DEFENCE, SOVEREIGNTY, AND OUR RESPONSIBILITY IN THE CANADIAN NORTH
The Hon. Perrin Beatty Minister of National Defence
Chairman: A. A. van Straubenzee President
June has become a very important month of the year for Perrin Beatty. He was born on the 1st of June in 1950, so we wish him a belated happy birthday. We understand he had submarine sandwiches for lunch yesterday and we are wondering whether they were like the British Trafalgar or the French Rubis design.
On June 30th, 1986, Perrin Beatty was appointed Minister of National Defence and, almost a year ago today, in June, he introduced his now famous White Paper on National Defence - the first such Paper in 16 years.
June is also an important month in defence matters for our country. As of Monday, June the 6th, the Normandy Invasion of 1944 will be 44 years old. As Bob Vezina said in the Sunday Sun on May 29, and 1 quote, "This anniversary is significant to the average Canadian because in the near future Ottawa will spend more billions on military hardware - tanks, planes and nuclear powered submarines."
Perrin Beatty is one of the most successful politicians in Canada. I am not going to review his outstanding political career, except to say that, wherever he has been, he has earned a great deal of loyalty from the people in his department. That is perhaps a reflection of the ideals and values that he received from his grandfather, William, who always thought it was important to go to the Beatty Brothers plant in Fergus at night just to let his employees know that he cared. In addition, his grandfather evidently tried to ensure that at least one member of almost every family in Fergus had a job during the last Depression.
There has been a tremendous amount of interest in the White Paper, which I am sure most of you know has committed us to an increased, more effective presence in Europe and has defined our role with regard to NATO and NORAD. We also know, sir, that you have been very concerned about sovereignty in the North. All this at a time when the spread of Nuclear weapons is very much on the agenda of the world leaders.
Some of us are very much aware how frustrating it has been for the peace-time Armed Forces not to have objectives clearly set out for them. We also know that you are one of the few Ministers of National Defence who has actually answered the call of the Forces, to not only tell them what their role should be, but also to try to provide them with the tools to carry it out. What a refreshing change!
You said, sir, recently and I quote: "I like to think I've made Defence Policy an acceptable topic at the dinner table." I am sure you will do that today. It is my great pleasure to welcome back to the Empire Club, the Honourable Perrin Beatty, P.C., Member of Parliament for Wellington Dufferin Simcoe.
Change is in the air.
The last year has seen dramatic improvements in East-West relations, and there is the prospect for further progress to come.
Let's look at some of the key developments:
The Soviets are withdrawing 115,000 troops from Afghanistan;
We have a treaty for the global elimination of intermediate nuclear forces;
The Soviet-backed Government of Angola is opening peace negotiations;
The Soviets are reassessing their foreign adventures in Latin America, Africa and Asia;
Remarkable progress has been made toward a treaty with the United States to reduce strategic nuclear systems by 50 per cent; and
Slowly - too slowly for some - but surely, the Soviets are moving to correct some of their more flagrant human rights violations.
Who would have imagined a few years ago that we would be seeing Soviet Refuseniks interviewed from Moscow by Barbara Frum on The Journal as we did this week? Or, for that matter, Nancy Reagan singing songs with Soviet schoolchildren in Moscow.
So, where do we go from here? What should our agenda be in light of these developments?
When I last had the pleasure of addressing the Empire Club here in Toronto, the new defence White Paper was in the early stages of its preparation, and so were many of Mr. Gorbachev's foreign policy initiatives which are now bearing fruit.
It is worth remembering that a strong NATO has contributed immeasurably to the climate which made this progress possible. I believe we must continue to deal from strength, because the bottom line is our security and freedom.
Mr. Gorbachev is not trying to build a capitalist society in the Soviet Union - he is trying to make his Communist society more efficient.
But, whatever the motivation for the reforms taking place in the Soviet Union, we should encourage them as long as they serve the cause of peace and freedom. It appears that Mr. Gorbachev's reforms will require the release of funds from the military sector. The result is an opportunity to reach balanced, stabilizing and verifiable agreements to curb the arms race. We must also bear in mind that Mr. Gorbachev is taking a gamble too. He is gambling that the West will not attack the Soviets, and that his foreign policy successes will provide him with the opportunity and the prestige to tackle his domestic reforms, which will probably be much more difficult to achieve.
All of these developments make me hopeful for improvements in East-West relations. But what are the implications for Canada? The developments of the past 18 months are consistent with our comprehensive security policy which, broadly speaking, anticipated these trends.
The White Paper, Challenge and Commitment, looks at our military commitments to the North Atlantic Alliance and also at the gap between those commitments and the current capabilities of the Canadian Forces. It sets out five policy initiatives designed to close this gap over the next 15 or so years, while contributing credible and effective sea, land and air forces to the collective deterrent and defence requirements of the Alliance. These initiatives are:
First, to re-equip the Navy and provide it with a threeocean capability;
Second, to consolidate our major conventional land and air force commitments to NATO Europe on our stationed land and air forces in Germany;
Third, to expand and re-equip the Reserve Forces, to sustain our overseas commitments and to perform defence of Canada tasks which have been neglected for too long;
Fourth, to modernize and upgrade our contribution to continental defence under the North American Aerospace Defence Agreement (NORAD) and to improve our national capability to conduct surveillance over our land and air space and our seaward approaches; and, finally, to encourage the development of a sound Canadian defence industrial base capable of supporting and sustaining the new Canadian Forces.
The program to modernize the Navy is moving ahead satisfactorily. HMCS Halifax, the first ship of the new Canadian Patrol Frigate Program, was launched in Saint John, New Brunswick, on May 19. The contract for the second batch of six frigates was let last December, and the 12 ships of those two programs should all be in commission by 1996. The modernization of the four Tribal Class destroyers has started, and they will be back in service by the early 1990s. These destroyers and the new Canadian patrol frigates will carry new helicopters, which will replace the Sea King.
The submarine program has been challenged by some. But the events of the past year have served to confirm both the feasibility and the desirability of our building a small fleet of nuclear-propelled submarines. As you know, these vessels will not be nuclear armed. But they will greatly enhance our ability to perform those defence commitments we have already assumed in the Atlantic and the Pacific, and they will - for the first time - permit Canada's navy to participate in the defence of the Arctic. They will help us in our goal to increasingly Canadianize the defence of Canada. The evaluation of the two contending submarine designs and their cost is a most rigorous exercise and, I hope, this summer, to recommend the design that best meets Canadian requirements to my Cabinet colleagues.
Healthy progress has also been made in consolidating our major land and air commitments to NATO Europe - our second initiative.
Last Saturday, I presided over the standing-up ceremony of our new Air Division at Lahr, West Germany. This Air Division, which comprises three CF-18 squadrons and two Canadabased reinforcement squadrons, also equipped with the CF-18 aircraft, represents a significant increase in the capability and quality of the Canadian contribution to the Allied Air Force in NATO Europe. We have also made good progress in implementing measures to increase the surviveability of these air assets in Germany. Both of our airfields at Lahr and BadenSoellingen will be defended by the new low-level air defence system we are acquiring, which we believe to be the best available. Hardened shelters for aircraft, personnel and maintenance facilities are under construction.
The consolidation of our two Army Brigade Groups committed to Europe and their amalgamation into a Divisional structure is also moving ahead.
This restructuring will require a revitalized and expanded Militia integrated with the Regular Force into a total force concept. The final total force army should comprise some 30,000 regulars and some 58,000 Reservists integrated, in varying proportions, in all units of the Army. The Army will be re-equipped and trained as a total force which will provide the Reserve Component with a more rewarding and more challenging role. I do not underestimate the enormous challenge which the restructuring of the Army offers my Department. It will require significant changes in traditional attitudes as well as changes in structures and equipment.
The Naval Reserve is also being restructured, primarily as a mine countermeasures force, which complements its traditional control-of-shipping role. We are acquiring two commercial trawler-type vessels to serve as interim training ships for the new role until modern mine countermeasures vessels can be introduced in the 1990s.
A good start has also been made with the Air Reserve in refocusing its effort on air transport, Army support, search and rescue and coastal patrol operations.
Over the 15-year period covered by the White Paper, we intend to increase the size of our Reserve Forces to 90,000. To meet our ambitious goals, particularly for the Militia, we must improve the quality of our recruiting and increase our retention rate. To achieve this, service in the Reserve Forces must again become a feature of Canadian community life. We must take steps to improve the equipment and training offered to Reservists and to bring their terms of service more closely into line with those of the Regular Force. I have introduced measures to this end with respect to pay and benefit, and other measures concerning terms of service will be introduced in the months ahead.
On this subject, I have a special message for Canadian industry today. By now, you are probably wondering about the brochures that were placed on your table. Reservists, as you know, train on weekends and also for an intensive two-week period each summer. In the brochure and in a video that accompanies it, I have called upon employers to give two weeks' summer training leave. I am also asking employers, to the extent that they can afford to, to make up the difference between their Reservists' civilian and military pay during these periods. We can offer no financial incentive to do this, but employers, like Reservists', can in this way make a contribution to the security of their country. That has been enough of an incentive to persuade many corporations to support this endeavour to date, and I am grateful to those who volunteered their time to assist in the making of this material.
This past year has been busy and productive. One of the many projects where we have seen progress is in the development of the North Warning System. Five of the new long-range radars for the Western Arctic came into service, and have already detected Soviet long-range bombers and provided guidance to our intercepting CF-18s assigned to NORAD. The final six long-range radars for the Eastern Arctic and Labrador will be in place and operating by the end of the year.
We have also moved forward with the measures outlined in the White Paper to assist in the development of a viable Canadian defence industrial base. In this respect, I have established a Defence Industrial Preparedness Advisory Committee, which brings together a small group of chief executive officers, academics and others, to provide me with advice on matters of industrial policy and to serve as the principal vehicle for improving co-operation between industry and government on defence matters.
I have described to you the progress that we have made in the five initiatives which, collectively, represent the core of the new defence policy. The Government is committed to implementing them fully, thereby rebuilding and re-equipping the Canadian Forces to satisfy the first requirement of our security policy - an adequate defence.
In the pursuit of arms control measures - the second element of our security policy - we have enjoyed a very active year, crowned by:
- two Reagan-Gorbachev Summits;
- the ratification of an historic treaty eliminating intermediate nuclear forces; and
- the beginning of the Third Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly, devoted to disarmament.
It is worth remembering the enormous political effort that the NATO allies mounted in 1979 and in subsequent years to maintain Alliance solidarity for the dual-track NATO-INF Agreement. The strategy paid off. Shortly after the deployment phase of the NATO missiles began, serious negotiations, which led to the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty, were started. Without NATO's unity and without the courage that was shown by the Western Democracies, such an agreement simply would not have taken place. That Treaty, which was so recently ratified by the Senate of the United States, was truly historic in that it eliminated a category of nuclear weapons. It also introduced the principle of asymmetrical reduction to superpower negotiations and also permitted, for the first time, deeply intrusive verification measures.
Many people throughout the world had hoped that the Moscow Summit would, like the Washington Summit before it, produce another major arms control treaty. We must not be disheartened that this agreement did not happen. Never before has such an ambitious target, namely a 50-per-cent reduction of strategic systems, been set for an arms control negotiation. I am amazed at the progress that has been made and I am optimistic that we will see such an agreement. It is worth taking the time to do it right. There remain, however, some daunting problems, particularly in the area of verification. Both sides are seeking ways to deal with these problems, particularly as they apply to air- and submarine-launched Cruise missiles. Submarine-launched Cruise missiles present particularly vexing verification problems.
Canada's geographical position, on the shortest route between the two superpowers for intercontinental ballistic missiles, fronting three oceans from which Cruise missile attacks could be launched, underlines the importance of this
Treaty for the security of Canada. We will continue to monitor the progress and contribute our advice and expertise through the consultation process, both bilaterally with the United States and the Soviet Union, and multilaterally in NATO.
There are those who say that if there is nothing major to sign at a superpower summit meeting there is no point in having it. I disagree. These occasions provide great opportunities for furthering mutual understanding and this is a prerequisite for enhanced East-West relations. The absence of a strategic arms reduction treaty to sign does not mean that this Summit lacked substance. An agreement was signed on prior notification of all ballistic missile launches; a memorandum of understanding was signed on procedures for monitoring experimental nuclear explosions to be conducted in the Soviet Union and the United States this summer; and encouraging progress was made toward an agreement on enhanced verification provisions that could permit the ratification of the Threshold Test Ban Treaty, which limits nuclear tests to not more than 150 kilotons, and the Peaceful Nuclear Explosions Treaty. Perhaps of even greater importance is that the meeting served to foster a closer relationship between the two Governments.
In the field of conventional arms control, Canada and other NATO negotiators are currently meeting in Vienna with representatives of the Warsaw Pact and European neutrals. They are developing mandates for two new negotiations on conventional arms control under the auspices of the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe.
The first negotiation will be conducted between the two Alliances, NATO and the Warsaw Pact, and will focus on stabilizing the conventional balance of forces by removing disparities and introducing measures to reduce the capability to mount a surprise attack and large-scale offensive action. The second negotiation, which will include the two Alliances and the European neutral states, will follow up on the successful Stockholm Conference on Confidence and Security-Building Measures. Its aim will be to reduce the chance of war occurring through misunderstanding or miscalculation. We hope that these two key negotiations will begin late this year or early next year.
I believe that these talks will be most crucial because stabilizing the balance of conventional forces in Europe will have the effect of raising the nuclear threshold. Canada participates in these negotiations because we have stationed forces in Europe as part of our NATO contribution. This is a critical period for arms control in Europe, and if we withdrew our forces from Europe or, more drastically, withdrew from the Alliance, we would be denying ourselves a role in negotiations that have a direct bearing on our security interests.
At UNSSOD 111, the approach of the Canadian delegation will be guided by Canada's six fundamental arms control and disarmament objectives, which are:
- negotiated, radical reductions of nuclear forces and the enhancement of strategic stability;
- maintenance and strengthening of the new Nuclear NonProliferation Treaty;
- negotiation of a chemical weapons ban;
- support for a comprehensive test ban treaty; - prevention of an arms race in outer space; and - the building of confidence sufficient to facilitate the reduction of military forces in Europe and elsewhere.
We have also had a busy and productive year in another important area of promoting peace - that of our peacekeeping forces. The size of our contribution to the United Nations Force in Cyprus was increased by 60 members in October last year to compensate for the withdrawal of Swedish troops from that operation. These extra personnel are, at this time, all Reservists, which gives substance to the total force concept.
Last year, we provided a senior Canadian Army officer to direct the military component of a UN technical mission to the western Sahara. This year, we provided five officers to the monitoring group assembled to observe the withdrawal of Soviet forces from Afghanistan. These are in addition to our continuing contribution to the ongoing UN operations and the Multinational Force and Observers in the Sinai. As part of Canada's contribution to a peaceful resolution of the Central American problem, Canadian Forces officers with extensive peace-keeping experience are providing technical advice on the organization and operation of a potential monitoring force for the area. We stand ready, if called upon, to provide further assistance in the Central American peace process.
Starting yesterday, two Canadian Forces Hercules aircraft were temporarily deployed to Addis Ababa in Ethiopia, to support the United Nations Disaster Relief Organization (UNDRO). They will fly emergency food airlifts into stricken areas, including Gonder Province and the contested areas of Eritrea and Tigre Provinces.
That is where we stand, Mr. Chairman, a year after the White Paper.
I hope the interdependence and mutually supportive nature of the elements of our security policy have come through - arms control is not a substitute for defence but a complement to it. Together with measures to resolve peacefully conflicts which could escalate into war, it can lead to strategic stability and peace with freedom. Security policy is a most flexible instrument and we must be flexible if we are to take advantage of these new opportunities to reduce East-West tensions and to negotiate mutually acceptable security arrangements with the Soviet Union. Clearly, we must not be caught napping by preemptive arms control offers that we have not foreseen. We must know what our bottom line is in arms control negotiations. This is not a time to be left without a well thought out agenda for the West. Nor is it a time for distrust and hostility to cloud what may be a golden opportunity to secure our future.
The last 12 months have been a time of progress and hope, both for the defence of Canada and for improving relations between East and West. The way ahead is neither clear nor easy. It will test our wisdom and our courage as we proceed. Success is not assured, and the price of failure would be high, indeed. Despite the obstacles and the challenges, the prospects for the future are good. If our generation can do its job well, we can give to our children a more peaceful world, and a Canada that is strong, and sovereign, and free.
The appreciation of the meeting was expressed by Michael Meighen, Partner, McMaster and Meighen, and Vice-President and Director of the Empire Club of Canada.