Yet today’s estimate of security costs to protect the G8 and G20 world leaders which will be in Canada for a mere 48-hours have topped the $1CDN billion mark.
The Canadian federal government says it’ll cost at least $930CDN million, but won’t release final dollar amounts until after both events, which are being hosted in Toronto, Ontario, and “cottage country” just north of Toronto, in Muskoka, Ontario.
It is expected security costs will actually be higher than estimates, due to threats and allegations from protest groups.
That’s more than double what it cost Canadian taxpayers to secure the entire 17 days of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Games.
Yes, it is important that world leaders have clear and concise communications – but can Canada afford to spend a billion dollars for a mere 48 hours, to keep these people safe?
At least with the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Games, much of the costs to secure it were recouped through tourist dollars – if anything tourists are being discouraged to come to Toronto during the G20 and G8 summits.
Much of the downtown core – the heart of the largest city’s entertainment and tourism industry – will be shutdown and off limits due to security concerns during the G20 and G8 summits. Just yesterday, the country’s largest university – The University of Toronto – announced it was ordered to close its downtown campus for the duration of the two-day summit, because it represented a security risk. At great expense to the educational institution, they will be putting students who live on the downtown campus up at hotels, as the campus will be sealed off tighter than Fort Knox.
Other tourist attractions, such as the CNTower, the Rogers Centre, First Canadian Place, numerous theatres, clubs, restaurants, bars, hotels, the major banking skyscrapers, and many other places right in the downtown core will be off limits to anyone who either doesn’t work there, have the right security clearances, or both.
Getting around Toronto and “cottage country” will be hell in late June, when the summits are to occur – roads and highways will be sporadically closed to ferry the high ranking world leaders to the various venues of the two summits.
That and the thousands of people expected to flock to both areas to protest the summits, the leaders, and their policies, don’t make for a tourist-friendly environment.
Would you want to take your next vacation amidst the screams and chants of an angry mob?
Well, maybe the protesters will at least spend some money while at the summits, to help offset the costs?
Wait a sec . . .
Aren’t most protesters twenty-something unemployed students with too much time on their hands?
Oh Canada – what a country.