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RCMP shuffle cash, staff to combat terrorism

Apr 08 2015

OTTAWA - The RCMP has been forced to shuffle more cash and officers into terrorism investigations as Ottawa's contribution has remained static over the last decade, documents show.

The Mounties diverted $22.9 million from other operations to the Integrated National Security Enforcement Teams (INSETs) in 2013-14. The RCMP's share of INSET funding has been steadily rising from $717,000 in 2003 to more than $20 million for each of the last three fiscal years.

Meanwhile, the federal government's contribution to INSETs has remained static at $10 million a year since 2003.


April 9, 2015
By Corrie Sloot

Apr 08 2015

OTTAWA – The RCMP has been forced to shuffle more cash and officers into terrorism investigations as Ottawa’s contribution has remained static over the last decade, documents show.

The Mounties diverted $22.9 million from other operations to the Integrated National Security Enforcement Teams (INSETs) in 2013-14. The RCMP’s share of INSET funding has been steadily rising from $717,000 in 2003 to more than $20 million for each of the last three fiscal years.

Meanwhile, the federal government’s contribution to INSETs has remained static at $10 million a year since 2003.

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“Given the priority the RCMP has placed on countering the threat posed by high risk travellers and high risk individuals, the RCMP has and will continue to reallocate the necessary resources to the INSETs,” read the documents, tabled in Parliament earlier this year.

“As of Jan. 5, 2015, it is estimated that almost 600 RCMP full-time equivalents have been reallocated from other priority areas (e.g., serious and organized crime, economic crime and other national security files) to INSETs.”

The documents state investigators have been reassigned, on a temporary basis, from “dedicated special investigative teams, surveillance, undercover teams, technical intercepts, analytical support, wiretap warrants and production orders.”

In an appearance before a Commons committee in March, RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson told MPs that the force has sufficient resources — but other investigations move to the backburner as a result of the shuffling.

“Yes, we have enough resources to deal with the threat we’re facing, but . . . we’re taking now a little over 600 resources from other areas of our federal responsibility to transfer those full-time equivalent positions into the counterterrorism world,” Paulson said.

“We have enough people who are working these (terrorism) cases, but they’re not doing what they’re supposed to be doing.”

INSETs operate in five major Canadian cities, including Toronto, to collect and share intelligence about threats to national security, and to “enhance investigative capabilities” to carry through investigations to arrests. While led by the RCMP, INSETs include representatives from CSIS, the Canadian Border Services Agency, as well as provincial and municipal police forces.

The Star made multiple interview requests to the RCMP for comment, which weren’t returned. The Star also requested an interview with Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney’s office. In reply, a spokeperson for Blaney said the government has increased security agencies budgets since coming to power.

BY THE NUMBERS:

$717,716 — RCMP’s contribution to INSETs in 2003-2004

$22,864,779 — RCMP’s contribution to INSETs in 2013-14

120 — Number of RCMP employees on “assignment” to INSETs in 2014.

600 — Estimated number of RCMP employees re-assigned to counterterrorism after Oct. 22, 2014.

$10 million — Annual federal contribution to INSETs since 2003.

1/3 — Approximate proportion of Ottawa’s funding to INSET compared to total expenditures, 2011-2015.

(Toronto Star)