House of Commons Hansard #10 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was norad.

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North American Aerospacedefence Command
Government Orders

11 a.m.

Winnipeg South Centre
Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy Minister of Foreign Affairs

moved:

That this House take note of the importance of the North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD) in the security and defence of North America, and of the government's intention to renew the NORAD agreement with the United States for a further five years.

Mr. Speaker, I want to express my appreciation to all members of the House in agreeing to this important debate. This is the second time in three weeks that we have had the opportunity as parliamentarians to look at a critical aspect of Canadian foreign policy.

In this case we are dealing with one of the most important bilateral treaties that has been established between ourselves and the United States over the last almost 40 years; the renewal of the North American air defence agreement which has represented a major issue of security and defence co-operation between our two countries.

NORAD has been a key element in this co-operation since 1958. It has served our countries well during a variety of changes, particularly during the period when we were concerned about the surveillance of airways during the cold war.

It is our assertion, one I believe most Canadians share, that the continuation of NORAD can serve us equally as well in a post-cold war environment, an environment which despite the reduction and elimination of the ballistic missile threat to North America still remains full of many uncertainties in the world we live in.

NORAD represents a key element of our foreign and security policies. For 40 years, this agreement has been a strong link in our bilateral relationship with the U.S. That is why we are proposing today to renew this agreement for a further five years effective May 12, 1996.

My colleague, the Minister of National Defence, will further review during this debate the specific military and defence requirements and aspects of this agreement.

I will concentrate my remarks on the rationale, the new objectives, the new security context as well as the foreign affairs dimension of this proposed NORAD renewal.

I hope we can encourage members to participate in how we situate this important resigning of the NORAD agreement within the broader context of our relationships with the United States.

Four sets of issues have dominated Canada-U.S. relations in the past few years: first, economic and trade relations following the implementation of NAFTA; second, culture; third, the environment; and fourth, defence matters.

Defence relations have been the least controversial of the last three sectors. In fact, the U.S. and Canada generally share the same vision and interests with respect to the security of North America.

This very close co-operation in defence and security matters has constituted for 55 years a fundamental and important foundation of our relationship in the North American continent with the Americans.

The question before us today is how these fundamentals evolve in a post-cold war era. Times have drastically changed, as we all recognize, since the basic text of NORAD was last updated in 1981. Canadians can legitimately ask whether we still need a NORAD agreement.

Since becoming the Minister of Foreign Affairs I have carefully studied the reviews of NORAD undertaken by Canada and the U.S. in the last two years. I have read the recommendations of the

special joint committee on Canada's defence policy and the special joint committee that reviewed Canadian foreign policy, both of which endorsed the renewal of NORAD.

In that assessment and review I conclude the following. Even though Canada does not face the same threat or concern about bombers, cruise missiles and ballistic missiles it did during the height of the cold war period, the capability and the necessity to continue to exercise effective surveillance and control over Canadian air space are still basic defence requirements with important implications for Canadian sovereignty.

A binational aerospace defence co-operation through NORAD remains a highly effective, cost effective means to meet this basic national objective. What we are saying is that NORAD itself is a very important way in which the continued protection and advancement of Canadian sovereignty and responsibility can be maintained at a cost within our means.

To date the central purpose of NORAD has been to provide both Canada and the United States with the means to ensure an appropriate level of air sovereignty, attack warnings, assessments and responsive defence. The agreement offers a number of key advantages which are just as relevant today as they were a few decades ago. Let me cite a few.

First, NORAD provides a comprehensive warning capability against any residual stocks of ballistic missiles and provides defence against bombers and cruise missiles.

Second, NORAD discourages criminal activity, especially drug smuggling and illegal immigration, which we do not need in this day and age. It is evident that we need continual protection against terrorism and common criminals who may seek access to our borders through the use of air means.

Third, it gives Canada access to valuable military and technological intelligence in the aerospace field that is unique among all countries.

Fourth, it substantially enhances the ability of the Government of Canada to ensure its will is respected throughout all areas within Canadian jurisdiction by providing in a very cost effective way the capability to monitor and control developments within our aerospace.

Fifth, it gives Canadians a voice in the planning and operations of the aerospace defence of North America, developments which whether we were in NORAD or not would directly affect our interests.

For these reasons alone NORAD continues to make good basic sense. While NORAD has continued to serve these basic national interests our government felt strongly that aspects of the agreement needed to be substantially updated to meet current and future defence needs. In the last two years new considerations have come forward and are being addressed in the new agreement. This is not just an old NORAD agreement; it is a substantially revised agreement.

I will cite four major changes in the proposed renewal. First, there is a concern about the proliferation of advanced military technology including weapons of mass destruction in the hands of rogue governments that may support terrorism. As we all know, Canada is a leader in the effort to deter the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery. We recognize this is an essential component of an effective defence against attack by nations or terrorists using nuclear, biological or chemical weapons.

The reason for this leadership is that there is concrete evidence that the number of countries working together to acquire these weapons is increasing. In this regard the end of the Soviet Union diminished one threat, a nuclear exchange between east and west. At the same time it increased another threat, the opportunity for other countries to acquire the expertise and materials to build their own weapons. This is a concern that has become increasingly apparent as we see the trade and exchange of components of nuclear weapons, delivery and manufacture.

The new NORAD agreement will provide clear provisions of aerospace warning and control to meet the potential of this new threat of arms proliferation. It is one way to provide a clear deterrent against that expansion we so greatly fear.

There is another equally important reality. In renewing the NORAD agreement we faced the growing importance of space in military operations. The special parliamentary joint committee on Canada's foreign policy recommended Canada should be prepared to renew the NORAD agreement, but should press for a further shift of emphasis from air defence to global space surveillance. Canada should require prior consultations on any move to abrogate the anti-ballistic missile treaty or to place weapons in space.

The new agreement does exactly that. It is one way we can ensure full protection against developments that would increase the risk of new space based weapons. As a result of the NORAD agreement we are now in a position to exercise real control and judgment.

I want to make one thing very clear: NORAD's technology remains the best in the world to provide surveillance and warning functions with efforts to defend our aerospace. However, that new technology is not the stuff and matter of a star wars program. It involves no weapons in space, a concept we as Canadians oppose. There is no anti-ballistic missile system in any way connected to this NORAD agreement. NORAD has evolved to reflect the threats faced by Canada and the United States and this process will continue if we decide to renew the agreement.

In fact, one important objective which was sought by Canada and will be met in the renewal of the agreement was to develop a more formal mechanism for the two countries to consult on developments with implications for North American aerospace defence and through which NORAD's missions could evolve. Because of NORAD we will have a place at the table to determine the pace and timing of any developments and the ability to say no or to register our concerns.

Moreover, the agreement will make clear that these missions will require the approval of both governments to proceed. In effect, we have a veto within the North American defence agreement to say no to these particular proposals.

A third consideration when renewing the agreement was the increased use of North American air space for legitimate purposes, such as civil air traffic, which has expanded geometrically with the signing of the open skies agreement. Unfortunately, it is also becoming increasingly penetrated by illicit activity from the air. That is particularly true when it comes to the drug trade and their use of air space to make their connections.

The agreement we are proposing will clearly refer to the need to co-ordinate national systems for the surveillance and control of North American air space to cope with these added activities, both of a legal nature and of an illegal nature so that both governments can make sure that the best protection for our citizens is provided.

A fourth consideration, and one that I know is of great importance to members of the House, was the need to reflect the contemporary concern for environmental protection. Up to now the NORAD agreement has not contained any clause on environmental protection whatsoever.

At Canada's request, a new clause will be added in the accord to refer directly to environmental issues, expected to be few, but that reference will go to the permanent joint board of defence by a national group made up of defence and diplomatic representatives, the chair of which is the member of Parliament for High Park, who is our representative and the co-chair in that area.

With these changes, ensuring again that any problems related to the environment under the new agreement will be relayed to that joint board and decisions will be made jointly, I think that completely and clearly answers the concerns expressed by members of the House during those hearings.

With the changes I have just outlined, I believe that the revised agreement will transform NORAD from a cold war defence arrangement to one of the 1990s and beyond and will give us a much better ability to protect our sovereignty and provide for increased co-operation in areas of vital concern to us in the use of our valuable air space.

As rewritten, the new NORAD agreement should meet today's security environment as well as Canadian interests and needs. It will also provide a clear indication of the government's commitment to Canada-U.S. defence co-operation and reaffirm at the highest level our intention to continue the co-operation in North American aerospace surveillance and air defence.

Let me in closing take a moment to talk about how NORAD fits into the broader context or scenarios of Canada-U.S. relations. We have all read from our school days on, the variety of cliches that abound about Canada-U.S. relationships. However, beyond those cliches there is one fundamental truth. The most comprehensive relationship between any two countries in the world is that which exists between Canada and the United States. It exists in the hundreds of thousands of transactions that take place every day between private citizens and businesses across borders. It also exists in a wide variety of areas such as trade, culture and the environment. In these cases we have been able to or tried to manage these relationships in a variety of ways.

Much of what we do bilaterally, regionally and internationally relates directly to the special management of our unique relationship with the United States. Our co-operative yet complex relationship stands as a model. I do not believe any two countries in the world have been able to manage these complex relationships in the way we have. In saying that, it is clear we have our differences, and sometimes the differences tend to be a lot more visible than the matters in which we share common interests, common values and common visions.

We are all very aware of the irritants which characterize the trade and environment areas, to take just two examples. The extraterritoriality being proposed under the Helms-Burton bill, or the disputes on Pacific salmon which are now being dealt with, are serious integral challenges to our basic interests. I can assure members of the House that we will take all necessary steps to defend the Canadian national interest in these two areas.

We also have differences of opinion, not just in direct relationships about larger foreign policy issues such as the reform of the United Nations. We think the United States has a responsibility to pay its bills. We believe on the issue of Cuba that an active program of engagement is the best way to provide for the evolution of democracy and the treatment of human rights in that country rather than a policy of isolation.

We know how to work out those differences in a productive and friendly manner through good debate and dialogue. Subject to the recommendations of this debate, Canada's intention to renew the

NORAD agreement offers yet another illustration of a good working relationship with the United States.

Furthermore, the NORAD agreement offers to those elected representatives in the United States who have been making some comments in the last few weeks about Canada's position, how things should properly be done: where we sign an agreement; where we have a framework; where we engage in dialogue; where there are rules of the game; where there is processes to follow. That is the way two countries get along, not by calling each other names or having certain members of the senate make aspersions about our past history.

The NORAD agreement is the model on how we conduct our relationship, not the kind of statements made by the chairman of the Senate foreign relations committee, the senator from North Carolina.

I believe a renewal of this agreement provides a very strong message, a very effective message, to Canadians and Americans alike. This is the way to do business together. This is the way to get along together. This is the way to co-operate together and to do it in an orderly rules based system that allows us to express our differences but at the same time to co-operate where that co-operation is in our mutual interests.

We have differences and similarities. The way to deal with these is to have rules in place to make sure that those rules and similarities have their best expression and their best outlet. It is a relationship that must continue to be based on mutual respect and a solid understanding of our respective individual and independent needs and priorities.

The new NORAD agreement that we are putting before the House today for debate builds on this relationship. It demonstrates to both our populations how we can continue to advance and secure good, co-operative relationships with our very important neighbours. Perhaps it can demonstrate to other countries around the world that is better to get along than to have disputes. The NORAD agreement is one clear way of doing that.

North American Aerospacedefence Command
Government Orders

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Stéphane Bergeron Verchères, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today in this House to speak to the renewal of the NORAD agreement between Canada and the U.S, especially since this debate was requested by the Bloc Quebecois in its dissenting report on reviewing Canada's defence policy.

Mr. Speaker, first of all, I would like to thank the new Minister of Foreign Affairs for agreeing to give the official opposition enough time to prepare for today's debate. The new Minister of Foreign Affairs' open-mindedness is in stark contrast to the arrogant and disrespectful attitude toward the opposition taken by this government since the beginning of its mandate with respect to this type of debate.

During the election campaign, as you may recall, the Liberal Party of Canada promised-in an effort to increase transparency, or so it claimed-to regularly consult the House on major issues in foreign and defence policy that may require Canada's involvement. Since the 1993 election, we have in fact noticed that the few debates hastily organized by the government-supposedly to consult Parliament-were nothing but a sham.

Most of the debates were announced with less than 24 hours' notice, with the government providing the motions, relevant papers and briefings at the last minute, before we finally realized that the dice were loaded and that the government was consulting the House merely for appearance's sake.

Despite somewhat inadequate preparation due to a lack of time, we have always insisted on taking part in these debates, if only to be heard. We are therefore happy to see that the government has finally decided to give us enough time to prepare adequately for this debate.

Yet, I fear that this debate will have no more impact on the government's decision, since it seems that the foreign affairs minister's signature is a mere formality. According to a report in the February 24 edition of Le Devoir , the Minister of Foreign Affairs has already approved the final version of the new NORAD agreement and will sign this agreement with his American counterpart during a visit to Washington on March 13 or 14.

Let us point out that the minister's officials have informed us that no decision in this regard had been made so far. This raises an important question: if the minister feels that today's debate is serious, does he really believe that major amendments could be made to the new NORAD agreement in the 24 to 48 hours following this debate?

Which leads to this other important question: Why does the minister refuse to provide the official opposition and the other parties represented in this House with a draft of the new NORAD agreement before it is finalized? Why are the various opposition parties not allowed to give their opinion on this agreement on the basis of all the relevant information that would enable them to really discuss Canada's participation in NORAD?

In this sense, we would greatly appreciate it if, out of respect for parliamentary democracy and for the people of Quebec and Canada, the minister provided all parties in this House with a draft of any agreement or accord contemplated before it is implemented. This would enable the opposition parties to better fulfil their parliamentary duties, while at the same time enhancing the quality of debate for the benefit of our fellow citizens. That is what I call real transparency.

This being said, as you no doubt know, the NORAD agreement was not negotiated overnight. Allow me, therefore, to backtrack briefly to try to understand why such an agreement came about in the first place and to try to see more clearly whether or not the NORAD agreement should be renewed.

First of all, note that this agreement originally derived from the Ogdensburg Declaration of 1940, in which the idea of joint defence arrangements between the U.S. and Canada was officially set out for the first time.

At the time-must we be reminded-the United States and Canada were at war with the Axis powers, which greatly encouraged closer formal military ties with our American allies. Later, in 1947, our two countries set out the basis of a new military co-operation, particularly for air defence. A few years later, in 1954 to be precise, Canadian and American air force officials came to the conclusion that the best way of ensuring both countries' air defence was to place it in the hands of a single organization under a single command.

The U.S. and Canada conducted negotiations that eventually led to a bilateral agreement being signed in 1957, establishing an integrated air defence command based in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The following year, on May 12, 1958, the North American Aerospace Defence Command Agreement, commonly known as NORAD agreement, was entered into by Canada and the United States. At first, this agreement was to be renewed every ten years, but this time frame was shortened to five years, in light of the ever changing geostrategic global situation.

Note also that, since its beginnings, the NORAD agreement has been renewed seven times. Initially, the main purpose of this agreement was to ensure active air defence against Soviet long range bombers. To this end, NORAD's integrated command was equipped with ground based radars and with fighter interceptors.

It is interesting to note that NORAD's defence system was set up shortly after the U.S.S.R. developed an atomic bomb, thus creating a real threat for North America.

It is also to be noted that a major element of strategic balance changed following the launching of the first Soviet satellite in space. Indeed, in the ensuing years, the U.S.S.R. developed delivery vehicles capable of making decisive hits on Canadian and U.S. targets.

During the arms race, the United States also developed intercontinental ballistic missiles, commonly called ICBMs. These missiles were equipped with nuclear warheads and were also capable of hitting Soviet targets. However, given its lack of effective defence systems against this type of attack, the U.S. found itself, for the first time in its history, vulnerable to the Soviet threat.

Consequently, in the mid-sixties, NORAD put the emphasis on early warning in case of an attack. NORAD's early detection of soviet missiles would ensure a swift response from the U.S. and became part of the nuclear deterrent strategy. However, even though it had lost some of its importance, air defence against bombers remained a priority.

When the NORAD agreement was renewed in 1981, and following the development of cruise missiles launched from airplanes and submarines, air defence against such a threat became again a top priority. It goes without saying that these developments resulted in a strengthening of east-west and northern security measures. The name of the organization was also changed. The term "air defence" was replaced by "aerospace defence", so as to reflect NORAD's increasingly greater concerns regarding aerospace threats.

NORAD continues to play an important role in terms of surveillance and defence of the North American air space. However, given the end of the cold war and the dismantling of the Soviet Union in the early nineties, we now have to ask ourselves whether it is necessary to maintain such a structure and, if so, whether its mandate should be redefined.

Even though the cold war is over and Russia is not the aggressive and threatening power that the Soviet Union was, we must remain alert and on the lookout for any outside attack. While NORAD was set up to counter the Soviet threat, it would be overly simplistic to assume that, since the U.S.S.R. no longer exists, we do not need this type of aerospace defence system any more.

It is true that, in times of peace, the relevancy of such a system may not be obvious. History, however, has taught us several lessons including this one: to be naive when it comes to security could have disastrous consequences.

It is an accepted fact that, to survive, a state must be able to ensure the security of its territory and of its population. Even today, the Canadian state cannot escape this simple but unavoidable obligation. But we would be kidding ourselves if we thought or claimed that Canada can ensure its own security. That is why it is in the best interests of both Canada and Quebec to be realistic and to renew the NORAD agreement.

Nobody can deny that Russia as it exists in 1996 still possesses mass destruction weapons and nothing can guarantee that we will not see, in the years to come, changes of government or changes of attitude toward the west, particularly toward the United States. And the same goes for other powers such as China, for example, which also possesses mass destruction weapons and has very large military capabilities.

Since the end of the cold war, dozens of armed conflicts have arisen throughout the world and no country can claim to be immune from that. Every country tries to get the maximum from the means at its disposal. It is well known within the international community

that several countries are presently trying to acquire or to develop chemical, bacteriological and nuclear weapons.

These weapons, combined with the use of missiles launched from submarines, ships, airplanes or by other means, could eventually become a threat to us. Let us not forget that terrorism has become a problem in our societies and that state terrorism is a reality that we have to live with.

On the other hand, we must ask ourselves what would be the possible consequences of Canada's non-participation in NORAD. What could be the impact of this non-participation in terms of the inviolability of our air and aerospace sovereignty, the effectiveness of our military defence and the costs that an autonomous defence would create?

It is obvious that the NORAD agreement has been particularly beneficial to Canada's defence policy. The establishment of an exclusively Canadian air and aerospace detection system would have been extremely costly for Canada. Sharing the costs of the current system with the United States has certainly helped us save tens of millions of dollars.

At the present time, we spend about $300 million each year on the NORAD aerospace defence system, which is about 10 per cent of the total costs associated with this system. It is absolutely certain that, if we were on our own, Canada could not have the same level of protection it is enjoying now for the same amount of money.

Canada's participation in NORAD has even allowed us to protect our sovereignty in the far north over the last 35 years. Because of the scope and efficiency of the detection system in place, Canada is spared from having to maintain a major military presence in this region. Canada's position and credibility concerning the demilitarization of the Arctic is therefore defensible.

Canada is also able, through NORAD, to obtain highly significant strategic information from our American allies which would otherwise be unavailable.

Our NORAD membership provides us with access to information concerning Canada, while sparing us the heavy expenditures related to developing, launching and maintaining such satellites.

NORAD also provides Canada with access to space monitoring technology, which is nothing to be sneezed at. That access takes a number of different forms, one of which is the training Canadian military personnel in American military installations.

The Bloc Quebecois sees another advantage in Canadian membership in NORAD: Canada's partnership with the Americans in aerospace defence has, undeniably, given it some clout with the U.S. in this field. Canada has some degree of control over what goes on in Canadian air space. Without NORAD, would it have been possible for us to defend ourselves against the designs the U.S. had on our air space? That is far from certain.

I would like to take advantage of this opportunity to indicate the Bloc's support of the government's recent commitment not to authorize any weapon deployment in Canadian air space.

While the Bloc does agree that the NORAD agreement has served Quebec's and Canada's interests well, and while it is prepared to support renewal for a further five years, this does not mean there are no changes to be made to it.

In fact, in its 1994 defence white paper, in connection with the renewal of the NORAD agreement, the government committed to "look closely into those areas which might require updating, given the new challenges to continental security".

The Bloc finds it most regrettable that the government has let slip the opportunity offered by renewal of the NORAD agreement to do as it had suggested in its own white paper: redefine the primary mission of that organization within the present international context. Why indeed has it not seized the opportunity afforded us here to make changes, such as an expansion of NORAD's mandate to enable it to support UN peacekeeping missions in the Americas.

In this regard, the Bloc Quebecois wrote in its dissenting report on the foreign policy review that Canada should review "its current military alliances and adapt them to strategic missions in accordance with the needs of the United Nations. This approach would inject new life into these organizations and would make them more effective in protecting safety and in resolving conflicts. It would also make it possible for Canada to meet its public security objectives, which are crucial to its own domestic security".

As regards UN regional peace missions in North America, could NORAD not help the UN with its mandate, in Haiti for example, by doing air surveillance? This new mandate for NORAD might help the UN increase its chances for successful peace missions in the region.

Furthermore, by supporting this new mission for NORAD, as proposed by the Bloc Quebecois, the government could tighten up its notion of collective security. It could thus play a more important role with the United States in this regard in North America.

The Bloc Quebecois also feels it is time the NORAD agreement was expanded to include our other American economic partners. We feel that NORAD could provide a valuable means of linking our economic and trading interests to our common interest in

security. This could ensure the sustainability of the incipient political stability in countries in Central and South America.

In this regard, we could start first by extending NORAD to Mexico, which is also a party to NAFTA, and then, little by little, to other countries, in South America. We could thus eventually end up with an alliance of the Americas. The aim of this alliance, essentially, would be to set up a common air, land and sea surveillance network. It would enable Canada to set up a tighter, and better co-ordinated defence structure at less cost to taxpayers.

NORAD could also be used to a greater extent in the fight against drug trafficking. It could be used more intensively against drug traffickers using Canadian and American airspace. And, if it were extended to other countries in the Americas, it could be put to greater use in their struggle against the drug trade.

Moreover, the new NORAD agreement should answer the Bloc Quebecois' legitimate concerns with regard to anti-missile defence. If, for instance, either party to the NORAD agreement wanted to develop and use new anti-missile defence technology, the other party should not only be consulted but also be in agreement.

By so doing, Canada would avoid finding itself in a situation where, even though consulted, it would be subject to American decisions in this area, which, let us not forget, is at the heart of today's nuclear deterrence strategy. A new NORAD agreement should also include clauses providing for environmental protection with respect to Northern military facilities. Furthermore, since the Canadian and American governments appointed negotiators, in February 1995, to deal with this issue, we would hope that by now a solution to this problem has been found and that it is reflected in the present NORAD agreement.

However, in the what we would consider regretable event that the Canadian government was unable to reach an agreement with our neighbours to the south, the Bloc Quebecois would urge it to engage in continuing negotiations without delay; eventually, such negotiations would be held on a regular basis. My party believes that the U.S. must pay its fair share of the costs to clean up these sites.

Lastly, Canada should make it very clear it is committed to promoting the demilitarization of Canada's North and to negotiating with Russia granting this region the same demilitarized zone status as Antarctica.

To conclude, I would say that, for the reasons I just mentioned, the Bloc Quebecois will support renewing the NORAD agreement. However, we believe it essential to make a number of changes and, in this respect, we ask the government to consider the official opposition's legitimate claims with an open mind.

North American Aerospacedefence Command
Government Orders

11:40 a.m.

Reform

Jim Hart Okanagan—Similkameen—Merritt, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise on behalf of the people of Okanagan-Similkameen-Merritt to speak in this take note debate on the motion:

That this House take note of the importance of the North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD) in the security and defence of North America, and of the government's intention to renew the NORAD agreement with the United States for a further five years.

This is the second take note debate in two weeks. Although I appreciate the spirit in which it is offered, there is a feeling in the House that these debates are nothing more than smoke and mirrors and that already a decision has been made by cabinet on this. The minister is shaking his head no but my mother told me that perception is everything. If that is not the case, then it is the minister's responsibility to make sure that the perception is changed. I leave the minister with that challenge. It is sometimes felt by opposition members and other members in the House that these debates are just an illusion and a charade and that the decision has already been made.

Our bilateral defence ties with the United States have been the single most important linchpin in Canada's defence network since World War II. NORAD is the most enduring symbol of these bilateral defence ties. Since the beginning of the cold war and the advent of the Soviet nuclear arsenal, it became readily apparent that North America was a single entity that could only be defended with co-operation between Canada and the United States.

In 1951 Canada permitted the United States strategic air command to place bases on Canadian soil. In addition Canada independently and in co-operation with the United States constructed the pinetree line of radar installations for North American surveillance. It was followed by the mid-Canada line and of course the DEW line.

In 1957 NORAD was formally established in an agreement that has been reviewed and renewed every five years since 1967. Due to the significant benefits Canada derives from NORAD, the Reform Party supports in principle the renewal of the NORAD agreement. NORAD was designed to simplify combined operations between the air forces of the United States and Canada during times of crisis or conflict. The primary objective of NORAD continues to be to use aerospace surveillance and air defences to assist each nation in safeguarding the sovereignty of its air space.

To those in the House and other Canadians who would ask why Canada should continue in NORAD in this post cold war era, the

answer is very simple: sovereignty. Sovereignty is a country's responsibility. We must ensure that no one violates our air space. This is the primary focus of NORAD, one that is independent of the demise of the Soviet Union.

Air sovereignty is defined as a nation's inherent right to exercise absolute control over air space above its territory. NORAD assists Canada and the U.S. in this undertaking through surveillance and control, the ability to detect, identify and if necessary to intercept unknown aircraft approaching North American air space. That is the reason Canada should renew this agreement.

In his remarks the Minister of Foreign Affairs made mention of the fact that most of the threats are gone in this post cold war era. I caution the minister to reassess his statements in that regard. With the end of the cold war the threats did not just disappear; they are still there. The minister called them residual stockpiles. By the end of the year 2000 up to 25 nations will have developed weapons of mass destruction. Some will have the technology to reach North America. We in the House must support sovereignty.

The greatest benefit the Canadian and U.S. governments derive from NORAD is the ability to share not only the responsibilities but the resources and the costs for continental security. It would be militarily impractical as well as inefficient for each nation to unilaterally perform NORAD's current missions and functions.

In Canada's case although air sovereignty control may be possible, the mission of air defence in depth would be difficult due to the country's large land mass and its small and, it seems every year, shrinking defence force. Other benefits to both nations include shared intelligence and technology, joint strategic planning for defence and the long tradition of binational co-operation and friendship. In short, Canada cannot go it alone. With our modest population and expansive territory, we must maintain our defence ties with the United States.

As a sovereign nation with NORAD, Canada must play its part and contribute combat capable forces for our mutual benefit. This is where the Liberal government has failed. The Liberal government is letting Canadians and our allies down. The Liberal government has again hit the defence budget with significant cuts. Defence spending will be reduced a further $800 million. Where does the government intend to make cuts in the defence budget? The answer is capital equipment, the very thing that our armed forces need to maintain our Canadian sovereignty.

The Liberal government has not been forthcoming enough to tell us what equipment it plans to eliminate. It could be more of our CF-18s. Maybe they will move from their current warm storage into cold storage or maybe will be mothballed completely. Those CF-18s are needed to intercept intruders or for a variety of other NORAD related systems. Regardless of what equipment goes, the end result will be less combat capability and less ability for Canada to protect its sovereignty.

Defence, deterrence and sovereignty are concepts that require combat capable forces if they are to be realized. Allies and potential aggressors alike must view our combat capabilities with respect. The $800 million in cuts to the defence budget will reduce not only our combat capabilities but the international respect Canada has fostered since World War II.

As a member from British Columbia, I will give a recent example which the Minister of Foreign Affairs also alluded to. Even our closest ally, the United States is losing respect for our sovereignty. I refer to a letter dated March 6 written by the hon. member for Skeena to the Prime Minister which states:

Dear Mr. Prime Minister,

I write to you on a matter of utmost urgency, which has serious implications to our national interest and our Pacific salmon fishery.

I refer to the passage of Congressional Amendments to the American Fisheries Protective Act in November of 1995. By this action, the U.S. Congress is seeking to prevent Canada from exercising unfettered jurisdiction over Canadian internal waters. This is a direct challenge to Canadian sovereignty and cannot be allowed to stand.

As I am sure you are aware, the American Congress has made a unilateral declaration of free passage for U.S. ships travelling through B.C.'s inside passage. This is preposterous and totally unacceptable.

Alaskan commercial fishermen continue to harvest Canadian salmon at levels which violate both the letter and spirit of the Pacific Salmon Treaty (1985). This is at the core of the American declaration for "free passage". It is a bully tactic, designed to both intimidate and remove any leverage Canada has in seeking a resolution to the Pacific salmon dispute, by imposing economic costs to American commercial vessels.

The actions of the American government do not call for diplomacy, but with a resolute declaration by you, as Prime Minister, that Canada will not in any way tolerate a challenge to its sovereignty over its internal waters. You must be prepared to back this declaration with a visible demonstration of our Nation's resolve. I strongly urge you to take the following actions:

  1. Immediately declare that this American legislation constitutes a direct threat to Canada's sovereignty and that it will not be tolerated.

  2. Declare Canada's position that any attempt by the U.S. Coastguard, or any other military force to enter Canadian internal waters to enforce their legislation, to be an act of invasion.

  3. Declare that any act of invasion will be treated as such and appropriate measures taken to counter it.

  4. Establish a Canadian naval presence in the Canadian territorial waters along B.C.'s coast, to deter any American breach of Canada's internal waters, unless authorized by Canada.

  5. In the absence of a fishing plan under the Pacific Salmon Treaty for 1996, announce passage fees for American fishing vessels at the same rate, or higher, than those levied over two years ago.

Mr. Prime Minister, it is vital to the interests of both B.C. and Canada that you act in a decisive and responsible manner. The American people have long been our good friends and neighbours. I am confident that this irresponsible act, on the part of a handful of politicians bowing to the American commercial fishing lobby, would never carry the judgment of the vast majority of American citizens. I am also confident that it will not carry the judgment of the international community. This is the act of bullies who would use intimidation and the veiled threat of force to get their way.

This is not a partisan issue. Strong leadership by you and your government is crucial at this time. If you take the actions listed above, or ones very similar, all of Canada will be behind you. If you do not, Canadian sovereignty will be diminished, our standing in the international community diminished and Canadian citizens demoralized.

I look forward to your actions on behalf of my constituents and all Canadians.

It seems odd at this very time when we are talking about protecting sovereignty around the world for North America that the only ones who are invading our sovereignty are the people with whom we hope to sign an agreement in a few short hours or days.

The Reform Party is pleased to support in principal, and I stress in principal, the extension of the NORAD agreement for another five years. With Canada's shrinking defence budget, it is imperative that we continue this agreement. NORAD is value added for the Canadian taxpayer. We benefit greatly from the agreement. This capability benefits peacekeeping forces around the world. It plays a vital role in drug interdiction and could also contribute to monitoring arms control and treaty compliance.

We are not pleased at the proposed massive cuts to the defence budget which will further undermine our armed forces, their combat capability and ultimately Canadian sovereignty. The government should be ashamed of the additional cuts to the defence budget. These cuts are not the result of deficit reduction but rather the result of the government's failure to balance the budget. This failure to balance the budget is not only undermining our social programs but Canada's national security and sovereignty as well.

The Liberals are sending a strong signal to our allies that Canadians are freeloaders and not prepared to contribute to our mutual defence. This is the wrong signal to be sending. It is one that will call into question our position as a middle power and a reliable partner.

I suggest to the Liberal government that unless we maintain our military capability which can adequately defend our sovereignty, we will have more incidents such as we see in B.C. with the U.S. declaring B.C.'s inside passage to be an international waterway. We ask that the Liberal government express to the United States our concern and determination to maintain Canadian sovereignty over the B.C. inside passage.

We would hope that in the tradition of shared resources with the United States and the friendship and co-operation which has been expressed over the years that those qualities can be maintained with the settlement of this most recent irritant and that Canada will continue to support the common interests of sovereignty with the United States and not work against them. We hope that can be accomplished with respect to the signing of the NORAD agreement.

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Noon

Don Valley East
Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette Minister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to take part in the debate for the NORAD renewal. I am pleased that both the Bloc Quebecois and the Reform Party have given their general support to the renewal of the agreement, although I am perplexed at the convoluted logic of the last speaker, the critic for the Reform Party.

In one breath he is supporting the NORAD renewal but in another he is issuing a virtual declaration of war against the United States for incursions the Americans are allegedly making on the west coast militarily. That will bring some smiles, if not in Washington certainly in the parliamentary press gallery.

Another point raised is that the debate is somehow irrelevant. That could not be further from the truth. Cabinet has not looked at this issue. There has been no debate and therefore it is totally wrong to say that what is being said here today will have no influence on ministers when they look at the agreement.

I urge the House to support the renewal of the North American Aerospace Defence Command or NORAD agreement. The reason I want this agreement, which served the interests of this country and this continent well, to be renewed is because I am confident that, in this regard, the government is supported by most Canadians and by the vast majority of members. Incidentally, my colleagues and myself are very grateful for this support.

Throughout the cold war, this Canada-U.S. partnership for the aerospace defence of North America faced the greatest threats that defence technology could devise. NORAD waited and watched, always ready to sound the alarm and intervene. This task, however mundane, was necessary and if it went largely unnoticed, it is precisely because it was so successful.

Today the cold war is over and there is no immediate threat to Canada. Hon. members are correct to assert that. However, it would be a mistake to conclude that Canada can go without defences. Although the challenges facing us have changed and laudable

progress has been achieved in arms control, not all dangers have been eliminated. Dangers continue to be posed by the huge remaining stockpiles of nuclear weapons, by the proliferation of advanced military technology, by the transfer of technologies to rogue regimes and by the growing importance of space in military operations.

That is why the House of Commons and Senate special joint committee on defence drew attention to the instability in the world when it brought forward its recommendations in the fall 1994. These instabilities were reflected in the white paper the government issued in December of that year.

None of the dangers we have been talking about is of an immediate threat to North America, but in a world characterized by turbulence and uncertainty all of the dangers are real. Despite the emergence of a new international order, prudence dictates we must maintain an adequate aerospace defence capability for the longer term.

NORAD's basic missions, early warning and the preservation of air sovereignty, are and must remain unchanged. That said, the NORAD agreement we placed before the House today has been substantially revised to meet today's specific conditions and to anticipate future requirements.

NORAD has adapted to the new geopolitical and financial realities, in that the agreement was substantially rationalized to make it much more affordable. Since the agreement was last renewed in 1991, spending has been greatly reduced and other savings are contemplated.

The agreement remains vital to Canada's defence and economic interests, to the establishment of close and harmonious relations between Canada and the U.S., as well as to international peace and stability.

The NORAD agreement is the most important and most visible bilateral agreement on security and defence that Canada has entered into with the United States. It was originally signed on May 12, 1958, and it has since been renewed, extended seven times, the latest renewal dating back to 1991 and carrying us over to May 12, 1996.

Canada-U.S. co-operation for the defence of North America was already well established long before 1958; after the French were defeated in 1940, Canada and the U.S. established a permanent joint board to oversee defence planning and commitments.

A point of particular relevance to this discussion should also be mentioned. During the years immediately following the second world war, the U.S. air force and the Royal Canadian Air Force began working together to ward off the launching of an attack on the continental air space.

This co-operation was inevitable. General Charles Foulkes, the chair of the Canadian joint chiefs of staff from 1951 to 1960, once wrote: "There were no boundaries upstairs and the most direct air routes to the United States' major targets were through Canada. Therefore air defence was to be a joint effort from the start".

The original NORAD agreement put in place a binational command structure for fighter defence against long range Soviet bombers. In the mid-1960's the emphasis shifted from air defence to attack warning and characterization of attack in response to the emergence of nuclear tipped intercontinental ballistic missiles, ICBMs, as the primary threat to the North American continent.

The 1975 renewal of the agreement redefined NORAD's mandate in the following way. First, it was to assist Canada and the U.S. in safeguarding sovereign air space. Second, it was to contribute to deterrence by providing attack warning and assessment of aerospace attack. Third, it was to ensure an appropriate response against air attack if required. NORAD has retained these missions in all subsequent renewals.

Since 1975 there have been only two major modifications to the NORAD agreement. In 1981 NORAD changed its name from the North American air defence command to the North American aerospace defence command in keeping with the new emphasis on warning against ballistic missiles.

In 1991 the definition of air sovereignty was expanded to include detection and monitoring of aircraft suspected of drug trafficking. Canada's contribution to NORAD includes aircraft surveillance assets, infrastructure and personnel, which represent almost 10 per cent of NORAD's total cost.

Our annual expenditures include the cost of some 790 personnel working at NORAD headquarters at Cheyenne mountain operation centres on airborne early warning aircraft, at a variety of sensor sites and in NORAD air defence operations. Canada's four operational CF-18 squadrons have NORAD responsibilities on a rotating basis with two squadrons, one in the east and one in the west, out of Cold Lake and out of Bagotville, on designated state alert at any one time.

In recent years the reduced threat of air attack against North America has necessitated the alert state's being reduced significantly. Should there be a crisis or war that threatens North America, two squadrons of CF-18s would be assigned to NORAD for the joint defence of Canada and the U.S. Additional resources could be assigned to the defence of the continent if required.

The hon. Reform critic said the recent budget cuts in national defence could somehow impair our commitment to NORAD. We would not be bringing this agreement for renewal if we did not think we had the capability, notwithstanding the defence budget cuts, to deliver on our capability. The hon. member should be assured that we do have the capability and will retain the capability in that regard.

In addition to the availability of the CF-18s, the Canadian NORAD region headquarters at North Bay operates the Canadian portion of the North warning system, four coastal radars and four forward operating locations to support fighter operations in Canada's north.

Like previous governments, the current Canadian government agrees that our country's aerospace defence needs may be very effectively and efficiently satisfied through NORAD. Early in 1994, the external affairs minister and myself instructed our officials to undertake preliminary discussions with their American counterparts regarding a possible extension of the NORAD agreement beyond 1996.

We were in complete support of the goals and principles of the existing NORAD agreement, but we had come to the conclusion that it had to be adjusted to meet present and future defence needs. From the very start, we were determined to have substantial changes made to ensure that the agreement is streamlined and brought up to date in preparation for the next century.

Our first and most fundamental concern was the wording of the agreement. We felt it should more closely reflect the real world. The gist of it has not changed since 1981, in spite of the fact that the nature of North American aerospace defence has changed drastically. A new strategic framework has emerged since the cold war between east and west. In this framework, while the threat is greatly reduced, new challenges require a new approach and greater flexibility than before, when our present and future needs were set strictly by the cold war.

The government also wanted to make sure that NORAD's mandate would be clearly set out. It also was of the opinion that a consultation process be established that would allow Canada to state its views to the United States in a more formal setting. Thus, the missions would be discussed on a regular basis and, if necessary, they would evolve very naturally.

While these Canadian-American exploratory talks were underway the parliamentary committees independently reviewing Canada's foreign defence policies fully endorsed the renewal of NORAD. They did so in the context of the threat being diminished to North American airspace but not eliminated.

The government followed the reports with strong statements of its own in favour of NORAD in two documents, "Canada and the World", the foreign policy white paper, and the 1994 defence white paper. In that document we spelled out in explicit terms the fundamental role that collective defence plays in our security, indeed in our sense of ourselves as a people and as responsible citizens of the world. The white paper pointed out we are bound to our allies in Europe and the United States by political values, interests and traditions we wish to support and foster.

It is for that reason that Canada has participated in the implementation force under NATO in Bosnia. I was pleased last weekend to be with the Canadian men and women serving in that theatre who are doing a remarkable job in a short period of time to help bring peace and stability to Bosnia. This is a historic mission because it is the first time NATO has actually taken on an operational assignment in its 50-year history. It has shown that the command and control, the lessons of preparation of the last 50 years have stood the organization in good stead for its operational effectiveness which I saw last weekend.

There are practical benefits to collective defence such as standardized equipment and procedures and the accumulated experience of joint and combined operations. I certainly saw that last weekend. These practical benefits are valuable in our continuing efforts in support of collective security.

Alliances dismantled in peacetime may be difficult to revive when a crisis occurs. That is why we have to keep our involvement in multilateral organizations such as NATO and why we must renew the NORAD agreement.

It seems obvious enough but somehow this lesson was forgotten twice in this century when political leaders not only in Canada but among our allies allowed the defence establishment to run down to such a level that it was ill prepared when crisis came.

Despite the compressions in the defence budget, we are absolutely determined to keep a combat capable force with new equipment, a lean and efficient military that will serve our interests and will be the effective cadre, together with a revitalized reserve force, for mobilization should we be called on to go into a major conflict.

In the 1994 report of the special joint committee on Canada's defence policy there was an articulation of our wider international responsibilities as a country:

If we believe that Canada stands for values that are worth promoting in a larger world, we must be prepared to invest resources and commit Canadian troops in defence of those values. If we are not prepared to do so then what do we stand for as a country?

When President Clinton visited Ottawa in February of last year, he and the Prime Minister reaffirmed the intention of both

countries to renew the NORAD agreement. In the same month, I visited NORAD headquarters and toured the operation centre at Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado in the company of my colleague, the Secretary of Defence, William Perry.

During that tour, I was really impressed by the continuing necessity of a co-operative, high level aerospace defence function for our two countries and by the competence and dedication of the Canadian and American personnel serving there. These people work side by side in an integrated command structure for the security of our continent. They truly reflect the special relationship that Canada and the United States has developed over 39 years of close co-operation.

Therefore, as the men and women of Canada work, sleep and enjoy their lives, a group of men and women are still, in this age of diminished threat, constantly on watch for any threat against North American air space.

Canadian and American officials continued to meet on NORAD renewal dossiers throughout most of last year. This has resulted in the agreement that we hope to sign. I hope MPs will be pleased by the extent to which the final draft reflects Canada's negotiating aims. I know the critics for the Reform and the Bloc Quebecois have been brought up to speed on the agreement. Briefly I want to touch on a couple of points before I sit down.

The agreement transforms NORAD from a cold war defence arrangement to an international accord for the 1990s and beyond. The agreement's definition of the strategic environment as it affects North America is entirely new. It stresses the revolutionary change brought about by the end of the cold war and the progress that has been made in nuclear arms control.

However, at the same time, it notes that the world has not become suddenly safe.

As I have already said, the threat posed by ballistic missiles may no longer be an imminent one. Nonetheless, we must take into consideration the fact that there are still large stockpiles of such weapons. We must also take into account current and future strategic developments that could impact on the security of North America's airspace. For example, I am thinking of the proliferation of mass destruction weapons and their delivery vehicles, not to mention the increasing use of space for military purposes.

The new text of the agreement also provides that Canada and the United States must work together to monitor and control non-military air traffic in North-American skies. This joint effort is necessary to deal with the increase in legitimate air traffic, and also with air access to North America for illegal purposes such as drug trafficking.

To ensure government transparency as well as clarity in terms of its goal and its policy, the agreement provides, as regards NORAD missions, the most detailed definition ever included in a public document.

These missions are twofold. The first is aerospace warning, including identification of aircraft or missile threat with the potential of striking North America and the monitoring of man-made objects in space and the detection, validation and forewarning of attack, whether by aircraft, missiles or space vehicles, using mutual support arrangements with other commands.

Second, aerospace control, which includes providing effective surveillance and control of North American air space from routine peacetime surveillance through a defence attack from aircraft or cruise missiles.

Before I conclude, I am pleased to announce a heightened level of agreed consultation between the two governments and on a formal mechanism for the consultation on developments with implications for aerospace.

As my colleague, the Minister of Foreign Affairs has said, any of those disagreements or clarifications will be sent to the permanent joint board on defence. I am pleased to note that the chairman of the board has been re-appointed for another term and is a member of the House, the hon. member for Parkdale-High Park, who has done a terrific job over the last year, ensuring Canada's interests.

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12:20 p.m.

Bloc

Osvaldo Nunez Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to put a question to the defence minister about the demilitarization of the Arctic. I am familiar with the situation in the Antarctic, to the south of Chile and Argentina, which the international community agreed to recognize as a demilitarized zone. Everything went very well; every state with some territories in the Antarctic, as well as all of the international community I think, agreed to co-operate.

What is the position of the Canadian government on the demilitarization of the Arctic? Is the government ready to open discussions with Russia on this issue? I would like to see the Arctic demilitarized in the years to come.

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12:20 p.m.

Liberal

David Collenette Don Valley East, ON

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member talks of his earlier life in Chile and of the demilitarization of the Antarctic region. This was possible because the same degree of international threat was not prevalent.

The Canadian Arctic and the Arctic generally was for 50 years the potential battleground between the Soviet Union and the United

States, Canada and its allies. Therefore, strategically the Arctic has historically occupied a different place in geopolitics.

The goal was for demilitarization in general. In a perfect world we would not need armies, air forces or navies. We would all be peaceful people and get along with each other. However it is somewhat naive to believe that we are even close to that state in the world. In fact, as we are debating, we see potential hostile acts occurring off the coast of China with respect to exercises by that government. That shows the level of threat is everywhere, not just in the Arctic but around the world.

With respect to the Arctic, we have to be prudent. We have to realize that our security has to be protected and we must recognize that means a military presence through warning systems and communication devices in the Arctic until such time as the threat over the Arctic is diminished.

This is not particularly my field, but I am sure the Minister of Foreign Affairs would say that even while we still look forward to maintaining our defence over the Arctic, we can still work with countries such as Russia and others who have an interest in the Arctic to make sure that pollution is controlled and environmental concerns generally are respected.

Moving forward with this agreement does not preclude movement on those fronts.

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12:20 p.m.

Bloc

Stéphane Bergeron Verchères, QC

Mr. Speaker, I listened carefully to the minister. At the beginning of his speech, he referred to comments some hon. members from this side of the House have made so far, including me, about how this debate will really influence the decision the government is about to make or will make in the next few days concerning the renewal of the NORAD agreement.

I was pleased to hear the minister say, and I am ready to believe him, that this debate is relevant and that the government intends to take into consideration what is said in today's debate when the time comes to make a decision.

However, I cannot help but be a little sceptical. In his speech, the minister described the process which will ultimately lead to the renewal of the NORAD agreement. He described the whole process. So, I am a little bewildered, since the negotiations with our American partners are over and, from what I hear, the Minister of Foreign Affairs is expected to travel to Washington to sign the agreement very shortly, on the 13th or 14th of this month.

Therefore, following today's debate, can the government really take into consideration all the information and the suggestions we have for them? I put the same question to the Minister of Foreign Affairs earlier, but, unfortunately, his speech was not followed by a question and comment period, so he could not answer. Maybe the Minister of National Defence will provide the House with an answer.

Technically, is it possible for the government, following this debate, to reopen the negotiations with our American partners in order to include a number of recommendations made by members from Quebec and elsewhere in Canada, including the ones I made about the demilitarization of the Arctic and the integration of new member states in the NORAD agreement? Is it possible to reopen the negotiations on some of these issues before the agreement is to be signed? Or is this only an exercise in futility, where we debate the NORAD agreement, knowing full well that, in the end, not a lot can be changed before the agreement is ratified?

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12:25 p.m.

Liberal

David Collenette Don Valley East, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am somewhat distressed at the cynicism the hon. member displays in his question.

The debate today is the conclusion of a two-year process in this Parliament of discussing NORAD renewal. His colleague, the hon. member for Charlesbourg, the critic for the Bloc Quebecois, was on the special joint committee on defence and NORAD was discussed. In fact, committee members may have even visited Colorado Springs and certainly got full briefings on North American air defence.

We have had other discussions of NORAD at the parliamentary committee during the estimates when the chief of staff, other military officials and public servants have been present. Today is a full day's debate on the discussions that we have had with the U.S. on the draft agreement. The critics of the other parties have been fully briefed.

The hon. member talks of being inspired, and if indeed there are inspiring insights that are revealed today in the debate, yes, they will be taken into account by the government. We can still go back to our American colleagues and say that we had a debate in the House of Commons and an interesting point was raised on this particular item which we feel should be taken into account before the agreement is signed.

Knowing the co-operative nature of discussions that have gone on between the Americans and the Canadians, I am sure we would be able to reflect those concerns in the final document.

Perhaps the hon. member lives in a somewhat cynical world. I live in a much more idealistic world which says that when the government comes to the House of Commons and says it really and sincerely wants to hear from hon. members, the transcript will be looked at. Officials are listening to the debate, watching television, and all those comments will be taken into account before the agreement goes to cabinet and is signed.

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12:25 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Marc Jacob Charlesbourg, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak on the government motion to renew the NORAD agreement. As my colleague from Verchères has already pointed out, along with the ministers of foreign affairs and defence, this is a longstanding agreement due to be renewed in May 1996.

All speakers have agreed on the agreement's beneficial effects in a variety of areas, as well as on its role in advanced observation, detection and surveillance of air space.

I am sure all members are aware that, without the NORAD agreement and the U.S. financial contribution, Canada could never have afforded such a sophisticated and effective facility in the north. Clearly, as my colleague has already pointed out, the Bloc Quebecois totally supports renewal of the NORAD agreement.

As I have already stated, this agreement has provided Canada with heightened surveillance potential at an affordable cost, as well as a wealth of information. For instance, I have in mind satellite surveillance. Canada made no financial contribution to it, but access under the NORAD agreement, and receives information of undeniable usefulness to a variety of fields.

I think what has been said indicates clearly, however, that there is unanimous agreement that NORAD itself is a child of the cold war, dating back to a time when there was a threat of Russian invasion of North America, with bombers or medium to long range ballistic missiles. I will spare you the various names attached to the metre per second performance or the range of each missile according to their classification. This was the threat that gave rise to the NORAD agreement during the cold war.

Later, agreements between the U.S. and Russia were signed at the end of the cold war, which put an end to missile detection and altered NORAD's role to some extent. I think this year's renewal will bring a new shift. Clearly as the minister or even my colleague for Verchères has said, we cannot simply drop this agreement.

Obviously, if the government decided to abolish the radar installations in the north on the grounds that, with the NORAD agreement, satellite detection would be sufficient, we would no longer need these infrastructures. It is nevertheless a facility paid for, as I said earlier, in part by Canada and in part by the United States, which therefore has meant the latest high efficiency equipment and which should continue to operate in order to provide air surveillance.

Although the Soviet threat disappeared following the end of the cold war, air space surveillance remains a priority, to my mind, but not perhaps because of the potential threat of invasion. I was listening to the minister earlier, who said that Canada will retain full military capability in order to defend its sovereignty.

I always chuckle a bit when I hear that, because experts, even those from the Department of National Defence, have often said that, with our long coastline and our huge air space over both Canadian and Quebec territory, we have neither the resources nor the funds needed to go at it alone and defend our sovereignty.

It is a bit unrealistic to think that we alone can defend our immense territory despite budget cuts, which could have in fact been even somewhat more substantial than those the minister announced this year. Even if the budget were increased, we would never have what it takes to defend our immense air space and coastline on our own. We need only look at NORAD.

I believe that, under this kind of arrangement, Canada has done what it could, agreeing that the Americans would provide technology and funds in exchange for using the Canadian territory to monitor the North American air space.

The reopening of this agreement between two countries negotiating according to their resources reminds me of what we mentioned in our dissenting report on the defence policy review, that is that Canada should conclude alliances or agreements and supply only what it is able to supply, given its financial resources.

As I said before, those who believe that we can defend our territory with the limited resources we have right now are dreaming, especially in today's economic climate. Through its reputation, its participation in peacekeeping missions and diplomatic negotiations, Canada is offering its partners, its allies all it can financially.

I believe that Canada cannot afford to withdraw from NORAD, which has been very profitable for both Canada and the United States, especially in financial terms.

At this point, I would like to add that, unfortunately, when we reviewed the defence policy, we touched only briefly on the NORAD agreement. We met with Defence representatives who explained the 1991 agreement and the changes made since then.

The Bloc Quebecois said on several occasions both on the foreign affairs committee and the committee in charge of reviewing defence policy that the NORAD agreement should be expanded in terms of its role, its mission and its partners.

I believe that the minister has redefined its role very well; its role is to provide early warning and to monitor air space, which in Canada includes searching for civilian aircraft that might be involved in drug trafficking. I believe that in this respect the United States has been slower to act than Canada. During talks on this new agreement and at the time of signing, I think Canada should suggest an increase in membership, their involvement being in

accordance with their military or financial potential, and also some changes in the role of NORAD.

It is often said in military circles that some agreements should not be abandoned in time of peace, that we should not demilitarize in peace time; we should not lose our combat capability, because should a conflict arise we would have problems restoring the severed links or the cancelled agreements.

I recognize that we could call this being wary of any potential conflict. However, I think we should remember that North America itself never had any wars, but always participated with its allies in the search for solutions to various conflicts. I believe the role of Canada, Quebec and the United States is to continue in that direction.

However, I would like to say, because it was mentioned by the Bloc Quebecois in its minority report, that there is currently a war which, in my opinion, might be more deadly, more real and more obvious that any hypothetical cataclysm or conflict which could bring about loss of human lives, and I am thinking about the drug problem, the problem of drug trafficking, mainly in the U.S., but also in Canada.

We know that the detection systems of NORAD could be applied to the fight against drug traffickers with great effectiveness. According to information coming from the Department of National Defence we are about to acquire a new coastal system which would allow detection as far as 250 miles from shore, and this would be useful to monitor both fishing activities and drug smuggling.

Unfortunately, neither the Americans nor the Canadians seem willing to acknowledge the financial and human problems, the society problems, created by drugs coming into the country in scores of places, because of the vastness of the North American territory. I find it hard to understand how we can contemplate spending money on things like equipment, weapons, antitank missiles, radars, perhaps even helicopters and antisubmarine equipment, when the social fabric in large metropolitan areas, especially in the U.S. and Canada, is disintegrating before our very eyes-because of the mafia's growing influence, among other things-when we could make very effective use of NORAD's monitoring capabilities, including satellite and AWACS surveillance, the DEW line and even coastal radars, to detect any small boat or aircraft that could then be intercepted very easily.

Instead, we see the potential for invasion. It is in this regard that I question the real evolution of NORAD. Canada has very often-even more often than the U.S.-taken part in missions in various parts of Europe, Africa and Asia. Although North America is not experiencing any conflict like that in Europe, there is still a kind of plague that, in the last 30 years, has killed in my opinion as many if not more people than all the conflicts elsewhere on this planet, and yet we do nothing about it.

I find it somewhat puzzling that we are not using our defence capabilities to address a very serious social problem as well as negotiating and refining agreements with other countries to address this problem.

In closing, like my colleague for Verchères, I would like to tell the minister-who told us that, for all practical purposes, negotiations had been completed but that we could still make suggestions-that I hope he will take into consideration the Bloc Quebecois' suggestions, which I feel are very important. First, allow more countries to join NORAD, broaden NORAD's role and mission without focusing on potential star wars or invaders, but continue to use this defence technology infrastructure. I would also suggest some civilian or parliamentary monitoring of these defence partnerships which, I think, could be very useful to American society.

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12:45 p.m.

Perth—Wellington—Waterloo
Ontario

Liberal

John Richardson Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, it was a pleasure to hear the hon. member for Charlesbourg make positive comments about the NORAD agreement and the possibility of its enlargement.

Of even more pleasure to my ears was to hear the hon. member for Charlesbourg talk about support of the integrity of Canadian sovereignty. I emphasize the words he used on Canadian sovereignty and the membership in this by all sovereignists together in a united Canada. I do not know if he meant it, but that is the way it came across to me. I thank him for that support. We are all working toward it.

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12:45 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Marc Jacob Charlesbourg, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is unfortunate that the hon. member took what said that way, because that is not at all what I meant. I even stated in my speech that Canada should not consider preserving its sovereignty, or so-called territorial integrity, all by itself. I had no such thing in mind. What the parliamentary secretary was suggesting is that, deep down in my speech, one could read that I stood for Canadian unity. Far be it from me to address constitutional issues while dealing with the NORAD agreement. I was speaking as a citizen of Quebec, of Canada and of North America.

I regret that, in a discussion of capital importance in my view, elements of a political game are introduced that do not have their place in considering an international agreement like this one. I would suggest that the parliamentary secretary keep his digs for our upcoming discussions at the defence committee.

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12:45 p.m.

Perth—Wellington—Waterloo
Ontario

Liberal

John Richardson Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I am sharing my time with the hon. member for Pontiac-Gatineau-Labelle.

I perused the opposition member's statement on sovereignty.

I welcome the opportunity to participate in the debate on the renewal of the North American aerospace defence command, or NORAD agreement. NORAD has been one of the pillars of the Canadian-American defence relationship for nearly 40 years. It symbolizes the long tradition of friendship and co-operation which exists between Canada and the United States.

Throughout the cold war NORAD provided our countries with effective means of defending the North American continent against possible air attack. It also proved to be a highly flexible agreement adapting to meet new threats. I will take this opportunity to trace the evolution of NORAD and in particular to discuss the ways it evolved to meet today's challenges.

With this new agreement the government will equip NORAD to deal with new domestic and international circumstances while at the same time preserving the benefits of our longstanding co-operation with the United States in the aerospace defence field.

After the second world war, the cold war gave rise to a new threat, that of an intercontinental bomber force capable of launching a nuclear attack on North America.

That is what prompted Canada and the United States to deploy forces to counter this threat. However, the level of co-operation between the our two countries in terms of continental air defence remained limited for some years.

Things changed in 1958, with the signing of the NORAD agreement, which integrated Canadian and American air defence resources.

Our governments had come to recognize that it was much more efficient and effective to work together to ensure air defence. And they still think so.

Over the years the original mission of NORAD which was to control entry into sovereign air space, to provide a warning of attack and to respond to the attack if necessary, has been modified to keep pace with the changing weapons technologies. From 1958 to 1962 NORAD focused on defending against bombers. NORAD employed American and Canadian interceptor aircraft, American air defence artillery and Canadian based surface to air missiles. Our collective radar resources at the time consisted of the Canadian based distance early warning, mid-Canada and pinetree lines as well as some United States based radar systems.

In 1962 as the superpowers kicked their ballistic missile programs into high gear, NORAD adjusted its operational posture to that of deterrence. Although NORAD still had to contend with the bomber threat, its main focus shifted to missile warning, space intelligence and target identification. The mid-Canada line was dismantled and the pinetree line and the United States radar systems were reduced. As well, the number of American and Canadian interceptor aircraft were reduced from 1,600 to 500.

In the 1980s, the development of cruise missiles that could be launched from aircraft or submarines once again changed the nature of the threat hanging over North America. At the operational level, NORAD continued to put the emphasis on the same elements, but it made some changes regarding the deployment of its forces.

For example, forward operating locations in Canada's north were organized so that NORAD's airplanes could intercept cruise missile carrying aircraft before they could launch their missiles.

It was also during this period in 1981 that NORAD changed its name from North American Air Defence Command to the North American Aerospace Defence Command, reflecting the new emphasis on the space based satellites to warn against missiles.

At the end of the cold war NORAD has entered yet another stage in its development. The end of the superpower rivalry lifted the shadow of a nuclear Armageddon and for now eliminated the threat of attack against the North American continent. But the new strategic environment remains far from stable. Weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery still exist and their proliferation especially among rogue states could in time pose a major threat to North America. Facing an uncertain future, we cannot afford to let down our guard completely. NORAD therefore still has a role to play in preserving our security.

Under the new agreement, giving the alert in case of an aerospace attack against North America will continue to be NORAD's main mission, along with the surveillance and control of North America's air space, including legal and illegal air traffic. NORAD must also continue to evolve, and the new agreement will ensure that it is the case.

Canada and the United States have already decided to reduce operating levels for air defence and ground based radar surveillance for our northern approaches. However we will maintain the capability to conduct the appropriate levels of operations at full readiness should the need arise.

Should a strategic threat to the continent arise in the future, we will have enough equipment, infrastructure and expertise to build up our NORAD forces again. Canada currently contributes 720 personnel to NORAD as well as a number of CF-18 aircraft on continuous air sovereignty alert.

NORAD will remain a flexible arrangement that can take on new roles as circumstances dictate. The new agreement will stress the importance of close consultation between our two governments as NORAD moves into the 21st century.

NORAD remains a pillar of North America's security system. It also remains a highly effective and economical defence agreement.

NORAD was set up almost 40 years ago. Canadian and U.S. governments still feel that it makes more sense to accomplish together the missions and the duties of that command.

Since Canada's territory is very wide and since our armed forces are relatively limited in numbers, it would very difficult for us to conduct aerospace defence operations alone.

Although control of our air sovereignty would be possible, air defence would be difficult. Canada also depends entirely on the assistance of the United States to provide warning of ballistic missile attack both at home and in other theatres where Canadians could be threatened. For example, during the gulf war, Canadians in the Persian Gulf donned protective gear and gathered in shelters after receiving warnings based on NORAD assessments of impending scud missile attacks.

North American Aerospacedefence Command
Government Orders

12:55 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The member's time has expired. Questions or comments.

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Cape Breton Highlands—Canso
Nova Scotia

Liberal

Francis Leblanc Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, my question is: Would the member please conclude his remarks.

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12:55 p.m.

Liberal

John Richardson Perth—Wellington—Waterloo, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canada also benefits greatly from American intelligence, technology and expertise, all of which help us maintain essential military capabilities. We must not forget that NORAD is a cost effective exercise for Canada.

Our annual contribution to NORAD is only 10 per cent of total costs. Should it decide to assume alone its aerospace defence, the costs to Canada would be prohibitive.

Moreover, only 12 per cent of NORAD's total operation costs are related to headquarters. The rest is directly related to NORAD's operational activities. In other words, NORAD uses its resources efficiently.

In conclusion, shared values and interests have made Canada and the United States trusted friends and allies. Our defence partnership stands out in this respect. Our defence relations have been close and always successful. NORAD is a case in point. The challenge of co-ordinating activities of two air forces against a wide range of threats has never been easy but NORAD has proven equal to the task.

NORAD's success can be traced above all to its flexibility. Although its basic objectives have endured over the years, NORAD has responded to an evolving strategic assessment. Canadian forces personnel associated with NORAD have performed an essential national service over the years with skill and dedication. This new agreement gives them the opportunity to continue this service.