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House of Commons Emblem

Standing Committee on National Defence



Thursday, September 27, 2018

[Recorded by Electronic Apparatus]



     Good morning, everybody. Welcome to the defence committee and our continued conversation about Canada's contribution to international peacekeeping.
    It's a real honour to have General Roméo Dallaire here to speak to us today. We couldn't have this conversation without you, and we're all thrilled that you're here. I understand that Dr. Whitman is on her way. She was held up at the airport, but she should be here. When she is, we'll give her the opportunity to speak.
    Until then, General, the floor is yours to talk to us with your initial comments.
     Mr. Chair, ladies and gentlemen, thank you very much.
    If you offer the floor to a retired general who was also an apprentice politician in the Senate for 10 years, you may risk having a problem of maintaining good order and discipline in timing. However, because brevity is not my strength, I have tried to discipline myself this morning to touch on a number of points in regard to current and future peacekeeping.
    Dr. Whitman, when she arrives, will be touching very much on a dimension of the peacekeeping of the new era, which is the operational threat of the use of children as weapons of war—which is child soldiers—the Vancouver principles and how we see that evolving as one of the instruments of security sector reform, and the improvements of new capabilities for peacekeeping in which the Canadians are leading. We helped them write their new doctrine and helped them write their new training directive. We hope that they will gain more depth as we prepare for tasks overseas.
    Let me commence by saying that I've had an opportunity to listen to all you ladies and gentlemen for hours with previous witnesses. A couple of times, I would have loved to be there myself, sitting in your seats to ask a few questions. I am honoured to be able, I hope, to respond today.


    I will be disciplined and try to speak in French all the same. We spend so much time speaking English in our Canadian Forces career in Ottawa that assimilation is a danger. Too often, we forget to use our mother tongue.


    Ladies and gentlemen, 25 years ago tomorrow, I was deploying into Kampala and then into Mbarara, Uganda, to take command of one of the two missions I commanded. This was the mission on the Ugandan side of the border with Rwanda to prevent the trafficking and the use of trails and so on to move weapons into the rebel area. Then a couple of weeks later, I moved into Rwanda to take command of that mission. In that case, I took it from the African Union who had an embryo of peacekeeping. They only had about 60 members there, and I absorbed that group.
    I took command the day after the coup d'état in Burundi, so although I had planned for a secure southern flank in order to handle the peace process that really involved the Rwandan Patriotic Front coming from the north into the south, I ended up with more than 300,000 refugees overnight, a source of enormous recruitment for youths, particularly, to sustain covert operations, and well over 50,000 bodies in every one of the rivers, lakes and areas of wooded enclaves where they were hiding the bodies. They had a slow-moving genocide there because the ethnic groups in both countries are exactly the same and the frictions are quite similar.
    I overheard that one should be leery of those who have served in the 1990s because maybe they're still caught up in a bit of old think, and I'll talk about that. I want to set up a bit of my field credentials and what we were doing, so that I can give you a backdrop to what I am proposing.
    It's true that my last operational command of a mission was in Rwanda for a whole year and was through that civil war and that genocide. Subsequent to that, I've been a member of the Secretary-General of the UN's genocide prevention advisory group made up of Gareth Evans, Desmond Tutu and people of that nature, where we're looking at how to get in very early to prevent genocide from happening, and mass atrocities.
    That's a new word still in the UN: prevention. Too much is still going into how we sort out a problem that's already blown apart or we wait until it's over and then throw some cash at it.


     Prevention is the solution, but it is by far the hardest one to commit yourself to. If you're successful, people will say, why did you go in? If you're not, then people will maybe blame you for the thing going wrong. It's a high political risk, and that's why we see an enormous reticence on the political side of the House to actually take offensive actions. Even if there is a mandate, there's still a significant amount of hesitancy to take actions early on and deliberately enough.
    From 2000-04, I worked for the minister of CIDA on the protection of war-affected children. We had a big international conference in 2000 led by Lloyd Axworthy and Maria Minna. The conference took place in Winnipeg and 135 countries signed on to the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the optional protocol. It was from there, where I presented a paper, that I became Ms. Minna's special adviser for four years. I did that part time and was involved in the Sierra Leone war, which was totally fought on both sides by child soldiers. At the time, I was involved in extracting children from the conflict and trying to minimize their recruitment.
    Then I went for a year to Harvard, where I did my initial research on child soldiers. I did it under the construct of what I'm calling “an era of conflict resolution and conflict prevention”. I am not one to use peacekeeping or peace support operations very much. I consider that we are caught in an era where it's not peace and it's not war but it's a spectrum, a whole variety of commitments and tasks, all of which focus on either preventing the frictions that lead to conflict or on the actual conflict. In so doing, there is a far more sophisticated requirement than peacekeeping, particularly if you're still in a chapter VI frame of mind, in “old think”.
    As for my work since, while I was in the Senate for 10 years, I had the pleasure of working on the defence committee there. I resigned to devote myself fully to work on child soldiers, the aim being to eradicate the use of that weapon's platform, which you find in every conflict in the world. They're being used everywhere, be it in Ukraine, be it in Mali, be it in South Sudan. We are already deployed in Somalia. My aim is to eliminate that weapon system from the inventory of conflict as it is a crime against humanity. I hope we will succeed.
    In the process, I have written three books to reinforce my position. The first one was at the operational level. If you remember, there's strategic, operational and tactical levels. The operational is a theatre commander, so I was commanding the theatre of southern Uganda and Rwanda. I was even at one point given the task of looking into Burundi. That was my first book.
    The second one was at the tactical level, so that was how the troops face threats and how they respond to them in an era where threats do in fact exist because conflicts are not necessarily resolved and we are there to assist in the resolution thereof.
    The last book was on the individual, on how to live with 20 years of PTSD, of which one not insignificant portion was the fact of facing child soldiers in Rwanda who did the massive slaughtering. The vast majority were under 18 and they were led by some adults to slaughter 800,000. Both sides used them, in one case to slaughter and in the other to fight in that conflict. At the time, I didn't recognize the significance of their being young. It was only afterwards that I started to realize that they sustained their war and the mobilization to war through the use of children.
    I'm now—and I'll finish with this part—writing a fourth book, at the strategic level. I'm arguing, ladies and gentlemen—and I hope it gives you a bit of a backdrop—that we stumbled into the nineties after the Cold War ended. We didn't know what we were doing. When I came out of my brigade, I sent battalions into Yugoslavia hoping that the training we had might meet the requirement. We had no experience. We had nothing written on what we would be facing in the nineties.


     In stumbling through that, and subsequently in my research and work, I believe we've entered an era where we need a new conceptual framework, a new conceptual base to conflict prevention. The old theory of war that we had was Clausewitzian, and it was very force on force, with the classic use of military forces. That has disappeared. We're into an era where in fact the civilian population is just as much the victims, as they can be also the targets, as they can be also the perpetrators.
    In this era, we can't keep using old tools. We can't keep using NGO neutrality. We can't keep using diplomacy independent from the interfacing with the security forces. We are in dire need of conflict prevention by multidisciplinary leaders who master the various disciplines that are needed to deploy in the field.
    With that as a backdrop, I should like to indicate to you that three weeks into the genocide in 1994, I was still arguing with the UN as to whether or not, as a chapter VI mission, I was allowed to protect civilians. I had 32,000 under protection, but in New York, the concept was unacceptable by chapter VI missions....
    Dr. Shelly Whitman is here now.
     Welcome, Shelly.
     Now, the essence is the protection of civilians because we're into civil wars. We are into civil conflicts. The civilians are the prize as much as they are the victims. As such, they are a central point of all the operational considerations. They are a core element in these conflicts.
    Negating that impact by simply looking at forces being deployed and looking at the higher level of pure political structures and power sharing without considering the depth of impact on civilians, the refugee camps, the internally displaced camps, and the impacts of ethnicity, tribalism, and religious reasons for the conflicts, you are not going to have an answer to the problem, and you're going to be there for decades.
    If we do go into missions and think we're just going in there for a short while, it won't work. These are grounded elements that have created the friction and have potentially exploded. We need a multidisciplinary capability.
    Canada has been engaged. We were engaged at the time, not only in the Yugoslavian campaign, which we did extensively, but also in a number of all the other missions. Until 1996, we were in every mission that existed. We supported the Brahimi reform. The “Brahimi Report”, which is a reform of peacekeeping, was a very tactical piece of work. It didn't look at the strategic construct of peacekeeping. It looked at how we make peacekeeping work better in the field, how it could talk better with the headquarters, and how the headquarters could talk better with it.
    I could not talk to another mission that was next door, nor could we exchange material or anything. It was totally separate. Command and control now is better, but it is still locked in with SOFAs, MOUs, and of course, mandates that often create barriers for missions to reinforce each other.
    We were very instrumental in moving the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, in 2000. It's a great deterrent for us to be able to move into the field, having that hammer behind us to say that they are criminals. They are committing crimes against humanity and can be held accountable for using children or using rape. Rape is considered torture, and torture is considered a crime against humanity by the International Criminal Court.
    In stumbling through this era and trying to figure out what to do, one real, bright light came up very strongly. That was “responsibility to protect”, which Canada lead quite extensively through Gareth Evans, Michael Ignatieff, and others, and produced the “responsibility to protect” concept, which was tabled in September 2005 by Paul Martin. In that, it makes it clear that sovereignty is no more an absolute. You can't hide behind sovereignty if you are massively abusing the human rights of your people or if you can't stop it. It also calls upon the international community and sovereign states to go in and intervene.
    The positive of that concept has been held back by the fear of engaging, the fear of intervention. The fear of intervention has been more a matter of politics than statesmanship. That is to say, “What is the political gain? How much am I going to be risking?” and by nations, “What is the risk of casualties? What's in it for us in self-interest?” It has been emasculated from being able to be fully implemented.
    In Libya they attempted it without ever using it. The Canadians commanded the force there, but it was misconstrued by the Chinese and the Russians as regime change. It only ended up that way because the UN Security Council has no command and control capability, and NATO ran amok.
    There's been a study by General dos Santos Cruz on the protection of peacekeepers. I recommend that study. It's a very strong study on trying to ensure that peacekeepers can be effective as they are being deployed.
    The era of chapter VI-style peacekeeping is over. The United Nations and the troop police contributing nations and countries, by and large, are still gripped with some chapter VI syndrome. I would say that if you are talking about risk aversion to casualties then you are in another era. We are no longer there. We are in chapter VII. We are sending forces that must be capable and must be credible in order, in extremis, to have to use kinetic force to establish an atmosphere of peace and to permit the other elements to be able to function.


     I've only started, but thank you very much.
    I will now introduce Dr. Whitman, who will follow on with the innovative dimensions of our commitments into this arena that I think are essential.
    Welcome, Dr. Whitman. The floor is yours.
     Thank you.
    Let me apologize for being late. We'll talk about Air Canada later on.
    I'm grateful to be here and that General Dallaire is giving me the opportunity to share the floor with him to speak to you about an issue that I believe is incredibly important in how we look at not only peacekeeping but how we address conflict around the world.
    At this particular moment in history, we have to understand that the types of conflicts we would be entering into in any peacekeeping mission have changed. We recognize that this means understanding that if, in the past, children were made to fight in spite of their youth, they are now being made to fight because of their youth.
    The employment or the recruitment and use of children as soldiers is not a sidebar issue for us to discuss. It should be central to looking at any of the particular missions we may be a part of or any conflict that is ongoing.
    Currently there are more than 250 million children impacted by armed conflict globally. Seven state armies continue to use and recruit children, and 56 non-state armed actors recruit and use children around the world. This is an issue that isn't just for us to be concerned about on an international scale. It also has implications on a domestic level. What I am about to talk to you about is the fact that this requires us to continue to understand this issue from some new perspectives and dynamics rather from than those you may traditionally be accustomed to thinking of.
    The use and recruitment of child soldiers is a strategic security concern. It is a human rights issue and it is an issue related to the protection of civilians, but it goes beyond that. The purposeful recruitment and use of children as soldiers is something we have to understand in terms of its being used for the sustainment and fuelling of particular armed groups around the world.
     It can have an impact on our own troops' morale and effectiveness. It can have huge impacts on post-traumatic stress. We also need to understand that the use and recruitment of child soldiers is an early warning indicator for mass atrocities and genocide prevention, something that I know General Dallaire can speak to personally.
    We also have to understand that there are non-kinetic means to reduce that use of children as soldiers by setting conditions that we have yet to explore fully and should be looking at in terms of our own preparation for troops and for those around the world.
    In terms of Canada's contribution and our history, we have a long and proud history of peacekeeping, which has a deep connection to the very values Canadians believe in. We also need to understand that Canada has an opportunity to be a leader, to re-engage in peace operations by making children a priority and leading by example. Protecting children is a value we can all be proud of as Canadians, no matter what side of the political divide we sit on.
    Canada's contribution to peacekeeping has to be viewed as more than just about the contribution of battalions or troops. It has to also be seen in terms of key developments that Canada has been at the forefront of over the past year such as the Vancouver principles on peacekeeping and the prevention of the recruitment and use of child soldiers. We worked collaboratively with the Government of Canada last year to create this new and innovative set of principles. At the time, no one had any inclination that within a year we would have 66 endorsing nations from the United Nations.
    The potential training role here for the Canadian Armed Forces and the RCMP, as well as engagement from a civil society perspective, needs to be understood, and setting standards for peacekeeping cannot only improve the UN's effectiveness, but also help to address a major human rights atrocity that is currently contributing to cycles of violence around the globe.
    We have to have the ability to build partnerships, and in taking this particular dynamic forward, dialogue in intractable contexts can also be something that we are a part of, if we put the rights of children and the prevention of their recruitment and use up front. It can help to cement our place globally and reinforce our Canadian defence policy of a strong, secure and engaged Canada.


    What we have witnessed in the past is that there have been a lot of efforts on international law and a lot of efforts that focus on “after the fact” when we have demobilization, disarmament and reintegration efforts of children. There are a lot of child protection agencies that exist, but what we have failed to do globally is to look at children and their vulnerabilities and to see their being used or recruited as an operational concern that we have to be adequately prepared for.
    The United Nations has two key Security Council resolutions that you should be aware of: Resolution 2143, from 2014; and Resolution 2151, also from 2014. We at the Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative worked closely with Luxembourg at that time to help draft Resolution 2143. The resolution looks at undertaking “targeted and operational trainings for the preparation of [all] UN mission personnel” to more “effectively recognize, report and respond to violations and abuses committed against children”.
    Resolution 2151 focuses on the fact that preparation and training of this nature is also critical for key “security sector reform”. That means when Canada is working with any bilateral groups or conducting any training of troops abroad, it must also understand that training of this nature is critical for the accomplishment of those goals.
    The Vancouver principles I would like to highlight have four key elements that are critical and new to this area for the preparation of peacekeepers, with the first one being the need for operational planning. That's not just tactical approaches, but how we can change the composition of missions, training, the types of materiel we may need, etc. The next element would be the fact that it focuses on prevention and early warning to act on credible information and to use the protection of children as a key element for why we would want to intervene.
    The next would be looking at increasing the numbers of women who are in peacekeeping missions, as they bring critical skills and abilities that also can augment our efforts to better protect and prevent the use and recruitment of children. The last would be to focus on mental resiliency and PTSD and how our lack of preparation on this front means that we continually bring back troops who are also going to suffer and who will have impacts on their families when they come back home.
    I would also want to focus on the fact that the Department of National Defence also has launched the Elsie initiative, which is a credible and important initiative. What is important here is to recognize that focusing on children also means that you are focusing on women and girls, on including more women in peacekeeping, as I mentioned, and on the fact that we are talking about boys and girls being recruited and used as child soldiers.
    We are also talking about the fact that preventing the recruitment and use of children will help to reduce conflict-related sexual violence, as many of these young boys and girls not only are victims of the sexual violence but are forced to commit such violence. If this is how they are taught about relationships and sexual violence at a young age, you can imagine that it creates a cycle that is very negative for long-term impacts.
    I would also like to comment on early warning indicator elements. All efforts at the United Nations to focus on prevention of the recruitment and use of child soldiers, as well as looking at preventing mass atrocities or genocide, have failed to connect these two elements. Our failure to do so has meant that we have missed tangible opportunities to find ways to try to create the prevention of conflict by understanding that there's a moment there for us to recognize these two elements and to provide tangible solutions.
    There are a last few points I would make.
     In terms of the Vancouver principles, the Canadian government, the Canadian Armed Forces, the RCMP and Global Affairs all have to go beyond the endorsements. Canada must be committed not only to increasing the number of endorsing nations, but it must create implementation that is strategic in its approach and guidance to complement the Vancouver principles.
     Most important is for Canada to be committed to ensuring that the Vancouver principles and the implementation guidance are put into action. This requires support from subject matter experts to work alongside the Canadian Armed Forces as well as the RCMP.


     It requires what we call “strategic complementarity”, to build training and lessons learned cells. It requires full implementation, by the CAF and the RCMP, of new training approaches in line with the Vancouver principles; a commitment to the potential creation of a centre of excellence, for example, for the Vancouver principles; and establishing Canada as a world leader so that understanding the prevention of the recruitment and use of child soldiers is an entry point for a new agenda, an agenda that focuses on children, peace and security.
     It requires partnerships with endorsing nations to build regional training expertise, bilateral exchanges between endorsing nations that have experiential knowledge on the issues we are discussing, and promotion of best practices that provide incentives for nations to demonstrate such practices. It also requires advocacy and support for the UN children and armed conflict agenda, but support that demands clear indicators of practical implementation of tangible change for prevention.
    Lastly, it requires serious and long-term funding and must be understood as beneficial not just to peacekeeping but to the future of humanity. It is critically important to understand that as long as we continue to see intractable conflicts around the world that continue to recruit and use children, we will also face those repercussions here at home, whether it's through immigrants, refugees or other dynamics that will be impacted, such as international crime rings.
    I thank you for your time.


    Thank you, Dr. Whitman.
    We'll go to seven-minute questions. Please wind down at my 30-second signal so that I can move on to the next question-asker. That way everyone can have an equal opportunity to ask a question.
    MP Robillard, you have seven minutes.


    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    Thank you very much for your excellent testimony, general. My questions will of course be in French.
    At the United Nations earlier this week, Donald Trump announced huge cuts to the U.S. contribution to peacekeeping missions. How can Canada respond? Do you see this as an opportunity for Canada to reassert its international presence?
    They are major cuts, but this is not the first time we have seen the Americans operate this way with the United Nations. For a long time, we have seen major powers use the United Nations as a scapegoat when it suits them, or hide behind the UN, saying that if the UN cannot take action, how can they.
    When I was deployed in 1994, my mission was severely limited because the Americans were not paying their fair share. There was no money to conduct missions. I would characterize Mr. Trump's announcement as a fleeting remark, unfortunate timing, precisely when we need the Americans, although not necessarily on the ground.
    I went to Darfur. I appeared before a U.S. Senate committee. I told that committee that I did not need the Americans, just the financial backing so we could look after transport, and continued U.S. support in that mission. The same is true of the African countries that I visited with the minister two years ago, and which the minister continues to visit. The Africans are not looking for battalions left and right; they want to become professional and skilled. They are looking for certain equipment, but they want to do the work themselves. They need people like us to impart that new knowledge so they can go to the front lines, so to speak.
    During peacekeeping missions, whether in Mali or the Central African Republic, we often run into problems protecting civilians. Where are we today in our efforts to protect civilians? What can we do to improve in that regard?
    I will just say a few words and then give the floor to Ms. Whitman.
    As I said in my opening speech, we have to remember that protecting civilians is something relatively new. It was not part of peacekeeping in terms of UN Charter chapter VII missions and civil wars.


    The peacekeeping that all of you remember—the blue berets with short pants, and maybe a baseball bat with no red card or penalty box—were from the chapter VI era. We stumbled into chapter VII stuff like Rwanda and realized that we were inept at being able to handle it. The construct has now shifted to the extent that the civilian population is the core of what we have to be worried about, because they will in fact be able to nurture the future of their nations. How do we protect them in order for them to be able to accomplish their tasks?
    I think I'll ask Dr. Whitman to speak on that.


     Thank you.
    There are a couple of aspects here. One of the challenges we have with civilian protection is that we need practical approaches to how to employ that effectively. Your concept of what that means versus someone who comes from a totally different cultural context in the world has to be understood well and is not often understood well. I think we need to do more on that front. What does that look like? Sometimes it's not rocket science, but it might be what we would declare as codifying common sense. However, common sense to one individual is not common sense to everyone.
    The other dynamic there is leadership—leadership at the level of the generals, force commanders and the national level with those who are participating in peacekeeping. There's also rewarding good behaviour. We often talk about all the negativity when it comes to peacekeeping, as well as the press that comes out about those committing abuses. We rarely point to those who are doing a spectacular job, and we should look to do that more often to highlight and incentivize versus just making it a name-and-shame approach.


    In an article in the magazine Allons-y, we learn that child soldiers play a role in cyber warfare. Can you tell us more about that?
    When I served in the Senate, we discussed cyber warfare becoming an operational capability and not a military procedure. Canada does not have a command structure that can manage that whole aspect of future conflicts. Canada is tremendously vulnerable not only in terms of its infrastructure, but also in terms of its ability to take appropriate action in the field. Its ability to act in the field can also be undermined.
    The first thing to consider is that we are not ready to respond to that need. On the contrary, we seem to respond in a way that is not at all deliberate, and even less offensive. Cyber warfare requires a much more offensive, direct and committed approach, with a sense of command and control, and not simply a problem management approach.
    Thank you very much.
    Sorry that my answers are a bit long.


    That's okay. That's perfect timing.
    MP Bezan.
    I want to thank our witnesses. Dr. Whitman, thank you for your testimony, and General Dallaire, I really appreciate your testimony as well as your great service to this country.
    I was captivated by your testimony just now. You talked about the UN Security Council having no command and control structure. You're saying the days of chapter VI peacekeeping are behind us, which I agree with 100%.
    How would you characterize chapter VII though? I think most Canadians still see us going out there with blue berets. They think what we're doing in Mali is blue berets. I know some people are saying we're in humanitarian operations in Mali and some of them are saying it's more of a combat role than what we'd be used to in a UN mission. How would you characterize chapter VII in layman's terms so Canadians can understand?
    I watched 800,000 being slaughtered and wasn't able to do a damn thing—
    That's chapter VI.
    —because I was a chapter VI and we were there to observe and assist people who wanted peace. When they decided they didn't want peace anymore or peace hadn't come about to a level that can permit it to actually evolve, then you had to go to chapter VII. Chapter VII means that you set the parameters of security so that all the other disciplines, with the security engaged, are able to function in a reasonable atmosphere of serenity. That does mean that you do, in extremis, and must be prepared and credible to use force to ensure that atmosphere is created, no matter the threat. A threat could be riots, which I faced. I had troops that were not allowed to engage in riots because they never trained in them.
    Chapter VII to me is the realization that we're not between two states that have decided to stop shooting and are wanting to work out a deal. We're into internal conflicts, imploding nations and failing states. The viciousness of those missions makes it extremely difficult to discern the extremists from the moderates and the good guys from the bad guys and what side to go on. You need to be able to go in with a protection capability for the civilians, who are ultimately being manipulated in that.


     In your personal experience, in Somalia in particular, the UN chain of command and the command and control structure there let you down.
    I made mistakes in the field, and they made mistakes in the field, but the biggest mistakes to come out of that weren't by the UN. They were by every sovereign state that watched this thing happen and didn't do a damned thing to give us the capabilities to solve it. There was nothing apart from the 12 Canadians who came to me.
    The mission for Libya, for example, went out of control because the Security Council was getting no information. It was run by NATO. If you're going to contract out to NATO, you're going to lose control of the situation. To me, that's not necessarily the best solution. Regional capabilities are far more significant, in my opinion.
    If the UN doesn't have the command and control structure—and you're saying that even today it still doesn't have that command and control structure that would be employable in these situations—I was thinking you would probably go to trusted organizations like NATO, but you're saying to take a different approach.
    Part of the reforms that Kofi Annan tried to bring in, which Ambassador Bolton—who's now at NSA in the United States—crashed in 2005, was to build command and control capability and contingency planning and implementation for the Security Council, because DPKO is really a force generator. It puts forces together and puts them out in the field and tries to manage that capability. It is not an operational headquarters, and although it has built capacity to try to fill that gap, it is not at a core level. It has 110,000 troops around the world. You need a significant capability to actually influence the battle. The Security Council doesn't have that. The secretariat has something.
    Until the Security Council can command, control and influence its missions and its mandates, we will always be caught up in wondering what it really wants us to do and how far we can actually push it.
    It was reported in 2016 in the National Post that you said you “wouldn't touch Mali with a 10-foot pole”.
    Yes. At the time, I said I would not send field troops—ground troops—into peacekeeping operations in Mali. You're quite correct. In fact, I was concentrating far more on the avoidance of a genocide going on in Central African Republic, where we could build from scratch a capability with that nation.
    However, shifting gears and giving a force multiplier to a mission with one of the most critical assets that every mission needs—which is the helicopter capability, the troop lift, the casevac and so on—is, in my opinion, a very reasonable commitment, but there are going to be some interesting lessons learned. There are people who are going to go sniff it out, and we hope to be involved in the validation of the procedures that are being used in order to gain more experience in that type of operation.
    Major-General Lewis MacKenzie was before committee on this study back in the spring, and when he was talking about Mali he said:
Just check the fatality rate in Mali, for example. Over 50% have been killed in their bases by indirect fire. Even the Germans, bless them, have counter bombardment mortars, a mortar radar. I don't know what good it's going to do them, because they don't have any ability to respond to the mortar fire coming from outside the base.
    Do you agree with his assessment? He's talking about Gao.
    I don't see a role for Canadian battalions to go fight in Mali. I do not see the Canadian battalions doing peacekeeping. What I do see is Canadian instructors preparing African Union forces to enable them to take on that capability.
    We were in Nigeria, which had Boko Haram, and we could see that they needed capacity to handle that type of threat.
    I would strongly advise on what we should do, and interestingly enough, it's in the defence policy paper. Rwandans, as an example, have 6,000 troops deployed in peacekeeping. We are training battalions of Rwandans to go into those mission areas in South Sudan and the like. They want to do it. They want to be professional, and they will bring their assets and tools, but there are certain technologies they can't bring, such as helicopters.


    Those other partners are going to be doing the protection and security for our air task force that's in Gao. Can we trust them to provide—
     I'm going to have to hold it there and yield the floor to....
    —close combat protection?
    MP Garrison.
    Thanks to our witnesses for being here today.
    I want to focus on the child soldier aspect we're talking about. Maybe since we've been talking about Mali, I could ask what the situation is with child soldiers in the conflict in Mali.
    There are significant numbers of child soldiers who are estimated to be used in Mali. It is also one of the countries that is listed by the UN Secretary-General's report that comes out every year on the state of children in armed conflict. We know for sure there are at least four armed groups that are using and recruiting child soldiers in Mali for a variety of purposes.
    I want to also make it clear to those who may not understand this issue clearly. When we talk about child soldiers, we're not just referring to the children who are on the battlefield with an AK-47s. We are talking about a whole range of issues. The children can be the porters, the messengers, the spies, doing support functions. What's important for you to recognize and understand is that this is also the most incredibly important time, because that is when you can prevent them from being indoctrinated further, or from entering onto the battlefield.
    This is a point we should be clear on. It's not just about our being afraid of facing children on the front line, but it's also about what we can proactively do to prevent that from occurring further.
    That's where I guess I was going to go next.
    In the work you're doing on child soldiers, what are the most effective things that prevent the recruitment and use of child soldiers in conflicts?
    One critical thing is that we have to be able to recognize those areas and moments when we could do more effective prevention techniques, because we don't do that enough.
    General Dallaire made the example of Boko Haram and the Nigerian Armed Forces. All of you will have known about the Chibok girls who were taken a few years ago from that school. That is a perfect example. If priority and training had been given, that school could have been protected because they had some forewarning that they were going to be attacked. Waiting until after the fact to try to counter that has proven to be ineffective for a number of reasons.
    From our perspective, it's making sure there is adequate training that is practical in its approach, meaning scenario-based. It isn't just a legal lecture that is given, or a set of PowerPoints, as we often see. It's really working through a set of scenarios with real-life examples. It's understanding that it's not prescriptive, that it will change. What we want is for soldiers to be able to think through these dynamics before they face them. Not walking through those issues before you face them will result in a reaction from the portion of your brain that just deals with emotion, versus the rational portion of your brain. We want rational approaches. We are also told you have to practise something at least seven times before you face it in the field.
    Currently, some of the approaches that have been taking place in terms of preparation for this issue have been far from adequate in terms of the standard. That was certainly our desire with the Vancouver principles, to increase that standard to make it a priority and not just another issue to be aware of in terms of the realm of human rights.
    The last point I would make here is that it's also incredibly important that the training you conduct on this matter has an impact not just in the brain but also in terms of the way people think, which genuinely changes the way they perceive the conflict, the way they see children, and that they recognize some of those intelligence dynamics that otherwise they would not pay attention to.


    All this leads to prevention, which then reduces the conflict and reduces the ability to sustain, and also makes the mobilization base of the belligerents much smaller. If they can't use children because they are rendered ineffective, then they will have to look at another option if they want to continue the fight.
    Putting soldiers asleep with three hours of international law may have helped their morale, but has done nothing to move the yardsticks in preventing the use of child soldiers and being effective against that threat. I would contend that the doctrine we helped the Canadian Forces write, the training directive they have, which we helped them put together, the Dallaire initiative, are still steps towards the Canadians Forces being effective in facing child soldiers.
    Can you comment on the balance between what I guess I'd call “push and pull” with child soldiers? A lot of people have in mind that these children are always forced into the conflict. We've heard, certainly, testimony at this committee that for adults there's often a lack of alternatives and, therefore, they're attracted into the conflict.
    It's certainly the case that you have to understand that not all children are forcibly taken, but we also want everyone to understand that the lack of choices exists, whether it's because there isn't an opportunity to go to school, the economic situation, loss of parents, etc. There are many of those factors that exist and certainly should be understood. However, in all of these instances, the adults who use and recruit them are responsible for their being employed.
    Just because a child makes a difficult "voluntary" decision—and we say “voluntary” in quotation marks because it's based on a very limited set of options that they may have—it should be understood, and it's incredibly important, that these children often don't know what they are choosing. Many will talk about the fact that once they are in the armed group it's like they've lost all sense of why they originally were there, because it doesn't make sense anymore and they had no idea of the long-term situation they were going to be in, etc., and the consequences of that, which we, as parents here in this country, can understand.
    That was perfect timing.
    MP Dzerowicz.
    Thank you so much, Mr. Chair.
    I want to say what an honour it is to have both of you here today. You have given a colossal amount of information and a lot of recommendations, and not all of them are going to be implemented overnight.
    I'd love to, as I'm asking questions, focus a little on what next level of changes we can push, both domestically and also within the UN.
    I respectfully disagree with my colleague across the way. I think that most Canadians now actually believe we've moved past the peacekeeping of the past, and that Canada is actually part of a collective. We've moved into chapter VII. No one will say chapter VII, but I think we know there is more danger to our missions right now. No one believes that Canada's going to run into a country and then create stable peace overnight, but we're part of a collective of countries, under the direction of the UN, trying to create the conditions for peace.
    My first question is to you, Mr. Dallaire. I'm assuming you were part of the group that recommended Mali to Canada. How is it that this mission meets the new conceptual framework of peacekeeping that you talked about?
    It's set within the context of a multi-faceted, multidisciplinary solution to a state that is nearly stateless. How do you establish a reasonable framework, from a peace agreement that is flawed, in order to protect the civilians and bring in capacity to build that nation's ability to take on its own future?
    We're just part of a long-term exercise. Going into these countries where so much has been destroyed and so on, you're into that for years and years, if not decades, so you can't assess the effectiveness of a peacekeeping mission or a mission from the UN from a short-term four-year span of your being in power, or months. It has to be looked at as a long-term investment in how we engage in that endeavour.
    Mali is a good training ground. It seems we're going to disagree because I would say that 50% of the Canadian population still doesn't think that Mali is a worthwhile exercise. There are two reasons for that, I believe. One is that people don't think it's in our self-interest. There isn't a conflict in the world that's not going to affect us. With large-scale refugee campaigns and internally displaced camps, they're going to have pandemics. The rage and the extremism, and ultimately, terrorism that come out of those camps is going to spread. The diasporas are going to be affected in our country. Remember the Tamil in Toronto when they didn't like what we did? They got caught up in the maelstrom of that. Every conflict has an impact on our self-interests, strategically. That's the first thing.
    The second thing is that people still fear casualties. Even though we were magnificent in handling the casualties of Afghanistan in that overt exercise, peacekeeping is still thought of as something from which we'll all come back safely, and it's because people want us there. It's not necessarily so, depending on the mandate. Yes, there are risks, but that is our era. That's why I argue that I think the people are still thinking of another era, when in fact ultimately the belligerents really had resolutions, while we now see belligerents still trying to figure out what the resolution might be.


     What I'm hearing from you sounds like the UN has started shifting into this new conceptual framework that you were talking about, which I think sounds great.
    The next area I want to talk about is what's stopping more women from joining these missions and the army. What we heard from a previous academic is that you almost have to build a certain number of women to be able to help create some change within the army and within these missions. Also, once even women come in, you have to help them build capacity, so it's not just getting more women. We've heard from the people who run the training centre that they do everything they can to try to outreach to women, but they're still not getting what needs to be done. I would love some recommendations.
    You see how serious we are about it. We've put money into it. We've said that this is a priority, and we've given as much leadership as we can, but what more can we do?
    I'll say one word and then give it to Dr. Whitman. It is about the underestimation of the force multiplier that women provide in peace support and conflict resolution. It is an underestimated capability, and their presence in the field is critical, because they're bringing a whole new set of capabilities that the men don't even recognize when we ask them.
    Just to reiterate a point you're making, if you're going to move towards a role that is not commonly undertaken by someone who doesn't look like you, you need to see those people out there, so we need to find ways to put women out there so that other young women can see that as an option, number one.
    Number two, you're right, we have to build the capacity. In Africa we've been working with Sierra Leone's armed forces, the Rwandans, Ugandans and even Somalis, and I can tell you that there are a lot of amazing women out there who desire to be a part of peacekeeping missions, but they also have unique abilities that we should look to hone.
    The nature of the training and the way that we're addressing this should be addressed. There are women-only units that are out there from Jordan to Rwanda, as examples. I've had women who we've trained on child soldier prevention say to me, “If you create a network of us to come together, you wait and see what we can do.”
    What Canada should be doing is finding ways to create these networks of women and supports to be able to move forward and give them specific areas of operations that they want to partake in, not just be placed there.
    Thank you.
    We'll go to five-minute questions now, MP Spengemann.
    General Dallaire and Dr. Whitman, thank you for being here. Thank you for your service to our country and to the world at large.
    I'm going to go out on a bit of a limb and I'm wondering if you'd follow me with a hypothetical.
     Let's say it's a Facebook video. Picture a city under chapter VII post-conflict. Let's say it's mostly Iraq at any time in the last decade. You have a female convoy commander who is prepared to move outside of the wire of a forward operating base. Let's say she has a couple of civilian vehicles embedded in her convoy and that there are UN officials who are moving out to meet a local minister to sign an MOU. They go out into the city and a couple of turns later she faces a group of what are clearly young people aiming AK-47s and RPGs at the convoy.
    If we pause the video here, I'm wondering if you could unpack that scenario from a human, moral perspective. For women in peace and security, clearly PTSD is involved, but also how messy a scenario is peacekeeping going to remain as we go forward? How quickly are we going to resolve these moral questions?


    You've hit exactly the stuff that we are doing at the tactical level to give the skill sets to the forces and all that Shelly explained. That is, in fact, one of our scenarios.
    I just want to clarify. When General Dallaire says "we", he means the Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative. We have a set of scenarios we walk through, 12 interactions, one of them specifically being a checkpoint scenario, for example, much like the case you are highlighting. That's what we build up. What do you do in that particular context?
    We have interaction charts we walk through. We give the options out. There are a host of things that you didn't put in your scenario that we would put in for information, but for example, even knowing that's a possibility and finding ways to de-escalate the situation are examples we would put out there.
    We would also have a clear understanding of what the rules of engagement were. There's a critical area here that many forget. When it comes to children, you have to understand how a child thinks, and that is much different than preparation for an adult in that situation, understanding that element, recognizing that there may be different postures to take, different types of language you would use or smiling. Soldiers aren't used to being told to do that.
    There are basic elements of that nature that are a key part to all of the kinds of elements of the training that we conduct. We're not saying that every scenario is going to work out perfectly, but we can give a lot better options than we're currently employing and, if that's the case, then we can find ways to reduce the PTSD as well as the negative outcome for both the children and the soldiers who are in those situations.
     How do we answer the moral question of even engaging in chapter VII ground presence troop contribution actions where it's clear that child soldiers are in theatre and are actually operating?
    Let me give you an example. We've worked with former child soldiers to create the training that we've conducted. I always recall some of the children in one of the workshops telling me, “Please tell the soldiers not to back down from the situation, because in the heat of battle was when I got to escape.”
    I'm saying that because there are many people who don't understand that there might be a time when we're going to have to make a hard decision. There might be a time when we have to use a weapon to protect ourselves, and unfortunately, the casualty of that one child may lead to a hundred others being saved.
    Those realities are part of the training that we have to understand. Backing down and not engaging in these situations, not entering peacekeeping is not creating more prevention. It's actually telling those who are using children, “Keep doing it. It's working.”
    Thank you for that.
    I have 45 seconds. I'm going to open a question that hopefully we'll have a chance to circle back to.
    General Dallaire, how concerned are you about the Uighur Muslim community in China that is currently reported to be oppressed by the Chinese government at various levels?
    It's interesting, because my concern has been the Baha'is in Iran and how they as a group are being oppressed and even facing genocidal actions.
    I have to stay to some of the ones that I'm at ease with, such as Myanmar, where a genocide is in motion and we are watching it happen 25 years after the other one. This inability to engage where human beings are being massively abused in order to hold a country accountable, and to take action in that country when we have the responsibility to protect doctrine out there is inexcusable to the world.


    Thank you very much.
    MP Gallant.
    Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and through you to our witnesses.
     First of all, Mr. Dallaire, we support the work of our troops, what they're doing in Mali, using our helicopters to fly emergency medical evacuation missions and whatever other troops may be in the region to help out in one way or another. However, we've had several witnesses for this study state that the UN Mali mission does not stand a chance of viable long-term peace.
    As someone who has considerable first-hand knowledge of UN peacekeeping, do you agree with the assessment that this so-called peacekeeping mission is all for naught?
    How many fights have continued since the catastrophic failure of Mali to kill civilians by the villageful? How many slaughters have been continuing to go on? What's the scale of destruction of the human beings? How many more refugees and internally displaced are being moved around because of this scenario?
    My argument to this, Madam, is that anybody who looks at a mission, even with a flawed mandate, and doesn't see the possibility of amending the mandate, of working on a peace process....
    We're working on the peace process in South Sudan right now, which has some significant problems on a significant scale. You cannot look short term at peace support or conflict resolution. The short term will often give you some bad feelings and some risk that you would prefer not to have, but it is the sustainment of an effort, the commitment by the international community, and in particular, by northern countries.
    We abdicated on peacekeeping with the end of the Cold War and left developing countries with no capability, no equipment, to take on all this peacekeeping. We walked away from it. We even walked away from our rapid-reaction capability that we presented in 1995 as a solution. We walked away from SHIRBRIG, which we even commanded. We let them do it, and now we're saying they're not doing it right, it's weak, and so on.
    What I would argue is that it is high time we return in a variety of very capable scenarios, not by deploying massive numbers of troops but by providing far more aware, intellectually based capabilities, with soldiers who are credible, with diplomats who can work with soldiers and with humanitarians.
    I was on a committee and I had General Petraeus tell me that in Afghanistan he never talked to an NGO, because they didn't want to talk to him. There were 7,000 NGOs out there. Imagine all the information he could have gotten. That type of stuff has to stop and we have to bring in new capabilities. Generals who will sit here and tell you that the only solution to these things is to fight are generals of another era.
     Just to clarify, you said that chapter VI is peaceful conflict resolution whereas chapter VII involves combat action or kinetic wars.
    If what you're saying is that Mali is chapter VII, really what we're saying is that it is a combat mission as opposed to traditional peacekeeping. We've heard this before.
    If this was a combat mission from the outset, why would the government label this as peacekeeping, when there's no peace to keep, other than to sell it to the Canadian public under a false bill of goods?
    As I told you earlier on, “peacekeeping” is a term of another era. You might get away with “peace support operations” as such, but we're into conflict resolution that does call for security forces to potentially have to be engaged in extremis to be able to use force to stabilize a situation and protect a certain capability that you know will be a force multiplier, ultimately, to achieve the mission, as the helicopters are, as an example.
    When we look at combat, we're not there to win wars. We're there to help stabilize and protect civilians. That's the aim of the exercise. Peacekeeping, if you want to use that term, is today about how you protect civilians in order to permit the human security envelope, which has all the other dimensions—humanitarian, legal, nation-building, and so on—and then the room to be able to pull it together. How do you get the diplomats and the military to come back with solutions that will change the nature of the conflict as it adjusts over time?


    You were not commanding the mission in Somalia, but you were in the military at that time. You obviously would have been observing, at some level, that mission. Would that be correct?
    I was commanding a brigade then, yes.
    I have to hold it there, unfortunately.
    MP Fisher.
    Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
    Thank you so much, General, for saying that we are there to help protect civilians and stabilize. Thank you for that. I appreciate that comment. I believe Canada is the only, if not.... I'm not sure where Britain is with the adoption of a doctrine for handling and reacting to child soldiers. They may have signed on by now. I'm not sure. If not, it's close. As well, thank you so much for your work, which was instrumental to the development and the implementation of the joint doctrine note in 2017.
    I read a statistic that one in 10 Canadian veterans of the Afghanistan conflict has been diagnosed with PTSD. We know that it might be even more than that, because some are still serving and have not been diagnosed. We know that in Afghanistan and Iraq, our troops encountered numerous child soldiers.
    To both of you, do you believe that with this doctrine and the subsequent training, and we've talked a lot about prevention versus reaction today in various topics and on various questions, our Canadian troops will be better prepared mentally to handle the potential engagements and encounters with child soldiers?
     When I was in Rwanda, I saw child soldiers on all sides, but I didn't see them. I just saw them as combatants, and if I saw them as combatants, then I would have acted accordingly. Realizing that these were kids being used as combatants, finally, changed the whole nature of what I should be doing. The impact of that, and seeing that, and taking action against children has had a catastrophic effect on me and many of those who served with me. We realized that we had not faced this thing before. These were not just a couple of kids on the sidelines. These were the main, sustaining forces that were doing the main work. How do you handle that?
    That's why I've been at it since 2004, and Dr. Whitman has been with me since 2008, building our institute as a world capability of in fact reducing the impact on our soldiers of facing child soldiers by giving them tools, new tactics and new ways to be able to handle them without having to go kinetic.
    I'll let Dr. Whitman continue.
    I think it's incredibly important to make sure that this is where we have to go—beyond the policy, beyond the doctrine, into action. I'm a little concerned right now that we're still at a point where it hasn't gone deep enough yet. In terms of the Canadian Armed Forces or the RCMP or other police officers who get deployed, we need to make sure that the practical, scenario-based training has occurred. It has to be ingrained as part of the training. I know we're working toward that, but we haven't had that happen yet. That has to happen.
    The other point I want to make clear is that we have to have a lessons learned approach to this too. We have to make sure there's a feedback loop so that once we send out the troops with this training, they come back and then we can ask those kinds of questions.
    About seven years ago, I asked the Canadian Armed Forces psychologist who was leading aspects on PTSD for the troops how many troops had faced this issue in the field. He told me there were none. I asked how he knew there were none. Had he asked the question? He replied they didn't ask the question. I asked why not, and he said they had enough questions to answer already when they come back. I said that one more question wasn't going to kill the questionnaire.
    My point is that we also have to ask the question to understand how prevalent it is, and then put into action matters that can address it and be ready to follow that up and adjust the training and the lessons learned in the approach and have new therapies and things that we have to be ready to commit to changing as well.


    Very rapidly, when we were doing training in Sierra Leone, preparing a battalion to go into Somalia at the time, I believe, the British were part of the whole training program. The Sierra Leoneans wanted our package to be included in that, which was about three days and scenario-based in the exercises, and so on.
    The Brits, from the corporal up to the colonel, wanted to sit in to see how we were training on child soldiers. After the first morning, they asked where in the hell we were when they were in Afghanistan. Did they do things right? How did we do things? They knew they were constantly in these moral and ethical dilemmas. They brought that back and that is what eats away at them, unless they're trained and have the tactics beforehand.
    Do I have more time?
    You have no more time.
    MP Martel.


    Hello, Mr. Dallaire.
    This has all been very interesting so far.
    Have the Canadian Armed Forces ever asked you to share your expertise with them on the content of the training provided at the Peace Support Training Centre in Kingston?
    The Canadian Army holds an annual meeting with its generals about training. Two or three years ago, there was a meeting at the University of New Brunswick, and Ms. Whitman was invited to the symposium on content. She described the program we offer, and the generals in attendance wanted to know more about it. So we were invited to the Canadian Army Doctrine and Training Centre in Kingston.
    We held a preparatory meeting. It was with them that we began the procedures. The Peace Support Training Centre was also in attendance, and it was part of the same structure. The former commander was my executive assistant and he was also present.
    We explained to them what we were in the process of doing. The generals were engaged in the subject. We informed the chief of National Defence, the Armed Forces Council and all the senior authorities. We held a preparatory meeting with all those people present. That is when we began the new doctrine, with General Vance. They asked us to help them write it. The training directive is part of the training program they now use.
    What they had to do, in Edmonton, was not training. Rather, they had to produce a training directive so they could then deduce the training content.
    Giving Power Point presentations in front of 250 people for an hour or two is not training, but it leads to training.
    Representatives of the Peace Support Training Centre came to see our training. Every summer, we train veterans. Our trainers are Canadian veterans. For one month, they are trained at the university, at our institute, to prepare them to give training overseas and to take part in various content development processes.
    That brings me to my next question.
    The training is essential, of course, and needed. Earlier this week, however, we heard that the training is just one day.
    Is one day enough to address this complex and sensitive subject matter? Is it long enough?
    I heard your questions.
    First, it might have taken them one day to train 250 people, but those 250 people did not sit there all day. They had an information session of about 45 minutes per group.
    They were given a Power Point presentation for that information session and were told that they had to think about one thing or another. Those are command directives in the army. Those people then have to produce courses and content.
    That is what we do and what we are committed to.


    Go ahead.


    That is its role.


     I want to make sure that you understand. I would say that one day is never enough for.... It's a constant battle that we have with any armed force that we're dealing with. They tell us that they don't have any more training dates to give. That depends on what you set your priorities on. It also depends on how you can infuse that into other elements of your training.
    Sometimes I think there's this perception that you're going to add another week on to their training. If another week saves lives, why not? Also, if it means that you can find ways to inject this into the scenarios that already exist, there are ways to do that. It's not an impossibility to overcome.



    I have one last question for you.
    Should our troops expect to come into contact with child soldiers? If so, are you sure they will be able to respond appropriately?
    Given the way the deployment is planned, that would be a very remote possibility. That has not happened so far.
    We have nonetheless told the armed forces that we could travel to Edmonton to provide training before its members leave. We wanted to convey the content to them. They were very rushed and had very little time. I know the leader was not very happy because there was not enough time to prepare them once the decisions had been made. We were willing to go there, however, and to provide more content on the subject.
    We also talked to General Rouleau about whether the Canadian Joint Operations Command was responsible for all operations. We asked him to organize that training for all armed forces members so he would have soldiers and sailors who had received the training. We discussed the possibility of delivering the training in the field. That is not the best option, but it is certainly better than nothing.
    Finally, we could go into the field to validate the training. Whether in Mali or Iraq, we have to participate. We are the only organization in the world that views child soldiers not as a humanitarian problem, but as a security problem. That threatens our operations. In this context, we have to know how to deal with those threats in order to minimize and ultimately neutralize them.
    Thank you very much, Mr. Dallaire.
    Thank you.


    MP Gerretsen.
    General Dallaire, based on your experience on the ground in Rwanda, I'm curious what lessons were learned from that mission that have not yet been addressed.
    Where is there still more work to be done in terms of peacekeeping operations? What lessons learned have not yet been addressed?
    The overriding lesson that's not been addressed is political will. We have not seen the political will to want to engage in complex and ambiguous missions in order to stabilize scenarios and prevent the destruction of human beings. Until the political will comes aboard and until the political will is able to convince its own people that if you're sending soldiers, you will have risks.... That's why we're sending soldiers.
    When you talk about political will, you're talking about the individual politics within each nation that's contributing to the UN.
     You're in a unique position to have an experience of understanding how the politics works, so where do you see the roadblock in the politics that leads to the lack of political will?
    I think one of the important things is that politicians have a fundamental role of informing their constituents, but informing their constituents includes security matters.
    I've had, I don't know how many times over my years as a General, and also in the Senate, politicians telling me, “We don't get elected on security matters. We don't get elected on military subjects or foreign policy.” However, you can certainly fall and certainly be held accountable to the electorate if they're really ugly about it.
     Is one of our problems that we're not educating the public on why peacekeeping is so important for Canada?
    Take note, because that's the answer.
    That is an overriding factor. You're absolutely right. Not only that but we keep them in a false premise of the past. All the peacekeeping we used to do during the Cold War, when people wanted to do peacekeeping, chapter VI, was barely 3% of our efforts but it was 97% of our reputation with Canadians. Ninety-seven per cent of our work was how to shoot Russians. That's what we trained for. We trained down at the time for very simple, classic, very established peacekeeping under a flag that had an enormous amount of respect.
    Now you're into a whole new spectrum of security that requires people to realize that peacekeeping is a role of a great nation. We're one of the 11 most powerful nations in the world. We have a responsibility to protect. We articulated it. We invented it. We still are fearful of operationalizing it. I would argue that this is not one party or another. This is the political elite of a nation that has embraced a dimension of its responsibility.
    In 2017, you had 150th anniversary of Canada and you had the 100th anniversary of Vimy Ridge where we spilled the blood of our youth to become a nation. What an opportunity. All parties could have gotten together to focus us on what the future is and what Canada should do. One of them is to engage in peace and security for not only children, not only women, but peace and security in the world to advance the concept that all humans are equal.


    I assume you're familiar with Hill 70.
    Yes, I was at Vimy also. That is to say Hill 70.
    Hill 70 was one of the battles that first set Canada on its path of being defined as its own entity apart from Great Britain.
    Do you think that if you walked outside and asked 100 Canadians if they knew what Hill 70 was, they would know?
    Personally, to be fair about this, I'd ask them about Vimy first.
    Fair enough.
    Then Hill 70, they were all interlocked.
    Also ask them about how we invented the storm troopers that in fact made the Canadian corps in that last 100 days a significant capability.
    I'm hearing from you that peacekeeping and Canada's role in peacekeeping is just as important to be setting priorities abroad or with the UN as it is setting those priorities in communication at home.
    Yes, but integrate it. It's not a standalone. We use the term “whole of government”. We used to use the three Ds: diplomacy, defence and development. It's a capability that we want to continue to nurture.
    We put together an enormous amount of government-wide capabilities during Afghanistan. When Afghanistan ended, all the integrated capabilities of all these different disciplines disappeared. The only ones that are still doing business is defence. Why did we lose that? We could have taken that and transported it into peace operations to prepare us for this.
    Thank you.
    The last formal question goes to MP Garrison.
    Thanks very much, Mr. Chair.
    I want to go back to Dr. Whitman's opening statement where she talked about a centre of excellence. I have two questions. One is just what your vision of that is. The second question would be on the utility of a separate centre of excellence for child soldiers versus the full integration of child soldiers into the training that's done in peacekeeping.
    Thank you for that opportunity.
    First of all, being clear that one of the things that we need to do as a smaller nation, with a relatively smaller set of troops that we contribute, is to also be really clear on niches that we may have and not try to take on everything that exists. For example, you know the Norwegians or the Swedes are experts on gender dynamics. Why are we trying to enter into an area where there are already experts? Instead, let's complement it by bringing in an area like children.
    The centre of excellence could be wider than just child soldiers for sure, but it could be the entry point because we believe absolutely that you can maybe even call this a centre for children, peace and security. It's about how these elements wrap into addressing peace and security globally and understanding that if you don't address the recruitment and use of child soldiers, all the other grave violations that are committed against children will also not stop.
    It's about looking at where that key centre in which we have some expertise that we can focus on is, so that we can then radiate out towards other elements. There are certainly areas on the domestic front we've been working on with police forces here in Canada and tools and approaches that we've developed. Even next week, I'm being asked to go to Sweden, Norway and the Netherlands to demonstrate, because they're very interested in what they could learn on a domestic level about how to handle some of these vulnerabilities of children.


     The second part I was asking about was the specialized training versus integrating it into the other parts of training.
    There's no problem with integrating it into the training, but I think that first we have to create a capability of understanding the specialized dynamic of it, and then how it could be inserted. One of the things we need to do is to look at how we work with those groups—whether it's the CAF, particular training institutions like Kingston, etc.—to make sure that the expertise actually exists there first, and work with them and mentor those trainers and build that capacity. Then, as I said, there's the lessons learned dynamic of that, because this is not an issue that never changes once you learn it. There are always new tactics and procedures, and new country dynamics.
    One of the points we made, certainly to General Rouleau, was the fact that understanding the issues of child soldiers in Iraq is different from understanding the issue of child soldiers in South Sudan. While there are some similarities, you need to understand the nuances to be able to have precision in terms of your tactic.
    Very rapidly—
    Could you hold that thought for one quick second? I have to keep the times evened out here, but I will get back to you, General.
    Given the time we have on the clock and the people who have expressed interest to the clerk that they want another question, we will go to four-minute questions so that we will be able to continue on with trains of thought that weren't yet completed.
    I'm going to yield the floor to MP Spengemann for his first four-minute question and then, again, please respect the paper and take 30 seconds to wind down so everyone has an opportunity.
    MP Spengemann.
    Thank you very much.
    I have two questions, and hopefully I can get them in within the four minutes.
    Children do not belong in a theatre of war because they're vulnerable. It's morally wrong.
    How are we thinking differently today, if at all, about adult women combatants? Maybe I mean less about women in uniform, but more about women who are part of insurgent groups. In other words, operationally, even though on our side of the fence we are trying to promote and are actively promoting women as a stabilizing power in peace and security, if coalition forces were to come upon a scenario where there were adult women involved in combat against them, are we thinking differently in the sense that we look at women as vulnerable?
    From our side, Canada was the first country to have a combat arms female officer die in the operational theatre, and that was Captain Goddard. She had called in fire to protect about 120 infantrymen deployed.
    Women have demonstrated that they are quite capable, just as effective and brave, and can sustain the pressures of combat when so committed and when trained to do so. Women who are in other forces are still, in many cases, a new capability. However, women in non-state actors, that is a complexity in regard to what extent they are under duress, or whether they are there as actual volunteers. I think that is a question we've been looking at, the problem of how we help non-state actors get rid of child soldiers, let alone how to not recruit women.
    That leads to my second question perfectly because it is about your mention earlier of the role of NGOs in peacekeeping and, more broadly speaking, the importance of on-the-ground intelligence in peacekeeping. Could you say a bit more about that?
    I'll let Dr. Whitman say a few words, but....
    We work with UNICEF extensively on the ground because, as we are working to prevent the children from being recruited, we're working with education programs to instruct young children not to get sucked in and not to get recruited. We have to know, also, how to handle the children and hand them over to bodies like the NGOs who, in fact, we hope will prevent re-recruitment, and we hope the reintegration process works. Re-recruitment is a great danger because an experienced child soldier.... When I was in Darfur, we had kids there who were being used in Côte d'Ivoire, so the trafficking of child soldiers is a danger that we consider.
    Dr. Whitman.
    I think it's important that there are ways to bridge information gaps and approaches, but that means thinking about it carefully because, yes, a lot of the NGOs on the ground still don't want to collaborate with the military actors on the ground, for good reason.
    There are groups, like ourselves, who bridge that divide because we can talk to both entities in the languages they both understand. It means taking those approaches that the NGOs want to be taken with children, relaying that to the military, and the military coming back and saying that this isn't working because “You want us to do this, but none of you are available for...”. I think there is an important dialogue that has to get created there.
    I just want to reinforce what General Dallaire is saying about communities. That means thinking wider, too, about that engagement.


     Thank you.
    MP Bezan.
    Thank you, Chair.
    First, I want to make sure I correct the record. I think I might have inadvertently said that General Dallaire's service was in Somalia. It was in Rwanda. I want to make sure that is corrected in the committee Hansard.
    General Dallaire, you mentioned child soldiers in Ukraine. I'm only aware of child soldiers in Ukraine being used by the Russia-backed separatist forces. Are you seeing it on the other side or just in the Donbass in terms of their being used by the Russian proxy army?
    We've been informed that it apparently is not a significant factor; however, it does exist. The question is, to what extent? One of the problems we're having is in terms of people reporting they're facing child soldiers so that we can actually get the data, the metrics, in order to adjust the training and to provide it.
    When soldiers see children not as a child but as a combatant, they won't report it, as I didn't. That's part of the training we do. This is to make them aware that every time you see a child standing by a gate bringing food or see children who are shining the boots of the troops in their compound, all of those can be child soldiers operating for somebody. Without the training, they don't discern it. You don't get the intelligence and you don't get the picture that, “Wait a minute, these are preliminary operations for something that will happen”.
    It would probably be worth your while to talk to some of our friends in Ukraine about making sure their military is properly trained to report it, but the sad part is that the Russians don't let the OSCE observers go into Donbass.
    Dr. Whitman, you were mentioning that there are seven state armies currently out there recruiting child soldiers and using them in combat. Which states are those?
    You have Iraq. You also have Myanmar, Somalia, South Sudan, and Yemen. Did I name seven there? I think the other was the Central African Republic.
    Okay. The actual governments go out and recruit child soldiers.
    You realize that the non-state players are ISIS, Boko Haram—
    —and al Shabaab. They're predominantly terrorist groups.
    You're aware, General—you were a senator—of how parliamentary committees work. At the end of this, we have to make some recommendations. You have lessons learned. Hopefully, the UN is implementing best practices from those lessons learned. What are the recommendations that this committee should be making in its final report?
    I think we've entered an era where there are new capabilities required because the scenarios have changed in the field. The threats are different and the construct of conflict is different, and we must walk in with new capabilities.
     When we have something like a new threat, that being children, as an example, and a new mission, which is protection of civilians, how do you stop the sustainment of a war through generations by using children and how do you prevent them from actually targeting the civilian population? I think the strongest thing is to look to where that niche is to complement the other niches that are going around and that will in fact give us the capabilities. I do believe that.
    As an example, having a centre of excellence is one thing, but having the Canadian Forces, in their ethos, understand that child soldiers are not an add-on, that it's part of modern soldiering and that's a threat you will face all the time.... It's like learning how to shoot your rifle. It's learning how to handle children in a conflict zone.
    MP Garrison.
    Thanks very much.
    I want to try to go back to where we were in my last question with Dr. Whitman on centres of excellence.
    One of the things that I think we've heard a couple of times now is that with the closure of the Pearson Peacekeeping Centre we lost research capacity in peacekeeping, not just the training capacity. The centre in Kingston, while it does excellent training, doesn't do research.


    That's right.
    Is that part of what's behind your call for a centre of excellence?
    Yes. I think it's incredibly important. There could be training cells that exist at Kingston or in other areas of the country—
    Please note that she said “Kingston”.
    —but there has to be an approach to have an academic or research centre that is attached to those and collaborates with them.
     When you're conducting the training, you also need to have that ability to collate the information and understand if you have best practices. As well, having a separate monitoring and evaluation system is important for being able to understand effectiveness from a non-biased perspective.
     Does that capacity exist anywhere else in the world on child soldiers?
    No, it does not.
    Don't forget validation, going six or eight months later and finding out whether it was really useful and whether they have used the people we trained, and so on, and bringing that back and putting it into a research model, not just a lessons-learned on how to change a few tactical things but actually how the trends are moving.
    We did the research on child piracy and produced the handbook on child piracy.
    The example of the cyberwarfare that was brought up was research we conducted, which now NATO is asking us to come in two weeks' time to present because it's new. We look at the gaps that exist and where we can get ahead of the curve.
    Thanks very much for your contribution today and the work that you're doing. It clearly is necessary and unique.
    MP Dzerowicz.
    Thank you so much, Mr. Chair, and thank you for this wonderful conversation today. I have a couple of questions.
    As everybody knows, Canada is vying for a spot on the UN Security Council. Should we succeed, in light of the context of the conversation we're having today, what do you think Canada should be pushing for next?
    There has to be a will by the nation to want that seat and to see the significance, so there is a responsibility to bring the country along with it. That's one thing.
    Secondly, what are you bringing to the UN in order to continue to advance its capabilities? The 100 recommendations that got scrapped in 2005 are still sitting there. There are all kinds of ones that people could join in and do work on.
    As an example, the new re-engagement that we would want to involve ourselves in, with new capabilities in peacekeeping by not necessarily deploying massive capabilities of numbers of troops, but in fact, using even reservists, too, is in training and building capacity in regions such as Africa, or in Jordan, where we're working with the Jordanian police.
    Build capacity out there. You will spread that word and build the regional support that you need, which has a lot of votes.
    I just want to highlight that whatever Canada should be bringing—you get the issue I'm going to tell you—that should be brought there. The Vancouver principles created revitalization of a commitment to an issue that Canada used to have many years ago when it first started back in 2000. It's an area that people do recognize Canada has contributed to in the past. It's also an area where there have been a lot of threats of cuts to funding in DPKO on this matter, yet it's an incredibly important issue to keep the momentum on.
    Therefore, as part of this issue, what Canada should be demanding is that there is actual implementation of practical approaches in this, not just spending on what the funding has always been spent on in terms of this issue at the UN but finding new and innovative ways to do it. It should be about complementing the UN system and the policies and approaches that are already there. Therefore, we're not reinventing anything. We're just augmenting and helping to have more capacity to actually do this work.
    Lastly, as an example, in South Sudan, the Government of Canada is funding the Dallaire initiative to do work over the next three years to prevent the recruitment and use of child soldiers, with a priority of making this an issue at the peace negotiation table and within the dialogue. We already see moments there where we're having some traction. That's the type of aspect that Canada could take on around the world, and it's an area where we can galvanize support in terms of others who want to join in on that. It's not an adversarial issue to be a part of for Canada.


    I have only 30 seconds left. I'm also very concerned about what's happening in Myanmar and the impacts.
    I'm well read on the responsibility to protect. How can we re-engage the world into this commitment to the responsibility to protect for that region? What's missing now?
    We published “Mobilizing the Will to Intervene”, out of the Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies, and the Americans in fact adopted part of those recommendations.
    The first premise is the recognition that a nation such as ours has a responsibility to protect, fundamentally as being our national ethos. It's not as though we can just look inward and take care of ourselves. There is a nature of our beast that is holding us accountable to the world.
    In regard to that seat on the Security Council, the developing countries were madder than we were about the fact that we weren't sitting there as that bridge. As we're doing between military and humanitarians on child soldiers, we were a bridge between the big guys and the other ones and brought innovative ideas and approaches, and that reinforces the pride and the presence of Canadians around the world.
     Thank you.
    MP Gallant.
    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    General Dallaire, you mentioned, right before we were cut off, that you had been a commander at the time the Somalia peacekeeping mission was going on. Right before we were getting to the nugget of the mission failure, the Somalia inquiry was abruptly cut off.
    Can you tell us what would have relayed the causal factor to that failure? What was about to be revealed and then was abruptly cut down?
    I went to Africa and then came back and was deputy commander of the army and was caught up in the whole judicial thing, court martials and so on.
    What was needed to be found was found. We had a rogue unit. Many of us were responsible for putting some of our more difficult soldiers in difficult cases with weak leadership into an organization that was built to be autonomous and to be front line. The unit was not sustainable in its internal capabilities and became rogue.
    You have two options. You either put it down to nil strength and move everybody around or you bring in a whole new capability. At the time, we were being cut by 33%, if you remember, so there was no way of rebuilding it, so we essentially spread it.
    The commission had already found all that material. It was sniffing...I don't know. An extraordinary piece of analysis has been done on where they were going to continue evolving, but in our estimation, leadership failed.
    Did the use of mefloquine play a role in that?
    The damn mefloquine.... Halfway through my mission in Rwanda, I wrote to NDHQ and said that mefloquine was causing me significant problems with sleep, being conscious, and stomach problems, and I said I had to get off of it because it wasn't helping.
    I was told very clearly that if I didn't take mefloquine I'd be court-martialled if I got malaria.
    That stuff is junk. It was a factor, but not an overriding one that would bring a unit to do some of the actions that were taken by subordinate commanders who were out of control.
    I've taken this to heart that it's our duty to inform constituents on matters of security among all the other things we do.
    Dr. Whitman, you relayed how the cybersecurity...the role you played was relatively new to the military dimension other than hardening their own assets. It took a number of years to get the military and government as well to openly discuss it and what the role should be. Again, there has to be an offence to be able to play defence there.
    Now we're seeing that the use of artificial intelligence is evolving in military fields. Back in the spring session, I moved a motion that the committee should study the use of artificial intelligence as it applies to defence. Since I made a motion back then, I've decided that I'm going to put the motion forward now.
    I move:
That the Standing Committee on National Defence undertake a study on the application of artificial intelligence in unmanned aerial, naval, terrestrial vehicles, robotics technological development, weapons systems and Canadian Armed Forces personnel thought analysis, and that the committee commence planning the study during the final stages of The Peacekeeping study for study immediately after.
    It's becoming increasingly important. Since the notice was first gained, we have Elon Musk who described artificial intelligence as the biggest risk we face as a civilization. Dr. Jim Al-Khalili, a physicist from the University of Surrey, says technological progress toward artificial intelligence is happening too fast and without proper scrutiny or regulation.


    I'm going to have—
     But I'm moving the motion, so....
    He also stated he is certain the most important conversation we should be having is about the future of artificial intelligence. The race of artificial intelligence in civilian and military applications is already being hailed as the next space race, with the United States, China and Russia all actively developing artificial intelligence technologies for the battlefield. We have many more examples of this.
    With that, I've moved the motion.
    Is there any discussion?
    You're going to see a little of the democratic process working here.
    Mr. Gerretsen.
    I'm sure General Dallaire is used to it.
    Mr. Chair, given the fact that we have these two incredible witnesses here, I want to maximize the time we have with them. We can talk about this motion at a later time. I move adjournment on this debate.
    All right. That is dilatory.
    (Motion agreed to)
    The Chair: For the last question on this topic, we'll go to Mr. Fisher.
    Thank you very much.
    Thank you to Mr. Gerretsen for doing that so I get a chance to ask another question.
    Is our current role in Mali best utilizing the training that our troops have, or should we be considering a different contribution?
    The commitment of those Chinooks to that mission is by far the most significant force multiplier to that mission. I was in the Congo with U.S. special forces going after Joseph Kony. We knew where he was, with the Lord's Resistance Army and so on, but we couldn't get there because we didn't have the lift. We have 15 of those now. I was always a strong proponent for the Chinooks. That, in my opinion, at this time, looking at what we can do, plus the Entebbe strategic lift capability, are perfect.
    You're meeting a critical operational requirement, and on top of that you're also doing medevacs. My soldiers had no medevac. The only thing they knew was that if they could hear a Hercules land under fire, they had a chance of surviving. Some didn't, because the Hercules didn't....
    Those who are there will have a chance, because that Chinook and those helicopters will be able to get in and save them. That, for a force commander, or any commander, is an overriding factor.
    Perfect. Thank you, General.
    Is there any time left?
    You have about a minute and a half.
    Dr. Whitman, I want to ask about the Vancouver principles. How does that compare, or does it compare at all, with NATO's standard operating procedure on child soldiers?
    It is in line with the standard operating procedure. I helped with the writing of the standard operating procedures for NATO, and then followed on with helping with the Vancouver principles, so I'm speaking from knowledge of the information put into both of those things.
    For comparison, both elements talk about the need to operationalize it and treat it differently from the women, peace and security agenda, to make sure that there are aspects of understanding, early warning, and to have a wide range of practical scenario-based training. They're in synergy with each other. The only difference is that NATO is done at the level of a NATO SOP, and what Vancouver principles is requesting is that nations take that responsibility on, nation by nation, to ensure they are already prepared before they go to pre-deployment training.


    We should be helping them to write it and to implement it.
    That's where I was going. We have the ability to really lead internationally on this problem.
    That's right.
    Yes, that's right.
    In our work at the Dallaire initiative, for example, we have MOUs with five different entities right now, where we're already writing doctrine. Sierra Leone passed through doctrine in December as a result of the work we did with the Canadian Armed Forces. We just completed an integration package for the Sierra Leone armed forces, which they are now going to activate. Rwanda is similar. We've been doing some work in Jordan as well, as the general said, on the same level.
    That pattern is something we know how to do and we can continue it. It's really just a matter of will and resources, and ensuring that this is a step forward that we want to take.
    Thank you for making Canada a leader in such an important topic. Thank you very much for being here today.
     Senator and General Dallaire and Dr. Whitman, thank you both for coming. Your input adds a lot of value to this report. We couldn't really have a discussion like this without considering your recommendations and your input.
    Thank you very much for being here.
    General Dallaire, I heard that you were looking for a copy of the report we did on NATO. The clerk was kind enough to send for a hard copy, so I'm happy to provide that to you after we adjourn.
    Thank you again for coming. We are adjourned.
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