House of Commons Hansard #171 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was cbc.

Topics

Communications Security Establishment
Private Members' Business

5:50 p.m.

Bonavista—Trinity—Conception
Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Fred Mifflin Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to speak on this subject.

I am aware that my colleague is going to prepare an amendment to the motion, which I am very pleased to see. Without actually mentioning the amendment I believe he will pose it by a point of order perhaps after I finish speaking.

I want to make three definitions. I will be using them quite frequently. CSE is the Communications Security Establishment. CSIS is the Canadian Security Intelligence Service. SIRC is the Security and Intelligence Review Committee.

I am very pleased about the amended wording. It puts the intent of what the hon. member wants to do in better perspective. It is important at this stage because it is really essential to the understanding of why the amendment to the motion was put forward.

I want to define foreign intelligence. Foreign intelligence refers to information or activities concerning the capabilities, intentions or activities of foreign states, corporations or persons in relation to the defence of Canada or the conduct of international affairs of Canada.

It may include information of a political, economic, military, security or scientific nature. Canada, unlike most of our allies, does not have an offensive foreign intelligence service.

However, like most countries Canada has established modest means to collect and analyze foreign intelligence. Since World War II the main departments of the Government of Canada that have been major actors in the foreign intelligence sectors have

been the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade and the Department of National Defence.

The Canadian Security Intelligence Service was established in 1984 under the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act. It has a specific mandate as our domestic intelligence agency. It is charged with protecting Canada's security and is to provide security intelligence respecting potential or actual threats to Canada or to Canadian citizens.

There are two principle threats to national security that CSIS was established to investigate under the authority of the CSIS act. These threats are espionage directed against Canada by foreign states and seriously politically motivated violence that can take the form of terrorism.

The CSIS act establishes a strict regime for CSIS investigations to ensure that the rights and freedoms of Canadians are preserved while protecting Canadians from these threats to their safety and security. It is evident there will be problems with the Security Intelligence Review Committee's looking at the Communications Security Establishment.

The Security Intelligence Review Committee was established specifically to review the Canadian Security Intelligence Service which, unlike the CSE, does not have a direct role in the foreign intelligence sector.

The CSIS act spells out exactly what SIRC is meant to do. The CSE mandate under its SIGINT program is the collection, analysis and reporting of foreign intelligence in the context of the government's foreign intelligence policy.

Therefore it would not be appropriate at this time to amend the CSIS act which falls under the responsibility of the Solicitor General to incorporate within SIRC's mandate an institution like CSE which after all falls under the responsibility of the Minister of National Defence, whose accountability is established through other means.

Moreover, SIRC already has a variety of investigative duties. It deals with complaints and acts as an appeal board with respect to security assessments and security influenced decisions under the Citizenship and Immigration Act.

The sensitive intelligence responsibility of both organizations needs separate and distinct oversight mechanisms. CSIS therefore is Canada's domestic intelligence agency, with SIRC which has a mandate and the expertise to oversee such activities.

CSE is a foreign intelligence organization and the skills and knowledge base required to review foreign intelligence activity is totally different.

CSE has two programs. First, it provides technical advice, guidance and service on the means of federal government telecommunications security, including aspects of electronic data processing. The elements of this program are referred to in the business as INFOSEC, information security.

The other aspect is signal intelligence, SIGINT as it is known in the business. There has been concern raised in some quarters that CSE operates without adequate accountability. It may be useful to outline in more detail what I understand to be the accountability stature of CSE in place right now.

The Minister of National Defence is accountable to Parliament for CSE. The minister approves CSE's capital expenditure, its annual multiyear operational program and, with appropriate deputy minister level consultations, approves major CSE initiatives with significant policy or legal implications.

The chief of CSE is responsible to the deputy minister of national defence for financial and administrative arrangements and to the deputy clerk, security and intelligence and counsel in the Privy Council Office for policy and operational matters. Both of these deputy ministers report directly to the Minister of National Defence for these CSE matters.

In addition, arrangements have been put in place that CSE responds to the government's foreign intelligence requirements in a manner that is lawful, effective and sensitive to changes in international relations. That is very important and it includes the following provisions.

It has an in house legal counsel from the Department of Justice and consults with senior justice officials on legal issues. It submits strategic plans and all new policy proposals for review by the interdepartmental committee on security and intelligence. It is subject to Department of National Defence administrative review mechanisms.

CSE operates within all Canadian laws, including the Criminal Code, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Canadian Human Rights Act. Furthermore, it is fully subject to review by the offices of the Privacy Commissioner, the Official Languages Commissioner, the Auditor General and the Canadian Human Rights Commission. A broad accountability system for CSE is thus in place.

The special committee on the CSIS act, while recommending that SIRC oversee CSE, also stated it had found no evidence of abuses by CSE. Obviously the government would consider appropriate means to strengthen oversight for the CSE if a clear need were demonstrated.

CSE is an integral part of the foreign intelligence sector I have described and plays a crucial role in that sector. What it does not do, as the Minister of National Defence and the Prime Minister have already assured the House, is target Canadians. We must take care that whatever course of action we decide does not

weaken CSE's ability to support our national interest. That is the decision which faces us now.

We want to create an efficient, economical and appropriate form of oversight for this agency, one that enhances current accountability mechanisms without impeding the intended and mandated function of CSE or SIRC.

The proposed amendment by my colleague will lead us in the right direction. I look forward to the support of my colleagues in the House which I hope and believe is forthcoming.

Communications Security Establishment
Private Members' Business

6:10 p.m.

Liberal

Derek Lee Scarborough—Rouge River, ON

Mr. Speaker, in relation to this motion there has been significant consultation back and forth across the House. I think you would find the consent of the House to make the following amendments.

I believe we will have the consent of the hon. member for Bellechasse for the withdrawal of his existing amendment proposed in connection with this motion; second, that the motion be restated to clarify intent and to incorporate the intent of the amendment made by the hon. member for Bellechasse.

Therefore, the amendment would read as follows. I move:

That the motion be amended by deleting all of the words after the word "should" and by substituting the following:

Establish an independent external mechanism to review the operations of the Communications Security Establishment, CSE, similar to the role played by the Security Intelligence Review Committee for the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and table a report annually in the House.

Communications Security Establishment
Private Members' Business

6:10 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

First of all, I would like to know whether the hon. member for Bellechasse wishes to speak on his amendment. Does he withdraw the amendment?

Communications Security Establishment
Private Members' Business

6:10 p.m.

Bloc

François Langlois Bellechasse, QC

Yes, Mr. Speaker, I agree to the withdrawal of my amendment the way the hon. member for Scarborough-Rouge River described it.

Communications Security Establishment
Private Members' Business

6:10 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

Is there unanimous consent?

Communications Security Establishment
Private Members' Business

6:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

(Amendment withdrawn.)

Communications Security Establishment
Private Members' Business

6:10 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Marc Jacob Charlesbourg, QC

Mr. Speaker, as someone said earlier, the member for Bellechasse withdraws his amendment and subscribes to the amendment presented by the member for Scarborough-Rouge River, which we, members of the Bloc, intend to support, as I have already said.

Listening to the speech made earlier by the parliamentary secretary to the Minister of National Defence, I asked myself a few questions on the meaning of what the member said about the CSE being accountable to the Department of National Defence at the administrative level and to the clerk with respect to its role and its latitude, so to speak. I find it a bit strange that we count on the Department of Defence to monitor the administration of the CSE.

I made the effort to do some research in the Defence budget and I will give you a few examples which are very obvious when we find out that it was the Department of Defence which monitored the CSE.

I noted a case concerning the acquisition of a Secure Telephone System-Phase 1 for which the estimate was established at $8,824,000. When the acquisition was made, the cost rose to $14,151,000, 61 per cent higher. It was the role of the Department of Defence to monitor the CSE's administrative costs.

Here is another example. From April 1 to March 31, 1993, money was invested in a Restricted Access System for which the estimate was initially established at $23 million. When the acquisition was made, the system's cost shot up to $51 million, 117 per cent over budget. And it was still under the administrative responsibility of the Department of Defence.

One more example. On March 31, 1994, work was finished on an integrated teleinformatics network, approximately 75 per cent of which was for the use of the CSE. The projected cost was $41,650,000, but it ended up costing the modest sum of $78 million. That was also a project under the administrative control of the National Defence.

I have many more similar examples of purchases of highly sophisticated electronic surveillance or telephone equipment, software, etc. Like many other stakeholders in this issue, we have determined that the CSE was to serve the Department of Foreign Affairs, the RCMP and also the Department of National Defence, that its main function was to collect information from communications outside Canada, but that it was not ever supposed to collect information from communications happening within Canada. However, the official opposition signalled several cases where it had done so and the Prime Minister denied it at first. Afterwards, he said that orders had been given so that it would never happen again and that was corroborated by the Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of National Defence.

The Minister of Defence also said that the CSE was under his trusteeship, and that of his deputy minister, and that no other form of control was necessary since we knew very well what was the role of the CSE, the Communications Security Establishment, and that in no way, shape or form could there ever be some

eavesdropping into communications between Canadians or within the boundaries of Canada. And now, a Liberal member presents a motion for the review of the CSE operations and the Bloc Quebecois and the Reform Party support it. I support this motion wholeheartedly and I will even add that, in my opinion, this motion is a very positive statement that should lead to the monitoring of the CSE operations. That is very important.

I would also like to add that this is only a motion.

Will we take the discussion further and really pass legislation to monitor the actions of the Communications Security Establishment? As I was illustrating with some examples, on the administrative level, I am not sure that the monitoring by the Department of Defence is adequate.

I have quoted four or five examples where spending of millions of dollars had almost doubled on three occasions, and more than doubled on a fourth one. When this motion is unanimously passed in the House, it will be important to follow it up and to pass legislation which will allow for the management of the administrative aspect as well as the specific role of the CSE. We will then be able to monitor its interference in Canadian communications in order to insure that it does not intrude in the private lives of citizens, parliamentarians, business executives or other prominent people who may be asked to make decisions and whom the CSE could follow closely and sometimes monitor or report on, providing information which, under our Canadian system, is not acceptable.

In conclusion, I would like to say that we support this motion. However, I would like to indicate that, unfortunately, we will have to return, in this motion, and probably in this bill, to the administrative deficiencies within the Department of Defence which the Auditor General has raised on several occasions.

When we see in the budget of the defense department that the costs allocated to the CST may vary between $200 and $255 million because Defense budgets contain some sophisticated material which will be used by the CST and for the communications of the defense department, I believe that a separation of some sort between these two elements should be integrated in the bill which will follow this motion. This will allow for a better control of the CST spending which, I believe, is sort of lost and not well administered by the Department of Defense since in the maze of acquisition of certain material too modern or ultramodern, it is impossible to say if the material is used at 100 per cent by the CST or at 20 per cent by the Department of Defense for the Navy or the Air Force.

I have read the last five year budgets and I had some difficulty understanding in each case what was linked to the CST. I believe that situation should be clarified in order to avoid that a budget be assessed at $200 or $250 million and be confronted, after an evaluation for the acquisition of material, to increases of more that 112 to 117 per cent at the time this material is acquired.

Communications Security Establishment
Private Members' Business

6:20 p.m.

Liberal

Shaughnessy Cohen Windsor—St. Clair, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak today on Canada's national security system and on the unique role played in that system by review agencies.

The amended motion before us calls for the establishment of an independent external mechanism to review the operations of the Communications Security Establishment or CSE.

I agree with the motion. It is my view that Canadians would be well served and would feel safer and more comfortable if they knew that this component of our national security system was overseen by both a cabinet minister and by an independent oversight committee.

Experience gained over the last decade with the Security Intelligence Review Committee which oversees the Canadian Security Intelligence Service may hold important lessons for the future.

The Security Intelligence Review Committee or SIRC was designed as a unique body to provide review for one particular agency, CSIS, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service. It provides an appeal mechanism as well for matters involving security clearances that are from time to time required under certain statutes.

SIRC was to fulfil its responsibilities within the framework of a national security system that is wider than SIRC and wider than CSIS and includes the Communications Security Establishment.

If the motion before us is to be successfully implemented, care must be taken to ensure that any new review body would have an appropriate role with respect to CSE. It must contribute as well in a positive way to what I would suggest is a delicate balance between the national interest and individual human rights, the hallmark of Canada's national security system.

In 1984 the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act and the Security Offences Act were established. In these statutes a new legislative framework was created to govern Canada's national security system. The new legislation was designed to create the balance I talked about, a balanced and accountable system for the protection of Canada's national security interests and for the preservation of the democratic way of life of its people.

Balance must be a distinguishing feature of any new legislation involving CSE, just as it is a distinguishing feature of the CSIS-SIRC legislation. I should like to categorize some balances that we need to maintain.

First, we need to protect national security that has to be balanced by respect for individual rights and freedoms.

Second, we need to provide the service with sufficient powers to produce effective security intelligence which we should then balance by statutory controls and strong policy direction.

Third, as with CSIS there is a need to employ certain intrusive techniques. These should be balanced by the requirement for a prior authorization by a minister of the crown and the Federal Court, or at the very least that is what we do under the CSIS act.

Finally the need for secrecy must be balanced by ministerial accountability and informed independent review. The principles of ministerial control and accountability are central to Canadian parliamentary democracy. The CSIS act ensured that the Solicitor General would have full knowledge and power of direction over policy. The act also equipped the minister with the means to direct and guide the service.

There is also independent review through SIRC. Responsibility for the independent external review function was given to the Security Intelligence Review Committee that reports to Parliament through the Solicitor General. The unique role of SIRC is an innovative and important component of our national security system in the CSIS act. SIRC's review role is a cornerstone of the accountability framework established by the CSIS act and an important element of our national security system. SIRC has a mandate to review the propriety of CSIS activities with emphasis on the delicate balance between national security and individual freedom.

Given SIRC's importance as presently constituted, it is my view that it would be inappropriate to expand its mandate to encompass review of CSE. Such a change would have the effect of either diffusing SIRC's functions with respect to CSIS or of diminishing ministerial accountability.

I am certain hon. members would not wish to see SIRC's effectiveness diminished by such outcomes. To expand SIRC's mandate to review CSE would almost certainly mean increasing significantly the present number of SIRC members. This would require adding to SIRC's staff that has acquired an enviable expertise in the domain of security intelligence on a domestic basis. The skills and the knowledge base required to review foreign intelligence activity are totally different from that needed to review a domestic security service like CSIS.

We need to examine closely the significant implications of what is being proposed in the motion before us. We are not without guidance. The experience we have acquired over the past decade with the existing national security system can stand us in good stead by looking at CSIS and by looking at the roles that the minister and SIRC play in relation to CSIS. I would suggest that we look closely at those lessons and apply them to the motion before us today.

The proven effectiveness of the national security system designed more than a decade ago is an excellent foundation upon which we can build. As we consider the motion our intention should be to continue the good work that has gone before, to build on that experience, and to create satisfaction within the community and within our country that the Communications Security Establishment is also accountable.

Communications Security Establishment
Private Members' Business

6:30 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

The hon. member for Scarborough-Rouge River has given indication that he would like to have the final response under right of reply. The House must understand that no one will be able to speak to this motion after he speaks. He will close the debate because I must put the question at no later than 6.34 p.m.

Communications Security Establishment
Private Members' Business

6:30 p.m.

Liberal

Derek Lee Scarborough—Rouge River, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is our hope that the motion we will pass here today will prove to be a benchmark in terms of parliamentary accountability.

Under the rubric that nobody in this Parliament does anything by themselves, I want to note a number of members who played a part in developing this matter to the present. Among them are colleagues of ours on the national security subcommittee: the member for Bellechasse, from the Bloc Quebecois; from the Reform Party, the hon. member for Surrey-White Rock-South Langley; on the Liberal side, the member for Scarborough West, the member for Windsor-St. Clair and the member for Bonaventure-Îles-de-la-Madeleine.

I also acknowledge the co-operation and participation of the Minister of National Defence and his parliamentary secretary, the member for Bonavista-Trinity-Conception. There is also the fact that the Prime Minister was not disinterested in this issue and I acknowledge his role.

I acknowledge members of the last Parliament, the national security subcommittee and in particular its chair, Mr. Blaine Thacker of Lethbridge, and various other parties, journalists both print and electronic, and other soldiers on the issue. They have worked hard to bring us to the present. Hopefully they will continue to work in this area. I thank my colleagues in the House for their support today.

(Motion as amended agreed to.)

A motion to adjourn the House under Standing Order 38 deemed to have been moved.

Communications Security Establishment
Adjournment Proceedings

6:30 p.m.

Liberal

Dan McTeague Ontario, ON

Mr. Speaker, in my recent question to the Minister of Health, I indicated that many Canadians suffer from multiple sclerosis. In fact, 50,000 Canadians have MS. However, through medical research a number of drugs have recently been developed which have proven to be effective in the treatment of multiple sclerosis.

One of these drugs is betaseron. In the United States this drug has been used to treat certain forms of MS for well over one year. Here in Canada there are over 15,000 Canadians with MS who could benefit from betaseron.

Unfortunately, access to betaseron in Canada has been impeded because the health protection branch of Health Canada has yet to conclude its review of the drug. Betaseron is currently only available from the federal government's emergency drug release program at a cost of $17,000 or more for a year's supply.

In the province of Ontario, the provincial government recently announced that it will soon be expanding its drug funding program to help those who require expensive medication. However, while those who require betaseron would then qualify for assistance, the drug itself will not be eligible until the review has been completed.

I realize the health protection branch has specific guidelines to follow when any new drug is submitted for its approval to be distributed in Canada. Moreover, I am not suggesting that the integrity of the review process be compromised in any way, shape or form.

The reviews undertaken by the health protection branch of any new drug are vital to ensuring the safety of Canadians. Nonetheless, Canadians who suffer from MS are understandably anxious to obtain greater access to affordable betaseron. They are also frustrated by the slowness of the review, especially since the health protection branch has agreed to use the so-called fast track approach.

Berlex Canada Inc., the company which applied for the betaseron review did so back in February 1994. Yet over a year later, the review is still ongoing.

It was my hope from the question I asked the Minister of Health that she could provide additional information on the progress of the review of this drug. Given the important role this review plays in bringing about greater access to affordable betaseron, I know the minister would agree that the sooner this review is completed the better it will be for those Canadians who suffer from MS.

Communications Security Establishment
Adjournment Proceedings

6:35 p.m.

Bonavista—Trinity—Conception
Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Fred Mifflin Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, in response to my hon. colleague, the timely approval of a new drug treatment is a concern we all share. In this context I wish to emphasize that the drug he talks about, betaseron, has not yet been approved for the Canadian market.

The drugs director of Health Canada is currently reviewing this drug on a priority or fast track basis. The manufacturer did not submit betaseron for approval in Canada at the same time as it did in the United States where the drug has already been approved. However under special circumstances, the Department of Health authorizes the sale of drugs that are currently marketed in other countries but have not yet received a notice of compliance in Canada.

When a medical emergency exists and standard therapy is ineffective in treating the condition, some drugs, including betaseron, can be made available through the Health Canada emergency drug release program.

While safety is the primary concern for Health Canada, the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board is responsible for regulating the prices of patented drugs. The board's jurisdiction applies not only to patented drugs sold under a notice of compliance, but also to those drugs sold under the emergency drug release program.

Betaseron is a patented medicine. Therefore, the price of this product is being reviewed by the board.

In conclusion and in response to my hon. colleague, I wish to assure him that Health Canada's drug approval process is aimed at ensuring that safe and effective medicines are made available to all Canadians in the most efficient and quick manner possible. Every effort has been made to expedite the review of betaseron without jeopardizing the health and safety of Canadians suffering from multiple sclerosis.

Communications Security Establishment
Adjournment Proceedings

6:35 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, on March 16, I asked the Deputy Prime Minister how she could justify abolishing the Canadian Advisory Council on the Status of Women. My amazement and that of many women's groups at the government's decision was caused by the fact that this agency is known for its excellent research in areas of concern to women.

As you know, the CACSW also analyzed the impact of policies and legislation on the status of women. Furthermore, it had acquired an excellent reputation as an independent agency that, although it was largely dependent on public funding, managed to maintain an arm's length relationship to government.

In reply, the Deputy Prime Minister mentioned the following to justify her government's decision, and I quote: "Women's councils across the country were telling us that they were in a better position to do political analyses than people appointed by order in council". This reply was surprising on two counts. First, I will deal with the so-called preference expressed by women's groups for doing their own political analyses.

I urge the Deputy Prime Minister to reveal the names of these groups to the House. My request is perfectly reasonable, since all the reactions we have heard so far would indicate that the opposite is true. Whether we are talking about the Fédération des femmes du Québec and its affiliates or the groupe relais-femmes of the Association des collaboratrices et partenaires d'affaires, whether we are talking about the biggest national women's organization in Canada, the National Action Committee on the Status of Women, better known as NAC, the AFEAS, the University of Ottawa and Carleton University, grouped under the aegis of the joint department of women's studies, and finally, about certain editorial writers, they all regret the decision made by the Secretary of State for the Status of Women and her government.

So where are the groups that supported the government when it announced this decision? Women's groups and the official opposition would be very interested to know who these groups are.

They also want to know where the funding needed to resume research will come from. The government may have claimed that it decided to merge three agencies in order to save one million dollars, but when we realize that the budgets of existing organizations will not be increased in any way, we have every right to ask where the money needed for research will come from and where it will go.

In concluding, I must mention the other reason given by the Deputy Prime Minister in answer to my question. She said it was important to let research be done by people who were not appointed by order in council.

We were absolutely flabbergasted. The question automatically comes to mind whether the present government intends to get rid of all organizations and councils whose board members are appointed by order in council.

There will be a revolution. One also wonders how open-minded her department will be when research findings fail to reflect what this government wants in terms of progress on issues concerning the status of women.

Communications Security Establishment
Adjournment Proceedings

6:40 p.m.

Halifax
Nova Scotia

Liberal

Mary Clancy Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, the amalgation of the Advisory Council on the Status of Women and Status of Women Canada took place as the result of a program review undertaken by the government. Aimed at streamlining government operations, eliminating overlap and rationalizing resources, the program review looked at the three principal government agencies concerned with women's equality: Status of Women Canada, the equal opportunities for women program of Human Resources Development Canada and the Advisory Council on the Status of Women.

We considered that an amalgamation of the three would, for the government, provide the best opportunity to concentrate and reinforce its ability to promote women's equality. Furthermore, by creating a single window, this amalgamation would improve communications and interaction between government, women and their associations. The rapports enjoyed by the equal opportunities for women program at the local level with women's associations will permit a direct link between the people and the policy development process.

Transfer of the communications and research functions of the advisory council to Status of Women Canada will reinforce these bilateral exchanges. It will also eliminate the expense of a number of order in council appointments.

Communications Security Establishment
Adjournment Proceedings

6:40 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Marc Jacob Charlesbourg, QC

Mr. Speaker, on March 14, I asked the Minister of National Defence about the dwindling enrolment in the Saint-Jean Royal Military College. His reply, which surprised me, was extraordinary because of its contradictory nature.

In fact, in the first part of his reply, the minister says that the state of the economy is causing enrolment to decline. A farfetched argument which does not jive with reality or with the history of Canada's three officer cadet colleges, because during an economic crisis the proportion of enrolment requests for officer colleges compared with the number of requests to become a soldier changes. As usual, the minister is trying to compare apples to oranges.

In the second part of his reply, the minister really went too far by blaming the weak enrolment on the official opposition and the Government of Quebec.

I think it is time to render unto Caesar what is Caesar's. I will explain. On February 22, 1994, the Minister of National Defence announced that the Saint-Jean Royal Military College and the Royal Roads of Victoria would be closed under the pretext of savings, although, of all three colleges of the kind, the Saint-Jean Royal Military College was the least expensive to run.

The day after, on February 23, the minister shed crocodile tears over the closure of Royal Roads and the Saint-Jean Royal Military College and said that it was necessary to close them for the good management of national defence. If this really were the case, neither the Government of Quebec, which was Liberal then, nor the official opposition could have had any influence whatsoever on this decision. The decision to close the Saint-Jean Royal Military College was and still is entirely in the hands of the Minister of National Defence. He should stop playing

childish political games and assume full responsibility for the decision he and his government have made.

The defence minister and the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs are really laying it on thick when they try to blame the Quebec government and the Bloc Quebecois. Many English-speaking officers have already pointed out that it was a bad decision. Those who make a bad decision and are not mature enough to accept responsibility for it blame others, as the minister is doing.

Furthermore, the minister contradicts himself in his March 14 responses. In his first answer, he says that recruitment is down because the economy is buoyant, adding that "the normal group of people who would be attracted to the armed forces has found other options". In his second answer, he says that "because of the uncertainty surrounding the disposition of the site of the former college at St-Jean, the advertising-was delayed a number of weeks-[but] recruitment is picking up".

The buoyant economy given as one of the reasons for declining enrolment in his first answer does not appear in his second answer. This buoyant economy must have been very fragile since it only lasted two minutes. For example, the Minister of National Defence also says, at the end of his second answer, and I quote: "Twenty seven per cent of members of the armed forces are francophone and fully 24 per cent of all senior officers are francophone". A senior officer is not a corporal or a sergeant, but a colonel, a lieutenant-colonel, a brigadier-general, a major-general, a lieutenant-general or a general.

Only 14.7 per cent of generals and 21 per cent of colonels are French-speaking. I wonder where the minister's figure of 24 per cent comes from, unless he is referring to non-commissioned officers. This shows once again that the minister says what he pleases, without bothering to check the facts.

In conclusion, the minister is inviting me to visit the department and the Headquarters here in Ottawa, and see for myself that people work in French as well as in English. I ask the minister to stop making fun of French-speaking Canadians by uttering such nonsense. I did visit the department on several occasions and what he says is not true, nor is it true as regards the Kingston College, which is not bilingual and which will not become so.