UN pays their salaries so Canada can increase its
presence in peace operations at no cost.
But the UN hiring process is dysfunctional.
Again let me quote from HIPPO:
There is no topic that elicits greater
frustration in the field across all levels of staff. Existing
procedures for recruiting staff and bringing them on board are
onerous and slow. . . . Peace operations also need the flexibility
to bring on board for a specified period, and then release,
individuals with specific skills and experiences relevant to a
particular mandate or situation.
This long-standing UN hiring dysfunctionality
calls for outside assistance by Canada. By showcasing our best, more
Canadians will be hired, Canada will increase Canadian involvement and UN
peace operations will be stronger. This almost cost-free option for Canada
is a huge lost opportunity. I say "lost" because Canada for a decade had
seized that opportunity and then jettisoned it in 2007. Attached to this
brief is a more detailed explanation of this recommendation, "Rebuilding the
UN-Canada Partnership: The Recruitment Piece."
Let me touch briefly on UN humanitarian
operations and their expanding standby partnership mechanism and its
ramifications for peace operations.
About 30 agencies worldwide are funded by
governments to hire experts to be seconded to UN humanitarian operations.
The NGO I am with, CANADEM, is in the top 10 of those 30 agencies. We
receive $5 million annually from the British government and $1.5 million
from the Canadian government. So this option is not cost-free, but it is an
important mechanism for UN humanitarian field operations to get the right
expert at the right time for the right duration.
I flag this mechanism because there are calls
for it to also apply to UN peace operations. We recommend when this comes to
pass that Canada looks to provide that direct civilian expert assistance to
I'm going to skip my comments on OSCE field
missions because that might not be of immediate interest to you, but I am
happy return to it and talk about our 50 Canadians in the Ukraine with the
OSCE special monitoring mission.
To further maximize the impact of Canadian
civilians in peace operations, let me set out two recommendations on how to
further assist Canadians to enter, but perhaps more importantly how to
succeed in UN international service. In a virtuous cycle, the better
Canadians perform, the more they enable peace operations to have an impact,
the more Canadians will be promoted and the more opportunity they will have
to increase the impact of the UN and, by extension, Canada. Just like the
Canadian military benefits from training and field leadership, field
management, operational planning, et cetera, so too Canadian civilians will
benefit from field training, including how to maximize their performance in
advancing UN operations.
We recommend that Canada stand up a civilian
training institution similar to the original Pearson peacekeeping centre.
Attached is a proposal on what that civilian training centre might look
Second, we recommend the creation of a Canadian
civilian corps. It would have a number of mandates, including getting more
Canadians into international service, providing individual Canadians already
in international service with an association that facilitates their
international service, and would provide Global Affairs Canada with enhanced
connectivity with those thousands of Canadians in international service.
That recommendation is also attached.
Finally, we want to support Canada's action
plan for the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on women,
peace and security. Attached is our recommendation that Canada unilaterally
take a unique role in advancing UN 1325 reform by advancing the candidacy of
strong women for international service across the UN, including peace
operations. CANADEM would inject strong women candidates into UN hiring
processes, but the UN would hire and pay them, costing Canada nothing. This,
I believe, could end up being the most important new contribution that
Canada could make.
Let me end my opening remarks there, and I
would be happy to respond to your questions.
The Chair: Thank you.
Petra Andersson-Charest, Director of Programs,
Parliamentary Centre: Thank you very much, Mr. Chair and committee
members, for giving the Parliamentary Centre the opportunity to appear
before the committee today.
As the chair mentioned, the Parliamentary
Centre is a Canadian not-for-profit, non-partisan organization that for
almost 50 years now has supported good governance practices at the national,
subnational and regional levels. We have helped build the capacity of
approximately 120 legislators to better perform their law-making oversight
and representative roles, working closely with all institutions and actors
of governance, including civil society and the media. While our work is
global, it might be interesting to know that we started our existence as a
support centre for the Canadian Parliament linked to international affairs,
trade and defence.
I will focus my remarks on why the
Parliamentary Centre is supportive of a whole-of-government approach linked
to peace operations, and the importance of ensuring that good governance is
a critical component of this approach, to reinforce security and build
As you know, Canada is one of the countries
committed to the 2030 agenda for sustainable development. This agenda
recognizes that there can be no sustainable development without peace and no
peace and security without sustainable development. Our experience is also
that there can be no sustainable development without good governance.
Good governance can be seen as the immune
system to help provide the stability, reliability and predictability needed
to ensure rule of law, citizen security and a business climate that is
favourable to investment and national prosperity. This helps mitigate state
fragility and conflict. Good governance provides the best possible process
for decision making that is inclusive, transparent and accountable, as well
as equitable and meaningful at all levels. It is also the most effective way
to empower nations to take ownership of their own efforts to achieve
sustainability and peace.
Peace operations require political will and the
relevant capacity, as we heard. Many conflicts are only resolved or
prevented in the first place when the different stakeholders can reconcile
their views and agree on how to build a stable functioning model of
governance. Building peace and good governance can therefore not be
separated. The first cannot happen without the other.
Support to build strong and effective
institutions should therefore be seen as one of many tools in a
comprehensive tool box that Canada can use for conflict prevention, peace
building and post-conflict reconstruction. We recognize and strongly support
the idea that a combination of tools and actors needs to be used during the
different stages of peace operations. Further, referring to the chair's
remarks earlier, the tools have to be adjusted depending on the unique
historical, cultural and political context of each country.
When engaging in peace operations, it is
important that Canada moves forward with a comprehensive and holistic
approach built on cooperation and coordination between different actors,
such as the military, police, diplomatic corps, civilians experts, and
organizations like ours working on democratic development, humanitarian
assistance and disaster relief.
The resources available for peace operations in
Canada and elsewhere are not likely to increase at the same pace as the
security challenges around the world. Canada will need to do more with less
and be innovative in addressing these challenges.
This is why the Parliamentary Centre supports
the whole-of-government approach. Increased coordination between and within
the Departments of Global Affairs, National Defence and Public Safety is
required to identify the gaps and avoid the overlaps.
When we combine the knowledge of our highly
skilled personnel from our military and police force with that of Canadian
organizations and experts, it will add value to our peace operations. It is
important that this joint action is effective, efficient and
results-oriented. It needs to be based on a common understanding of what is
a successful peace operation and have well-defined criteria to determine
progress and measure results.
To ensure that good governance becomes a
critical component to reinforce security and build sustainable peace, the
existing gap in support needs to be addressed. There is an increased focus
on governance and international development projects, and the revamped Peace
and Stabilization Operations Program at Global Affairs will help, but long
approval processes are an obstacle to effective, relevant and timely
When working with fragile states and countries
making strides towards peaceful development, time is always of the essence,
and Canada does have the mechanism to respond to natural and manmade
disasters through the Disaster Assistance Response Team, but the
Parliamentary Centre recommends that a similar mechanism be put in place to
respond quickly when governance systems are failing and result in escalating
security challenges. This could be mirrored on the U.K. across-government
and fast-reaction mechanism called the Conflict, Stability and Security
Fund. The Parliamentary Centre is one of the organizations that has been
pre-qualified to participate in this framework.
In closing, the Parliamentary Centre would like
to stress that to ensure the success of Canada's peace operations, good
governance cannot be overlooked.
I thank you again, Mr. Chair and committee
members, for allowing the Parliamentary Centre to be here, and I look
forward to your questions.
The Chair: Thank you both for your
Senator Jaffer: Thank you to both of you
for being here today and also for the work you do. I'm going to start with
You may have mentioned and I missed it, but I
know you also send people for election observing and I know a lot of
Canadians participate with CANADEM on many of the elections you observe. Am
I correct? You do that, right?
Mr. LaRose-Edwards: That's correct. As a
matter of fact, we have someone flying back today from Russia. They observed
the Duma elections, including someone from Whitehorse. We work very hard to
make sure we get cross-Canada representation, youth, older folks. I think
about 55 per cent are women. We try to get a good balance.
The Chair: I'm beginning to like you all
Senator Jaffer: I also know that you have
been pushing UN Resolution 1325. In your submission, you say that CANADEM
has expanded its "1325 capacity . . . with a view to resurging and
re-establishing it UN reform function." You did say — my colleagues all
looked at me when you said it — that you were including women. That's music
to my ears, but I'd like to know more specifically how you are included
With your election observing, I'm impressed in
how you're including women, but in the UN, what efforts are you making,
especially for women in decision making, not just numbers?
Mr. LaRose-Edwards: As you can see from the
tenor of my comments, I truly believe in the force of individuals who will
make a difference, and collectively then they reach critical mass.
To change the culture of the UN, you just have
to have more women. Not only have women in a proper representation, but
let's be realistic. Looking at women's issues, children's issues out there,
women have more of an inherent understanding of the challenges facing
refugees, IDPs, people in crisis, so the more women you have in the UN, the
better. It needs to be across all levels. You need people coming into the P2
level that 15, 20 years from now will be D1s, and D2s, and you also need to
populate the higher levels too.
The Chair: Could you tell us what a D1 is?
Mr. LaRose-Edwards: D1 is the first level
of the diplomatic grade. There is no P1. There are P2, 3, 4, 5, and then
they become diplomatic; diplomatic D1, 2, 3.
The Chair: Just so those observing on TV
understand what we're speaking of.
Mr. LaRose-Edwards: So the diplomatic
positions are extremely important. We look also to inject women into that.
I'm not too sure if you picked up on my point
that, yes, I would like to advance strong Canadian women, but we also have a
roster of strong Third World women from Africa and the Middle East in
particular. That roster is somewhere in the range of 16,000 right now, large
numbers of women on there.
The UN just does not have very good mechanisms
to get strong women into the hiring process. I know a lot of people who want
to hire women, and they say, "Listen, we were presented with 15 candidates
and there were only three women and they didn't have a lot of
Senator Jaffer: Do you work with UN Women?
Mr. LaRose-Edwards: Yes, we've been working
with UN agencies across the board.
Senator Jaffer: No, UN Women.
Mr. LaRose-Edwards: Not currently. We're
not actually funded to do that work anymore.
Senator Jaffer: Okay.
Mr. LaRose-Edwards: Which is a little bit
of the challenge for us as an NGO. We can do things on the side, as we do.
Senator Jaffer: My next question is to the
Parliamentary Centre. I've been here for 16 years, and when I came here I
worked a lot with the Parliamentary Centre. I was very proud of the work you
were doing in Kenya, Tanzania, Ghana and Senegal. I have seen your work
first-hand. I want to thank you for your work, and I hope you continue to do
I have observed from afar, because I haven't
been involved lately, the work you've done in Indonesia, how you have
included women and how that has built their capacity, which has really been
good. But I'd really like to hear from you as to how you are implementing
Resolution 1325, especially with women. How are you building capacity? I
know you're working in many countries in Africa as well, so it would be
helpful to see how you're involving civilians and how you could help our
peace operations in including civilians.
Ms. Andersson-Charest: Women have always
been very central to our programs around the world and, as you mentioned, in
Africa in particular.
We always try and ensure that we work
specifically with the women to ensure that they have the capacity to take on
larger decision-making roles and not necessarily work in the traditional
sense and the traditional, so to speak, committees but are also members of
the defence committee, the finance committee, and so on, so they can have a
true impact on their countries.
I will give you a couple of examples. This is a
little while back now, before the earthquake in Haiti. We had a large
program where we trained women that wanted to be elected members, to help
empower them to run for the election and to know what to do when elected,
which is not very common when women come into Parliament. They have very
little training prior to — men and women, actually — so that was a big focus
of our program there.
We have worked with ECOWAS Parliament where we
developed a gender strategy. This was actually linked to conflict prevention
and management in an overall program to strengthen the regional Parliament
in this capacity.
Recently, we worked with women parliamentarians
in Burma, or Myanmar, where we brought together women MPs and senators from
both houses and from the regional level with Canadian peers and also
regional peers from Cambodia and Nepal, to engage in common interests and
see how they could work together beyond the political divide for the
interests of women.
Senator Jaffer: I want to take this
opportunity to formally thank Mr. Miller, who ran the Parliamentary Centre
for many years. If you are ever speaking to him, certainly the Parliament of
Canada has appreciated the work he did for the Parliamentary Centre and for
Canadians, and it is good to see you are continuing his work. Thank you.
Ms. Andersson-Charest: I will pass the
Senator Dagenais: I have two questions, one
for Mr. LaRose-Edwards and one for Ms. Andersson-Charest.
Mr. LaRose-Edwards, a witness said yesterday
that, in his opinion, peacekeeping missions are essentially political
missions. You touched on this earlier in your introduction.
Based on your broad experience at various
levels of intervention, can you tell us who conducts a peacekeeping mission
on the ground? Is it political or military direction?
Mr. LaRose-Edwards: It is completely the
political side. I know the HIPPO report is huge, and it is a hard read at
times to grind through, but I strongly recommend it. It makes the point,
time and again, that as important as the military is, as important as the
police is, that the political agenda of the mission and the politics not
only within the mission but with local civil society, local government and
the region, drives everything. And the Congo is a good example: "We are just
going to throw in enough troops and it will sort it out." No. We don't have
enough troops in all of NATO to sort out the Congo. If they cannot bring
themselves to a political solution, it will not happen.
Politics drives everything, which is why we
need to work harder at getting stronger civilians into these operations who
understand the politics and how to work the politics.
You senators particularly understand the
importance of politics. So, no, there is no military solution. They are key,
critical enablers, in military speak, but they are not the ones that will
make it happen.
Senator Dagenais: Would it be possible to
conduct an effective peacekeeping mission without military support?
Mr. LaRose-Edwards: Absolutely not. Well,
there are some peace operations that are purely civilian, but the big ones
in the complicated areas where there is a conflict or potential of conflict,
the military is extremely important. I don't want to diminish the military
role. It is like saying we also need logisticians and people flying aircraft
for the civilians. But the solution will be in enabling the local society,
local government, to come to a political resolution of the problems facing
it and let us pull out.
So, no, we need the military. We desperately
need the military to be better aware of the politics they are getting into,
and this is perhaps a shortcoming right now. They are critically important,
but they will not be the drivers for success.
Senator Dagenais: Ms. Andersson-Charest, I
have a question for you as well. It is a simple question, but your answer
could be very helpful for us.
What is Canada not doing right now that it
could easily do to be more effective in preventing conflicts?
Ms. Andersson-Charest: I think the main
problem right now is that many of the departments don’t work between them.
They are like silos, so there is no cooperation, coordination within Canada.
And this is not just at the departmental level; it's between organizations
as well. We see the same also when we work in various countries.
The Parliamentary Centre's approach has always
been to look for partners and working partnerships and complement other
efforts that are there. This is really the approach, and that's why I talked
about the whole-of-government approach and having a holistic approach. That
will be the only way we will have success in our peace operations.
When we build on the strengths from
organizations like CANADEM and combine that with other organizations that
are also working closely with the organizations on the ground, that's when
you are going to get that complete understanding of the situation in a
We will never say that we are the experts in
any of the countries where we work. We rely on our local partners to really
show us what their conditions are, and those conditions vary.
I'll give you one example. We've just started a
project in Burkina Faso. Obviously, there has been a lot of instability in
Burkina Faso and the region lately. But the reason why Burkina Faso is now
not in the conflict is because it has the political will, a strong civil
society and the will to build stronger governance institutions.
We work directly with the national assembly
there. The first intervention we had was to do a needs assessment of the
full assembly. What are the needs of the MPs, the staff and the institution
as a whole? Only then can we start our intervention.
But to know that, we also need to work with the
local partners so they help us understand the cultural differences between
the different representations and understanding the deep cultural and
religious differences. Burkina Faso has made great efforts to step beyond
what is religion and so on, and that's one of the reasons it's a stronger
country and could play a large role in Canada's missions in the region.
Senator White: Thanks to both of you for
The discussion going on now about a peace
operation in Africa is an example. We have had a lot of witnesses talk about
the fact that it's not peacekeeping and that it's a peace operation, which I
think, from what I understand, is a key difference.
Mr. LaRose-Edwards, could tell us how your
organization supports that, from developing conflict-resolution techniques,
to governance, to the pieces outside of the military. Could you walk us
through how that would happen, should we end up in Mali, as an example?
Mr. LaRose-Edwards: Our primary role is a
resource of Canadian expertise. Now half of our roster of 26,000 are
non-Canadians, so we can draw on those experts and put those forward for
engagements by those that are actually working on the ground.
I will give you an example on the humanitarian
side. In a humanitarian emergency, suddenly one part of the UN, the UNICEF,
WHO and others will need a particular expert. They will contact us, and with
either the British funding that we have, the $5 million, or the Canadian
funding, the $1.5 million, we will hire the expert that they want and second
them out to them literally in days. We are a rapid response source of
experts, sometimes prepaid, or sometimes just saying: "Here is the resumé
and contact information. If you want them, go for it. Hire them directly
We're a source of experts for the Canadian
military if they are doing training. We're a source of experts for Foreign
Affairs if they are putting operations on the ground. We are just about to
be contracted by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office to help them staff their
fly-out teams with experts from Africa and the Middle East.
We've got that kind of a roster, probably one
of the best rosters in the world. That's why the British use us, because we
have a roster that those individuals can't otherwise put their hands on. We
are a source of experts, one by one. Strengthening the UN and the
international community one expert at a time is one of our mantras.
Senator White: With respect to specific
needs, you are able to walk into your roster, and as we just heard from two
military officers who were here, try to increase the capability and reduce
Mr. LaRose-Edwards: Yes. In two examples on
the police side, it was not easy for the RCMP mechanism to put police
experts into Haiti. So we did two rotations, first of 25 and then of 20,
where we hired equipped, armed, uniformed, retired police, sent them down
and attached them to the UN mission there. Equally in Afghanistan, we put a
police team there in 2002 when nobody else really wanted to take that risk.
We said, "We can do it. We're an NGO. We can do that."
We also put operations on the ground ourselves,
but those operations usually are not standalone; they are attached to some
Senator White: So a UN CIVPOL and RCMP
contingent, you can have 10 of your officers in Haiti, for example?
Mr. LaRose-Edwards: Yes.
Senator White: Are they there as Canadians
or as CANADEM?
Mr. LaRose-Edwards: It's a hard call. The
Canadian government will use us because for one reason or another it is
complicated for them to actually hire and deploy people through a Canadian
government mechanism, and equipping them with weapons was a good example in
that instance. We had to do it on our own. We actually had to go through the
Americans to find weapons and stuff like that. It’s a long story.
Sometimes an NGO can say, "Here's the money;
just make it happen." If you fail, it's not going to reflect on us. We are
just giving them money to try to make it happen.
I don't want to overstate the case, but
sometimes we have the ability to operate where at a certain point in time it
is difficult for either a UN agency or the Canadian government to actually
Senator White: Thank you very much for
that. I appreciate it.
Senator Day: Mr. LaRose-Edwards, I'm
reading from your presentation, and an area you didn't go into was your
relationship with the OSCE, and then you talk about the observers in Russia.
Were all of these observers found by you from your roster and then loaned to
the OSCE? Is that how it works?
Mr. LaRose-Edwards: Exactly. Let me make
sure I get the figures right.
With the OSCE election observation missions
alone, we have deployed 730 Canadians on 69 different missions. We are doing
it right now in Russia. That's something that the Canadian government is
trying to decide whether it wants to keep doing or not. I think it's a cheap
option of giving one group of Canadians some contact with things on the
international side. They take it back to the community and talk about it
there, so that's good.
Quite apart from that, we have funds from the
Canadian government to have 50 Canadians as part of the OSCE special
monitoring mission in Ukraine. That's ongoing and is a valuable contribution
to the OSCE mission.
Senator Day: Are these individuals from
your roster who work under the direction of the OSCE?
Mr. LaRose-Edwards: Yes. We second them,
and they have day-to-day command and control.
One interesting thing on the OSCE —
The Chair: For the record, could we define
Senator Day: Organization for Security and
Co-operation in Europe.
The Chair: Just so our viewers understand
what we are speaking about.
Mr. LaRose-Edwards: The Organization for
Security and Co-operation in Europe is a Cold War construct of the Warsaw
Pact and the NATO countries who found this as a way to try to lower the
tension during the Cold War. It has lived on beyond that and its name no
longer applies. Everybody just calls it the OSCE. One of their components is
called ODIHR, the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights.
They're critical in election observations. They are a very good outfit.
The OSCE has other operations. They have 3,000
civilian personnel in 19 field operations in Eastern Europe, in the
Caucasus. And of those 3,000 civilians, only 17 are Canadian. They are
totally cost-free to Canada. They serve as volunteers, and all their costs
are covered by the OSCE. We could easily increase that number to 100 to 200
out of 3,000, but we only have 17. This is an area that I think would really
be useful. I know you are looking at UN peace operations, but this is a
similar kind of entity and similar kind of activity, peace and security.
Senator Day: Ms. Andersson-Charest, could
you describe for us where you get your funding?
Ms. Andersson-Charest: It is mixed. We are
an NGO, so we are completely project funded. We don't have any other
resources. But right now, our funding is about 60 per cent from the Canadian
government and 40 per cent from other donors, including the U.K. and the EU.
So it's very mixed.
Senator Day: That 60 per cent from the
Canadian government, are there any strings attached to it?
Ms. Andersson-Charest: It's directly linked
to a project. We have no core funding whatsoever.
Senator Day: That's what I was looking for.
So you would have to negotiate each project and then determine whether you
could get into it based on the funding that might be available?
Ms. Andersson-Charest: Yes, and it is hard
for organizations like ours because it doesn't give us the predictability to
be active and respond when the needs arise.
Senator Day: You described yourself as an
NGO, and now I understand. Do you have a roster of people who go around the
world helping nations with respect to governance and the legislative
Ms. Andersson-Charest: Yes, we do. We don't
have a formalized roster like CANADEM. What we do is draw on the expertise
of acting members of Parliament, senators and former parliamentarians. We
work closely with the Canadian Association of Former Parliamentarians and we
work with experts in the various areas.
When we have a particular need — I'll give you
an example. In Ukraine, your colleague Senator Andreychuk was part of a
group that went there, together with the Honourable David Pratt, retired
Major-General Charles Sullivan and an international expert named David Law
to discuss with peers on the parliamentary oversight of the security and
defence sector in Ukraine. This was an opportunity where they brought
together different stakeholders in Ukraine for the first time. They had not
talked about this topic together. By bringing them together and sharing
their experiences — because we strongly believe in peer-to-peer exchanges.
There is nothing as effective.
Senator Day: You found David Pratt as one
of the former parliamentarians, and you found Senator Andreychuk as a
Ms. Andersson-Charest: Yes, as a senator.
Senator Day: That's a resource for you. We
are all parliamentarians sitting around this table as well, presumably.
Ms. Andersson-Charest: Yes, and we are
always looking to engage our elected members and senators.
Senator Day: My colleague from Yukon would
like to know whether he has to register or would you contact him?
Ms. Andersson-Charest: We do keep a CV
roster, so please send your information along and I will make sure we keep
you in mind for future operations.
Senator Day: I have a question of Mr.
LaRose-Edwards, and that is with respect to funding again. You explained the
$5 million from the U.K. and the $1.5 million or $1.3 million from Canada.
Is that core funding or project-oriented funding?
Mr. LaRose-Edwards: As Petra knows,
Canadian NGOs never get core funding. In 20 years we've never had core
funding. It's always project-related, which makes it a little difficult but
doable. I'm not complaining. It would be nice to have core funding, but
that's a luxury we will never have.
Senator Day: Are you speaking about an
average when you give those numbers? Is that the average for this year?
Mr. LaRose-Edwards: The average for this
year will be about $5 million from the British. I think because the numbers
are increasing in the costs of having the folks in Ukraine and other
activities with the Canadian government, that's probably going to get close
to about $4 million this year. Our biggest funder is the British government.
We are in negotiations with government from ECHO, the European Union
humanitarian arm, on another initiative we have on the humanitarian side.
Senator Day: When you take funding from the
U.K. of $5 million, for example, presumably you would be expected to do
something for the U.K. on their roster of people or those from the U.K. who
are on your roster to try to place them instead of Canadians.
Mr. LaRose-Edwards: No, actually the
British are extremely good on this one. When we get a request from a UN
agency, UNICEF, for example, that they need this kind of expert, many of the
experts we are providing right now are from developing countries from Africa
or the Middle East because they have a unique skill set and awareness. The
British government is extremely supportive of that. Every once in a while we
will hire someone who is British — we don't preclude the Brits — but that is
not one of their criteria for funding.
Senator Day: We are doing a defence policy
review and looking into the new expanded initiatives of the current
government with respect to peacekeeping. In our report, if we said we felt
the type of work you are doing is worthwhile, fits in with and complements
this expanded role of peacekeeping internationally and that there should be
core funding, you wouldn't object to that.
Mr. LaRose-Edwards: We would appreciate
Ms. Andersson-Charest: If I may add to
that, core funding can be dangerous as well because some organizations just
feel comfortable and don't feel that they have to work as hard.
I think what we really look for is
predictability and knowing that when there is a need for the work that we do
that it doesn't take a year or two, in some cases, before we can actually
start our work. By the time we have submitted a proposal and get approval,
often the original intent of the intervention is no longer valid; that's the
reality of today. That's why I encourage you to look at the current
whole-of-government mechanism in place in the U.K. to really bring together
organizations and consortia and have them prequalify for particular work.
This is a very effective way of engaging organizations.
I'll give you a bit of information about this
mechanism. It's focused on three different lots. It has three thematic
areas: first, governance security and justice; second, conflict prevention,
stabilization and peace building; and third, defence support services. All
complement each other in an overall approach to peace operations.
In the last fiscal year, this budget was the
equivalent of CA$1.78 billion. The process there is that the consortia are
pre-qualified. When there is an intervention that they want to do, they give
advance notice to the consortia that have pre-qualified. When the terms of
reference and the detailed approach of this intervention come out, the
consortia have two weeks to prepare proposal. Within two weeks we know who
the winner of the bid is. That is one example.
Senator Day: Thank you for that.
The Chair: Each of you has touched on the
whole-of-government approach, if we do deploy or become involved in any
given conflict or theatre in the world, so that we're not helping to create
those civil institutions that should be in place so these people can take
care of themselves.
We're being asked to review the defence policy
review, but it has been said by a number of witnesses that the foreign
policy of the government isn't really being reviewed in concert with the
defence policy. Do you believe Canada needs to undertake a foreign policy
review to complement the present ongoing defence policy review?
Mr. LaRose-Edwards: I don't think there is
any need to do that. I think Foreign Affairs already has a good idea of what
needs to be done out there. Because Canada had retrenched a little, the
scope of things to do is legion.
I would strongly encourage the government to
just get moving, start doing things and see where that leads. That's how
international affairs are driven. You make your plans and then you start to
change them immediately because the situation out there changes.
I don't think there is any need for review. I
don't think there was need for a review on the development side, either. I
think Canada has been doing this for a long time, and if we don't know what
needs to be done at this point in time, perhaps there is something wrong. I
don't think there is anything wrong. Collectively, we have some good ideas.
Let's just start doing them.
Ms. Andersson-Charest: I agree with that
point. We were involved in the international assistance policy review, and
it had a similar focus as the defence policy review, with having a holistic
or whole-of-government focus. But I think it's in practice where things need
to be looked at to avoid continuing to work in the silos that exist within
Global Affairs and other departments because that really hinders effective
Senator Beyak: My question is a simple one,
but it might be a long answer. I appreciate your presentations. You answered
all the questions I had.
Do you feel parliamentarians understand the
work that you do, or do we need to have a better understanding?
Mr. LaRose-Edwards: Most parliamentarians
would not know what we do. We're a pretty small outfit in a sense, even
though we've got a roster of 26,000 and we're doing a lot of things out
there. Obviously they need to rely on civil servants as our interface with
what the Canadian government is doing.
I'm delighted to have been invited here and I
would be delighted to meet with any of you separately, but the reality will
always be that we are flying a little under the radar, and that's okay. We
are small; we just get on with it.
Ms. Andersson-Charest: I think
parliamentarians probably understand the work of the Parliamentary Centre
better than anyone, although we are not very known to members of Parliament
and senators. We have not been working in Canada for quite some years now,
so we are doing our best to make sure that we're reminding you whenever we
have the chance. We really appreciate this opportunity.
I think what is important is that we continue
feeding the message about what Canadian organizations can do to complement
efforts by the UN and other international organizations to add that approach
that is so valuable. We've experienced first-hand that we were chosen as a
partner because we are a bilingual organization and we take the time to
listen to needs, and we target our support based on these needs.
So I think the message that we need to give to
members of Parliament and senators is don't forget that we exist and that we
can actually complement the work of others.
Mr. LaRose-Edwards: One short little hot
pursuit: I would encourage all of you if you are interested in working
internationally to register with us. We have of a number of serving
senators; we have all sorts of former parliamentarians and former senators
registered with us. The idea is if someone is looking for your kind of
expertise, whether for a two-week mission or two-month mission or longer and
you're the right individual, we would contact you. Your name never goes
forward. As a matter of fact, nobody even knows you are on our roster unless
you say, "Yes, put my name forward. Put my resume forward. I'm interested in
that. I always wanted to go to the Central African Republic in its hottest
period and stand on the front line so, yes, sign me up." So I encourage
people to register.
The Chair: I want to thank our witnesses.
It has been very enlightening and I am very pleased that we had this
opportunity to spend this hour together.
Joining us on our third panel today are General
Jonathan Vance, Chief of the Defence Staff; and Lieutenant-General Christine
Whitecross, Commander, Military Personnel Command. It's a pleasure to
welcome you both back to the committee as we explore issues related to the
defence policy review, UN peace support operations and, of course, issues of
importance to the women and men of our military.
Before I invite you to make opening remarks, on
behalf of the committee, I would like to congratulate you,
Lieutenant-General Whitecross, on your recently announced promotion to head
the NATO Defence College in Rome. As our most senior female officer, you
make us all proud, and we know you will take on the challenges of NATO with
as much passion as you brought to bear on issues under your command in
At this time, I would like to invite our Chief
of the Defence Staff, General Vance, to make his opening statement. We have
one hour for this panel. Please begin.
General Jonathan Vance, Chief of the Defence
Staff, National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces: Thank you for
your introduction, Mr. Chair, senators, ladies and gentlemen, and thank you
for inviting me again to appear before this committee. It's a real honour to
As I understand it, I've been asked
specifically to speak on Operation HONOUR, but I also know that the
questions can take us in many different directions. I am happy, though, to
have this opportunity to provide you a brief update on our efforts under
As you recall, this was my first order to the
Canadian Armed Forces. Its objective is to eliminate harmful sexual
behaviour from within our ranks. I acknowledge that this is an ambitious
goal, but I will not accept a lesser target.
Joining me today is Lieutenant-General
Christine Whitecross, who is supporting this operation. I will make the
point here that all of my commanders are in the process of actively
supporting this operation, as are all members of the Canadian Armed Forces.
Like you, I'd also like to note publicly how
very proud I am of General Whitecross as she was recently named the next
Commandant the of NATO Defence College in Rome, a prestigious post. It's
good news for NATO and great news for Canada.
I will begin with a few short remarks,
following which I will be pleased to take any and all of your questions.
Mr. Chairman and senators, we are taking short-
and long-term measures under Operation HONOUR. In the short term, we are
supporting victims more effectively and responding more decisively to
incidents, and in the long term, we will understand our military culture
better as it relates to harmful behaviour and change it to ensure that all
members are treated with the respect and dignity that is their due.
More effective victim support and decisive
leadership will help create an environment that encourages incident
reporting and ideally works to prevent. This in turn helps to build a
culture that is more supportive and more responsive to the needs of our
During the first year of operation HONOUR, we
focused on those immediate measures. As to victim support, the Sexual
Misconduct Response Centre provides members of the military with
confidential support and advice. Despite what critics say, the centre is
independent from the military chain of command and focuses exclusively on
In addition, we continue to improve the support
we offer. Those responsible for the military chain of command have received
training and information on the best way of supporting victims of sexual
misconduct, as have health care workers, chaplains, the military police and
legal officers. These supports encourage former victims to talk about their
experiences now. In the first six months of this year, we saw a 22 per cent
increase in incidents reported to the military police.
About half of these are old cases predating
Operation HONOUR. This demonstrates to me that at least some of these
victims now believe, perhaps for the first time, that we will hear them and
Every report of a sexual offence, new or not,
is investigated by dedicated teams within the Canadian Forces National
Investigation Services, CFNIS. These investigators have received specialized
training to deal with sexual offences and can lay criminal charges against
any member of the Canadian Armed Forces.
When an investigation determines that an
offence has taken place, we are taking decisive action to deal with
perpetrators. Since January, 8 individuals have been convicted of sexual
misconduct-related offences and another 55 have been subjected to
In the most serious cases, I ordered that
people be relieved of their command, or I removed them completely from our
ranks because they are not worthy of being part of our organization.
Honourable senators, I can assure you and all
Canadians that we are taking decisive action.
I would now like to talk about the more
long-term objective of operation HONOUR, specifically as regards the change
in culture. In the past, our institution was slow to recognize the need for
change since so many aspects of our culture are important to us.
Like so many of my brothers and sisters in the
profession of arms, I take great pride in being a member of the Canadian
Armed Forces. I consider it an honour and a privilege to serve in the
uniform of our country.
Our culture is what gives us the resiliency
that we demonstrate today, the fortitude to have weathered the storms of
world wars, Korea, UN missions and Afghanistan, but there are also aspects
of our culture that have caused and still contribute to harmful,
inappropriate sexual behaviour. We must identify those factors and eliminate
We have taken the first steps in this
direction. Over the summer, more than 40,000 of our members completed a
StatsCan survey on harmful sexual behaviour within our ranks. The results
are being tallied and will be made available in late November. As I said a
few weeks ago, I expect them to be sobering.
The survey results will give us the information
we need to conduct a detailed analysis of our military culture, covering
such areas as recruitment, training and education, leadership and the chain
of command, the influence of social media and language, to name but three.
In conclusion, Mr. Chair, I am encouraged by
the progress we have achieved to date, but incidents of harmful sexual
behaviour are still occurring, and this is unacceptable. So I will continue
to lead Operation HONOUR. The leadership of the Canadian Armed Forces and
indeed all members will be compelled to support its execution, and we will
do so until every member in uniform is treated with the respect and dignity
that is their due.
Thank you for your time, and I will be happy to
take your questions.
The Chair: Thank you very much, general. I
want to say we appreciate very much the update on Operation HONOUR, and it's
obvious you have been doing a lot of work over the last number of months in
respect to that issue.
Before we begin, I'd like to lay the framework
in respect to the question of international deployments and the National
Defence review that we've been involved in for the last number of days. I
have an overall question that we'd like to get on the record, because we
read a lot in the newspaper, and sometimes it's accurate and sometimes it
Could you walk us through which three countries
in Africa are being given serious consideration for deployment? And could
you identify the main risks posed to Canadians in those countries? Also, can
you tell us, in any deployment that would take place, what equipment or
personnel needs must be met by the Canadian Armed Forces to be able to take
such a deployment, and is it going to take a period of time before that
equipment and personnel could be put into place?
I know that's a series of questions, but the
committee would like to be updated.
Gen. Vance: Thank you, Mr. Chair and
senators. I'm grateful for the question.
In fact, what I'm doing right now to support
government decision making — and ultimately I'll be in a position to provide
advice to government — is to look at all of the ongoing UN missions around
the globe and make an assessment that follows the following logic.
One is to look at the nature of the conflict
itself. So whether this is occurring in Colombia, in the Middle East where
there are UN missions or in Africa where there are missions, look at the
nature of the conflict and then make an assessment of what would need to be
done to address the nature of the conflict. Then look at what the UN is
doing under its mandate to address the nature of the conflict and determine
whether or not there are any gaps or whether the UN mission is effectively
pointed at the heart of the problem. Then look at what Canada could
contribute to any one of those missions to make a real difference on the
ground to directly address the nature of the conflict, the resolution
thereof or to prevent further conflict.
And I've not completed this study. It's only at
that point where I'll be prepared to look at what is out there in terms of
the things Canada could do, make my assessment and offer advice as to what
Canada might do. It’s then up to the Government of Canada to determine what
we will do.
This is a process. You've heard the minister
speak on this repeatedly, and I'm grateful, frankly, for the wisdom of
giving us the space necessary to do a full assessment, right from the root
of the conflict all the way through to what might be done about it. I will
put that before the minister and, ultimately, for decision making as we
determine where best Canada can contribute to actual progress in terms of
anything that can be done as it relates to the nature of the conflict and
what the UN is doing.
Now, you've also asked about risks. The risks
change and are different between and throughout mission areas. Therefore, as
it relates to the equipment that we would bring, the training that we'll do,
the numbers of forces that would be put into play, whether we play a direct
role on the ground or an indirect role through capacity building, all
options in terms of what the military, along with a whole-of-government
approach, may bring to actually addressing the nature of the conflict and
doing some good are what's in play right now. When the minister speaks of
doing the assessment, this is exactly what's going on.
My staff and I are working very hard, have done
reconnaissance efforts, will continue to do reconnaissance across the
continent of Africa and elsewhere to understand exactly what it is we might
do. I will try and build options for government as to how it is that we
might best contribute.
I think the "start state" of the Canadian Armed
Forces in terms of its expertise to provide capacity building, technical
expertise, enablers or, indeed, troops on the ground to deal with the
challenges, again in the context of a larger whole and including multiple
government department efforts is very good. I think we are well poised to do
the necessary military tasks in some of these conflict areas.
I never let pass an opportunity to remind
people that in most instances the nature of the conflict and the things that
you can do about it, maybe 20 per cent of it can be managed by the military.
The other 80 per cent speaks to root causes, speaks to challenges of the
nations they are dealing with, and no matter how much military force you put
at it, it's unlikely to solve the root causes.
That said, I am confident that UN operations
and Canadian Armed Forces in those operations can contribute to the
necessary condition-setting and can contribute to establishing secure
environments, protection of civilians, improvement of the performance of the
UN forces, a whole range of things that will contribute fully to that part
that the military can do. But I must insist always to state that it takes
more than just the military to solve these challenges, which largely sit in
social, political and economic space.
Senator Jaffer: Thank you very much for
your presentation. Before I start, I want to take this opportunity to thank
you and, through you, the men and women who work for you, to say to them
thanks for the service they give. I've had first-hand experience working
with our men and women in Darfur and South Sudan. The communities used to
say that they would come during the day, they would work, and in the evening
they would build orphanages. I'm very proud to say this is what our men and
women in uniform do. So thank you for the work you do.
Gen. Vance: Thank you.
Senator Jaffer: In your statement today you
spoke about the challenges with sexual assault. I have followed this very
carefully, and I can genuinely look you in the eye and say that you have
made so much progress, and you certainly have taken on this issue. I commend
you for the work you've done. Certainly in the last year or so, you've made
That is where I am so optimistic that if you go
in the field, especially with peace operations, what you have learned here,
you could use that. We know the terrible challenges the peacekeepers and the
civilian population have, so I'm hoping what you have learned you can help
others to learn as well.
General Vance, I'm sure you think a lot about
this when you think of peace operations, and I'd like your opinion. I am
very concerned about the impunity that exists, not here but with the
peacekeepers overseas, and I will leave this thought with you. I'm hoping
that you will lead the way to stop this impunity.
I've just come from a conflict zone, and one of
the reasons women have lost faith in peacekeeping is because they felt that
they get away with. That is the word; they get away with it — impunity. So I
leave that thought with you.
The chair talked about risk. I can't think of a
more risky situation than the one you had in Afghanistan with a NATO force.
No place in Africa is as risky as Afghanistan, so risk exists anywhere you
My bigger question to you is on strategic
intelligence, knowledge that you can provide. We talk about numbers, and I
see from things that we have been provided that at the moment you have
around 103 men and women in peace operations, approximately. I think where
Canada can add — and I'd like your input — is not the numbers you provide
but the competency and the strategic planning. You have seen that happen,
and I think that that's where our strength lies. I would like your opinion
Gen. Vance: Thank you, senator.
I won't necessarily address all of the points
that you made, but in general I agree with you that the performance of UN
contingents needs to continue to improve. There are a lot of UN forces
deployed, and the UN as a body and the nations that provide those forces
deserve to have them operate at a very high level of competence and
expertise and with respect for populations. Failure to do so could simply
add fuel to an already damaging situation, so I could not agree with you
more. When a UN force arrives and is employed, things should improve across
the board, and if they do not, then I think all of us would have issues with
As for your comment relating to the strategic
influence that we can have as a country with the unique and high-value
assets the Canadian Armed Forces can bring to bear, I agree with you. I
think that it not only resides in the area of equipping or the things that
are equipment-based, such as aircraft, intelligence collection and
dissemination capability, our de-mining, our counter-IED people. All of that
also has the marriage between the platform and the people.
I think the most valuable resource that Canada
will put to this will be its people, Canadian Armed Forces people or people
working in whole-of-government, that will take the view that I described
earlier, where we understand the nature of the conflict. We understand what
it is that needs to be done. What is it that the UN or other organs are
trying to get done? Are there any gaps? Is there anything that we can help
with in terms of the very nature of the mandate or in the execution of the
mandate that exists? So I think we will bring to bear a powerful analytical
skill set with our people and then try to be practically useful within a
very focused, strategic effort, to make a real difference.
I know there are skeptics. I am an eternal
optimist in many ways as it relates to the employment of force, but I'm also
a realist. I think that we have to look very practically at what it is that
we can do. Look hard to put the right forces in the right place at the right
time to achieve those effects. We can't solve everything, but we can do some
I'm certainly looking at this as a long-term
effort where — and I've said this many times — the best use of military
force, in many respects, is conflict prevention in the first place. If you
can't prevent it, try to mitigate it. Try to eliminate harm as you do so.
Try to seek conflict termination conditions. Sometimes that means the use of
force, sometimes a lot of force, but ultimately it has to lead to something.
So one of the things that the Canadian influence, I hope, will be is to try
to lead to some conclusive improvement, and we will bring whatever assets to
bear in a timely way, keeping in mind that at the centre of that are our
The Chair: Colleagues, time is running on
for us. We have five senators who have questions. I would ask that the
preambles for the questioners be somewhat short, and I would ask the general
— I know he can be concise.
Senator Dagenais: I would like to thank our
witnesses. Since there is no preamble, I will proceed with the questions
General Vance, a number of witnesses have told
us this week that peacekeeping missions, such as the one we are involved in
in Africa, are political operations. The witnesses have even said that
decisions were made at the political and diplomatic level.
Can you tell us how that works? Can this
hierarchy sometimes put our servicemen and women in danger? In my opinion,
they have the best training to assess the dangers.
Gen. Vance: I would like to answer in
English, if you don’t mind.
Senator Dagenais: By all means.
Gen. Vance: That is a very good question. I
am more comfortable in English, I’m sorry.
Senator Dagenais: Of course.
Gen. Vance: Senator, it's an important
question. I am of the opinion that organizations like the United Nations and
a number of coalitions and alliances we belong to that seek to deal with
conflict in a way and ways to prevent it, to ameliorate it, to reduce its
impact, to mitigate the consequences of conflict, to seek termination
conditions as peacefully as possible and, where we use force, to protect
ourselves or to achieve those limited military objectives that eventually
lead to a peace, that is certainly the doctrine that I espouse. That, in my
view, is the doctrine that I would argue most Western militaries espouse.
I can think of no chief of defence that I know
or work with around the world that wouldn't first try to find ways to
prevent the conflict, to mitigate it. The use of force should never be done
just for the sake of using force. I think that's a bit of a motherhood
statement, but sometimes people misconstrue what it is that a military can
do. We set conditions for better things to happen. That's the intent. That's
the ultimate objective.
So I believe that the UN is a valuable
institution through which, given a correct analysis and a correct
application of military forces, those forces can help to lead to the other
things that need to occur in the political, social and economic space to
provide real and long-term change.
Sometimes it takes a great deal of time to set
those conditions. Peace support operations, peacekeeping, operations that
seek to reduce harm, to protect people while larger political decisions and
economic decisions are ongoing, those are valuable too, but they've got to
be effective and they've got to lead to something. They've got to lead to a
better condition, ultimately to the very nature of the reasons why there's a
problem there in the first place.
So I reject the notion that this is done simply
for political reasons and putting troops in harm's way, into risky areas,
for anything other than the true merits of the value of the use of military
I will wrap up here, Mr. Chair, because I know
that you want me to be concise.
Anywhere you need to use the military as
opposed to any other instrument of government is, by definition, risky. It
is, by definition, an environment that demands more than what you could do
with any other group of people. So the fact that risk exists ought not to be
the main reason why you wouldn't deploy. It's a factor. We would mitigate
the risk, and we're experts at doing that.
But a risky mission that has great potential
for success may be a mission that you want to invest in, and in the
military, we do risk. We're good at that, if we can mitigate it. If the risk
is not mitigatable and is out of all proportion and at the same time there's
no hope of moving forward, then it's probably the wrong mandate and it would
very likely be a mandate on which I would advise the government that it
would need to do more work with the UN before you would commit troops.
So we find ourselves in an excellent position
right now to ponder missions for our military that will address,
appropriately, some of the most challenging conflicts of our age, and that's
where the UN is right now.
The Chair: Senator Dagenais, do you have a
Senator Dagenais: Thank you for your
answer, General Vance. I have another question for Lieutenant-General
We hear a lot about what women have to offer on
peacekeeping missions. Do you have any specific examples of the number of
women and the role they will play in missions such as the one in Africa?
Lt.-Gen. Christine Whitecross, Commander,
Military Personnel Command, National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces:
I will answer in English if I may.
Thanks for that question.
I would offer that when women in uniform are
deployed on any type of operation, you're getting a different perspective on
the situation on the ground. It allows you to communicate, in some cases,
with different partners on the ground that you wouldn't necessarily get if
you were only a mission of men. I think we learned that very well in
Afghanistan. It's not just women. I would venture to say it's also anybody
of different cultural backgrounds. It allows you to expand your
force-enabling functions, as it were, on the ground.
I would also offer that in many ways we think
differently in terms of impacts to, perhaps, some of the softer things,
whether it's women's issues or vulnerable populations, and it gives us an
ability to provide a better option to the operational decision making on the
ground because you're getting a far more holistic or comprehensive look at
Gen. Vance: I agree wholeheartedly. In
fact, UN Security Council Resolution 1325 recognizes the fact that the
addition of women into and the use of a gender-based analysis framework and
tool set to look at conflict is the only way to look at it in its entirety.
Many of these conflicts have men in the forefront, women are behind, and of
course the solution to a state or national tragedy needs to affect the whole
population, not just men.
As I said before, you can't necessarily do it
with military force alone. It needs to be a holistic effect. Gender-based
analysis is what we've adopted, along with many of our allies, as a way to
look more holistically at the nature of the conflict. It means that you
operationalize your employment of women; you operationalize your ability to
perceive and change the impact on the ground to women, vulnerable
populations and so on.
Tangential to this, but not exactly part of it,
would be some of the child soldier initiatives that are ongoing.
You can't go in and just use one blunt
instrument to deal with some of these challenges, and gender-based analysis,
plus the role of women in the field, seeks to address this.
Senator Kenny: Welcome, general. My first
question is along the lines of Senator Dagenais' first question, and it has
to do with force protection and how you will mitigate risks. I'm looking for
examples that the public will relate to, because they're going to have a
say, eventually, in whether we should pursue these missions in the future. I
dare say that the debate that's coming up in Parliament will also touch on
that question. I think it would be very helpful if you could give us some
examples of how one goes about minimizing the risks to soldiers on peace
Gen. Vance: Thank you, senator.
Force protection is a baseline factor that we
always consider no matter what operation we are going on and no matter where
we are. We tailor the force in terms of its composition, its training, the
equipment that it has and the rules of engagement that it follows to ensure
that it is well-equipped to deal with the obvious threats, as well as the
changes to the threat environment that could occur.
Specifically, in mitigation, I issue the ROE to
the troops. They're issued under my authority. Our troops do not operate
under UN ROE; they operate under Canadian ROE. I never relinquish Canadian
command of those troops. At no time do Canadians operate outside of the full
command of the Chief of the Defence staff. Yes, they will be given tactical
missions by UN commanders, but these are Canadian ROE.
We have learned a lot since the days of Bosnia
and Rwanda, and one thing we've learned is you're never out from under
Canadian command, or their ROE. To that end, I'm able to determine the
sufficient force required to mitigate and respond to and protect our troops.
I make certain that that goes in there as I deploy and tailor the force to
It is clear that sometimes the UN will not ask
for the total force package that we think is necessary to go in and assure
force protection. In instances like that, we have the ability to do
voluntary national contributions or, in fact, work to change the nature of
that which has been requested through the UN and DPKO to get the right force
package on the ground because in our opinion it needs more force.
I'll give you a specific case in point. The
Dutch went into northern Mali to respond to that mission's requirement for
forces in the north and the ability to prevent violence up there. They
brought in attack helicopters, patrols, snipers and special forces, and
introduced the notion of intelligence gathering for the first time in that
mission. That was happily accepted by the UN because that was the military
instrument required for the job.
We're going to do the same thing. The lowest
common denominator will not be just looking at what the UN is asking for. We
will also put a Canadian stamp on anything we do, anywhere. We have learned
the lessons of the past.
We also have the ability to produce very good
tactical, operational and strategic indicators and warnings in terms of
potential danger to our troops, and we can provide and change the equipping
on the ground, on the fly, if we need to.
Finally, I would say that anywhere we go in the
world, we ensure there are national command elements — someone in charge —
in proximity to them that understand completely what is going on, on the
ground. They may be outside the UN chain of command but looking at Canadian
interests. If there's a problem, we will react very quickly.
Senator Kenny: The last time you were here,
general, we talked about how the JUSTAS project wasn't meeting expectations.
Our impression now is that it's still not meeting expectations and not
moving forward. Can you give the committee some advice about how we should
best look at that issue to see what's causing the delay? JUSTAS, UAVs: Where
are they going in the Armed Forces? Why don't we have a program that's
functioning? It's been here for a decade and we're seeing no progress.
Gen. Vance: Senator, with all due respect,
you may not be seeing it, but it is a project on our books. We are in the
process of a significant policy review that will look at all aspects of
equipping the Armed Forces into the future. You've heard the minister speak
of looking holistically at the systems that we bring to bear. The very fact
that we're doing a policy review will help us prioritize and fund the
program that is considered essential to achieving the policy. That's where
JUSTAS sits right now. It's inside a wider effort on policy review.
Senator Carignan: Welcome. I have been
listening to witnesses for weeks, since we started working on this file, and
we have heard and noted that the investment in our armed forces is
insufficient. We made a commitment to NATO to spend 2% of our GDP on the
military, yet we are having trouble spending 1%.
We have to increase our presence in Africa,
along the coasts, but we are having difficulty. As a country, we have the
longest shoreline in the world and probably the fewest patrols and boats per
thousand kilometers of coastline. There are also problems with respect to
training the reserve. Moreover, I have heard you say that we should have an
impact or at least make a significant difference.
I am watching what is happening in Africa right
now. Economically speaking, China is everywhere. It will establish its first
military base outside China by camping 10,000 soldiers in Africa. More than
100,000 blue helmets are already deployed in various countries in Africa.
How can Canada make a significant difference in
Africa as part of a peacekeeping mission with the resources it has, the
priorities it must consider, and the omnipresence of other countries that
have strategic economic interests to protect? How can we make a significant
difference? How many soldiers do we have to send in order to have an impact?
What should we do?
I think it is an impossible mission which is
both symbolic and political.
Gen. Vance: Senator, quite frankly I don't
share your assessment that it is mission impossible. What you've described
in terms of our mission sets, in terms of where we want to get to in the
North, what we're doing in the maritime space, is valuable. I'd add to that
a significant presence in Europe, continuing efforts in the Asia-Pacific
region, ongoing defence and security of Canadians across the country from
coast to coast to coast, our ability to respond to counterterrorism
incidents and our ongoing mission in the Middle East. There is a lot that
the Canadian Armed Forces is doing and is absolutely capable of doing.
The nature of the defence policy review is to
get a good view of all that and make the necessary decisions by the
Government of Canada to determine where it wants to go in the future. As it
applies right now, the force right now is fully capable of doing that which
has already been announced. Regarding operations in Europe and the Middle
East, the Prime Minister and the minister have announced 400 to 600
Canadians in uniform to be involved in UN operations, which some or all may
be in Africa. We have not made those decisions yet. We have ongoing
commitments inside the North, in Canada, to NORAD and our efforts in
Because of the way we train, the expertise of
our people and the equipment and human capital that Canada can bring to
bear, 400 to 600 Canadians will make a difference. We know this already; we
see it all the time. Yes, you can send large numbers from other countries
around the world, and they do a good job, too, but it doesn't take away from
the fact of adding to the very nature of what it is that we're trying to do
in terms of addressing the nature of a conflict and trying to do something
I would take one issue with how you described
my opening comment. You said that I said we would make a significant
difference. I didn't say "significant." I said "make a difference." But
making a difference over the long term in a place like Africa, the Middle
East, or anywhere else where there's a UN operation, every bit counts. As a
nation that trains and prepares its military well, we have the ability to
make an impact that is out of proportion to the numbers of people we have on
I believe that is true, but we have to set
ourselves realistic, wise missions to do. It's not just throwing Canadians
at a problem. As I described previously, I'm doing a detailed analysis of
what needs to be done to address the nature of the problem. What is it that
the UN thinks it's going to do and is that enough? Is it too little? Are
there gaps that Canada can help with, or does the mandate need to change
completely because it's pointed at the wrong thing? And then we bring to
bear, after careful analysis and advice to government, the best possible
military solution that will only, as we know, address about 20 per cent of
the problem anyway. Military forces are unlikely to be the ones that solve
all of it, but we can contribute to it.
What we will also bring to bear is the weight
of the analysis of what we as a country can do. What is the best thing to
get done? How can we do that? Whether there are 400, 600 or 10,000, every
little bit helps.
I would make a point that we have discussed and
had the Chinese reach out to us in terms of helping them, collaborating with
them on peace support operations. We have things that we can offer. We have
international expeditionary and operational experience that they do not. I
think there are ways that a few Canadians could help that 10,000 perform
better. You don't always have to be the one holding the bayonet to make
things go well. You can have a wider influence.
I honestly believe that 600 Canadians there,
another 400 or so in Latvia, also on a pretty significant peace operation to
deter any aggression into Europe, Canadians trying to do capacity building
in the Middle East and Canadians in uniform supporting government objectives
in Asia-Pacific all contribute to the wider effort by the Government of
Canada to contribute to international peace and stability; so 600 will
Senator Carignan: The Auditor General told
us that the difference between the investments in training reserve members
and in training force members could pose a considerable risk — not to say
"significant" — in terms of the training and equipment provided. I do not
want to take out my steno notes to see what was said because this is not a
Can you tell us about what you have done or
what you intend to do to follow up on the Auditor General’s report to ensure
that these deficiencies in training or investment in equipment do not result
in loss of life on a peacekeeping mission?
Gen. Vance: We have accepted the Auditor
General's report. Most of the report indicated challenges of record-keeping
regarding how the reserves were trained, which pointed to, perhaps, a
deficit in terms of how they were trained and equipped.
I can assure you, and everybody that is
interested, that we will not deploy reservists that are ill-prepared for
operations; we just won't. We don't do that. I think the legacy of our
operations in Afghanistan, where we proudly had up to 25 per cent of task
forces deployed, we made an important point. Every visitor that came to
Afghanistan saw that, hey, there's no difference between regular and
reserve. That's because we have a good training regime that ensures
pre-deployment training and equipping. So if there is something that a
reservist is missing in terms of a skill set, that gets topped up before
Now, I do acknowledge, and we will be
addressing it in the defence policy review, that we need to look broadly at
the reserves. We need to look at the investment in the reserves. We need to
make certain that the baseline capacity and equipping of the reserves in
Canada meets the objectives of how it is that we would employ the reserves.
So I acknowledge that.
I assure you that it is my job, the job of the
army commander and ultimately the job of the minister to make certain that
we completely eliminate those risks by making certain that the people that
are deployed are well prepared to deploy. And that is the legacy, in that
case, of the Army Reserve. That's the legacy that we have and that we'll
continue with. We need to look more widely, then, at the care after
deployment with reserves, to make sure they are properly reintegrated and
their mental health is accounted for as well as we do with the regular
I appreciate the question because it gives me
an opportunity to perhaps dispel this sense that we would simply take
someone who is ill-prepared and send them on operations. We don't roll that
way. We don't work that way; we never have, never will.
Senator Beyak: My heartiest congratulations
to you, General Whitecross, and my admiration.
I want to commend you both for your work on
Operation HONOUR as well. We want to remind Canadians that a few bad apples
shouldn't spoil the whole bunch. We have an honourable history of
world-class Canadian Armed Forces, and the actions of a few have to be
addressed but not to the detriment of everybody else.
General Vance, given your previous personal
experience as part of UN peacekeeping missions, can you tell us the key
lessons you learned and how you plan on avoiding the pitfalls in the future?
You already addressed it in your answer to Senator Kenny.
Personally, I believe Canada is one of the only
countries in the world where the Department of National Defence is not
controlling the procurement. It's done by Public Works. Is that true? I
don't think that seems like a good idea. Has there been any consideration to
bringing this back under DND, to streamline the bureaucracy and the overly
complex system of procurements?
Canadians ask me all the time: Why does every
government overturn the procurement process of the one before? It costs a
lot of money to renew the contracts, to get out of the contracts, to pay the
interest. It seems like a lot of waste.
Gen. Vance: Thank you, senator.
On the UN question, I think we've learned a
great deal about operations in general over the last couple of decades
because things have changed. The world has changed. They changed as we went
into a different kind of peacekeeping in Sarajevo; they changed in the
Balkans; they changed again on 9/11. The nature and character of conflict
has at its root some enduring characteristics, but how it manifests itself
and what we do in conflict to try to get to an improved outcome is changing,
and it's changing all the time.
I think the most enduring lesson learned is
very much like our minister has been speaking of: You need to understand the
situation. You need to assess the situation. You need to understand exactly
what it is that you might get done out of that and what the military force
that you bring to bear would do as part of a wider effort.
The advent of comprehensive approach,
whole-of-government, 3D is relatively new. That means that we acknowledge
that the military is not necessarily the solution, but it can lead or set
conditions to a solution. It can help sometimes, and sometimes it cannot.
So understanding when to use force and when not
to use force, when to use military, when not to use military, that too is
part of the art and science of all of this. Making certain that there are
some outcomes that are worthy of pursuing and that have half a chance of
getting done, given the mandate and the way forces are arrayed, is an
enduring lesson for me.
We do need to understand that intractable
conflicts sometimes take time. Most of the conflicts that we're dealing with
today, where UN forces are today, are long and intractable and take and use
the UN presence as a matter of a stabilizing influence, an influence that
helps mitigate the conflict and prevents it from getting worse, reduction to
the harm that comes, while the important social, political and economic work
happens to address what's really behind all of it, the nature of the
As for procurement, I'm quite satisfied in my
own mind that where the Canadian Armed Forces sits, what my job is, is a
stated requirement. I look at the policy that the Government of Canada has
as it relates to defence. What is it that you want us to be able to do in
the Armed Forces? How well and how long do you want us to do it? I look at
all the factors. I determine from that, through a number of different
processes, and it's ongoing, how we need to do that. Is there any delta or
deficit between what you're asking me to do and what I can do? I think
that's the appropriate place for the military to be.
With regard to the wider procurement effort, I
agree with you that it does get looked at a lot. It needs to be looked at a
lot. It's complex business. It's stewardship of the public purse. It is
trying to do the right thing and looking at horizons that can go out 40 or
50 years as you're buying major capital equipment.
I'm quite satisfied that the process that's in
place, where Defence states a requirement. The actual procurement effort is
a wider, multi-department effort led by the procurement department, but then
Defence has a role in that. So we're not absent from the process.
As your CDS, I am able to state the requirement
and that's what I need to be able to do. Yes, there is always room for
improvement. One cannot say otherwise.
The Chair: Thank you, general. We're going
to go a little over time, if that's okay. We do have a number of other
Senator Day: General, you can see from the
wide range of questions that this is an area generally that this committee
is very concerned about and interested in.
I'd like to focus on your presentation and the
harmful sexual behaviour aspect while you're here and while General
Whitecross is still within reach. I'd like to thank you and commend you very
much since you've taken over as chief to say this is a priority and we will
be dealing with this. Part of dealing with this, in my view, is deterrence
and communication. That's why I'd like to spend a little bit of time fully
understanding your points.
You mentioned that since January, eight
individuals have been convicted of sexual misconduct-related offences. Are
all eight of those individuals now gone from the Armed Forces?
Gen. Vance: Senator, I'll take that one on
notice. I don't know their exact disposition as of this moment. Sometimes
the majority of them would be, or they are incarcerated and will be, or
they're going through a process. So I'll have to take that on notice in
terms of the actual disposition of those eight cases.
Senator Day: Thank you for that.
You mentioned that another 55 had been
subjected to career-impacting administrative action, and then you go on to
say that some have been relieved of their duties and some have been
dismissed from the Armed Forces. I think it's important from a
communications point of view that we understand just what action is being
taken and that this is being treated as a serious situation.
In a number of different paragraphs in your
presentation you refer to culture. You say that one of the longer term goals
of Operation HONOUR is to change culture. Now, are you talking about culture
within the military, or are you talking about Canadian culture generally?
Have we done any analysis and comparative study between our Canadian Armed
Forces and other armed forces, maybe within NATO or otherwise, of friends
that could help us in doing this study to determine whether this is a
military culture that we need to change or if it is something peculiar to
Gen. Vance: Thank you, senator. There are a
range of questions there.
I will take on notice, in fact, to provide you
the disposition, to the extent that we can — acknowledging that there are
privacy issues around people who are undergoing administrative sanctions —
the best possible exposure of the details of all they are doing.
Senator Day: Yes. I understand that.
Gen. Vance: I have to agree with you from
the outset, though, that part of doing an increasingly better job on
Operation HONOUR is to get the data. We're early into it yet. Get the data
but also communicate that data to people. We have to do a better job of
that. I acknowledge that in the report. I have taken on and asked General
Whitecross and the team working on this to better and more completely expose
people to the punitive efforts that have gone on.
Deterrence is one part of it. This first year
we focused on victim support. We focused on making sure that victims had a
voice and on the chain of command to ensure that they took a victims-first
approach. That is increasingly getting better, and I think the results bear
that out. Nonetheless, I can't let up on that; victim support first and
Senator Day: Yes.
Gen. Vance: But at the same time we want to
try to prevent. Culture will change through many avenues. One of them will
be to ensure that people know it is unacceptable behaviour and what
behaviour is unacceptable, and failure to abide by those standards will
result in punishment. So it's got to be clear, plain and well-communicated.
We need to do a better job at that. We will be undertaking that before the
next six-month report, but I couldn't agree with you more; people need to
see the results.
At the same time, these are also my people in
the Armed Forces. I need to give them due process, the respect of privacy
where it's warranted and so on.
I just want to make certain I answer your
question completely here.
Senator Day: A comparative study would be
helpful, if we knew some of that was going on.
Gen. Vance: Right.
I think all Western Armed Forces that I know of
and am familiar with are dealing with this in one form or another. And I
think all societies through other institutions — be they universities or
other organizations, even professional sports teams — are dealing with this
in its different forms.
Suffice it to say that military leadership, the
chiefs of defence that I speak with and certainly inside Canada, the stakes
are so high in an armed forces where the corrosive influence of this inside
the ranks can detract from morale, can detract from operational focus, can
prevent people from wanting to join the Armed Forces, which indeed would
mitigate badly against our ability to increase the diversity in the Armed
Forces because diversity is increasingly the strength of military
The nature of conflict, as you heard General
Whitecross describe, needs a broader cross-section of people involved in it.
So bringing more women into the Armed Forces — and I've pledged to try to
get to 1 per cent per year over the next 10 years to increase the percentage
of women in the Armed Forces for the very reasons that diversity, not just
with women, but with indigenous people, visible minorities — increases our
operational capability. I admit that I'm doing this for perhaps
operationally selfish reasons. It's not just a good thing to do; it's a good
thing to do because it makes us better in conflict, and that's why we're
Senator Day: I have a question with respect
to the 40,000-member survey that you have just completed and what you're
going to do with that. Part of it is to analyze the harmful sexual behaviour
within the ranks, but then you go on to talk about a detailed analysis of
military culture. There's the word "culture" again. In that study, you refer
to a number of things that I don't have time to get into, but I would like
to know whether part of that study, or otherwise, will deal with the high
frequency of suicide within the military.
Gen. Vance: Thank you, senator.
This won't point specifically at suicides. I
think that's another body of work that we're undertaking, and we would be
delighted to return, at the chairman's request, to talk specifically about
the care of our people, ill and injured, and suicide.
I suspect there are some crossover points where
someone's life has been altered as a result of sexual misconduct to the
point that they considered or have acted out on suicide, but I don't have
those stats, and the StatsCanada survey won't necessarily answer that for
I can say, though, very briefly that culture is
a mix of a whole bunch of different factors that make us who we are. I think
broadly speaking that our culture in the Armed Forces is positive. We value
health and fitness. We value adherence to rules and regulations. We value
those things that Canadians value, and in fact we try to represent Canada
effectively in the world. We value discipline. We are an instrument that,
yes, is capable of using force, but it's governed. It's managed carefully
when we do so.
So there are a lot of parts of our culture that
are good, but there is a part of our culture that perhaps in the course of
doing all sorts of other good things devalues individuals in some instances,
does not recognize that the nature of conflict is changing so rapidly and
the issues of diversity, of being diverse, being capable of taking care of
your own, indeed being good to one another, will transmit into better
operational capability. Warriors treat each other well. They always have and
they always will. You even treat an opposing side well when they put their
So I think it's deep-seated. It will take a
long time, but we can certainly start to deal with behaviours.
The Chair: Thank you, general.
I believe Senator Kenny wanted a final question
Senator Kenny: General, we're assuming that
you will be using CJOC to command and control the peacekeeping missions
overseas. If that's the case, would it be possible for you to arrange for
the committee meet CJOC and go out to Star Top and get briefings out there?
Gen. Vance: Mr. Chair, I'd be delighted to
extend the invitation now for the committee to come to CJOC at your
convenience. I would recommend, as it relates specifically to peace support
operations, that you allow the analysis period to be done and the government
decision making and the initial work that will be necessary to commence the
deployments and scope the deployments. But I think there would be a point in
time in the future where a visit to CJOC would be valuable to see what's
unfolding and how it's unfolding.
Senator Kenny: It was in the context of the
report that we're preparing for the minister. How soon is it due?
The Chair: Well, it will be the next couple
of weeks, in November.
Gen. Vance: I see.
Mr. Chairman, I'd be delighted for you to visit
any part of the Armed Forces any time you want. Specifically, if you think
it would be of value to go to CJOC headquarters and get the view of the
world from the operational level, I'd be delighted and I hereby extend an
invitation to you.
The Chair: General, before we conclude, my
initial question was which three countries were the priority countries in
Africa under consideration for the purposes of possible deployment. Could
you give us those three countries so that we understand on the record just
exactly what we are seriously considering? Because we read everything in the
Gen. Vance: Mr. Chair, I'm not prepared at
this point. I'm not working with priority countries. There is no such thing
as priority countries. I'm looking at Africa, broadly speaking, and where
the UN missions are in Africa. I'm looking globally as to where UN missions
are, and we'll do an analysis, as I described to you earlier.
As to the notion that there are priority
countries or not, I am not using that. That's not governing me. I'm looking
at it more holistically than that.
The Chair: We can accept that. Just
following up on that, what time frame are we dealing with? Are we dealing
with another 60 days? You must have a timeline that you're moving on to try
to make a decision. Can we get a better understanding of what we're dealing
with as far as time?
Gen. Vance: On when the government would
make a decision on what the missions are? Is that what you're asking me?
The Chair: Yes.
Gen. Vance: I’m not in a position to be —
that's a question best for my minister.
The Chair: I'll leave it at that for you in
I have one other immediate question that
perhaps you want to speak to us about. It's come to our attention that
there's been the removal of the defence minister, the finance minister and
the resignation of the interior minister in Iraq, which is obviously causing
political instability. What effect will that have in respect to our
participation with the troops that we have there?
Gen. Vance: Some of those removals are
dated, had occurred in the past, and we were absolutely well aware of them.
To put it briefly, the situation in Iraq is
such that the removal of the threat of Daesh and its military capacity,
which may come in the months ahead, is but one part of a wider challenge in
I have said it today and I'll say it again: the
military can address a subset of the problems, can set conditions. We are
operating right now to ensure that the clear and present danger of a
military or violent overthrow of the government of Iraq and casting Iraq and
the region into chaos at the hands of Daesh is not going to happen, and
we've, in fact, reversed that. At some point Daesh will be militarily less
significant or insignificant, dismantled in Iraq.
However, Iraq as a functioning, successful
unitary state moving into the future with influences and influencers all
around its internal, political, economic and social challenges will also
need to be addressed. My belief is that the work we're doing now militarily
in Iraq is the first step in a long journey to ensure the success of that
region into the future. Eliminating Daesh as an entity in Iraq and Syria
doesn't solve all of the problems of Iraq and Syria. It removes some of the
"needed-to-be-removed" to prevent further chaos, but there's lots of other
work that needs to be done.
So as to the effect of political instability, I
can't comment specifically on those ministers, whether it's good, bad or
indifferent. But political stability, the rule of law and democratic
principles being followed, all of that is of huge importance to the
long-term success of Iraq.
We prevented a short-term calamity that would
have been the Islamic State in Baghdad, but there's lots more to go.
The Chair: Colleagues, I would like to
thank General Vance and Commander Whitecross for being here this afternoon.
We want to thank you for the work you do on behalf of the men and women in
uniform, as well as the Canadian public.
Lieutenant-General, again, please accept our
congratulations on your appointment to NATO.
Joining us for our fourth panel of the day is
Commodore Brian Santarpia, Director General, Plans, Strategic Joint Staff,
Department of National Defence. The Strategic Joint Staff role is to provide
military analysis, strategic direction, support and advice to the Chief of
the Defence Staff of the Canadian Armed Forces. The Strategic Joint Staff is
composed of five divisions, each representing a distinctive area of
expertise: operations, support, plans, strategic initiatives, and
Commodore, welcome to the committee. I
understand you have an opening statement. Please begin,
Commodore Brian Santarpia, Director General,
Plans, Strategic Joint Staff, National Defence and the Canadian Armed
Forces: Mr. Chair, members of the committee, thank you for giving me the
opportunity today to discuss the Canadian Armed Forces’ capabilities for
peace support operations.
Just before I get into that, I’d like to
quickly explain what I do. As you said, I am here representing Major-General
Charles Lamarre, the Director of Staff of the Strategic Joint Staff. That’s
the organization that provides advice and support to the CDS. I am the
Director General Plans, which means I lead the preliminary stages of
planning in conjunction with other government departments and with other
elements of the Canadian Armed Forces.
With that said, I’ll get to Peace Support
Operations. My first point is that this is not a theoretical discussion. The
UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations currently oversees 16 peace support
operations, and Canada currently has 28 personnel deployed on five UN
missions. A further 70 personnel are deployed as part of the Multi-National
Force and Observers, a non-UN peacekeeping mission in the Sinai, and five
personnel are deployed as part of a NATO mission in support of the UN in
However, what I intend to discuss is our
capacity to project more robust forces on Peace Support Operations. Allow me
to quickly explain how I will frame my remarks. I will start with a review
of our doctrine for Peace Support Operations. I will then outline our
capabilities. I will explain what the United Nations actually requires, and
will conclude by summarizing how these three points intersect.
The Canadian Armed Forces' doctrine places
peace support operations on a spectrum or continuum of conflict. Imagine a
line with peace at one end and nuclear war at the other. Between these two
extremes lie overlapping natures of conflict, such as peace support
operations, counter-insurgency, conventional war and so on. Peace support
operations, depending on the nature of the particular conflict, can span
from benign traditional peacekeeping operations all the way to conventional
war in a peace enforcement environment; in other words, at that high-end
moment of initial-entry peace enforcement. The most aggressive weapons of
the Canadian Armed Forces’ arsenal, from CF-18s to Leopard 2 tanks to
submarines, may be appropriate. This isn't to say that we'll be using those
platforms on every mission, but to say that there is no such thing as a
peace support operation-specific capability. Everything that we have may be
used on a mission, depending on the nature of that mission.
This brings me to the less theoretical and more
practical portion of the discussion on the capabilities we actually have.
These can be summarized in three points: We can do it, we can enable it, and
we can teach it.
Firstly, we can do it by generating scalable
task groups ranging from individual observers to large formations based on
sea, land, air and special operations forces. These groupings can address
threats across the whole spectrum of conflict. This includes peace support
operations. By virtue of a training system that emphasizes coordination of
capabilities and effects from the start, our forces are very good at
reorganizing into task-tailored groups for different missions. Our training
system is also very good at ensuring all soldiers, sailors and aviators have
solid foundation skills and it is adaptive to ensure that the final stages
of mission-specific training are appropriate for the theatre in which our
forces will be deployed. We also understand that the UN has its own
validation criteria, and we are prepared to meet UN requirements in
screening and training validation.
Secondly, enabling UN missions is an area where
we can play an outsized role. While the UN is rarely short on infantry
manpower, its missions are frequently struggling to maintain a critical mass
of specialized logistics and what we call enablers. These are the kinds of
capabilities that exist primarily in developed nations' forces that have the
budgets and technical expertise to maintain such things as advanced field
hospitals, helicopters and heavy air lift, explosive ordnance disposal,
counter-improvised explosive device capabilities, route clearance packages,
unmanned aerial systems and intelligence surveillance reconnaissance
We have these capabilities. We don't have them
in high numbers and we may have to explore burden sharing with partner
nations if we want to commit for a long-term mission, but these are the
capabilities that make UN missions vastly more effective. So, too, do the
highly trained staff officers who can coordinate all of these capabilities
to make sure that the sum of a multinational force is greater than the whole
of its parts. Not only are our staff officers well trained, but by virtue of
Canada always operating as part of an alliance or coalition, our staff
officers are experienced in managing the added layers of complexity
introduced in multinational headquarters.
In addition to their experience and training in
coordinating resources, Canada’s staff officers bring an additional
capability to the mission in their bilingualism. While many of our partner
nations have multilingual officers, they do not all have functional
capabilities in English and French, which are among the most critical
languages in UN missions. Further, the UN is constantly asking for larger
uniformed female participation. We are in a position where we have a female
presence at all deployable rank levels of our forces, who are not only
highly skilled in their specific trades and jobs, but who can provide role
models to the female population in post-conflict societies.
Thirdly, we have a number of means of teaching
peace support operations. You have already heard about the Peace Support
Training Centre, but we have other programs currently focused on training
foreign forces. We have the means and experience to train soldiers and
officers in individual skills, such as basic soldiering or staff planning
and leadership skills. We can train them in collective skills, working from
section to battalion levels or higher.
We can train them in mission-specific tasks, or
in support tasks, and we can either do this here in Canada or abroad, either
in a mission location or in support of a third nation preparing to deploy on
a mission. We did this on a continual basis in Afghanistan and Sierra Leone,
for example, and have been doing so on an episodic basis in Niger.
This brings me to the question of what the UN
currently needs. The Department of Peacekeeping Operations publishes
periodic updates on the evolving peacekeeping environment and the gaps in
different missions. Its current requirements closely mirror the areas I
mentioned previously when I discussed support: engineers, hospitals,
military police, special forces, intelligence surveillance reconnaissance,
unmanned aerial systems, utility and attack helicopters.
The UN is not short on infantry soldiers able
to patrol and deter belligerent factions. It is desperately short on the
means to find and predict the movement of those belligerents, the engineers
to ensure infantry can patrol without risk from explosive threats, the
medevac helicopters to rapidly evacuate casualties, the hospitals to attend
to those casualties, and the staff officers to ensure that all those pieces
are working together. Canada can fill many of those gaps.
What does that mean? We have the forces to work
across the spectrum of peace operations. We have the training infrastructure
in place to generate formed bodies of any size or configuration. We can
train others to do the job, and we have the niche capabilities that many
other troop-contributing nations currently lack.
Thank you. I will be pleased to answer your
Senator Jaffer: I appreciate that you have
set out in detail all the different ways we can help. The question I have
been asking is not to look at the thousands of boots on the ground — and
what I've seen that has worked, and you can agree or disagree, is that
Canada doesn’t have the big force that other countries have — but rather the
strategic planning and the assets that we can bring to a peacekeeping
operation to help men on the ground. I'd like you to expand on that. Is that
what we are looking at, or are we looking at men on the ground?
Commodore Santarpia: I can say that we
provide all the possible options through the chief to the minister. If it's
a UN-specific mission, the UN asks all the contributing nations for all the
possible capabilities that it needs and doesn't limit its ask to any one
nation for any specific thing.
The process we follow is to receive all of
those asks, to understand them and to do our best to assess those asks
against the capabilities that we have and against the mission in order to
provide the chief the best possible advice. So we look at both the
specialist enablers and troop contributions of infantry; we look at all of
those options and provide them to the chief for consideration. Then he
passes that advice, as he sees fit, to the minister, and that's where the
decision would be made.
Senator Jaffer: Correct me if I'm wrong,
but we had a different mission in Afghanistan and then we changed it more to
a training mission. It would be useful to know, not details, but what the
thinking was and why it was better for us. I think it worked well for us. Is
that the kind of thing we're looking to provide in the future?
Commodore Santarpia: As I understand the
thinking — and I wasn't at the joint staff during Afghanistan, but like all
of us I watched closely — that was what was needed at the time. In the
initial parts of the mission, the ability to apply force as part of an
alliance was felt to be needed. As the mission progressed, what was needed
was to do capacity building, as we say, in Afghanistan. That became the
The advice that the chief of the day passed to
the government was that, as the situation changed, we could best effect
success on the ground by changing our contribution to the need. I believe
that's always the case; every Chief of the Defence Staff wants good analysis
of the situation on the ground, the root causes, what the existing
contributions are, where the gaps are and where we can best apply our
resources and capabilities against the need.
Senator Dagenais: Thank you for your
presentation, Commodore. I would like to get back to the role of the
military in peace missions, including those in Africa. We all know that many
servicemen and women are deployed in the peace missions in Africa include.
We also understand that you have commitments in other countries where forces
are already deployed. In your opinion, do those commitments significantly
reduce the Armed Forces’ overall capacity? If so, would you still be ready
to respond to other situations, domestically or elsewhere? Do we have enough
forces in place to respond to unusual circumstances in Canada as well, such
as the ice storm?
Cmdre Santarpia: Every time our forces are
needed, we act quickly to understand the request. We try to fully understand
the specific needs, not only for missions, but for all the other requests we
receive as well.
Before we advise the chief of staff who in turn
advises the department, we carefully consider whether the decision to assign
our forces to a new mission would be detrimental to other missions. It is
very important for the chief of staff and the minister to understand that.
I cannot say there is never an impact. It is a
choice the government must make and we always ensure that our leaders and
the ministers understand the impact of their decisions.
Senator Dagenais: If the government intends
to expand its role in various countries to respond to UN requests while
still remaining active in NATO, what would the new personnel requirements be
for the coming years?
Cmdre Santarpia: Are you referring to
Senator Dagenais: Yes. The government is
open to requests from the UN and NATO. Responding to their requests is fine
as long as we have the capacity. Among other things, that will certainly
mean recruiting new military personnel in the coming years. Are there any
recruitment plans? We are very familiar with the difficult situation of
reservists. The government seems very generous, but do we have the capacity
to respond to the requests and to train new military personnel? Those people
have to be trained.
Cmdre Santarpia: We do not think that the
planned missions will require more military personnel than we have on
strength at present. A review of the military is underway, so we will see
what our total strength is.
If Canada accepts a UN mission, that does not
mean we need more soldiers to carry out the mission.
Senator Carignan: Could Canada not find a
less risky way of having a greater impact in fighting terrorism or improving
protection in Africa? There could be Canadian interests to protect. Consider
for example the CTF-150 you led, brilliantly, by the way. Would it not be
helpful for Canada to continue to be part of this kind of force or increase
its participation? Would that not be more useful for Canada, pose less risk
and be more consistent with our resources?
Cmdre Santarpia: It is not up to the
military to determine which missions are best for Canada. It is always a
political choice. We advise the decision-makers on each request made to the
Canadian Armed Forces for UN, NATO and domestic missions. The military
leadership gives advice on the potential risks and the important aspects of
each mission, but it is up to the government to decide. I think it is very
important for this choice to be up to the government.
Senator Carignan: Can you summarize the
mission you led in command of the CTF-150 force and tell us about the
resources you needed to achieve results?
Cmdre Santarpia: That mission is still
ongoing. It includes members of the navy and the air force. It will continue
this year with another rotation, and the 150 group will be responsible for
all multinational operations in the Western Indian Ocean. The mission’s
objective is to prevent terrorists from using the ocean to transport drugs
and so forth. Canada decided it was a useful mission, for us and for our
allies. We will continue in that vein. We do not need a lot of personnel to
form a command in Bahrain, where 31 force members are deployed, including
seven from Australia. It is not a very expensive mission but it is very
effective. The government has said that it will continue this mission this
year. It would be helpful to have ships in the region.
Senator Carignan: What is the cost and what
aspect of this mission are you most proud of that has had the greatest
impact as a result of your interventions?
Cmdre Santarpia: The most important thing
is working with our allies and maintaining good relationships with them.
There are 30 nations that are part of the allied maritime command. The most
important thing is maintaining our good relationships with all the members.
They are not all members of NATO or other allied forces. This group includes
Pakistan and all the Persian Gulf countries. We must maintain ties in order
to be able to work together effectively.
The Chair: I want to follow up, if I could,
on Senator Carignan's questions about the reservists. The numbers that have
been given to us are that they're understaffed by as many 7,000 positions,
if you take the number of 21,000 as the optimum Reserve Force, yet we only
have approximately 14,000, in one manner or another.
We were also had indication from the Auditor
General that he was coming out with a report that was going to indicate that
the army was having difficulty recruiting. From the strategic planning point
of view and your responsibilities, you must have full knowledge of this. How
does this affect your ability to do what you do if it is true that staffing
and the ability to provide the personnel are becoming very questionable?
Could you comment on that?
Commodore Santarpia: Absolutely.
We are aware of the situation with the
reserves, although it doesn't actually affect my group's planning. My group
tries to understand what the missions are and the resources available are,
but only at the force-generator level. The advice the chief gets about
whether the army, air force, navy or special forces can generate the
specific capabilities that he needs he gets from the commanders of those
elements as opposed to the Strategic Joint Staff.
At this point, we haven't had any instance
where we needed to change our planning from a mission based on the strength
of the reserves. The militia gets handled by the commander of the army, so
he's generating the necessary forces to fulfill all of the requirements
under our force posture and readiness.
The Chair: I don't think I'm getting an
answer here. The fact is that if these numbers are correct, and I'm assuming
they are, we're 7,000 personnel short in the area of reservists to be able
to do certain things. We're taking on other responsibilities now. We've gone
on to Latvia. We're in Kurdistan and maybe a deployment into Africa. When we
talk broad numbers, we're talking maybe 1,800 personnel from the military,
which translates into probably 3,600 to 5,000 by the time you figure
rotation and all those things that come into effect. Is that not correct, in
Commodore Santarpia: I'd have to sit down
and think about how we're generating the numbers.
My point on reservists is that we generate
reservists of a different class. There are Class A reservists who parade
weekly and do regular training at their militia and reserve units. If we
need to bring them forward for a specific mission, then they become what we
call Class C reservists and they work full time. So there's no issue with
generating them for the Class C work.
The Chair: Sir, I understand that, but I go
back to the second part of my question about the ability of general
recruitment for the military itself. The Auditor General indicated to us
that he was coming out with a report and that it was going to indicate that
there may be substantial problems. Is that true, and if it is, how is it
affecting your planning?
Commodore Santarpia: I'm not sure it's
true, because the responsibility for generating reservists belongs to the
environmental commanders: the commanders of the army, air force and navy. It
would be premature for me to give that direction or advice to you, because I
don't actually have the details on that.
I do know that it's not affecting our planning
because there's been no challenge. When we've wanted a certain number of
Class C reservists to fill a mission, the service commanders have had no
difficulty at all. It's usually smaller numbers, and it doesn't represent an
important portion of the total Class A reservists. So you're drawing certain
numbers to do a specific mission, and they're fairly small numbers.
The Chair: I understand that aspect of it,
but looking at the numbers and what we're doing as we expand our objectives
and commitments, then obviously we want to know what kind of effects it will
have for you to do your job.
I want to go into one other area. We've been
doing an ongoing study on the question of the various terrorism
possibilities that affect this country and also disasters that could affect
this country. One of them is the question of electromagnetic pulse attack,
either from countries such as North Korea or others. The other possibility
is a consequence of a natural solar storm that could cause a power outage
for up to three weeks. Is your organization involved in planning for such
scenarios? If you are involved with those types of plans, who else is
involved with you?
Commodore Santarpia: No, we're not involved
with that planning at the strategic level. My group is very focused on how
we get folks deployed and how we get that advice up to the chief. That's
really been the focus of the planning inside my group.
The Chair: So that's basically your
Commodore Santarpia: Absolutely.
Senator Jaffer: I have a question on the
Pearson centre. I understood that the Pearson centre would have helped with
involving civilians and police components. With the loss of the Pearson
centre, where are you reaching out to get that kind of training?
Commodore Santarpia: I'm sure you heard
this morning from General Lanthier. We have a peacekeeping training centre
in Kingston. To date, that's where we've been getting expertise on this.
We're working on plans. As we answer the
government's demand to be more involved in peacekeeping, we are considering
how we would use that centre and considering options for deploying Canadian
Forces people to other peacekeeping centres in order to help out. Every
option is on the table for consideration, and we'll bring all of those
options up to the chief to consider.
Senator Jaffer: If I'm not mistaken, I
understood that the training you were getting from there is online training
from the U.S. We are different from the U.S. I know that a lot of army and
combat things are the same, but the Pearson centre brought a different
perspective than we would get from online education from the U.S.
I respectfully suggest that that's not the
source we should rely on, because we pride ourselves on doing things very
differently, and we are respected around the world because of who we are. I
feel we'll lose that if we get rid of Pearson and get our training from a
U.S. online centre.
Commodore Santarpia: I certainly couldn't
provide you with better detail than you got from Major-General Lanthier
about how much is provided by our own people and how much is provided
online. I'm sure you've got a better briefing than I had on it recently. But
I do believe that we also give training in person in Kingston, and I know
that we give training in centres in other parts of the world.
Senator Beyak: Given North Korea's recent
nuclear tests and the Senate committee's 2014 recommendation on ballistic
missile defence, what are your thoughts on whether we should be joining?
Commodore Santarpia: We're always looking
at that. As you know, there's an ongoing defence policy review, and there's
been a lot of discussion about whether that would be part of the advice. I'm
not part of the defence policy review, so I don't know how that will turn
out. Again, it's a very important question that I'm glad that the Canadian
Forces and the Government of Canada is considering. It will be a Government
of Canada decision about whether we should or not.
The Chair: Colleagues, I want to thank our
witness for appearing, and I apologize for going over time with our previous
Joining us on our final panel of the day are
Lieutenant-Colonel (Ret'd) John Selkirk, Executive Director, Reserves 2000;
and from the Institut militaire de Québec, Brigadier General (Ret'd) Richard
Gentlemen, welcome. I understand that you each
have an opening statement. Please begin, Brigadier-General Giguère, followed
by Lieutenant-Colonel Selkirk.
Brigadier-General (Ret’d) Richard Giguère,
President, Institut militaire de Québec: Hello. First of all, I would like to thank you for inviting me
to take part in this meeting. By way of introduction, I will tell you a bit
about the Institut militaire de Québec.
The Canadian Armed Forces’ training system
rests on four pillars: education, instruction, experience, and
self-development. Self-development refers to the training or studies
undertaken by learners themselves to upgrade and further develop all of
their knowledge, intellectual or professional competencies and abilities in
order to improve the desired competency level.
In general, self-development takes place
outside of official professional development activities, and this is where
the Institut militaire de Québec, founded in 1929, comes into play in the
Quebec City region. We offer annual conferences, usually four of them, on
topics related to defence and security. These are offered to the Quebec City
region defence team, the Joint Task Force (East). We also hold a conference
in March, jointly with the Hautes études internationales, Université Laval.
This year will be the eighth Quebec City University — Defence Conference,
and the focus will be on broadening the concept of security.
Now for my presentation. The development of
Canada’s new defence strategy is very interesting to consider at this time,
even though there is no consensus on the answer to such a simple questions
as "Are we at war?" either here in Canada or in the capitals of our major
allies. In 1916 or 1941, the answer would have been unanimous. But today, it
gives rise to a debate, both political and academic, pointing to the
complexity of today’s security environment. Traditional threats, of pitched
battles and open warfare, have not disappeared. More terrorism does not mean
fewer traditional threats. So we are not in a zero sum game. The question is
how we perceive the risks we face and how we combat new threats.
Adapting to today’s realities is no easy task.
Let’s not forget La Petite Guerre, the term used to describe the method of
asymmetrical warfare on American soil during the Seven Years War that took
its inspiration from the frontier wars waged by Native Americans. It is a
form of warfare that was often called barbaric and antithetical to the
ethical and moral compass of the time. Could we now be involved in La Petite
Guerre 2.0? Do contemporary conflicts constitute a major trend that will
define the future or are they just a passing anomaly?
Questions about Canada’s defence strategy
require immediate answers to basically simple questions: what, where, when,
how, why, with whom and with what? I say the questions are basically simple,
but, in practice, we know full well that the answers to the questions are
not so clear. In fact, I come from a school of thought that maintains that,
unfortunately, there are no simple answers to complex questions.
Nevertheless, I will try to provide some avenues for thought by addressing
the following points. What are the major global trends that affect military
thinking, in my view? For which emerging challenges could the Canadian Armed
Forces be better prepared, in my view? What are the desired or desirable
changes in our policies and procedures?
With regard to major global trends, first and
foremost, despite our old sophisticated strategies, the suddenness with
which crises arise and spread immediately in the infosphere puts additional
pressure on decision-makers. Consider for example the fires in Fort McMurray
in May or the attacks in Nice in July.
Our experience of time and space becomes
compressed. Crises immediately fill the infosphere, often dramatically, with
people demanding an immediate response. This implies that decision-makers
must be able to count on personnel that are equipped, trained and capable of
This acceleration of time also means that there
is much less time to prepare our military tools and build them up to
strength. Hybrid wars have also become topical. They have porous
distinctions between conventional and irregular wars, between combatants and
non-combatants, and between the legal authorities that apply.
Are we in a time of permanent war? Most of our
frames of reference apply to more conventional wars and conflicts, to wars
with a beginning and an end. We therefore have to continue to blaze trails
in this terra incognita, at the same time as we are constantly
engaged in action. It is like having to change a tire on a car going at full
We now have coalitions rather than traditional
alliances. This has two effects on Canada: how do we see traditional
institutions, do we support them, or do we look elsewhere? Canada seems to
have made choices, such as the impending deployment of troops to Latvia and
placing troops at the UN’s disposal for eventual use as peacekeepers. But
are these traditional alliances effective and efficient? Do they respond to
The other impact is Canada’s real influence in
emerging coalitions, like the one currently deployed in support of the
security forces of the Republic of Iraq that are fighting Daech. We have no
historical reputation that allows us to play with the big boys in these new
coalitions, despite the fact that, relatively speaking, we are powerful.
The Westphalian system is in a shambles. The
breakup of state structures in many places puts the legitimacy of responses
into question. Sovereignty over borders, for instance, is open to question.
The emergence of pseudo-states is another factor; armed forces may or may
not be legitimate. And what of the responsibility to protect?
Finally, there is a trend towards dehumanizing
the battlefield. To what extent will drones or robots occupy the battlefield
tomorrow, and what will be the legal and ethical consequences of such a
deployment of artificial intelligence?
Our security and armed forces must be prepared
for emerging challenges, and what must we think of the use of security and
armed forces in our own territory if an enemy comes here? Is the distinction
between force from within and force from without still valid and useful
today? France and Belgium, for instance, deployed an important military
contingent on their own territories following terrorist attacks there. Is
such a scenario possible in Canada? If so, how?
We are also seeing a broadening of the concept
of security which was always traditionally perceived in its military
version. But today’s security is economic and environmental, societal and
political. In hybrid conflicts, armed forces are no longer the final word.
Finally, there is a return to peacekeeping
operations. For a long time, we were the archetypal blue berets. For
Canadian soldiers, the bad memories of our UN missions in the 1990s cannot
be downplayed. Our soldiers must be provided with the tools and the legal
authority to allow them to fully carry out their tasks when they are
Canadian soldiers remember the former
Yugoslavia and Rwanda. Particular attention must be paid to the mandate of
each mission, to the extent of support from the permanent members of the
Security Council, to the rules of engagement in effect, and to the nature of
the chain of command at operational and strategic levels.
Finally, regarding desired or desirable changes
to our policies and procedures, the procurement process for military
equipment must be depoliticized so that it can proceed through changes in
government without upheaval and without changes in its fundamental
direction. The current state of the Royal Canadian Navy and the coming need
to replace our fighters are food for thought here.
A government-wide approach should be fostered,
as the limits of military intervention are quite quickly reached. Dialogue
between civilians and the military must be encouraged. The military wins
battles but it no longer automatically wins wars. In the Afghan campaign, we
had good cooperation between departments over time.
Along those lines, it is refreshing to see the
launch of the Peace and Stabilization Operations Program, which, according
to the government, is an integrated approach that will lead to better
coordination of foreign policy, defence, development and national security
The military can certainly create a secure
space in a theatre of operations, but genuine, permanent stability comes
with governance and development, which are more in the purview of our
civilian colleagues in the bureaucracy. More than ever, we need Team Canada
in its entirety to take the field!
Let us consider a strategy focused on risks and
threats. Our strategy must match the identified risks and threats and not be
fit into available budgets. We must plan the strategic exercise without
constraints imposed by resources, and then decide on the priorities later.
In my opinion, the idea of working on a defence
strategy without a similar exercise for our foreign policy is a little
surprising. Does the defence policy depend on our foreign policy, or the
other way around? If a review of our foreign policy is also on the menu, but
scheduled a little later, what will be the impact on a newly designed
defence policy? How can we link our foreign policy, our defence policy and
our national security without synchronizing the planning? Is there a policy
hierarchy, and if so, who leads what?
Clearly, the external and internal environments
of the government are increasingly intertwined. And the line between
domestic and foreign policies is increasingly blurred. The dangers of the
proliferation of all sorts of weapons, of international and domestic
terrorism, of espionage, the risks for economic security and information
security, organized crime and international corruption represent a challenge
for an increasing number of government agencies that are not always used to
The classic view of security definitely no
longer applies in this context. In a 2002 article published by Laval
University, I asked whether it was not high time to hope that Canada will
set up a large department of security, with everything that concept entails,
to minimize the impact of our traditional silos. I think this question is
still relevant today.
In conclusion, Clausewitz said that war is a
chameleon because it changes its nature in each particular case. Academic
experts agree that there is not one definition of war, but a number,
depending on the approaches and levels of analysis. We therefore have to
live with those ambiguities, doubts, incidences of war that reason sometimes
has a great deal of trouble explaining.
Most importantly, the objectives to be achieved
must be clear. To paraphrase Sun Tzu, someone who has no objectives is not
likely to achieve them. It is not easy for leaders in the current security
environment to define a final outcome that makes sense; it is not easy to
answer the simple question: When will we know that we have won?
Adapting to contemporary and future realities
is no easy feat and has always been a challenge for past generations. The
shelves of the libraries of great military schools are full of histories of
campaigns, accounts of war, in which understanding the situation made the
difference between victory and defeat. Marshall Foch asked: What is this
really about? It would be worth asking such a simple question more often.
Let’s ask the right questions, let’s provide
efficient and effective answers. Let’s focus on the contemporary defence and
security environment, the risks and threats. The appropriate resources will
come later, after the decision and choices made by our leaders. These are
decisions and choices that have carried, that are carrying and that will
always carry serious consequences for our sons and daughters who wear the
Canadian flag on their uniforms and who are what we hold most dear.
Lieutenant-Colonel (Ret'd) John Selkirk,
Executive Director, Reserves 2000: Thank you, honourable senators, for
having me here again.
I would like to first say that I believe the
Canadian reservists, Army Reservists in particular, are and have proven to
be excellent peacekeepers. But before I discuss the merits of that premise,
I would like to say just a few words about the Canadian Army in which they
will be working to do that peacekeeping work.
The Canadian Army has proven to be outstanding
in peacekeeping and peace support roles. In my opinion, and the opinion of
many of my colleagues in Reserves 2000, that is so because the Canadian Army
is professional, well trained and led by long-service officers and senior
non-commissioned members. It is trained, organized and equipped to fight a
high-intensity war, which is the most difficult of military tasks. It thus
brings to any peacekeeping or peace support mission the knowledge, the
confidence and the critical enablers, such as robust intelligence,
communications and logistical capacity, and, if necessary, the firepower to
enforce the mandate of the mission.
But, and this is my point, maintaining the army
at that high level of war-fighting competence is not cheap, and I believe
that there are people in Canada who think that perhaps peacekeeping can be
done on the cheap. I don't believe it can be done on the cheap for the very
reasons I just explained, because it takes a professional army to do the job
as well as we've done it over the years.
Towards the end of the last century, army
reservists started to play a greater and greater role in Canadian
peacekeeping operations. Starting with small numbers of augmentees to
regular units, by the time of the last rotations to the former Yugoslavia,
complete infantry companies were comprised of reservists. And they were not
found wanting in performing that more traditional peacekeeping role, nor in
new roles that reservists started to assume, such as, for example, the
provision of civil-military cooperation teams, a capability that is at the
heart of capacity building that Minister Sajjan spoke to you about earlier
Those teams of CIMIC, as we call them, were all
reservists, as were other new influence activity capabilities that were
introduced during the Afghan campaign.
Due to their civilian qualifications,
reservists bring skills to peacekeeping operations that may not be found in
the average regular unit. Educational professionals, municipal
administrators, policemen, fire prevention, community health, these are but
a few of the skills found in many, many primary reserve units and can be
enormously useful in nation building.
And it's not that we ever had a shortage of
people who wanted to go. There were always more reservists who wanted to go
than there were positions for them.
On that final point, I want to raise my flag of
caution, which I raised before this committee before, I think as early as
about 2011, and that is the shrinking of the Army Reserve. The Auditor
General, in his May report, said that the Army Reserve in fiscal year
2014-15, although funded for 21,000 positions, there were only 13,944 active
and trained soldiers. According to testimony by the Commander of the
Canadian Army to the House Standing Committee on Public Accounts on June 7
this year, he could by that time only muster 13,243. So that's a drop of
some 700 soldiers in that period of time. I don't know of anything that has
happened in the last few months that would have reversed that downward
The Auditor General, as you're probably aware,
has reported that the Army Reserve has been shrinking by about 5 per cent a
year for the last, at least, five years. However, recent announcements by
the new Commander of the Canadian Army do provide some hope that things can
be turned around, because if they are not, Canada will be unable to take
advantage of the very positive attributes the Army Reserve has proven in the
past it can bring to peacekeeping and peace support operations.
That concludes my remarks.
The Chair: I want to thank both of our
Senator Dagenais: I am happy to see you
again, Mr. Giguère. Our paths crossed in Fort Lennox two or three years ago
when I accompanied Prime Minister Harper. I remember the occasion very well.
Thank you for your presentation.
Today, in spite of peace missions that are, I
believe, essentially political, but which involve military support, do you
think that we would have reason to believe that sometimes bad decisions are
taken and imposed on the armed forces in order to further a certain
political image of the country or the government?
BGen Giguère: We have learned a lot of
lessons since the 1990s. As I said earlier, we remember the Balkans and
Rwanda. If the decision is made to deploy a contingent of Canadian military
people, and we learn that a group of close to 600 military will be
available, I hope that the lessons learned during the 1990s will be applied
and that we will deploy the soldiers with an achievable mandate. The rules
of engagement have been the main problem.
You see, when we were in Afghanistan — I have
been there twice — our rules of engagement were more permissive. The
soldiers did not abuse them, but this allowed them to do their work.
In the 1990s, it was simply the rule of
self-defence that applied for the Blue Helmets, which led to the
difficulties that occurred. I hope that this time, with the new mandates,
the soldiers will have rules of engagement that will allow them to do their
People will say that we learn a lot of lessons,
that we take a lot of notes following our exercises. Are these lessons truly
learned and remembered? I can only hope that that is the case, since that is
the only way we will succeed in the field, a success which will certainly
reflect well on Canada. We have to pay close attention to the aspects I
Senator Dagenais: I have another question
for you, Mr. Giguère. We talk a lot about the training of the military. Do
you think that the military is well equipped?
It is all well and good to provide training, to
conduct missions, but do you feel that the equipment is adequate? We know
that sometimes some things are purchased, but certain witnesses mentioned
earlier that it was increasingly fastidious to acquire equipment because of
the various stakeholders involved, and that it took longer and longer to
obtain the equipment necessary to conduct missions.
BGen Giguère: I think that the Afghan
mission left us with a very acceptable stock of equipment. That was not
necessarily the case in the beginning, in 2000 or 2001, but rather toward
the end, if you recall, when there where acquisition projects while we were
there. I think that the vast majority of that equipment, which served us
well in Afghanistan, can be very effective during peace missions.
Things are never perfect, and we still hope to
obtain new equipment. I retired last year, and the equipment we had at that
time in the armed forces would put us in a good position to conduct a peace
Senator Dagenais: Thank you very much, Mr.
Senator Jaffer: Thank you. My question is
to Lieutenant-Colonel Selkirk.
We've been listening to many witnesses over the
last few days and also before that. There is a question — and you would be
the best person to answer this — that the reserves in the U.S. are treated
in a better way and have better training than what we are doing. Is that
correct? What should we be doing?
To further clarify, yesterday we heard from the
Auditor General. I don't know if you heard what he said, but he was saying
that we are not doing an adequate job in training our reserves. I would like
your comments on that, please.
Lt.-Col. Selkirk: First of all, I'm not an
expert on the United States forces.
Senator Jaffer: No, just from what you
Lt.-Col. Selkirk: They have quite a
different system. I know they are well-equipped. I believe they have a lot
of policies in place, personnel policies primarily, that suit the part-time
reservists that form the bulk of any reserve force. Other than that, they
are certainly capable, but the United States is more than capable of putting
tremendous resources to any problem, so it's no wonder that they are as
capable as they are.
For our Army Reserve — and I can only speak
about the Army Reserve — we are, as I've explained, well under strength.
That is a situation that has been known for years. Nothing really was ever
done. The new Commander of the Canadian Army has certainly issued
instructions that will hopefully look after the very worst problems that
caused that diminishment in strength. The first and biggest problem was the
recruiting system, which was incapable of attaining the goals that were set
for it. Those goals were too small. He's going to change how recruitment
quotas are set, and the whole recruiting process is to be returned to the
army and taken away from the central Canadian Forces Recruiting Group.
That's an enormous step in the right direction.
With regard to the long-standing issue of money
that was appropriated for reserves not being spent on reserves, a new
accounting system that is supposed to be put in place will not allow that to
happen in the future. That's a very positive step.
He's looking at the number of days of training
that part-time reservists will get. That will help with retention.
His goal is to have all recruit training done
within the school year that the recruit joins at the local armoury where the
unit exists. That will enormously help what we call training attrition.
Training attrition in the Army Reserve right now runs at 50 per cent. If you
hire 10 recruits, only 5 of them ever make it past the recruit stage, let
alone further development beyond that. It's been a very inefficient system
for a number of years.
I think those factors plus new missions will
perhaps encourage young Canadians to become more involved. So if we put all
of that together — and I'm the eternal optimist — I think we're on the cusp
of a new era if the leadership can bring it forward.
Senator Jaffer: Can you clarify, please,
why central recruiting was not effective?
Lt.-Col. Selkirk: Why it was ineffective? I
don't know why, but I can tell you the results. For example, somebody
looking for a part-time job in the Canadian Army — that is, to become a
reservist — the average wait time from the time that individual walked into
the armoury and said "I want to join" until they enrolled was over 180 days.
You can imagine that the best and brightest of the young Canadians that came
forward were not going to wait 180 days for a part-time job; they will go
somewhere else. That's just one inefficiency I can tell you about. Why that
took so long, I have no idea, but I guess I could get rich if I could figure
it out. It was bad.
Senator Carignan: My question is addressed
to our two witnesses. We have heard a lot of members of the military and
other persons. Finally, what I have understood is that the decision to
deploy the army on a peace mission rather than elsewhere, such as to Ukraine
for instance, rather than choosing to maintain a presence in the Arctic here
in Canada or to participate in other missions, is a political decision. It
is an entirely political decision.
The army representatives tell us that they will
get ready, and if they state that they are ready, they will go on the
mission and do what they have to do. But I have trouble measuring the impact
of that decision. Everyone makes a difference in life, and I am convinced
that if there is a mission, Canadian soldiers will make a difference.
However, if the point is to make an important contribution, for Canada, in
terms of political decisions, is it not more relevant to further our NATO
commitments, for instance, and to aim for an investment that corresponds to
2 per cent of our GDP? One that will allow us to support our armed forces,
to better equip them, to respect our NATO obligations, and to train our
people so that they are ready to participate in future missions during which
Canada could make a considerable contribution?
I am looking at the statistics; we are the
country in the world that has the most kilometres of coast line, and we have
little equipment to monitor it properly. Our presence in the Arctic is an
issue as well, and we are going to encounter a Russian presence there often.
Are there not locations where Canada could have a greater presence, within
its means, and should we not invest our energy in improving our army and its
equipment rather than sending 400 or 500 soldiers to the African continent,
where there are already 100,000 Blue Helmets, of whom 3,000 are from China?
Is this the best decision to further Canadian interests? I would like to
hear your opinion on that.
BGen Giguère: In my opinion, decisions on
deployment in the military, in whatever context, are always political. The
issue here, and I addressed this in my presentation, is to see to what
extent we wish to support traditional alliances that go back to the end of
the Second World War.
We have a choice; we see that there are other
things that are emerging, ad hoc coalitions such as we see in Iraq at this
time where, in my opinion, Canada does not have the same weight.
As for NATO and the UN, we benefit from the
fact that Canada was a founding member of those two organizations. In any
case, regarding NATO, we have always answered "present". As for the UN, we
answered "present" until the 1990s. Now we are resuming that.
The question we have to ask ourselves is the
following: to what extent are those two organizations important for our
country? If the answer is that they are important, then we have a choice. As
for UN missions, we can provide funds, we can provide advice.
I often make sports analogies. When we play
hockey, we have two choices: either we can be on the ice, or on the bench.
Those who have the most influence, in my opinion, are those who are on the
ice. If we decide to invest in a mission or if we decide to reinvest in the
UN, deploying soldiers on the ground — I agree with you, senator. What can
600 Canadians change when they are part of a deployment of 120,000 soldiers?
Perhaps more than we think, because our Canadian Blue Berets have a good
Can we continue in that vein and improve what
is happening in United Nations missions? Perhaps. In my opinion, once again,
if we decide to reinvest in the UN — and some will say that the objective is
to obtain a seat on the Security Council — altruism has its limits, even for
a Canadian. So, perhaps that this is one of the elements that will
contribute to improving our reputation and our record. However, I don’t
think there is only that. If you look at the composition of the UN forces
currently, and examine certain missions that are having serious problems,
the addition of Canadian soldiers would make quite a difference.
Lt.-Col. Selkirk: I'd like to say
briefly that I think you can make an argument that the greatest peacekeeping
operation Canada ever participated in was the formation of NATO and
maintaining NATO, and NORAD and maintaining NORAD. That kept the peace and
probably saved more lives than we could ever tally up and imagine. Of
course, that's an expensive operation, as I said.
Where we send Canadian soldiers is obviously a
political decision, but I think that the role of the Canadian Forces is to
have as many well-trained, well-equipped, well-motivated soldiers, sailors
and airmen as we can have, and we have to live within a certain budget.
That's why we continue to say: Do more with reservists, because they don't
cost as much to maintain.
Senator Carignan: I would have another
question, on the French fact specifically. How do you see the presence of
francophone soldiers in Africa? We know that several African countries were
colonized by France, and that consequently several African countries have a
French heritage. France can sometimes be perceived as the colonizing
country, and this can lead to certain frictions, a disadvantage Canada does
not necessarily have. Can the francophone fact be a relevant element in a
future mission, and how can we optimize this francophone advantage Canada
BGen Giguère: The comments I hear about
that are that despite the fact that we speak French, people over there do
see Canadian francophone soldiers and French soldiers very differently. I
spoke with several businessmen recently who told me that Quebeckers are well
received in Africa. People make the difference. In the days when I was
commander of the Quebec sector of the land forces, the Americans had created
the Africa Command; it was a good opportunity to deploy francophone
soldiers, because the Americans are somewhat outside their comfort zone in
Africa, whereas we are used to working with American soldiers, while being
able to communicate with African francophones. I literally considered us a
link between the forces that were there. And so I perceive the deployment of
francophone soldiers in those regions as a positive thing.
If possible, Mr. Chair, I would like to get
back to the missions and the recruitment of reservists. Thank you.
No one jumps for joy at the recruitment
statistics we currently see. Lieutenant Colonel Selkirk talked about the
situation of the reserves. We have to ask ourselves why a young person of
18, 19 or 20 would want to join the armed forces today. The answer might
In the beginning of the 1980s, when I joined
the Canadian armed forces, what we heard is that we were paid well every 15
days, and would get a good pension. That is what people said. However, I
have a son who joined up, and his reasons are totally different. This
generation of young people is looking for challenges. Over the past years,
many of them joined the armed forces strictly to go to Afghanistan.
So, we absolutely have to find a way to keep
our people in the army. Earlier we were talking about the recruitment
problem; however, I think is imperative that we look at the issue of
attrition. It is not profitable to lose a good soldier after four or five
years of service. We lose them after four or five years because they lose
interest in what they are doing.
I am not telling you that we have to send our
soldiers to war. That is not at all what I mean, but sending them on
training missions such as we did in Kabul in 2012, or on peace missions that
are well structured and well organized, could have a positive impact.
Senator Carignan: What you say is
interesting. Perhaps the army should question its recruitment and hiring
system, and its priorities. Recently I came across a book entitled Vandoo,
written by lawyer René Vallerand, one of my former classmates who joined the
Royal 22nd Regiment to go to Afghanistan, to meet that challenge.
He was probably 35 or 40 years old at that point. There are some people who
have a passion for challenges.
Do you not think that the army should do a
market analysis, so to speak, and broaden its recruitment criteria, without
necessarily targeting 18 or 19-year-olds?
BGen Giguère: That is a good point. We are
in fact hiring people who are a bit older. In Saint-Jean, there have been
courses for recruits where at graduation we saw a father and son graduate as
soldiers together. Earlier, Lieutenant-Colonel Selkirk referred to the
extraordinary skills civilians can contribute to the reserve force, for
instance as mechanics, electricians or police officers. They have a full
range of skills that we can put to excellent use.
One of the problems I encountered when I was in
Quebec, and Lieutenant-Colonel Selkirk mentioned this, was that the
recruitment system for reservists was extremely cumbersome. At a certain
point, regiments recruited them directly. If you wanted to join the
Voltigeurs de Québec, you went and knocked on their door and they gave you a
uniform. The process was much quicker.
Over the past few years, I have heard people
say that we need to go back to a system like that one. In that way we would
avoid situations where people wait 180 days before being called up. Often,
when they are called after 180 days, those young people have found a job at
Canadian Tire or Walmart. Perhaps we should look closely at returning to a
decentralized system to recruit our reservists, and give more flexibility to
the militia units. I am convinced that such a measure would be very helpful.
Lt.-Col. Selkirk: General Giguère, that's
exactly where the new commander of the Canadian Army wants to go. He wants
to have people enrolled in a matter of days — not weeks, not months. So he's
on the right track.
The Chair: I wanted to follow up on that
because I think it's important for the record. You outlined a number of
initiatives that you have been told were going to be undertaken. The major
one that I heard you express was identification of the monies for the
reservists and it would stay in that envelope and could not be taken from
the envelope for other aspects of the military. That was one.
Lt.-Col. Selkirk: Yes.
The Chair: The question of recruitment was
going to be changed. The question of in-house training, where possible, was
going to be embarked upon, and a number of other initiatives.
My question to you is: When do you expect these
broad policy statements that you just made to be put into effect?
Lt.-Col. Selkirk: The restoration of
recruiting to units, he wants to have that done by April 1 of next year,
2017. It will take a while for these measures to get some traction and bite
and actually see results at the end. It's not all guesswork. It's based on
my experience. But it is going to take a number of years to turn this thing
If we start to see an increase in trained
strength in six months' time, I'd say that would be a very good sign. But
right now, as the Auditor General identified at the house Public Affairs
Committee, the trend is still going down.
The Chair: He indicated that to us
yesterday and the question of recruitment came up as one of our questions.
I do have a specific question for you. Is the
current pay scale for reservists adequate? That's another factor.
Lt.-Col. Selkirk: I can't answer that
question because I've never asked our network to give me any information on
that. I believe it is adequate, but that's just my personal opinion based on
no scientific evidence. So I don't know the answer.
I don't know how to get an answer that's a good
one. You'd probably have to engage people who understand the generation of
Canadians that we're talking about here and look at what they could get that
would be comparable elsewhere on a part-time basis. That's the only way I
could know to go about it.
Senator Day: I wanted to make sure that the
delegation of recruiting was going down to the units, as General Giguère
mentioned, as opposed to just a centralized army.
Lt.-Col. Selkirk: That I don't have the
answer to either, senator. But from everything I have heard his intention is
to return it to the armoury. Now, if an armoury has three or four units in
it, if there was a centralized recruiting process in that armoury, I think
that would be just fine.
Senator Day: It's still local.
Lt.-Col. Selkirk: Yes.
The units that are hurting the most — and you
can see the statistics from the Auditor General's report — are those that
are not located in big urban centres. That's because often the recruiting
offices were some distance away and all sorts of impediments like that. So
those units are really hurting. It's our opinion that the current footprint
of the reserve army across the country is just about right. They are, after
all, in — I used to know the number — most of the ridings in Canada. It's
our opinion that every Canadian should have access to a reserve unit, with
the exception of people in the Far North and so on.
So I think the statistic actually is that 90
per cent of Canadians, I believe is the number, live within an hour's drive
of a reserve unit. We want to see that continue because there's no reason
why the people in, say, Leeds-Grenville should be disenfranchised if you
close the unit in Brockville. That wouldn't be good.
Senator Day: The chairman mentioned two of
the major challenges. One is budgeting and making sure that the regular
force wasn't robbing some of that money initially designated, and the result
of that has been the reduction in the number of training days, which is
impacting on recruiting. We've learned that along the way and you've helped
us with some of those points. So if the budgeting aspect is under control
and the recruiting is under control, what do you see as the biggest
challenge for the reserve element at this stage?
Lt.-Col. Selkirk: Part of the recruiting
story must be that recruit quotas have to be sufficiently large so that
units can grow. Recruit quotas for about the last five years were set below
what one could predict as the rate of attrition for individual units, so
that was obviously a downhill slope anyway. That problem has to be resolved.
After that, the biggest problems, I think, in
order to maintain units at a healthy strength is the attrition side, as the
general mentioned. There, some of the problems are, as I said, the attrition
of recruits running at 50 per cent. That has to be sorted out. I think doing
the training locally within a school year will be a big step in the right
direction for that.
Then there's the attrition of the trained
soldiers thereafter. Yes, giving them exciting jobs and interesting things
to do is part of that, but we have to keep in mind that because the units
are now so low in junior leaders, you can't overwork those people, otherwise
they're going to quit because by the time they get to be junior leaders they
might be in five years or so. That's perhaps when their civilian careers
start to take off. Somehow all these things have to be balanced, and the
fewer people you have around, the tougher it is to balance. The real
solution is to get those units up to strength again.
The Chair: Following up on Senator Day,
could you give us an update on the proposed civilian-military leadership
program? What exactly is the status and where is it moving to?
Lt.-Col. Selkirk: It's my understanding
that the department has said yes, this is a good idea, with a great deal of
prompting from the previous minister's office, by the way. I don't think it
would have happened otherwise. The department is apparently saying, "Yes,
this is something that we should be doing."
Regrettably it seems that, within the
individual services now, the thing has stalled. I think the navy is quite
keen on it, but I understand that really nothing much has happened in the
last several months with the army.
I don't know how many more sessions you have,
but I would suggest that you might want to call as a witness Mr. Rob Roy,
who is the guy who has really championed this for many years now. He could
tell you exactly where things stand.
My understanding is that it hit a certain
plateau and stopped there.
The Chair: Before we conclude, Colonel
Selkirk, did you want clarification on some of the statements made by the
Auditor General in respect to deploying reservists overseas?
Lt.-Col. Selkirk: I would like to say that
I went through the Auditor General's report myself in great detail. It was a
very good report from the point of view of the future well-being of the Army
Reserve. However, he did get into some things that I would term more
"administrative," perhaps. It's all important, but I think it would be wrong
to put too much emphasis on the fact that, for example, reserve units don't
do a good job of recordkeeping about who's been trained, how long ago they
were trained and all that minutiae. Computers can be helpful, and maybe we
should be there, but we're not there. Units right now are facing bigger
problems. So I understand why, perhaps, it's not in good shape.
But, as far as I'm concerned, that should not
be an issue with whether reserve soldiers can deploy on peacekeeping
missions or on any other kind of mission. The kind of training we're talking
about is all individual skills for the most part — some very low-level unit
Before any reserve soldier has deployed either
to the Balkans or certainly to Afghanistan, they had to be integrated into
the regular unit they were deploying with, and that regular unit had to go
through an exhaustive training process, all driven by the need to build
teams. The sections, platoons and companies all had to work together, and
the unit had to work within the context of the task force it was part of.
That takes a lot of time.
My contention is that reserve soldiers who want
to go on these missions start off at the bottom level in that team-building
process. They already have to have jumped through a number of hoops even to
get there in terms of individual skills, like shooting. The unit will have
several months — usually three months before they went to Afghanistan — to
get their unit ready. The leadership will know whether those individual
soldiers are ready. During the Afghanistan mission, some reservists were
found to be lacking, and they didn't go.
It's not a problem. I read an article in The
Globe & Mail this morning where the Auditor General seemed to say that
there could be reserve soldiers deployed who would be so ill-trained that
they would be a harm to themselves or to their colleagues, and I don't
believe that. The unit commanding officer is not going to take anybody with
him who he hasn't the confidence in to do that job.
The Chair: Thank you for clarifying for the
I'd like to thank the witnesses for appearing
(The committee continued in camera.)