PARLIAMENT of CANADA
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Canadian Security Guide Book

2005 EDITION

An Update of Security Problems in Search of Solutions


CHAPTER 1

Introduction

“Thinking the worst is not defeatist. It is the best way to avoid defeat. Nor is it defeatist to concede that terror can never be entirely vanquished. Terrorists will continue to threaten democratic politics wherever oppressed or marginalized groups believe their cause justifies violence. But we can certainly deny them victory. We can continue to live without fear inside free institutions. To do so, however, we need to change the way we think, to step outside the confines of our cozy conservative and liberal boxes.” [1]

Michael Ignatieff
“Lesser Evils”
The New York Times Magazine
2 May 2004

This is the first national security report that the Committee has published since the recent federal election. The Committee has published nine reports in the three years leading up to the election. Eight of these reports were released during the Chrétien government, and one during the Martin government.2

The book is closed on the Chrétien government’s national security legacy. For the most part, that era was marked by spending restraint and Canada’s military was hit particularly hard by cost-cutting. The Committee continues to examine many of the security-related problems that began to alarm us late in the Chrétien mandate as well as events that have transpired since the Martin mandate began.

Mr. Chrétien’s successors have now had time to begin tackling national security issues.  To its credit, the new government has introduced some significant reforms, most notably the consolidation of much of the security file under the Deputy Prime Minister and the release of the national security policy.

Politicians and bureaucrats at the federal level deserve a measure of credit for introducing these improvements to security for Canadians in recent years. That being said, there are many important security issues that still need to be addressed. This is the Committee’s challenge to the government:

You have made useful adjustments; there is a great deal still to be done; our strong advice is to treat security and defence as major issues and get on with the job.

The Committee acknowledges that a number of measures have been taken over the past three years in an attempt to revamp Canada’s approach to national security.  However, it is the Committee’s contention that the government has, in many cases, fallen short in its response to both the increased and changing nature of man-made and natural threats to Canadians and has not sustained the kind of focus that it will need to mitigate these threats.

 

Successes and Failures

A Few Examples of Success

There have been some successes, including:

Security issues now have an influential advocate with direct access to the Prime Minister. Progress has not been perfect, but we will address that in Chapter 5.

It remains a work in progress. So far all we have is a skeleton here. Sinew and muscles will have to be added.

But much more must be done. Responsibility for the coasts remains split between too many departments.  Both the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Canadian Coast Guard could be playing much more useful roles in guarding our coasts. Nowhere is Canada more vulnerable.

Several military analysts have called for a baseline increase to the defence budget that over time works out to a number similar to our recommendation of $4 billion dollars plus inflation increases. [2]  What’s intriguing is that we have all come to an increase of a similar order of magnitude coming at it from different angles and using different methodologies. There now appears to be a consensus about the level of military funding necessary for a country of Canada’s size, wealth and interests. 

The federal government has yet to respond with anything resembling an adequate increase in defence spending. But in April, David Pratt, then Defence Minister, voiced the need to end the frantic cycle of deployments: “There comes a point where you have to say for the sake of your troops that we’re going to take a rest for a while.” [3]   There are signs that the government is starting to understand the seriousness of the problem.

Maybe it is a stretch to categorize acknowledgement of this problem by the government as a success. However the Committee believes that because of the size of the problem, acknowledging it is a necessary precursor to meeting the challenge.

 

A Few Examples of Failure

It should not be surprising – given decades of neglect – that the Committee’s list of problems that remain unsolved is longer than its list of problems on the road to solution. Just a few samples of problems that the government has yet to address adequately:

National Defence is still overstretched and resources continue to deteriorate. There are plenty of worthy causes lined up to take advantage of recurring federal surpluses. Given Canada’s inability to protect its citizens and the country’s fast-evaporating influence in world affairs, one would think that national security would be placed at the head of the line. This has not been the case.

Moreover, there has been an inadequate response to the Committee’s recommendations that airport workers be searched before entry into restricted areas of airports. It seems the side doors are open too.

 

National Priorities

It is no secret that both the Chrétien and Martin governments have been preoccupied with eliminating budgetary deficits and reducing the national debt. This is commendable. Nobody wants to leave future generations with a huge debt load run up by today’s politicians.

But there is more to governing than frugality. Sound accounting is important. But most important is a sound analysis of a country’s current needs, mixed with a vision for success in the future.

At the most practical level, a nation has a responsibility to defend its citizens from physical harm – that is the very essence of nationhood. The first national imperative is the same as the first human imperative: survival.

Beyond self-defence, it is in no nation’s interest to shrink on the world stage. Loss of influence not only means loss of respect; it means loss of political influence and economic opportunities. With the emergence of new global powers like China and India, the world stage is growing.  Canada can’t afford to shrink on that stage if it is to advance the interest of Canadians. But that is what is happening, because when global problems need contributions from all significant players, too often all Canada has to offer are words.

Kind thoughts and diplomatic gestures cannot replace a country’s capacity to help out when the world needs help. Tyranny, turmoil and natural disasters demand an immediate response.  We Canadians are quickly losing our capacity to respond.

The Committee believes that the federal government must come up with a more intelligent balance between fiscal prudence and the expenditures essential to protecting and strengthening Canada’s future. Canada is the only G-7 country currently running a budgetary surplus. [4] To a degree, that is something Canadians should be proud of. But smart countries, like smart businesses, save money where it needs to be saved, and spend money where it needs to be spent.

There is, and has been, money available to upgrade something as crucial as our national security. The federal government has run surpluses for eight straight years, and used most of the leftover money to pay down debt. [5] Canada’s national debt has been reduced by an astounding $61.4 billion over the past seven years, and the ratio of debt to GDP has dropped from its peak of 68.4 per cent (1995-1996) to 41.1 per cent. [6] A wise man pays off his mortgage quickly, but also spends money to fix his roof when it begins to leak. Otherwise, all those mortgage payments will have been for nothing.

 

Health Care and National Security

Beyond debt reduction, Canada has been faced with two outstanding challenges over the last decade. The first was to reform the country’s health care system. The second was to reform the country’s national security system. The new government has already made a major commitment to the provinces to meet the health care challenge. The jury is still out on the security challenge.

Reforming Canada’s health care system is a much greater priority for most Canadians because health problems come up regularly and repeatedly – it’s a rare day that average Canadians aren’t fretting about their own health problems, or the problems of relatives, friends and neighbours.

Catastrophic events, such as terrorist attacks and natural disasters, don’t come around often enough for many Canadians to turn their attention to the need to be prepared to deal with them. This may seem strange, given that nearly everyone insures his or her house against the rare possibility of fire, but this doesn’t seem to translate to the broader picture. Despite the profound implications for performance failure in the event of a natural or man-made disaster, when it comes to national security and defence most of us tend to trust in luck. And luck is notoriously untrustworthy.

 

The Marginalization of National Security

The body of this report will itemize some measures that the current government has taken to upgrade Canada’s security and defense capability. These measures are certainly not inconsequential. Still, given the imperative of improving Canada’s capacity to defend itself and achieve its objectives in world affairs, it is fair to say that the new government has yet to demonstrate that is prepared to match its resources with its stated objectives.

There are always issues that intelligent people within government know are important, but which end up getting marginalized anyway. Why? Because national governments are faced with hundreds of issues affecting millions of people every day. They cannot focus on hundreds of issues – or even scores of issues – at the same time. So governments push most issues off their main agenda for as long as they can. And it isn’t always the least important ones that get pushed.

There are many ways to marginalize an issue – confuse it, delay it, undermine the credibility of those who say it is important, promise half-measures to address it (usually at some point in the hazy future), promote other issues as far more urgent, or simply take advantage of public forgetfulness. To repeat, the issues that get marginalized are not always the ones that should get marginalized. They are often the issues that governments believe they can delay without paying a huge political price.

Military preparedness – indeed, preparedness for all manner of man-made or natural disasters – is that kind of issue. If Canadians had demanded that national security be given the attention that has been given to health care or deficit and debt reduction, there is no way that Canada’s armed forces could have atrophied so dramatically over the last decade of the 20th century.

Canadians do not want to think about going to war. They do not want to think that it is quite possible that something like 9/11 could happen here or that SARS or Mad Cow Disease may be just the tip of the iceberg. They do not want to think that our economy could grind to a halt because security concerns shut our border.

The fact that governments over the past three decades have been able to preside over the emaciation of the Canadian armed forces without political penalty – despite endless news stories about Sea King helicopters being unable to perform, military families forced to go to food banks, troops having to “hitch-hike” to war zones – should tell you how easily this issue is shunted to the sidelines.

Putting national security in its appropriate place on the country’s political agenda will not be easy. But the security of citizens is the primary role of government. It is why governments were first created. No government can abrogate this core responsibility. In order to maintain our integrity as a nation, we must understand the importance of ensuring the security of our citizens. It must become an issue of public debate. It is a moral imperative.

 

Why This Report?

If the Senate Standing Committee on National Security and Defence has one watchword, it is perseverance. We regard the need to optimize the security of Canadians, and the need for Canadians to play a useful role in world affairs, as two of the country’s greatest needs.

There are many reasons why our Committee should persist in calling governments to account on how intelligently and diligently they are pursuing those goals.  Two great reasons are: (a) our successes; (b) our failures.

We persist because we are encouraged that over the past year the federal government has shown that it has understood the merit of some of our recommendations, and moved to respond to them. By rough count, there has been good progress made on approximately half of the problems the Committee has identified in the past three years.

We also persist because so many of our recommendations – well-received by the public, most military analysts, the media, and members of the Canadian Forces themselves – have been ignored, delayed or dealt with in other unsatisfactory ways by government.

We would be the last to argue that this Committee represents the font of all wisdom on how the government can best defend Canadians and contribute to a just and stable world. But we work hard at assembling good evidence, checking its veracity, debating its worth in solving the challenges at hand, doing the triage that is necessary in deciding what should be the priorities and what shouldn’t, and in communicating our findings to the government and the Canadian public.

 

The Public and the Politicians

We are trying our best to be demanding – demanding of both the Government of Canada and the Canadian public.

Our demands of the Government of Canada are simple:

If the government finds our reasoning to be sound, it should act to implement our recommendations. Otherwise, it should explain – publicly – why it either finds our logic flawed on particular issues, or why it cannot respond to sound logic because its hands are tied in some way.

Our demands of Canadians themselves are also simple:

We want a public debate on important issues of national security. Apathy is anathema to us. If Canadians do not supply sufficient pressure on governments to act on important issues, all too often those governments do not act.


The Need for Public Debate

“Don’t accept anyone telling you that secrecy requires keeping details of a security system secret. I’ve evaluated hundreds of security systems in my career, and I’ve learned that if someone doesn’t want to disclose the details of a security system, it’s usually because he’s embarrassed to do so. Secrecy contributes to the “trust us and we’ll make the trade-offs for you” mentality that ensures sloppy security systems. Openness demystifies; secrecy obscures.” [7]

Bruce Schneier
Beyond Fear: Thinking Sensibly about
Security in an Uncertain World, page 278

During the three years in which our Committee produced its nine reports, members were constantly shushed when we started asking what proved to be the right questions about national security. We were not only shushed, we were scolded for having the reckless temerity to ask specific questions on security measures in public.

“The terrorists will find out where the holes are! Canadian lives will be put at risk because a group of lunatic senators were grandstanding in forbidden territory! The sky is falling!”

We were too often told that information could not be made public, when, in fact, it was already public. In fact, in some cases, we were denied information that was readily available to tens of thousands of Canadians even remotely familiar with the military, or airports, or border crossings.

Governments have, from time immemorial, developed systems to centralize power and hoard information. The Martin government has promised to be much more open and democratic. We hope it will be. And yet, our Committee continues to face a seemingly endless array of barricades in attempting to answer simple questions – questions that too many cabinet ministers don’t appear to be asking themselves.

Over the summer, the past and current Chair of the Committee sought out relevant departments and agencies in his capacity as a Parliamentarian, as is his right, and asked each what progress they had made in dealing with the Committee’s recommendations. He first mailed them on July 22nd, 2004, requesting their response by September 15th, 2004. That first correspondence was followed up with another letter on August 20th, 2004. He was repeatedly reassured that work was underway on his questions and that the government was preparing a “coordinated response.” As of November 26, 2004, he had received only five responses. [8] We know that responses have been prepared by agencies and departments across the government, but there appears to be a blockage at the centre.

 

Stonewalling is not new to the Committee. In response to Canadian Security and Military Preparedness, one of the Committee’s earlier reports, the government tabled a response in Parliament. We challenge anyone interested to find much substance in that response. We couldn’t.

 


During our third set of hearings, Thursday, July 19, 2001, witnesses from the government’s Office of Critical Infrastructure and Emergency Preparedness (OCIPEP) tried to sell us the line that in terms of the federal government’s ability to respond to disasters, everything was fine. Trust us. Everything was not fine. Events like the Eastern Ontario power blackout of August 2003 soon demonstrated otherwise.

When the Committee was examining airport security, officials refused to respond to our allegations that there were huge problems, maintaining that it was illegal for them to discuss such issues under secrecy provisions of the Transportation Act.  To be open with us would play into the hands of terrorists.

Nonsense. Every airport employee, their spouses and their friends and anyone else who frequented a coffee shop anywhere near the airport knew the security systems were porous, that airport personnel was infiltrated with members of organized crime, and that organized criminals were acting like football linemen for would-be terrorists – opening up huge holes for anyone with a mission to run through.

When ministers and bureaucrats failed Canadians, we went to people on the ground and asked them to testify. They came through. Pilots, flight attendants, union leaders, maintenance people, some police representatives ­(the ones who didn’t have a vested interest in toadying to airport authorities) told us the truth.

At first, this led to denial. David Collenette, Minister of Transport at the time, dismissed our report as a collection of anecdotes. [9] He missed one small point: when you accumulate enough anecdotes, you have a story.

 

The Media

The Committee is not in a position to make demands of the Fourth Estate, and rightly so. Indeed, independent thinking is at the heart of a free press, just as it is at the heart of a free society.

Thankfully, the Canadian news media have been exceptionally helpful to the Committee in bringing our work to the attention of both the federal government and the Canadian public. Over the past three years, the Committee’s work has appeared in close to 1500 media stories. [10]

Not only have media outlets disseminated our findings and recommendations, they have gone on to do something equally important: they have helped to validate them. The Committee doesn’t ask the public to trust that its recommendations are founded on hard truths, any more than the Committee itself was willing to trust government officials when they tried to silence our questions by saying: “trust us, everybody is safe, we know what we’re doing, we just aren’t at liberty to tell you for security reasons.”

The Committee said Canadian airports were not secure.  The Globe and Mail went out and scrutinized the situation itself.  In a four-part feature it ran almost a year after the publication of The Myth of Security at Canada’s Airports, the Globe referred repeatedly to our conclusions and provided new evidence to validate them[11]

The Globe’s series is but an example.  The Committee’s reports have been used by newspapers across the country in a similar fashion.  A representative sample of those papers includes the Calgary Sun, the Edmonton Journal, the Halifax Chronicle-Herald, the London Free Press, the Ottawa Citizen, the National Post, the Vancouver sun and the Winnipeg Free Press.

Again, the Committee does not pretend to sit at the pinnacle of Mount Olympus when it comes to pronouncing on military matters. But – so far at least – the media has tested us, and found our concerns legitimate. It has also alerted the public, without whose support there can be no significant change.


How the Tide Turned

And it wasn’t just the Canadian media who backed up our conclusions. It took quite a while, but, one after another, Canadian military personnel began to step up and acknowledge that we had uncovered some hard truths.

In November 2002, the Committee recommended that all Canadian military forces be withdrawn from overseas duty as soon as current tours expire, that no forces be deployed overseas for a minimum of 24 months thereafter. There were howls of protest. A spokesman for then Defence Minister John McCallum dismissed a hiatus in deployments as not an option. [12]   “An unacceptable option,” criticized Opposition Leader Steven Harper. [13] “Not realistic,” stated retired colonel Alain Pellerin, Executive Director of the Conference of Defence Associations. [14] “It’s very naïve and irresponsible,” said then Alliance defence critic Leon Benoit. [15]

Our military leaders remained silent, for months. But in late May 2003, in a retirement address, Lt.-Gen Mike Jeffrey, then Chief of the Land Staff, said he was worried about the army’s future, pointing out that the commitment of two six-month rotations of about 1,800 soldiers to Afghanistan meant about a third of the army’s deployable forces were committed internationally. [16]

One month later, Rear Admiral Glenn Davidson, then Commander of Maritime Forces Atlantic (now Vice-Admiral and Canada’s Military Representative to NATO in Brussels), admitted that the navy needed some down time after sending 15 of its 18 major warships into the Arabian Sea on 16 deployments (one went twice) in the wake of September 11, 2001. [17] “We’re just taking a pause here,” he said. “If we are required to deploy off for another international operation or emergency somewhere, which would really skew things, that would be really difficult.” [18]

The Committee was not surprised that the government did not order a total shutdown of Canadian military deployments.  But it was pleased to see that the essence of our message finally got through: Canada’s Armed Forces, depleted and run ragged, was becoming like a rubber band that has been stretched too often – sooner or later they break.  It was past time for a strategic retreat, the better to fight again.

 

Moving Forward With Renewed Hope

This is a benchmark report. Before the last federal election, the Committee decided to publish the report as a scorecard – a rating of the Chrétien government’s progress, and lack of progress, in response to our earlier recommendations. The draft of that report was something of a bleak read.

When the government changed, and there started to be hints of progress in at least some of the problem areas in which the Committee had made recommendations, we decided to do some more research on where there had been progress and where there had not, and to redraft the report as more of a challenge to this new government to expand its efforts, rather that what would have amounted to a rather general condemnation a year earlier.

The Committee hopes that progress will continue to be made, and that it will be made with an increased sense of urgency. If that doesn’t happen, our restrained sense of hope may be battered enough that we will go back to the scorecard, where warts stand out more than beauty marks every time.

We encourage the new government to look at what this Committee still believes needs to be done, and respond publicly. This is too important an issue to either dawdle on, or try to hide in the shadows.

 “Obviously it's a good idea to keep recipes for ricin off government-financed research Web sites, and it's not a good idea to have target detail on critical infrastructure available for download. But adversarial review…can't work if ordinary citizens are denied the information they need.” [19]

Michael Ignatieff
“Lesser Evils”
The New York Times Magazine
2 May 2004


Reading the Report

The Committee has attempted to set out each recommendation it tackled in a simple format with four headings:

1. Problem

It will not come as a shock to the reader that a wide variety of problems have manifested themselves over the past decade with respect to Canada’s capacity to deal with crises at home and abroad. This section outlines the problems as the Committee assessed them.

2. Committee’s Recommendation

The Committee made recommendations as to how the federal government should deal with these problems. This section restates the recommendation or recommendations the Committee made. The recommendations have been rephrased for tense and readability.

A few of the Committee’s recommendations from the past three years were not included in this report – in retrospect they either seemed inconsequential or just plain wrong. They are described at the end of the report on page 235.

3. Government Response

This section highlights government statements or actions that the Committee has identified as being pertinent to the recommendation it suggested. In an effort to portray the most accurate government response possible, the Committee undertook to identify government responses in three ways: first, the past and current Chair of the Committee wrote relevant departments and agencies in July 2004 and requested pertinent information; second, Committee staff sought out information from publicly available statements and websites; and third, in some cases, Committee staff asked specific detailed questions of the departments and agencies to clarify their public statements.

In some cases the government has taken measures to address the problems the Committee identified, and in several of those cases the government proceeded in a manner either identical or very close to what the Committee recommended. Whether the government followed the Committee’s recommendations in these cases, or whether it figured out solutions on its own, really doesn’t matter.  What matters is whether the government has addressed these problems and moved quickly to fix them. In too many other cases it has not.

4. Challenge to the Government

This section sets out the goals that the government has yet to accomplish to solve the problem the Committee identified. In cases where the government has addressed a problem, or appears to be well on the way to addressing the problem, the Committee has attempted to give credit where credit is due. In cases in which the government has given no indication that it has addressed a problem, the Committee has challenged the government to do so, or explain to Canadians why it can not or should not.


CHAPTER 2

Border Crossings

Problem 1: Poor Threat Identification at the Border

Officials from the Canada Border Services Agency—formerly part of the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency and Citizenship and Immigration Canada—do not have adequate tools or training to identify persons who constitute a threat to Canada.

The potential damage to the Canadian economy and other consequences that would come with allowing a terrorist to infiltrate the U.S. through Canada are massive. The Government has acknowledged this in its April 2004 National Security Policy.

COMMITTEE’S RECOMMENDATION

That by June 30, 2003, Canada Customs and Revenue Agency and Immigration Canada offer substantive evidence that they have addressed the Auditor General’s recommendations to improve training to help airport personnel identify persons “likely to engage in criminal activities or endanger the safety of Canadians.”

They should also demonstrate that they have moved to gain access to police databanks that would assist in such identification, and provide their employees with the training and technology required to take advantage of these databanks.  (Report: The Myth of Security at Canada’s Airports, January 2003, #I. 2)

GOVERNMENT RESPONSE

Accessing Databanks

The government introduced Integrated Primary Inspection Line (IPIL) technology to airports. The system is an automated support tool used by border officials to scrutinize entrants by scanning both Canada Border Services Agency and Citizenship and Immigration Canada enforcement databanks. In May 2003, the Office of the Auditor General called the introduction of Integrated Primary Inspection Line technology a significant improvement because it greatly increased how often officials checked a person’s identity against those databanks. [20]

However, the Integrated Primary Inspection Line system is not perfect. The Auditor General’s March 2004 report was heavily critical of the “watch lists” the inspection line is supposed to query.  The Auditor General cited numerous examples of duplication, missing names, classification errors, and even names appearing that should have been removed. [21]

In that March 2004 report, the Auditor General recommended that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, the Canada Border Services Agency, and the Passport Office exercise better management and co-ordination of watch-listing efforts and that they enhance quality control over the exchange of data. [22]

In response, the Canada Border Services Agency stated that as part of the improvements to the system by the Spring 2005 “All air passengers’ names (and eventually all sea passengers’) will be searched against CPIC [the Canadian Police Information Centre] for outstanding warrants prior to their arrival in Canada.” [23]

Training

Making progress on training border officials is another matter. In May 2003, the Office of the Auditor General found that the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency had made only “slow” progress in addressing its recommendations and that it had concerns with regards to the adequacy and effectiveness of training, especially with regards to student workers. [24]

In September 2003, the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency reported to the Committee that it had trained approximately 3,000 customs personnel, at 45 sites including all major airports, on the use of the new inspection line technology. [25] The Canada Border Services Agency has yet to announce that all customs officers – including part-timers – will receive the full amount of training that the Agency obviously believes that full-time officers need to perform their duties.

Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Judy Sgro wrote to one Committee member that “All officers working at airports and land borders are trained to access police databanks in Canada (CPIC) and the United States (NCIC).” [26]

CHALLENGE TO GOVERNMENT

  • Continue to upgrade information sharing at the primary inspection line

Creating the Integrated Primary Inspection Line represents progress, but it needs to be more sophisticated. The Auditor General reported in March 2004 that the primary inspection line was not lined to the RCMP’s database of outstanding Canada-wide arrest warrants. [27] It should be.

Furthermore, the information system used on the primary inspection line cannot distinguish between active and deactivated passports (reported lost or stolen). It must. The RCMP has identified the latter as a serious security vulnerability.

  • More trained inspectors needed

Clearly more fully trained inspectors are needed to provide more time for individual inspections that arise from the increased use of the Integrated Primary Inspection Line technology.


Problem 2: Long Canadian Security Intelligence Service Processing Times

Refugee and immigration claims are delayed for up to two years because the Canadian Security Intelligence Service does not have the resources to quickly process the files it receives from Citizenship and Immigration Canada. Because Canada does not keep close tabs on refugee claimants or applicants for immigration, a person who poses a threat to Canada could disappear into the country long before anyone knew.

COMMITTEE’S RECOMMENDATION

The Committee recommended that sufficient resources be allocated to the Canadian Security Intelligence Service to deal with them. (Report: Canadian Security and Military Preparedness, February 2002, #17 A)

GOVERNMENT RESPONSE

In October 2002, the government said the Canadian Security Intelligence Service budget had been increased by 30 per cent, in part “to assist Citizenship and Immigration Canada in dealing with the increased screening responsibilities related to overseas immigrants and refugees.” [28]

The Canadian Security Intelligence Service reported to the Committee in September 2003 that technical improvements were reducing turnaround times. [29] The Security Intelligence Review Committee’s 2003-2004 Annual Report showed that this is true in certain screening cases, but not in others. The determinant factors are case type (Refugee Front End Screening Program or Application for Permanent Residence), where the case originated (inside or outside Canada), in what form it was first received (hard copy or electronic) and whether CSIS had an objection to the application.

The Security Intelligence Review Committee praised the Service for its Front End Screening of Refugees Program—a program under which the Canadian Security Intelligence Service prioritizes screening of some refugee claimants in the initial phases of the refugee determination process. [30] In 2003-2004, there were 22,681 applicants screened through the program. The median turnaround time for cases that raised no security concern was 31 days. Where there were security concerns, the median turnaround time took approximately 7 to 10 times longer (depending on the type of concern raised). [31]  

The screening request turnaround time is largely dependent on how the request is received. Electronic applications take about a third as long to process as hard copy applications (42 days vs. 133 days in application for permanent residency cases received in Canada with no security objections). [32]

However, there has been no significant improvement in the turnaround time for screening permanent residency requests where there is a security concern. In 2004, the review committee reported that the median turnaround time was 14 to 20 months, [33] compared to the 15-month turnaround time it had reported in 2003. [34]

CHALLENGE TO GOVERNMENT

  • Increase staff

More personnel are needed, not only in the Canadian Security Intelligence Service but also at Citizenship and Immigration Canada. People are not the only solution but they are part of the solution.


  • Go Electronic

Electronic applications move much quicker than paper applications. There should be a concerted effort to make more widespread use of electronic applications.

  • Implement the Safe Third Country Agreement and report on its effects

The Safe Third Country Agreement, negotiated between Canada and the United States in 2002, will dramatically reduce the number of asylum seekers that arrive in Canada and thereby reduce burden on the screening system.

Implementation of the agreement is awaiting the final publication of regulations in both Canada and the United States. Statements by Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge indicate that this process may be moving forward. [35]

Under the agreement, asylum seekers in Canada and the United States would have to make their claims in whichever country they entered first, preventing them from using either country as a conduit into the other.

In 2003, 34% of the asylum seekers that came to Canada made their first claims at land border crossings with the U.S. (approximately 10,900 people out of 32,100). [36] Had Safe Third Country been in place, it would have meant that most of those claimants would have been processed by the U.S. in the U.S. and would not have added to the backlog in our immigration and intelligence community.


Problem 3: Undertrained Part-Time Customs Staff

HIGH PRIORITY

Frontline border agents are clearly key components in our border security system. The judgments they make on behalf of several departments, from Citizenship and Immigration Canada to Agriculture Canada to Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, are critical to Canada’s national security.

Students and other temporary workers do not now receive adequate training and are not required to pass the same tests as full-time officers.

COMMITTEE’S RECOMMENDATION

The Committee recommended that all personnel on the primary inspection line be trained to the highest standard, without exceptions for short-term staff.  (Report: Canadian Security and Military Preparedness, February 2002, #15. A)

GOVERNMENT RESPONSE

In September 2003, the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency told the Committee that “ALL Customs officers, including students, receive the training and the tools that they require to perform their duties effectively and efficiently.” [37]

The Customs Excise Union (CEU) disagrees. According to CEU National President Ron Moran, “Students are not at all fully trained…They don’t have to pass rigorous testing like professional officers, and are therefore not supposed to do the full job…but they often do.” [38]

The Canada Border Services Agency has yet to demonstrate that it has enough customs officers to assure consistent, year-round, professional staffing.

Claims that students don’t need as much training because they do different jobs and are supervised by full-time officers are simply not credible. For example, during one 24 hour period at the Rainbow Bridge in Ontario this summer, the border crossing staff consisted of 16 full-time officers and 39 students. [39] Students served on the primary inspection line as well as the secondary line.

CHALLENGE TO GOVERNMENT

  • Full Training for All Agents

If part-time workers are to be used, there is no justification for having a less well-trained person on any line at any given moment. Either more full-time officers must be hired, or part-time officers must receive identical training.


Problem 4:  Unsafe Border Posts

Border posts are understaffed. Too many posts are staffed by one person, who has little or no hope of getting quick support from police or other border officers when there is an emergency or a surge in traffic. [40] The practice of leaving customs officials alone is risky for the officials and risky for Canadian security.

COMMITTEE’S RECOMMENDATION

The Committee recommended that the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) ensure that no customs officers work alone at posts. (Report: Canadian Security and Military Preparedness, February 2002, #15. B)

GOVERNMENT RESPONSE

Border officials still work alone at most border crossings. According to a Border Services Agency document leaked to the National Post in November 2004, after the on-the-job death of a border official working was alone, 103 of Canada’s 160 land and maritime border crossings are classified as “work-alone sites.” [41]

Moduspec Risk Management Services conducted a job hazard analysis in 2002 on behalf of the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency, now the Canada Border Services Agency, part of which addressed the issue of agents working alone.

Moduspec recommended that the Canada Border Services Agency develop a strategy to mitigate the risk associated with working alone. The Canada Border Services Agency developed that strategy and it is now under consideration by an internal committee of management and union officials.

The Committee has not been made aware of the contents of the job hazard analysis.


CHALLENGE TO GOVERNMENT

  • Release the job hazard analysis

Canadians need to know what change is necessary and what pressure they need bring to bear to see that changes are made.

  • Deploy more officers, ensure no officials work alone

That the border services agency is developing a strategy to mitigate the risks of working alone is encouraging, but this process is taking far too long. By this time it should be apparent whether there is some new technology available that would make a lone customs officers both safe and effective. If there isn’t, hire more people.  More customs officers should be hired.


Problem 5: Arm Customs Officials?

Some border officials want to carry arms. Union officials stated that border officials needed personal weapons in order to back up their designated authority.  The union argues that customs officers need weapons for their self-protection.

The Committee has received contrary evidence from some individual officers.

COMMITTEE’S RECOMMENDATION

The Committee has not been persuaded that Customs Officers should be armed. The Committee’s feeling at the moment is that guns often create more problems than they solve. However, the Committee continues to monitor this issue.  (Report: Canadian Security and Military Preparedness, February 2002, #16)

GOVERNMENT RESPONSE

The government has continued to maintain that customs officers should not be armed. [42]

CHALLENGE TO GOVERNMENT

  • Continue to Assess

The government should not arm customs officials unless new evidence emerges suggesting that the benefits would outweigh the risks.

The Committee would welcome any further evidence the government or others might be able to provide on the pros and cons of arming customs officers. It will address this issue further if it receives new evidence.


CHAPTER 3

Coasts

Problem 1:  Canada’s Vulnerable Coasts

Canada has thousands of kilometres of coastline and hundreds of harbours that go unwatched. Limited patrols, such as Aurora maritime patrol aircraft over-flights, occur on an infrequent, ad hoc basis. This lack of maritime domain awareness makes it easier for organized crime to traffic contraband, harder for officials to separate commercial and pleasure vessels from legitimate threats, and especially difficult for Canada to assert its sovereignty claims over remote areas, like the arctic.

COMMITTEE’S RECOMMENDATION

The Committee recommended that the issue of the security of Canada’s coastline be examined, and a plan developed to broaden and tighten its security. (Report: Canadian Security and Military Preparedness, February 2002, #10)

GOVERNMENT RESPONSE

The government’s April 2004 National Security Policy outlines a six-point plan for strengthening marine (including coastal) security. [43] While short on specifics, deliverables and cost projections, the goals it sets out are good ones. They include:

  • Clarifying responsibility for coastal defence;

  • Establishing Marine Security Operations Centres;

  • Increasing coastal patrols;

  • Improving inter-fleet communications;

  • Collaborating more closely with the United States; and,

  • Securing the St. Lawrence Seaway.


CHALLENGE TO GOVERNMENT

  • Make the Words Come Alive

Good start.  But the recommendation was made in 2002, and it is now almost 2005.  There are indications that programs to fulfil some of these commitments are on their way.  The government needs to translate goals into action faster.


Problem 2: Coastal Radar - Off the Government’s radar?

Surveillance of the waters off Canada’s coasts is patchy—most of the time the government does not have a good idea of what is going in Canada’s territorial waters. The lack of a real time electronic picture makes it difficult for officials to distinguish between legitimate vessels and those that are potential threats.

COMMITTEE’S RECOMMENDATION

The Committee recommended at least eight and possibly more High Frequency Surface Wave Radar (HFSWR) sites be installed to monitor areas of heavy traffic on Canada’s coasts, plus other coastal sites that terrorists might target as alternates to high-traffic ports. [44]    (Report: Canada's Coastlines: The Longest Under-Defended Borders in the World, October 2003, #2.1)

GOVERNMENT RESPONSE

Department of National Defence officials told the Committee two High Frequency Surface Wave Radar systems in Newfoundland will complete the transformation from test to operational installations in August 2004. [45] In November 2004, Minister Graham wrote to one of the Committee’s members and said that the two sites are expected to be operational in Fall 2004. [46]

National Defence officials stated that five or six more surface wave radar installations are planned and the Interdepartmental Marine Security Working Group has allocated $43.1 million from the Marine Security Contingency Fund to cover the cost of the new sites. [47] The new sites will come online as they are built and the network “should” be fully operational in Fall 2007. [48]

The Department of National Defence stated that together the completed High Frequency Surface Wave Radar sites will provide radar coverage of the “key” maritime approaches to Canada. [49]

CHALLENGE TO GOVERNMENT

Life in the Senate seems positively electric compared to the pace at which Canada is moving to upgrade its coastal surveillance. National Defence has been testing High Frequency Surface Wave Radar since the late 1990s. A projected deployment date is positive but 2007 is a long way off. The government should install the additional sites sooner.


Problem 3: Inadequate Short-Range Coastal Patrols

Canada has thousands of kilometres of coastline that are not adequately patrolled from the sky. The Canadian Forces has been forced to reduce the number of flying hours of its Aurora patrol aircraft. Neither the Navy nor the Canadian Coast Guard have adequate resources to maintain an effective surveillance framework on our maritime approaches.

The Committee makes a distinction between small tactical Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and larger strategic drones based on the different roles they would play in coastal surveillance and the pricetags they carry. [50] Tactical Unmanned Aerial Vehicles are a proven commodity that could and should be deployed to monitor Canada’s ports and coastal approaches right away.

COMMITTEE’S RECOMMENDATION

Tactical drones (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles – UAVs) should be introduced as surveillance aids on both coasts. (Report: Canada's Coastlines: The Longest Under-Defended Borders in the World, October 2003, #2.2)

GOVERNMENT RESPONSE

No tactical Unmanned Aerial Vehicles have been deployed to monitor Canada’s coasts, and there are no plans to deploy them.

CHALLENGE TO GOVERNMENT

  • Acquire Tactical Drones to Monitor Coasts

The government should instruct the Department of National Defence to select the most effective tactical UAVs to defend Canada’s vulnerable coastlines and acquire it today. For a relatively small price tag, they could fill in the gaps in our surveillance framework by our overburdened and carry some of the load that Aurora patrol aircraft are not.



Problem 4: Inadequate Long-Range Coastal Patrols

Again, Canada has thousands of kilometres of coastline that it is not adequately patrolling by Coast Guard or Naval vessels, nor Aurora patrol aircraft. There are sovereignty issues as well as security issues here. Canada has a responsibility over vast, and remote, areas of land and ocean off both coasts and in the north. It has a duty to monitor and enforce Canada’s laws and treaty commitments in those areas. The Government does not have the resources, in terms of Coast Guard vessels and Aurora airplanes, to conduct these patrols regularly.

While tactical drones would seem to be the most sensible option for improving surveillance, strategic drones might be more useful over long distances.

COMMITTEE’S RECOMMENDATION

That the government conduct a study to ascertain whether the use of higher-cost strategic drones should be introduced into Canada’s surveillance matrix in the Arctic, as well as the east and west coasts. (Report: Canada's Coastlines: The Longest Under-Defended Borders in the World, October 2003, #2.3)

GOVERNMENT RESPONSE

The government has been studying the use of strategic drones for a number of years. The Department of National Defence ran tests on what it calls Medium Altitude Long Endurance Uninhabited Aerial Vehicles in August and September 2004. [51]

According to the Department of National Defence, “these experiments have significantly advanced the Department’s understanding of beyond line of sight Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle operations and the procedures and processes that could lead to increased force effectiveness by using network-enabled operations.” [52]

The Canadian Forces Experimentation Centre, which conducted the tests earlier this fall, is not expected to make a recommendation back to the Department’s Joint Capabilities Requirement Board until the second quarter of 2005. [53]

CHALLENGE TO GOVERNMENT

  • Move Faster on Strategic Drones

The tests are step in the right direction. If the tests prove to be effective, as expected, the government should make money available immediately.

 

Problem 5: Canada’s Toothless Coast Guard

HIGH PRIORITY  

The Coast Guard cannot contribute to Canada’s national security in a significant way because it lacks the mandate, the experience, the equipment, and the institutional focus to do so.

Security is but one among several of the Canadian Coast Guard’s priorities, along with protection of the environment, support of scientific research, facilitation of trade and commerce, navigation safety and emergency response.

The Coast Guard does not have a constabulary function, it is not armed, and it reports to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, all of which contribute to a focus away from coastal security.

Despite its name, the Coast Guard doesn’t play a serious role in guarding our coasts.

COMMITTEE’S RECOMMENDATION

The Committee recommended that the federal government take immediate steps to transform the Canadian Coast Guard from an agency that reports to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to an independent agency responsible to Parliament. It should continue to carry out its duties – search and rescue, ice-breaking, navigational aids, buoy tending, boat safety, fisheries and environment protection – and take on new responsibilities for national security.  On security assignments, the Coast Guard would come under the direction of Department of National Defence coastal operations centres (Trinity and Athena). (Report: Canada's Coastlines: The Longest Under-Defended Borders in the World, October 2003, #4.1)

GOVERNMENT RESPONSE

There has been no clear structural or policy shift within the government with regards to giving the Coast Guard national security functions.

The government failed to make the Coast Guard an independent agency. The organizational changes to the Canadian Coast Guard announced by the government in December 2003 will not affect its mandate with respect to marine or national security. [54]

The government did announce in its April 2004 National Security Policy that it would increase on-water patrols by the RCMP, the Coast Guard, and the Canadian Forces. The Committee has found no evidence that the pace of patrols has increased.

The government also named the Minister of National Defence as the lead minister “for the coordination of on-water response to a marine threat or a developing crisis.” [55] The Coast Guard will come under the direction of the Department of Defence, through the new Marine Security Operations Centres, when undertaking a security-related mission.

CHALLENGE TO GOVERNMENT

  • Properly fund on-water patrols and demonstrate that the pace of patrols has increased

The government must turn its promises into action and provide the funds and personnel to increase on-water patrols.

  • Move the Coast Guard into the Deputy Prime Minister’s Portfolio

The Committee becomes more and more convinced the Coast Guard should report to Parliament through the Deputy Prime Minister.

  • Refocus the Coast Guard’s Mandate Toward Security.

The Deputy Prime Minister’s central role with regards to security and borders would assist in refocussing the Coast Guard on security-related responsibilities.

 

Problem 6: No Notification Prior to Arrival

The government has had little information about the ships approaching Canada’s coasts. This lack of information has made it extremely difficult to separate commercial and pleasure vessels from legitimate threats.

COMMITTEE’S RECOMMENDATION

The Committee recommended that all vessels (of a displacement to be determined by Canadian regulators) planning to enter a Canadian port be required to notify Canadian port authorities 48 hours prior to arrival. (Report: Defence of North America: A Canadian Responsibility, September 2002, #6)

GOVERNMENT RESPONSE

Transport Canada requires vessels of greater than 100 gross tonnes report detailed information to Canadian authorities at least 96-hours before arriving in Canadian waters. [56] Ship owners face monetary penalties if they fail to comply. The new permanent regulations came into effect on July 1, 2004, and are part of the government’s implementation of the International Ship and Port Security (ISPS) Code.

 CHALLENGE TO GOVERNMENT

The government’s program represents genuine progress. The Committee continues to recommend a similar regulation apply to vessels on the Great Lakes.

The Committee will monitor the implementation of the regulations to determine whether they are being enforced, and how well 96-hour notification data is integrated into the new Marine Security Operations Centres.


Problem 7: Taking Incoming Vessels at Their Word

The 96-hour warning will help, but Canadian officials need more than the approaching ship’s word as to its nature and intentions. Canadian officials need information about ships before they leave foreign ports so that they can help determine which may be a threat and if necessary, either conduct a closer inspection or ask for assistance in preventing a ship from heading out.

COMMITTEE’S RECOMMENDATION

The Committee recommended that all vessels (of a displacement to be determined by Canadian regulators) planning to enter Canadian waters be required to file reports from their departure harbour as to their Canadian destination and estimated time of arrival, with periodic updates during their voyage and upon arrival. (Report: Defence of North America: A Canadian Responsibility, September 2002, #5)

GOVERNMENT RESPONSE

The Canada Border Service Agency’s Advance Commercial Information (ACI) program largely complies with this recommendation. [57] It requires that vessels of greater than 100 gross tonnes bound for Canada notify the Canada Border Services Agency 24 hours before loading vessels. Notification must include detailed information about both cargo and crew. [58] Shippers that fail to report face monetary penalties. [59]

CHALLENGE TO GOVERNMENT

Again, clear evidence of progress. The Committee will monitor implementation of the program.



Problem 8: Need Network for Maritime Warnings

Like-minded nations worry about global maritime security, yet rarely act in common cause. Ships travel the world’s oceans with little monitoring or oversight from the countries they dock in. Canadian officials largely rely on ocean carriers and freight forwarders to provide information about the goods and people they are shipping. [60]

COMMITTEE’S RECOMMENDATION

The Committee recommended that Canada negotiate reciprocal arrangements with other Maritime nations to provide each other with advance information on vessels, crews, and cargo, including indicators of which cargo items they have already inspected and in what ways.  (Report: Defence of North America: A Canadian Responsibility, September 2002, #4; expanded and reiterated in Canada's Coastlines: The Longest Under-Defended Borders in the World, October 2003, #6.3)

GOVERNMENT RESPONSE

The government has not moved to negotiate reciprocal bilateral agreements. It has instead signed on to the International Maritime Organization’s International Ship and Port Security Code, and undertaken to work through the G-8 and the World Customs Organization to create a global container security regime. [61]

CHALLENGE TO GOVERNMENT

  • Reciprocal agreements would be advantageous

Creating a global container security regime is a wise move. The only danger is that – like many international regimes – it will slip towards the lowest common denominator for regulations. Further, creating a global regulatory regime will likely take a long time. Working on the multi-lateral framework could turn into an excuse for inaction.

The government should work quickly towards the most comprehensive reciprocal agreements possible with its important maritime trading partners, thereby setting the bar for the next global regulatory regime higher, while giving Canadians the security they deserve sooner.


Problem 9: Unannounced Vessels

Canadian authorities should also have the capacity to track unannounced vessels whose captains may voice one intention, while planning something else. The government lacks the capacity to quickly identify vessels approaching unannounced.

COMMITTEE’S RECOMMENDATION

The Committee recommended that vessels (of a displacement to be determined by Canadian regulators) intending to enter Canadian waters be required to have working transponders that would permit electronic tracking of all approaching vessels. (Report: Defence of North America: A Canadian Responsibility, September 2002, #7)

GOVERNMENT RESPONSE

All passenger ships, ocean-going cargo ships of 300 gross tonnage and more, and domestic cargo vessels of 500 gross tonnage and more will be required to carry Automatic Identification System (AIS) transponders by December 31, 2004. [62]   Fishing boats and pleasure craft will be excluded from these requirements. These regulations bring Canada in line with the new International Ship and Port Security (ISPS) Code.

The Coast Guard is in the process of installing equipment at radio centres on the east and west coasts as part of the base station onshore component of the Automatic Identification System. It does not expect to complete this project until 2006-2007. [63]

CHALLENEGE TO GOVERNMENT

Our compliments. The government is meeting this challenge. Slowly, but surely.


Problem 10: Transponders for Smaller Vessels

Equipping vessels with transponder technology, an essential step in creating a comprehensive maritime surveillance framework, is currently size- and cost-prohibitive on smaller vessels.

Class A transponders (capable of both transmitting and receiving location data) cost in the neighbourhood of $10,000-$12,000, installed. Class B transponders are now being developed. These transponders will be able to transmit, but not receive. The cost is expected to be much lower than that of Class A transponders – perhaps half the price.

COMMITTEE’S RECOMMENDATION

The Committee recommended that Transport Canada require all vessels of more than 15 tonnes to be equipped with transponders of at least Class B [64] capacity by 2008. (Report: Canada's Coastlines: The Longest Under-Defended Borders in the World October 2003, #2.4)

GOVERNMENT RESPONSE

The government has not announced any plans requiring vessels to carry Class B transponders.

International technical standards for Class B transponders are not finalized. [65]


CHALLENGE TO GOVERNMENT

  • Be ready to move on cheaper transponders

Once standards are in place, the government should act quickly to implement the Committee’s recommendation.


Problem 11: Dangerous Containers

The government has a hit-and-miss container targeting system, which could be significantly improved if a more layered approach were taken. Canada has a very small overseas intelligence capacity and none in the world’s major ports, which limits early identification of containers of interest.

COMMITTEE’S RECOMMENDATION

The Committee recommended that significant numbers of Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) personnel be posted to major world ports to gather maritime intelligence. (Report: Canada's Coastlines: The Longest Under-Defended Borders in the World, October 2003, #2.7)

GOVERNMENT RESPONSE

While the government has not said that it has increased the overseas deployment of CSIS personnel to the world’s major ports, it has acknowledged that an enhanced role for CSIS abroad is required and that additional funds have been allocated for this purpose.

CHALLENGE TO GOVERNMENT

It is in Canada’s interest to identify and assess threats to it as far from Canada as possible, as early as possible, and as quickly as practicable.

Properly defining government intelligence requirements with regard to maritime security, coupled with appropriate funding for CSIS, the RCMP, and other agencies operating abroad, will enhance the capacity of these agencies to identify and forewarn of threats to Canadian security.


Problem 12: Lack of Border Officials Abroad

The Canada Border Services Agency had not stationed personnel anywhere outside North America to monitor ports that ship to Canada and/or to identify suspicious cargo. [66]

COMMITTEE’S RECOMMENDATION

The Committee recommended that Canada Border Services Agency personnel be relocated from the U.S. ports of Newark and Tacoma to major world ports, where the likelihood of terror-related embarkations headed to Canada is much more likely. (Report: Canada's Coastlines: The Longest Under-Defended Borders in the World, October 2003, #2.6)

GOVERNMENT RESPONSE

On October 14, 2004, Deputy Prime Minister McLellan announced Canada’s intention to deploy Canada Border Services Agency officials to one, as yet unnamed, foreign marine port by April 2005 to assist in the targeting and verification of shipping containers destined to North America. [67]

In a written follow-up to his appearance before the Committee, Canada Border Services Agency CEO Alain Jolicoeur told the Committee that he believes keeping border officials in Tacoma and Newark is valuable and that “one program need not result in the cancellation of another.” [68]


CHALLENGE TO GOVERNMENT

  • Deploy border officials to more overseas ports

The Deputy Prime Minister’s announcement is insufficient. A deployment of officers to just one location overseas is little more than an exercise in maintaining appearances. The Committee notes that the Canada Border Services Agency has posted Migration Integrity Officers (immigration officials who help verify a traveller’s documentation) to 38 international locations. [69] The government should move faster to implement a program of at least similar scope to verify cargo container shipping.

  • The Border Agency should reconsider its priorities

The Committee stands behind its recommendation that border officials be moved from ports in the United States to ports overseas because it feels the risk of national security-related smuggling occurring from the United States to Canada is remote. Leaving agents in the United States does not appear consistent with the government’s goal of working with the United States to create smart border security for all of North America.


Problem 13: Great Lakes Surveillance

HIGH PRIORITY  

No continental effort for securing the Great Lakes exists. The Great Lakes represent the single largest gap in bilateral cooperation to secure the Canada-U.S. border.

The Great Lakes water system is a vital economic artery for both Canada and the United States. Millions of people live around their edges and the lakes are not secure if officials are not sure what boats are on them and where they are going.

Efforts to date to secure the Great Lakes – especially in terms of assigning responsibilities, providing adequate resources for information fusion and maritime patrols, and cooperating with the United States – didn’t come close to measuring up to the threat.

COMMITTEE’S RECOMMENDATION

The Committee recommended new security measures on the Great Lakes including:

  • Mandatory reporting for all vessels (of a displacement to be determined by Canadian regulators) to Canadian authorities 24 hours prior to anticipated entry into Canadian Great Lakes ports

  • Equipping all vessels (of a displacement to be determined by Canadian regulators) intending to operate in the Great Lakes region with transponders to permit electronic tracking by Canadian authorities (this requirement would have the added benefit of greatly improving the precision of search and rescue)

  • Mandatory daily reporting to Canadian authorities for all vessels (of a displacement to be determined by Canadian regulators) operating in Canadian national waters

  • Designating Canada’s Great Lakes reporting stations responsible for receipt and coordination of these reports and for communication with policing agencies. (Report: Defence of North America: A Canadian Responsibility, September 2002, #8)

GOVERNMENT RESPONSE

The joint Canada-U.S. authorities that manage the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway system [70] mandated that large ships be equipped with transponders as of March 31st, 2003. [71] The joint authorities require that these vessels maintain contact with call-in points at least every four hours.

According to the Department of National Defence, the Maritime Forces Atlantic Area includes the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence Seaway system. Commecial vessel movement information contributes to the surveillance picture maintained by the Canadian Forces Operations Centre in Halifax. [72]

The government’s January 2004 update on the maritime security initiatives does not focus extensively on the Great Lakes. [73]

Securing the St. Lawrence Seaway, and its approaches, was one of the six prorities for strengthening marine security outlined by the government in its April 2004 National Security Policy. [74]

The Department of National Defence is in discussions with the U.S. Coast Guard District to exchange liaison officers at their operations centres to aid in cross-border coordination. [75]

CHALLENGE TO GOVERNMENT

  • Make the security for the Great Lakes a higher priority

Canadian authorities on the Great Lakes still do not have a real time common operating picture of what vessels are operating on the Great Lakes.

  • Beware smaller vessels

Seaway security regulations should be extended to smaller vessels when Class B transponder standards have been set because the current regulations do not address the problem of tracking smaller craft, like pleasure boats.


Problem 14: Surveillance of Coasts, Lakes and Rivers

Significant vulnerabilities exist along Canada’s maritime approaches and major inland waterways. Responsibility for security is confused and security is weak in many places and non-existent in others. A short-staffed RCMP must rely on a volunteer-based coastal watch program in Nova Scotia, which makes sense. What does not make sense is that the RCMP has only 13 officers to perform its own duties in monitoring 7,400 kilometres of coast, [76] as well as trying to ensure that the volunteer program plays a useful role.

COMMITTEE’S RECOMMENDATION

The Committee recommended that the RCMP conduct a risk / threat assessment to determine the personnel, equipment, and financial resources it needs to re-establish the Marine Division and to police the St. Lawrence Seaway, St. Lawrence River, Great Lakes, the Fraser and Skeena Rivers, and inland waterways identified as high risk. The Committee also recommended that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) report its findings to the public by March 31, 2004 and have an operational plan ready for March 31, 2005, and that the government be prepared to fund the stated requirements. (Report: Canada's Coastlines: The Longest Under-Defended Borders in the World, October 2003, #4.3 and #4.4)

GOVERNMENT RESPONSE

In March 2004, the RCMP reported to the Committee that it supported these recommendations and that it is currently conducting a risk and threat assessment of the various waterways. [77]

An outside consultant prepared an internal interim report in conjunction with RCMP, which was to have been followed by a final report in August 2004. [78] The Committee has not been made aware of the results of either the interim or final report.

The RCMP stated that it will put in place an operational plan by March 31, 2005 based on the threat assessment, and that it will use the assessment to determine the requirements for personnel, equipment, and financial resources to adequately address these recommendations. [79]

CHALLENGE TO GOVERNMENT

  • Release the Assessment

The RCMP appears to be addressing this issue. But an internal report is not enough. The RCMP needs to publicly identify the resources it needs to adequately protect Canada’s Great Lakes, rivers, seaways, and inland waterways.

It is the Committee’s experience that the RCMP often underestimates the resources it needs to peform various security functions.  It should not in this case – the Great Lakes security problem is huge.  Canadians need an honest assessment of what it will take to do the job, so that they can apply political pressure to ensure that it is done.


Problem 15: Training Delays

Customs officials are Canada’s first line of defence against smugglers and terrorists. The Committee was told that they were insufficiently trained and did not know how to operate some of the equipment they needed to do their job - especially newer equipment for searching cargo containers.

COMMITTEE’S RECOMMENDATION

The Committee recommended that Canada Customs & Revenue Agency (CCRA) – since replaced by the Canada Border Services Agency – ensure that there are adequate trained personnel to operate the new technology introduced at Canadian ports. (Report: Canada's Coastlines: The Longest Under-Defended Borders in the World, October 2003, #2.9)

GOVERNMENT RESPONSE

Alain Jolicoeur, the Canada Border Services Agency’s CEO, told the Committee, on 23 February 2004, that the human factor and the training factor are more limiting to the deployment of new technology than the need for more machines. [80] Since 1 April 2003, twenty-one hundred agency personnel have been trained on new contraband detection equipment. Since December 2002, three hundred and sixty-three have been trained on Vehicle and Cargo Inspection Systems (VACIS). [81]


CHALLENGE TO GOVERNMENT

  • Let border officials catch up with the technology

The Canada Border Services Agency needs to speed up and augment its training, and do so quickly. Technologies like VACIS are only useful if there are enough agents on the ground who are proficient at using them.

  • More personnel are needed

Technology obviously helps, but it doesn’t reduce the need for people. Officers need to be trained and retrained to keep up with technology. Sufficient numbers of people must be hired to ensure that there are always enough personnel available to keep the system working well.


[1] Michael Ignatieff, "Lesser Evils," The New York Times Magazine (3 May 2004), http://www.nytimes.com/2004/05/02/magazine/02TERROR.html (accessed: 3 May 2004).

2 The committee released eight reports during the Chr‚tien administration, they were: Commemorative Activities (November 2003); Canada's Coastlines: The Longest Under-Defended Borders in the World (October 2003); Occupational Stress Injuries: The Need for Understanding (June 2003); Fixing the Canadian Forces' Method of Dealing with Death or Dismemberment (April 2003); The Myth of Security at Canada's Airports (January 2003), For an Extra $130 Bucks..: Update On Canada's Military Financial Crisis: A VIEW FROM THE BOTTOM UP (November 2002); Defence of North America: A Canadian Responsibility (September 2002); and, Canadian Security and Military Preparedness (February 2002). It has released one report since Prime Minister Paul Martin took office, it was: National Emergencies: Canada's Fragile Front Lines - An Upgrade Strategy (March 2004).

2 Among these institutions are the Defence Management Program at Queen’s University, the House of Commons Standing Committee on National Defence and Veterans Affairs, the Conference of Defence Associations and the Office of the Auditor General.

3 CBC News Online, “Minister Says Canada’s Soldiers Are ‘Going to Take a Rest,’ (Monday 19 January 2004), http://www.cbc.ca/stories/2004/01/16/pratt040116 (accessed: 30 October 2004).

[4] Government of Canada, Annual Financial Report of the Government of Canada Fiscal Year 2003-2004 (Ottawa: Department of Finance), 8, http://www.fin.gc.ca/afr/2004/AFR2004-e.pdf (accessed: November 10, 2004).

[5] Government of Canada, Annual Financial Report, 8.

[6] Government of Canada, Annual Financial Report, 8.

[7] Bruce Schneier, Beyond Fear: Thinking Sensibly about Security in an Uncertain World (New York: Copernicus Books, 2003), 278.

[8] The departments and agencies that replied were, in order, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission on October 7, 2004, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service on October 12, 2004, the Department of National Defence on November 3, 2004, Citizenship and Immigration on November 12, 2004, and the Privy Council Office on November 26, 2004.

[9] Tonda MacCharles, “Report finds huge gaps in air safety; Senate committee says system still very vulnerable; Box-cutters left on seat plane one very scary example,” Toronto Star, (January 22, 2003): A4.

[10] The committee’s work has appeared in 1484 media stories between October 2001 and September 2004 according to a Senate estimate. Over the same period, the Committee’s website received 457,466 hits, more than any other Senate committee.

[11] The December 2003 The Globe and Mail series “Pearson Airport: Security Alert” included the following four stories: Christine Boyd and Timothy Appleby, “Drug rings pierce airport security” (December  18, 2003); Timothy Appleby and Michael Den Tandt, “Pearson workers corrupted by easy money, lax screening” (December 19, 2003); Michael Den Tandt and Timothy Appleby, “Ground crews take security shortcuts” (December 20, 2003); Michael Den Tandt and Timothy Appleby, “Delays plague efforts to improve airports’ safety, critics say” (December 22, 2003).

[12] Paul Samyn, “‘We can’t afford a war,’ Senate report says Canada should recall all troops, stay away from Irag,” Winnipeg Free Press, (November 13, 2002) A1.

[13] Samyn, “‘We can’t afford a war,’ Senate report says.”

[14] Samyn, “‘We can’t afford a war,’ Senate report says.”

[15] Stephen Thorne, “Troops should be kept home for 2 years, report says,” Halifax Chronicle-Herald, November 13, 2002) A1.

[16] “Are we really playing our part,” Winnipeg Free Press, May 31, 2003: A15.

[17] Department of National Defence, email to researcher (November 19, 2004).

[18] Daniel Leblanc, “Worn-out navy says it’s taking a ‘pause’ for a year,” The Globe and Mail (June 30, 2003): A1.

[19] Michael Ignatieff, “Lesser Evils,” The New York Times (3 May 2004), http://www.nytimes.com/2004/05/02/magazine/02TERROR.html (accessed: 3 May 2004).

[20] Office of the Auditor General of Canada, “Chapter 2: Canada Customs and Revenue Agency—Managing the Risks for Non-Compliance for Customs,” Report of the Auditor General of Canada to the House of Commons, May 2003, 12. http://www.oag-bvg.gc.ca/domino/reports.nsf/html/20030502ce.html/$file/20030502ce.pdf (accessed November 7, 2004).

[21] Office of the Auditor General of Canada, “Chapter 3: National Security in Canada – The 2001 Anti-Terrorism Initiative,” Report of the Auditor General of Canada to the House of Commons, March 2004, 32. http://www.oag-bvg.gc.ca/domino/reports.nsf/html/20040303ce.html/$file/20040303ce.pdf (accessed November 7, 2004).

[22] Office of the Auditor General of Canada, “Chapter 3,” 33.

[23] Office of the Auditor General of Canada, “Chapter 3,” 33.

[24] Office of the Auditor General of Canada, “Chapter 2,” 15-16.

[25] Correspondence with Canada Customs and Revenue Agency, September 5, 2003.

[26] Honourable Judy Sgro, “Letter to Senator Colin Kenny,” (November 12, 2004): 2.

[27] According to the Auditor General, “the automatic computer checks at the primary inspection lines and computer checks made against passenger lists in advance of international flights cannot flag persons wanted under Canada-wide warrants.”  The report did note that the Canada Border Services Agency was planning a pilot project with the RCMP to have a direct link to the RCMP Interpol database that would allow for daily access to new Interpol notices. The Committee was not able to determine the status of this project prior to releasing its report.  Office of the Auditor General of Canada, “Chapter 3: National Security in Canada – The 2001 Anti-Terrorism Initiative,” Report of the Auditor General of Canada to the House of Commons, March 2004, 31. http://www.oag-bvg.gc.ca/domino/reports.nsf/html/20040303ce.html/$file/20040303ce.pdf  (accessed November 7, 2004).

[28] Government of Canada, The Government’s Response to the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence (Ottawa: Government of Canada, October 2002), 8. http://www.psepc-sppcc.gc.ca/publications/national_security/pdf/Kenny_report_e.pdf (accessed May 10, 2004).

[29] “Canadian Security Intelligence Service, “Letter to Senator Colin Kenny”, (September 18, 2003).”

[30] Security Intelligence Review Committee, Security Intelligence Review Committee 2003-2004 Report (Ottawa: October 2004), 7.

[31] The median turnaround time for inadmissible briefs (provided when the Service has concluded an applicant meets inadmissibility criteria) was 224 days and 332 days for information briefs (provided when the Service has relevant security related information about an applicant but it does not have enough, or the right sort of, information to deem the applicant inadmissible). Security Intelligence Review Committee, Security Intelligence Review Committee 2003-2004 Report (Ottawa: October 2004), 44 and 46.

[32] Security Intelligence Review Committee, Security Intelligence Review Committee 2003-2004 Report (Ottawa: October 2004), 44-45.

[33] Security Intelligence Review Committee, Security Intelligence Review Committee 2003-2004 Report (Ottawa: October 2004), 45.

[34]“Security Intelligence Review Committee, Security Intelligence Review Committee 2003-2004 Report (Ottawa: October 2004), 45. Security Intelligence Review Committee, “Statement from the Committee,” Security Intelligence Review Committee Annual Report 2002-2003. http://www.sirc-csars.gc.ca/annual/2002-2003/intro_e.html (accessed May 4, 2004).”

[35] Tonda MacCharles, “Canada, U.S. in refugee deal” The Toronto Star (15 October 2004): A06.

[36] Briefing material provided to the Committee by the Privy Council Office prior to the Committee’s fact-finding trip to Washington, D.C. in March 2004.

[37] Canada Customs and Revenue Agency, Email to researcher, September 5, 2003.

[38] Customs Excise Union, “Staffing crisis at Canada Customs endangers economy and national security, says Customs Excise Union” (July 18, 2003). http://www.ceuda.psac.com/english/english.html (accessed March 11, 2004).

[39] Information was provided to the Chair of the Committee in a private meeting.

[40] Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence, Canadian Security and Military Preparedness (Ottawa: Senate of Canada, February 2002), 121.

[41] Brian Hutchinson, “Lone Officer Guards Most Borders,” National Post (6 November 2004): A4.

[42] Mark Connolly, Proceedings of Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence, Hearing Transcript, September 22, 2003, Issue 22, 37th Parl., 2nd, Sess.. URL: http://www.parl.gc.ca/Content/SEN/Committee/372/defe/22evb-e.htm?Language=E&Parl=37&Ses=2&comm_id=76 (accessed November 10, 2004).

[43] Privy Council Office, Securing an Open Society: Canada’s National Security Policy (Ottawa: government of Canada, April 27, 2004), 38.

[44] High Frequency Surface Wave Radar is a type of radar that, unlike traditional microwave radar systems, can detect targets over-the-horizon out to a distance of approximately 150-200 miles.

[45] Department of National Defence, Email to researcher, February 24, 2004.

[46] The Honourable William Graham, “Letter to Senator Colin Kenny” (November 3, 2004): 2.

[47] Department of National Defence, Email to researcher, May 3, 2004.

[48] Department of National Defence, Email to researcher, May 5, 2004.

[49] Graham, “Letter to Senator Colin Kenny” (November 3, 2004): 2.

[50] The Canadian Forces now refer to Unmanned Aerial Vehicles as Uninhabited Aerial Vehicles.

[51]  Graham, “Letter to Senator Colin Kenny” (November 3, 2004): 3. The tests were part of the Canadian Forces Atlantic Littoral Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance Experiment (ALIX). As part of the tests “experimental tests took place over arctic terrain, the Gulf of St. Lawrence, CFB Gagetown and the Grand Banks.”

[52] Graham, “Letter to Senator Colin Kenny” (November 3, 2004): 3.

[53] Sharon Hobson, “Canada to test Predator B variant,” Jane’s Defence Weekly (February 18, 2004), online, url: http://www.janes.com (accessed: November 1, 2004).

[54] Prime Minister’s Office, “Changes to government” (December 12, 2003), http://www.pm.gc.ca/eng/chgs_to_gov.asp (accessed November 1, 2004). Correspondence with Department of Fisheries and Oceans officials, February 24 and March 15, 2004. The organizational changes announced will make the Coast Guard a special operating agency within the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. They do not give the Coast Guard any more national security functions and do little more than transfer the Coast Guard’s marine security regulatory setting functions to Transport Canada.

[55] Privy Council Office, Securing an Open Society, 38.

[56] An interim version of the 96-hour rule has been in effect since October 11, 2001. The regulations that came into effect in July will make the reporting schedule permanent. The temporary Notice to Mariners describing the rule is available here: http://www.notmar.gc.ca/eng/services/notmar/96hour.pdf (accessed April 14, 2004).

[57] ACI does not specifically require mid-course updates. However, two other initiatives—the 96-hour notification rule and the introduction of Automatic Identification Systems—will cover the same ground.

[58] government of Canada, Canada Gazette, Vol. 138, No. 14 (Ottawa: April 3, 2004).  http://canadagazette.gc.ca/partI/2004/20040403/html/regle6-e.html (accessed April 14, 2004).

[59] Canada Customs and Revenue Agency, Customs Notice N-542 (Ottawa: October 7, 2003). http://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/E/pub/cm/cn542/cn542-e.pdf (accessed April 1, 2004).

[60] Canadian officials will continue to rely on shippers even after International Ship and Port Security Code provisions that require more detailed reporting come into effect in 2004.

[61] Privy Council Office, Securing an Open Society, 40.

[62] Transport Canada, Email to researcher, March 30, 2004.

[63] http://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/est-pre/20042005/FO-PO/FO-POr4501_e.asp#Maritime_safety

[64] A Class B transponder is able to transmit but not receive. Class B transponders are expected to be smaller, more limited, lower-cost alternatives to Class A transponders. A description of the differences between Class A and Class B Automatic Identification Systems is available from the US Coast Guard here: United States Coast Guard, “Types of Automatic Identifications Systems” (27 January 2004). http://www.navcen.uscg.gov/enav/ais/types_of_AIS.htm (accessed September 30, 2004).

[65] The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) is responsible for setting international standards for Class B transponders. July 31, 2004 was the target date for a committee draft with vote on Class B transponder standards. Progress on Class B transponder standards is available here: http://www.iec.ch/cgi-bin/procgi.pl/www/iecwww.p?wwwlang=E&wwwprog=pro-det.p&He=IEC&Pu=62287&Pa=&Se=&Am=&Fr=&TR=&Ed=1 (accessed November 1, 2004).

[66] Mark Connolly, Proceedings of the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence, Hearing Transcript, 23 February 2003, Issue 1, 37th Parl., 3rd Sess., http://www.parl.gc.ca/Content/SEN/Committee/373/defe/40647-e.htm?Language=E&Parl=37&Ses=2&comm_id=76 (accessed April 1, 2004).

[67] Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, “McLellan and Ridge Highlight Progress on Smart Border Action Plan – News Release” (October 14, 2004), http://www.psepc-sppcc.gc.ca/publications/news/20041014_e.asp.

[68] Alain Jolicoeur, Letter to Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence, March 10, 2004 (Exhibit 5900-3.37/N2-SS-1, 2, “9”).

[69] Honourable Judy Sgro, “Letter to Senator Colin Kenny” (November 12, 2004).

[70] The Seaway System, 2,038 nautical miles in length, encompasses the St. Lawrence River and the five Great Lakes, and extends from the Gulf of St. Lawrence at the Atlantic Ocean to the western end of Lake Superior at the twin ports of Duluth, Minnesota, and Superior, Wisconsin.

[71] The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation. “Seaway Notice No. 3 – 2003 Automatic Identification System (AIS),” (6 March 2003), http://www.greatlakes-seaway.com/en/navigation/notice20030306b.html (accessed April 1, 2004). The rule applies to commercial vessels that require clearance and weigh 300 gross tonnage or greater, have an overall length of more than 20 meters (66 feet), or carry more than 50 passengers, as well as dredges and floating plants and towing vessels more than 8 meters (26 feet) in length, are required to comply.

[72] Graham, “Letter to Senator Colin Kenny” (November 3, 2004): 1.

[73] Interdepartmental Marine Security Working Group, Enhancing the Security of Canada’s Marine Transportation System (Ottawa: January 2004), http://www.tc.gc.ca/vigilance/sep/marine_security/enhancing/menu.htm (accessed 2 November 2004).  The document describes efforts to pre-screen vessels before they arrive in the Great Lakes/St. Lawrence seaway system but it does not outline any efforts to monitor them once they are already on the lakes.

[74] Privy Council Office, Securing an Open Society: Canada’s National Security Policy (Ottawa: government of Canada, April 27, 2004), 38.

[75] Graham, “Letter to Senator Colin Kenny” (November 3, 2004): 1.

[76] Ian Atkins, Proceedings of the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence, Hearing Transcript, September 22, 2003, Issue 22, 37th Parl., 2nd Sess., http://www.parl.gc.ca/Content/SEN/Committee/372/defe/22evb-e.htm?Language=E&Parl=37&Ses=2&comm_id=76 (accessed May 8, 2004).

[77] Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Email to researcher, March 11, 2004.

[78] Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Email to researcher, March 11, 2004.

[79] Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Email to researcher, March 11, 2004.

[80] Alain Jolicoeur, Proceeedings.

[81] Training on Vehicle and Cargo Inspection Systems (VACIS) is divided between training on Mobile and Pallet systems. Mobile VACIS has been in use by the Canada Border Services Agency longer than Pallet VACIS. Since December 2002, two hundred and fifty-nine officers have been trained on the Mobile type of VACIS.  Training on Pallet VACIS only began in March 2004.  Since then, one hundred and four officers have beent rained to use Pallet VACIS. See: Canada Border Services Agency, Email to researcher, November 16, 2004.


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