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Fact Files

Saturday, Feb. 4, 2006



Department: Defence
Art Eggleton
Eggleton at a glance:
• MP for York Centre in Toronto
• Appointed defence minister in 1997
• Previous cabinet appointments include Minister for International Trade, President of the Treasury Board and Minister Responsible for Infrastructure.

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Art Eggleton
Defence
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Minister in charge: Art Eggleton

What happened: Ottawa has earmarked $6.5-billion for spending on security, emergency preparedness and the military. Intelligence and policing measures, meanwhile, will get $1.6-billion to deploy more officers, improve information-sharing between agencies, boost marine security and strengthen the role of the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada in cutting off terrorist funding.

Canada's elite team of anti-terrorist commandos, the Joint Task Force 2 (JTF2), will be doubled at a cost of $119-million over five years.

For Operation Apollo Ottawa's codename for its contribution to the war on terrorism Mr. Martin has set aside $510-million, about $300-million of which will be spent on "capital."

Financial details: The annual defence budget is roughly $11-billion. The Liberals boosted it in 1998 by $1.7-billion, to be spent over three years. On Oct. 18, 2001, the defence department's Communications Security Establishment received $37-million. Part of the funds went to foreign intelligence measures such as equipment for tapping phones and intercepting emails; $6-million went towards research and development. Despite the increase, Ottawa currently spends only 1.2 per cent of economic output on defence against the NATO average of 2.1 per cent. Between 1993 and 1999, the Liberal government slashed military spending by 23 per cent.

Responsibilities: To formulate and manage all aspects of Canada's defence policy, including military operations through the Canadian Forces. The defence department also provides support and knowledge as well as protection and response to any potential threats.

What to expect: Given the events of Sept. 11, look to the defence department to receive a major boost in the December budget. The Liberal government is expected to increase spending by more than $1-billion for security-related initiatives. A recent report from a committee on national defence on the state of readiness of the Canadian Forces said that the military is starved for funds, under-staffed and in some cases poorly trained. The report urged the government to upgrade the reserve force, dramatically increase the capacity of the military to deal with chemical and biological weapons and quadruple the size of the secretive, elite commando squad, Joint Task Force 2.

Critics:
Canadian Alliance: Leon Benoit
Bloc Québécois: Claude Bachand
New Democratic Party: Peter Stoffer
PC/DR Coalition: Elsie Wayne


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