A Billion For G20 Security "Is Worth It" - Just Who and What Are They Afraid Of?
Paul Jay, is CEO and Senior Editor of The Real News Network. He currently lives in Baltimore, Maryland. Prior to TRNN, Jay was for ten seasons the creator and Executive Producer of CBC Newsworld's flagship debate programs, CounterSpin and FaceOff.
Jay has produced and directed more than 20 major documentary films including "Return to Kandahar", "Lost in Las Vegas" and "Hitman Hart: Wrestling with Shadows", a feature length documentary, that was screened in 25 major festivals and won more than a dozen awards. It's been called "one of the most acclaimed Canadian films in years" (Eye Magazine), "A tale as bizarre as Kafka and as tragic as Shakespeare" (Ottawa Citizen) and "one of the best films of 1998" (Peter Plagens, art critic for Newsweek).
A past chair of the Documentary Organization of Canada, Jay is the founding chair of Hot Docs!, the Canadian International Documentary Film Festival.
According to AP, Canada's Conservative government said Thursday the nearly $1 billion it plans to spend on security at the G8 and G20 summits next month is "worth it". The Canadian government has budgeted up to $930 Canadian (US$885 million) for the summits.
By comparison, the stated amount spent by Pittsburgh on security for last September's G20 summit was US$12.4 million. This in a country that was actually hit by a major attack and is target number one on most terrorist hit lists.
So why is Canada spending a billion? Where's the threat?
We are sure to hear about the recent bombing in Ottawa as a rationale, but the idea is ludicrous. London has been the target of far worse than a firebomb in the entrance of a bank. They didn't need a billion dollars.
London's stated amount for the G20 last year was US$20 million - this in a country where an attack against public buses killed 52 and injured 700. Security for the 2009 G8 summit in Italy was estimated at $359 million, still a far cry from where Canada is headed.
The Ottawa police claim they have indentified the perpetrators of the bank job, and it's obvious if it is in fact a small "anarchist" group, they pose no threat to the leaders of the world.
Is it the demonstrators expected to protest in the tens of thousands against these leaders who helped facilitate the global economic crisis? Leaders by the way that now want everyone but the elite to pay for the consequences there of . . . now there's the real bank job.
Can't be them either . . . there's been too many of these anti-G20 type demonstrations and it's clear the vast majority of protestors are peaceful and the few that aren't, break a few windows. Hardly justifies a billion dollars . . . heck, you could buy every business in Toronto new windows and you wouldn't get to a billion dollars.
So what's it all about? Public Safety Minister Vic Toews said he would break down the costs after the summit. Didn't say how long after apparently. Well, if he won't say where the money is going, it begs some speculation.
Is it possible at a time when Canada's government debt is reaching European levels - and we are sure to hear another round of "deficit mania" that the banker's political and "journalistic" representatives are fanning from Athens to Washington - that a massive investment in Canada's police force would be a hard sell?
Is the truth that the billion dollars is to beef up the RCMP (mostly), the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, the army, a couple of other agencies and the Toronto Police . . . for what our esteemed leaders fear is yet to come if as many predict, the full effects of the economic crisis has yet to hit? Assuming a part of the budget will be surveillance equipment, is it likely to be dismantled once the great ones leave town?
The immediate problem is that once all that money gets spent on "security", there is going to be a great incentive to use all the new fangled gear and such to prove it's "worth it". Will we witness a Canadian version of what we saw at the Republican Convention when more than 800 people were arrested and denied their right to protest?
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