Finance Minister Joe Oliver tabled the Harper Government’s 10th federal budget in the House of Commons on April 21 where he presented the government’s view on the document. Dubbed the “Economic Action Plan 2015,” the budget has been named by the government “Strong Leadership: A Balanced-Budget, Low-Tax Plan for Jobs, Growth and Security.”
Announcing new funding for the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), RCMP and Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA), Oliver used the budget speech to repeat the government’s refrain. “The jihadist terrorists who proclaimed a so-called caliphate in the Middle East have declared war on Canada and Canadians by name. In response, we have taken up the fight both overseas and here at home,” he said.
Roughly $439 million was announced in the federal budget for “counter-terrorism investigations and increased security for Parliament Hill, the Supreme Court of Canada and protection of the interconnected critical infrastructure that forms the nation’s economic and societal backbone,” the Ottawa Citizen reported. Of this $293 million over five years will go to the RCMP, CSIS and CBSA, and $36 million is to be spent on protection of “critical infrastructure” including energy, communications, banking and transportation. The Security Intelligence Review Committee (SIRC), which is responible for conducting reviews of CSIS activities, fielding complaints and issuing reports, will receive another $12.5 million over five years.
At a March 6 meeting of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security, RCMP Commissioner Robert Paulson stated that 600 police officers had been removed from investigating organized crime, illegal drugs and financial illegalities to work full time on counter-terrorism. He said it was “an unprecedented realignment” of resources. In an interview with Evan Solomon on CBC Radio that aired the next day, Paulson added that 870 people are now working on the file. He stated that “we’ve sidelined about 321 significant criminal investigations.”
Part of the new funding will go towards RCMP “counter-radicalization” efforts which target youth using community and police intervention to attempt to prevent them from adopting what the government calls “terrorist” or “radical” ideologies or outlooks. The budget’s increased CSIS, RCMP and CBSA funding comes as Bill C-51, Anti-Terrorism Act, 2015 is awaiting third reading in the House of Commons.
Opposition to the bill continues to grow, with Canadians denouncing it as a violation of rights and stepping up their efforts for its defeat. Two successful Days of Action, on March 14 and April 18 affirmed that the kind of country Canadians want is not one that sacrifices rights in the name of security or claims security comes from the power and impunity of police agencies. These actions affirmed that our security lies in our fight for the rights of all, not in Bill C-51 or a federal budget that does nothing to solve the problems Canadians face.
Source: Renewal Update