Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Promised Budget Funds Not a Quick Fix for Security Challenges, Experts Warn

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Promised Budget Funds Not a Quick Fix for Security Challenges, Experts Warn

Article excerpt

Budget funds no quick security fix: experts

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OTTAWA - Hundreds of millions of dollars of promised new security spending in the federal budget will not be an instant solution to national law-enforcement challenges, academic analysts say.

The pre-election budget doles out almost $293 million over five years to police and intelligence agencies for additional resources to fight extremism.

"This government will stand up to keep Canadians safe," Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney said Wednesday in the House of Commons.

A spokesman for the minister stressed that security commentators have praised the planned expenditures as a step in the right direction.

However, University of Ottawa intelligence expert Wesley Wark notes just $18 million of the money is earmarked for 2015-16, despite apparently pressing needs, particularly at the RCMP.

Almost a third of the five-year funding outlay -- $92 million -- is delayed until 2019-2020, Wark noted. "This is not a serious response to current needs."

Concerns about homegrown extremism have prompted the Mounties to move more than 600 officers to counter-terrorism duties from investigating organized crime, espionage and other serious offences.

That has prompted criticism the RCMP is being asked to do too much with too little.

The Mounties recognize they need to find "a longer-term solution" to respond to the breadth of their federal policing mandate, Mike Cabana, the RCMP's deputy commissioner for federal policing, told the Senate national security committee earlier this week.

The RCMP doesn't have the money to dramatically increase the number of new recruits, he added.

In any event, it will take time to develop new officers to cover the personnel shortfall, said Jez Littlewood, an assistant professor of international affairs at Carleton University.

Littlewood expects some of the new federal money will go toward enlisting Mounties. …

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