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The billions of dollars Canada is spending to protect people from the remote threat of terrorism would be better used fighting far greater risks such as disease and smog, critics say.
Ottawa has allotted more than $10 billion for enhanced public safety since the 9-11 attacks in New York, while thousands die from air and water pollution.
The federal government is stockpiling pharmaceuticals in the event of a bioterrorist attack, which many experts consider extremely unlikely.
"In my opinion they are scaring the hell out of the public, there's no need for this," said Shiv Chopra, a microbiologist who used to work for Health Canada.
So should small pox and anthrax get priority over smog and clean water?
"It's a matter of perspective and priority-setting," said St. John.
He quoted a U.S. official as saying that the hardest thing about disaster planning is explaining why you didn't do it.