Thursday, May 06, 2010

Sometimes Being the Host Sucks

Canada is playing host this year to both the G8 and the G20 Summits – where the world’s eight and twenty most powerful leaders meet to discuss global issues.

One would think it a great honor to be the host country for such an event.
It is, in that it will once again put Canada front and center on the world stage – just like when we hosted the 2010 Olympic Winter Games this past February.

However, security concerns taint the pleasure of the local host – unless you are a VIP.

Security organizers have already begun dividing up Canada’s largest city – Toronto – into color coded security grids, based on the proximity the area is to where the world leaders will be.

If you live or work in one of the high security areas, you have to undergo a background security check – if you fail it, you may not be allowed in the area where you live or work during the summit.

Imagine being told to go away from the place you’ve lived or worked for over a decade without any incidents, simply because some government rubber-stamper found out that you or your family might pose a risk to the summit?

Granted, there are risks, there are groups already boasting of their protests of the events. And wherever there are protesters in great numbers, there are bound to be a few nut cases that go too far – like the people who toss pies at politicians. Though I must say, it was hilarious to watch an angry journalist throw his shoe at former American President George Bush – too bad he missed.

Even if you have been granted the great honor of being able to go to your home in the high security area, if you run to the local store and forget your security papers, you’ll probably be taken down by police at gun point.

A simple mistake – all your life you’ve been able to run to the corner store without anything proving who you are, but those security papers mean you’re clean – safe – someone who poses no risk to anyone.

Like most peaceful Canadians.

Welcome to Canada, show me your papers or we’ll lock you up. So much for living in a peaceful country – and security will be everywhere, even the air.

Over the next few days, Canadian Forces CF-18 Hornet Fighter Jets, and other military aircraft will be seen over the skies of Toronto and Muskoka (cottage country just north of Toronto), as the North American Aerospace Defence (NORAD) run through security drills.

Makes living and working in the host city seem like a war zone.

The G8 Summit takes place in Muskoka on June 25 and 26 and the G20 is being held at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre on June 26 and 27.

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