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Sept. 11 attacks cost Ottawa $92-billion so far, think-tank says

In this Sept. 11, 2001 file photo, United Airlines Flight 175 collides into the south tower of the World Trade Center in New York as smoke billows from the north tower.

Chao Soi Cheong/AP

The 9/11 terrorist attacks have had a lasting impact on Canadian government's finances, spurring Ottawa to spend an additional $92-billion on national security over the last decade.

That's according to the left-leaning Rideau Institute, an Ottawa advocacy group that released a report on the subject Wednesday afternoon, days before the 10th anniversary of the attacks.

The Rideau Institute said since Sept. 11, 2001, Canada has devoted an additional $92-billion, or $69-billion when adjusted for inflation, to security expenditures over what it would be spending had budgets grown in line with pre-9/11 levels.

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Today, Ottawa spends $13-billion more, adjusted for inflation, than it would otherwise have spent, the institute days.

By comparison, Ottawa spends about $250-billion a year today including programs, transfers to provinces and interest on the debt.

"This has created a new 'national security establishment', which includes the departments of National Defence, Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Public Safety, Justice, and related organizations such as the RCMP, CSIS, and the CBSA," the Rideau Institute says.

Even accounting for inflation, military spending in Canada is up nearly 50 per cent today, at more than $21-billion per year.

This fiscal year, 2011-12, Canada will spend $34-billion on its national security, the Rideau Institute said, which is an additional $17-billion more than it would have spending had budget growth remained in line with pre-9/11 levels.

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About the Author
Parliamentary reporter

Steven Chase has covered federal politics in Ottawa for The Globe since mid-2001, arriving there a few months before 9/11. He previously worked in the paper's Vancouver and Calgary bureaus. Prior to that, he reported on Alberta politics for the Calgary Herald and the Calgary Sun, and on national issues for Alberta Report. More

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