Evidence of meeting #67 for National Defence in the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was nato.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Walter Dorn  Professor, Royal Military College of Canada, Department of Defence Studies, As an Individual

3:50 p.m.

Conservative

David Yurdiga Conservative Fort McMurray—Cold Lake, AB

How much time do I have left?

3:50 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Stephen Fuhr

You have two minutes.

3:50 p.m.

Conservative

David Yurdiga Conservative Fort McMurray—Cold Lake, AB

Ukraine has expressed a sincere desire to join NATO and is working very hard to achieve that, but the concern is the conflict. Is it possible for Ukraine to join NATO when Crimea and the Donbass region are conflict areas? We see North Korea, and that's never ending. Is it possible for Ukraine to become an active NATO member when foreign forces are on their soil?

3:55 p.m.

Professor, Royal Military College of Canada, Department of Defence Studies, As an Individual

Prof. Walter Dorn

I would advise caution against this. You don't want Ukraine to become the start of World War III. At the same time, there's so much more that we can do to help Ukraine to reach out through the partnership for peace program and other activities to make Ukraine more secure. I don't advise giving Ukraine article 5 protection, but at the same time we should be doing much more to enhance their security.

3:55 p.m.

Conservative

David Yurdiga Conservative Fort McMurray—Cold Lake, AB

Okay.

I realize that you did a lot of work with the UN, and I'm not sure how much Canada is doing with its current peacekeeping missions. Do you know how many Canadian soldiers are currently deployed in some sort of peacekeeping mission?

3:55 p.m.

Professor, Royal Military College of Canada, Department of Defence Studies, As an Individual

Prof. Walter Dorn

Sure. The answer is only 29. It's the lowest point in Canadian peacekeeping history. I've been tracking the figures for over a decade and a half, and at our maximum we had 3,300, but this government has brought the peacekeeping numbers down to just 29 military personnel and 44 police, for a total of 73 uniformed personnel.

I'm hoping an announcement is coming soon, but the facts on the ground are that this is a very minimal contribution, smaller than what was provided by the previous government.

3:55 p.m.

Conservative

David Yurdiga Conservative Fort McMurray—Cold Lake, AB

Okay. Thank you.

3:55 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Stephen Fuhr

Thank you.

Mr. Garrison is next.

November 1st, 2017 / 3:55 p.m.

NDP

Randall Garrison NDP Esquimalt—Saanich—Sooke, BC

Thank you, Dr. Dorn, for being here today.

I read with interest the piece you and Dr. Stodilka presented, called “Beyond Troops: Canadian Contributions to NATO in Three Areas Outside of Military Operations”. I guess I'd have to say I was very disappointed—not in your report, but very disappointed that Canada originated these ideas but now is not making significant contributions to them, including the NATO science for peace and security program, the Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Centre, and the centres of excellence.

Could you tell us briefly about the trajectory? What has happened to our contributions? Has there been a slow decline? Has there been any difference between the previous Conservative government and the Liberal government, or have we just let it wither away?

3:55 p.m.

Professor, Royal Military College of Canada, Department of Defence Studies, As an Individual

Prof. Walter Dorn

Seeing my colleagues in the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces, I realize that they find they don't have enough positions to fill all of the “out-Can”—outside-of-Canada—positions. In some cases it's a question of providing the brass—that is, the generals or admirals who are required. A limit is placed on them such that they can't actually do all the co-operation they want to do in taking major roles in these three activities that you mentioned.

The small participation of Canada in the science for peace and security program is definitely disappointing, but it's also partly the fault of our scientific community. It's not their fault explicitly; rather, it's just that they don't know about these opportunities.

Ukraine is a country that has a fantastic scientific history in fields such as engineering and the development of aircraft. There's so much potential in that country. There are scientists who had well-developed programs in something like 16 universities in the Donbass region, and these scientists are now looking for work, looking for projects. We have to be careful. If we don't help find work for them, they may go where the dollar is and end up doing projects that will in the long run be harmful to the security of Canada and the world and our allies.

I'd say it's very important to engage in the science for peace and security program, and that's why we proposed an awareness-raising activity of a NATO science for peace and security information day. NATO has done these. Actually, it has done one in Ukraine already, or maybe more, and it's something that we could do in Canada.

3:55 p.m.

NDP

Randall Garrison NDP Esquimalt—Saanich—Sooke, BC

At the beginning of your opening remarks you talked about your belief that NATO and the UN are complementary. When this committee was at NATO headquarters in Brussels, a press release was issued on the non-proliferation treaty, which I guess implied that it was contradictory to NATO's purposes to have a non-proliferation treaty—

3:55 p.m.

Professor, Royal Military College of Canada, Department of Defence Studies, As an Individual

Prof. Walter Dorn

Do you mean the nuclear prohibition treaty?

3:55 p.m.

NDP

Randall Garrison NDP Esquimalt—Saanich—Sooke, BC

Yes, it's the nuclear prohibition treaty; I'm sorry.

Can you tell us whether, in your view, there's anything that would make the prohibition treaty incompatible with NATO membership?

3:55 p.m.

Professor, Royal Military College of Canada, Department of Defence Studies, As an Individual

Prof. Walter Dorn

I don't believe it's incompatible with membership in a legal domain, but NATO has been relying on nuclear weapons since the dawn of NATO, and so NATO has tried to express solidarity over nuclear weapons over the decades. This has been an obstacle to some countries that were really trying to get rid of nuclear weapons and taking more what I call “progressive” positions on nuclear disarmament. There are some strong-arm tactics by the U.S. government to try to make sure that the commitment to nuclear weapons isn't watered down. It's in NATO's strategic concept, renewed in 2012.

When the Liberal government under Prime Minister Chrétien, with Lloyd Axworthy, tried to challenge it in Washington in 1999, they didn't get much traction among NATO members. At the same time, I myself feel that a principled approach would be to say that we should be open to embracing the nuclear prohibition treaty and finding our own voice for such an important matter as nuclear disarmament.

4 p.m.

NDP

Randall Garrison NDP Esquimalt—Saanich—Sooke, BC

At the end of the Warsaw summit in 2016, NATO reaffirmed its commitment to creating conditions for a world without nuclear weapons. It would seem to me that the statements from NATO itself show that it hasn't given up the idea. Do you think there's a role for Canada—you said we didn't get far in 1999—to try again?

4 p.m.

Professor, Royal Military College of Canada, Department of Defence Studies, As an Individual

Prof. Walter Dorn

Yes, I believe so. The Canadian government has a great record on disarmament matters. We played major roles in the chemical weapons convention, and there are many ways in which nuclear weapons should be treated in the same fashion, with abolition as a near-term target. Taking these steps in such small measure over such a long period of time isn't moving us towards a nuclear weapon-free world, which is everyone's declared end, at a pace, and it actually endangers global security.

4 p.m.

NDP

Randall Garrison NDP Esquimalt—Saanich—Sooke, BC

Could we provide that leadership in NATO without signing the prohibition treaty?

4 p.m.

Professor, Royal Military College of Canada, Department of Defence Studies, As an Individual

Prof. Walter Dorn

Sure. We could move NATO toward a more accepting attitude of the nuclear prohibition treaty.

4 p.m.

NDP

Randall Garrison NDP Esquimalt—Saanich—Sooke, BC

We wouldn't have to actually sign it to take that up.

4 p.m.

Professor, Royal Military College of Canada, Department of Defence Studies, As an Individual

Prof. Walter Dorn

No, we would just have to start with the political enlightenment, if I can use that word, of other NATO members.

4 p.m.

NDP

Randall Garrison NDP Esquimalt—Saanich—Sooke, BC

Do you think that if Canada were to sign the treaty, it would build some support among other NATO members where this has been an issue, such as the Netherlands or Norway?

4 p.m.

Professor, Royal Military College of Canada, Department of Defence Studies, As an Individual

Prof. Walter Dorn

Yes, if Canada did sign, it would be really breaking the ice and it could lead to other nations deciding to come on board. It would lead to some level of division, but in the end I think it would be a healthy decision.

4 p.m.

NDP

Randall Garrison NDP Esquimalt—Saanich—Sooke, BC

Thank you very much.

4 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Stephen Fuhr

Thank you.

Go ahead, Ms. Alleslev.

4 p.m.

Liberal

Leona Alleslev Liberal Aurora—Oak Ridges—Richmond Hill, ON

Thank you, Dr. Dorn, for a very comprehensive overview of the relationship or interrelationship between the UN and NATO, and Canada's perspective and thought leadership in that area, precisely in looking at things not only through the operational or pointy-end defence lens, but also in the political and economic perspective, precisely as you highlighted with article 2 and with many of the things that we initiated but now are not so much involved in.

I think it's important that as we look at the world and some unprecedented instability, we come back to some of the core principles that define us as Canadians and position us in those non-operational areas as much, perhaps, as the operational. Could you give us some compelling arguments for why that sphere matters to peace and security? I mean such things as the science for peace program, the centres of excellence and the fact that we're not accredited any longer as a centre of excellence, and the rescue coordination centres. As well, could you give us an idea of why that matters, what we should be doing, and how that does, in fact, position us going forward?