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The New NATO and the Evolution of Peacekeeping:

Implications for Canada

Chapter VI: Human Security and the New Peacekeeping

The end of the Cold War, though a watershed in the global security environment, has failed to bring the expected improvement in the lives of many people in many countries. The risk of large scale war between states has been greatly reduced (though the nuclear threat remains in some form), but other threats have increased. Growing numbers of conflicts within states, often between ethnic or religious groups, have brought consequences which, for the people caught in the middle, are just as devastating as those of interstate war. Thus while the security of states may have increased since 1989, the security of individual human beings in many parts of the world has deteriorated, as the events of the 1990s in, for example, Yugoslavia, Somalia, Rwanda and Sierra Leone illustrate.

For organizations such as NATO which are focused on achieving peace and security, the basic challenge has been redefined in the past ten years. The goal of preventing violent conflict or reducing its impact on ordinary people has come increasingly to require decisions about intervention in the "internal" affairs of sovereign states. As we have seen above, NATO has confronted this challenge throughout the 1990s.

This change in the nature of the "threat" has had profound consequences for Canada’s approach to international security, peacekeeping and diplomacy. Together with other countries, we have begun to use the concept of "human security" as a key element in our foreign policy. Hence the Committee was particularly interested in exploring the implications of this new approach. This chapter presents our findings and outlines some concerns and suggestions that emerge from our review.


Canada and the Human Security Approach

As discussed earlier in this report, for NATO and its members the past decade has seen a shift in focus from collective defence against potential attacks on their own territory to concern with peace and security in other countries, particularly in the states that constitute the "near abroad," such as the Balkans, or which have special significance for the economy and energy security of the West, such as the Gulf states. As this transformation has taken place, humanitarian considerations have come to play an increasingly important part in Alliance thinking.

Humanitarian considerations in foreign policy are by no means a new phenomenon. Indeed, they played a major role in the development of the United Nations and have been a central feature of the agenda for Canada and many other countries since World War Two. In the past two or three years, however, a number of countries, including Canada, Norway, and the Netherlands, have sought to rewrite the international political agenda and to redefine the concept of security.(103) Building on the broad concept of human security introduced by the UNDP in 1994, but focusing particularly on the consequences of violent conflict, they have argued that only a wide-ranging effort to improve the safety of people at risk can address the problems emerging in the world today.

Human security does not replace state security; rather each requires the other if it is to be effective. As Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister has described it: ". . . human security is much more than the absence of military threat. It includes security against economic privation, an acceptable quality of life, and a guarantee of fundamental human rights.(104)

A senior official of the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade has said that the concept "takes individual human beings and their communities, rather than states, as its points of reference. . . . [It] recognizes that the security of states is essential, but not sufficient, to ensure individual safety and well-being." He points out that the human security concept "draws upon long-standing Canadian values of tolerance, democracy and respect for human rights. Canadians are moved by humanitarian impulse, not by cold-blooded calculations of realpolitik. Principle is as important to Canadians as power."(105)

It should be noted that there are those who, going even further, argue that the old distinction between a foreign policy based on realpolitik and one based on humanitarianism is misleading. According to Joseph S Nye, Jr., "A democratic definition of the national interest does not accept the distinction between a morality-based and an interest-based foreign policy. Moral values are simply intangible interests."(106)

Human security is increasingly accepted as a basis for foreign policy. As the UN High Commissioner for refugees said in May 1999: "Today, the concept of ‘human security’ commands the same respect and attention as the more traditional one of ‘state security.’ Issues pertaining to ‘human security’ are increasingly discussed by the United Nations Security Council – there is a growing awareness that states cannot and will not be secure unless people feel secure, too."(107)

In Canada, the Speech from the Throne on October 12, 1999, swept away any doubt that the advancement of human security is now a major goal of foreign policy: "The Government will give increased prominence to human security in its foreign policy, working to achieve meaningful progress in the councils of the world on a global human security agenda."

Central to the human security approach is the increasingly important role played by non-governmental organizations, particularly with respect to humanitarian action, but also in the political arena. Perhaps the best example of this is the way in which governments, notably that of Canada, worked with voluntary agencies to secure the Landmines Treaty.

As we have already noted, concern with human security, together with a new focus on events outside its immediate area, has increasingly become a factor in NATO’s overall mission. It also provided much of the rationale for the intervention in Kosovo. Similarly, levels of concern have risen in the United Nations and in the popular media about the impact of intrastate strife on ordinary people. The result is a new willingness to define such events not merely as humanitarian challenges but as a basis for policy and action to achieve security. Some have called this the "new peacekeeping."


The New Peacekeeping

As noted in previous chapters, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, once focused on the collective defence of its members against armed attack, in recent years has increasingly taken on peacekeeping missions. Immediately after the end of the Cold War, the Alliance shifted the centre of its attention to the task of promoting collective security, that is, to helping create, particularly in Central and Eastern Europe, the kinds of conditions – economic, social and political – that foster good relations between peoples.

At the same time, the nature of "peacekeeping" has undergone a radical change. Formerly, the state was regarded as the basic unit, each state being sovereign within its own boundaries. Consequently; peacekeeping meant the prevention of strife between states. It involved primarily the maintenance or achievement of established international borders or of cease-fire lines (as on the Golan Heights). A third party, generally the United Nations, would undertake to assist in that task, perhaps by providing a neutral force until such time as hostility had died away on both sides. What was sought was peace between states. Nowadays, this kind of activity is referred to as "classic peacekeeping," of which the United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF) established in 1956 at the time of the Suez crisis, is regarded as the model.

The new peacekeeping, which began to appear in the late 1980s, is far more ambitious.(108) It sees the individual human being as the basic unit, with each person vested with certain human rights. In other words, each citizen or subject is seen as having rights that are more fundamental than the rights as he or she may have under the law of the state. The goal of peacekeeping is the realization and protection of those rights. When this is achieved, "human security" is advanced.(109)

In the recent case of East Timor, the UN authorized a mission to protect human security. At the UN Security Council meeting on September 11, 1999, Canada reminded the members that: "the Council has affirmed the importance of bringing to justice individuals who incite or cause violence against civilians in armed conflict or otherwise violate international humanitarian and human rights law."(110) On September 13, 1999, Mary Robinson, the UN human rights chief, argued that the international community must hold Indonesia accountable for the atrocities committed in East Timor. Since then, various international efforts have been launched to help rebuild the East Timorese society and economy. Meanwhile, concerns continue to be expressed about human rights in other parts of Indonesia, notably Aceh.

By contrast, in the case of Yugoslavia-Kosovo, when the UN did not act, NATO intervened. It is to be noted that extensive use was made, and still is being made, of "human security" in justifying NATO’s intervention in Yugoslavia without UN approval. According to Javier Solana, the Secretary-General of NATO at the time of the Yugoslavia-Kosovo mission; that campaign had to go ahead even without UN approval: "It was to defend people. This was one of the poorest corners in all of Europe. The alliance acted for moral reasons. They couldn’t turn away."(111)

A number of observers have pointed out that the issue is not one of choosing between the old peacekeeping and the new, but of using an appropriate combination of the two. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees has commented: "I hope I do not sound too pessimistic . . . if I say that in the last four years nothing of what has happened in the world reassured us that ‘soft’ measures alone can contain conflict, not to mention resolve or prevent it. The problem is – as the Yugoslav crisis shows – ‘hard’ measures, such as international military intervention, appear equally inadequate, alone, to stop or prevent war."(112)


The Charter and the New Peacekeeping

The new situation poses important challenges for the United Nations. Some critics contend that, insofar as the new peacekeeping is concerned, the Charter has become at best irrelevant, at worst a dangerous impediment. Gwynne Dyer reminded us that the United Nations has two pillars: the Charter, which emphasizes sovereignty, and the Declaration of Human Rights (together with the International Convention against Genocide). For forty years, he argued, the light shone on the sovereignty pillar. The end of the Cold War has begun the process of retrieving the human rights pillar from the shadows. "The problem is, of course, that there is a self-evident contradiction between these two pillars. If all states have absolute sovereignty, how can you enforce the law on human rights, the law against genocide.(113)

Michael J. Glennon has offered a similar analysis:

. . . in Kosovo justice (as it is now understood) and the UN Charter seemed to collide. But it is not only that the UN Charter prohibits intervention where enlightened states now believe it to be just – its problems run even deeper. For the Charter is grounded on a premise that is simply no longer valid – the assumption that the core threat to international security still comes from interstate violence. This assumption is no longer true.(114)


Canada’s Role in the New Peacekeeping

During its hearings on the Yugoslavia-Kosovo mission, the Committee became increasingly aware of the influence of the new peacekeeping in shaping Canada’s foreign policy.

Canada has been one of the most prominent advocates of the new peacekeeping, whether by NATO or by the United Nations. For example, on a number of occasions in 1999 the Minister of Foreign Affairs stated that Canada was participating in the Yugoslavia-Kosovo mission so that human security would be advanced: "It was the plight of . . . innocent civilians that compelled our intervention [in Kosovo] in March. With today’s agreement, we are a step closer to achieving our objective of restoring their security, their hope and their future in Kosovo."(115) Other Government statements have also emphasized that "the motivation of Canada and its NATO allies was and is humanitarian." (116)


Military Implications

The Speech from the Throne in October 1999 offered, in general terms, assurance that the needs of the armed forces in responding to the challenges of the new peacekeeping would be addressed:

The Government will . . . continue to ensure that the Canadian Forces have the capacity to support Canada’s role in building a more secure world and will further develop the capacity of Canadians to help ensure peace and security in foreign lands.

As noted earlier in this report, we encountered concerns about the capacity of our military to meet the many new demands imposed on them over the past decade. The new peacekeeping is no less demanding on Canada’s military than the traditional type. Indeed, many of the requirements imposed by operations such as those in Kosovo are both more difficult in military and technical terms and more wide-ranging in terms of their human dimensions. It is sufficient to note at this point that the shift to a human security approach imposes a whole new set of roles on Canadian forces while in no way diminishing the traditional requirement that they be able to function as efficient fighting units.


The Problem of Using Human Security as a Basis for Policy

There are few who would argue that the aim of enhancing human security is not a laudable and important one, particularly for a nation such as Canada with a long tradition of international involvement that has placed high value on humanitarian intervention.

The problem lies in how good intentions are translated into foreign policy overall and into decisions on specific situations – such as Kosovo. The latter case demonstrates that a human security approach does not bring easy or clean solutions to complex and long-standing conflicts. The use of force to help one side in a conflict inevitably hurts others, including some who are not involved.

Once the hope proved vain that simply threatening to use air power would suffice, NATO found itself in the position of either dropping bombs or backing down. And when the air strikes actually started, it quickly became apparent to everyone that even precision guided weapons kill people on both sides. While NATO forces were able to keep their own losses to an absolute minimum, both Serbians and Kosovars became victims of the air attacks, while reprisals by Serbian forces escalated rapidly. The full implications of the Kosovo operation are only now beginning to be understood.

The important general point here is not how the Kosovar campaign was handled, but that many people seemed to believe that adopting a human security approach would somehow make the difficult issues go away. The reality is that human security remains a rather vague and ill-defined guide to action, lacking an adequate international consensus on either its meaning or its application.

What is needed above all is not a rejection of human security but rather a realistic approach to foreign policy. The human security approach tends inevitably to raise public expectations about the willingness and capacity of countries like Canada, of alliances such as NATO, and of the UN itself to intervene in all deserving cases. Kosovo, Somalia, East Timor and other recent cases have shown how complex and often contradictory are the real issues and consequences.

Undoubtedly, the greater emphasis on human security will reshape, in some degree, Canada’s participation in both the United Nations and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. The Committee believes, therefore, that the Senate will wish to consider the probable consequences of this development. While the Committee sympathizes with the Government’s aims in pursuing human security as a primary theme of Canada’s foreign policy, we are not convinced that the implications of this approach have been sufficiently explored. In particular, we believe the Government should set out for public discussion the approach it plans to take in deciding whether to participate in future peacekeeping missions, especially those involving a strong human security element.

Moreover, as the Speech from the Throne implies, it is likely that this new emphasis will have important implications for the Canadian Forces as they carry out peacekeeping – or peacemaking – roles in support of human security. Indeed, the experience in Kosovo demonstrates that the new policy is virtually certain to impose new demands on those participating in such military interventions.

We also believe that a more extensive dialogue is needed – with Parliament and the public – to review experience to date and in particular how the doctrine was applied in the Kosovo operation. By examining that experience carefully, especially in light of questions raised elsewhere in this report about its effectiveness, Canada can refine its policy and better prepare itself for the next such situation. It can also make a more valuable contribution to related discussions in NATO and the United Nations.


Conclusions and Recommendations

The concept of "human security" has become central to Canada’s foreign policy in recent years, yet it still needs to be more fully explored, defined and developed. Humanitarian intervention as a basis for international action is still an evolving concept that lacks a clear, internationally-accepted definition. The concept has a natural appeal for Canadians, but it also carries real dangers. Canada cannot intervene, or participate in an intervention, in every circumstance where human security is threatened – we are not the world’s "helpful fixer." We must base our security-related activities on a solid policy foundation and target our interventions where we know we can make a difference, and where we have a clear rationale for acting. That rationale, however, has not always been articulated.

Canada acts militarily only in concert with its allies. If their interests are threatened, ours are thereby affected. Wherever there is a threat to stability or to human security, we too are menaced, even if indirectly. There is no part of the world, from South East Asia to Afghanistan to the Horn of Africa, where instability and conflict do not ultimately touch Canada in some way.

Canada has a vital contribution to make to peacekeeping and peacemaking around the world. This vocation has been perhaps the most visible expression of our values-driven foreign policy over more than 40 years. In the most practical sense we have much to contribute; we know how to do it and we have the trained men and women with experience to lead. That is obvious to all who have been involved in multilateral security operations, whether under UN auspices or otherwise.

But the Government of Canada makes our forces available to the world community not because we want simply to "make a contribution," or because there is a problem that needs solving. Rather, Canadian Forces are employed in peacekeeping and peacemaking for the same reasons they have been employed in the past in situations of open warfare – because in each case it has been determined that it is in Canada’s larger national interest to do so. The sacrifices demanded of our men and women in uniform would be unreasonable and inappropriate if they did not know that by serving peace, they are also serving the interests of their country and their fellow citizens.


We must be careful, therefore, not to be dragged into every conflict where human security is threatened, or where the interests of our NATO allies may be engaged. We can play a constructive role in the world community only if we are clear on the implications of our policy, and only if we are prepared to live with the consequences of our actions.

As Jean Daudelin of the North-South Institute has argued:

The Canadian government and the Canadian public will need to accept that such a policy . . . [ based on human security] . . . entails significant expenses. . . . It will mean getting our hands dirty, sometimes bloody, and it will hurt. If Canadians, be they Ministers, Members of Parliament or ordinary citizens, are not ready, simpler, safer paths should perhaps be considered.(117)



7- That notwithstanding Canada’s support for the principle of humanitarian intervention, and the Government’s pursuit of a human security policy, the Government ensure that the implementation of this policy is based firmly on:

      • consistent standards reflecting international consensus;
      • adequate machinery for effective implementation,
      • a broad Canadian debate on the implications of such intervention; and
      • an accepted international definition of the concept of "human security."

8- That before Canada participates in any international intervention based on human security goals it ensure that the following steps have been taken:

      • full analysis and a clear international consensus regarding the definition of human security and other implications of the situation and of the proposed action;
      • identification of a clear Canadian interest in participation, specifically one that supports our broader foreign policy objectives and values;
      • clear evidence that Canadian participation will make a significant positive difference to the proposed action, and assurances that Canada is capable of making the required military contribution;
      • awareness of the risks and costs of intervention; and
      • assurances that any negative implications for other Canadian interests have been fully considered.

.Chapter VII: The European Security and Defence Identity

The European Security and Defence Identity (ESDI) is a broad concept that embraces not only military defence of the European Union but peace and security more generally. It is not a new idea but it has come to the fore in the past year or so as the European Union sought to redefine its role in NATO vis-à-vis that of the United States. This chapter looks briefly at the evolution of ESDI and other forms of military defence restructuring, which reflect not only changes in the vision of European defence but also a revolution in the very nature of warfare. The implications of ESDI for NATO and the U.S. role are also discussed. Finally, the possible implications for Canada are outlined.


The Evolution of ESDI

For many years, beginning in 1949, the defence of Europe depended chiefly on NATO, and in large measure on the U.S. contribution. No alternatives existed. Even with the end of the Cold War, this continued to be the case. NATO provided a militarily safe environment within which both the members of the Alliance and their neighbours could concentrate on developing their economic systems and political institutions.

At the same time, the idea that the European countries should assume responsibility for their common defence gradually gained support, but little concrete progress was made. The dominant security concern for Western Europe was the deterrence of Soviet aggression; moreover, the European Community was deeply absorbed by other matters.

After the end of the Cold War there were those who thought that NATO, or at least the old NATO, was no longer needed. The time had come for the member states of the European Community to begin the task of transforming themselves into a closer union with a distinct foreign policy and defence identity, as well as the capacity to formulate and implement policies for the entire Union. Thus, for example, Europe would be able to meet its own peacekeeping concerns without relying heavily on its North American NATO partners. The Maastricht Treaty, which came into effect on November 1, 1993, made it clear that the projected European Union would seek to achieve a "common foreign and security policy."

Already the NATO heads of State and Government had recognized that the countries of the European Community were working to achieve an ESDI. They welcomed the idea that eventually the Community would make provision to keep the peace in Europe. However, the ESDI, as envisioned, would not supplant NATO completely. Rather, the Identity would "reinforce the integrity and effectiveness of the Alliance as a whole." At Rome in 1991, the NATO heads had stated:

The fact that the countries of the European Community are working towards the goal of political union, including the development of a European security identity; and the enhancement of the WEU [Western European Union], are important factors for European security. The strengthening of the security dimension in the process of European integration, and the enhancement of the role and responsibilities of European members of the Alliance are positive and mutually reinforcing. The development of a European security identity and defence role, reflected in the strengthening of the European pillar within the Alliance, will not only serve the interests of the European states but also reinforce the integrity and effectiveness of the Alliance as a whole. (118)

Understandably, an ESDI was not achieved during the 1990s, as the European Union was busy with the task of bringing about the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), with matters relating to the Union’s governmental institutions and the Common Agricultural Policy, and with questions relating to enlargement. In the absence of an ESDI, NATO took on a new character to fill the available roles.

Nevertheless, some important steps had been taken towards a restructuring of European defence forces.


Restructuring European Forces

One of the first concrete steps towards European defence integration came in 1987, when President Mitterand and Chancellor Kohl announced plans to establish a Franco-German Brigade. This brigade officially came into being in January 1989. The success of this experiment, and the sudden ending of the Cold War, prompted the two leaders to greatly increase the scale of their countries’ military collaboration. As a result, in May 1992, they formally declared their intention to establish a multinational European Corps (EUROCORPS) and place it at the disposal of the Western European Union.(119)

The WEU had been virtually dormant for decades after the adoption of the Brussels Treaty in 1948, but had been resuscitated in 1984 at the urging of France, with a key role being "to strengthen the European pillar of the Alliance." Over the next few years, the WEU contributed forces to various UN actions. These included a 1992 maritime interdiction effort in the Adriatic Sea to implement sanctions against the former Yugoslavia, in the course of which the WEU worked in collaboration with NATO.

Following a 1993 agreement that clarified command relationships between NATO and EUROCORPS, Belgium, Spain and Luxembourg announced that they too would contribute troops to the formation. Total EUROCORPS personnel now stands at approximately 44,000, including 14,000 French, 14,000 German, 12,000 Belgian and 3,500 Spanish troops.

In 1995, the WEU also created two new multinational formations, EUROFOR (European Force) and EUROMARFOR (European Maritime Force), as on-call (rather than permanently constituted) formations to assemble military contingents tailored to the requirements of particular contingency operations. EUROFOR can draw upon about 5,000 ground troops apiece from France, Italy, Portugal and Spain to build a force of up to divisional size for peacekeeping and other contingency operations in the Mediterranean region. Likewise EUROMARFOR brings together maritime forces of the same countries for flexible deployment according to needs.

In addition to these WEU forces, a number of bi-national military formations have been created in Europe. The Benelux nations in particular have combined their fleets under a permanent, unified command and have created a Deployable Air Task Force. Italy and Spain plan to create a combined marine brigade, while France and the United Kingdom have established the Franco-British European Air Group in order to improve their ability to plan for and conduct joint operations.


The Revolution in Military Affairs

The creation of such combined forces reflects not only a desire to create a new and collaborative approach to European defence, but also a recognition of the need to respond to profound changes in the nature of military operations.

Following the overwhelming victory of coalition forces in Operation Desert Storm, it has become widely accepted that we are going through a revolution in military affairs (RMA) as significant as any that has gone before, including the introduction of nuclear weapons. The RMA entails a major change in the nature of warfare "brought about by advances in military technology which, combined with dramatic changes in military doctrine and organizational concepts, fundamentally alter the character and conduct of military operations." In the current RMA, technological advances include precision-guided munitions, stealth technology, as well as new surveillance, command and control capabilities. These advances allow for the application of precision force, increases in the power projection capabilities of major military platforms and increased battle space awareness and control.(120)

New technologies will make true combined-arms operations more feasible and the new military will increasingly be a joint force. Future wars will see integrated air, sea and land operations, with air activity often preceding land operations and the Navy engaging a wider range of land targets. Thus "dominant manoeuvre, precision engagement, full dimensional protection and focused logistics are the concepts that are expected to play pivotal roles in future combat operations.(121)" With the shift from mass destruction to precision warfare there is a concomitant shift ". . . from mass armies to smaller more highly educated and capital-intensive professional armed forces, whose units are commanded by a more decentralized decision-making structure and can be specifically tailored to the task at hand."

European members of the NATO Alliance have begun to develop forces that can be rapidly transported to remote theatres of operations, function despite a lack of pre-established lines of communication and host nation support, and fight effectively in multinational formations at the corps and even division level. NATO has organized these capabilities into Reaction Forces, which include multinational commands and formations such as the Allied Command Europe (ACE) Mobile Force Land and the ACE Rapid Reaction Corps (ARRC) for ground forces, and the Immediate and Rapid Reaction Forces (Air). The United Kingdom is by far the largest single contributor to the ARRC, providing two divisions, an airmobile brigade and the largest share of the corps’ logistical and administrative support.(122)

France makes no contributions to NATO’s Reaction Forces because its armed forces do not participate in the Alliance’s integrated military command structure. However, France maintains large, well-equipped rapid-reaction formations under national command.

Despite recent efforts by some Alliance members, the United States remains clearly at the forefront of the revolution in military affairs – a fact which may have profound implications for future U.S.-Alliance relationships. The gap between the United States and others in the domains of command and information, target acquisition and intelligence systems is growing rapidly. This has already led to various interoperability problems between the Americans and other alliance members. In the long run it will be important for the effectiveness and cohesiveness of NATO to limit the gap.

It will be difficult for the Europeans to catch up. To do so they would need to increase their defence spending substantially, especially in research and technology. Even though the U.S. and EU economies are about the same size (approximately $8 trillion each), the United States spends $290 billion a year on defence, while Europe spends about $200 billion. Especially telling is the fact that the United States spends $30 billion a year on advanced research and technology, while the European Union nations together spend less than $10 billion(123). And according to some observers there is a high degree of duplication and little cooperation among the military R & D efforts of individual European countries. (124)

Sharing the Burden

Ideally, the ESDI should be based on a natural convergence of interest between the European and North American pillars of the Alliance. The North American pillar would reap the benefits of burden sharing, as its European allies took on an equitable portion of Alliance defence spending. The European pillar would be able to engage in areas of its particular interest independent of U.S. involvement. Thus, Europe could, when deemed either desirable or necessary, deal with its "near abroad" problems on its own. The bonus for both sides would be that the Alliance stayed intact.

However, while we have seen progress in the restructuring of European militaries to deal with new realities, the Kosovo conflict again raises important issues about the role of Europe and the need for a new "Transatlantic bargain." No one doubts the need for a strong U.S. role in NATO. However, the U.S. already serves Western interests by bearing most of the burden of power projection in the Gulf and is the key player in stabilizing the military situation in Asia – an increasingly important area of Western economic interest. The American call for more allied defence spending is understandable. And, if the Europeans are to make more than a token effort at instituting ESDI, they will have to make more than token improvements in actual war fighting, deployment and peacemaking capabilities. Needless to say, such improvements will require increases rather than decreases in defence expenditures.

The combined strength of the EU militaries is approximately two million, as compared to America’s 1.45 million. Yet, when it came to mustering the requisite number of properly equipped and trained professional soldiers for the Kosovo operation, the EU could draw up only half of those required.(125) Most European forces have not yet been adequately restructured to meet the type of threats NATO will likely face in the future.


Problems to be Resolved

Creating a European Security and Defence Identity will require that a number of difficult questions be addressed. U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright has recently posed such questions regarding the relationships between the U.S., NATO and the ESDI.(126)

First, there is the matter of membership discrimination. NATO already includes countries that are not members of the European Union, and at the Washington meeting the Alliance leaders declared their continued support for an open-door policy: "The Alliance remains open to new members under Article 10 of the Washington Treaty. It expects to extend further invitations in coming years to nations willing and able to assume the responsibilities and obligations of membership . . . ." What relationship will these NATO but non-EU nations have to the ESDI?

Will it be politically possible for each of the leading European Union governments to restructure its military establishments to reduce duplication and meet new needs? Will Italy, Denmark, Greece and (especially) Germany be able to face up to the economic, social and educational implications of replacing their large conscript armies by smaller numbers of professionals? Will the EU be able to create the ESDI without duplicating NATO capacities and command structure?

Will the European governments be able to consolidate and modernize their military research and production so that their forces not only meet the RMA challenge but are compatible with each other and with those of the U.S.A. and Canada? The economic implications are important, since presumably one of the reasons for developing the ESDI is to stimulate technologically advanced European defence industries and lessen dependence on U.S. suppliers.

Will France, Germany and Great Britain be able to agree on foreign policy among themselves, and will each of those countries be prepared to submit to foreign policy decisions made by combinations of other EU members?

Perhaps most important for the North American partners in NATO, will the development of the ESDI bring about what Madeleine Albright calls a "decoupling" from Europe?(127)


The Feasibility of ESDI

The building of a military union is an attractive proposition for the participants, not least because it also means "building European-based weapons, aircraft, ships and satellites – and that means jobs for a job-starved continent." (128)

However, despite the enthusiasm of some, the ESDI may not be realized quickly. In Bonn we were told by Dr. Herbert Wulf of the Bonn International Centre for Conversion that the European pillar is far from being effectively established. He suggested that it would make more sense to speak of a European-Atlantic security structure. Another of our witnesses noted that the Europeans were still waiting for the "first integrated European procurement order to work." When it comes to procurement, national interests still dominate and this was seen as further evidence of the difficulties inherent in establishing an effective ESDI.

The general feeling amongst our German interlocutors was that if the ESDI is to be created then it should be as a pillar of NATO, not as an independent entity. A senior defence official argued that the European Security and Defence Identity will take a long time to effect and that the Germans are "not interested in forcing time lines the way the French want to." For the Germans, budgetary considerations were considered most important. German officials also stressed that it was important to be clear about the fact that WEU/EU assets would be "separable" and not "separate" from NATO assets, thereby ensuring the primacy of NATO.

In Paris, we were told by M. Pascal Boniface, Director of the Institute for International and Strategic Studies, that there definitely will be a European pillar of defence. M. Boniface argued that history has never witnessed a situation wherein a political-economic power did not also possess military power. Today’s Europe is a power – an increasingly integrated one – and therefore it is only natural that it develop a commensurate military capability. Unless Europe develops a strong defence capability, it will never become a strategic power.

Boniface also went on to suggest that the British wanted a strong role in the new pillar and that the Germans would also become leading participants now that they are able to put their history behind them. He concluded that for ESDI to work, the active participation of both a strong Britain and a strong Germany will be essential. The establishment of the pillar should not be seen as a desire for Europe to break its defence ties with North America. Rather, he said, it should simply be seen as the portent of an Alliance with a new balance.

For the French, the preferred model seems to be one with two distinct pillars, the European members and the North American members. This view is replacing the more "collective" model inherent in the original concept of an Atlantic community.(129)

M. Pierre Lellouche, Secretary of the Defence and Armed Forces Committee of the National Assembly of France, informed Committee members that the WEU will "want a relationship that is at least on an equal footing with the U.S." M. Lellouche also argued that Europeans are now in a position to take power for themselves, but are reluctant to spend the requisite amount of money that would permit them to do so. If they are to become a force to be reckoned with, Europeans will need to spend money on equipment. Yet defence budgets are generally going down.

In London, Professor Clarke argued that "present trends indicate that the Transatlantic issue will not be whether the European Union will establish its own defence identity which complements NATO, but whether the European NATO members will establish – within the Alliance – an effective modus operandi which gives them a more independent capacity for action in the absence of leading U.S. participation." He noted that the revolution in military affairs (RMA) will certainly complicate this trend.


A Continuing U.S. Role

While European enthusiasm for the creation of an ESDI may be welcome, Kosovo demonstrated the essential role of the United States in providing the military capability that enabled the Alliance to carry out the campaign. The Europeans, it is clear, would be hard pressed to carry out even a limited peacekeeping operation on their own. Their reliance on U.S. lift capabilities, communications, command and control systems and intelligence is still extensive. For the time being, only the U.S. is in a position to deploy large numbers of forces well beyond its borders and to sustain them for an extended period.

Two questions have been raised in this context. First, from the European point of view, why should the U.S. be the manager of Europe’s efforts to cope with "near abroad" crises? Strobe Talbot, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State, has said: "Many Europeans seem determined never again to feel quite so dominated by the U.S. as they did during Kosovo, or for that matter, during Bosnia." Second, looking at the issue from the American side, why should the United States have to bear so much of the financial and political costs of keeping the peace in Europe? Talbot comments: "Many Americans are saying never again should the U.S. have to fly the lion’s share of the risky missions in a NATO operation and foot the biggest bill."(130) This American view is intensified by the fact that the U.S.A. has imperative interests elsewhere – in Asia and the Gulf, for example.

Consequently, the United States has generally supported the ESDI trend, and appeared from our interviews to be ready to continue doing so as long as the ESDI does not undermine or supersede NATO institutions and missions. In Washington, officials told us they did not oppose the development of an ESDI, especially if it encouraged the development of more mobile forces on the part of European militaries. Many of the latter are still seen as lagging in the RMA and as still having force structures better suited to fighting the Cold War than to dealing with emerging risks.(131)

However, while the U.S. may be supportive of the European initiative, there are conditions. As noted by Mr. James Robertson, Director of NATO Policy in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defence, the Trans-Atlantic link must be kept intact and there must be a degree of inclusion of North American and other non-EU members of the Alliance. As well, the United States would like to see the Europeans emphasize the same "military improvements" as those they are pursuing – particularly in the realm of the RMA. Mr. Robert Simmons, Special Adviser for NATO Affairs for the U.S. State Department, also stressed the importance of ensuring that the ESDI not come at the cost of the North Atlantic Alliance.

American concerns over being "dragged" into a European adventure are understandable, as is their insistence that NATO be given "the right of first refusal" when the European Union decides to deploy NATO assets under the ESDI. The American position is that, because the ESDI is complementary to NATO and not in competition with it, initial discussions about potential military operations should be held within NATO. (This condition will not sit well with the French, who believe that the EU members should be able to decide these matters for themselves.) If the U.S. decides not to participate in an action deemed important by the Europeans, then NATO assets would automatically be made available to the EU.


Implications for Canada

The obvious question for Canada in contemplating the possible emergence of a European Security and Defence Identity is "where do we fit in – if at all?" The realization of an ESDI – or even a significant advance in that direction – would raise serious questions about Canada’s future role in NATO.

A new European entity would assume the primary responsibility for security in Europe, while the assets and services supplied by NATO – intelligence, heavy lift, command and control structures – would come chiefly from the U.S.A. What would Canada, the only mid-size non-European member of NATO, contribute? And how would Canada be involved or consulted in any future disagreements between the European and U.S. defence titans? The fear is that these will be settled in the absence of Canadian expressions of concern or offers of mediation.

Will the ESDI be achieved? Clearly, it is possible that, in the next decade, the unification of Europe will not advance to the point where the EU has anything like a genuine security and defence identity. According to Professor David Bercuson, there is "increasing evidence that the ‘twin-pillar’ or ‘dumbbell’ model of the alliance, with the European members constituting one pillar and the North American members the other, is winning out over the more ‘collective’ model inherent in the original concept of an Atlantic community."(132)


Conclusions and Recommendations

It is evident that the emergence of a European Security and Defence Identity (ESDI) could raise serious questions with respect to control over NATO assets and Canada’s role in NATO decision-making, including, in the future, the issue of staying in NATO. Hence the question was posed as to what should be Canada’s approach to the ESDI.

The trend line in European security is clear. The Europeans are ever more inclined to think in terms of a European interest in European issues, leaving the old "North Atlantic" idea behind. At the same time that NATO’s revised mandate, expressed in its new Strategic Concept, seems to widen the scope of Canada’s potential involvement in European security, the changes in Europe seem to be squeezing us out of the policy and decision-making process.

The European Security and Defence Identity is important for Canada’s role in NATO, as it is for the security regime of Western Europe. If our European allies do become collectively, under the ESDI, an independent actor in defence matters, this would represent a fundamental change to NATO and to Canada’s relations with the Alliance. Moreover, the emergence of an effective ESDI, with its implication of developing procurement within Europe, could have adverse economic implications for Canada, particularly with respect to markets for our defence industries.

We conclude that, in shaping its foreign policy and in making plans for the Canadian Forces, Canada should take the ESDI seriously. Our first concern should simply be that Canada is adequately informed, involved and consulted when future relationships between NATO and an evolving ESDI are discussed. And in those discussions, we should strongly advance the interests of Canada in such matters as the deployment of NATO assets in the ESDI context.

Despite the hopes frequently expressed in Europe, the ESDI has yet to become a reality. While neither the future development of the ESDI nor its specific implications are clear, the Committee concluded that these issues merit close and continuing attention by the relevant Ministers and their officials.

Unlike the United States, which has been reviewing and modifying its position on the initiative over the past several months, Canada does not have a clear and public policy position on the ESDI. It needs to have one and to keep a close watch on further developments in this area.


9- That the Government of Canada ensure that NATO makes explicit the circumstances under which NATO assets might be deployed by the European Union.

10- That Canada forthwith formulate a clear, public policy position on the European Security and Defence Identity (ESDI).

11- That the Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs monitor the evolution of the European Security and Defence Identity (ESDI) and report on any developments of importance to Canada.

Chapter VIII: Parliament and Canada’s External Security Commitments

There have been dramatic changes in the global security environment since the end of the Cold War. Over the past ten years, the security commitments accepted by Canada, ranging from peacekeeping to peacemaking to participation in two major conflicts, have imposed a heavy burden on our armed forces. Yet during the same period, the role of Parliament in the making of these commitments, and in other foreign policy decisions, has been sporadic at best. The Committee believes it important to consider whether, and in what way, the role of the two houses of Parliament might be enhanced in this area.

The notion that Parliament should have a more definite role to play in key foreign policy decisions (such as the acceptance of new treaty obligations and participation in peacekeeping missions) is not new. Interested observers and politicians alike have regularly championed the idea. Whether the aim of an enhanced role for Parliament is seen as being to stimulate a better public understanding of foreign policy issues or to assert the need for involvement of the legislative or "representative" branch of government in matters of war and peace, few argue against it in principle.

The issue raises a number of important and difficult practical questions, however. What is the appropriate degree of parliamentary involvement in the making of key foreign policy decisions? How can the two houses of Parliament contribute to such matters without compromising Canada’s ability to respond swiftly and effectively to international crises? And how can Parliament participate without seeking to take on an executive role that, in our system, belongs properly with the Prime Minister and Cabinet? In this chapter we have sought to highlight the question of Parliament’s role in Canadian foreign policy and to review briefly where Parliament stands today. To this end, we examine what has been done in the past and the practices of some of our allies in these matters. We conclude by suggesting some possibilities for the reform of Parliament’s role.


Canada’s Increasing Involvement in UN and NATO Operations

The enhanced activism of the United Nations since the Cold War has placed increased demands on member states, such as Canada, which participate regularly in UN security-related operations. Not only have the sheer number and scale of operations increased dramatically,(133) but the missions themselves now tend to be more complex and dangerous than traditional peacekeeping tasks. UN-authorized operations such as the Gulf War, the intervention in Somalia, the mission in the former Yugoslavia, and the current KFOR mission in Kosovo are a far cry from those in Suez, Cyprus and the Golan Heights. At the same time, Canadian military resources have been stretched increasingly thin due to budget cuts and downsizing.

These developments have led to calls for enhanced parliamentary oversight of military affairs. Recommendations to this effect were made by the Special Joint Committee on Canada’s Defence Policy in 1994 and by the Commission of Inquiry into the Deployment of Canadian Forces to Somalia in 1997. Yet little appears to have changed.

On the NATO side of Canada’s foreign and military policy equation, the situation is no better. In 1999, Canada welcomed three new NATO allies and signed on to a new Strategic Concept for the Alliance. This consolidated and advanced NATO’s evolution into a regional security organization whose area of interest now extends to the rest of Europe and the former Soviet Union. Also in 1999, as discussed earlier, Canada and the other NATO allies launched an air campaign against Yugoslavia over the situation in Kosovo. This marked the first time since the founding of the UN that Canada had participated in a foreign conflict without UN authorization. All these important military and foreign policy decisions were made solely by the Government, without a vote or debate in Parliament.

In addition to the $10 million in assistance which Canada is providing to the three new members, the new round of NATO expansion means, of course, an expansion in the scope of our collective defence obligations under Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty. As Professor Kim Nossal put it, NATO expansion constitutes "a formal commitment of Canadian blood and treasure in the case of an attack on our new allies . . . ."(134) In their appearances before us, both Col.(ret’d) Douglas Fraser of the Canadian Council for International Peace and Security and Professor Nossal expressed their regret over the lack of debate in the country prior to the extension of membership to the three new members.(135)

While the Alliance’s new and broader regional security mandate has not been entrenched in the Treaty itself, the new Strategic Concept does constitute the Alliance’s central public policy statement. And though it does not legally bind Canada to participate in any particular non-Article 5 action, such as Kosovo, it does at least suggest a moral obligation not to reject such operations out of hand.

Of course, the executive is accountable to Parliament and ultimately to the electorate for its decisions. But given the potentially far-reaching and irrevocable nature of those decisions, it seems reasonable to consider whether the generally ex post facto scrutiny of executive policy in this area is sufficient. After all, legislatures of other countries appear to have a greater role in foreign policy decision-making than does our Parliament. Moreover, past Canadian practice also seems to have allowed for more regular involvement of Parliament in foreign policy matters.


Canadian Law and Practice

The Direct Role of Parliament

As a matter of Canadian constitutional law, the situation is clear. The Executive Government can, without parliamentary approval or consultation, commit Canadian forces to action abroad, whether in the form of a specific current operation or possible future contingencies resulting from international treaty obligations.

Under the Canadian Constitution, command of the armed forces, like other traditional executive powers, is vested in the Queen and exercised in her name by the federal cabinet acting under the leadership of the Prime Minister(136). These executive powers include declaring war, incurring treaty obligations and the conduct of foreign affairs generally. As far as the Constitution is concerned, Parliament has little direct role in such matters.

By common law the powers of the executive government include the right to perform "acts of state," specifically to declare war, to make peace and to make and ratify treaties. However, no "act of state" can change the domestic law of Canada. For example, although the Crown can ratify a treaty, the terms of that treaty will not apply within Canada if they are contrary to prevailing Canadian law. Consequently, many treaties and international agreements – the North American Free Trade Agreement, for example – cannot be brought into effect without an Act of Parliament (or of the provincial legislatures, where the matter is within provincial jurisdiction).

Of course, Parliament, especially the House of Commons, plays an indispensable though indirect role by voting or withholding funds and by retaining or withdrawing confidence in the Government of the day. Moreover, short of an actual vote, there are other mechanisms which enable parliamentarians to hold the Government accountable for its decisions and to register their own views. These include questions to Ministers, debates on the Estimates and "take note" debates.

Parliament also has specific statutory roles in the context of certain national emergencies and with respect to the active status of the Canadian Forces. If the executive requires special powers to deal with an "international" or "war emergency," the Emergencies Act requires that Parliament confirm a declaration by the Governor in Council as to the existence of such an emergency.(137) The Act also provides that any emergency orders and regulations issued by the Governor in Council are to be tabled in Parliament within two sitting days and that the Government’s exercise of its emergency powers is to be reviewed by a special joint committee of Parliament.(138)

Likewise, section 32 of the National Defence Act requires that Parliament (unless it is dissolved at the time) be sitting whenever any element of the Canadian Forces is placed on "active service" by the Governor in Council, or within ten days thereafter.(139) While the Act does not specifically give Parliament any say in the matter(140), the requirement may reinforce the accountability of the executive to Parliament at such times by ensuring that parliamentarians are on hand to question and challenge the Government.

Generally, however, the Government is held responsible for acts of state through its need to retain the confidence of the House of Commons. When the House has shown that it does not have such confidence, the Government must either resign or bring on an election.

The ultimate test of confidence is the willingness of the House of Commons to do the Government’s supply business. Under section 106 of the Constitution Act, 1867, only Parliament can authorize the expenditure of money from the Consolidated Revenue Fund. Appropriation Acts are now usually introduced four times in each fiscal year, thus ensuring that Parliament has frequent opportunities to express its views in this way.

In 1999-2000 money was allocated specifically for the Kosovo mission and for the East Timor mission(141). It can thus be argued that the relevant Appropriation Acts for that financial year represent the support of Parliament for Canada’s participation in both the Yugoslavia-Kosovo campaign and the East Timor mission.



Past Canadian Practice

Earlier this century, it appeared as if Parliament would be assured a formal role in approving key foreign policy actions. Canada only began to achieve formal autonomy in international affairs at the end of the First World War. But already in 1923, Prime Minister W. L. Mackenzie King declared that only Parliament should ultimately decide on Canadian participation in foreign conflicts.(142)

In 1926, Prime Minister King made a similar pledge with respect to treaty obligations, moving a resolution which was passed unanimously by the House of Commons:

This House . . . considers further that before His Majesty’s Canadian Ministers advise ratification of a treaty or convention affecting Canada, or signify acceptance of any treaty, convention or agreement involving military or economic sanctions, the approval of the Parliament of Canada should be secured.(143)

At the outbreak of World War Two, Prime Minister King ensured that Parliament debated and passed a resolution in favour of Canada’s entry into the war against Germany, before having the formal declaration of war issued in September 1939.

As for major treaty commitments, both the Charter of the United Nations in 1945 and the North Atlantic Treaty of 1949 were submitted to Parliament for debate and approval prior to their ratification by the executive. Parliament was similarly involved in debating and pre-approving the government’s ratification of subsequent protocols to the North Atlantic Treaty which provided for the admission to of Greece and Turkey in 1952 and of Germany in 1955.(144)

Since the early 1950s, however, the involvement of Parliament in the decision to dispatch Canadian troops to foreign conflicts has been sporadic. Parliament has sometimes been consulted (e.g., Cyprus, the Persian Gulf and Somalia) and sometimes not (e.g., Korea, Zaire and Kosovo).

Some argue that this is unnecessary in many cases, since Canada’s participation in all UN-authorized operations, from Korea to East Timor, flows directly from our membership in the UN and ratification of the UN Charter, which Parliament approved in October 1945. However, strictly speaking, Canada was not obliged by its ratification of the UN Charter or UN membership to contribute armed forces to any of these operations.

As we have already noted, the NATO bombing campaign against Yugoslavia over Kosovo in 1999 was not authorized by the UN, nor does it fall within the obligations of the North Atlantic Treaty. It does not appear that Canada’s participation in that conflict can be directly traced to any previous treaty commitment, let alone one which has been sanctioned by Parliament.

Parliament’s role in scrutinizing international agreements has suffered a similar fate. The 1958 North American Air Defence (NORAD) Agreement, and subsequent renewals of that agreement, were not submitted to Parliament for approval. NORAD was based on an executive agreement between the Canadian and American governments which did not require ratification and which, therefore, was seen to fall outside the practice enunciated by the King government.

But even where formal treaties requiring ratification have been used, the practice in Canada of securing prior parliamentary approval seems to have fallen into disuse. Parliament played no role in Canada’s ratification of protocols to the North Atlantic Treaty approving the admission to NATO membership of Spain in 1982 and of Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary in 1999. Even the long-standing practice of tabling international agreements in Parliament has been abandoned. This practice at one time extended to a wide variety of agreements, including those not in treaty form and even final communiqués from international meetings, such as those of the North Atlantic Council.

Thus, with the possible exception of a declaration of war, Canada has not established any conventional role for Parliament in approving participation in external military operations or Canada’s international treaty commitments. Moreover, on the specific question of prior parliamentary approval of overseas deployments of Canadian forces, Opposition motions and Private Members’ initiatives to this effect have been consistently defeated. The Committee considers this situation unacceptable; Parliament should always be consulted on important international treaties and when Canadian troops are deployed abroad.


The Situation in Other Countries

It seems that most of our major allies have a greater formal role for their legislatures in the scrutiny of key foreign policy decisions. NATO members such as France, Germany, Denmark, Italy and the United States all have a constitutional requirement for legislative approval of certain categories of treaties prior to ratification. Also, in the United States and much of continental Europe, it is the legislature, either alone or in conjunction with the executive, that declares war. Moreover, and perhaps of greater significance today, both the United States and Denmark have legal requirements that the legislature approve external deployments of military forces, whether or not there is a declared war, except in response to an attack.(145)

In many countries, however, the role of the legislature has been eroded by the trend in recent decades towards less formal international agreements. The United States Congress has taken some modest steps to reassert itself in such cases. In 1972, Congress passed the Case-Zablocki Act, which requires the Secretary of State to transmit to Congress the text of "any international agreement, other than a treaty, to which the United States is a party" within 60 days of the agreement’s entry into force in respect of the U.S. While this does not give Congress any direct role in approving such non-treaty agreements, it does keep the members informed of such developments and helps ensure a certain level of scrutiny of the executive’s conduct of foreign relations.

In Canada and other countries whose systems are based on the Westminster model, treaties may be used to guide legal interpretation but do not constitute or affect domestic law unless implemented in statutory form through Parliament. Nevertheless, in a number of other such systems, efforts have been made to entrench a role for Parliament in the treaty-making process. In the United Kingdom itself, a convention known as the "Ponsonby" rule has, since the 1920s, required that international agreements requiring ratification be placed before both Houses of Parliament at least 21 days before ratification. There is also a long-standing practice in the UK of seeking parliamentary approval for controversial or important treaties, even where ratification is not required.

In 1996, Australia implemented reforms to its treaty-making process which sought to directly and formally involve parliamentarians in the scrutiny of international agreements. The main elements of this reform are:

  • a requirement for the tabling of treaties in Parliament at least 15 sitting days before binding action is taken;
  • preparation and tabling in Parliament of a "National Interest Analysis" for each treaty; and
  • establishment of a Joint Standing Committee on Treaties with a mandate to review and report on proposed treaty actions.(146)


Possibilities of an Enhanced Role for Parliament

As noted above, the primary means by which Parliament can play a role in Canada’s foreign and defence policy is through Supply and Confidence. However, while this is theoretically correct, it is not really an answer to the policy question of how and whether Parliament’s role in overseeing should be strengthened.

For one thing, denying funds to the Government and withdrawing confidence are rather blunt instruments for expressing dissenting views on such issues. Moreover, the opportunities for scrutiny and dissent that are offered by the Supply process cannot always be used in an effective or timely fashion. In the case of Kosovo, for example, it was only in November 1999, five months after the action had ended, that Parliament had an opportunity to vote funds expressly earmarked for that operation.

Creating a formal role for the two Houses of Parliament in the scrutiny or approval of international agreements would seem to offer a relatively uncontroversial way of enhancing parliamentary oversight of foreign policy. Such a move would, after all, merely restore past Canadian practice.

As a first step, it would seem logical to restore the tabling requirement for treaties and other international agreements. Beyond that, consideration could be given to establishing a requirement that new international agreements be studied by a committee of one or both houses before binding action is taken, as has been done in Australia, and perhaps even that the more important agreements be approved by resolution.

But whatever approach is taken to re-involving Parliament in the treaty process, care should be taken to ensure that the selection of international agreements for parliamentary study or approval is based on the substance and content of such agreements, rather than their form. In this regard, it is especially important that agreements affecting Canada’s international security commitments be among those which are subject to parliamentary study or approval. This is not just because of the inherent importance of such issues, but also because they might not otherwise come before Parliament as they generally do not require implementing legislation.

We believe that when Canadian military personnel are to be put in harm’s way there should be, at the very least, a full and informed debate in Parliament at the earliest opportunity. This might not involve a vote but it should require the government to lay out all the factors affecting the decision: the circumstances of the operational area, an assessment of the risk involved, the military resources available, and so on.

In addition, the Government should obtain the express concurrence of both houses of Parliament whenever Canadian forces are to be deployed abroad in circumstances where they are likely to become involved in hostilities. As with the War Powers Resolution in the United States, any such requirement would have to preserve the ability of the executive to act in advance of a resolution, where circumstances dictated, or without a resolution altogether where Canada was attacked or was the subject of a declaration of war.

While the requirement of an explicit and timely vote in Parliament on external military action may ultimately be deemed undesirable or infeasible on policy or procedural grounds, the idea should not be rejected out of hand as being incompatible with Canadian parliamentary democracy. Indeed, such a practice could have salutary effects in terms of enhancing both the involvement of parliamentarians in foreign and military affairs and the democratic legitimacy of such decisions.


Conclusions and Recommendations

One of the key questions the Committee asked itself from the beginning concerned the role of Parliament in determining Canada’s approach to international commitments and in particular to intervention in conflicts occurring within a state.

Parliament clearly has an important role to play in such issues. This is especially so in the modern era when public debate does matter, and when Canadians want to see their representatives in both Houses of Parliament addressing the vital issues of international security that affect Canada.

Canadians want to be informed, and they want to participate in shaping policy that affects their country’s role in the world. If Canada is to meet its security obligations in the fast-changing international environment, the government must be ready to spell out what is meant by "human security" and what Canada should be prepared to do as a nation to support our commitment to global security and human development.

The Senate and House of Commons represent Canadians. A parliamentary debate is both the easiest and the most appropriate way to sound out their views on vital issues of national security.

Successive Canadian governments have, over several decades, been inconsistent in consulting the Senate and House of Commons on issues of foreign policy. Too often they have failed to consult on the occasions when the Canadian Forces have been committed to peacemaking operations overseas. This failure to consult and engage Parliament does not reflect the conventions of parliamentary government elsewhere; indeed, many other democracies with British constitutional traditions have institutionalized practices of consultation and approval on these matters that Canada would do well to emulate.

Committee members also noted that Parliamentarians themselves have not been as active as they might in seeking involvement in international issues. While there have been notable exceptions, members of the two Houses have, generally speaking, not fully utilized the opportunities already available to express their views on these matters.

Committee members considered that it would be particularly helpful to have the Estimates of the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, and those of the Department of Defence, reviewed annually by the Committee. This would give Senators the opportunity to review with Ministers and officials the kinds of issue addressed in the present Report.



12- That Parliament have a direct role in the review of important international agreements (such as those relating to NATO expansion), wherever possible being consulted prior to binding action being taken by the Government.

13- That both Houses of Parliament have the opportunity to debate and approve at the earliest possible moment Canadian participation in any military intervention or external conflict situation, including peacekeeping and peacemaking missions, with the Government clearly spelling out Canada’s interest in the situation and the scope of Canadian involvement.

14- That, within the next year, Parliament debate major aspects of Canada’s foreign and security policy, including:

      • Canada’s future participation in peacekeeping operations as a member of the UN and NATO;
      • the implications of the European Security and Defence Identity; and
      • the meaning and implications of the concept of Human Security as a pillar of Canadian foreign policy.

15- That the Main Estimates of the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade and those of the Department of National Defence be referred to the Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs for review.

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