This has been a hell of a week for Canada’s law enforcement and intelligence agencies. First, the Mass Casualty Commission delivered its final report into the Portapique massacre. Two years, 130 recommendations, and 3000 pages later, it is a damning inditement of multiple problems within the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, both structural and cultural.
Next, we heard from witnesses at the House of Commons Canada-China Committee, including former Canadian Security Intelligence Services officer Michel Juneau-Katsuya. “CSIS has known about People’s Republic [of China]’s foreign interference in Canada for at least the last 30 years,” Juneau-Katsuya testified, “and every government in this period has been compromised and infiltrated by agents of influence.”
Finally, the federal government delivered its 2023-2024 budget and pledged $49 million to the RCMP to help keep diaspora communities safe from foreign intimidation. But as Dan Stanton, another former CSIS officer, told the Committee, “Thirty-two years in national security work, every time we’ve had a crisis… that’s what the government’s done. We’ll throw money at the RCMP, we’ll say you folks have got to sort that out. And I don’t think that’s really an appropriate response,”
Indeed. Because considering the dysfunction in the RCMP, it could make things worse, by giving the illusion that “something is being done” when nothing of consequence really is. What we need is much tougher, much bolder, and requires a serious dose of political will.