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The world at war
By Aaron Wherry
A strongly-worded report from the House of Commons defence committee recommends Canada overhaul its armed forces to ensure the nation's military can properly perform their duties.
The 17-page report says Canada's military can't keep "robbing Peter to pay Paul" and must see an increase in troops and funding.
"We... have developed a reputation of not wanting to pay for the associated prestige or for the privilege of offering counsel. We cannot have it both ways," the report reads.
The report also recommended a full review of foreign and defence policy and a quadrupling of the size of Canada's covert anti-terrorist force known as JTF-2, from 250 troops to 1,000.
No firm numbers were given for an increase in regular forces, but, during two months of hearings, several witnesses told the committee an increase of 15,000 troops to a total of 75,000 was necessary.
David Pratt, the Liberal chairman of the committee, said it is clear Canada's armed forces need more money.
"Our job is to ensure that they have the resources they need to accomplish the tasks we give them," he said.
Any funding increase must come on top of already proposed funding to combat terrorism, the committee recommended. While no exact dollar figure was prescribed, the report cited at least a $1 billion increase in each of the next five years.
The report also pointed to a lack of foreign intelligence gathering and recommended the establishment of a special foreign agency to aid existing sources of intelligence.
Four of the five federal parties voiced support for the report, while the Canadian Alliance demanded more exact figures.
"The recommendations themselves are what count and those simply don't contain any specifics," said Leon Benoit, Alliance defence critic.
Progressive Conservative MP Elsie Wayne expressed anger at the Alliance's refusal to support.
"You stop playing politics when it comes to the military," she said. "You don't play politics, you do what's right. Right now, we needed a united front."
Meanwhile, United States-led attacks on Afghanistan continued for the fifth week. American military officials declined to comment on the progress of the current campaign, but northern alliance officials said the U.S.-supported rebels had been able to seize several small villages away from the Taliban.
The U.S. also moved to hurt Osama bin Laden financially, freezing the assets of suspected terrorist-supporting operations in several countries, including Canada, where a bank run out of an Ottawa grocery store was shutdown.