02/22/2016 17:22 EST | Updated 02/22/2017 00:12 EST

Expand part-time military; give it larger role in cyberdefence, Senate told

OTTAWA — A Senate committee has been told the new Liberal government should massively expand the country's part-time military force and give it a new mandate.

John Selkirk, a retired lieutenant-colonel and a member of the group Reserves 2000, says there should be at least 45,000 army reservists.

He also says their roles should be re-oriented towards responding to domestic emergencies, including natural disasters and even cyberattacks.

Such an increase would be dramatic in light of the fact there are only 21,000 part-time members of all three branches of the military on the books at the moment, which is about 19 per cent less than their assigned strength.

The traditional role of reservists has been to fill out the ranks of regular force units headed overseas for operations and peacekeeping missions, but Selkirk says he believes future threats to the nation's security will come at home in the form of terrorism and weather-related emergencies.


The Canadian Press