With a billion dollar-plus price tag, infringements of basic civil liberties, massive disruptions for those who live in Toronto, and a ‘business as usual’ agenda that serves neither people nor the planet, the Council of Canadians is calling on Prime Minister Stephen Harper to scrap the upcoming G8 and G20 summits.
As Canadians already know, the prime minister must now also acknowledge that a billion dollars could be better spent on any number of urgent international priorities, such as providing access to clean drinking water worldwide.
Given the overall costs, and the 16 hours of formal and informal meetings that are planned, the bill comes in at about $75 million per hour for these summits. In that a child dies every 8 seconds from drinking dirty water, during the G8/G20 weekend, 21,600 children will die because they have been denied the fundamental human right to clean water. The billion dollars being spent on the summits would save those children and millions more.
The place for national leaders to meet is not in behind barbed wire fences in small groups of eight or twenty, but rather in the General Assembly at the United Nations. That’s what the United Nations was created for, and it has the buildings, infrastructure and appropriate security in place for gatherings of world leaders.
It is also our belief that these G-192 meetings should also include a true dialogue with broader civil society. The narrower corporate interests should not have the kind of exclusive privileged access that they now enjoy.
Write the prime minister, your Member of Parliament, your local newspaper, and say that it’s time to ‘scrap the summits’.