Toronto is getting an early taste of the mindless vandalism that plagues large international meetings. One person has been arrested in connection with anti-G20 graffiti spray-painted by vandals on bank walls, windows and ATMs overnight. As many as six banks were targeted in the Spadina-Dundas and the Spadina-College areas.
Canada will be hosting a meeting of the leaders of the G20 countries at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre on June 26 and 27, and, according to a report on the National Post’s website, the federal government does not plan to cover the bill for broken windows and other property damage suffered by homeowners and businesses as a result of protests attached to the G20 meeting next month.
When I first heard the summit would be costing Canadians over $1.1-billion, I was sure that enormous figure would have to include an estimate for compensation to homeowners and businesses who suffer property damage. But apparently not. How then can this meeting and the G8 in Huntsville together cost more than the $900-million our government estimated it spent on security during the whole 17-day Vancouver Winter Olympic Games?
“We are on track to host a safe and secure G-8 and G-20 summits, two separate summits back-to-back. Unprecedented. The cost is expensive but the security is worth it.”
- Public Safety Minister
This is patently absurd. The amount reportedly spent by Pittsburgh on security for last September’s G20 summit was $18-million. And London, England spent a trivial by comparison $30 million for the G20 last year. London is one of the worlds most expensive cities, how can we be spending 30 times more after only one year of inflation.
Let’s be generous and say we should spend ten times more than the Brits because we’re holding both the G8 and the G20. But no, our government plans to spend over 30 times London’s figure and does not plan to include compensation to homeowners and businesses who suffer property damage.
Even Public Safety Minister Vic Toews when appearing on CTV was hard pressed to defend the cost, saying instead that Canada has an obligation to make sure world leaders are safe while visiting Toronto and Huntsville. In other words, rather that explain the costs, he pretty well ducked the question.
This latest government billion-dollar boondoggle puts the Liberal’s long gun registry shenanigans to shame. When it comes to spending tax money, our guys in Ottawa don’t have to take a backseat to anyone.
Think about this: Ottawa plans to spend over $321-million on RCMP involvement at the summits; $262-million on what they call “public safety and preparedness;” $63-million on National Defense and almost $7-million on “others,” whatever that is. This sums to $834-million, an estimate given to CTV May 25. This figure is already out of date and more recent estimates are that the costs will exceed an eye-popping $1.1-billion.
According to the National Post, for $1.1-billion we could “…hire 2,500 [police] officers for five years, buy a million advanced Tasers, pay a year’s salary for 23,00 soldiers, procure a total of 366 LAVs or purchase five Black Hawk helicopters for every hour the leaders are yakking.”
Is this just a spectacular show if incompetence by some of our government officials or has our country lost its ability to get things done at a reasonable cost? Can our MPs be so divorced from the reality of Canadian life that they believe that this can be acceptable on any level? Apparently so.
During the next federal election campaign, when Tory volunteers go door-to-door canvassing for their candidate, how will they ever explain this one?