Friday, June 11, 2010

G20 Security Costs

I have been hearing plenty opposition members in Question Period crying foul at the amount of money that the Government is spending on security for the G20 summit. The Canadian media were harping on spending too much money for police officers at the same time as reporting that 60 bags of high explosive ammonia nitrate went missing in southern Ontario. It is an uncomfortable hypocrisy to cry that we have too many police at the same time you are reporting enough missing explosive to destroy a city block. Thankfully police located the fertilizer and identified the man. This incident should have illustrated why when dealing with the safety and security of the world's 20 most powerful leaders, it is better to spend too much than not enough.

If you spend too much and take too many precautions, import too many police, do too many patrols, set up too many checkpoints, each additional dollar spent (necessary or otherwise) diminishes the probability of a world leader being harmed on Canadian soil. Sure, you might rile some fiscal conservatives who never wanted to host the Summit in the first place, but what's the alternative? We can debate the merits of even hosting such an event or where the venue should be located, but once you've got it how is it bad to be too safe? How bad would it reflect on Canada if there were a serious incident harming a world leader on Canadian soil?

I generally favour hosting any event that brings important people from around the world to congregate on Canadian soil. I’m just wired that way. I am very pro Olympics, pro hosting the G20, and so on and so forth. I think it would be outstanding if Toronto hosted the Summer Olympics. The reality is that once you take the leaders of the 20 wealthiest nations in the world and assemble them in a single location; that immediately becomes the highest value target anywhere in the world. I support the government bringing in as many police and security personnel as is logistically possible.

80% of the cost to taxpayers is security. If it bothers you that a number of RCMP officers are going to get some overtime pay for putting their lives at risk, then that's your opinion. The debate should be whether or not it is worth it to host such an event, not screaming bloody murder that we are spending too much on security; because when you factor the worst case scenarios into the equation, it is far better to be safe than sorry.

If the Prime Minister had a sense of humour, he'd have moved the G20 to Meech Lake instead of downtown Toronto.


  1. Iam sure if he had the room for all of them, he would have hosted this event at his summer retreat....I must agree with the complainers that hosting in the greater Toronto area is really secure that area will be a big challenge for the best of them. When the opposition is complaining about cost....what would they have to say if one of the world leaders was to get hurt....then it would be....not enough the way the cost is for 2 conferences not l...somehow that seems to have slipped the mind of the know-it-alls and our beloved media

  2. Canada is hosting the G20 at a cost of $1.1 billion, our savvy prime minister is using it as a means to arm our security forces without going through parliament.This is necessary as Canada has the greatest number of terrorist cells in the western world.
    Recently I chatted with some Afghan vets who voiced " better there than here but it will be here"

  3. o/t
    Will we be looking at a very exciting last week in Parliament?
    Monday is the (last) day for the detainee documents agreement.
    If no agreement, will the Opps run to the Speaker with contempt charges?
    Will PMSH, in turn, give the GG a call?
    Summer election...!?

  4. Chretien's G8 cost $300 million in 2002, for RCMP alone. This is comparable to the 2010 G8/20 given that today we have higher wages, inflation, larger summits in a world were security must be second to none.

    The Opposition and media spin is causing a panic no different than what they did during H1N1.

  5. Another angle on the hypocrits: How many times have the opposition parties moaned that Canada does not have a high profile on the Global stage? Well, here we are hosting the two biggest summits of global leaders and all we hear is more moaning. Do you want to be a leader on the world stage or not?

    Stevie J

  6. Did you see the security costs (projected) for the World Cup in South Africa? It is true that there are different stadiums in different places, but still our costs don't seem out of line if you compare.

    I see Pat Martin of the N.D.P. wants to bring a motion to take away the Order of Canada from Brian Mulroney. How about taking it away from Jean Chretien?

  7. Have a look at this U of T info sheet. It shows some real, "all in" costs for past summits including 2000 Okinawa, Japan $750 million. Makes $1.2 billion for 2 summits look like a bargain.

  8. As members of the G8 we are obligated to play host every 8 years. Adding the G20 at the same time gave huge economies of scale if you think rationally.
    Where else but in a larger city can you provide accomodations, staffing and services for more than 30,000 people who will attend?

    Can you imagine the many millions and millions of economic impact this is going to be for the Toronto region? Every other major city in this country should be screaming to host the next ones out of fairness.

    When Kananaskis hosted the G8 under Chretien the city of Calgary was the benefactor and the add on tourism travel benefits were huge. International coverage of beautiful Alberta by thousands of media. No costs were spared - the province and city of Calgary paid more than 80 million just for tourism and hosting promotions which included lots or sprucing up and new facilities- just like they are doing in Ontario.

    The Feds. paid more than $300 million for security alone in K. Country and another $200 million for transportation, accomodations, hosting, media facilities, etc.

    So, one event - the G7 (in those days) under Chretien's Liberals cost more than half of what 2 events will cost in Ontario.

    But, you won't see this factual breakdown on any Liberal TV network will you.

  9. This wole discussion is a total waste of time. If Quebec summit cost $300 million for RCMP what was the total cost? The G8/G20 has to be at least double. There are 2 summits, not 1 as in Quebec City.

    The Liberals have stated in Question Period that he venue for the summit should be at one of our military bases so that we ouldn't need additionalsecurity. Where do the 15,000 delegates and media eat and sleep? In tents?

    The only problem with holding it in Toronto is that the OPP and the Toronto Police are soft. Blair and Fantino have shown little appetite for dealing with violent demonstrations.

  10. The money paid for security will be a big stimulus to the economy. The police forces have to option to purchase the extras they have acquired, which will be an upgrade badly in need. Win win, eh.

  11. You guys can keep massaging these stats until hell does indeed freeze over.
    No-one is listening.
    We should not be spending the money. It's that simple. It's not that ONE BILLION might look not out of place considering other completely stupid expenditures for similar useless events. It's that the ONE BILLION is stupid in and of itself.
    This and the equally stupid and detested new fighter debacle would be the end of this Government were it not blessed, and the country cursed with the opposition it has.
    But nothing lasts forever. Eventually the opposition will remove its collective cranium from its collective posterior and then ----- Adios.

    You might think that it's only Libs & NDP types that have no faith in this disappointing administration. But you would be wrong. Based upon the collapsing poll figures, there are quite a few 'normally' conservative voters who have clearly had enough. Count me as one of them.

  12. dougf, enough of what? Whatever you vote for will be only worse.

    My only grip is over the DRM locks. But that can be fixed with amendments.

    Anyway whatever the costs, you don't think its worth it to get all the finance ministers together from the top 20 economies?

    You don't see the benefits of such an information exchange? You don't think the best of Canada's economic policies won't rub off onto other countries?

    Not everything comes down to a few dollars and cents. Diplomacy and influence matters as well.
    No one can afford to be isolationists... and they'd only be stagnating themselves for it.

    The costs of the summit is acceptable.
    If you don't like how things are on your end you're anger should be directed at the Ontario Government for their blatant overspending and over taxation not long since taking power.
    Even amidst record tax revenues they spent themselves to the brink all the while bringing more needless taxation.

    So if you want to talk about billions of dollars you can gripe at more wasteful spending than this.

  13. Case and point:

    If you see beyond the cost you'll realize the longterm benefits.

    Isolationists can't break down tariffs on their own you know. Hosting G20 will further lead to new and improved trade agreements in the future.

  14. "You don't see the benefits of such an information exchange? You don't think the best of Canada's economic policies won't rub off onto other countries?"

    Short answers to these questions are in order:
    A. No,I don't see the benefits of these information exchanges amongst the great and powerful. Like they have done us any good whatsoever to prevent soon to be Depression 2.0. And even if I did === Pick up the damn phone or send an encoded e-mail.
    B. If Canada has so much to offer the rest of the World, let all those soon to be benefitted countries pony up some cash for the advice and the wonderful examples. We surely shouldn't be paying for it. Give ME a BILLION and I can do more with it than having a couple of Partays.

    And as to whether I should instead be complaining about Ontario, I am merely disappointed to the point of indifference and future non-involvement with the Federal Regime. I completely despise McGinty and his complete malfeasance in Ontario. He's a complete moron from the ground up. Harper is merely wrong too often to be credible.

    Wait for the next election and we will see whose analysis of this debacle proves to be the more prescient. I'm betting on mine, but I could be a little biased. :-)

  15. Boom. Pretty relevant.

    Canada didn't enter into a "depression" to match anything near the Great depression.

    It's important to note the provincial breakdown of job losses. If the job losses are mostly concentrated to certain areas and not across the board nationally then the Feds are clearly not the ones to blame. (look of stats can articles and statistics on your own)

    "Harper wrong too often to be credible."


    I'd say he's right more often than any other Canadian politician past or present to date.

    Ontario used to make up over 40% of Canada's economy. Poor performance in Ontario also effects the Federal Budget. Who will be blamed of course? The Feds.

    Funny, your indifference to the Ontario Liberals and their mismanagement but your overly focused attention to the cost of not one but two summits of significant importance.

    So instead you argue over something that won't hit your pocket book since no new taxes or rates are to go up under the Conservatives.
    Where as the opposite has happened in Ontario under the Liberals.

    If you actually live in Toronto you should also be pretty pissed with city council and Mayor Miller's performance.

    Mmmm, with all this in mind you must be a poor gambler. You shouldn't be so smug about it either.

  16. Ya, but it's capitalism, and the returns on this 1 (and growing) billion are not likely.

    Unless I see a standard %400 return, waste of time and money.

    Finally, the location is what I am most appalled by. A stupid STUPID location...that even security experts say should have AT LEAST been done at the CNE...allowing them to lock it down with minimal effect on those living and working.

    I have a friend, who JUST on day before the summit starts, was left a letter suggesting the condo owners "leave town" and/or stock up on food and water, and charge cell phones as power would be shutdown during motorcades.

    Move this garbage to the U.N. or the like. There is no excuse for 1 billion dollar price tag, it could have been half of that if done elsewhere.

    Finally, if we had increased payrolls for doctors and nurses by 1 billion, there would be hell to pay, but sure, extra rent a cops are just fine.

  17. Stevie J: I don't care about world leadership or stage...I believe in money...end of story.

    It has been admitted that the real work, has already been done by bureaucratic sherpas in the past months...this is buffet and champagne social, NOTHING is decided was all already decided on weeks/months ago.

    If this meeting cannot guarantee a massive ROI...end it. There is no other discussion in capitalism.