Goodale responds to counterterrorism funding critics
Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale is responding to suggestions that his government is barely increasing funding for counterterrorism, saying last week’s Liberal budget actually includes about a billion dollars that will help the country’s police and security agencies.
Some Conservatives, including possible leadership contender Jason Kenney, have been sharing a social media post questioning “Liberal priorities” and stating that last week’s budget included only $8 million in new funds to combat terrorism but $675 million for the CBC.
Liberal priorities. pic.twitter.com/Kg11qBlo7b— Jason Kenney (@jkenney) March 23, 2016
Goodale told CTV’s Power Play that, in addition to money for an office of Community Outreach and Counter-Radicalization, about $500 million has been allocated to infrastructure for the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Canadian Border Services Agency, plus another $500 million for what he called “program integrity measures to make sure (the agencies) have the adequate core budget to do the jobs.”
Goodale said an upcoming review of national security will “make sure that our agencies are effective at keeping Canadians safe,” adding “we will make other decisions in future budgets about what else is necessary.”
The Budget 2016 document is short on details about the infrastructure Goodale noted, but it promises $128 million over two years to “improve the physical infrastructure that is relied upon by law enforcement and intelligence agencies across the country on a daily basis.”
It also lists $35 million over five years for an office of Community Outreach and Counter-Radicalization
RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson has long said his agency doesn’t have enough police officers, and he told a Senate committee earlier this month that an upcoming review “will provide an opportunity for the government to understand how to right-size the RCMP.”
CSIS Director Michel Coulombe told the Senate national security and defence committee earlier that about 55 per cent of the agency’s budget is spent on counter-terrorism.
Coulombe estimated that 60 individuals who have fought with terrorist organizations overseas are currently back in Canada, about 180 individuals "with a nexus to Canada" are fighting with terrorist groups overseas and an estimated 90 to 100 individuals in Canada are looking to leave the country to fight with terrorist groups overseas.
CSIS deputy director Jeff Yaworski told the same Senate committee in 2014 that the agency did not “have all the bases covered” when it came to monitoring potential terrorists, adding “we do what we can with the budget that we have.”
In their 2015 budget, the Conservatives promised to boost funding for CSIS, the RCMP and CBSA by $292.5 million over five years, but the vast majority of the spending was allocated to later years.
With files from The Canadian Press