Between 2001 and 2009, Ottawa awarded $12.9-billion to 35 departments and agencies charged with ensuring the safety of Canadians to use for public security and fighting terrorism. The money allocated through the Public Security and Anti-Terrorism Initiative was intended to pay for measures designed to keep terrorists out of Canada, to prosecute those found in the country, to support international initiatives, and to protect infrastructure. (via Ottawa loses track of $3.1-billion meant to fight terror - The Globe and Mail)
- But Auditor-General Michael Ferguson said only $9.8-billion of that money was identified in reports to the Treasury Board as having been spent specifically on anti-terrorism measures by the departments and agencies. The rest was not recorded as being used for that purpose. Some was moved to other priorities, and some lapsed without being spent, but the government has no full breakdown for the $3.1-billion.
- “It’s important for there to be a way for people to understand how this money was spent,” Mr. Ferguson told reporters after the report was tabled in Parliament Tuesday. “And that summary reporting was not done.”
- The matter is top-of-mind since the recent Boston bombing and last week’s arrest of two suspects in an alleged plot to derail a passenger train on the Toronto-New York corridor. In addition, the government has just passed legislation to beef up its anti-terrorism powers over the opposition of the NDP and civil-rights activists.
- Wesley Wark, an expert in security and intelligence who teaches at the University of Toronto, said it is unacceptable that the Auditor-General cannot determine exactly where this large amount of money was spent when all elements of the security and intelligence community face cuts to their budgets.
- “If money on the order of $3-billion truly went unspent between 2001 and 2009, that strikes me as bizarre given Canada’s needs on both the domestic and international security front,” Dr. Wark told The Globe and Mail. The unspent funds could have been used to improve border security, boost the national security capacity of the RCMP, or increase Canada’s capacity to analyze intelligence, he said.
- The biggest recipients of the $9.8-billion in anti-terror funds were CATSA ($2.8-billion), the Canadian Border Services Agency ($1.5-billion) and the Department of National Defence ($1.2-billion). The money was spent on matters such as intelligence, policing, improved screening, border security and emergency preparedness.
- Ray Boisvert, a former assistant director of intelligence at CSIS who is now the president of I-Sec Integrated Strategies, a company that provides risk management services and business intelligence, said he would prefer to see money left on the table than spent on things that are not needed as might have happened in earlier years..