G-8 Security Costs Skyrocketing

At the end of June, President Barack Obama and leaders of the world's seven most powerful economies, as well as finance ministers and central bank governors from 20 countries, will meet in Ontario, Canada, for the Group of Eight (G-8) and Group of Twenty (G-20) summits. In an effort to ensure that world leaders remain safe, Canada's so-called Conservative government will spend close to US$950 million on security for the summits, which will last a total of three days.

In the wake of the riots during the 1999 World Trade Organization Conference in Seattle and the September 11th terrorist attacks on New York City, it is not unreasonable to ensure that government officials remain safe. Yet this Canadian stimulus program for police officers dwarfs the $25 million allocated by Congress for security at the 2004 G-8 summit in Sea Island, Georgia, and the $12.4 million that was reportedly spent on security during last year's G-20 summit in Pittsburgh.

Of course, the frivolous government spending doesn't stop there. In total, the Canadian government is expected to spend over US$1.15 billion, including millions spent on a temporary indoor lake to make international journalists feel as if they are in cottage country, even though they'll be in a convention center in downtown Toronto:

Journalists will be able to lounge in comfy Muskoka chairs on what is likely the only cottage dock in existence with bar service and high-speed Internet connections.

The loopy lake project is only part of a bigger prop called "The Canadian Corridor" being constructed inside the temporary media centre.

Foreign Affairs describes it all as "experiential and will provide the media with compelling stories, images and ideas that could form the basis of published and broadcast works."

Think: Drunk reporter falling in fake lake.

Foreign Affairs estimates the cost for the project will be $1.9 million, including draining the lake and dismantling the whole thing after three days.

At least, that's the bill so far.

Government documents show that just last month, the absolutely outside cost was supposed to be $1.5 million — an increase of almost 25% in 30 days.

At that rate, the public tab for plugging arguably the richest resort region in the nation will blow past $3 million like a blackfly in a hurricane.

In the age of video conference calls and Blackberrys, perhaps it would be wise to look at less costly ways for government officials to hold their meetings. In the mean time, considering America's steadily rising debt-to-GDP ratio, it would be wise for the United States, who will play host for the 2012 G-8 summit, to look at the Canadian example as a case study in what not to do.

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  • ||

    As a Canadian taxpayer, I'm pretty f'ing disgusted.

    Maybe it's time to vote with my feet and move to a tax-have country.

  • Paul||

    You already have taxes... why wouldn't you want to move to a tax-haven't country?

  • ||

    Make that "Tax-haven"...

    Preview, preview, preview.

  • The Man||

    Second City, The little Apple, and the Muskoka Chair. They also claim to have invented the telephone, the screw driver and sex. Ah, Toronto, Canada --- the world's tidiest city.

  • ||

    it is not unreasonable to ensure that government officials remain safe

    Sure it is. Especially when the little pussies want $1 billion spent to protect their fragile little asses.

  • Brett L||

    I'll rent them well stocked mineshafts in undisclosed locations for $250M/wk. Security, booze, hookers, rentboys, drugs, and food included in the price.

  • Paul||

    I'll rent them well stocked mineshafts in undisclosed locations for $250M/wk. Security, booze, hookers, rentboys, drugs, and food included in the price.

    But in Toronto, they'll get ALL of that plus a Union built indoor lake.

  • EJM||

    ...world's seven most powerful economies...

    Does anyone really believe that Canada's or Italy's economy is still more "powerful" than, say, China's or India's?

  • Fiat||

    We just bought Chrysler, bitchez...

    respect...

  • ||

    Buying Chrysler is about as respectable as buying a plastic bag plus bonus contents from a guy walking his huskie down the street.

  • ||

    A billion dollars for a party? Wow.

  • Zeb||

    Why the fuck do they have these meetings in cities? Pick one easily secured, out of the way place and have all of these things there.

  • ||

    Screw that. Teleconference, baby.

  • Zeb||

    Even better. But if they are determined to meet face to face, and to avoid all contact with the public, why have them in big cities.

    I would personally like to see the teleconference for VIP meetings taken even further. The president and anyone else who requires lots of extravagant security measures, should not be allowed out in public at all because of the huge inconvenience and expense it places on everyone else.

  • ||

    CNN has hologram tech, it seems.

    Game, set and match.

  • Paul||

    Screw that. Teleconference, baby.

    Double screw that. Send it in a memo via email.

    Meetings are the social streetlamps that attract the unproductive moths.

    On the other hand, it has been pointed out that meetings keep stupid people occupied so they do less damage and say out of the hair of the truly productive.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Beat me to it. There is no worthwhile reason for them to have these conferences in person other than fucking photo opportunities. And the price tag is ridiculous. Just have the damn conferences via Skype, and Photoshop the damn "we're a happy family" photos.

  • BakedPenguin||

    If I'm going to use the phrase "we're a happy family", I should have at least provided the link.

  • Jesse Kline||

    See the 2002 G-8 summit in Kananaskis Country, Alberta. It was half and hour outside of the city, in the mountains, with only one road in, which made it really easy to keep the hippies at bay.

  • ||

    It reminds me of that UN summit on world hunger a few years ago. The delegates talked about all the poor starving people, but their meals consisted of filet mignon, expensive sushi, wild salmon, truffled pate, and the like.

  • Paul||

    Can't help the poor on an empty stomach.

  • ||

    Would anyone have been prevented from starving if they had only bread, water, and cabbage at every meal?

  • cynical||

    Maybe if they were only allowed real food after they solved the problem of world hunger.

  • ¢||

    Why the fuck do they have these meetings in cities?

    I was going to say that a hundred busloads of hookers being shipped to a resort in Idaho would draw some media attention, but the press wouldn't report it if the G-men threw fifty thousand whores in a volcano at the end of the party, so that's not it.

    It's probably because if it was in the boonies somewhere, the politicians' and press's pleasure at wiping their asses with a billion stolen dollars right in the stolen-from people's faces would be diminished.

  • creech||

    Well, at least they'll all be buying carbon offset credits, right? right?

  • ||

    Foreign Affairs describes it all as "experiential and will provide the media with compelling stories, images and ideas that could form the basis of published and broadcast works."

    Well, that makes it all worthwhile.

  • Frankyb||

    What annoys me is the fake outrage from the other side. Does anyone really believe it would have been different if it was Iggy in power?

    In Canada that's what we have : the party of Big Government and the coalition of Big Government that threatens to throw out the Big Government if it isn't big enough.

    On the other hand, if those damn alter globalization people would just stop throwing bricks at the cops maybe there wouldn't be need for a billion in security.

    Oh sorry, change "alter globalization people" to humanitarian peace activists.

  • Jesse Kline||

    What annoys me is the fake outrage from the other side. Does anyone really believe it would have been different if it was Iggy in power?

    Is anyone buying Jack Layton's fiscal conservative credentials for that matter?

  • Todo||

    Spot on, watching these politicians talk about facial responsibility a week after they voted against being audited by the auditor general is quite hilarious... and Ignatieff's press conference had me rolling on the floor. If I didn't laugh I'd just shoot myself

  • Almanian||

    If Iggy were in power - at least he has the decency to call his hangers on what they really are: "The Stooges".

  • Paul||

    Fuck everything about these people.

  • Eric||

    Although the cost of this summit is outrageous, the "million dollar lake" has not been reported correctly. The $1.9 million price tag is for the entire media centre; the artificial lake itself is only going to cost $57 000. It seems like nitpicking, but the fake lake has been a symbol of derision for summit itself, and it doesn't have quite the same punch at a mere $57K. Here's the story:
    http://www.nationalpost.com/To.....story.html

  • Jesse Kline||

    The government did come out and say the lake itself was considerably less than the price-tag for the whole center. When you add everything surrounding the lake, however, it's closer to a half a million dollars.

  • ishmael daro||

    This billion dollar vanity project for our prime minister is indefensible.

  • ||

    So can we call this conference "The Mistake by the Lake", or does Cleveland have that copyrighted?

  • ||

    A billion dollars, really!?

    They spent $12mil to completely lock-down my poor excuse for a city, what is the extra $988mil for?

    A word to the wise, if anybody mentions having this global circlejerk in your city calmly thrash them about the head and face.

    In Pittsburgh, I think one business profited from that cluserfuck...the hotel that the "dignitaries" stayed at. All the traffic routes were severely handicapped, and most people took off of work for the duration.

    Most local businesses lost money for the g-20.

  • alan||

    The problem isnt that they meet, but the stupid vanity of politicians to glam it up. In the US, hold this thing at Camp David, in Canada, their equivalent. Saves money, and uses resources already allocated for these purposes without having to feed a frenzy. The cocksuckers.

  • ||

    I find the politicians arrogance the unpalatable part of the whole affair. To justify shutting down whole cities and spending one billion dollars on security speaks volumes of these people's acute sense of self-importance.

    They seem to be saying that they are so important that armies of people are trying to kill them, and that if they were to be killed then civilization would cease to function.

  • cynical||

    We can't know until we try.

  • ||

    Couldn't happen to a nicer city I really hope the leo"s and the anarchists have one hell of a broohaha... Woohoo!

  • ||

    I think they should have this thing at an army base. Security? Check. Housing? Check. Food? Check.

  • ||

    I've got it: hold the G8 and G20 on an American aircraft carrier 200 miles off the coast of the US of A!! Can you say ZERO dollars spent on security!!

  • ||

    It's the tax payers dollars, that are used for the asinine summit, $1 billion, security cost. That is disgusting. Nothing comes out of the governing officials pockets, their salary's are banked, and the tax payer, pays the whole shot, they pretty much get free living. Then there's all the squeals, about health care. If the corruption was stopped, and governing officials, quit abusing their expense accounts. And all governing officials took a roll back in their salary's and pensions, that would save billions. Premier Campbell, has worked diligently for 9 years, to devalue our jobs and wages. Gordon Campbell, premier of BC, gave himself a 53% wage hike, and his ministers a 29% increase. Campbell gets a, $2 million per year pension. How much do we pay for past ministers, premiers and P.M. pensions, in this country, from decades back? It is corruption and greed, that governs this country, and nothing else but. A fake Lake, a retractable roof for a stadium in Vancouver, in the millions, the outrageous cost of the Olympics, that debt is still hidden. The theft of the citizens assets and natural resources, are sold to business buddies. I watched a motion passed, in the Federal House, to give millions of tax payers money to, banks, large corporations, gas and oil company's, the wealthiest company's in the country. They were also given huge tax reductions, and now the HST as well. This country is regressing because, of corruption. BC, has regressed, by 30 years. A government official said, we have our entitlements, so they feel quite free, to abuse expense accounts. The citizens, are forced to pay for that corruption. We are dammed sick of the governments thieving. $1 billion, thieved from the people to pay for a 3 day summit, that could have been done by, video teleconferencing. I think, the best thing to do would be, the western provinces, to separate from the east, the east are as fed up with the corruption, as the western provinces. And the first S.O.B. found corrupt, would get, an automatic 5 years in the brig. If you or I thieved, as the government does, we would be in prison. The government made extortion legal, for only themselves.

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