Sunday, June 13, 2010

"Billion Dollar Boondoggle"


  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger MississaugaPeter, at 3:10 PM  

  • As a former Toronto Cardinal would say: "About friggin' time."

    That's the negative ad.

    Then the positive ad ...

    During the G8/G20, remind Canadians and the world that the reason Canada is in such great financial strength is because of 13 years of Liberal governments from 1993 to 2006!

    By Blogger MississaugaPeter, at 3:12 PM  

  • Probably not the best strategy to piss off Muskoka and Toronto all at one time...but hey, folks sure will not miss the call of the loon.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:46 PM  

  • hilarous - the fake lake cost $30,000. Of the remaining billion, the parliamentary budget officer has said the rest of the costs appear to be in line with these summits in other countries, and the local tourism and hospitality associations have voiced their support.

    the real waste is that we are paying our politicians to make a whole lot out of nothing

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:21 PM  

  • Some informative background;

    Sanjeev Chowdhury, director-general of the summit’s management office, said 3,500 journalists have applied for accreditation to the summit, surpassing expectations by 1,500.

    “A lot of people are coming there — a captive audience — to our media centre. This is a great opportunity for us to highlight the best of our country to these journalists,” Chowdhury told CTV’s Question Period on Sunday.

    Mr. Chowdhury is from Halifax, Nova Scotia. He went to Saint Mary’s University where he was student union president and graduated in 1989 (B. Comm, Magna Cum Laude). In 1991, Mr. Chowdhury graduated from the American Graduate School of International Management (MBA, With Distinction) where he was named top graduate. His studies in America were funded by a Rotary International Foundation Scholarship.

    In 1995, Mr. Chowdhury joined the Canadian Foreign Service. He served abroad in Mumbai, India and in Ottawa held a number of positions including Press Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Director of Operations to the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance.

    In 2003, Mr. Chowdhury was named Consul General of Canada to Ho Chi Minh City.

    In recognition of his work while Consul General, Mr. Chowdhury became the first foreign diplomat in Vietnam to be awarded three prestigious medals in one year by Vietnamese authorities (UNESCO Medal–Oct 2005, Ho Chi Minh City Insignia Medal-Apr 2006, and the Peace and Friendship Medal Between Nations-June 2006).

    Sanjeev Chowdhury, the Canadian Vice-Consul in Mumbai who has been appointed Press Secretary to Manley, said: “By announcing re-engagement with India, we intend to begin, again, ministerial visits between our two countries. The Minister for Immigration, Elinor Caplan, made a visit to India some weeks ago. Our International Trade Minister, Pierre Pettigrew, intends to visit India later this year. Our Foreign Affairs Minister, John Manley, will also visit India either later this year or early in 2002.” The young Indo-Canadian diplomat said: “Canada intends to send its senior Ministers to India to show that it wants to be a full partner with India by sharing ideas in multilateral fora and by determining what both countries can do to further our trade interests. We want India to know that Canada is open for business and is interested in actively pursuing the Indian market.”

    Interesting, no???????????????????????

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:44 PM  

  • The Official Opposition’s shots at the juicy target of outrageous G20 and G8 summit costs may soon encounter resistance from an unfamiliar source. The parliamentary budget officer appears poised to conclude most of the billion-dollar security tab for Ontario’s G20 and G8 summits can be justified.

    Kevin Page may well quibble at the premium for deploying RCMP officers when Canadian soldiers could’ve been used without overtime costs, but he tells me his initial scan hasn’t spotted anything severely out of whack with hosting costs in other cities.

    Mr. Page is fearless about criticizing the federal government, so a passive finding from his office later this month will cut short The Massive Conservative Summit Spending Scandal that Liberals hoped would tarnish host Prime Minister Stephen Harper in the international spotlight.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:54 PM  

  • Just got in from a round of golf, followed by a couple of beers and watching a couple of great races from Woodbine, and I thought I'd check a couple of Blogs. I thought the ad was great but then my bleeding Liberal heart was overwhelmed by a sad feeling for poor Anon. It must be awful to be a Harpocrite and have nothing better to do than post the talking points on other sites on a great weekend. Then I thought it might be even worse, and it could be one of those poor vulnerable staffers that the Liberals are trying to pick on who will be out of a job after the next election

    By Blogger ol lib curmudgeon, at 6:14 PM  

  • Not bad!
    What networks have picked it up?

    Sure hope those 3500 journalists enjoy their stay and don't resent the reception you Liberals are giving them.
    Journalists can be so mean.

    By Blogger wilson, at 7:15 PM  

  • I may be catastrophically wrong here, but this is not a hill the Liberals want to die on. The problem is a substantive one - the costs of the G8/G20 summit are in line with previous cases. For instance, Japan spent almost 600 million and they were just hosting the G-8 summit. Italy spent similar amounts of money.

    Attacking waste is not an effective long-term political strategy because the memory of the public is fairly short. It is even less effective when the issue is as contrived as this one is (if we are talking about a supposed billion dollar boon-doggle, why do we only see 4 items (gazebos, toilets, the steamship and the lake) on the opposition hitlist collectively costing under a million dollars).

    By Blogger hosertohoosier, at 8:08 PM  

  • "The official price tag for security at last year's G20 summit in Pittsburgh was listed at $18 million US, according to municipal and U.S. federal officials."

    "G20 summit London, April 2009: $30 million"

    "The estimated cost for security over the course of seven days in June dwarfs the amount spent at previous international summits and is expected to surpass the $898 million spent during the Vancouver Olympics — which spanned 14 days."

    Read more:

    Keep up the good work Liberals! Anonymous Reformers good luck trying to justify your 72 hour boondoggle.

    By Blogger MississaugaPeter, at 8:37 PM  

  • If you really believe the $18 million and $30 million as reported by the CBC, you deserve to be a Liberal sheeple.


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:50 PM  

  • Anonymous Reformer,

    I am sure that after all the Harper numbers are added up it will be much, much more than $1.2B.

    BTW, London Times has the government numbers as the same but questions them. But $50M pounds is still less than 1/10th the total cost to Canadian taxpayers. And since this $1.2B may not be repaid for another 20 years, interest alone will pull the cost to over $2B

    Harper's expenses will dwarf all other G8s and G20s before it.

    By Blogger MississaugaPeter, at 9:07 PM  

  • MississaugaPeter, man are you going to be disappointed next week.

    And what the hell are you talking about "repaid"?

    Get off the drugs, it's a summit, there is no repayment, it's on the expense side of the ledger.

    In 2002 the G7/8 in Kananaskis cost more than $300 million for two days, the combined G8/G20 runs a total of seven days between them.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:29 PM  

  • I wish Harper could just fake off!

    By Blogger Skinny Dipper, at 9:51 PM  

  • Anonymous Reformer,

    You either don't pay taxes so it doesn't really matter to you that a $1B+ expenditure is added to a deficit, or are on the Harper payroll so you just have to try to spin/deflect. Good try, but polls next week will reveal the true damage of this $1B boondoggle.

    By Blogger MississaugaPeter, at 8:32 AM  

  • The figures being cited for the Pittsburgh G-20 summit are the costs to the city, not the entire cost (which I can't find). Regardless, the Toronto G-20 summit looks as though it will have very high attendance.

    Frankly, it amazes me that people think this is the place to nickel and dime. Even if every cent of the money spent on hosting the G-8/G-20 was wasted, we are talking about $30/Canadian.

    Of course that money is not being wasted. Fundamentally, we are talking about Canada's role on the world stage (as host, we set the agenda). We are talking about a summit where trillion dollar questions like a global bank tax are being decided. We are talking about a summit where billions of dollars worth of smaller side-deals and agreements will be put together. We are also talking about direct benefits to tourism in the hundreds of millions, and indirect benefits (eg. higher profile for investment and tourism) well in excess of that.

    To Liberals that hope this is the Tory adscam, be careful what you wish for. Harper lost the adscam election (and not for lack of emphasis on corruption), barely improving on Stockwell Day's 2000 share of the vote despite having united the right.

    By Blogger hosertohoosier, at 9:06 AM  

  • Hoser/Hoosier,

    I do not think many people scheduled a trip to Pittsburgh because it hosted a G20 Summit. The positioning of the United States did not go up or down because they hosted a G20 Summit. Direct or indirect benefits are incredibly overstated.

    Get real, in this day and age, a $1B+ photo op is a significant waste.

    BTW, I would have preferred that my family's $180 went to pay down the debt, then pay for overpriced hotel suites for someone's entourage. Better yet, I wish that $180 was used to pay down our mortgage.

    By Blogger MississaugaPeter, at 9:42 AM  

  • Even if every cent of the money spent on hosting the G-8/G-20 was wasted, we are talking about $30/Canadian.

    That reasoning is flawed.

    First of all, the money was raised substantially through income tax (and, to a lesser extent, business tax), which the majority of Canadians don't pay - so consider it $60/working Canadian.

    On top of that, this money was borrowed, so we'll be paying interest on it. Given how long it takes Canada to repay money, you can easily consider that to be $90/working Canadian, even with the low interest rates.

    In short, you can't just divide a price-tag by the population. My baby nephew isn't paying, nor is my retired great-aunt, nor my buddy's University student son Joe, nor is my old high school buddy that avoids work like the plague. And you have to add interest because we're Canadian and we don't buy as much as can afford, we buy as much as we can borrow.

    By Blogger Robert Vollman, at 10:40 AM  

  • I think a billion dollars that includes sonic cannons for Toronto's police department, who tried to hide them away as "communications expenses", is a bit ridiculous.

    No place on Earth is more diverse than Toronto, and the murder rate here is astoundingly low considering that fact. Toronto is an extremely peaceful place, those cannons cost a mint, and they're unnecessary. I think left-wing protestors can be as nutty and stupid as anyone else, but I think we're going overboard.

    That said, THIS AD SUCKS! Typical political bullhockey without a real message. "Stephen Harper's photo op at a phony lake". What???

    The Liberals are really making puppies right now. Dan, you deserve better from a party you give so much thought to!

    By Anonymous Jacques Beau Verte, at 10:46 AM  

  • MississaugaPeter,

    The United States wasn't noticeably impacted by hosting the G20 summit because it can already apply influence due to its being the most powerful country in the world. Canada doesn't have that advantage. Being able to set the agenda at the two most important summits of the year is about as good as it gets for us.

    But I suppose the negligible impact of $180 or whatever in deficit reduction (never mind that Canada has the smallest deficit in the G-8) is more important than having a say in the architecture of the global economy.

    Preventing another financial crisis is the single best thing Canada can do for deficit reduction. The organization of a coalition against a global bank tax is an important party of that, insofar as a global bank tax will reduce the incentive for economies to regulate their financial systems.

    Another great way to reduce the deficit is to attract more investment to Canada. Hosting a big event that brings thousands of delegations of powerful decision-makers to Canada, why that couldn't possibly bring in a dime.

    Robert Vollman,

    Fair enough. We are still talking about what is still a small one-time expense. Imagine how much we could accomplish if we had this kind of discussion over public sector salaries, spiraling healthcare costs, the Canada pension plan or the 50 billion dollar stimulus?

    Why are we penny-wise and pound-foolish?

    By Blogger hosertohoosier, at 1:40 PM  

  • I don't buy for a second that spending of this magnitude on a pair of international meetings is *remotely* justified. It is hardly necessary for other members of the G20 (much less the G8!) to become acquainted with Canada through a billion-dollar circus. If the goal is diplomatic or about influence overseas, a small portion of that money could be devoted to improving Canadian consular representation abroad, something that has been *cut back* under this government. If the goal is to set the aid agenda for issues such as maternal health, that billion would go a long way, much farther than the financing of a 72 hour gabfest. As for the notion that this will yield economic benefits of any kind, I'd say that the enormous degree of disruption to life and business in downtown Toronto during the summit more than erases them.

    By Blogger Josh, at 6:18 PM  

  • Are the costs comparable?

    Canada's costs are primarily the result of increased security costs. The security costs are a function of the number of delegates attending. However, the number of delegates are function of the importance and potential benefits of the summit.

    The two most comparable summits are Italy 2009 and Japan 2008. Earlier summits preceded the financial crisis and had much less attention and importance.

    Italy's security costs alone were 375 million, and they spent a bit extra due to moving the venue at the last minute. Japan spent 60 billion yen or about 561 million dollars. Canada's costs are naturally going to be higher because we are hosting multiple summits (although doing both in Toronto might have been better from a cost standpoint).

    What are the benefits?

    The study of the much smaller Gleneagles summit found (accounting for displacement costs) direct benefits of 65 million pounds, and media coverage benefits worth 665 million pounds. Moreover, some of the costs relate to infrastructure projects that will still be around. In the case of the also small Kananaskis summit, the direct short-term benefits (so not including media profile or investment) were estimated around 300 million dollars.

    The economic benefits from Gleneagles - which did not include investment - ran in excess of a billion dollars. Moreover, the Gleneagles summit was much smaller than the one we are hosting, limiting the benefits.


    This is the most expensive G8/G20 summit ever. However, those expenses are related to the number of attendees, which in turn, are related to the direct benefits (although I think the real advantage is in terms of Canada's institutional position and the potential for investment gains).

    Moreover, some of the costs are related to infrastructure, which will continue to serve uses for the communities in which it was built after the summit.

    By Blogger hosertohoosier, at 7:16 PM  

  • Does anyone seriously believe that real decisions will be made at the G8/G20 summits?

    Or is it more likely that the real work is being done by bureaucrats and functionaries RIGHT NOW, and that the summits serve only as propaganda?

    I don't know about you, but I wouldn't want to be bound by an agreement that was created in only 3 or 4 days, so I'm actually HOPING that people are working on it right now.

    But really, that makes the summits mere window dressing.

    By Blogger Party of One, at 7:30 PM  

  • Is it just me, or do Conservatives overuse the term "folks"?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:39 PM  

  • I have no idea why it took over 20 comments to point out the most salient fact about this spending:

    The conference will amount to nothing.

    The points on the overall costs are one thing, but the main argument is why there are even two sites to begin with. They should have moved everything to one site, but they didn't do that to score pts for a local MP. That sounds like something that would have been screaming about when they were filling the opposition benches.

    But to summarize:

    1. over a billion dollars on a 'nothing' conference.
    2. we have a deficit so interest will be paid on that billion dollars
    3. two sites when it should have been one, done to score partisan pts.

    For a government that bemoaned liberal waste, their hypocrisy (on this and soooo many other issues) must be starting to stink, even to them.

    As for the comment about 'folks'. Blame Dubya. It was his way of trying to sound like a common person, beyond, you know, being about as smart as a C average HS student. Since then it's spread like wildfire. Much to my dismay.

    By Blogger Disgruntled Liberal, at 10:33 PM  

  • Moreover, some of the costs are related to infrastructure, which will continue to serve uses for the communities in which it was built after the summit.

    What, did they build a second Deerhurst or something? A smattering of pork-barrelled projects in Clement's riding is not what I'd call "infrastructure" and most of the preparations in Toronto involve the erection of giant fences and barriers. This isn't like Vancouver where two new Skytrain lines were constructed in preparation for the Olympics; the only result will be the tremendous costs to businesses and residents in downtown TO.

    You are straining all credulity by attempting to defend this colossal waste. That there have been other recent egregiously expensive circuses in Japan and Italy says little about anything, except that in this case Harper's government is being even more wasteful than the two most highly indebted members of the G8.

    By Blogger Josh, at 11:53 PM  

  • You've seen it here folks, supposed conservatives supporting the unprecedented rape of taxpayer's wallets for this ultimate 3-day photo-op. Wow, and you Reformatories call the Liberals unprincipled. Your self-righteous hypocrisy makes me sick.

    By Blogger Tof KW, at 10:16 AM  

  • The opening editorial in the current issue of Macleans "credits" Paul Martin with the expansion of the G8 to the G20 (plus so many additional hangers-on and tens of thousands of delegates and media).

    Why aren't the Liberals standing up and taking the blame for creating this (almost) billion dollar waste of money?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:50 PM  

  • Yo, Reformatory Anon...

    That has to be the stupidest excuse yet to try and blame Harper's G8-20 boondoggle on the Grits.

    Hate to break it to you but your guys are the government, not the Libs. The Harper-government made the plans to hold meeting in two different venues, and to try and secure metro Toronto using Cops on O/T pay. There's $500 million right there that could be saved if this was just held in Banff or Mont Tremblant.

    Any more self-serving arguments out there that you'd like methodically dissected today?

    By Blogger Tof KW, at 1:20 PM  

  • Amazing that most Prime Ministers want to have a real lake named after them not some million dollar fake lake that is going to be gone in a few weeks.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:21 PM  

  • There's $500 million right there that could be saved if this was just held in Banff or Mont Tremblant.


    Toronto rocks and all, but - location, location, location... so much for fiscal responsibility.

    By Anonymous Jacques Beau Verte, at 5:33 PM  

  • The 2002 G8 conference cost $300 million for security. Given how this year's is for both the G8 and G20, combined with the steady increase in security measures over the intervening years, it's not that surprising that the costs would triple.

    This doesn't mean that either year's security costs weren't excessive, of course.

    By Anonymous The Invisible Hand, at 4:58 AM  

  • Conservatives will simply claim that Liberals undermined and destroyed Canada's international reputation in a partisan attempt to attack the Harper Conservatives.

    By Anonymous Observant, at 10:55 AM  

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