Today’s the first day of the G8/G20 summits in Huntsville and Toronto. I mentioned earlier this week that I’ve been a bit on the fence about the whole thing. It’s not really the meetings that have me on the fence, I think it’s probably a good idea for world leaders to get together and have a conversation on a regular basis. But it’s the price tag that I and many Canadians can’t get over. The current estimate $1.1 BILLION. Yes, that’s Billion… with a B.
Now I’m no political wizard. And if you were to check my debt to savings ratio you would likely assume I’m not a finance guru either. But Billion? With a B? That seems a bit excessive to me.
I’ve been staying at my parents the last couple weeks and with that comes the treat of a daily newspaper. It’s so refreshing to stay in touch with the world. This week, obviously, there has been a LOT of talk about the summits. The Toronto Star from my daily skims has seems to be sitting on the same 10 foot fence that I am.
On the one hand, there is this article talking about the price tag. Highlights include that this is the most expensive summit EVER. Not only that, but $930 million of that budget is totally on security. All that fuss over the fake lake, and it turns out that’s just a drop in the bucket. Take it out and it wouldn’t even make a difference.
On the other hand, these things need to happen. They need to happen in a public place. And as a Toronto Star editorial discussed this week – Canadians could stop whining about the traffic nightmares for a couple of minutes and be proud that Canada is playing with the big boys this weekend. We’ve not only been asked to join the grown-up table – but to host the party. I can’t find the article online, but basically the argument was you can do it for cheaper on a private island where security is a more manageable issue. Or, it could be at the UN every time – which is actually something I was thinking of in all of the debate. But this is the problem with both of these solutions – the point is for it to be in a public space. The point is for protestors to be able to protest. For differences in opinion to be heard. Finally, the point is that the United States, and New York specifically is not the centre of the world.
So in the end, where leaders meet shouldn’t matter. But it does. Protestors need to protest. Pictures need to be taken. But I still think it could have been done for less than $1.1 Billion, with a B. And the fake lake is just silly.
Image from here