Why Can't The G8 and G20 Just Phone It In?
This is the new postcard view of Toronto's CN Tower, as the downtown core of the city is surrounded by "recyclable" fencing for the Billion Dollar Summit. David Frum asks,"Couldn't the G20 meet by teleconference?"
Trailer park for security outside of Huntsville; look at the tiny cars on the left for scale, image via the Star
The whole thing was wretched excess from the start; it was supposed to be in the resort town of Huntsville, ON (20 miles from where I write this) but when the G8 grew to the G20 it outgrew the facilities there, so the government decided to hold the G8 up north and then move the whole party to Toronto for the G20. Result: two of everything and twice the cost, twice the disruption.
security fence, Huntsville
Conservative columnist David Frum notes that the whole thing has got out of hand, far away from the original idea:
The evolution of the G5 to the G7 to the G8 to the G20 is a parable of the growth of government. The original idea advanced by French President Valery Giscard d'Estaing 35 years ago was simple and powerful: a two-day summit of the leaders of the US, Japan, West Germany, UK and France to discuss economic issues. No agenda, no resolutions - just a rare chance for human relationship building and candid off-the-record conversation among the leaders of the world's biggest capitalist democracies. It was a good idea then, it would be a good idea now.
The security measures are disrupting the entire city, with some very questionable activites; in what Open File calls Treepocalyse, they are pulling up trees. According to a police spokesperson in the National Post:
The trees could be ripped out of the ground by demonstrators "and then you've got a huge bar," said Constable Wendy Drummond, a spokeswoman for the Integrated Security Unit.
Mark Calzavara of the Council of Canadians calls it silly.
"I would challenge the police to get a couple of burly officers and try to pull one of these trees out of the ground," he said. "You'd need an axe to cut the thing down. And if you've already got an axe, you wouldn't need a tree.
See the National Post's graphic of Fortress Toronto here
Of course, the thing all started in cottage country around a real lake, but when it moved to Toronto the media no longer got that quintessential Canadian experience, so they built a fake lake in the media centre, complete with walls of canoes. Cost: $57,000.
It is not very often that I agree with David Frum, but he is right about this- a teleconference would have made a lot more sense.