$834 Million

Staggering.

That’s the estimated cost for security at the G8/G20 chin-wags upcoming. Plus, this estimate is already up from a previous estimate of less than $200 M. If you want to speculate about how high it might go, use the cost evolution history of the Olympic Stadium in Montreal as a guide. Once the cost of housing, feeding and watering the hoard of politicos and their entourages is factored in, let’s assume the cost will be somewhere north of $1 billion beaver bucks.

Who’s paying? Well, can’t you guess? It’s about $30 a head for every person in our fair country. Will the chests of each of us swell with pride at hosting these prestigious occasions sufficiently to warrant that admission fee? I think the safe bet is ‘no’. We won’t even have a pile of dusty medals to point to later on. Apart from the cash cost, there are just a few cost/benefit questions that deserve at least a thought:

Inconvenience and disruption to the City of Toronto. Apparently, rather that holding the event at a place relatively easily secured, they’ve decided to hold it downtown. The list of places, events and services to be shut down is lengthy. By the time the barbed wire, security fencing and “no go” zones are established, it’ll look like Argentina in the 70’s.

Why the heck have 2 conferences, anyway? Everyone in the G8 is in G20. What happens at one that doesn’t get rehashed at the other?

Why have a conference in Huntsville? Can anyone think of a place less suited to the infrastructure, transportation and other demands of a high profile international event?

What sort of, uh, carbon implications are involved here? We have the technology for these guys to “meet” by multi-hookup conference platforms and wag to their hearts’ delight. Instead, they’ll burn millions in jet fuel, spend a minimal amount of time actually conferencing, then go home to get a rest.

Face it, Canada is not a “player” on the world stage. The only reason we’re even in the G8 is because we live quite close to someone to the south. We can’t influence anything or leverage any advantage for Canada at one of these things. This is nothing more than a gigantic vanity project so Stephan Harper and Jim Flaherty can get their picture taken with the world’s political elite. Think that’s worth one-thousand million dollars?

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