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$833-million security bill for G20 and G8 called “insane”

The federal government had a tinge of Dr. Evil about it yesterday when it disclosed combined security costs for the upcoming G8 and G20 summits: nearly one billion dollars. (Insert sadistic laugh here.) In total, the government said the cost of securing the two summits has reached $833 million, and it is preparing to spend up to $930 million for the three days of meetings—a rather hefty increase from the $179 million originally set aside to cover security.

To add a bit of perspective to the budgeting, security for the 2009 G20 summit in Britain cost $30 million, more than 25 times less. Security for the 17-day 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver was just over $898 million. $1 billion is also the amount currently owed to the OPP in outstanding traffic tickets—and we all know what that could buy.

A spokesperson for the public safety minister defended the monetary allocation to the Star, saying, "[The enormity of] hosting two major summits back to back is unprecedented.” Liberal MP Mark Holland took a dimmer view, calling the costs “insane.”

Sure, the logistical concerns of holding two summits—wherein one of the key topics will be how to get government deficits under control—are huge, but even Dr. Evil understood the benefits of video conferencing.

G8/G20 security bill to approach $1-billion [Globe and Mail] Security tab for G8 and G20 summits could top $900 million [Toronto Star]

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