Friday, May 28, 2010

Why I am Unpopular At Work

900 million bucks for security at a G20 conference! That seems like a lot of scratch to protect a bunch of suits?

The talking point of the last few days on every call in show, and nearly every political television program has been the cost of the G20 conference in Toronto.

The Liberal supporters have even gone as far as to call it Harper’s “Billion Dollar Boondoggle”.

Public sentiment when it comes to politicians is often pretty straightforward, we don’t like em, we don’t want to be inconvenienced by em, and we don’t want to spend money on em.

With that in mind even the original 160 million dollar budget would have been enough to annoy most Canadians.

Now we have watched the cost go from the budgeted 160 million to over 900 million (which for the sake of shock-value we can round up to a BILLION dollars, even though for some reason 900 million sounds worse, but what do I know?)

Why has the cost gone up?

My first guess would be that the firebombing of the RBC branch in Ottawa and targeting of civilians’ who happen to work for “evil” corporations may have raised the stakes a little bit,

The fact that the amount of protestors that are estimated to descend on the city of Toronto is around 10,000, to put that number into perspective there are 5,800 sworn in members of the Toronto Police.

Coupled with the fact that some of these Anarchist Groups have promised “militant” protests aimed to “humiliate the security apparatus” according to yesterday’s Toronto Star.

Let me be the first one to say that spending 900 million on anything that doesn’t play the Dallas Cowboy’s at least once a season is simply beyond me, but to attack the government for this is about as short sided as it gets.

Is the threat posed by these protestors real?
I believe it is; and going after a bank branch with a firebomb leads me to believe that these folks mean business.

So what is the correct response in the face of these threats?

The summit could have been canceled?

Maybe I am just old school, but bowing down to a vocal minority of protestors and giving into what they want generally breeds more of this sort of behavior.

If firebombing buildings and promising violence gets them their way just once, we open a door that we may never be able to close.

To me canceling the summit in the face of a bunch of whiney 20 something’s and some burnt out hippies is not an option, especially less then a month out.

Which leaves us with two choices:

We take all measures to adequately protect our guests,
or we don’t.

Those who are threatening violence are getting off far too easy in the media and amount angry Canadians.

The money that needs to be spent is because of the violence that has been promised, not because the government has decided to waste money on items that are not needed.

I would imagine that 99% of people think I am totally nuts in the fact that I am not foaming at the mouth over this money being spent,

However I am one of the few believers that the G20 has done some good work, and I am damn proud that we are on an international stage hosting 19 leaders of the world…even though it’s in Toronto…

19 comments:

  1. Couldn't agree more. Like you said, the gov't is not spending this money irresonsibly. We just had a fire bombing in Ottawa.

    Now, just imagine if they did spend the money and a tragedy would happen. Now, where would the blame be put? And rightly so. (Sandy Crux at torytalk.ca)

    This is a post 9/11 world and far too many of the so-called protestors are simply hooligans or terrorists.

    So, while I haven't written about this, now I don't have to. Thanks.

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  2. Oops. Two typos -- irresponsibly & "if they did NOT spend the money and a tragedy would happen."

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  3. Just so we're clear....you're OK with the accountable and transparent Harper government going $700 million over budget? Did I get that right?

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  4. double nickel:

    Over budget is me planning to spend five grand to finish my basement, and when I do exactly what I planned for I ended up spending ten.

    This is a situation where circumstances changed;

    Its like me ripping down the first wall in the basement and finding termites, mold, or a crack in the foundation.

    Changes the gameplan a little bit.

    Protesters are targeting civilian places of work with firebombs, violence isn't being threatened its being promised.

    So am I fine with the budget being raised to meet the requirement.

    Damn Right.

    I don't understand why there is such a rush to bow down to domestic terrorists? If it works this time it will just keep happening.

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  5. Sandy,

    This is one of these damned if you do, damned if you don't situations.

    If security does not meet the requirement the federal government looks bad.

    If it does, and nothing goes wrong then it becomes a thankless situation where every "expert" with a calculator will hindsight every penny that shouldn't have been spent.

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  6. I'll give you points for trying to change the channel, however the inital budget for this little schmoozfest was set at around $200 million,roughly the same as was spent at Kananaskis. Now it's getting closet to 1 billion. For a 72 hour event. And you defend it?

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  7. Changing the channel? Really now.
    I actually referenced the original 160m budget in the body of my blog.

    Your damn right I defend it,

    I am so tired of people glossing over these "Anti-Establishment" groups who are basically domestic terrorists who have actively admitted they plan to do as much damage as possible by basically giving them a pass as a necessary evil.

    They have made threats against the city, the people who work for "evil" banks within the city, and the summit itself.

    They are the cause of this problem;
    The Government, and the delegations from the G20 are not breaking the law here. Those who are firebombing banks are.

    But of course addressing those threats is the government being "fiscally irresponsible".

    The discussion of cost is one that you card carrying Liberals can argue with card carrying Conservatives,

    The summit cannot be canceled, its less then a month out.(not that I would ever advocate canceling this summit because of a small minority or protesters who will be trying to use violence to forward their agenda)

    So whats the solution?
    Just chance it? hope that only 2000 of the 10,000 protesters show up?

    Maybe the firebombing was an isolated incident?

    Perhaps "militant” protesting consists of sit ins and chanting?

    The reality is that any government; Liberal or Conservative would have risen the security to meet the recent threats.

    The rest is for you guys to debate on the Sunday Morning talk shows amongst yourself.

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  8. I'm just curious as to why Stephen Harper would hold it in the midst of downtown Toronto when there were other safer and cheaper venues nearby...

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  9. All interesting stuff.

    Here's question I've not seen addressed. Canada hosted the first G8 summit to take place after 9/11 - nine months after, in fact. As the summit had already been scheduled, what effect did the events of that dark Tuesday have on the projected budget?

    Related to this, how is it that the United States, the target that day, has been able to hold the G8 and the G20 without incurring similar costs? For that matter, how is it that London, itself the target of bombings in 2005, was able to host the G20 four years later for a mere $30 million?

    News reports indicate that at that London summit 35,000 people protested. It seems we're expecting 10,000.

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  10. Just for fun, I ran some numbers and the 1.1 billion dollars the Canadian government is spending on security for the G8 and G20 summits would build a wall of $10 bills about 3 meters high, 10 centimeters thick and 767 meters long--probably long enough to surround the Deerhurst resort--with enough left over to buy everyone within 100 km of Huntsville, Ontario, a beer.

    Clearly, someone is lining their damn pockets.

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  11. Be afraid citizens, be very afraid. The boogyman is out to get you. But spend a billion on "security" and you'll be fine. What an embarrassment.

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  12. Oh, wow.

    Double Nickel asks PAO if he's OK with the Harper government going over budget. PAO explains why he is.

    Only to have Double Nickel accuse him of "changing the channel".

    Sounded a little something like this:

    "Answer the question!"

    "I did."

    "I didn't like your answer. YOU'RE CHANGING THE CHANNEL!"

    Three cheers for the Clowncar Brigade. Well done, douches.

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  13. "hooligans or terrorists" indeed, who knows what terrorists are plotting, domestic and foreign. Or how they may take advantage of the situation.

    http://www.jihadwatch.org/2010/05/canada-200-under-surveillance-by-counterterror-officials.html

    "I'm just curious as to why Stephen Harper would hold it in the midst of downtown Toronto when there were other safer and cheaper venues nearby..."

    I lived in TO up recently... if crap hits the fan... would anyone notice a difference?
    The lefties will just be doing it to themselves anyway. Chasing away business... no faster and no more damaging than even a 2 years of Miller let alone two terms.

    "For that matter, how is it that London, itself the target of bombings in 2005, was able to host the G20 four years later for a mere $30 million?"

    Yeah, I wonder how they did that... wouldn't surprise me if Labour gave the cash directly to the lead anarchists as a payoff... "Go riot at other G20's just not 'ere! Leave us alone!....please..*sniff*"

    btw, the 2009 London G20 protest was an unfettered disaster.

    Protesters from the group "Space Hijackers" were arrested for impersonating police, after being stopped while in a blue 10-ton armoured vehicle, wearing blue boiler suits and riot helmets.

    taken from:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2009_G-20_London_summit_protests#G-20_Meltdown

    Way to keep a sense of order, huh?

    Oh, and walls wouldn't work Rev.Paperboy they'd riot outside anyway and you'll still have to police it. Can't just be like "the hell with anything beyond these walls we're safe in here." Plus they'd have to keep entry points clear and secure... which would make such places ground zero for the riots to take place.

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  14. Listen to the explanation on Friday's Evan Solomon. The conservatives did budget as soon as they knew - the G8 was planned, but the G20 decision came after.

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  15. Twatsy, is that all you've got? I'm amazed Marcus allows you on the site.

    BTW, I hear the amount is now closer to $2 billion for both events. Nice.

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  16. Well, Dubby, if calling me names is the best you have to offer, consider me terribly undistressed.

    Securing these events is the price of prominence on the global stage. If Canada's progressives don't want it, that's up to them.

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  17. Sorry for the delay folks, as I am sure many will agree it was far to beautiful of a weekend to be debating politics.

    To answer a few of the questions asked I have a few questions of my own.

    What was this alternative "Cheaper & Safer" venue? 19 International Leaders, w/ 19 private aircrafts for them and who knows how many more for the balance that need to be safe guarded.

    Again, pardon my naive nature but the only major slip in judgment I see is that Huntsville was ever consider. The G20 needs to be in a major urban center.

    What I also find deliciously ironic is when the Finance Ministers were hosted up in Nunavut, and the discussions were had about Huntsville

    The same folks screaming about how bad of an idea it was to host it in Toronto, were screaming that the Canadian Government was violating protesters ability to express "free speech" by "Hiding" the G20 folks.

    So which is it?

    As for the costs,
    I am very interested to see Sheila Fraser report on expenses. She has been in the position of AG since 2001 and certainly has the chops to call it like it is.

    It will be interesting for me anyway,

    For some of the true blue and red partisan types I am sure if the report justifies the spending she will be labeled a "Harper Yes Woman" and if it damns the spending she will be called a "Liberal Cronie"

    Till I see a finalized cost breakdown in her report and I see what comes out of these summits in Toronto I can't fairly weigh in on if its worth it or not.

    However, I can certainly say as I have expressed a few times that any spending that is needed was brought on by the elements who would cause harm at this summit and we are all letting those folks off way to easy.

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  18. Just a little digging from the last two summits.

    London claimed to have spent about 50m (CDN) on the summit in 2009, however after the Subway bombings the amount of money spent to upgrade security in London was staggering, if memory serves the cost on just Closed Circuit Cameras was over 200 million pounds, with a fair bit more spent on other more direct security upgrades.

    The Summit in Italy was closer to the mid 300 million range in 2008.

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