Canada Spending $1B on Security for G8/G20 Summit in June

Amazing:

The Canadian government disclosed Tuesday that the total price tag to police the elite Group of Eight meeting in Muskoka, as well as the bigger-tent Group of 20 summit starting a day later in downtown Toronto, has already climbed to more than $833-million. It said it’s preparing to spend up to $930-million for the three days of meetings that start June 25.

That price tag is more than 20 times the total reported cost for the April, 2009, G20 summit in Britain, with the government estimating a cost of $30-million, and seems much higher than security costs at previous summits ­ the Gleneagles G8 summit in Scotland, 2005, was reported to have spent $110-million on security, while the estimate for the 2008 G8 gathering in Japan was $381-million.

These numbers are crazy. There simply isn't any justification for this kind of spending.

By comparison, the estimated total cost of security for the 17-day 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver was just over $898-million.

Think of all the actual security you can buy for that money.

EDITED TO ADD (6/12): Two links detailing how the money was probably spent. Pittsburgh's cost, less than a year before, was estimated at $18 million.

EDITED TO ADD (6/28): The total seems to be $1.2B. I haven't found any breakdown of the spending that differentiates between operational costs and capital improvements. If, for example, the Toronto police all got new radios out of this budget, those radios will continue to provide benefits for the city of Toronto long after the summit. On the other hand, money spent on extra security guards for the week provides no ongoing benefit.

My best quote to the media: "If it really costs this much to secure a meeting of the world's leaders, maybe they should try video conferencing."


Posted on May 31, 2010 at 8:58 AM

Comments

PatrickMay 31, 2010 9:42 AM

As a Canadian tax-payer I am shocked and dismayed to have to foot this bill. The mistake here was hosting the G20 in Toronto and trying to "secure" a whole city against the "terrorist threat". What a joke.
What a gigantic waste of money.

tykeMay 31, 2010 9:52 AM

Maybe ST Paul still has some of that million dollars worth of tear gas they stockpiled for the republican party in 09, but no, these things are opportunities for paramilitary repression to buy new automatic weapons and generally aggrandize themselves with a budget they can use on all sorts of sadistic equipment.

Pier-OlivierMay 31, 2010 10:04 AM

in the news here they justified it by the fact that they decided to host the summit in a high-density area of Toronto directly so there are lots of near-by buildings to cover.

this is indeed outrageous unjustified spendings :/

TDLMay 31, 2010 10:18 AM

Ugh..as a Canadian taxpayer this really annoys me. I'm thinking that for this kind of money, you could fund some amazing reusable video/VR teleconferencing facilities and save all those wasted resources.

ChrisMay 31, 2010 10:23 AM

i read somewhere, can't remember where, a suggestion that should Canada buy a airplance carrier for this submit, have the summit on it and keep the vessel afterwards. At least it would have something to show for afterwards. Still, it's completely ridiculous.

spaceman spiffMay 31, 2010 10:24 AM

Apparently these pinheads have never heard of tele-presence, video conferencing, etc. They have to go out and press the flesh at our expense, and then they screw us all... Boy, am I pissed off!

CameramanMay 31, 2010 10:26 AM

I don't think the bill is for a nebulous "terrorist threat". Rather, it's probably going to secure the city against the very real "anarchist loony tune near-certainty". Every single G8 summit features whackdoodles smashing things and fighting cops in the streets.

I am utterly shocked that Bruce has overlooked this. Do you think that somehow this is the one G8 summit that will be non-violent?

If I owned a Starbucks franchise in downtown Muskoka, I'd be getting estimates for plate glass in advance.

I agree with TDL above- these guys should look into teleconferencing, although I bet they feel as though teleconferencing will be looked on as surrendering to the black masked idiots.

AndyMay 31, 2010 10:28 AM

This is expansion money for public and private police power in Canada. They are far behind their southern neighbor and this will help catch them up quickly.

PeterMay 31, 2010 10:41 AM

@Cameraman - Downtown Muskoka??

Muskoka is a rural lake district ("cottage country") a couple (or several, on Friday afternoon) hours drive north of Toronto. The G8 meeting is being held at Deerhurst, a luxury country resort. It is quite isolated, and would seem relatively easy to barricade.

The G20 meeting, which follows, is in downtown Toronto.

CameramanMay 31, 2010 10:47 AM

@Peter-

I was being facetious, of course. But I'm sure that the anarchist anti globalization kooks will break everything breakable in Toronto.

Henning MakholmMay 31, 2010 10:51 AM

I'm not going to defend the figures, but I wonder whether the comparison with the Olympics is relevant. Certainly the latter is a much bigger event, but the threat models are completely different.

With the olympics, the main threat is classical terrorists, whose goal is to kill lots of innocent civilians in order to create fear and (perhaps) further a goal.

On the other hand, G-n summits tend to attract a completely different threat, namely those who think that deliberately picking fights with the police will help making the world a better place. They are easier to recruit, because the ethical barrier to joining the fight against evil oppressors is much lower than signing up to kill innocents. (Most of the attackers probably don't even expect to be effective at harming their opponent; their success criterion is for themselves to become media-visible victims of police brutality).

This makes for a rather different mission profile than keeping the Olympic Games safe. Protecting against actual assassination attempts on the protagonists is probably a very minor part of the cost.

Peter (not the same one)May 31, 2010 11:00 AM

They are so crazed over security that they won't even let the Toronto Blue Jays play at home during the summit. They are playing the Phillies in Philadelphia with the Phillies being the "away" team.

What a waste of money.

Mary ArrrMay 31, 2010 11:15 AM

Security definitely needs to go to a design-build model, with different sets of people planning and implementing the security.

They must be getting some lessons from the Boston police. At the 2004 Democratic convention, the police-created plan called for all the police in eastern Massachusetts to be paid overtime salary round-the-clock for the five days of the convention in case their was an attack which required their presence. They also managed to run up a $2 million dollar tab for the "Lite-Brite Attacks."

One warning for Canadians - make sure the police don't keep the new weapons they buy for the summit. In Boston, Victoria Snelgrove, a Red Sox fan, was killed outside Fenway Park with a weapon acquired for the 2004 convention.

MailmanMay 31, 2010 11:18 AM

@Not the same Peter: "The Blue Jays are playing the Phillies in Philadelphia with the Phillies being the "away" team. "

In exchange for that inconvenience, Roy Halladay should play for the Blue Jays again just for that game.

gawpMay 31, 2010 11:23 AM

This is just the spending, and doesn't include externalities like delays and inconvenience to residents.

When Obama visited Ottawa a while ago he decided to go sightseeing, off schedule. Great photo-ops but my daughter's school bus was 1.5 hours late, as the street blocked off for his trip back to the airport remained blocked off till he finally left.

If it really is *that* dangerous for leaders that so much of our time, money and patience is consumed by their safety, why don't we just build a mighty Fortress of Fortitude in the Antarctic and they can have all their meetings there in safety.

Oh yeah, forgot. As a political leader you need to demonstrate your power by inconveniencing as many people as possible.

These expenses are currently being audited, I'm very interested to see what sort of padding is being done.

BillMay 31, 2010 11:29 AM

I'm sure that figure includes things like wages that the Police would be paying anyway.

NorthernerMay 31, 2010 11:31 AM

Keep in mind that in Toronto they have to secure the subway systems, commuter train systems, passenger train station, buildings, hotels, streets, downtown airport, expressways (included elevated roads), surface transit, numerous downtown residential high-rises, malls, business, docks, etc., and Toronto, unlike may US cities, has quite a large core city residential population interspersed within the businesses and hotels. The downtown core also includes the CN Tower, Stock Exchange, Blue Jay Stadium, numerous large concert halls, University of Toronto Campus, provincial parliament buildings, city hall, Osgood Law School campus, Ryerson University, etc. All of these are part of the downtown area.

Andre LePlumeMay 31, 2010 11:32 AM

@Chris It'll cost way more than a paltry billion to buy an aircraft carrier, at least if you "Buy American".

This "security" expense is ludicrous. If these guys are so important, we simply need to ban them ever being in the same place at the same time. Risk management 101!

otherbobMay 31, 2010 12:08 PM

@ Andre LePlume

An aircraft carrier may cost more than billion, but the resale value is higher.

I can see the Craig's List item:
One aircraft carrier, lightly used (one G8/G20 conference only). Aircraft not included.

arrghMay 31, 2010 12:12 PM

All of the excuses for this spending are pathetic. We don't need the G20 meetings to be held in downtown Toronto, but that asshat Harper decided it would be a good way to show his "leadership" and by the way, funnel a lot of taxpayer money into the pockets of his rich friends.

I think the single biggest threat to the future of Western nations is our politicians. Arabic extremists are not able to destroy our civil liberties and turn our nations into police states, but we are doing it to ourselves with the complicity of (or even at the behest of) our corrupt ruling class. As long as human nature is the way it is, with its greed, envy and lust for power and a bigger share of the world's finite resources, our own leaders are going to be the biggest threat to our way of life. No wonder they feel the need to spend all of that money on security for themselves for a 3 day conference for the world's rich people.

I get angry just thinking about all the *useful* things we could have done with that money. We can't afford textbooks for our schools or more beat cops for our streets, but we can afford this?

Harper and his cronies are out come the next election, even if it means letting the goddamn Liberals back in.

Andre LePlumeMay 31, 2010 12:15 PM

@otherbob

My short-sightedness.

I'm sure these ships need a shakeout cruise or something, to make sure the reactors are working, etc. Maybe the patriotic folks of Newport News would be willing to lease the next one off the line for a week or so. That would seem to meet everbody's needs.

If we're extra lucky, the ship will enter a twist in the space-time continuum, bringing the G8 back to 1941, where they must make the fateful decision whether to use the tools of modern monetary policy, or whether the economies of the Allies can be left to weather the late 40's, 50's, and 60's without help from the future.

Tobias W.May 31, 2010 12:38 PM

I also wonder why they just don't hold these meetings on board of an aircraft carrier wide out on the open sea. That would eradicate the whole mess with dealing with demonstrations and journalists who get in the way all the time...

Nick PMay 31, 2010 1:06 PM

My mind went blank at this number. $1 billion to secure a single conference is insane. With that kind of money, security engineers could actually build a secure platform (included trustworthy chips) for Canadians, a secure infrastructure to supplant it, development kits to semi-automate bug detection and subsidize much of the fabrication costs, all at once. Instead, it's spent so a meeting can happen in an untrustworthy location. I don't think this was what Bruce was suggesting when he mentioned making the right security tradeoffs. ;)

My plan. If teleconferencing fails, I'd start by finding a rural area near a city with necessary hotels, etc. I'd have the government buy the land and restrict it to "unauthorized persons shot on sight." A complex would be built that could handle various summits, government hearings, anything. Reusable. Biometrics or other authentication credentials, along with RCMP verifying identities, would start way in advance. Top of the line equipment would check these at the door, along with trained humans observing as a backup. During a gathering, the place would be littered with police including rooftop snipers, helicopter patrols for anti-vehicle use during G8, and riot-ready police for regular disturbances. I'd expect the total cost to be under $150 million, thanks to how the complex's design reduces other security threat impact. The complex makes up a large chunk of that cost and its reuse spreads the cost over many meetings, reducing the cost of the Summit as time goes by.

It's still worthwhile to note that an HD-quality, immersive teleconferencing solution with headsets and 360 degree camera technology over T4 lines would *still* be a lot cheaper. ;)

TedMay 31, 2010 2:07 PM

Even $30 million for security sounds high to me. Surely it would be less expensive to hold the conference in a secured area like a military base? You could build a nice looking conference center on a military base for $30 million.

Peter A.May 31, 2010 2:15 PM

The main problem is that it is not an international conference requiring high security. For this, several approches proposed here, like organizing it in an already secure place, would suffice. It is a political show - and the show must go on, whatever the costs are. Holding it in a prominent city center and having all these anti-whatever activists fighting with riot police are REQUIRED parts of the show.

Davi OttenheimerMay 31, 2010 2:47 PM

The analysis in the article looks pretty good to me; that is the cost to transform Toronto with expensive surveillance and perimeter technology.

Will be interesting to see if anyone admits the motive is to push (surveillance) enhancements into the streets there, or what the leave-behind will look like...

Derek Fildebrandt, national research director for the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, said [...] “If security has been fine at previous summits – and the costs are this far over [those] then clearly this must be a part of the economic stimulus package.”

Clive RobinsonMay 31, 2010 4:44 PM

Guys let me just make it absolutly clear, so that there can be no confusion over the issue.

The G-n conferances serve no purpose other than "polishing of the helmets all round".

They never have and never will.

They actually are worse than usless if (you havethe mistaken belief that politicos do anything) as for Xdays the politicos stuff their fat faces on the best food and wine and make grandiose speaches with no meaning or content and thus stop the politicos doing the jobs that we the tax payers actually pay them for.

Worse they have entire monkey troops of various political flunkies and civil servents along to keep them company.

It is without doubt an event devoted entirely to political self promotion and as such is an obscenity not just to the taxpayer but to all those other nations not in the G-n who are dependent on trade etc who basicaly get sold down the river over the toadies carving up the cake in their "pat masters" favour...

ThomasMay 31, 2010 5:22 PM

Anyone want to start raising money to buy "The Chaser" team a ticket to Canada?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...

Their stunt was the _BEST_ _EVER_ demonstration that all this 'security' is meant to do is to make important people feel more important.

NorthernerMay 31, 2010 5:22 PM

We'd certainly all be better off if the conference was held on a remote island in the high Arctic, although it would probably mean annoying the polar bears, so that's not so good.

They could rent a cruise ship -- which would likely be a target for a ship-to-ship missile, but I think that's a risk the rest of the world's population is willing to take....

Bryan FeirMay 31, 2010 5:39 PM

As somebody living in Toronto, I'm not too happy about this. Thankfully, I don't have to go anywhere near the downtown core around that time. Though some of my business associates her have been complaining about airline ticket costs for around that time.

The CBC has an article on 'Where the Money Could Have Gone':

http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2010/05/26/...

Nick PMay 31, 2010 6:35 PM

@ Martin Schroder

Very interesting question. I'd love to see a section on that in an analysis that breaks down the security expenses, analyzing them for merit.

TreeMay 31, 2010 7:55 PM

@LePlume

wait, what? Have you heard of the post-war boom? My worry if current political leaders went back in time to the end of world war II would be what they would screw up. Maybe that's what you meant...

OrenMay 31, 2010 8:29 PM

You guys...don't you realize we need to protect our leaders from the adoring crowds!

mooMay 31, 2010 9:00 PM

Off-topic: An Aeromexico flight bound from France to Mexico was denied permission to enter U.S. airspace because there was a passenger on board on the no-fly list (or who had an outstanding warrant, or both... it was unclear to me). The plane diverted to Montreal where the passenger was arrested.

Then, we get to read news stories about it with idiotic headlines like this one:
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/...

"Officials identify passenger who caused diversion of Aeromexico flight"

Wow, way to blame the victim. Its not like he's some fucking terrorist, this passenger did not CAUSE the diversion of the Aeromexico flight, that was CAUSED by the U.S. authorities with their assinine policies regarding flights that merely pass through the upper atmosphere above their country!

So perhaps this passenger was a wanted felon or something; maybe not. Who cares? You are now diverting international flights, and inconveniencing hundreds of people, just to arrest one guy? Excluding flights from your airspace because one of the passengers happens to be on a list that contains hundreds of thousands of names. Flights that don't even take off or land in the U.S. I already know lots of people who refuse to travel into the U.S. Actually, I'm one of them. My tourism dollars have gone elsewhere for about 10 years now, and will continue to go elsewhere until you learn how to treat citzens of other countries a little better. And now you're screwing up the vacation schedules of people who AREN'T EVEN TRYING TO ENTER YOUR COUNTRY. I perversely hope this happens a lot more often, so that other countries start to complain more loudly about it and your tourism industry can finish tanking.

mooMay 31, 2010 9:08 PM

@ Clive Robinson:

I completely agree with your characterization of the G20 summit. More generally, I'm cynical enough to believe that any time politicians are doing something, they're either going to make a hash of it or find some way to screw their constituents as they do it. Politicians are professional liars (even more so than lawyers, who at least theoretically will called to account if they lie too often in front the judge).

I prefer politicians to actually do as little as possible. If only it wasn't costing us a BILLION DOLLARS to keep them from working for those couple of days, I wouldn't really mind them having these rich-people circle jerk conferences. But if they really want to turn downtown Toronto into a goddamn fortress so they can feel safe while they do it, the least they could do is pay for it themselves instead of leeching it from the taxpayers.

I mean, seriously... this price tag is more than $30 for every man, woman, child and infant in the country! Who knew that a working family of 5 wanted to see $150 of their tax money go towards this sort of thing? I certainly didn't.

joyMay 31, 2010 10:25 PM

With all the open space we have in Canada why are they doing this in one of our biggest cities? How much money could it possibly cost to secure someplace like Saskatoon?

In a country that desperately needs medical equipment in rural areas and tax cuts for the working classes, what bonehead thought of this? These bilderberg jackholes (yup, that's the G20 bankers) should pay for this themselves, they can easily afford it. The taxpayers of Canada cannot!

joyMay 31, 2010 10:33 PM

@moo I totally agree. I have relatives in the US that keep asking me when I am coming for a visit. My answer is "when I don't get totally humiliated and anal probed at the airport!" which basically means never.

FrancesMay 31, 2010 11:08 PM

My daughter works at a company which will be inside the security area. Her employer has decided to close the whole building for the 2 days before the meeting starts. And people are complaining about the total cost but I haven't seen any companies like this one making a fuss about the inconvenience.

Northerner has made an excellent list of all the places that need to be secured. It really is an immense task because the convention centre & the hotel are close to the subway, Union Station, the CN Tower, the baseball stadium, an intercity bus terminal, several hotels, many condos, etc. Maybe we should just consider it stimulus money!

oeconomicusJune 1, 2010 1:56 AM

What about the comparison of the price to that of the replacement of all members of the summit in the case they really get killed?

Some Vice-XY can take over and within 1-2 months it should be possible to elect new delegates/presidents etc.

Are they really worth this price?

GeorgJune 1, 2010 2:37 AM

For comparison, the 33rd G8 summit in 2007, which took place in Heiligendamm, Germany, is estimated to have cost around EUR 90 million, of which the 12km of fencing cost around EUR 12 million. That's EUR 1000 per meter of fence.

My opinion is that it would be much cheaper to take these G8 leaders to some remote area like a US destroyer, carrier or some island, which should be easier to secure.

Sources:
http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/33rd_G8_summit

Peter A.June 1, 2010 3:18 AM

@oeconomicus:

Here in Poland we already implement an even better policy: we elect one of identical twins for a President. If he dies in a plane crash, we have a backup. I still wonder why the Speaker of the Parliament had ordered this stupid election instead of letting Mr J.K. into the Palace already.

kjrJune 1, 2010 3:32 AM

Dear politicians,

If you can't have a little meeting without having to spend a billion protecting yourselves, perhaps you are doing something wrong?

SpartanJune 1, 2010 6:07 AM

Canada's Public Safety Minister said he’s comfortable with the expense. “I'm satisfied that the experts have been very careful in their assessment.”

And these experts were? ... oh, the very same ones that have ties with security companies that will benefit from this windfall.

ln the meantime, the very people that all these measures are supposed to protect against are living in caves in Afghanistan/Pakistan oblivious to the whole thing!

p.s. Bruce, didn't they ask you? :)

PragmatistJune 1, 2010 8:49 AM

"Think of all the actual security you can buy for that money."

Your right! that kind of money will buy a whole lot of smoke/CO detectors.

not at that job any longerJune 1, 2010 9:50 AM

@ Clive The G-n conferences serve no purpose other than "polishing of the helmets all round".

You sir have hit the nail precisely on the head. I was present in an official capacity at the 22nd G7 summit and towards the end one of the dignitaries decided to make a speech. Unfortunately for him, many of the seats in the audience were empty due to a lack of interest. Since these empty seats would have provided a far too accurate impression of the importance of that gentleman's speech, the empty seats were filled by various official workers who had their external identification put away for the duration of the speech. After all, you can't have a sea of empty seats in the photos. Would show a distinct lack of polish.

I think the word Bruce used should have been "appalling", not "amazing".

Spudd86June 1, 2010 10:21 AM

Did you hear that now they are removing all the trash bins, post boxes, etc. from the area?

mcbJune 1, 2010 10:56 AM

@ Georg

"My opinion is that it would be much cheaper to take these G8 leaders to some remote area like a US destroyer, carrier or some island, which should be easier to secure."

For a billion dollars (even in loonies) the G8 could buy a lightly used Russian Akula "Typhoon" submarine, have it refitted as an undetectable, underwater pleasure barge...err, meeting center...and amortize the investment by reusing it for a couple years. Imagine it; no traffic jams, no smashed windows, no anarchists trying to make sense. Off season the G8 meeting planners could rent it to Goldman Sachs, GM, BP, and the like for low profile executive retreats.

ShaneJune 1, 2010 11:12 AM

"Think of all the actual security you can buy for that money."

Think of all the (insert nearly anything here) you can buy for that money.

For instance, taking the *liberal* average cost of food per person per month (~$150-160.00) $900 million could feed nearly 6 million people, and feed them very well, for a month.

Not to mention, just exactly what kinds of BS industries / companies are we pumping $900 million dollars into for a three-day terror-free weekend? Seems to me like the US/Canadian/European economies could seriously use that investment capital somewhere else, like infrastructure or clean energy, or even, really, anywhere other than where it went.

MaruadJune 1, 2010 12:08 PM

It it stupid to spend this kind of money or to hold the conference in Toronto? Certainly. Is it is surprising? Not for this government.

gopiJune 1, 2010 2:13 PM

@moo:

Actually, if you assume that the person on the flight might be a genuine security risk:

Re-directing the flight earlier, before it is over the likely target area, might actually be one of the most effective strategies. If you assume the person is a risk.

Telling them, "Go home, come back later with some ID with a different name" always seemed like a silly idea.

"Go home, find another minion to take your place" is also less than optimal.

"Go home, but we'll let the rest of your team, who aren't on our list, go ahead" isn't a wonderful strategy either.

Disrupting the time and location of the airplane is probably actually an effective strategy.

I am assuming, of course, that the list is actually filled with useful names. I have no reason to believe it is. I also highly doubt that they have actually analyzed it the way that I have, and suspect that any similarity between their actions and good security is a coincidence.

kangarooJune 1, 2010 3:26 PM

@cameraman: I don't think the bill is for a nebulous "terrorist threat". Rather, it's probably going to secure the city against the very real "anarchist loony tune near-certainty". Every single G8 summit features whackdoodles smashing things and fighting cops in the streets.

So, your argument is that this is spending against bad publicity? You posit that the "whackadoodles" just want publicity to weaken the position of the G8 -- that they're not a "security threat" per se other than to Starbucks in the vicinity (which can be handled at much lower cost, as you posit, by blocking windows, etc).

And you think that's justified and sensible -- that the citizens of Canada (or any country) should spend billions to keep politicians from being embarrassed by "whackadoodles"? Additionally, if that is the goal of the "whackadoodles", to advance their political cause by garnering publicity via protests, then obviously they mustn't be so "whackadoodle", since governments are willing to spend a billion to stop the publicity -- since, as you say, there are much cheaper ways to protect against the side effects, from covering windows to telepresence.

But as you say, those solutions wouldn't handle the bad publicity side of things.

See how things look different when you don't just drop charged rhetoric, and actually analyze the situation from the point of view of the parties in the game? But the charged rhetoric is much more comforting, ain't it?

Jimbo in LimboJune 1, 2010 3:41 PM

No cost is too high to protect the elites.

After all, they'll be meeting to determine how to funnel yet more money to the already rich.

MarkJune 1, 2010 4:17 PM

Someone up-thread mentioned getting a cost breakdown of this boondoggle. As an outraged taxpayer, happy to say that our Auditor-General will be looking into the books once the summit completes. My guess is most of it went on new toys for the boys and monstrous overtime and care/feeding the extra cops needed to keep the anti-everything thugs at bay.

Having said that, the reality is that due to US security concerns since you-know-when, and the unbelievably sticky falsehood that the 'terrists came from Canada', this is just an offshoot of the changes that the Canadian government has put in place around border and air security to appease the American government. So, we get stuck with the useless shoe carnival and the child-porn machines. But, at least we don't have the TSA. My condolences on that one.

Point is, if the government *didn't* blow it's load on security preparations and something happened, it would cost Canada a lot more than $1 billion dollars to address the blowback from you-know-who. Risk Benefits analysis guys, and you are a very expensive and valuable asset. (And this was rated as a 'Medium'!)

MithrandirJune 1, 2010 5:32 PM

You know, you could buy several small towns for that price. Just outright buy them. Pour a new helipad, close the roads, whatever. Better yet, build a new airport in the middle of nowhere with no roads going to it.

It's not like Canada is short on middle-of-nowhere locations.

Chief Constable MapleJune 1, 2010 7:39 PM

"To properly secure your precious event, I will absolutely need that state of the art helicopter we've been lusting after, two armored limos we can use to bribe concessions out of I mean transport important political figures, and last but not least, some padding of logistics and overtime costs to account for the massive budget shortfalls and lack of training resulting from penny pinching in prior years."

Multiply by every stakeholder with the gall and a clue, and this is how these things happen.

Security theatre -- more expensive than the real thing, with fewer provisions for audience comfort. Your ticket has already been purchased.

tensorJune 1, 2010 11:25 PM

"With all the open space we have in Canada why are they doing this in one of our biggest cities? How much money could it possibly cost to secure someplace like Saskatoon?"

Canada, land of vast open spaces and spectacular vistas, consists almost entirely of places more amenable to this "summit" -- a non-event which, as other commenters have noted, should be conducted via secure tele-conferencing (under the more-than-charitable assumption that it should be held at all). Holding it not in the political capital -- a gorgeous city I've had the immense privilege of visiting -- but in the most-densely populated part of that sparsely-populated land -- is just the political version of penis-showing. (And, thus appropriate for this non-event itself, which consists entirely of countries with the BIGGEST economies SHOWING how much they PENETRATE the world's markets.)

I hope everyone in Toronto does well during their coming time of egregious trial.

DarbJune 2, 2010 6:34 AM

This erks me to no limit!!!???!!!

Clearly you people have no idea how many hippies it takes per cop:

Each cop gets paid 350$/night working this thing, plus extra pay per hour, therefore, per protester... pretty sick.

Fact, my bro was a cop at one of these things.

So, he love(d/s) it when people show up in crowds. Just remember, they're watching you (through a scope)

ChrisJune 2, 2010 10:22 AM

Oh, hippies and anarchists.

It always seems like you get a bunch of kids protesting at these events. They are corralled by the police into designated protest areas where they are surrounded by armed security personnel. Packed into tight crowds, they are often restrained from leaving or moving freely for hours. During the London G8 protests, people were forbidden from leaving the protest area even to use the washroom. Inevitably, someone snaps and throws something or even just acts aggressively, and suddenly it's "look at all the dangerous anarchists; sounds like we need more security."

The worst part is that this is reported time and again from legitimate news sources, and yet every time there is another controversial political event, everyone completely forgets what happened last time and just starts raving about 'anarchist nuts.' It seems the power of group amnesia and the official story is just too compelling.

Apparently somewhere in the English countryside is an otherwise pristine, untouched field containing only a sign which reads "do not throw rocks at this sign." I can't help but see this as an allegory for spending a billion dollars on filling the streets with armed thugs in response to the problems created by spending a billion dollars on filling the streets with armed thugs.

AlexRJune 2, 2010 11:28 PM

Of course, the decision to bring in hundreds of police officers to provide security, rather than using military personnel (We can't have soldiers in the streets, now, can we?), also cost us a fair amount of money.

MichaelJune 2, 2010 11:37 PM

Well,

it shows a few things:

1. That the G8 and G20 people are much more important than all the people who came to the Winter Olympics.

2. That our current conservative (in name only) Administration has a continuos hardon for all things police and military.

Also: I guess we know now why Canada is running a $56 billion (federal) deficit for this fiscal year.

My suggestion for the next meeting? Hold it at Alert, probably one of the safest places on earth (Polar Bears not withstanding).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alert,_Nunavut

Davi OttenheimerJune 3, 2010 3:46 AM

@Chris

Haha, most excellent summary:

"...spending a billion dollars on filling the streets with armed thugs in response to the problems created by spending a billion dollars on filling the streets with armed thugs."

JPJune 3, 2010 4:20 AM

The justification is that the people at the summit are the best men mankind ever had. If they got killed it would be irreparable loss for the entire Universe. For their next meeting I'd suggest to rent some old bunker from WW II or some old barn kilometers far from anything. Few guys with machineguns on the roof would ensure the security. Field beds and field kitchen would ensure the accomodation. It would approach them to the world of common mortals and perhas they'd get a little insight into the fact, that not everybody lives in the same luxury as they do.

TheDoctorJune 3, 2010 4:54 AM

As other before me said:
The class of the non-liable managers (aka politicians and CEOs) has completely left this world.
They think their life is real and if it got lost it's (as JP said) "irreparable loss for the entire Universe"
But if one of them simply quits, he/she gets replaced within weeks.

mooJune 3, 2010 4:23 PM

Canada unveils arsenal for anti-G20 protests:
http://www.reuters.com/article/...

Toronto police said their new Long Range Acoustic Device would help them communicate with roaring protesters from as far as 250 meters (820 feet) away. When turned to full volume, the devices can emit enough sound to damage eardrums.

"This is not a weapon," said Constable Wendy Drummond, a spokeswoman for the Integrated Security Unit that will provide security for the two summits. "It is a communications tool. It may or may not even be used."

-----

Huh. So it can permanently damage eardrums, but don't worry, its not a weapon. And it may not even be used! But just in case, they felt the need to buy four of them. For over a hundred thousand dollars each.

John David GaltJune 5, 2010 12:22 AM

Wouldn't it be simpler and cheaper just to hold the meeting at a secure military base somewhere, and not tell the public where it was until afterward?

It isn't as though any of the politicians at the conference need to meet or talk with anyone (except each other and their staffs) during the conference, at least until it ends and they go in front of the TV cameras.

veritasJune 5, 2010 1:36 AM

Write a letter to your MP, write a letter to to PM Harper.
Explain that patience has been exhausted, and that this will not happen again.
Show them your outrage.
So many folks here breaking it down into pieces. That makes it sound almost legitimate.

EricJune 5, 2010 2:03 AM

@ moo

What makes matters worse is that the RCMP doesn't use LRADs because of how dangerous they are. They are only partly directional and have a high chance of causing damage. This is going to turn into a PR nightmare so fast....

Cheung WunJune 5, 2010 7:16 AM

G20 go away - do not come back another day!
We can't afford you!

CalmJune 8, 2010 10:13 AM

I hope the protests during the G-20 meetings are huge!

I think the protest groups are making a mistake by protesting in the downtown area.

They should be causing a ruckus in several areas of the city. Let the cops play Dick Tracy downtown if they want to.

To protest in downtown Toronto is playing right into the Establishment hands. The cops will have their own agents pretending to be protesters just as they did in Montebello Quebec in 2007.
http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2007/08/23/...

The media will be there filming the protesters and then forced to turn the film over to the cops which they will use as evidence to back up any charges laid. The protesters must know that the media is simply a propaganda arm of government. In actual fact, the protesters should tell the media to leave because they are only collecting evidence and not reporting the story.

80% of all goods in Canada is transported by railway. The protesters should concentrate on that and not downtown Toronto. Slowing down rail transportation would bring this country to its knees overnight.

Protesters should be leaving "Unattended" bags all over the city and have the Police/Military establishment running around like lunatics investigating these possible threats and "suspicious" bags and packages.

Calm

Debbie GambleJune 8, 2010 5:58 PM

This Canadian Government and It's Prime Minister are a bunch of criminals. They are involved in a shell game, protecting criminals from around the world who are coming to protect criminal corporations. Wake up Canada....our Ocean is being poisoned...it is the end of all life in the Ocean....and an eventual, slow, death to us! This Government will act against us...they are proving this right now.

DardNorrisJune 16, 2010 12:27 AM

If the Protestors had a shred of brains among them, they would threaten up to the last minute and then not show.
Have the government blow a billion for nothing.
Just like they did at the Olympics.
That would drive the point home that these events are a waste of money.

Clive RobinsonJune 16, 2010 1:38 AM

@ DardNorris,

"If the Protestors had a shred of brains among them, they would threaten up to the last minute and then not show."

It's a nice safe plan and that's the problem.

First of certain protestors have to protest to know they are "seen to be doing something".

Secondly if the Canadian police are anything like most other police forces around the world they are going to have members with itchy hands and a "cann't wait to get at'm" attitude.

Thus I'm sorry to say the result is going to be fairly predictable.

Look at the G20 in London a person who was in no way a protestor just trying to get home ended up being dead at the hands of the Met Police...

A woman who was in no way a threat to a police officer from the dreaded "TSG" (kind of like the modern day "black n tans") gratuitously hit her in the face. He only got off because she decided not to appear in court to counteract the tale his overly paid barrister spun.

We know so much about these and other cases because people are getting smarter and using their mobile phone cameras to get pictures "of the police in action". And the press have little choice these days but to publish them as the people get them out on the Internet and make "raw news" almost as it happens.

I would not be surprised if the Canadian authorities shut down mobile communications "for seccurity reasons" to stop the "raw reporting" happening.

Oh and even if your plan worked and nobbody showed to protest it would still be claimed as "Canadian authorities thwart terrorists" or some such... Just to justify the complete overspend into the capricious pockets of those ever eager to take the "Dane Gelt" "on an understanding" that those paying are not privy to.

However I suspect some mild mannered innocent will ruin your plan just watch out for the "terrorist dog walker" who then is found to be mentaly ill and has to be confined with no access to legal assistance or the press whilst they are "evaluated" and the authorities view becomes entrenched in the public eye.

Doug SteadJune 16, 2010 9:16 PM

Price is now up to 1.2B, or more then 50million dollars per head and all run what passes for responsible conservative governance, here in the great white north.

wawadaveJune 17, 2010 1:47 PM

""They could rent a cruise ship -- which would likely be a target for a ship-to-ship missile, but I think that's a risk the rest of the world's population is willing to take....''

Yes that would solve may of the worlds problems in one shot too!!!

GloriaJune 26, 2010 4:06 PM

Government expenses, should be open for the citizens to see. It is the taxpayers money, that is being abused. Their limo bills, would choke 15 acres of elephants. Governing officials say, they are entitled to take our tax money, for themselves. Canada is rotten to the core with corruption. Other country's have collapsed because of corruption. Citizens of Canada, pay 9 months per year out of a years income to taxes. Millions of citizens, don't have enough money to live on. When the people have to pay their entire income per year for taxes. This country will collapse. The $1 billion summit cost, doesn't come out of their own pockets, that comes out of the tax payers pockets. The little guy, is who keeps this country running. If we deferred our taxes until the following year, this country would fall flat on it's ass. However, the little guy, is cannon fodder, to be stolen from, by the governing officials Corruption pays very well, and the governing bodies, would fight tooth and nail, to protect their, cash cow corruption money.

calmJune 28, 2010 6:02 PM

These protests were not "Violent".

Breaking windows and whatever is called a "Property Crime" in the Canadian justice system.

The justice system makes the distinction of crimes against a person and crimes against property.

Calm

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