Saturday, June 19, 2010

Fortress Canada

I was going to write about the world cup; how it is amazing to see the planet galvanized over sport, like nothing else (other than the Olympics I suppose) I have ever seen. But watching the news footage of the fortification of our city - Toronto - in preparation for the upcoming G8/G20 Summits has sent me off the rails. Costs to the Canadian taxpayers for security alone is exceeding 2 billion dollars.

As we are assured that hosting this event will be benefit our country in ways too many to count - especially having the world's attention focused on Canada for the next week - Toronto is disappearing underneath the camouflage of security measures. Wire and razor fencing enclose walkways and buildings that fall within blocks of the secure zone. Warnings have been issued announcing that pedestrians in the area must carry ID at all times as they may asked to produce their official identification. Is this Canada??? The beautiful buildings in the downtown core are being boarded up, patients have been released early from hospitals and elective surgeries cancelled to free up beds "just in case". Trees, benches, garbage cans and other denoted types of "furniture" have been removed to prevent protesters from using them as potential weapons.

The summits are being held in two areas spanning a 2.5 hours distance - from the downtown, all the way up the highway corridor to cottage country. Residents have been told to expect lengthy delays on the road and to bring -plenty of water and snack food to eat on city transit vehicles "just in case".

I want the summits to go off without a hitch - I really do. But I wonder what face we will be showing the rest of the world this week .... Canada the compassionate or Prison Canada? The army has been camped out in cottage country for weeks now and the city has been hijacked from the citizens. Security for world leaders at all costs. ALL.

I am scratching my head and wondering why, as a country that no longer commands  respect from world leaders and doesn't even factor into the equation anymore (thank you Mr Prime Minister) we are hosting such an event. Reminds me of the  "keeping up with the Jones" syndrome. We are pretentiously living beyond our means and spending money we do not have.

Will the world be inspired by the images that are beamed around the world? Time will tell.

2 comments:

  1. Saddens me to see this - not the Canada that I know! In another week we will celebrate 'Canada Day' - ironic.

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  2. I feel these G20 meetings are a farce. They don't actually seem to achieve a lot. Why don't they just video conference instead and spend the money wasted on keeping a few precious butts safe on the local community.
    It gets me that the world is in recession, but that these junkets still go ahead without seemingly any thought of the cost entailed.
    Oops I'll get off my soap box now!
    xx

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