Pubdate: Thu, 05 Feb 2015
Source: Calgary Herald (CN AB)
Copyright: 2015 Postmedia Network
Author: Douglas Quan
Page: A17


The growing number of RCMP investigators tackling the terrorism 
threat is raising concerns that other important federal cases are 
taking a back seat.

Last October, RCMP commissioner Bob Paulson told a Senate committee 
that 300 investigators had been pulled from organized crime and 
financial crime cases to help support 170 members dedicated to RCMP- 
led Integrated National Security Enforcement Teams across the country.

The number of reassigned investigators is closer to 500 now, a senior 
law enforcement source said this week, adding that the number fluctuates daily.

If this trend continues, there is a legitimate concern that organized 
crime - drug trafficking, human smuggling, identity theft, money 
laundering and fraud - could flourish, Pierre- Yves Bourduas, a 
retired RCMP deputy commissioner, said Wednesday.

In Bourduas's opinion, the No. 1 threat remains organized crime and 
the No. 1 "weapon of mass destruction" is drugs. If these are allowed 
to go unchecked or are given less attention, "then there might be 
consequences for Canadian society." "It's a delicate balance," he 
said. For now, said Garry Clement, a retired superintendent who was 
in charge of the RCMP's proceeds of crime program, "it's a great day 
for organized crime."

The RCMP was unable to provide a comment Wednesday afternoon. But a 
spokesman for Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney said resources to 
national security agencies have increased by one-third since the 
Conservatives were elected to power.

"Our government will continue to ensure that our national security 
agencies have the resources they need to keep Canadians safe," Jason 
Tamming said.

A lot of the RCMP's counter-terrorism efforts are focused on 
so-called high-risk travellers, people who have designs to travel 
abroad to join Islamic State or other militant groups, or those who 
are already abroad but may be looking to return home.

As this week's arrest of 25-year-old Ottawa resident Awso Peshdary 
showed, the RCMP is also targeting individuals who may be involved in 
recruiting and financing the travel of foreign fighters.

Another priority area for the RCMP is working to detect and thwart 
possible attacks here at home.
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