As the number of RCMP investigators tackling the terrorism threat continues to grow, it 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 re-assigned investigators is closer to 500 now, a senior law enforcement source told Postmedia News this week, adding that the number fluctuates daily.
If this trend continues, there is a legitimate concern that organized crime â€” which takes the form of drug trafficking, human smuggling, identity theft, money laundering and fraud â€” could â€œflourish,â€ Pierre-Yves Bourduas, a retired RCMP deputy commissioner, said Wednesday.
In Bourduasâ€™ opinion, the No. 1 threat remains organized crime and the No. 1 â€œweapon of mass destructionâ€ is drugs. If these are allowed to go unchecked or are given less attention, â€œthen there might be consequences for Canadian society writ large.â€
â€œItâ€™s a delicate balance,â€ he said.
The federal government has a decision to make, said Garry Clement, a retired superintendent who was in charge of the RCMPâ€™s proceeds of crime program. Does the RCMP focus on one area? Or does it get additional resources to continue with other parts of its mandate?
For now, he said, â€œitâ€™s a great day for organized crime.â€