The Cost of 9/11 and the Creation of a National Security Establishment

Media Release
For Immediate Release
September 7, 2011

OTTAWA – The Rideau Institute has released a new report that tabulates, for the first time, the number of additional dollars spent on national security since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

The report, called The Cost of 9/11: Tracking the Creation of a National Security Establishment, was written by economist David Macdonald, and examines how much federal government spending on Department of National Defence, Foreign Affairs, Public Safety and related agencies has increased over pre–9/11 levels.

“A decade after the attacks of 9/11 it’s time to re-evaluate whether we should continue the high level of national security spending,” says Steven Staples, President of the Rideau Institute. “The government has created a national security establishment in Canada.”

The report’s main findings include the following:

  • Since 2000-01, the year before the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, Canada has devoted an additional $92 billion ($69 billion inflation-adjusted) to national security spending over and above the amount it would have spent had budgets remained in line with pre–9/11 levels.
  • In this fiscal year, 2011-12, Canada will spend $34 billion on its national security, which is an additional $17 billion ($13 billion inflation-adjusted) more than the amount it would have spent had budgets remained in line with pre–9/11 levels. This is an increase of 105% (60% inflation-adjusted).
  • Military expenditures have nearly doubled (+90%) since 9/11 (48% inflation-adjusted), and the Department of National Defence is by far the largest consumer of national security expenditures, at more than $21 billion this fiscal year.
  • Security and Public Safety programs have nearly tripled in spending, from $3 billion to almost $9 billion annually ($3.9 billion to $8.7 billion inflation-adjusted), or 186% since 9/11 (123% inflation-adjusted).

Author David Macdonald hopes the report will launch a discussion about future spending. “At a time when the global economy seems to be a greater threat to Canadians’ security than global terrorism, should we spend another $92 billion or more over the coming decade on a national security establishment?” said MacDonald.

The Rideau Institute is a non-partisan, non-profit, public-interest research, advocacy and consulting group based in Ottawa.


Click here to get your copy of the report.

For more information contact:

Steven Staples, President

o. 613-565-9449 c. 613-290-2695 e.

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