When I started this Blog, one of the things that I thought about, was whether or not I would find myself commenting on “industry issues” and I assumed that I would, from time to time.
What I had not planned on, was making any commentary necessarily specific about Government policy and the like, but with the newspapers reporting every day this week on the security costs of the upcoming G8 Summit meeting in Deerhurst, I could not stay silent.
I have some experience in this matter, as those of you who know me well, will know. I was the General Manager of the Host Property for the first G8 Summit meeting that followed the horrific events of 9/11. The Summit was held in the pristine Kananaskis Valley, in Alberta.
As I was knee deep in everything “Summit” for approximately 1 year preceding the Summit, I was privy to a great deal of sensitive information, which even now I will not reference directly, instead focusing on the articles of late that peg the security costs at approximately $900 Million.
Assume for a moment that figure only represents the security costs. Needless to say, the G8 delegates still need to be transported, fed and housed, at a minimum, and you can see how the estimated cost of the G8 Summit meeting exceeds $1 Billion.
What most people won’t know, which adds to the absurdity of this figure, is that the Summit meetings, or at least when we hosted them, started out being scheduled as a 3 day and night event. As the days grew closer, the agenda shrank to the point where the actual Summit was reduced down to 1 ½ days.
Let me repeat that. $1 Billion for a 1 ½ day meeting of the G8 leaders.
Now, that said, here is what got me writing about this today in the first place.
As I write this, sitting in my lovely home in North Vancouver, the news is everywhere that we in British Columbia are close to having enough signatures on a petition to form a proper opposition to the implementation of the new Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) in our Province.
That is a worthy cause, none of us want to be taxed any more, and this tax could very well hamper business at various levels. Fair enough.
But why, why are people not screaming at the top of their lungs about the absurd costs of being a hosting country for the G8 Summit meetings?
It doesn’t matter what your political views are, but consider for a moment what we could do, in our own Country, for our own citizens, with $1 Billion. It’s staggering.
Could we eliminate homelessness in our Country? Could we make sure that the children of our Country have enough to eat, a roof over their heads, and access to a proper education?
The list is endless, but it is also pointless speculation unless this issue is somehow given a stage from which something can be done to put a stop to this senseless spending of our money.
I made the suggestion, almost 10 years ago, after our G8 Summit meeting, that if the G8 leaders feel the need for this annual meeting, they should simply fly everyone out to an aircraft carrier in the middle of the ocean at an undisclosed location, have their meetings, and everyone flies home. You could probably do the whole deal for under $1 Million. Then we would have an additional $999 Million to spend on the things, in our Country, that could make the difference for millions of people.
Wouldn’t that be a better use of our money?